Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
I was reading Brené recently (if you need to ask Brené who I need to direct you to her work another time), and she was talking about falling into a pattern of being smaller, saying less so we don't get hurt. It struck me that's what homeopaths have been forced to do, with the ASA 'rulings' (more on the ASA if you're interested - they're a whole different thing than they make out to be) and skeptic attacks, which continue today.
So we can't say the c-word (nope, not the same word I was asked about yesterday from a new school education), we aren't supposed to talk about conditions, we're allowed to say in a wishy washy way that homeopathy might possibly maybe help here or there people to feel better a little bit. Perhaps.
I waver on what we're best to tell people sometimes. Are we best to talk about the crazy, outlandish, never believe it unless you were there cases (obviously and of course with permission), or are we best to talk about a cough here, a sniffle there, some period pain (which can of course be crippling for some so no minor feat when that improves with homeopathy). Are we best to talk about the life changing potential, people discovering their purpose on the earth (any Organon fans will be proud of my paragraph 9 interweaving there)? I'd love some discussion.
I was so happy to hear a medical homeopath recently say that they tell people homeopathy can cure diseases that [in their experience] conventional medicine can't**. As their first sentence describing it. 'You say the c-word' I said in awe? 'I love that.' And I do. Since when did we get so scared we can't speak our truth anymore?
How's about we start to share our experiences (feel free to share them as comments on this blog, to your friends and family, as Facebook replies and comments or in the supermarket). All the stories, from the cough to the chronic colitis and all the way in-between. The remarkable, the everyday, the lifesaving, the life changing. What were your 'no s*** Sherlock, this stuff works' moments, your amazed, incredulous and stunned times, and your plain old 'oh that pain went and I didn't need an operation after all (I love when a client comes back and tells me that)' moments.
** As mentioned before in this blog, I think conventional medicine is incredible, life saving and wouldn't want to be without it. In acute medical interventions I think it's utterly phenomenal. In more chronic conditions - asthma, hayfever, eczema, chronic fatigue, IBS, depression, diabetes it appears to create something akin to customers. No one seems to get better-better, just managed. This isn't to say there's not a time and a place for your steroids, antidepressants, more to say that long term use isn't looking like a successful cure, whereas homeopathy has a long history of helping in many of these conditions.
Logging onto twitter this morning, as some of the work I do is around the positive communication of homeopathy with, well, anyone who is interested, I sorted through the good, the bad and the ugly. Retweeting some of the good, generally I ignore the bad and the ugly though like to have some awareness of the balance.
This morning though, it may be because I was working late and then was woken early - it seems the cat had got shut into a cupboard last night - I assumed she was out having fun - oops - I am feeling less tolerant.
For homeopath friends, in case you find it useful - I usually have a bless and block attitude*. They can't know what they don't know, and most of them, I believe think they're doing the right thing (I'll not start on the ones who appear to be paid to do what they're doing and destroying lives in the process for now). But today, enough.
Here's a selection below of this morning's joy:
What I realised straight after my mental grumble was how grateful I am that we have films such as Magic Pills (and last year I also hosted Just One Drop) that we can begin to redress the balance with. If this is what people are hearing, reading, all the time, why wouldn't they look strangely at you when you say you're a homeopath?
I've done a U-turn from being worried someone might criticise what I do, to welcoming the opportunity to discuss it. There is SO much mis-information out there. So much is spread by mainstream media - to be honest it makes me question everything that we're told. I see what they say about what I see happening in front of me with my own eyes, and wonder how it can be distorted so much. Are we just being manipulated about everything? I hope not but fear the truth may be being maligned about much. I am glad to offer my view, having experienced it, for myself, for others, and very effectively so.
Bored of the BS too? I'd suggest you might consider putting on an information event, attending a wellbeing fair, share positive information about homeopathy wherever you can - or think about (perhaps just do it!) putting on a screening of Magic Pills or Just One Drop for your community. I hosted the films in a community cinema near where I live, most recently Magic Pills at the start of June 2018, and on Saturday I will be sharing my first Magic Pills screening at home with friends and friends I've not met yet (or met only briefly). My plan is to do another in October/November time for others who wanted to come to either June or Saturday's showing that hadn't been able to make it along.
