Listen to Your Body: What is Your Throat-Trouble Telling YOU?
I love to listen to the celebrity “sleaze” on my way home from the gym in the morning. In fact, my two favorite radio stations do their versions at perfectly staggered times, so if the DJs are on schedule, I can catch one report right after the other.
The troubles of others do not amuse me, and unless they are present in someone I am helping, I actually go out of my way to avoid hearing about them. I watch the morning news only long enough to obtain the weather forecast (which, considering that it often changes moment-to-moment here in the Ohio Valley, makes this sort of ridiculous), and to get a quick overview of what is occurring in my community. Sometimes I don’t even watch the news; I simply turn to the correct radio station at 5:00 A.M. on my way to work out, and if they begin the day’s stories with “Another murder happened in—,” I change the station.
But I will take the long way home to give myself more time to catch the celeb dirt. It’s not a guilty pleasure, nor a chance to privately put aside the happy healer’s “persona” and take glee in the woes of others; rather, it’s a challenge. A game of skill and logic so addicting that it may as well have been created solely to entice those intrigued by the human condition. And if I do happen to chuckle at the antics of some of those folks, well, laughter is good for the soul, and really, sometimes you just can’t help it. It’s nice of those reality TV personalities to create so much drama in order that the rest of us may receive our daily dose of healthy humor.
A few months ago, the celebrity topic du jour on both stations was the health-crisis of a popular singer and guitarist of whom most of you probably know. This person is famous for more than his voice, however; his eventful dating life and partying ways have also fired up the tabloids a time or twenty.
And now he was having throat problems. Such severe throat-problems, in point of fact, that he could not sing, and his career was in jeopardy.
I was in energy-healer’s heaven.
In my line of work, there are no victims. Our experiences, and especially our illnesses, all have something to teach us, and in many cases, health and wellness are reestablished once we figure out—and embrace—what that something is.
I used to get sore throats all the time. All the time. And it never stayed a simple sore throat. Oh, no. For me, sore throat became tonsil-ballooning inflammation became strep throat, or, more likely, sinus infection. This happened so often that I knew the symptom progression like I knew the sun would rise in the morning. And knowing this, the second the sore throat showed up, I started on the hated family home-remedy—gargling with warm salt water and apple-cider vinegar. It’s as awful as it sounds, by the way. And it never worked. Ever. I simply did it because that’s what Mom and Grandma always did, and I figured it was my fault when I—as I always did—wound up in Urgent Care being proscribed an antibiotic. It wasn’t that I believed there was something wrong with the remedy, but that there was something wrong with me. I didn’t deserve to get well so easily. And so I didn’t.
Much, much later, after I was done with the antibiotic, after the sore throat finally went away and my forehead ceased feeling like someone was inflating a monster-truck tire inside my skull, came the coughing. Weeks would turn into months of persistent hacking, and back to the doctor I would go, this time for codeine. Three months later, I’d be all better, and just in time to “come down” with the ailment once more.
I lived in fear of sore throats.
I remember the first time I approached the ailment from a healer’s perspective, how frightened I was that it might not work, and that I was only delaying the inevitable. I think I was less afraid of the unpleasantness of being sick than I was that my leap of faith would land me not smiling and triumphant in a new and beautiful spiritual paradigm, but facedown in reality’s miserable ditch with a mouth full of crow. If this didn’t work, all I had learned—all I had claimed to believe—would be proven worthless. The doubters and skeptics that told me I was “crazy,” that “energy-work” was woo-woo and illness was something that happened because of genetics and germs and mutating cells and nothing else, would be right.
If this didn’t work, there was a lot more at stake than another trip to Urgent Care and three months of being the annoying person coughing in the cube next to you. This was fork in the road.
And guess what? It’s been years since that day, and I can’t recall the last time I was ill. Same for my husband.
