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"Por mais soberana que a a minha mente se torne, o meu coração será para sempre vagabundo"


When the body says no II


""I cannot understand why I have cancer," one womam with ovarian cancer said. "I've led a healthy life, eaten well, exercised regularly. I've always taken good care of myself. If anyone should be a picture of health, it's me." The area she overlooked was invisible to her: the stress connected with emotional repression. Her conscientious (and conscious) best efforts to look after herself properly could not extend to an area she did not know existed. (...)If we gain the ability to look into ourselves with honesty, compassion and unclouded vision, we can identify the ways we need to take care of ourselves. We can see the areas of the self formerly hidden in the dark. 

 The potential of wholeness, for health, resides in all of us, as does the potential for illness and disharmony. Disease is disharmony. More accurately, it is an expression of internal disharmony. If illness is seen as foreign and external, we may end up waging a war agains ourselves.

 The first step in retracing our way to health is to abandon our attachment to what we called positive thinking. Too many times in the course of palliative care work I sat with dejected people who expressed their bewilderment at having developed cancer. "I have always been a positive thinker", one man in his late forties told me. "I have never given in to pessimistic thoughts. Why should I get cancer?".

(...) Compulsive optimist is one of the ways we bind our anxiety to avoid confronting it. (...) Rather, is it a willingness to consider what is not working. What is not in balance? What have I ignored? What is my body saying no to? Without these questions, the stresses responsible for our lack of balance will remain hidden."


When the body says no


"The Vancouver oncologist Karen Gelmon does not favour the war metaphors often applied to cancer. "The idea is that with enough might you can control, with enough might you can expel," she says. "It suggests that it's all a battle. I don't think that's a helpful way of looking at it. First, it's not valid physiologically. Second, I don't think it's healthy psychologically.

 "What happens with our body is a matter of flow - there is input and there is output, an you can't control every aspect of it. We need to understand that flow, know there are things you can influence and things you can't. It's not a battle, it's a push-pull phenomenon of finding balance and harmony, of keading the conflicting forces all into one dough." What we might call the miliatary theory of disease, sees illness as a hostile force, something foreign that the organism must battle and defeat. Such view leaves an important question unanswered 


No disease has a single cause. Even where significant risks can be identified - such as biological heredity in some autoimmune diseases or smoking in lung cancer - these vulnerabilities do not exist in isolation. Personality also does not by itself cause disease: one does not get cancer simply for repressing anger os ALS just from being too nice. A systems model recognizes that many processes and factors work together in the formation of disease or in the creation of health. We have demonstrated in this book a biopsychosocial model of medicine. According to the biopsychosocial view, individual biology reflects the history of a human organism in lifelong interaction with an enviroment, a perpetual interchange of energt in thich psychological and social factors are as vital as physical ones. As Dr. Gelmonn suggests, healing is a phenomenon of finding balance and harmony.

 We cannot remind ourselves too often that the word healing derives from an ancient origin, meaning "whole" - hence our equation of wholesome and healthy. To heal is to become whole. But how can we be more whole than we already are? Or how is it that we could ever be less than whole? 

 That which is complete may become deficient in two possible ways: something could be subtracted from it, or its internal harmony could be so perturbed that the parts that worked togehter no longer do so. As we have seen, stress is a disturbance of the body's internal balance in response to perceived threat, including the threat of some essential need being denied. Physical hunger may be one such deprivation, but in our society the threat is most often psychic, such as the withdrawal of emotional nourishment or the disruption of psychological harmony". 



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