Ommani Center Blog

The Power of a Symbol: Notre Dame on Fire

“What is not brought to consciousness comes to us as fate” ~Carl Jung

By now everyone has seen the images of flames leaping from the iconic cathedral of Notre Dame. Notre Dame is an extraordinary symbol of the Feminine, dedicated to the Divine Mother Mary.  The Catholic Church commissioned Notre Dame to be built in the 1100s, a cathedral like no other in the heart of France. France is known to be one of the energetic vortexes of Feminine energy in the world.  Given the concentration of Feminine energy, we can surmise that Notre Dame (translated ‘Our Lady’) was a container of the Sacred Feminine. And, she caught fire.

People around the world were horrified by the images of the cathedral on fire.  Both women and men had body reactions to the images on television. Many cried, as though they lost something personal, as firefighters attempted to quell the flames.  

I was actually in Notre Dame exactly one week before she burned.  As I contemplate the timing of my visit there I am certain this was not random. I believe there was a precision and a meaning to my being there in the context of my personal process.  As I have been reclaiming and healing my feminine self, my symbolic life has been deeply synchronistic.

I cannot help but think of the symbolic meaning behind this burning as many others have. It is time for us to integrate the Feminine into our lives and our relationship with ourselves and others to make our world whole again.  

We are living in times that require us to undergo deep transformation as well as deep cleansing of old, outworn, adapted patterns.  The Power Principle or Patriarchy has been the dominant energy in our world for nearly 5000 years. The Power Principle is defined by domination and ego where intimidation and fear are used to manipulate others to capitulate to its rules.  Anyone who behaves in this manner functions from the values of Patriarchy. The Power Principle is not love or heart-centered. It perpetuates fear and is narcissistic. It is exploitative. Those who adapt to these behaviors and normalize them, unknowingly participate in the perpetuation of this archetype.  Our corporations, including our corporate medical system, have been functioning from Patriarchal values. Our broken systems are a testament to how destructive these are.

At the heart of the Power Principle lies fear.  Fear is never aligned with truth. Large corporations based on the Power Principle have been exploiting the earth and its people to meet their narcissistic and materialistic agendas.   As a collective, we have lost a deep part of our Soul, which embodies the qualities of the Feminine Principle. Examples of these qualities are collaboration, process, relatedness, love, feeling, being, balance, healing, non-rational, subconscious, creative, supportive, community oriented, non-material centered values.  How many of us live from these patterns? Our corporate models certainly do not support these qualities. We are conditioned to sacrifice these in favor of progress and materialism and an exploitative and narcissistic approach to life is thus normalized. In fact we are rewarded for behaving this way. Many call the impact of these compromises, “moral injury”.  Our collective has accepted moral injury as the price we must pay for progress and for ‘getting ahead’ and for survival. As a society, we have sacrificed the qualities of the Feminine Principle for personal gain.

Individually, the damage caused by these compromises manifests in our bodies and our lives in addictive behaviors, heart disease, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and even cancer.  One of the gravest symptoms caused by this way of behaving is a loss of meaning. In fact, this is the core etiology beneath most of our illnesses today.

We cannot ignore the fact that the wood that formed the scaffolding and pews in Notre Dame was obtained during the height of the Inquisition, during the 1100s a time when the Feminine values such as healing and soul alignment were under attack, and millions of women and men were burned at the stake. It is a compelling thought to wonder if there is a message here about what has to be burned away and cleansed.  What needs to be transformed and reclaimed? The spire toppling can also be viewed symbolically as the fall of the Power Principle. It is certainly food for thought.

When viewed from this context, I feel an urgency for all of us to return to wholeness and healing.  As a society, we are guilty for having normalized the desire for power at all costs. We need a course correction to become whole.  When we ignore the urgency to become whole, we invoke catalysts to awaken us so we can heal and rebalance our way of being with the qualities of the Feminine Principle.  

I would suggest that the burning of the cathedral of Notre Dame is one such catalyst. When a symbol of this magnitude catches fire, I would suggest that it is a call from ‘Our Lady’, the Feminine Principle, to return to what is of integrity, wholeness, and truth.  It is time to return to the Feminine values listed above, a clarion call for Soul retrieval.

The Divine Mother has appeared hundreds of times around the world for the past many centuries.  A well- known example is in Lourdes, France.(1)  Many state She has offered the same message in all appearances, ‘live from peace and love’.  Living this message is very hard work as it requires us to sacrifice our adaptions to the Power Principle and follow our deepest instincts for self-alignment and truth.  This requires a release of our adaptations and a reorganization of the platform we live from. I believe this is not a sentimental or superficial message for peace and love, but one that requires a collective reevaluation of the values we are currently living from.  This will require us to integrate the qualities of the Feminine Principle, so we no longer suffer moral injury and have the courage to conscientiously object to our adaptions to the Power Principle.

When we behave in these ways to reclaim ourselves, we will be one step closer to living from peace and healthy love and reclaiming the Soul of the world.  As the rabbinic teachings of Tikkun Olam teach us, our daily acts of kindness behaved from the above mentioned qualities can actually repair our collective Soul which has been injured by our adaptive behaviors over time.  

If we heed the powerful symbolic meaning of ‘Our Lady’ burning, we can invoke a more meaningful and conscious way of behaving, which I believe would be a powerful process of rebuilding our collective consciousness to form a new and meaningful platform for living alongside the actual brick and mortar used to rebuild the body of the cathedral.

As I reclaim my own alignment with the Feminine Principle and reflect on the timing of my presence in Notre Dame before she burned, I am inspired to continue the difficult yet necessary process of reframing and reclaiming the Sacred Feminine in my life and work, to be a role model and to ‘hold the line’ for healthy and authentic relatedness.  

It is the deepest and most sacred place I can live from.

I invite you to join me and together, it will be possible to repair the Soul of the world.  

