Walkabout: In Search of a True Healingsam
A walkabout is sometimes defined as a journey without a fixed destination, a specific purpose, or a given length of time. In many native cultures, this is a rite of passage where a person goes out into the wilderness to discover their identity and purpose, and then returns home. The walkabout, in this context, is a journey of healing – rediscovering the link between mind, body, and spirit. It is a journey that can help us reclaim our health and well being.
How do we discover and maintain the consonance between our physical, spiritual, and emotional health — and our avocation in the world? In our culture, there is a distinct lack of ritual and rites of passage to help us to find our vision. We often see our bodies, these capricious physical shells, as the sum total of who we are, and the spirit as an afterthought, something to freshen up on the Sabbath. When we see ourselves as only a physical body, and we put our faith solely in the material world, it is difficult to accept that our physical ailments can often have an emotional and spiritual base. Probably, all dis-ease is rooted in the split between mind, body, and spirit. The paradox is that when we step outside the safe and the known, and venture deeply, purposefully, and wholeheartedly into the mystery — the wilderness — of true healing, we risk losing who we think we are. But if we’re lucky and paying attention, we gain a glimpse of our true self. At that point the possibility of genuine healing opens; that is, the invitation to the walkabout. It is up to us how and if we respond.
A man came to my office having a severe panic attack; he felt like he was going to literally die. Although I empathized with his plight, I welcomed this so-called panic attack. If I was a mainstream provider, I would have written him a prescription for a tranquilizer and had him admitted as an in-patient. But what was really happening was a spiritual emergence — the dawning of his walkabout. All the suppressed feelings and emotions he had been bottling up for years suddenly came up to the surface. This was a dying of the past and a birthing of new life. I gave him a homeopathic remedy, checked in with him frequently over the next 72 hours, and his family cared for him around the clock. At the end of this initial process, he realized that he had been traumatized years ago and was only now beginning to recognize this. Oddly enough, many of his chronic physical complaints had “miraculously” vanished. Although all of us would like birth and true healing to be painless and predictable, it rarely is. But the outcome, if we’re fortunate, is a beautiful and lovely creation and a return to wellness.
As a medical provider one is inclined to respond to the physical pathology, the boo-boo, but what genuinely ails many is a spiritual and emotional affliction disguised as an ailment. This does not mean that the physical problem should be ignored, but our attention needs to focus on healing the complete person: mind, body,
We tend to divide our experience of the world into compartments — for emotions, see a psychologist; for physical ailments, see a health care provider; and for spiritual matters, consult a minister. But our journey to healing is rarely segmented or discreet. Healing, the process of making whole, is more often than not like the journey of Odysseus: fraught with perils, death, destruction, illusion, and the disintegration of who we believe we are. This kind of healing is very much the Hero’s Journey. I am always humbled and amazed when I see someone undertake this endeavor.
A young man came to my office recently for a second opinion. He had terrible pains in his mid-section and was feeling despondent. He also had a prescription for Zoloft and Pepcid that another provider had given him after a twelve-minute office visit. Unfortunately, the provider hadn’t done any kind of real work-up to determine why he had the pain, or probed why he was depressed.
After I spoke with him for an hour and conducted a physical exam, the true answer was apparent: He was very homesick. He had spent $18,000.00 to go to a school program that he didn’t really like and he really wanted to do something else in life. I gave him a one-time homeopathic remedy, which helped to balance him, reduce his distress, and eliminate his terrible physical pain. With a clearer mind, he was able to see the heart of the problem: He needed to follow his own path and not that imposed by his family. The problem wasn’t the stomach pain or the depression. The key to his suffering was that he didn’t believe that he could be his own person and have a destiny apart from his family. What he really needed was a walkabout, a journey of personal discovery.
Life — and healing — at the surface, rarely appears straightforward; yet, I suspect, the very soul of healing is simple. We forget the fundamentals: Love will cure more than most pharmaceuticals, a caress and embrace will offer far more solace than a pill, a kiss on a skinned knee feels much better than iodine, and a kind word in an hour of need is priceless.
A walkabout can be done right at home. Although it would be grand to leave for an exotic destination, the journey to healing can begin here and now, without ever leaving home. It is as complex and as simple as breathing. It is being present and alert, watching and understanding yourself and your relationship to the world around you. It doesn’t require chanting, gurus, books, or ministers. T he real wisdom and answers lie within you. So today, step into a powerful journey – the discovery of self – your walkabout: the path to true healing.
About the Author:
Namaya is a writer and poet who has traveled extensively in the Islamic world, he live in Yemen in the mid-l970’s and Morocco from l981 to l983, and in Spain. He has continued to travel and explore Islamic influenced countries from Spain to Indonesia for the past thirty-five years. He is conversant in Classical/ Modern standard Arabic and Moroccan. He was a graduate instructor in Cross Cultural Communications at the College of New Rochelle. He is the author of poetry collections: Eros to Godhead, Vermont My Home, & GOD SEX POLITICS. He has published in: Townsend Letter, New England Journal of Homeopathy, Imprint, Let’s Live, Radical America, Men’s Web, Simply Living, Earthwise, Healing, Compassion Quarterly, Meridian, Advance for NP, Woodstock Times, Non Profit World, etc., In 2010 he spent a month traveling in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine. In September 2010 he read his poem “Yemen My Love” at a reception at the home of the Yemen Ambassador in Washington D.C. www.namayaproductions.com