Sunday, March 13, 2011

Message to the people of Japan

I’ve been watching the news - while on holiday - of the natural disaster that struck your country. A catastrophe of a dimension that we haven’t seen for a long time. A catastrophe with implications that effect all life forms. 
Although I might be thousands of kilometers away I can feel the influence this calamaty has on me just through reading, listening, by absorbing the news. My mind tries to comprehend  what has happened and wonders what the implications might be in the future on all our lives. As an impact it will have, economically we are all interdependent so already looking from this angle changes will come our way. But there is more as microcosmos and macrocosmos are just a reflection of each other so will this inner shaking of the earth shake us all at the core of our being. I can feel already my body being much more in need of attention as it tries to absorb also on an unconscious level the impact of what happened. 
Japan might be more prone to these earthquakes - lying in the ring of fire - then we are in Belgium but disaster can strike anywhere. Unconsciously this disaster triggers in me questions about survival. Maybe questions is not the right word as my deeper unconscious self doesn’t think but acts on instinct and instinct is guided by my physiology and if one goes beyond the realm of matter by waves and frequencies. 
A quote from Albert Einstein comes to mind “The field is the sole governing agency of the particle.” The particle being matter, our physical body. It is but a quick link to the effects a natural disaster like in your country can have an impact on me directly. 
When the earthquake hit Haiti I already felt a big commotion within me and this was repeated after the floods in Australia and the quake in Christchurch, New Zealand. There have been many more that made me stand still, reflect and made me feel helpless.
Today I write to you as I don’t want to sit back anymore and be indifferent. As an osteopath and body-coach I have come to understand that major life changes, overload of input, emotions, trauma... have an enormous impact on our wellbeing. 
As human beings we have been gifted with a remarkable self healing mechanism. However the fine balance of this mechanism can become perturbed when we chronically challenge it or when it is over challenged, the latter being the case for you now in Japan. The threshold of this balance is unique for every person, but with a disaster of this kind where some of you have lost your whole family, your home, job, security,... I can’t imagine it leaves anybody untouched. 
In my body-coaching and osteopathy practice I see many people who have aches and pains, suffer from depression, burn-out etc just from trying to cope with daily life, work, relationships... The final straw is usually a big change like loss of a job, a loved one or a physical trauma. From that moment it is only downhill. 
Although these final straw moments are terrible and I don’t want to minimize them but what you are going through is of a level that well exceeds the stressors that most of my patients suffer. So therefore I can but predict - taking into account what I see on a daily basis - what this disaster can do to the human being.
Stress is the word used when our organism fails to respond to emotional or physical threats, whether actual or imagined. We experience the signs of stress on a cognitive, emotional, physical or behavioral level: Depression, moodiness, mindlessness, aches and pains, social withdrawal, procrastination, sleeping problems, short-temperedness, loss of focus, feeling of helplessness... 
All these and much more will set in with many of you in the aftermath of this natural disaster. In a time when you need to rebuild your life, when you need focus, insight, vision, you might have no access to those parts of the brain that are creating these due to the physiological stress response that has gone out of control, that has locked itself in a survival mode pattern and that thus runs you on automatic pilot. 
We experience this lock-down on a small scale when we touch something hot and we straightaway pull our hand back. This is a reflex mechanism and purely instinctive. We don’t think “oh that’s hot I need to pull my hand away” as it would be too late. The conscious mind is too slow in reacting to minimize the damage. The same reflex happens when we see a car speeding up in our direction we don’t think we act, we jump or start running fast to get out of the way. Luckily most of the times we go in and out of these survival mechanism moments. A big shock or trauma can impair this physiological stress response mechanism to return to it’s allostatic balance. When this system is compromised you don’t even know it. Slowly, but surely, the body will start showing signs of dis-ease: tiredness, being a bit more edgy, concentration problems, digestive problems... which can eventually lead to depression and burn-out.
However and this is the good news that I like to share with you. There are ways to help your body, your organism to cope better. I’m not saying that all problems will be gone. I’m not saying that there are miracle cures. Some people will need professional help and guidance. However we can do a lot ourselves. 
We can help ourselves by consciously partaking in our self-healing. We have lost this art but it’s time to bring it back.
The self-help tools I will share with you on this website are part of a 2 day workshop that I’ve started to give from the beginning of this year after having done some test runs late 2010. Most of these tools are not something I have come up with but that I have come across over the years and started to gather on my website so that people could take more control over their wellbeing after a treatment. It was my patients that asked what they could do to increase their resilience. It is also thanks to my patients feedback that I’m convinced that these tools work. It worked for them, it will work for you. These tools need  to be practiced on a daily basis but are not time consuming. These tools will give you access to your full potential and thus you will gain time when you apply them consistently.  These tools form part of what I call an elementary health care approach. Elementary as they go back to the basics of what being human is all about. Elementary as they are easy and straightforward. 
You are in need of all the help you can get. I might be just a man somewhere on this planet far away from the epicenter of this disaster but I feel with you and want to contribute and do my part to help. We are all one, we are a collective and it makes me uneasy not to do anything. Knowing, what I know from my experience as body-coach and osteopath about the stress response. From my personal research into solutions to bring back balance to an over challenged stress response. From seeing that a solution to bring back balance can be so easy to learn and apply. I know act.
I wanted already to react after the earthquake in Haiti. I didn’t because I wasn’t ready I didn’t have all the elements needed. It is only now that I can see clearly that although I might not have all the answers this information is what I can share with you. This can already make the difference for many of you.
I also recommend to the people of Haiti, Christchruch, Brisbane, war zones in fact to everyone start applying some if not all of these practices. You will see it will help you on many levels. It will help your wellbeing.
Consider this “80% of all illnesses are related to stress”, stress is the health problem number one our society faces today and that was already before this disaster struck. It is time that you and me, that we start taking measures to do something about this. it’s starts with information and that I’m giving you here. What I can’t do is to apply these tools for you. That you can only do for yourself as I only can do them for me. This is thus about you taking up the responsibility of your health again. To become the driver of your wellbeing and not the passenger and in a worst case scenario the victim of your own body that has displaced your mind. 
Spread the word. Spread the content of this website to all your friends and family. Start groups to share this information. Add exercises that you know that also offer help. 
Remember they need to be simple and straightforward they may not provoke more stress.  
Lets bring light on this planet, you, me, everyone, together as one big family that heals each other.
Be good to you.
Tom Meyers
The self-help tools you will find on the following website dedicated to people all around the world that have been affected by effects of stress and trauma:

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