How I ran a full marathon without ever training for more than 3 miles

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Vaillant completes a full marathon

I am a big believer in the balance of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of us. Actually, each aspect is symbolized by one of the four elements. Fire for spiritual (really for the soul plane as spirit correlates to Ether or the 5th element), water for emotional, air for mental and earth for physical. Earth is the resultant of fire, water and air elements working together. The quality of our external physical manifestations is therefore directly connected to the quality of our intentions, feelings and thoughts. From my perspective, human beings true mission is to bring the truth of the higher spiritual spheres into our physical reality, hence to bring heaven on earth. Many of us deviate from this purpose as we listen to our ego rather than to our heart.   

A healthy mind in a healthy body

Many spiritual people deny or reject the physical dimension while it is the crucible of our spiritual achievements. This is why we say that actions speak louder than words. On the same token, Mens sana in corpore sano is a Latin phrase, usually translated as “a sound mind in a sound body”. The phrase is widely used in sporting and educational contexts to express the theory that physical exercise is an important or essential part of mental and psychological well-being. Emotional healing needs to go hand in hand with physical healing so I got inspired to get myself back in shape. I also wanted to make a statement for a cause that is close to my heart so I decided to sign up for my first full marathon in Salt Lake City.

As I was doing some online research on preparing for the marathon, I came across a video with Wim Hof, a Dutchman that ran a full marathon in shorts and sandals in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F) above the arctic circle in Finland. He is an adept of meditation and yoga. A lot of scientific studies have been conducted about him that proved his claims. In one of his videos, he said that “awakening is to be happy, strong, and healthy; the rest is BULLSHIT!” And I could not agree with him more. I subsequently read a book he co-authored with Koen De Jong “The way of the iceman”.

The Way of the Iceman

There is a lot of information online about it but basically the Wim Hof method is a combination of breathing exercises and cold training. I am a morning person and this is when I have the most energy. I decided to create my own routine built on these two principles. I would wake-up, put on some motivational workout music, do 3 series of abdominal crunch and push-ups. Then, I would start the Wim Hof breathing exercises that he actually learned from Tibetan Buddhism. I noticed that holding the breath is the part that kicks the primal brain that is responsible for survival and the immune system. While I could only hold my breath for 1 minute initially, I managed to hold it for 3 minutes a month later. Wim Hof is able to hold his breath for about 10 minutes. I noticed that after the third repetition of the breathing exercise, I felt strong and inspired to do anything. The first day I tried it, it was 6 am in Salt Lake City on March 14th under icy condition. I went out with a shirt and shorts. After 2 minutes running, I felt a sense of exhilaration and I took my shirt off and started running bare chest. I felt amazing and so alive. I ran 1.5 mile that first day. The rare people or drivers I came across may have wondered about this crazy guy running naked in freezing Salt Lake City Avenues. I came back home and took a shower, first warm to bring back my body to normal temperature but ended with a cold shower. My torso was red due to the blood circulation but this is actually a healthy sign. Then I would meditate to connect to my heart and plan my day accordingly to live an inspired life. And it happened to be a good day so I got motivated to do it a second day. My body would actually wake me up naturally early, because it was getting already addicted to the high of feeling alive, typically associated with a dopamine or melatonin rush. I kept this strict routine for 7 days in a row. Then I hit a wall. I intuitively felt would get sick if I were to push harder so I took a break.

inner children in adults

As I mentioned in previous blogs, we are a multitude within ourselves. If we keep pushing while ignoring the internal parts of us that feel weak, depressed, worthless or unlovable, these parts will eventually rebel which may manifest in illness or accident. These so-called parts are actually very powerful as they are connected to the inner child, the seat of the soul. During the following week, I did a lot of meditation to listen to these hurt and tender parts of my being, which is commonly called inner child work, while giving my body a well-deserved rest. The adult and child selves within me starting to collaborate more effectively, and I created an inner child playlist mostly made to songs of my childhood. Moving forward, during my routine, I would play both playlists so all my inner children and adults could feel included into this process of getting back in shape. The inner adults bring discipline, knowledge, reason, toughness while the inner children bring enthusiasm, joy, kindness and connection to spirit. Once they start working together, true miracles are possible.

I have included my actual detailed jogging training. As you can see, it alternates cycles of training with periods of rest. And this routine takes relatively little time, 45 minutes at most.

jogging schedule

So I ran a total of 24 miles in total to train for the marathon (less than the marathon distance), never exceeding 3 miles on any given morning however all of these runs happened at low temperature (between 20 and 40 degree Fahrenheit) while running bare chest.