I'm excited about sharing it. And there'll be cake.
Cake disclaimer - it may be this banoffee nut butter ice cream cake, or this one not the berry one pictured. Or it might be. Can't decide. Anyway, at least I know what the film will be. It'll be great. I am in huge admiration of the work Ananda More has created here, and each time I watch it I spot more cleverness. It's definitely a watch it 2-3 times to really appreciate it kind of a film. Though the first time I was impressed, further watching has impressed me even more.
www.magicpillsmovie.com/host-screening if you'd like to host your own film event. I strongly recommend it - so much that I've nearly shown it twice (will be aiming for three after Saturday!).
* My bless and block method was largely influenced by Pierre Pradervand's. It's probably worth you reading it more than me explaining it - it's been so very helpful to me getting through trickier times, and to many clients that I've suggested it to.
I had this question recently and it's inspired me to write a few words (I hope just a few as I want to write about yesterday's seminar too and I've honestly got loads to sort today... can't just sit and write all day. Though I think I would quite like to. Anyway...).
I am likely to always say yes to this question. If there's a query at all, I think it's worth checking it out. I am not here to diagnose, to treat a specific complaint (though many a time a specific complaint may go away), and it's important to me that I work as a part of a team. I am not a doctor, nor have I medical training. We shared some classes with medics at uni doing my degree but it was not a medical degree. I don't do everything. I do homeopathy. I do removal of obstacles to cure where I can. I do lifestyle advice. I do common sense. But I do not diagnose. I do not have the fancy amazing equipment that is available with the health service. Or any idea of how to use it. So go, get a diagnosis, take an informed choice. Research. Decide. And I'll happily help where I can with what I can do.
My epic daughter Isla is off to do an Epic Swim event. Well actually we're both going swimming and in my head we'll be featuring on Swallows and Amazons (the remake at least) as we're swimming in the lake where parts of it were filmed. It should be a beautiful event - pictures to follow from our fab support crew.
If you'd like to sponsor her without reading the story you can do so here:
We've been swimming in the river locally probably for a month or so and she's like a little mermaid - I've been so impressed at how well she's done and am loving seeing her confidence grow in the water. There is nothing quite like being in the river as the birds fly over you, the fish jumping (if you're lucky you get to see the fish and the splash, second lucky just the splash and third lucky you hear it or someone in the group tells you), swimming across to the elderflower tree and smelling the flowers whilst treading water next to it. It's a great way to finish (or start, or middle) a day.
We decided to do it as a fundraiser for Homeopathy for Health in Africa who I've been involved with and passionate about fundraising for since I helped design and distribute their first calendar - in 2012 I think it was. There followed a Calendar Girls of Homeopathy calendar - that's a rarer edition ;) All sorts of fun was had and has been had since. They are a completely inspirational organisation and I'm constantly inspired and feel privileged to have done the bits I have to help. Isla has fundraised for them in the past - we did a Santa Run together and she set up and did a readathon by herself about 5 years ago.
So this time we set up a fundraising page on Thursday morning 10am. As I write it's now Sunday morning, 7am and the page stands at £1540. She's surpassed what I thought was possible - and when I told her I thought perhaps we could get to £1000 (that was Isla's first suggested goal having raised £300 with her readathon and wanting to get more this time) she said we should go for £2k. No, let's play it safe I said and aim for 1. Well we did that in 48 hours. Amazing. The community support for the organisation and for what my daughter is doing has overwhelmed me. Thank you if you've already been a part of that. Everything, from £2 to £200 is hugely appreciated.
In two weeks time we'll be getting ready to check in for our swim so please help us get to £2000 - she would be so excited!! So I figure we only need 46 people to give £10 each. We can do that - right?
If you'd like to be one of them, the link is here:
With love and gratitude,
Photo credit to the one and only Amber Rose Nolson. Amazing friend, mother, pilates instructor, and swimming buddy.