Links:

(1)https://www.lourdes-france.org/

©May 2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative

Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your

Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.

The Courage to be Ourselves

Do you ever wonder why it is so difficult to be who we truly are?  

The first half of life is the platform where we are more vulnerable to external imprints (including our family of origin) than our inner voice.  If our family values money, prestige, and fame this is what we are imprinted to achieve. All through history, society has placed great emphasis on external values like those.  Notoriety, money, fame, high-end living, all become seductive goals for our egos. But these values are superficial and impermanent. Once achieved, their novelty wanes and a deeper emptiness surfaces.  We don’t have to go far to see wealthy and famous celebrities reveal the lack of meaning in their lives. From experience, we can conclude that money and fame are superficial values that run only skin deep.

For the first 14 years of our life, we receive parental imprints, first from our mothers, then our fathers. After that, the magnetic pattern of family and ‘familiarity’ is internally laid and we begin the next stage of ego development towards young adulthood into midlife.  Our inner guidance system begins communicating with us through discomfort when we make choices from imprinted patterns that run contrary to what we feel is right for us, our Authentic Self. Our body feels this split. This can present as symptoms of agitation or feeling ‘out of sorts’, and also anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance or even general malaise and fatigue, and other physical symptoms.

During the first half of our life, we adapt to the world around us, first to our families, then our peers, and society at large.  When we are young, our very survival depends upon our ability to adapt. However, adaptations that keep us alive are different from the adaptations that we feel may be necessary to preserve our loyalty to family patterns. Family patterns that are not in alignment with what feels right for us, when obeyed, can actually rupture our alignment with our Authentic Self.  This can damage our self-esteem, over time. For example, a gifted artist, rather than pursuing a life of creative expression and financial simplicity, may adapt to a family’s expectations to become an engineer or a doctor as their family may value a professional career over art. If they don’t pursue their passion for art, the split between their true nature and their adapted choices, over time, may begin to present as symptoms of depression or anxiety.  The lack of meaning in their professional life is clearly due to their adaption to family values versus pursuing what they love. In compromising intrinsic values for externally imposed ones, the tension between the Authentic and adapted Self results in their symptoms. These can only be healed by creating a course correction to pursue their passion in favor of a career that does not feed their sense of meaning. This can often mean risking abandonment by their family whose values they are rejecting over intrinsic ones.  This choice requires courage. A course correction like this is common in midlife.

The courage to be who we are is essential for us to live from a place of meaning.  We must be prepared to disappoint others in our quest to follow our bliss, our inner guidance system, and to live authentically.  This is difficult for most. Embedded in disappointing others is our fear of being rejected and abandoned. These are core fears that drive many of our adaptations in childhood to begin with.  They arise again in mid-life when our inner voice begins to remind us to live authentically. At this juncture, we must choose self-alignment over adapted choices. This requires sustained and enduring courage as we must face and transform these core fears in order to align with our inner self.  Of course this involves risk of losing relationships, but it is a risk worth taking to live from a place of meaning. If not seized in midlife, this opportunity for course correction becomes more difficult over time.

Pursuing who we really are and living from our Authentic Self can even heal the previous damage done to our self-esteem while pursuing external values in favor of intrinsic ones. The courage to align with our true nature rewards us not only with meaning, but also with healing.  

It greatly helps to understand this context, absent in our culture, and engage our courage to be who we are.  I believe this is the only way to recover true meaning in our lives. It is the deepest Medicine needed for healing ourselves and others.  It is also the threshold we must cross in midlife to earn the ability to mentor others.

©Apr2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.

The Heroes of Change

We have not even to risk the adventure alone
for the heroes of all time have gone before us.
The labyrinth is thoroughly known …
we have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.

And where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.”

~ Joseph Campbell

Ever wonder why it is so hard to sustain change? For many, even thinking about change is difficult. But before any transformation can occur, the intention for change is needed. Change always precedes transformation and intent precedes change. Fear often arises when we intend change because change requires us to leave what is familiar. We often mistake familiarity for ‘belonging’. Our struggle then becomes one of choosing between familiarity (which we mistake for belonging) and transformation.

The root of familiarity is the Latin word familiaritatem which means intimacy or friendship. It is also the root of the word ‘family’. What is familiar carries the inertia of our history. Family is who we are imprinted to ‘belong’ to. This is where our behaviors and habits, likes and dislikes are imprinted. It is also where our conditioned self is born, supported, and reinforced. The thought of going against our conditioned or familial self causes us to feel guilty. It makes us feel like traitors in our family system.

At various thresholds in life, we feel a call from within to change or transform, to leave the familiar ways of being, to individuate (1) and align with our Authentic self, our True Nature. Since transformation is not valued or supported in our society, a majority of us ignore this call. It scares us to feel like we will undergo too great of a loss if we heed it. For example, if we are locked in an unhealthy relationship and feel this call, it is frightening to think of leaving the relationship to venture into unknown, unfamiliar territory. In extreme cases like abusive relationships, the abused partner often chooses to suffer abuse rather than leave the relationship due to their conditioning which is organized around unhealthy patterns. Many of these are imprinted from their family of origin, and leaving them feels like a betrayal of the family itself.

The call to transform always brings us to the threshold of the unknown, the unfamiliar. It is no wonder people seek familiarity. Who wants to not ‘belong’? But we must ask ourselves, ‘belong to what?’ The desire to belong sometimes blinds us from our individuality and leads us to the ‘herd’ or the collective, where we feel safer to continue as we are, with normalized behaviors. We mistake collective complacency with belonging. Over time, we may lose our individuality and connection with our True Nature in favor of the collective. In this way, we allow society to do our thinking and decision making. This is the grave price we pay when we ignore the call to transform.

