While I’ve always felt passionate about natural healing and medicine, I experienced a great deal of frustration and confusion when I first embarked on the plant medicine path.
At the time I had a very limited knowledge of what natural healing involved, however my desire to learn more was strong and felt somewhat like a calling.
I was immediately drawn to to studying naturopathy, it seemed like a well rounded and comprehensive approach to natural healing. So after several years of dabbling and exploring other career paths, I finally enrolled in an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy.
While some of the course content resonated with me, largely I felt uninspired by the teachers and delivery. Lacking the motivation to continue, I decided to withdraw from my studies. I enjoyed learning about the science of health and healing the body, however it felt like something crucial was missing.
Why were we only talking about healing the body?
Where was the heart and soul in this medicine?
Surely there was more to natural healing than what I was being taught.
What I soon discovered was that the current Western approach to healing and medicine was not for me. I felt a much stronger pull towards Eastern systems of healing such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Their energetic approach and holistic perspective on healing made far more sense to me.
However I still felt some level of disconnect when it came to the Eastern systems. I wanted to learn about the plants I could easily access and grow in Australia, mainly Western plants. Surely there was something underlying these two Eastern systems that was also relevant to healing in the West. I remember searching for a Western energetic model of medicine, however after much searching and little to show for it, I finally gave up frustrated.
By that point I had a fairly good understanding that herbal medicine and flower essence therapy were my main interests, so decided to continue my studies in these areas.
It was through this continued study I was slowly introduced to the concept of vitalism and the vital force.
While it was something briefly mentioned in my naturopathy course, its importance in the process of natural healing was completely overlooked.
The more I learnt about vitalism, the more connected I felt to what I was learning. Finally the light came on. This was the information I had been searching for, the missing piece of the puzzle!
Vitalism is a philosophy that elegantly describes the essential nature of healing and life.
The vital force, also known as prana or chi, is essentially the life principle. This force is found throughout nature anywhere that life exists. It is a flowing, life-affirming energy that animates our bodies and affects all aspects of our life. It influences our level of energy, the state of our health and wellbeing, as well as our ability to engage with and feel satisfied by our lives.
The vital force is an expression of our highest self or spirit. Its state is dependent on whether we are living in integrity with the truth of our souls. Acting out of alignment with our truth results in blocks and stagnation of the vital force. This is the reason why you often feel drained while doing something you truthfully don’t want to be doing, and energised by the things you love.
To experience greater ease in healing, it is important to move into an aligned state in order to restore and strengthen the vital force.
A few of the ways you can create greater alignment and a healthy flow of vital energy are:
- Deep rest and restorative practices
- Nourishing your body with organic and nutrient rich foods
- Working with plant medicine – my favourites are herbal medicine and flower essence therapy!
- Adequate time connecting with the natural world
- Engaging in joyful movement and bodywork practices – I love dancing, bush walking and massage
- Energy-based visualisation and meditation
- Making choices and taking action based on what feels right and true to you
- Following the callings of your soul and exploring your purpose
I truly believe restoring and strengthening the vital force holds the key to unlocking our highest potential in health and life.
The vitalist philosophy has greatly influenced my approach to healing as well as my offerings as a healer and coach. The above list highlights some of the focus areas I often explore with my clients. They have also been crucial components in supporting me to create greater levels of wellbeing, energy, and joy in my own life.