'I've just shared a blog post about the remedy belladonna which talks about the mystic dimension. Have a read here if you like. In my opinion anything Dr David Lilley reads is worth reading and enjoying. And if you can get to listen to him - then go. I love him.
So it got me thinking about the magic involved in what we do. For many years in our home we called remedies 'magic tablets'. For me, magic is all around me - the sunrise, the sunset, the unfurling of a petal, a leaf reaching towards the sun. Yes it can all be explained, reduced to scientific explanations - though then it feels slightly less magical to me.
To be accepted are we to step away from the image of magic within homeopathy? One of the FAQs about Ananda More's film Magic Pills is why she would choose to put the word 'magic' in the title - why court the scorn we have endured for so long?! And yet this is mainly a question from the homeopathic community. The rest, many the general public, seem to either just accept the title - or find it intriguing and want to learn more. Many homeopaths that said, have come forwards and talked about how they've called homeopathic medicines 'magic pills' or 'magic tablets' within their own homes, and how their patients sometimes refer to them as these.
I have one client who tells people I'm a witch. Which is OK too, but likely calls for a whole different blog post about the origin of witches within our culture and suppression of the sacred feminine by a patriarchal society driving the natural healers underground. Another time.
So back to my question - do we reduce this medicine to reductionist terms, randomised controlled trials and lab work - or do we embrace the 'magic'? For me, in my ever curious, intrigued outlook on the world around me - I want to embrace it.
I was asked yesterday to describe what homeopathy is - and did say I was so tired I might have to come back to it, but went on to give my definition from my heart instead of my overtired head. I explained how it is the most amazing thing I've ever encountered in life, the most life changing, beautiful way of working with people that I've found (or similar to that). It is like working with an ultimate truth. A universal truth, the core or centre of everything. And that, to me? Pretty magical actually. Not in the way of unicorns and fairies, in a beauty, a simplicity, an incredible life changing way.
The remedy pictures, the remedy provings, written many years ago with so many gems describing human behaviour and correlating still now with what you see in clinic. I do wonder if those who wish to suppress this have taken the time to read the philosophy, to sit with experienced practitioners working at the deepest level, to read the lectures on materia medica, to pore over the thousands and thousands of cured case notes, or just decided that it shouldn't work so it can't work.
I'll leave you with Camilla Sherr from Homeopathy for Health in Africa with her thoughts on homeopathy. For the record, I agree.
Knowing that there is nothing else I would want to do and I am so happy to embrace the joy in this controversial, often misunderstood medicine.
Yesterday, grumbling to myself in the car, I thought that anyone who says homeopathy has no side effects could come and have the intense pain in my neck that started less than 10 minutes after taking a remedy. Now, 17 hours on, it's there but less intense and it's definitely fading. It's similar to a pain I've had in the past and I'm quite excited that it could be a good sign of a great remedy reaction. A return of old symptoms can get us homeopaths quite excited. I know - perhaps I need to get out more ;)
But as to side effects. Surely, or at least my understanding, is that a side effect is anything that is an undesirable effect of the medicine, an unwanted result that occurs, or even perhaps just an unexpected result? I can't imagine my lovely new practitioner (not that she's new, she's been in practice over 30 years, but new to me) plotting to give me this as a primary goal. Which surely makes it - at least in conventional terms - a side effect.
I've long thought we shouldn't say that homeopathy has no side effects to our patients. Sometimes I see them, often I don't. And generally they're short limited - frequently a great sign you're on track with a well matched remedy. An aggravation, though perhaps unwanted by both client and practitioner, isn't necessarily a bad thing. I would say though to always get in touch with your homeopath if you're struggling - there can be ways to help you through it.
Sometimes I explain aggravations as if you're pushing on a spring: you push it a little further (aggravation) then the spring bounces back into it's freer shape and remains there for longer (amelioration). That said, plenty of times there may be no aggravation, or an unnoticed one and great improvement. So I'd say side effects are less frequent as the medicine is subtler in general, but they certainly exist - and can be a real pain in the neck.