It takes courage to leave the familiar and venture into the unknown. At certain stages of life, we must engage our courage so we can deepen and align with our True Nature, what Jung called the Self (2). This always requires leaving what is familiar. If we don’t, a kind of rot sets in. It can feel like a vacancy, an emptiness, or a deep loneliness of being. Most commonly in midlife, not heeding the call to transform (or individuate) can even beckon diseases of the body and mind as a manifestation of this ‘rot’. The familiar, at this stage of life, begins to harm us.

The ultimate harm of maintaining what is familiar is the loss of meaning. We live in a society where meaninglessness is felt in epidemic proportions. In fact, it is at the root of our mental and physical distress, and also the root of our collective Soul loss, which we all feel. This is also at the root of the epidemic of depression, anxiety, violence, and loneliness. It manifests in compensatory behaviors we normalize and glorify: goal orientation, rational thinking, materialism, consumerism, fame, notoriety and achieving social status to name a few. These are all persona based values which are impermanent and fleeting. The price we pay for valuing these is a disconnection from our feeling function in addition to relatedness, collaboration, love and a sense of belonging. Meaning can only be evoked from the latter list, and does not subscribe to any level of materiality or rationalism. In fact, around the midlife threshold, chasing the material, rational and the familiar begins to feel like a burden, inviting the rot of meaninglessness mentioned earlier.

I see the intent for change and transformation from what is familiar to unfamiliar as the ‘Hero’s Journey.’ For a majority of us, the familiar is unhealthy. It is no small feat to want health, to leave dysfunction behind and to work towards healing. We are called to make the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar in midlife. This requires immense courage and heroism to be willing to leave familiarity for the unknown, for a promise of health and healing. This departure requires courage because this indeed is an act of faith; the familiar no longer works for us yet the new is not yet in view. For those of you who have stepped onto this terrain, you know how frightening and humbling it can feel.

The choice to transform can begin with making small changes towards health. For example, choosing to make healthy substitutions in meals, dropping alcohol, adding exercise, getting in touch with acknowledging one’s grief or a readiness to be honest with oneself can be the starting point for transformation. These choices may seem insignificant, but they stir the soul. They begin to push the envelope of familiarity and open the door into uncharted territory. We are fortunate to be able to be guided by evidence that shows that choices like these promote health. Even one small choice towards change shifts the way our life has been organized up until that moment and activates the Hero within. Sometimes, the insight that awakens us to no longer settle for the status quo can also activate our Hero’s Journey. When we long for meaning, health, wholeness and for a deeper way to live, our soul hears us. Our initial intention may seem small, but opening this door takes us onto sacred and powerful ground.

I am honored to celebrate choices like these my patients make every day and feel privileged to hold space and encourage them on their path towards health. In my nearly three decades of medical practice, I have never seen anyone fail when these choices are made from a sincere desire to heal.

Even though transformation is a solitary yet sacred journey, once we step onto that platform we meet many others who become sources of support and encouragement along this path. They have already traversed the territory that is uncharted and frightening for us. Here, we find our individuated mentors, who support us forward onto our deeper platform in search of meaning.

We must say ‘yes’ to the inner call to transform, whenever it may arrive. The choice is ultimately ours to make, but the journey is both individual and collective. Every choice made with courage from the intent to heal inspires others to do the same. When we choose transformation, we bring value to this process, normalizing it rather than complacency. This begins to heal the state of Soul loss in our communities and society at large.

We must step on to this sacred path of transformation and individuate. Only then can we find authenticity and meaning in our lives.

I dedicate this article to my patients, my heroes of change, who inspire me every day in the sacred space of my practice with their courage to heal. Together, we add meaning to the Soul of the collective and also to the practice of Medicine which has tragically lost its way.

©Mar2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.

#HealingMeToo. The World Knows I’m a #MeToo. Now What?

#MeToo. At this moment in history, this is a symbol of coming out, speaking our truth after being sexually harassed and/or assaulted. The numbers (1) are staggering. After we are violated, sometimes repeatedly, we suffer in silence. We adapt to what was done to us, all the time knowing it was wrong and unjust, and it wounds us in ways that are difficult to heal. Living with a festering wound inside begins to erode our sense of self and it must be released for our healing to begin. Speaking our truth is the first step towards our healing. But who can we safely share this with?

Wounds like these have not had a safe container thus far for us to speak into. We have all been taught to adapt and endure the suffering visited upon us by the Power Principle.(2) We assume we are alone in our wounding, that no one else has suffered this way and that no one will listen to what we have been through. Furthermore, if we speak up, we fear we are putting ourselves at risk of losing our jobs, marriage, and relationships. We fear that people will judge and shun us. Who wants to be left alone and isolated by calling out their predators? So we carry these wounds which fester inside of us (sometimes) for decades. Our silence is an adaptation born from fear. We must remember that anytime we hold back our truth due to fear, we are in relationship to the Power Principle. The Power Principle is a pattern of behavior where the core modus is to take another’s power by fearing them into giving it over.

Over the past 5000 years, we have suffered at the hands of the Power Principle as a foundational operating pattern both individually and collectively. It has normalized its position in the world through fearing us into adapting. People who behave from this pattern silence their victims as they usually hold positions of hierarchical power in our personal or professional lives. Over millennia, we have normalized this pattern of behavior. As we fear retaliation from the Power Principle, we remain silent.

Many of us who have been sexually violated have also carried a level of shame that is related to being such a victim. Our shame further manipulates us into not speaking up. The collusion of our shame with the Power Principle has kept us adapted to predatory behaviors that, as a result, have gone unchecked. In fact, it has been normalized. This has further wounded our individual and collective psyche. Gaining insight into our core patterns as unhealthy can be elusive when they are normalized by society.

At one level, the #MeToo Movement has exposed this pattern. We can see from media reports that people we would never have suspected, have been victims of sexual assault and are speaking the truth about what they suffered. I too was a victim of such assaults over the course of my life. Once I came out with my story many years ago at The Women’s Center in Wisconsin, I felt a release of internal pressure, a kind of ‘lancing of the abscess’, of the wound that had festered inside me for decades. I will never forget that session. But once the truth was out, I had to embark on the task of reclaiming myself, of retrieving my power from this wound, and reorienting how I was taught and socialized to adapt. From that moment forward, I could no longer adapt in the old ways, which were the only ways I knew how. How was I to transform my familiar patterns? I became aware that they permeated my life and many of them were not healthy. They contaminated the lens through which I interacted with the world and myself. I had to begin the difficult process of reorienting the axis of my adaptations and learn how to create a new and unfamiliar, yet healthier, platform from which to live. This seemed like a monumental task, but it was worth embarking on to reclaim my intrinsic power.

This has been a lifelong journey for me and for patients I work with who also carry this wound. Initially, after coming out as a #MeToo, I wanted revenge, I wanted to retaliate, I looked for people I could align with, others who had suffered like I had, to justify my hatred and retaliation towards my predators. But over time, I realized that my reaction in these ways, although normal and justified, was not going to heal me. It would add to the wounding inside of me and further amplify what I was attempting to heal. It would be just as unhealthy as the Power Principle itself. I had to find ways to respond differently to my pain, to go deeper into my True Nature, to find the areas of disempowerment that I had lived with all my life and to bring consciousness to them in order to begin the slow and deep process of healing. I realized this was a form of spiritual practice that I needed to cultivate and be faithful to all the time.

As you can imagine, this is a multi-layered and multi-faceted process, which can only be done incrementally. What I found was a cluster of core wounds that existed deep within me. During my healing journey, on occasion, brushing up against the surface of one of the core wounds sent me reeling for days. I had to learn how to cultivate parts of myself that had never seen the light of consciousness. I discovered parts of myself that informed me about the level of worth that I felt I deserved. These were very disempowering and a result of my adaptations to the Power Principle over time. I discovered the lens through which I viewed myself was distorted due to my adaptations. I realized these distortions were created by how I was conditioned to comply with the behaviors that were expected of me. If I didn’t, I was punished. These had now become predatory parts of my own psyche over time.

These wounds are not unique to me. They are within all of us walking this Earth. They may land in us differently and each one of us reacts and responds differently to them. Our responses are influenced by how we were raised, conditioned, and imprinted; how we were socialized and influence how we relate to the external world and also ourselves.

My healing process went through the many stages of anger, grief, and acceptance and still does. Sometimes these stages occurred simultaneously. I find the grief part of the process to be the hardest. Just when I think I am through it, it spirals me back in, but now when I grieve, I find myself retrieving parts of myself that need nurturing and alignment. When the grief arrives after even a small amount of reclamation, it feels less intense and doesn’t last as long. To me, this feels like progress. It is powerful to do this work and through it, I have uncovered uncharted territory within myself, which has connected me more and more to my True Nature, my Authentic Self. As I have accepted the reality of what I have suffered, I have begun to repair and heal my relationship with myself. I am learning how to love myself and what self-compassion feels like. Being a Sensitive, (3) this is very difficult work. In addition, these are skills we were never taught. This is the healing we must begin after we speak our #MeToo truth.

The #MeToo level of truth telling is the tip of the iceberg. It takes great courage and boldness as well as support from others to speak it. It involves great risk, but knowing others have suffered in this way is empowering. Now we must also create a container for the healing these wounds on behalf of ourselves and others so we can use these as catalysts to heal the unhealthy patterns we adapt to and live from, that society normalizes. This is a powerful way to find meaning in this #MeToo suffering. If we do, the Power Principle will have no chance of staying alive in a collective that lives from their truth and is committed to the inner work of healing and transformation. Maybe the #MeToo Movement can be seen as a catalyst for us to transform the patterns of relating from and with the Power Principle and for us to lay it to rest in our lifetime.

Maybe we need to create a circle of #HealingMeToo as our next step to heal #MeToo. It may be the powerful next step on our individual and collective healing journey.

Links:

(1)https://www.rainn.org/statistics

(2)https://healthypsych.com/marion-woodman-pioneer-conscious-femininity-psychology/

(3)https://ommanicenter.com/are-you-a-sensitive/

 

©Feb2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.

 

Finding Meaning in the Midst of Chaos

Many feel disheartened and helpless with all the chaos that currently abounds. The world has drastically changed in our lifetime, and not for the better. Sometimes we feel we are in a downward spiral, with no bottom in sight. Sometimes there are glimmers of hope from acts of kindness that surprise and inspire us, but they are few and far between. In general, we find ourselves living in a world that is more violent, divided, separated, lonely, and meaningless than ever before. In the West, many feel like they are living on a ‘movie set’ rather than in real life. Cultural imprints abound from those that normalize traditions currently lacking deeper meaning, to those that influence our perceptions of reality through advertising and marketing. The absence of relatedness is at an all-time high.

This may all sound more negative than we would like to admit. We often deny what feels uncomfortable. Statements like, “It’s all good” negates how we really feel. At this time more than ever before, we need to assume an aerial view, a larger perspective, and begin to see the events of this time as physical eruptions of the collective shadow. It is finally emerging from hiding for all to see. Carl Jung said, “One does not get enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”. If we do not make this conscious, through denial or positive thinking, it will inevitably express itself through collective behaviors that wreak havoc on humanity and Earth itself. This is one way for us to understand this current time.

This being the case, how then do we take this to heart? How do we not get lost in negativity and hopelessness? For many of us, all we know how to do to counter the negative reality we are surrounded by is to focus on the positive and deny the true state of our world. This may palliate us for a while, but eventually, we have to face the whole truth of these times.

If we lack context, we lack meaning. The context in our society is too narrow for us to truly understand the meaning behind what we are living in. Throughout history, we have repeatedly seen how cultures that moved into chaos eventually emerged anew. Darkness always precedes the light. The period of Renaissance emerged from the plague. We can consider ourselves currently in a metaphorical plague, bereft of real meaning, merely witnessing violence from our living room couches on our television screens. We are not individually affected by the many tragedies underway, they have become mere soundbites that come and go like the wind. Another tragedy in many of our lives is the withering of our health, the epidemic of heart disease, cancer, morbid obesity, learning disorders, lack of connectedness, and lack of true feeling. We suffer from a level of ‘soul’ loss born of complacency, where Patriarchal values are been glorified and normalized at the cost of consciousness and relatedness. Complacency is not our friend. We must evaluate how we have arrived at a place where we feel utterly alienated and alone, even when we are among others. In fact, loneliness is at an all-time high in our Western world. If we want renewal, rebirth, a new more ascended, more conscious culture, we must engage our consciousness and intend a culture that we want to live in, one with depth, meaning, community, and relatedness.

In the field of traditional Medicine, we have normalized palliation and mistaken it for the cure. Palliation does not cure nor heal, it merely covers up symptoms. Symptoms which are covered and unexplored contain energy and clues to their cause. If we do not explore the deeper depths, not only can we not heal, we cannot grow in meaning and purpose. In other words, palliation prevents us from feeling symptoms, but symptoms themselves are embedded messages that go deeper than their physicality. When not attended to, understood or used as a catalyst for growth and meaning, their energy amplifies and grows bigger within our bodies like a keg under pressure. It eventually comes out sideways in the form of mental and spiritual disharmony and manifests in the symptoms of loneliness and disconnection felt by most. The basic law of thermodynamics applies here, “energy cannot be created or destroyed, it just changes form”. And as Jung so aptly stated, “What is not brought to consciousness, comes to us as fate”.

So it is time for us to do what is difficult, what we instinctively want to avoid, what we don’t want to face: our personal and collective shadow of which we are an integral part. For example, when we behave from a “me versus you”, or an “us versus them”, polarized and projective attitude, we make a significant contribution to both our personal disharmony and the collective shadow, which is manifesting now on the world stage.

As we pull back these projections and integrate them, aligning with the unity of all beings, we are able to feel more whole and make the contribution of our wholeness to the collective. All of our shadow patterns, when worked with consciously, can be integrated and transformed, leading to wholeness not just for us individually, but for others whom we encounter. We must lead by example and continue our courageous and difficult work of conscious participation in our own transformation.

We are living in an unprecedented time of potential change. Transformation involves the deconstruction of patterns prior to the reconstruction of new ones. In America today, we are perfectly poised for transformation. In fact, it is inevitable given the deconstruction of our current patterns that are underway. The condition we are in is merely a reflection of how we have adapted to a Patriarchal value system which has gone awry. The Power Principle which drives Patriarchy has to eventually fall away. Like a cancer, it is not sustainable. This is not a time for us to be complacent, but to awaken to owning our participation in these patterns, through either behaving in these ways or adapting to those who do.

Deep down, many of us value essentially the same things. We value love, meaning, peace, community, relatedness, and connection. Currently, we have more loneliness in our country than ever before. To heal this will require the conscious effort and participation by all of us. As we have disconnected with each other in favor of technology, we have alienated ourselves from basic ways of relating authentically to each other and created a different kind of communication pattern. This pattern has created a vacancy of shared energy, authentic relatedness, love, and resonance. This has resulted in a loss of Eros. A loss of Eros, in favor of transactions, results in loneliness, meaninglessness, and depression. This vacancy has infiltrated our cultural psyche. Let us not normalize this.

As we unravel the root causes of our collective illnesses, we can and must make ourselves accountable for their presence and awaken to living more consciously every day. We must serve what is authentic within rather than what is normalized through adaptation, and be willing to do the hard work of bringing the light of consciousness to our shadow behaviors. We must not act from our shadow but hold our negative impulses back, allow them to incubate within the alchemical vessel of our body/mind till they transform into something useful and meaningful. It takes courage, prayer, stillness, hard work, and the desire to go against the norm to do this; but every act of intentionality, be it incremental, brings a new birth within and adds to the transformation of the collective shadow. Even if we go this alone, this is no small feat. As William Stafford said, “Here is how to count the people who are ready to do right: one, one, one…..”

So we must begin today, in this hour, in this moment, because this moment is all we have, and thankfully, it is enough to create the change we deserve.

Sautéed Kale

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp amchur or dried mango powder available at any Indian grocery store - optional

Instructions

  1. Let the chopped garlic sit for 10 min to activate its carcinogenic properties. Add olive oil or ghee in a heated frying pan and add onion, garlic, and asafoetida and sauté on medium flame till the onion is translucent. Add kale and salt and stir with a pair of tongs till kale is coated with oil and all the ingredients have been incorporated. Sauté till the kale wilts and turns bright green. Cook for another 5 minutes and turn off heat. Add the dried mango powder, mix into the kale and serve as a side dish with any meal.

The Best Approach to Help Menopausal Symptoms and Reclaim Your Health

So many of my patients seek help through the treacherous territory of hormonal changes.  Hormonal changes which began around age 40 are now occurring in the third decade of a woman’s life.  

What is going on?

Researchers have shown that with today’s lifestyle, our cells are aging at warp speed.  The degenerative processes in our bodies far exceed regeneration. Growth hormone levels are at an all-time low and for the first time in 3 decades, our lifespan may actually be shorter than that of our parents.  As a matter of fact, it is predicted that American teenagers have about 30 to 40 years to live. They will be dead by midlife as their current cell age matches that of 40 to 50 year old. This is due to their unhealthy lifestyle choices.

No wonder women in their thirties are seemingly peri-menopausal, presenting with symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, increases in belly size, heavy periods, fatigue headaches, and mental fog.  What they are greeted with by traditional medicine is oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, uterine ablation or in extreme cases, a hysterectomy. But none of these treatments work. They merely manage symptoms without correcting imbalances in the body which will continue.  

Hormone imbalance occurs for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is a woman’s lifestyle – the food she eats (or doesn’t eat), the amount of exercise she gets, the health of her gut biome (the healthy bacteria in her gut – influenced by her diet and lifestyle), and how she handles stress.  These factors are equally important for men, whose collective testosterone levels have been declining for over two decades.

The ovaries produce three major hormones- estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  Estrogen and testosterone are produced continuously in premenopausal women, with estrogen peaking in the middle of her menstrual cycle, (around day 12 to 14 from the start of her period) just before she ovulates.  When she ovulates, her progesterone levels rise to balance the estrogen, awaiting fertilization and pregnancy. If she does not get pregnant soon after ovulation, the progesterone level falls and menses begins around day 28.  Over the past two decades, the frequency of ovulation has decreased dramatically in women, evidenced by the surge in infertility and the prevalence of estrogen dominance. This means women are producing estrogen without cyclic progesterone.  If chronically experienced, estrogen dominance results in a host of symptoms, both physical and mental, so its rising presence is an indicator of the endocrine system gone awry.

What has caused this to occur?

The endocrine system is a delicate web, with hundreds of interconnections between the gut, the nervous system, and almost every cell in the body.  When we eat unnatural foods, are exposed to environmental man-made toxins and hormone disruptors, use body care products that are not organic (petroleum based), drink from plastic containers, eat food treated with hormones and pesticides, ingest artificial sweeteners, and petroleum-based food colorings (among all the other detrimental lifestyle choices we’ve normalized), the delicate web of our endocrine system is disrupted.  The communication between our cells is distorted and the myriad of medical symptoms common in our society emerge.

Our pituitary gland, the master gland in our brain that regulates our endocrine system, stops working efficiently and growth hormone levels decline, precipitating leaky gut.  Our gut (1) is one cell thick and sewn together cell to cell by tight junctions.  These depend on growth hormone levels and the integrity of the 90 trillion bacteria in our gut which are the ‘brain’ of our body.  These bacteria regulate nearly all of our body’s functions, including influencing hormone balance and are very sensitive to what we eat and drink, as well as daily exercise and stress levels.  When growth hormone levels fall, not only does the gut get leaky because of tight junction malfunction, but the integrity of the gut biome (which is heavily impacted by the quality of our food)  is also compromised. When the gut leaks, inflammation abounds. This inflammation also impacts the brain. It makes the blood brain barrier leaky. This impacts clarity of thinking, mood, memory, and neurotransmitter levels.

Now imagine the scenario that I often see: a peri-menopausal woman whose hormones are out of balance with leaky gut, from which the majority of women suffer.  We can safely see that hormone replacement, uterine ablation, birth control, or a hysterectomy will not solve this.

Progesterone levels are greatly affected by stress, exercise, and the food we eat.  When we live a standard ‘American lifestyle,’ these levels fall, causing long term estrogen dominance.  This can cause hypertension, headaches, breast cysts, breast cancer, irritable bowel, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, weight gain, and fatigue.  Progesterone relaxes the gut, supporting the gut flora that produce 90% of the serotonin present in our body. When progesterone levels decline, our mood, the clarity of our thinking and our emotional body is greatly impacted.  

Most physicians who use bio-identical hormones in their practice, add natural estrogen to their patient’s regimens even if they do not have symptoms of estrogen withdrawal such as night sweats and hot flashes. This further aggravates estrogen dominance, loading transitioning vulnerable cells with too much estrogen, needlessly burdening the estrogen receptors in the breasts, the uterus, and the brain.  What I have found in my 30 years of medical practice is that ‘less is more’ when it comes to hormone balance. Maintaining an estrogen to progesterone ratio of 5 to 10 is what gives women the greatest sense of well-being and symptom relief during menopause. This is done by adding natural or bio-identical progesterone at a dose which provides this therapeutic ratio. Not supplementing with natural estrogen after menopause is a wise choice, unless menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes, night sweats, and body aches are intense. If indicated, a small dose of progesterone works well after menopause to maintain health and well-being, and can virtually eliminate most menopausal symptoms.  Hormone balancing requires regular evaluation of blood levels every four months to make sure that estrogen to progesterone levels are staying balanced. Stress or changes in lifestyle can affect hormones leading to estrogen dominance, so it is very important to have levels checked three to four times a year.

Diet is an essential part of this integrative medical framework and eating a balanced, organic, and primarily plant-based, high anti-oxidant diet with a broad-spectrum probiotic does more for hormone balancing than any other intervention.  Women in my medical practice who correct their diet and lifestyle have a much better response to hormone balancing than those who don’t. Furthermore, women whose diets are low in plants, have a higher rate of progesterone conversion to estrogen, furthering estrogen dominance.

Our bodies are designed to be healthy.  However, this health depends upon the choices we make.  Achieving optimal health is not a complicated or difficult goal.  It is a simple result of eating in alliance with nature, getting plenty of sleep, exercise, and maintaining work-life balance.  I call this self-care. Self-care requires consciousness. Without self-care, we become sick. With it, we can regain health, quickly and almost miraculously.  Even diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s are shown to be preventable and reversible through diet and lifestyle choices.

Think about it – no matter what state of health you are in, you can change it for the better through conscious choices.

And if you are a woman with symptoms of menopause, there is much you can do to improve your lifestyle and restore your microbiome, in addition to achieving a healthy hormone balance.

(1)https://ommanicenter.com/power-healthy-gut/

©Dec2018/Jun2015 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.

Nutritional Yeast

NUTRITIONAL YEAST

  • Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that is sold in stores in the form of flakes or a yellow powder.
  • It is a significant source of B-complex vitamins.
  • It contains all nine essential amino acids that humans must get from food.
  • One tablespoon contains 2 grams of protein.
  • One tablespoon contains 2-30% of the recommended daily intake of trace minerals such as zinc, selenium, manganese.
  • Exact nutritional values always vary with products, please read labels carefully.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – Dr. Kumar Insurance Status 2019

Dear Patient of The Ommani Center,

I am sending you this letter to inform you of some changes that are underway at The Ommani Center.  Early this Fall I became aware that Health Care mandates that begin on January 1, 2019 will make it nearly impossible for private practitioners in Primary Care to survive independently.  I had a difficult decision to make between closing The Ommani Center next year or going out of network to stay open and continue to provide the state of the art Integrative and Internal Medicine care that I have provided for the past 30 years, nearly 18 at The Ommani Center.  

As you all know our insurance system continues to financially squeeze patients and primary care physicians.  Their profit margin has relied on this practice for decades. More physicians are going out of network with their services and on January 1, 2019, an unprecedented number will leave most insurance plans.  After reviewing the charges for office visits in our area by both out of network physicians and alternative practitioners, I have arrived at a lower price point for my patients who I am committed to continuing to serve.  

I will be out of network for all insurance plans starting on January 1, 2019.  I will be able to accept payment by Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Savings Accounts, as well as direct pay.   For those of you who have out of network benefits, I would be happy to provide a diagnostic code for your office visit so you can submit your invoice and receive reimbursement for your office visit.  

With most of my patients seeing me face to face approximately three times per year, this would be affordable by most.  

In this manner, I can continue to provide excellent and heart felt care to my beloved patients and with your continued support, keep The Ommani Center open.

I/we are committed to serving our community with integrity to keep the Soul of Medicine alive in these changing times.

Please consider referring your friends and family for individualized, integrative and humanistic medical care that is state of the art and evidence based.  

As I have developed an evidence based protocol for bio-identical hormone balance that is time tested on tens of thousands of patients, I am excited to present this to a larger community of midlife men and women as a focus that The Ommani Center excels in.

My dream is to have The Ommani Center be the model for the future of health care.  We are already a learning center for conscious and healthy lifestyle where health, vitality and disease reversal is the norm.

I thank you for your continued love and support.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Rose Kumar M.D.

 

Eros As Medicine; A Solution For Our Collective Healing

“Eros reflects our capacity to love life, ourselves, and each other, and it values our ability to love. It provides the foundation that allows us to know and understand each other, to care about each other, and to experience compassion. The Jungian concept of Eros denotes personal relatedness, a keen interest in relationships, and a prevailing attitude that works for conciliation and reconciliation. Eros evokes self-integration, subjectivity, and the concern for individuals, and it is rooted in the material universe and the earthly feminine qualities, such as accepting, yielding, experiencing, and being receptive”.  ~Massimilla and Bud Harris (1)

After returning home to the U.S. after my two-week visit to India, I find myself still struggling with re-entry. A part of me is resisting my return here because I know I will have to adapt once again to the Patriarchal principle that infuses our society, where relatedness, compassion, yielding and openness are not commonly felt.  Being a person who has always followed the thread of the Feminine principle, where only creativity and relatedness provide comfort, even I must adapt to survive in the patriarchal culture of which I am a part.  I am struck by how deeply connected I felt to the greater community while in India, even though it is not my current home.  There, my past and current suffering, my feelings and my wounding all felt embraced and held by the collective. I felt this in the very air and dust around me.  My feelings of loneliness and aloneness, the daily companions which haunt me back home in the U.S., simply vanished.  I felt like my life was a part of a bigger container, shared by others in time and space.  It felt that what I said and felt was received and I always felt like I mattered. For the two weeks I was there, I felt safer in my surroundings than I have in years, and more grounded in myself.  I was startled by the experience of belonging despite being in that culture, surrounded by people I did not know.  I realize now, that I was in the presence of Eros, alive in India, where relatedness and receptivity is a core value that permeates everything. 

Many countries in Europe share this energy, though not as deeply.  Cultures that are rooted in community and have historically been through collective suffering are more aligned with the Feminine Principle or Eros as defined by Jung.  India, however, has an added spiritual depth and a mystical and transcendent way of being.  Many of the conversations I had in India with strangers were authentic, infused with a numinosity (2) I rarely feel back home.  The radiance of Eros permeated my experience while relating to others.  India is one of the oldest cultures in the world, infused with a love of community, life, food, color, beauty, and relatedness – all qualities of the Feminine principle and by extension, Eros.  Throughout her tumultuous and often brutal history, Eros has never been sacrificed.

As a Sensitive, I feel the energy of the environment I am in.   As I reflect on the stark contrast between a culture rooted in relatedness versus one that is not, I am struck by how I feel when I am there versus here.  My sad conclusion is that Eros is absent in the cultural fabric of America today. As we have adapted to the Patriarchal paradigm that pervades our society, consumerism (3) and individuality have taken center stage at the cost of relatedness. We are currently experiencing a separation from each other like never before.  The symptoms of this are expressed in the unprecedented level of anxiety, depression, and addiction among millions in our country.

I personally have noticed in my medical practice that relatedness among people has changed over the past few decades.  My patients tell me they struggle alone in their grief and suffering.  People who suffer deep losses find they are supported only briefly by people they consider dear, are expected to get over how they feel and get on with their lives.  As a result, they feel unsafe to share their feelings. If they are Sensitives, they are expected to shut down their feelings as no one is present to support them.  Aside from a paid therapist, they have few if any people to hold space for their suffering.  Grief has been a shared and sacred process since the beginning of time.  It is impossible to move through it alone.  When people suffer, they feel disoriented if they live in a society where feeling function and relatedness is not valued.  Often at the end of their rope, they arrive in the medical system searching for these qualities.  Here, their normal suffering is taken out of context and diagnosed as a ‘depressive disorder’.  Their grief, when amplified by their aloneness is not a pathology to be diagnosed, but rather a symptom of a collective illness that must be recognized and healed.

The majority of my patients are Sensitives (4).  They, like me, are sensory tuning forks and feel the energy of the environment they are a part of.  In fact, they absorb it.  If their environment is not heart centered, if Eros is missing, they do not feel safe.   Their lack of safety may manifest first as anxiety and if not understood, can morph into depression.  I can relate to how they feel. The energy of relatedness, love and compassion is vital for me to feel safe in my world. Maybe this is why I feel safe when I am in a country where Eros is alive. 

Sensitives often feel that there is something wrong with them when they are not able to adapt to belong.  Since they are not able to adapt to a lack of relatedness prevalent in Patriarchy, dominated by power, they feel alone and isolated.  Sensitives are frequently not understood by people who do not feel as they do.  In fact, they are commonly pathologized by the medical system when they express their deep feelings, and experience symptoms of anxiety and depression resulting from feeling alone and isolated. 

In patriarchal societies where the Power principle (5) dominates, the axis around which people organize their behavior is fear.  Carl Jung said, “Where love rules, there is no will to power; where power predominates, love is lacking.”  Power evokes fear, not love. Power is the pervading principle in our society today. It infuses our corporations, including our medical system, and is associated with what we value.  In fact, it is glorified.  Power is often projected on money and if a person has a lot of it, they are allotted more power.  In fact, they are glorified. Consumerism (6), a symptom of this projection and its offspring, techno-science has removed us even further from our humanity.  At its root, this is used to further perpetuate consumerism, which becomes the means to achieve more money, and thus, more power.  This becomes the goal that drives our adaptations in society, creating an endless loop, eroding our sense of self, and isolating us even further.  When this permeates the fabric of a culture, it is often normalized.  When patriarchy is present, Eros is banished.  When Eros is banished, we are separated from our true nature, our authentic selves.  This lies at the root of our personal and collective symptoms.

Fear is ever present in Medicine today.  Many fear going to their doctor.  They fear their symptoms, they fear their prognoses.  They fear their treatments and fear recurrences.  They feel victimized by fear and in this state, they delegate their power to expertise.  This does not lessen their fear.  In fact, it is amplified.  Now they have no control over their health or healing.  It is delegated to another, to prescription drugs and invasive procedures.  These are not designed to heal, but to cover symptoms and cut out disease.  We have normalized this paradigm with which Medicine treats, feeling small relative to the large and ‘powerful’ system which grinds forward, boasting profits at our expense.  Fear at the core of today’s medicine, permeates our experience and sabotages our power to heal.  Where once the physician was considered a teacher and healer, in today’s medical system she is no longer allowed to honor her sacred mission.  Healing and relatedness take more time than that allotted by administrators.  Their drive for money (7) has replaced the mission of medicine.  Fear has now replaced love.  This way of being is not only toxic for patients, but also for physicians who work within these systems.  Caroline Casey states, “Eros is how the Universe communicates with itself.”  Without it, we are merely living on the surface, cut off from feeling function and going through the motions, adapting to fear.  This is no different in corporate Medicine.  Eros is what is missing in Medicine today as it is in society at large.

If we live in a society such as ours, where Eros is banished, we adapt to the Power principle without even realizing it.  Adapted, like Pavlov’s dogs, we compromise our true nature for approval.  After decades of living this way, we lose sight of who we really are. As we age we must connect with the authentic ground of our Being. Those crossing the threshold of midlife feel a deeper, more authentic part of their being begin to rise to claim its place in their lives.  Jung called this the (authentic) Self.  In fact, in midlife, the tension between the authentic and adapted/false self can become so intense it is difficult for the body to contain it.  Anxiety as well as physical symptoms are not uncommon as this tension grows. If our culture had a context for transformation to align with Self, we could age with consciousness and live more authentically.  A culture which lacks Eros, lacks a context to transform.

I have come to realize through tremendous personal loss and suffering that the very ground of my being is and always has been rooted in Eros.  I believe this is true for all Sensitives. As a Sensitive, I rarely felt truly witnessed or validated by people around me. I was rewarded for my performance, not my intrinsic value.  Because I was aligned with Eros, I was ignored and dismissed. I experience this even today.  Many Sensitives share my feelings. As we cross our midlife threshold we must sacrifice our sense of worth, falsely erected through adaptation, to uncover our intrinsic worth and sacrifice our need for approval for internal alignment. 

As a country, from the top down, we are currently experiencing this on a larger scale.  As Sensitives, we can feel the amplified tension between the Power principle, where narcissism and disrespect are running amok, and the Feminine principle, where relatedness and collaboration are holding the line.  We are at a place in history, where what Jung called ‘third thing’ or the Transcendent Function (8) has the potential to emerge from the tension of these opposites.  My hope is that this third thing will birth a society with both healthy Masculine and Feminine qualities and bring Eros back to life. What this alchemical process will entail is anybody’s guess. 

Till then, Sensitives will continue to feel the lack of Eros and hence a lack of safety; yet we must not mistake this as a pathology or dis-order within us.  We are the tuning forks of society and as we hold the tension of the opposites, we must honor our sensitivity and our longing for the Feminine principle to prevail and embody our power to transform our current reality.    

©Nov 2018 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director of The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. Website: www.ommanicenter.com Author of Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife. 2011, 2014 Medial Press

Links:

(1)https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=into+the+heart+of+the+feminine

(2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numinous

(3)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327169379_The_weariness_of_the_hero_depression_and_the_self_in_a_civilization_in_transition_The_weariness_of_the_hero

(4)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327169379_The_weariness_of_the_hero_depression_and_the_self_in_a_civilization_in_transition_The_weariness_of_the_hero

(5)https://ommanicenter.com/becoming-real/

(6)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327169379_The_weariness_of_the_hero_depression_and_the_self_in_a_civilization_in_transition_The_weariness_of_the_hero

(7)https://ommanicenter.com/becoming-real/

(8)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpZc4f-uE64