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Anita Sanchez's picture

The indigenous definition of medicine knows that human beings do not heal from being separated into parts and categories, as though that the ‘sick’ part can be cut out because it’s unconnected with the whole of who we are.

True medicines recognize and bring alignment to our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical selves, making us whole again. This medicine takes all of you as one being, all equally important and necessary to live and thrive.

So, drawing on indigenous knowledge of medicine, a way to heal is by reawakening your connection to nature, to people, and to the spirit of this home called Mother Earth. These heart connections are already inside of you; they just need some guidance to be freed. Here is a visualization to tap into your heart connections:

To begin, find a quiet spot (eventually you can do this in the noisiest surroundings).

First, take three cleansing breaths: Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, holding it slightly open. With each breath, you can feel the oxygen filling your lungs and heart.

Now imagine placing within your heart someone or something that fills you with joy, love, awe, and gratitude. It might be a baby giggling, a loved one, an adored pet or a beautiful wild animal, a stunning vista of the sea, the plains or mountains, an exquisite flower, or a glittering expanse of stars. Whatever it is, let that presence continue to fill you, embrace you, and feed your spirit.

Stay with this image, and these sensations, for at least thirty seconds. With practice, you can hold this image for minutes, hours, days, or longer.

As you imagine this person, loved one, or thing of nature, you may sense an opening or expansion of your heart, a feeling of joy and harmony that warms your spirit. That is your heart connection. It is your birthright, your delight, and your responsibility, and it is time to live it.

When you feel your heart connection deepen with practice, you can then add to your meditation. As you stay with the image and feelings of love and harmony, you begin to visualize and your connection to others.

Expand the circle of joy to include family, friends, pets, and all those you are close to. Breathe in and out as the circle grows to hold these dear beings.

As you practice more and feel ready, you can further enlarge your circle, during this meditation, to include people and beings that you don’t know, and eventually, to others you may find disagreeable. The intent is to recognize our oneness - that we are all in relation to one another and all are deserving of love and respect.

As you deepen your connection to others—people, earth, and spirit—you can experience this joy every day.  This is living in the spirit of indigenous wisdom. We are all connected, and our individual and collective health rely on that unity.

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