All things pass.
Oh pants. I've written a lovely thought provoking blog post after having watched this film - and managed to erase it all. So maybe I'll revisit it later on. For now, just to say I've just finished the film here. Definitely, definitely recommend, whichever side of the 'Dr Andrew Wakefield is...' side of the fence you find yourself on. Watch it.
I woke thinking about this this morning. Outside the box healthcare. What is outside the box healthcare?! Maybe it's because I'd watched a TEDx talk on outside the box marketing this week. Maybe it's because I'm reading Russell Brand's Revolution. Maybe it's an awareness that we're told what to think by the media all the time. And looking at who is funding that. Because what I see, experience, and hear from people certainly doesn't correlate with the opinions you're, we're fed about homeopathy, it does make me question other things. What if we're inside the box, being fed half truths, or even no truths. And lapping it up. What if we don't even know there's a box there?
Looking at who is funding the research is an interesting one. Coca cola reportedly funding a large scale study to show sugar wasn't a bad thing for us. The Dairy Council, McDonalds and several other milk orientated organisations funded a study last year that showed how beneficial milk was for us. Funny that. Milk from another species, that no other species does in nature, but we've set up the system to abuse and violate cows... now there's becoming a greater awareness we need studies sponsored by the people who have a vested interest to tell us that it'll help us. Who sponsors the report that says a glass of prosecco a day is better than an hour in the gym?! Nice idea but still...
I'd never thought about it really in the past. Colin Campbell's book Whole was illuminating though and his explanations that there is no funding for whole food research but you can isolate nutrients - study away and discover what that can have benefits from. Is that the real world though? Not in my view - it's all about a beautiful interplay of vitamins and minerals together.
Similarly in homeopathy. Who will benefit (on a massive scale) from these medicines? Well, if they do what I think they do, there'll be greater health, so the individuals would do. Less strain on the NHS. Another benefit. But then less drugs bought. So who might benefit from homeopathy being less available? Thinking about that one for a moment it's not that hard to figure out the answer.
Especially when you realise that Dr Andrew Wakefield, who spoke of a link of gut damage and the MMR, was then hounded out of his profession, and the country. And the money trail? I've been led to believe it lead back to vaccine manufacturers. Funnily enough though, he wasn't recommending children not be vaccinated, he was seeking a safer alternative and recommended the single MMR vaccines. Which were then removed from the market, leaving parents a far more serious choice. To step away from vaccinating, which isn't a decision that anyone I know has ever taken lightly, or to vaccinate with the MMR triple shot.
The Guardian used to share pro-homeopathy articles, and now won't do anything of the sort. So we are told what to think by the papers. But is that the truth? What if we stepped out of that, spoke to real people, with real health concerns and found out how they'd handled it. The Mail and The Sun seem more positive about natural healthcare and this article was published in You Magazine, though it took someone having a great experience with homeopathy - and connections - it appears - to get it written. Great to have it out there though.
Back to outside the box. Trying solutions we haven't used before... Desperation in each instance drove me to it - migraines that weren't going away, a horse's eye that we might just have cut out, and me being for want of a better word, a mess. So we'd been pretty stuck in that box. And didn't even know it. I'm proud of my parents stepping out of the box before the vegan trend got big (although timing makes no difference really, I'm just proud of them). Taking pro-active, and not always easy, steps to improve their health naturally. At nearly 70 years old (ouch that feels old, let's start that again). At 67 and 68, on no medications, physically active daily and contented people.
'We've always done this' doesn't seem to be good enough to me as a reason anymore. I ate meat for 30+ years, guzzled the painkillers like my sanity depended on them. It may have done. Time to step away from doing what I'm told. Getting out of the box healthcare suits me. Maybe when we realise there is a box, a way we've always been told we should do things so we accept them as normal and then step away from that, things will start to change. Until then, have a peek over or through the box and know there might be a different way to sit along what we've always done.
As I said recently, I don't eat my dog so I don't expect to eat a pig. I've been a breastfeeding mother for two years and I was lucky to not have my baby taken away from me. The happy cows bouncing around for Tesco's milk aisle? Less so sadly. And the bouncing would be really painful - I walked past grass-fed dairy cows yesterday that could barely walk - their over-swollen udders getting in the way of their leg's natural movement.
Lastly I think it's important to say that I'm happy to have conventional healthcare available to me, I think it can be lifesaving, but I also think it's incredibly shortsighted to think that that's the only way and to try to trample anything else. But if we're stuck inside the box I guess there's not a long view available.
Be skeptical but learn to listen.
The Fifth Agreement.
Revolution seems to be a bit of a theme for me. At the moment and in general. I'm currently reading (and loving it) Russell Brand's book of a similar title, but for some time I've mulled over starting a food based revolution - though more around acceptance and love of ourselves.
I was doing a talk on mindfulness a while ago for a lovely WI group and did the raisin meditation - or at least my version of it. Then I went into the toilets before I left and on the back of the door was a poster for slimming world which met in the same location I was in. That was a starting point, though it would be wrong for me to put it down to just that. Going into schools with healthy foods, making juices, smoothies, raw chocolates without sugar made me see there are other ways to do things, other ways to educate our kids. I'd thought it for a long time but taking it practically really helped. Parents came and told me for ages that their kids were eating more fresh fruit and veg after the mini workshop.
I wonder if what stops us is if we think it has to be big, that we have to make a serious impact? I would invite you to consider if you'll ever know what impact you make?
One positive comment, one word of encouragement? How do you know - how do you measure that? I think the best ones you can't. Not until ages later at least, then how do you measure how many people have been influenced because you smiled at someone and they decided to smile at... it goes on. The ripples on the pond.
So back, briefly as I'm determined not to go on too much today - to the food revolution. What if we ate for love not loathing. We ate to nurture not suppress. We ate for joy not boredom. What if we took 2 minutes to appreciate our bodies for what they are. We may not like our _(insert body part)_ but how would we function without it?
I disliked my ears for many years - they stick out a bit if you've not noticed... and wished for them to be different. Then there's the legs - well it's OK now but years ago could I get trousers long enough?! The advent of Long Tall Sally was a major breakthrough in my teens. Gangly long legs... not a gift but a thing to torture me. So enough. Enough*. My legs are ace, they help me run, swim, sit and walk. Without them I'd not have been walking barefoot this morning through the field. My ears? Well my glasses would fall off for a start and I'd be back to being a blind little mole. I'd bet it's similar for anyone reading this - there are so many positives with whatever you've been wishing was different. Not the mole bit, but you get the drift.
If we ate from love, acted from love how different could it be?
I don't know - come start a (mini) revolution with me?
The mini revolution in my mind could be anything... putting out flowers in a unloved looking location, getting a cuppa for someone, smiling, a hug, a kind word. I've taken to drawing hopscotch thinking people might play more. Play more. Another blog to come.
Have a fabulous and maybe even (mini) revolting day.
* Enough. Enough is my word of the moment. There's been enough time disliking, acting, living from fear. Enough. Time to step into your light and be. Listen and love. Enough BS. Enough.
PS My force of nature daughter is planning a sponsored swim with a £1k fundraising target... if you can sponsor her when we've got the link set up that would be AMAZING. Thank you!
Watching a video about David Bowie and the change, overcoming adversity and reinvention he undertook this morning inspired me to share a little of my story. I was 7 when I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I would be a vet. As I grew older this idea evolved further and by the time I was 17 I knew I wanted to be an equine acupuncturist, which meant I would study to be a vet, then study acupuncture (I don't think I was aware of specialist equine acupuncture courses back then and I was doing it the full way anyway). I realised, and recounting my story this weekend, I recalled the moment that I realised, that this was no longer my dream.
