Women, Boundaries, and Autoimmune Disease

In the last few years my practice has taken a turn toward women's pelvic health. Specifically, I practice something called Holistic Pelvic Care (a la Tami Kent, who wrote "Wild Feminine", among other fantastic books), which is a form of pelvic floor physiotherapy that takes into account the energetic and emotional components of pelvic floor dysfunction, menstrual complaints, infertility, and more. In doing this work, I spend an awful lot of time hanging out with women's second chakras. Guess what happens at the level of the second chakra? BOUNDARIES! 

From a physiologic standpoint the area of the second chakra, which is essentially the pelvic region, our body is dealing on a very functional level with boundaries. We have the intestines running through the pelvis, where our body is determining whether the substances in the intestines are worthy of being absorbed, or need to be kept out of the bloodstream. Are there microorganisms that need to be kept out of the bloodstream? What needs to be made "mine" and what needs to remain "not mine?" Here we have the epicenter of "Me/ Not Me." 

One concept I bring to women's attention during our pelvic sessions is that we also have, here in the pelvis, a tremendous capacity for receiving (the uterus receives sperm and potentially an embryo, the bladder receives urine, the descending colon and rectum receive waste). We have a capacity for holding all of these things, and then we have an inherent wisdom to know the right timing for letting go. In all of these processes is, once again, the discernment of "Me/ Not Me." Beyond the very physical, this also happens on an energetic level, which is quite significant in the female system. Because we are built to grow and birth babies, our immune system must have the flexibility to accept a "foreign" body and support that little being until it is ready for the outside world. We are built to allow the presence of "not me". But we are also, sadly, trained by our culture to allow for the energetic presence/ burdens of "not me" and we carry a lot of "stuff" for other people. 

This morning a very old, dear friend sent this blog post to me: https://drfloriewild.com/2017/06/15/your-beautiful-sexy-boundaries/ , which thrilled me because this conversation needs to be spread like wildfire through our communities of women. I could fully relate to this author's experience of my complete and total inability to honour my own boundaries in my first marriage. My ex-husband would push and push and push and, for someone who had very weak boundaries to begin with, it didn't take long before I relented. Granted, I learned to fight being married to (and divorcing!) him, which helped me to gain a sense of what it felt like to really establish, hold, and honour my own boundaries. But at the end of it all, I think I could have learned to set my own boundaries in a far less dramatic way had I been exposed to this conversation 10 years ago. And what would our marriage have been like if I were able to stand up for myself in a more clear manner? 

In any case, our marriage hit the skids and things were nuts. I had completely lost myself and I remember standing in our kitchen, talking with my brilliant ND, Dr Dick Thom, and saying "if I stay I am going to become very sick with an autoimmune disease." I just knew that there was trouble brewing in my system. While I had no lab analysis to confirm this, I knew the voice of my intuition booming through, and she was not to be ignored. 

In the following months I continued to struggle to find my voice, to stand up for myself, to honour that wisdom within that was telling me to hold steady, to persist in the separation that we had both agreed to, and slowly, slowly I felt my system stabilize. However, it was not until almost a year later that I entered into my 2 year training in human energy systems when I was actually able to cement this understanding of just how hugely significant boundaries truly are for a woman's health physiology. My teacher, Lynda Caesara, helped our class through various exercises in "me/ not me" so many times that I finally gained a felt sense of where I end and other people's energies begin, and I started to actively heal. 

In these very difficult years of marriage, childbearing, divorce, and running a women's health natural medicine practice, I have gained tremendous appreciation for all that women take on, all that they endure, and the profound ways in which our bodies say "Enough!". For the lucky ones, something clicks early enough that they seek help before they develop full blown disease or dysfunction. But most of us are not that keen, not that lucky, or just don't know that we have healing to do. My guess, based on the experiences of my friends, colleagues, and most of all hundreds of patients, is that nearly every woman has some work to do around "me/ not me". 

In my practice I have found various homeopathic and herbal remedies, along with nutrient therapies, to help the physiologic process of re-establishing boundaries. And from a more energetic standpoint I find Holistic Pelvic Care to be tremendously helpful in helping women to gain a stronger connection to their pelvis and innate sense of connection to themselves and their own capacity to determine "me/not me". If you don't have access to these resources, my assignment for you is to practice the exercise that Dr. Florie Wild wrote about in her blog (linked above), check in with yourself, find your own voice, and spend some time clearing out the "stuff" you are carrying around (very likely in your pelvis) so that you can come back to a more distilled essence of who you came here to be.