Wim Hof running half naked in winter

One of my training was rather funny and somewhat embarrassing. One of my friends invited me at his cabin in the mountain with over 10 feet of snow. While he started running with me, he quickly returned home. After my regular 20 minute running, I came back but for the life of me, I could not find my way home, as all cabins looked the same. I circled for a while but I was definitely lost. There was also no cell coverage so there is no one I could call. I had to find someone to help me out but the whole neighborhood was empty. There was so much snow that to access any cabin, I would have to plunge into 2 feet of fresh snow well above my knees. There was no street access to the cabins, and most residents there have a snowmobile. There was a small sense of panic but somehow my primal brain had already kicked in due to my new routine and I felt relatively calm and confident. After a few unsuccessful tries, I managed to locate a cabin with people inside. They were definitely surprised to find a naked man asking for hospitality but they were very gracious about it. I called my friend using the WIFI of my unexpected hosts. My friend did not even know his exact address, only the street name as all numbers were covered in snow. I got a map of the residential neighborhood from my new host, and started running again to my friend’s cabin. But after another 25 minutes running in the cold, I still could not find him as it was a rather long street and all cabins looked the same so I had no another choice to return again to my kind hosts. This time, I asked my friend to stay in the street and my compassionate host drove me this time with his snowmobile. And I arrived safely to my friend’s cabin. I was not at all shaken from that experience. We simply laughed, I took a hot shower and then snowboarded the whole day after that. No unnecessary energy had been wasted in fear.

It had snowed the day prior to the Salt Lake City marathon on April 13th. I went to the start a race with shorts and a custom shirt I had designed for my cause, which was now holding my bib. My cold training proved to be very convenient as most runners start the race with lots of layers that they probably had to remove later as it got warmer. I started the race slowly, understanding that I would need the endurance to run approximately 5 hours. I would only play meditation music the first two hours, keeping my workout and inner child playlist for the second part of the race to give me the necessary boosts as things got tougher.

Vaillant running a marathon

My cardio and my spirit felt great however after only one hour, I felt that my legs were heavy and that my kidneys were strained. I had not trained my legs enough so they would realistically be my limiting factor. After 3 hours, my legs and feet were hurting a lot and I used my playlists to kick in my primal brain. This is a form of NLP technique as the music can now be used to trigger the state. I was then running on heart and will alone. I ran one more hour this way until I reach mile 20. Then my legs abandoned me. I became simply incapable of running so I switched to walking. Walking seemed easy at first as it used different leg muscles, and I found out that I could walk relatively fast. The last two miles were however excruciating and I started limping. I had thoughts of giving up but I could not do it now so close from the finish line. And I finally did cross it after almost 6 hours!

Vaillant slowly decomposing when running a full marathon

I called my friend Branson and he picked me up. But little did I realize that I had only won half the battle. Recovering from this grueling effort was next. I had to crawl to get to my bedroom as I was incapable of walking anymore. There, I laid on my bed completely disabled so I called Christian to bring me bananas and water. I just did not have enough energy to have a regular meal. For the next 20 hours, I just alternated between sleep and waking time where I would listen an audio program to distract myself. My energy was even too weak to watch a movie on my phone. The hardest part was to crawl to the bathroom to urinate as I had to drink lots of water to support my kidneys’ healing. It was like being sick. The second day of recovery was a bit better. I still could not leave my bed but I could binge on watching movies, and got myself a real meal. During that recovery time, I use a lot of my awareness to be fully present to my body in order to speed up the healing, no matter how much it hurt. The following Monday, my mind was alert and could do some work on the computer though I was limping pretty badly but at least I was mobile again. Tuesday, I was able to go out at night with friends. I gave ample rest to my body during these days, keeping an easy schedule. On Thursday night, I was scheduled to play a tennis league match against the best team of the league, which had won the nationals last year. I had recovered just in time. Just before the match, I did the breathing exercises taught by Wim Hof which I had not done since the marathon. It kicked back my primal brain. I was calm, and determined to win. As expected, I played against a much better player than me but I felt so strong mentally that I ended up winning 6/3 6/4. My opponent lost his composure, as he could not make sense of my resistance on the tennis court to what was supposed to be an easy win for him. I had an overwhelming desire to win while not facing any stress at all. All my teammates were impressed by my win as they were all severely defeated and we ended up losing 4 matches to 1. This single win was however determinant as it kept us on the second position of the league, keeping our chance to qualify for the district tournament.

Vaillant doing the 999 bike ride in Salt Lake City

But the night was not over. My friend Matt called me up and asked me to join him for the 999 ride in Salt Lake City. It is a weekly bike ride that happens at 9 AM at the corner of 900 S and 900 E. So I went biking with over 100 fun people in the streets of Salt Lake City on a beautiful full moon until midnight. I ended up also speaking with a homeless guy to try to help him out, and meet a bunch of interesting people. The night got cooler but I felt great all along. Even after I came home, I still had plenty of energy. Thank you Wim Hof. I can attest from my own personal experience that your stuff works!

However, just like every new information, it is important to make it your own. We need to experiment just as a scientist would do what works and does not work. We use our body sensations, feelings and emotions as our feedback mechanism and inner guidance system. While a teacher such as Wim Hof can provide valuable information and point us in the right direction, our progress lies first and foremost within ourselves. It takes personal discipline, curiosity, introspection, intelligence, proactivity and persistence.

What are you willing to experiment to create a higher quality of life?

French translation below – Article en Français ci-dessus

Voir la vidéo

Comment j’ai couru un marathon de 42 km sans jamais m’entraîner sur plus de 5 kilomètres

Je crois en l’équilibre des aspects physique, émotionnel, mental et spirituel à l’intérieur de nous. En réalité, chaque aspect est symbolisé par l’un des quatre éléments. Le feu pour le spirituel (je parle ici du plan de l’âme, car l’esprit est associé à l’Ether qui est le 5e élément dont les 4 éléments sont issus), l’eau pour l’émotionnel, l’air pour le mental et la terre pour le physique. La terre est la résultante de l’action des éléments feu, eau et air travaillant ensemble. La qualité de nos manifestations physiques externes est donc directement liée à la qualité de nos intentions, sentiments et pensées. De mon point de vue, la vraie mission de l’homme consiste à apporter la vérité des sphères spirituelles supérieures au sein de notre réalité physique, et donc à amener le paradis sur terre. Beaucoup d’entre nous s’écartent de ce but en écoutant leur ego plutôt que leur cœur.

De nombreuses personnes spirituelles nient ou rejettent la dimension physique alors que c’est le creuset de nos réalisations spirituelles. C’est pourquoi nous disons que les actions parlent plus fort que les mots. De même, « Mens sana in corpore sano » est une expression latine, généralement traduite par « Un esprit sain dans un corps sain ». Cette expression est largement utilisée dans les contextes sportif et éducatif pour exprimer la théorie selon laquelle l’exercice physique est un élément important ou essentiel du bien-être mental et psychologique. La guérison émotionnelle doit aller de pair avec la guérison physique, et cela m’a inspiré pour me remettre en forme. Je voulais aussi courir pour la cause de l’aliénation parentale, alors j’ai décidé de m’inscrire à mon premier marathon à Salt Lake City.

Alors que je faisais des recherches en ligne pour me préparer marathon, je suis tombé sur une vidéo de Wim Hof, un Hollandais qui a couru un marathon en short et sandales à des températures proches de -20 °C juste au-dessus du cercle arctique en Finlande. C’est un adepte de la méditation et du yoga. De nombreuses études scientifiques ont été menées à son sujet, qui ont prouvé la véracité de ses propos. Dans l’une de ses vidéos, il a déclaré que « S’éveiller, c’est être heureux, fort et en bonne santé ; le reste, ce ne sont que des bêtises ! ». Et je ne pouvais pas être plus d’accord avec lui. J’ai, par la suite, lu un livre qu’il a coécrit avec Koen De Jung : « La voie de l’homme des glaces ».

Il existe de nombreuses informations en ligne à son sujet, mais la méthode de Wim Hof consiste essentiellement en une combinaison d’exercices de respiration et d’entraînement au froid. Je suis une personne matinale et c’est, à ce moment-là, que j’ai le plus d’énergie. J’ai donc décidé de créer ma propre routine basée sur ces deux principes. Chaque matin, au réveil, je mets donc de la musique motivante, je fais trois séries d’exercices abdominaux et des pompes. Ensuite, je fais les exercices de respiration de Wim Hof qu’il avait, en fait, appris du bouddhisme tibétain. J’ai remarqué qu’après les trente hyperventilations, retenir le souffle est la partie qui déclenche le cerveau primal responsable de la survie, de la motivation et de l’instinct. Alors que je ne pouvais retenir ma respiration que pendant une minute au début, je réussis à présent à retenir mon souffle pendant trois minutes un mois plus tard. Wim Hof est capable de retenir son souffle pendant environ dix minutes. Après la troisième répétition de l’exercice de respiration, je me sens fort et je suis impatient de commencer à courir. Le premier jour où je l’ai fait, j’étais à Salt Lake City le quatorze mars, à six heures du matin, dans des conditions glaciales. Je ne portais qu’un T-shirt et un short. Après deux minutes de course, je me suis senti exalté et j’ai enlevé mon T-shirt pour courir la poitrine nue. Je me sentais fort et vraiment vivant. J’ai couru deux kilomètres et demi ce premier jour. Les rares personnes ou conducteurs que j’ai croisés ce matin-là se sont peut-être interrogés sur ce fou qui courait à moitié nu dans les rues de Salt Lake City à une température négative. Mon torse et mes jambes étaient rouges à cause de la circulation sanguine, mais c’est, en fait, un signe de bonne santé. Je suis rentré à la maison et j’ai pris une douche, tout d’abord chaude pour ramener mon corps à une température normale, puis j’ai fini par prendre une douche froide. Ensuite, j’ai médité pour me connecter à mon cœur et j’ai planifié ma journée en suivant l’inspiration du moment. Et comme ce fut une bonne journée, cela m’a motivé pour recommencer le jour suivant et ensuite, celui d’après. En fait, mon corps me réveillait naturellement plus tôt, parce qu’il était déjà accro au sentiment de se sentir vivant et en bonne santé. J’ai gardé cette routine pendant sept jours d’affilée. Puis je me suis heurté à un mur. J’avais intuitivement l’impression de commencer à tomber malade si je venais à trop forcer. J’ai donc pris une pause pendant une semaine.

Comme je l’ai mentionné dans mes blogs précédents, nous sommes une multitude en nous-mêmes. Si nous continuons à forcer en ignorant nos parties internes qui se sentent faibles, déprimées ou sans valeur, ces parties finiront par se rebeller et pourraient créer une maladie ou un accident. Ces soi-disant parties sont en réalité très puissantes, car elles sont connectées à l’enfant intérieur, le siège de l’âme. Au cours de la semaine suivante, j’ai donc beaucoup médité pour écouter ces parties de mon être douloureuses et tendres, un processus communément appelé travail de l’enfant intérieur, tout en donnant à mon corps un repos bien mérité. L’adulte et l’enfant en moi ont commencé à collaborer plus efficacement, et j’ai créé une liste de musique pour mon enfant intérieur, principalement composée de chansons de mon enfance. Par la suite, pendant ma routine du matin, j’alternais mes deux listes de musique pour que tous mes enfants et mes adultes intérieurs puissent se sentir impliqués dans ma remise en forme. Les adultes intérieurs apportent discipline, connaissance, raison, endurance tandis que les enfants intérieurs apportent enthousiasme, joie, gentillesse et connexion à l’esprit. Une fois qu’ils travaillent ensemble, de vrais miracles sont possibles.

J’ai inclus mon entraînement de jogging détaillé. Comme vous pouvez le constater, il alterne des cycles d’entraînement avec des périodes de repos. Et cette routine prend relativement peu de temps, 45 minutes au maximum.

J’ai donc couru trente-huit kilomètres au total pour m’entraîner pour le marathon (moins que la distance du marathon), ne dépassant jamais cinq kilomètres chaque matin, mais toutes ces courses se sont déroulées à basse température (entre -5 et 5 degrés centigrades) en courant torse nu.

Un de mes entraînement était plutôt amusant et quelque peu gênant. Un de mes amis m’avait invité à son chalet dans la montagne avec plus de trois mètres de neige. Alors qu’il avait commencé à courir avec moi, il est rapidement rentré chez lui. Après mes vingt minutes de course habituelles, je suis rentré, mais malgré tous mes efforts, je ne parvenais pas à retrouver mon chemin, car toutes les chalets se ressemblaient. J’ai tourné en rond pendant un bon moment, mais j’étais vraiment perdu. Il n’y avait pas non plus de couverture réseau, donc je ne pouvais appeler personne. Je devais trouver quelqu’un pour m’aider, mais tous les sentiers étaient vides. Il y avait tellement de neige que pour accéder à un chalet, il me fallait plonger dans un mètre de neige fraîche bien au-dessus de mes genoux. Les chalets n’étaient pas accessibles par la rue et la plupart des résidents avaient une motoneige. J’ai eu alors un léger sentiment de panique, mais mon cerveau primal avait déjà commencé à fonctionner à cause de ma routine et je me sentais relativement calme et confiant. Après quelques tentatives infructueuses, j’ai réussi à localiser un chalet avec des personnes à l’intérieur. Ils étaient vraiment surpris de trouver un homme nu demandant l’hospitalité, mais ils se sont montrés très aimables. J’ai appelé mon ami en utilisant le wi-fi de mes sauveurs. Mon ami ne connaissait même pas son adresse exacte, seulement le nom de la rue, car tous les numéros étaient recouverts de neige. On m’a donné un plan du quartier et j’ai recommencé à courir vers le chalet de mon ami. Mais après vingt-cinq autres minutes supplémentaires de course dans le froid, je ne le retrouvais toujours pas, car la rue était assez longue et tous les chalets étaient identiques. Je n’avais donc pas d’autre choix que de retourner vers la maison de mes gentils hôtes surprises. Cette fois-ci, j’ai demandé à mon ami de rester dans la rue, et une personne m’a conduit avec sa motoneige. Et finalement, je suis bien rentré au chalet de mon ami. Je n’étais pas du tout ébranlé par cette expérience. Nous avons simplement ri, j’ai pris une douche chaude, puis j’ai fait du snowboard toute la journée. Aucune énergie inutile n’avait été gaspillée dans la peur.

Il avait neigé la veille du marathon de Salt Lake City le treize avril. Je me suis présenté au départ avec un short et un T-shirt personnalisé que j’avais conçu pour ma cause de réunification familiale, recouvert maintenant par mon dossard. Mon entraînement au froid s’est avéré très utile, car la plupart des coureurs débutent la course avec beaucoup de survêtements qu’ils doivent généralement enlever plus tard quand il fait plus chaud. J’ai commencé la course lentement, comprenant qu’il me faudrait de l’endurance pour courir environ cinq heures. Je n’ai fait que jouer de la musique de méditation les deux premières heures, afin de réserver mes musiques d’entraînement pour la deuxième partie de la course, quand la fatigue allait me rattraper.

Mes poumons et mon moral étaient hauts, mais après seulement une heure, j’ai senti que mes jambes s’alourdissaient et que mes reins étaient en suractivité. Je n’avais pas suffisamment entraîné mes jambes, et elles devenaient donc mon facteur limitant. Après trois heures de courses, mes jambes et mes pieds me faisaient très mal, et j’ai utilisé ma musique de motivation pour enclencher mon cerveau primal. C’est une forme de technique de PNL, car la musique pouvait maintenant être utilisée pour déclencher l’état. Je courais alors simplement avec la force du cœur et ma volonté. J’ai couru une heure de plus dans cet état jusqu’à atteindre le vingtième kilomètre. Puis mes jambes m’ont abandonné. Je suis devenu incapable de courir davantage, alors je suis passé à la marche. La marche semblait facile au début, car elle utilisait différents muscles de la jambe et j’ai découvert que je pouvais marcher relativement vite. Les trois derniers kilomètres étaient cependant insoutenables et j’ai commencé à boîter. J’ai pensé abandonner, mais je ne pouvais pas le faire maintenant si près de la ligne d’arrivée. Et je l’ai finalement traversée après presque 6 heures !

J’ai appelé mon ami Branson qui est venu me chercher. Je ne réalisais cependant pas que je n’avais gagné que la moitié de la bataille. Se remettre de cet effort exténuant était le prochain défi. J’ai dû marcher à quatre pattes afin de rejoindre ma chambre, incapable de marcher. Je me suis couché sur mon lit, complètement handicapé et j’ai appelé mon ami Christian pour qu’il m’apporte des bananes et de l’eau. Je n’avais tout simplement pas assez d’énergie pour prendre un repas régulier. Pendant les vingt heures qui ont suivi, j’ai simplement alterné les heures de sommeil et de veille, où j’écoutais un programme audio pour me distraire. Mon énergie était même trop faible pour regarder un film sur mon téléphone. La partie la plus difficile était de ramper vers les toilettes, car je devais boire beaucoup d’eau pour faciliter la guérison de mes reins. J’étais comme malade. Le deuxième jour de récupération a été un peu mieux. Je ne pouvais toujours pas quitter mon lit, mais je pouvais regarder des films et prendre un vrai premier repas. Pendant ce temps de récupération, j’ai utilisé une grande partie de ma conscience pour être pleinement présent dans mon corps afin d’accélérer la guérison, peu importe la douleur. Le lendemain, mon esprit était à nouveau alerte et je pouvais travailler sur mon ordinateur même si je boîtais encore beaucoup, mais au moins j’étais mobile. Mardi, j’ai pu sortir le soir avec des amis. J’ai donné beaucoup de repos à mon corps pendant ces jours, en allégeant mon emploi du temps. Le jeudi soir, je devais disputer un match de tennis contre la meilleure équipe de la ligue, qui avait remporté les championnats nationaux l’année dernière. J’avais récupéré juste à temps. Peu avant le match, j’ai fait les exercices de respiration enseignés par Wim Hof, ce que je n’avais pas fait depuis le marathon. Cela a réactivé mon cerveau primal. J’étais calme et déterminé à gagner. Comme prévu, j’ai joué contre un joueur bien meilleur que moi, mais je me sentais si fort mentalement que j’ai fini par gagner 6/3-6/4. Mon adversaire a perdu son calme, car il ne réalisait pas ce qui lui arrivait. J’avais un désir irrésistible de gagner sans être stressé. Tous mes co-équipiers ont été impressionnés par ma victoire, car ils ont tous été battus à plate couture, et nous avons perdu quatre matchs contre un.

La nuit n’était toutefois pas finie. Mon ami Matt m’a appelé et m’a demandé de le rejoindre pour la balade 999 à Salt Lake City. Alors, je suis allé faire du vélo avec plus de 100 personnes dans les rues de Salt Lake City par une belle nuit de pleine lune jusqu’à minuit. J’ai parlé également avec un sans-abri pour essayer de l’aider, et j’ai rencontré tout un groupe de personnes intéressantes. La nuit s’est refroidie, mais je me sentais bien tout le temps. Même après mon retour à la maison, j’avais encore beaucoup d’énergie. Merci Wim Hof. Je peux attester par mon expérience personnelle que vos outils fonctionnent !

Cependant, comme pour toute nouvelle information, il est important de la personnaliser. Nous devons expérimenter comme un scientifique, et faire le tri entre ce qui marche et ne marche pas. Nous écoutons nos sensations physiques, nos sentiments et les émotions de notre corps, et nous les utilisons comme un système de guidage interne. Un enseignant tel que Wim Hof peut nous fournir des informations précieuses et nous orienter dans la bonne direction, mais notre progrès repose avant tout sur nous-mêmes. Cela demande de la discipline personnelle, de la curiosité, de l’introspection, de l’intelligence, de la proactivité et de la persistance.

Que voulez-vous expérimenter aujourd’hui pour améliorer la qualité de votre vie ?

An alternative way to understand disease to take control of your health

Running in nature

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The USA is spending 18% of its GDP or $3.5 trillion in health care every year. This is a confirmation that healing is a key concern of our society and most individuals. As we all know, however, our healthcare system is far from being efficient. While I marvel at organ transplants, our ability to get people to survive the worst accidents and treat infectious diseases, healthcare is still predominantly a reflection of our collective vibration of powerlessness and dis-empowerment. Most people are still looking for this magic pill or that omniscient doctor to save them from their misery. The rapid rise of bariatric surgery (procedures performed on people who have obesity) perfectly illustrates this symptom. People would pay over $20,000 to reduce the size of their stomach with a gastric band before even considering changing their diet, following an exercise plan, examining their childhood traumas or changing their lifestyle. This trend is fortunately changing with more and more people taking control of their health, educating themselves with the ample information available on the Internet and looking at alternative medicine, just in case mainstream approaches prove to be ineffective. Modern medicine continues to treat patients’ bodies as a machine independent of their emotional, mental and spiritual aspects, and therein lies its main failure. As a result, they treat symptoms rather than the root cause of the ailment.

I have been exposed to emotional, mental and spiritual healing for the last 26 years, and I have developed many healing modalities that have served me tremendously throughout my life. My healing clients are able to benefit from this experience. We first need to realize that most diseases have an emotional component.

As an example, alternative therapists understand now that:

  • Stomach issues relate to stress related to our environment composed of people and situations that we are not able to “stomach” anymore
  • Constipation indicates our resistance of letting go of past situations, people or ideas often because of guilt.  The primary function of the bowel is to evacuate what is no longer useful to the body and our mindset can affect this function.
  • Back pain is a reflection to a perceived lack of support
  • Knee issues are a resistance to move forward both physically and psychologically
  • Headaches are indicative of over-thinking, over-analysis, judgment towards self and others. It is an attempt of our mind to control everything instead of working in harmony with the other aspects of the self for healing
  • And so on, so forth…
stomach pain

As we live our life, pollution, toxic food, people or environment, strenuous activities, radiation, stressful situations, personal tragedies or even accidents may negatively impact our health. Fortunately, we have everything within us to regenerate and heal ourselves, mostly through sleep, healthy food, positive relationships and environments, and an active lifestyle. Health is a state of balance that we strive towards naturally as we are attuned to ourselves and let go of resistance.

From my perspective, there are 6 major causes to all illnesses that we create from the lighter to the deeper:

  1. Not listening to our physical needs

Most people get a cold when they push their physical body harder though they are already depleted of energy. With experience, one can notice the early signs of exhaustion, the first sensation of a sore throat and give one’s body the needed rest before sickness comes in. Light ailment is usually just a call for a forced and needed rest. In the same way, we may stay in adverse physical environments (polluted, too cold, too hot, too much stimulation) too long and we disregard the signs when our body tells us to get out. At other times, the body needs to move & exercise, to get good comfort food, light healthy food or to fast and refrain from eating. A reason why health and wellness is such a confusing field with every expert saying something different is because there are no rules. We are different, and we need something different at different times. We live in a society that is predominantly ruled by the mental. This aspect of us always tries to be in control by rules & principles that are often disconnected to our physical reality in the present. 

listening to inner voice

2. Not meeting our emotional needs

What is true to our physical body is also true to our emotional self. We stay in toxic relationships or toxic work situations where we swim in harmful negative emotions. It is then just a matter of time that this emotional corrosion will eventually manifest physically. We have the fundamental needs to love and to be loved, to feel worthy, to feel safe, to belong, to be creative and to grow. If we feel continuously deprived of these core emotional needs, we will develop psychosomatic diseases. Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD, sexual dysfunction, stress disorders, and insomnia are some examples of the many unfortunate psychological disorders we may develop as a result.2. Repressed emotions

3. Repressed emotions

Life is movement, and emotions are powerful energies circulating in the body. When emotions are unable to move anymore, and cannot find an outlet, they may become poisonous. Every family or work environment has a set of emotions that are unacceptable to express whether it is anger, sadness, fear but also even excitement or joy. In order to be loved and accepted, we therefore repress these emotions. The organ corresponding to the emotion will then get impacted. Chinese medicine is well aware of this fact. For example; repressed anger will create liver imbalance, repressed sadness will affect the lungs, repressed fear will disrupt the kidneys and repressed joy will create heart issues.

Repressed emotions

4. Poor beliefs about self

We are all familiar with the power of belief and that mind creates reality. Negative core beliefs about the self will create lower-vibration emotions that will eventually take a toll on our physical health. The challenge that we face is that most of our negative self-concept is subconscious, as our ego desperately attempts to hide our dark side from the conscious mind. This is why it takes bravery and introspection for this type of inner work. The most common beliefs I have encountered in my practice are “I am unlovable”, “I am bad/evil/dark”, “I am dangerous” or “I am stupid”.

5. Unhealed past traumas

When our conscious mind is unable to deal with a traumatic situation, it automatically shuts down. Dissociation is a survival mechanism that we have used for millions of years. Unfortunately, we do not fully escape the trauma when we dissociate but a fragmentation of the self occurs. The traumatized aspects get buried deep into the subconscious so that our conscious self can go on with life. Some of the buried emotions are highly toxic without counting the tremendous energy required to keep these traumatic events to come back to the surface. The body will keep fighting subconsciously the traumatic events of the past. For example, I have seen women victim of incest or rape as a child, becoming obese, having adverse skin reactions or become overly masculine depending on the degree that they feel their beauty or femininity got them into trouble. Modern medicine is powerless towards these disorders as there is no pill that exists to heal a past traumatic event.