As I stood watching the vet, arm inserted to nearly shoulder, inside the horse, I realised that I was more interested in people. I was more interested in the owner than what was happening way up there. How was he responding, what was he thinking? So people it was to be. It was around the time I was filling in my UCAS form for university entries so it was a slightly interesting time to be making the decision to change, but change I did. It was the first time I remember feeling that passion, drive, knowing, burning excitement in my belly when I read the Psychology and Neuroscience prospectus at Manchester University. Other Psychology courses were interesting. But this was fascinating. Brains. Nerves. Interconnection. And the links between the two.
Friends of my parents tried to dissuade me. Being a vet would bring money, financial freedom, the good life. But I knew it wasn't for me. There was something different out there. I didn't know what it was, but knew this was the next step.
I went, worked hard and, aside from applying for information about homeopathy (I remember where I was reading that too - in my attic room where I stencilled the sunflowers and ivy), but realising I wasn't old enough (they wanted you to be 21 before you started studying), I didn't really know what I was going to do, really do with my life after uni. My dissertation supervisor encouraged me to look at doing a PhD, and whilst I was flattered and gave it an evening's thought, I realised that it wasn't the right path for me, so when the opportunity came to travel I did. Australia for a year. Good times. And some really tough times. Life I guess. Returning with a self esteem of 'pretty low' to 'could get lower' (and it would), I continued in the slightly 'what was I doing in that?!' relationship til finally realising enough was enough and left. I remember waiting in a stormy downpour, you know the ones, after the summer heat, for my sister to collect me so I could leave and get out of there.
It was from that place of what felt like rock bottom that I began my journey with homeopathy again - my mum thankfully pushed me to go as I was lacking motivation to do much (I must have been a bit of a nightmare and wouldn't leave the house by myself, I remember being so terrified one time I stood on a friend's doorstep and wet myself - it wasn't a fun time). I'd already used homeopathy for headaches and migraines, when, at 17 I'd ended up on beta blockers - which wasn't really ideal, and started the process of dealing with these more naturally. So I began to rebuild. I'd studied a diploma in reflexology, some Reiki whilst I'd done my degree, was always intrigued by essential oils, had done a degree in counselling and they were all interesting. But there was something, something just out of reach.
That, it turned out for me, was homeopathy. It connected so much. Like the neural networks we (well most of us at least) know so little about, the connections here too are immense. Looking at the world through a holistic lens instead of a reductionist one. Seeing how our behaviours can be shaped by our 'non-human song'. Seeing how one person will respond to a situation like this and seeing how another like that. Putting it together. Seeing the patterns in the people, in nature, in the world around us. Understanding we are nature, in so many ways more than we realise.
Thankfully my homeopath saw something (or maybe she just suggested homeopathy to everyone!) and suggested I might want to look deeper at what had brought me back to being able to go out again, to laugh again - to have full bladder control (or at least til after I was a parent ;) again). And so it began.
It wasn't easy. But it was amazing. And that fire? I felt that again. Studying alongside working full time, moving twice, getting married, having a baby, breastfeeding through College (she was just 17 days old when she was first in school), divorce, single parenting, actually the other way around, single parenting, divorce, moving again, with an increasing number of books and remedies! I supported us with work that made initially no sense to me, but each time taught me so much. I guess I did what I had to. As any mother does. And I realised through it, though I got taken off track several times, this, this is where my heart lies. This lights the passionate fire in my belly.
It's still not easy. I work hard and I don't get to make everyone better, though I would really like to. Looking through cases, it feels like around 70% of people get to much improved places. Maybe that's no longer needing medication they may have been on for years, not having chronic pain, migraines, headaches, constipation disappearing, depression or anxiety improving, sleep improving... or even just managing symptoms better. Getting through chemotherapy, radiotherapy with less symptoms than many, or helping their symptoms when they arise.
It still lights that fire. There is nothing like this stuff. For me. So I guess the moral of my story - if you've made it thus far, is if there's something that makes you feel this, go for it. Pursue the dream. Do the badly paid jobs that support you whilst you make it happen, keep going. Because you know what? It's amazing. Life is pretty awesome. And I think we get this one shot in this one body (that's a whole different blog..) but let's not be held back by someone saying there's more money elsewhere, that we should follow their dream. Go. Do. Live. Love.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy, BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition