What drives you to consult a doctor, therapist, or counsellor? Do you book an appointment when you’re sick, suffering, stressed, blocked, or faced with a conflict or problem you can’t solve? Do you book seeking a cure for your ills, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual?
Do you also consult when you are feeling well, seeking guidance on maintaining your health and wellbeing, investing in prevention?
If you practised as a medical doctor in China in centuries past, your clients would pay you a retainer all the while they were well and stop paying you if they got sick. Your job, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to maintain health and prevent sickness.
In today’s complex world, most of us need both cure and prevention at different times in our lives, but let’s not overlook a third perspective: enhancement.
“What kind of dreams do people consult you about?” a new acquaintance asked me this week, excited to hear about my work. It’s a question I’m often asked.
Most people consult me the first time because they’ve had a frightening or worrying dream or nightmare. They either Google or ask around and are led to me. They are driven by suffering – the bad dream, the worry about what it might mean – and seek cure for their distress. By the end of the session they understand how the dream relates to their waking life and receive the help and insight they seek.
Others consult me because they understand the potential their dreams offer to enhance their life experience beyond cure, beyond prevention, beyond even a general maintenance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. The payoff for regular dream work and dream alchemy is the sense of living a bigger life: more meaningful, more fulfilled, beyond previously perceived limitations. That’s what I mean by enhancement.
I went to my doctor a couple of months ago for a check up and discovered that my cholesterol levels are way too high. I was quite shocked: I thought I ate and exercised very healthily. Visions of cheese loomed. I love cheese. What if I have to give up cheese? My picture of myself as a healthy well person began to crumble. In place of the cheese, visions of an austere diet loomed. What price cure? What price prevention?
On the advice and recommendation of good friends, I consulted a naturopath, and discovered that the path to health, for me, is a more varied and exciting diet. Gone are the big lumps of lovely cheese, but in its place are all sorts of tasty goodies, a much more enticing platter of choices.
It turns out my cholesterol levels are probably genetic, more about the way my body manufactures cholesterol, so my task is to influence that manufacturing through different nutrition and give my still healthy heart the best of care. Enhancement? Priceless!
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