by Dr Nikki Starr Noce, MD: I’m going to get vulnerable in this post…
I struggle most with surrendering and trusting in the process of life. As many of you know, I’ve lived many lives this lifetime and the adventure only continues with greater twists and challenges. Despite being optimistic and quite the dare devil when it comes to living life, I still worry.
But guess what?
It doesn’t serve me to worry. It lowers my vibration. It interferes with my inspiration to create. It prevents me from my fullest, wonderful expression. It blocks me from embodying my truest essence of love. Worrying prevents me from doing my job and truly living my life. It affects my level of happiness. Worrying is a party pooper.
But you know what else?
Everything I worry about never even happens. All the times I have worried, things worked out just fine. Better than fine actually. They always have. And the truth is, my heart knows they always will. Sure stresses arise, my mind goes a bit into worry mode, but up until now, everything has been just fine, extraordinary actually.
And guess what else?
Worrying is terrible for my health. Worrying is stressful on the body. It causes me to release cortisol, a hormone that not only causes weight gain, but is linked to cancer and disease in general. It ages the body, and my face too with those deep wrinkles between my eyes and the sagging of the corners of my mouth from frowning and contemplating. And it decreases my energy levels because so much is wasted on worrying.
Native Americans have a tradition called Inipi, sweat lodge—a four round ceremony. Symbolically it is the womb of the earth from which we have all come. What we eat from the earth is what our bodies becomes, and when we pass on we return to the earth.
During ceremony, the heat, the darkness, the drums, and singing push us to our limit so that we can unearth the darkness preventing us from living our fullest expression this lifetime. With each ceremony we release that which is ready to be healed, and we are reborn, filled with insight, perspective, and life anew.
Sweat lodge ceremonies reflect a healing wheel:
- going into our darkness to bring up that which is not serving us, that which we wish to heal
- leaving these parts behind in ceremony by giving them to the grandfathers, the stones
- receiving medicine—goodness, wisdom and inspiration to continue our life journey
- laying the foundation to embody this new existence in everyday, which takes practice
This past weekend, I did just that, and I left my worry with the wise grandfathers. Interestedly, during the third of fourth round of song and prayer, I began to feel energized, despited the scalding heat that has weakened me so many times before.
It was as if I could feel all of the goodness I was praying for enter my body, renewing, recharging, and refreshing my being. The final round was the gratitude round and this too filled me with such inspiration and love, I had shed every bit of worry in my existence. I left the sacred space with a huge smiled on my face, inspired to do a vision quest. I hope to do one this summer, and will share more about it if it aligns.
Life is a process. Self-awareness brings us back to our center. Despite having this amazingly healing experience, I still found my mind entering back into worry mode last night. But this time, I had the foundation of this recent ceremony to bring myself back to my heart and shift my perspective to realize that everything is going to be just fine. I remembered the heat of the grandfather stones and so I sent my worry back to them–back to the earth.
This is why I am so passionate about healing practices—the ancient ceremonies, traditions, such as yoga and meditation as well—they lay the foundation for all growth and self awareness. Because of our practices, we make progress towards living the amazing life we have always dreamed of.
The good news is you don’t have to go to through the suffering of a sweat lodge to learn lessons, though of course I recommend it. I’ve experienced countless ceremonies and healing modalities and I’d love to share these wisdoms with you in an easy to understand and easy to implement way.