Be Who You Are: Pamela Luke’s Transformation Through Alternative Healing

Posted by Staff on 4/2/20 4:00 PM


What do we do after experiencing a tragedy? How do we come back from a major setback? Is there hope after living a life of self-destruction and despair? Is it possible to heal and move forward in a positive direction after our deepest hurts? By taking the initiative to make positive changes, to let go, and to say ‘yes’ to transformation and growth, we can connect with our truest self, and spare ourselves even more suffering.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” -Haruki Murakami

Citta is defined in the Yoga Sutra as “Heart-Mind Field of Consciousness.” It is like our internal container that stores our memories, our experiences, and our emotions. This, in turn, creates an identity of who we think we are. This identity may be true, or it may be an illusion. Many of us tend to define who we are based on our experiences. I was definitely one of those people.  Learning that all experiences combined, program the Citta and develop my opinions, biases, prejudices, and habitual behavior patterns, was somewhat frightening to think of. I thought, if this is true, I don't want to be me. To let go of the “victim” mindset, purification and clarification of the Citta is necessary. We can let our experiences create our identity, or we can see the lesson in them, accept the awareness gained from them, and move forward, letting our inner light of awareness shine bright to lead the way along our journey. Easier said than done...yet, it isn't out of range.

“Hurt People, Hurt People”

My experiences consisted of bullying, repeated abuse of all kinds, substance abuse, a constant chatter of negative self-talk, and hopelessness. That was my identity. I was the victim and if you went through I what I went through, you would be living just the way I was. This was a dangerous belief to carry around with me. I was bitter, cold, broken, not wanting to go on anymore. By holding on to this negativity, my spirit was continually being chipped away. I used what had happened to me as justification to make decisions that destroyed me little by little. I continued to cloud my Citta, living recklessly. Other people hurt me long ago, and I was continuing to hurt myself. I was prolonging the suffering.

“If you don't heal what hurt you, you will bleed on people that didn't cut you.” - Unknown

Effects of Stress On the Body

My lifestyle eventually caught up with me, through outside consequences, physical illnesses, and mental anguish.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia which I later discovered is commonly linked to PTSD. I seemed to always have some type of infection. I got bronchitis regularly at certain times of the year.

I developed a disease of the liver. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver holds resentments and pent up anxiety that needs to be released. If repressed, disease will manifest and spread to the spleen. The liver is also closely related to the gallbladder, which, in its negative state can manifest rage, fury, and wrath. The gallbladder is also responsible for decision making and judgment.  At 25 years old I had my gallbladder removed. I thought: “Maybe if I had learned to forgive and reach out with love, I would still have a gallbladder and it could serve its role in the digestion of fats.”

I had migraines.  My doctor felt certain I had an autoimmune disorder such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. They kept testing, factors were off, yet they couldn't pin point a diagnosis. I was on 6 different psychoactive pharmaceuticals at once. I was in pain, everywhere, all day every day. I was lethargic. I was in a chronic state of stress and misery, using drugs and alcohol as my means to escape. My perfect recipe for avoidance kept brewing in my pot of negativity. My actions kept it bubbling. This couldn't possibly be who I truly was. This can't be anyone's true nature.

Where Emotions are Stored in the Body

Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as Modern Quantum Science, recognize that our emotions connect, internally with our organs and systems.


POSITIVE (balanced)

NEGATIVE (imbalanced)


Expression of creativity, flexibility, clarity, renewal, forgiveness

Excess stress or emotions, anger, resentments

Heart/Small Intestine

Happiness, love, contentment with life, peacefulness, joy

Depression, insomnia, loneliness, despair, hopelessness, sorrow


Sympathetic, Empathic, tranquility, faith, confidence

Chronic stress, worry, anxiety, overthinking, bitterness, disappointment

Lungs/Large Intestine

Letting go, purity, refined truth, acceptance, self-worth

Sadness, Grief, guilt, prejudice, disdain


Purification, persistence, peace, harmony

Fear, over-worked, low energy

Living in the fight or flight wreaks havoc on the body, mind, and soul. This response happens when we experience a stress trigger and our sympathetic nervous system is prepared to run away from danger or fight it. When this response becomes a chronic reaction, dis-ease and dis-order will eventually manifest. Depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, ulcers, heart attacks, adrenal fatigue, and even cancer and strokes are common repercussions of chronic stress. The issue is that after the stressful situation, our bodies aren't returning to that stable inner state of homeostasis, which allows for proper functioning.

There seems to be a ripple effect here. We have experiences from our past that hurt us and shape us. It creates this rough, bitter, exterior and that's how we show up in the world. When stress happens, that rough outer shell is who, (or should I say what) is dealing with it. We react, we get angry, we feel hopeless and no matter how good we are at wearing our masks and believing the illusion of control, that false identity will create friction with our true inner being. We aren't living in alignment when we allow this conditioning to take over. Do we truly believe what we tell ourselves? How do we get out of this downward spiral?



My personal journey began with yoga. “Purification and clarification of Citta is the primary result of yoga practice and leads us to connection with our divine inner light of awareness." Yoga is a wonderful tool for stress management. It does wonders for our physical bodies such as building strength and flexibility, support recovery and healing from injury, boost the immune system, aid in detoxification, and improve digestion, and for our mind and spirit as well. “A dedicated yoga practice must not be limited to the execution of physical postures and should involve a close investigation of activity within the heart-mind.”  Nicolai Bachman, “The Path of the Yoga Sutras.” Yoga is a tool that naturally aids us in gaining self-awareness. The practice of yoga is not confined to what we do on the mat. By connecting with our divine self, our true self, we become less reactive to our experiences. Little by little, we begin to shed that conditioning. We connect with our inner light of awareness and by doing so we can recognize that light in others as well.  This connection, this awareness, and this sense of peace that we cultivate within ourselves through the practice of yoga, allows us to accept that which is outside our locus of control. We see and honor the truth.

“'Namaste' - The divine light in me, bows to and acknowledges the divine light in you.”


Mindful guided imagery uses breathing techniques, visualization, and intention as a way to reduce stress and pain, increase relaxation, and heal the body and mind. Much of disease is caused by stress alone, and practicing formal and informal mindfulness, breathing techniques, and meditation can reduce stress and symptoms of dis-ease. These practices can help us to increase focus, let go of what no longer serves, overcome obstacles, reduce pain and unpleasant symptoms associated with health conditions, and boost positive feelings and overall wellbeing. Martin L. Rossman M.D. defines imagery as, “...a means of transformation and liberation from unconscious distortions that may be directing your life and shaping your health.” Conscious visualization can positively affect the process of physical and mental calming and healing.

Practicing guided imagery gave my mind and body a much-needed break...a reset. This experience in particular, I find difficult to put into words, because it is just that, an experience, a somewhat mysterious one, I feel. Simply put, my mindfulness practice gave me the tools I needed to deal with life. Meditation gave to me a deep sense of comfort, and relief. I became able to develop a connection within myself and with my world. Acceptance came without so much resistance. Fear seemed to dissipate and was replaced with faith and confidence. My intuition became incredibly strong and I naturally learned to trust it, and myself. This allowed me to handle situations that I would typically run from and avoid. Reactions from stress became less and less. I found that gap in between the obstacle and my response...that moment to acknowledge, to accept, and to respond in a loving and appropriate way. Kindness and understanding were more available to show to myself and others.


Reiki is an ancient Japanese healing technique that channels positive healing energy to all areas of the body- physical and etheric. The healing energy is channeled, releasing blockages of negative energy or a disruption of the flow of life energy. Reiki helps to bring balance back to the individual in mind, body, and spirit. Reiki can be used to support healthy weight release, and to heal unwanted habits such as, drug and alcohol addiction, unhealthy eating habits, smoking, self-destructive behaviors, and negative thought patterns that contribute to depression and anxiety. Reiki can be used to help victims of trauma heal and grow from their past hurts. As Reiki became a constant in my life, I finally found the willingness within myself to forgive those who hurt me, who I let control my life and define who I was for so many years. Reiki was the tool that I needed to finally put an end to who I thought I was and become who I was meant to be. The moment I realized I had let go of my suffering and conditioning, was the moment I began a whole new chapter of my life; one full of opportunity, beauty, joy, and purpose.

Each of these tools played a significant part in my personal transformation. As I integrated each piece, I slowly became whole again. Each tool helped shed a different layer. Just as each experience made an impression on my Citta, each time I participated in a healing modality, those impressions were altered in a positive way. I found support from within to let go of what no longer served.  As we continue through our lives, we may undergo a series of transformations along our journey to wellness. I think of transformation as a rebirthing process. We may not necessarily become someone totally new, yet who we were meant to be all along.

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by student Pamela Luke as an assignment for BC559. Pamela says,“I hope to share my gifts and the knowledge that I have acquired through my studies at SWIHA to help people find the light within themselves, to guide them through their transformation. The purpose of my article is to share information on healing modalities that could help people heal from past hurts, suffering, or destructive lifestyles. I wish to give hope to those who are not yet able to see the light.”

Study at SWIHA

Topics: yoga, Mindfulness, Alternative Medicine, Reiki, Transformation, Alternative healing, Student Submission, Mind body Healing

About the Author Staff

Our mission is to help individuals discover their gifts and graces, and support them as they share their talents with the world in a loving and profitable way.


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