At Global Community Communications Alliance (GCCA) we approach healing with the same community spirit as we approach everything else. Our healing team works primarily through the Soulistic Medical Institute (a supporting affiliate of GCCA), experiencing many opportunities to serve both community members and the public. While we use standard medicine when necessary and unavoidable, we prefer the more wholistic and soulistic methods of healing.
We have discovered that physical and psychospiritual healing has to do with a shift in the mind, in the thought processes of the individual. Thus we are actively seeking healing versus curing of illness—healing having to do with the whole person and curing, in contrast, which focuses on making the physical symptoms go away without consideration of psychospiritual, cultural, social, and environmental factors. We observe that too many doctors and the other facets of healthcare really aren’t in the ministry of healing; they are in the business of curing. For example, a surgeon can successfully remove a physical tumor , but not deal with the various factors that may have contributed to that tumor. Nor do most surgeons follow up by having the patient implement wholistic preventative and health-promoting practices. Neither do they deal with the emotions and mind of the individual, the thought processes of the individual that lead to so many decisions that affects one’s health. And, even if a doctor would want to be more wholistic, most insurance companies will pay for surgery but not for the additional health-promoting and preventative follow-up treatment.
Most of us who are community members in GCCA feel that we are in an accelerated process of healing and, whether accelerated or more gradual, healing can be very challenging, intense, and psychologically (as well as physically) painful. Though I see my entire life as a process of continued healing and unfolding into more expanded wholeness, I went through an extremely challenging period of a few years of intense healing, struggling with physical symptoms that were really scary and very uncomfortable and at times almost unbearably painful. In order for me to get through my physical condition and actually heal, I had to deal with lots of personal psychospiritual issues, at an accelerated pace if I was going to physically survive.
Though today I am no longer able to ride a bicycle many miles or hike up to fifteen miles a day, I can hike and walk up to four miles and swim lots of laps. Though my physical vehicle (body) won’t allow me to do as many activities as I enjoyed in the past, at 61 I realize that I am healthier than I have ever been in my entire life. In my “letting-go” of many of my attachments, I became free of a lot of mindal pressure that contributed to tremendous stress on my physical body and which culminated in a serious physical illness.
Being a product of the dominant culture’s fast and frantic pace, I was a person who moved quickly through life, experiencing much and living with many changes throughout my youth and adulthood. For decades I was on a fast-track in acquiring an undergraduate- and graduate-college education, exploring various religious practices, befriending many people of various walks of life, and raising three children while I worked with dedication (teaching up to one hundred and twenty-five students a day when I was in the public school system). For a time I lived with the challenge of being a single parent, managing the family, home, and profession, and, of course, at a maddeningly fast pace.
Though I was a deeply spiritual person, I was not deep enough, for I was in too much of a hurry getting things done, pursuing many personal agendas, and so on. When I finally slowed down enough to really listen to the call of the Spirit within me, I realized that if I did not stop racing around being a superwoman, I would go crazy. In that slowing down and quieting myself and listening to what I refer to as “the call of God, ” I was able to begin to allow certain doors to open that led to a series of events that ended up where I am today—living in a wonderful intentional community, having a lifestyle that is fulfilling and nourishing on all levels of being, and thriving in a highly meaningful avocation. It was not until I was living in an active intentional community, where my ideals could be practiced more fully in a life of wholeness and connection (rather than in compartments), that I really bega n the hard work of accelerated healing that, interestingly, seemed to me at the same time to be restful and playful.
So it was a wonderful thing that happened to me when, about twelve years ago, I was bed-ridden for more than three months. During that time my heart beat very slowly, and I could not even get up to walk to the bathroom. It seemed as if my heart was saying, “I am not going to beat any faster than this, and this is the way it is. So, get with this new program, lady!” I’m sure that there are some medical theories as to why my heart slowed down, but more important to me are the psychospiritual reasons. I had to be slowed down so that I could be very present to hear that small, quiet voice of God, which really isn’t very small at all. It can be quite loud if you are listening.
I needed to be forced to sit in a circle of quiet for a lot longer than five minutes, or twenty minutes, or a day. In that circle of quiet where I lived for those months, I became enlightened and aware of some unresolved issues, some incorrect perceptions, and some ego “stuff.” I also realized that I had been living for most of my life with deep, smoldering anger and resentment. And I thought I had gotten a handle on all of that when I was in my 30’s!
Believing that I am a person who has had a few past lives, it seemed that I had many lifetime chapters, many layers of experiences where I, as a woman on this Earth, had been broken and beaten down by oppressive and abusive people and circumstances, although, interestingly, I have not experienced oppression in this current life. In order for me to heal, my resentment and anger (no matter where it came from) had to be addressed and dispelled, or transformed into something productive and helpful. As I discovered, resentment is simply unexpressed anger and, if not appropriately and effectively expressed, anger can sit deep inside you and manifest in some sort of physical dis-ease, even coming through in a next life.
Because I lived in a community culture that encouraged deep reflection and inner work on transmuting incorrect and harmful thought- forms and patterns, and because I had the physical and emotional support of fellow community members, all those years ago I was able to “retreat” for more than three months within the community setting—i n my own bed—t o rest, reflect, process, release, and acquiesce. I began to heal and transform, and I continue to unfold more fully into my wholeness, outgrowing that which I no longer need in order to ever expand into a more loving, insightful, and wise person.
In the wonderful diversity of persons living in Global Community Communications Alliance, we are reminded daily that each one of us is undergoing an ongoing, personal, and unique healing process. We believe that in order for our planet to heal, a unity (not uniformity) needs to happen on a global level. But in order for us to begin to feel that union with others?that union of souls within our uniqueness and our diversity?we must realize that what we all have in common is our need to heal, and that healing is an ongoing process.
From the very beginning, our experiment in community has emphasized creating an environment that in every way supports healing and health. Beautiful homes and gardens, tasty organic food, clean water, fresh air, diverse and satisfying work, a strong connection with the natural world, time and tools for creativity, commitment to doing good for others, practicing clear communication, healthy diversion and recreation, a dynamic spiritual life, and a willingness to do the work necessary for healing to occur are important to us.
So far, the experiment begun in 1989 has borne many fruits of healing for community members, even though some of those community members have eventually passed on. And all along the beautiful healing journeys that we continue to experience, we are reminded by one of our Elders: “Want to be a healer? Then first heal yourself by becoming as a creek—always dynamic, flowing, moving, and cleansing.”
Niánn Emerson Chase is the co-founder of Global Community Communications Alliance—located in southern Arizona in the historic southwest towns of Tubac and Tumacácori. Global Community Communications Alliance is a church supporting a religious order and EcoVillage of 100+ international members living in community at the 165-acre Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage