As a doctor who runs a business that relies on the internet, I realize it’s a strong statement to suggest that the internet may be literally killing us, but I’ll give you my reasons for saying something so provocative. When you look at the scientific data, I think it’s safe to say that the greatest risk to your health is not a poor diet, a bad habit, or lack of exercise; it’s loneliness. If you don’t believe me, there’s a whole chapter loaded with scientific data from reputable medical journals in my book Mind Over Medicine. When scientists study “Blue Zones,” those places on earth where a greater than usual number of people live healthy, happy lives until over 100 years old, they all share one thing. They live in close knit, multi-generational tribes that take care of each other. None of them spend all day glued to computers or cell phones, chatting virtually with people they have probably never met in real life.
The internet is burning us out. With so many emails to check, so many social media sites to keep updating, so many teleclasses to listen to and webinars to watch and Skype calls to log onto, our schedules are so busy that we don’t have time to gather with those we might really get to know, to go for a hike, to have a cup of tea, to sing together, to dance, to share our pain, to celebrate our triumphs. Even when we do gather in person, we aren’t present with each other. Last Christmas, I saw a whole family of people—10 of them—sitting at a restaurant, every single one of them on their mobile phone, not one of them connecting at a soul level with anyone at the table.
For three weeks, I have been spending a lot of time in nature in Australia and gathering with part of my own soul tribe, singing and dancing and making meals with each other, all far away from the internet. While I’ve been here, I have been deeply marinating on a paradox that seems in need of attention.
THE PARADOX OF CONNECTION/DISCONNECTION:
About five years ago, things that seemed like miracles—things my mind couldn’t explain—started happening around me. Patients were having “spontaneous” remissions. Synchronicities were unfolding around me as if I had been swept up in some current of magic. Spiritual superpowers were awakening within me, bringing with them gifts and powers I didn’t know I had access to. At first I was fascinated—in awe—and I played with these spiritual superpowers (which the yogis call “siddhis”). My entire view of reality got shattered. Things that should have been impossible were happening with regularity. At first, they were happening in waves of what I called “quickenings.” These quickenings lasted about two weeks and then a few months would pass before another quickening happened. Then, after a very mystical experience in January 2014, the mystical events became my new normal. I could no longer deny that reality was not as it seemed to my scientific, rational, materialist mind. When I told Byron Katie about some of the events that were happening, she said, “Lissa, they’ve always been happening. Only now you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.”
Those of you who have been following my blog and reading what I post on Facebook know what a profound influence Tosha Silver has had on my life and my work. The way in which we met was magical. Christiane Northrup and I had been teaching a class to the Whole Health Medicine Institute (we're enrolling WHMI now, in case you feel called to join us!) Christiane insisted that all of us go out right that second and buy Tosha's book Outrageous Openness. I bought it instantly and was halfway through reading it the next day, when I was on a plane to LA to film a documentary, when I got online on the airplane, looked up Tosha's website, realized she lived right across the San Francisco Bay from me, and decided to write her a gushing fan letter. It went something like, "OMG, you don't know who I am, but I'm in love with your book, and I live in San Francisco too, and we should . . . um . . . totally be BFF's!" I signed up for her newsletter list because I knew that whatever Tosha was drinking, I wanted a Big Gulp of it.
I just finished teaching a workshop at Kripalu about the 6 Steps To Healing Yourself from Mind Over Medicine, and one of the questions that came up over and over was “How do I learn to hear the voice of my intuition?” We all know there exists within us this part that I call your “Inner Pilot Light” and it holds the keys to not only optimal health, but healthy relationships, finding and fulfilling your calling, tapping into your connection with the Divine, and making aligned decisions. Yet many people don’t feel connected to this inner voice.
My dear friend Shiloh Sophia and I are teaching a virtual art workshop on Friday about how to strengthen your relationship with this part of you. (You can sign up here.) We will be delving deeper into this topic on Friday, but until then, I asked Shiloh to help us understand what it might mean to tune into this wisdom force and come into alignment with this guidance system. In this guest blog, she shares 5 keys to unlocking your Inner Healer.
Take it away, Shiloh!
“I’ve tried all the ‘heal yourself’ techniques that have cured others, so why am I still sick?”“I feel like no matter what, I just can’t quite figure out this self healing stuff, and I am ashamed to tell others I have been unsuccessful.”“I think I must just be too damaged from the wounds of the past to ever be truly whole, I am just broken.”If you have found true healing to be illusive, perhaps you have found yourself saying things like this. These statements become beliefs that block healing.
Unlocking the potential of your Inner Healer begins with a choice to make a connection with your inner world. Here you can get access to the keys that open the hidden places within you where healing information lives. These keys belong to you and are used to define your own journey and experience of personal power on your own terms. You don’t need to be ‘all better’ or have your ‘stuff in a pile’ to have an experience of wholeness right where you are, right now. The Inner Healer is a powerful presence within you that is a consciously chosen relationship, one that can change everything about how you relate to your wounds and your worlds.
My writer's journey began in 2007, when I left my stable, lucrative career as a physician to pursue my dream of being a professional writer. My behavior seemed pretty reckless to those who loved me. I gave up a six figure income and my house in San Diego with a view of the ocean and cashed in my retirement account so I could buy my freedom (to quit my job, I had to pay a $120,000 malpractice tail in case I ever got sued in the future.)
My husband was unemployed, we had a newborn baby, and my backup plan was… well, not exactly backed up. But I did it. I took a leap of faith and spent the next year writing a memoir called I Don’t Do Men: Confessions of an OB/GYN. After loads of rejections, one literary agent finally loved it and swore that she would get in a “monkey knife fight” to represent my book. So I named her “Monkey Barbara,” and we high-fived over cocktails about the six-figure book deal we would get for the book Monkey Barbara jokingly called “Eat, Pray, Vagina.”
Only that didn’t happen. In fact, we didn’t get any book deals. Eight editors loved it, and eight marketing departments said they’d never heard of me, that I had no platform, and that it didn’t matter how good my writing was if they couldn’t sell it.
I was crushed. Finally, after a year of rejections, Monkey Barbara and I had a tearful release ceremony while drinking margaritas as I tore my manuscript into strips of paper, burned them, and tossed the ashes into the ocean. (Melodramatic - yes. Cathartic - yes.)
Enter Owning Pink
Monkey Barbara told me I had to start a blog if I wanted a career as a writer. This news left me fuming. I was already a doctor, a professional artist, and a writer. Now I had to become a blogger? WTF?
But Barbara insisted. So in 2009, I started a blog I called Owning Pink, named after an art series I had done several years earlier. When asked what my blog would be about, I answered, “Creativity, spirituality, health, sexuality, money, the environment, business, mental health - you know, everything that makes you whole.” I was promptly told this wouldn’t work, that I had to pick a niche. I refused and went about creating a website featuring over forty bloggers that left branding experts using me as a case study for how not to brand yourself.