Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Author: Michele Minehart (page 1 of 301)

The Healing Power of [Insert Modality or Company Here]

In my world of virtual (and real) friends, I have some who proclaim the wonders of essential oils. I have those who found healing in particular pro-biotics. There are a few who turn to herbs and even more that have changed lifestyles around ways of eating and experienced transformation. I’ve used all of these things in a season of my life – or even all of them in a given day – and have nothing negative to say about them. Use all of the things, I say.

I’m starting to wonder if effectiveness is not only in the science (and I do think there’s evidence to support any of them). I think the particular gift of any life-changing supplement lies in the gift of returning one’s personal power. We get to play a role in deciding the direction for our lives.

Listen to the stories of the believers (even my own testimonials) and you hear the undertones: “I had tried everything.” “I spent millions of dollars visiting all of the doctors.” “I couldn’t even get out of bed in the morning, but now I have the energy of a thousand racehorses.” Finally, something worked, and that magic sparked a belief in a new power at their fingertips.

I’ll maintain that it is partially about the product. These are not placebos. But if you’re wondering why your FB friends won’t just get over the magical snake oils already, the reason is partially their regained health and a whole lot of they reasserted their own power to decide. They’re no longer victims to this fallen, eczema-induced world, but co-conspirators to its transformation. I’ve noticed that the most financially successful products are the ones that remind people they can also earn a living while helping sound the bell for other people to regain their freedom. (This isn’t a bad thing. The world needs more free people.)

We feel powerlessness in our bodies. Illnesses that won’t go away. Babies that won’t stop crying or start sleeping (God, save us all). We feel hostage to our thoughts that won’t subside and havoc-wrecking habits. When you feel rotten, the powerlessness is nearly as overwhelming as the expressing symptoms. (Ahem, grief. I’m looking at you, October.)  Modalities that say, “hey, you have a choice” have the the double-positive effect of not just easing symptoms but reminding us of our voice. We’re no longer dependent on someone else to give us what we need*.

As the body, so the soul. 

What if our issues aren’t just skin deep? Maybe it’s actually reversed. Perhaps we feel so powerless in our life that it begins seeping out of our skin. Treatments, products, even yoga practices – they help our illnesses and they restore the soul because, Oh yeah!That’s right, I’m not a puppet in someone else’s play.

This, my friends, is the power of faith. I wonder if this might be what is behind Jesus’ repeated words, “Your faith has healed you.” I have to wonder about his tone of voice. Did he say it with an air of “do you see what you just did there?”

Like my oils and herbs, I’m not about to erase the power of God in these healing stories. Yet, I’ve been reading the gospels with this lens,  and I have to pause. When looking at people living in political- and religious-induced victim situations, Jesus gives them courage to assert their power, without demanding  they necessarily upend the entire structure of society. I hear his words in his most famous sermon telling people that when someone punches them in the face, they have the power to turn the other cheek, and with it challenge the character of the man who strikes him. When forced by political oppressors to carry the luggage, they have the volition to keep going, which would bring about reprimand for the soldier who issued the mandate.

There’s something about Jesus and the way he reminds people of their worth and their own intrinsic, given-by-the-act-of-being-born power. He seems to tell them Your response is your birthright. No one can take that away.

We don’t get to choose many of our circumstances. We don’t get to choose other people’s behavior. Certain institutional structures seem to be out of reach. But we do have our response. Even choosing not to respond is a choice we get to make.

And if you really want to exert your power, love anyways.

 

 

*Unless we become dependent on a product or practice. Then we mistakenly hand over our power again. Don’t do that.

Visit me elsewhere:

For You or Against You

In the weeks preceding her surgeries, I made several visits to see Vanessa. I’ve stored up these conversations as “treasures in my heart” as Mary did with the wise words Gabriel shared. Much like Mary, I had no idea how or when I would lean into them, I only recognized them as valuable.

One time, she shared with me how she had reacted when others didn’t see (as clearly as she did) the depth and breadth of talent hidden in her daughter. There was a play, and auditions, and significant disappointment. She shared with me that she was angry, as any parent is on behalf of a beloved. Then, she told me the lesson she took away from the experience. She began to see things with a larger view. “That director didn’t wake up that morning thinking, ‘how can I make the Barrett household miserable today’ she was only doing her job to put together the best production possible.” Vanessa said.

When faced with perceived or real unfairness and injustice, we tend to live as if everything is against us. That’s our natural reaction, perhaps simply a human one. And while it’s natural, it might not be helpful. Our perception of reality begins to shape our response, which actually has more power to change any given situation than shifting the responsibility to the rest of the world.

If you believe God, the Universe, and/or the rest of Humanity is for you, rather than against you, I promise you will experience the world and interpret its events in a dramatically different way. And you will respond to such powers and events with more grace. Similarly, if you choose to believe that this is all heading toward something good, you will see the ways in which the fabric of creation is also rooting on our fellow human, which is just as noble a cause.

You are more than welcome to believe that It Is All Against You. The world is at war with you. You are constantly fighting an uphill battle. Such posture will require you take up a sword and keep swinging. Take note, however, that constant charging may keep fellow “soldiers” a good distance away, avoiding friendly fire.

I’d welcome you to try out a stance of peacemaking. That it all works together for the good.  God is For You: this is a theme amplified through the First Testament. When Jesus starts citing the Blessed Are The’s, he puts his voice behind the idea that your situation is not an indicator that God has forgotten you or left you behind. In fact, he says, in any situation there is opportunity to feel the closeness of God.

Of course, God and the Universe on your side doesn’t imply finding the 4 bedroom house on 5 acres in the country with a brand new kitchen, and in your price range. The promise was never for perfection: just goodness. Siding with the Powers that Be simply means we will get what we need, yet not necessarily what we always want. It might even be helpful to remember that what we want may not be helpful for finding what we need.

I’ve come to integrate this very concept in my parenting. When they don’t like the direction I’m taking them, I’ll ask, “do you believe that mommy is on your side? Do you believe that mommy wants good things for you?” Yes, they answer, because they know my love. What they’re experiencing might not be their preference, but they can trust that I have an end goal in mind that is headed toward goodness.

So you can respond to Life in a myriad of ways. One is to keep fighting, hell-bent. The other is to see with a view that is more heaven-ward. We tend to find what we’re looking for, so if you want evidence of goodness, then you need to first start seeking it.

Visit me elsewhere:

Optimism and Other Lies

I recognize I can come across a bit too Pollyanna for some folk. Someone remarked recently, “I love your optimism!” and while I appreciated the sentiment, I doubted it’s truth. I can understand why people might interpret my attitude as Glass Half Full, but it’s not entirely accurate.

I completely see, feel, and understand the ways in which the world is terrible. The friends fighting brain cancer and the storms decimating innocent people’s homes. The systemic way in which all people aren’t valued in the same way. There’s no way you can put this world in a prom dress and declare it’s fine, just fine. It’s not.

The pretense of a rosy world shattered, if in no other way, than how I continue to experience October. What people might smell in my attitude isn’t optimism – that everything is good if you just look at it the right way. Some things are terrible and they suck and it’s okay to name it that way.

What I am, however, is hopeful.

I believe this whole thing is headed in a particular direction, a place with goodness as a baseline. (And actually, I believe that about our starting point as well.) What we have here, among us, is a kitchen in the middle of making the salsa. A mess. A sink full of dishes, splatters on the wall and my shirt, with scraps of vegetables attracting the fruit flies. This is the creation process. There is a deliciousness in our midst; we can smell it. We can see evidence of it around us. And it’s not yet. We’re still shuffling bowls of tomato cores and getting jalapeno seeds too close to our eyes. The scent of what is to come permeates our present atmosphere to the point we can nearly taste it. And still we wait for things to cook down and become as they should be.

That is the underlying Hebrew tone of the word hope: To wait.

Optimism brushes off the negative, the part of the glass that is empty. Hope endures it. Hope takes it all in. Half is gone, half is full, and when it’s all consumed it’s going to be very, very good.

This is our work. We’re partnered in the work of creation, bringing about the reality we believe we’re headed toward. Not a passive, “It sure would be nice if…” waiting, but an active wait. In the words of Anne Lamott, it’s “planting trees for children whose grandparents were born yesterday.” Perhaps the literal trees, and maybe we’re also planting ideas into generations that we won’t be around to hear them repeat. In any case, the value doesn’t diminish.

So friends, when you hear me cheering for the good, have confidence that I’ve not forgotten the terrible. It’s here. And, I won’t let negativity bias win. It’s not an either/or question. This life is a Beautiful Struggle.

Optimism, pessimism, or realism? This isn’t an interesting conversation for me. My questions revolve around: Is this big  ol’ human experiment going somewhere? And if so, is it worth it?

Is the salsa worth the messy kitchen?

My answer, so far in this life, is undoubtedly yes. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

Visit me elsewhere:
Older posts

© 2017 Michele Minehart

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