So what does a sore throat mean? There are many different interpretations, as there are different kinds of sore throats and symptom progressions, and the individual himself must be taken into account. Still, some generalization is possible. In the case of my sinus-infections, for example, they almost always tended to manifest when I had been ruminating over a situation I had perceived as being unfair and was holding back angry words. I was upset with a particular person, or with a situation in which I had found myself, but felt powerless to stand up for myself and speak my mind. I felt victimized. And all of that vitriol would build up in my throat, from which our will and our words originate, and rather than have to mentally reconcile not saying what I really wanted, my body helpfully closed my throat and prevented me from speaking at all.
And this was just the type of ailment I created out of anger. Our throat is also linked to the vitality of our creative life, and as the kind of person who is on a first-name basis with the employees at all the local craft stores, and who always has an art project or ten in the works in at least two rooms in the house at any given time, anything that threw a wrench into my creative works was liable to produce a throat-issue. Our bodies always want to help.
Now back to our musician.
When we speak falsehoods, hiding the truth of Who We Are, or when we use our words to wound or deceive others, this dishonest behavior can return to choke us, and it often returns to the place from which it came—the throat. It would be tempting to cast stones immediately, to say that his body and soul have finally become so saturated with the kind of lower-vibration energy that this behavior creates that the effects are beginning to manifest in a visible, visceral way. In other words, the way in which he conducts his social life has come back to bite him. You may recognize this as the proverbial “Karma” situation. But while this is certainly a possibility, it is not the only option. The throat also concerns judgment, and every time we judge others as unworthy, every time we criticize, the harm we are doing our own spirit in the process registers in our throat. And perhaps this isn’t even about the way in which this person treats others; perhaps it is actually a reflection of the way he has judged himself. Someone who makes their living with their voice and suddenly is unable to do so may also be expressing judgmental feelings about themselves. They feel unworthy of their success, and so their body creates a way to keep them from succeeding further.
An inability to sing might also manifest because one is tired of being in the music business, but does not know how to make a clean exit. This way, he has no choice but to quit, which is what he really wants. Here, as is frequently the case with illness, a throat-ailment provides a socially acceptable way of doing something he does not feel good enough about himself to do otherwise.
It may be that he no longer wants to do the kind of music he has been doing, that he wants to write songs for a different genre, but doesn’t think anyone will accept the new way in which he wants to express himself. Again, when our creativity is stifled, the throat is where our body often stages its first protest.
There are dozens and dozens of possible interpretations, but in all cases, the key question is the same: What service does your body think it is doing you by creating this condition? If you were suddenly unable to speak—or in this case, to do your job, how would this give you permission to do something? Does it allow you to “give up” without looking like you are doing so? Does it give you a badly needed rest? Does it prevent you from having to be strong enough to say what you need to say?
This musician, according to the tabloids (which are, of course, absolutely credible), believes that someone has cursed him, or that Karma is loudly expressing its annoyance with his behavior. The radio station DJs gleefully added that he is searching for someone to “remove the hex.” Now, he may indeed be the recipient of someone else’s ill intent, and this can create a physical ailment; only someone who works with energy would be able to repair this for him.
But before we look to others, we must look to ourselves. What are we doing that would create this? It’s far easier to be a victim, of a physical illness or the intent of others, but if the problem lies within, we are the only ones who can make it right.
When I first started approaching illness in this manner, even the slightest whiff of vinegar would send fear rocketing through my system, as the smell had become so closely tied with the experience of being ill and in pain. Nowadays, I am happy to report that Apple Cider Vinegar is excellent in salad dressings. And a particular recipe for black bean soup. What subtle joys are hidden behind your fears? What amazing new experiences are your worries about illness keeping you from having?
A new favorite recipe, a beautiful painting, those first fantastic, frenzied scrabblings of that book you’ve been dying to write, perhaps even new depth to a relationship in which so many important things have gone unsaid . . . Whatever the case, listen to your throat, and let it show you what you need to create a life of fulfillment and joy.