6. Obsolete coping mechanisms

As we go through challenging life situations, we develop coping strategies. For example, we may have developed inner walls or shut down emotionally to deal with a traumatic childhood. These coping strategies may have helped us survive a very abusive childhood environment but it is easy to see how it may isolate us in our adult life. On the same token, we may have developed an addiction (ex. smoking, drinking, drugs, pornography, gambling, video games, social media, being a workaholic etc…) every time we come close to a dreadful emotion. The addiction, which is actually a coping strategy, will eventually have a negative effect on our health. Another common coping mechanism is to numb our senses and in this case, hearing or seeing dysfunctions may follow. Our body always has our best interest in mind so there is always a positive intention in the disease itself. An autoimmune disease attempts to eliminate poisonous or discordant aspects of the self not understanding that by doing so, it is destroying us by the same token. The same is true for cancer. An obese person is creating extra layers of fat to feel protected against a dangerous environment when it feels so hard to keep any boundaries. We react to a perceived threat through freeze, fight, flight or fawn. We may repeat the same strategy over and over again independently of the environment. For example, an overuse of the freeze strategy may result in Bell’s palsy.

Meditation

This is why so many research studies have shown that meditation can have such a positive impact on our health. Most disease are created and spread because we are not attuned to our emotions, feelings or body sensations. Meditation is the practice to look inward to explore our feelings, emotions, thoughts and physical sensations. We are always receiving new impressions and we are always shifting as a result. Our modern life is unfortunately not tailored to this inner listening. It praises instead the tyranny of the mind over body and emotions. Eventually, the body revolts or crashes.

Though it may not simple at first, there are ways to reverse this process through the conscious listening of our inner world. All emotions, even negative emotions, are our friends. There are here to move the energy around and restore a state of balance. This is why healthy kids go through so many emotions in a single day, from laughing, to crying, being playful or feeling cranky. If you have suffered loss, the emotions of despair, anger and sadness will help you heal. If your boundaries are violated, the positive side of anger will direct you to take action to ensure your safety. Simply learn to create a safe container to express all emotions during your meditation with full awareness. The state of inner alignment is the most conducive to physical and emotional health, and your feelings will point you in the right direction.

Wim Hof in the Himalayas

I have not been sick for over a year, and I have not had a discomfort that lasted for more than a couple of hours while 2018 has been a very challenging year marked by personal tragedy. I can tell you from my personal experience that one can heal from everything. I have some simple principles that have been critical to my healing and well being that I have listed below. 

  1. Meditation is my refuge. I meditate frequently, ideally every morning, to check-in and create a day according to my values, inspiration and feelings of the moment. But at the very least, I meditate as soon as I do not feel quite right
  2. I am committed to become aware and express all my emotions. I am careful to create a non judgmental safe container for these emotions. Authenticity is the courage to see my feelings for what they are without judgment. It is the commitment to my personal truth independently of the consequences
  3. When required, and when inner listening of my feelings and emotions is not enough, I commit to follow through with actions. This could be calling a friend you have not heard from for a while, or going on a run if my body feels sluggish.
  4. I commit to self care through a healthy emotional environment, a healthy lifestyle, to rest when I am tired and to strive to meet my authentic physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs
  5. I trust my body in guiding me in what I can eat and drink. Sometimes, this may be fruits, avoiding alcohol, vegetable or comfort food.
  6. I strive to live a conscious life, be positive and act as the best version of myself. But when I do not feel well, I do not bulldoze myself but commit to shadow work to use this opportunity to integrate unhealed aspects of myself. Shadow work means being present and exploring the negative emotion to elicit answers about the healing or actions that need to take place.
  7. I stretch myself positively with compelling goals but never to the point of breaking
  8. I believe in balance. Balance of physical, mental, social and spiritual activities. Balance of activity and rest. Balance of work and fun. Balance of solitude and together time. Balance in taking care of self and others. Balance of order and chaos. When done right, balance results naturally in a sense of peace and well-being.
Vaillant skiing in Utah

There is nothing more important than health because when we lose it, nothing else matters. We take it for granted and impact it negatively through many small actions every day by not paying attention. But worse, we live in a state of dis-empowerment regarding our health as we were led to believe that our health is dependent on external factors such as germs, genes, pollution or bad luck. It is time for us to take responsibility for our health, build a strong immune system to live a truly fulfilling life.