As a magickal practitioner I am very familiar with the axiom, “As above, so below, as within, so without”. Attributed to Hermes Trimesgistus, the author of the Hermetic Principles, this saying could be considered one of the best known and one of the most studied principles in the magickal community. I thought I had a great handle on its meaning until a few weeks ago. It was then I fully realized what this principle truly meant in not only my magickal but my every day life.
About three weeks ago I began having stomach issues. Sharp shooting pains, cramping, nausea, and several other issues I won’t discuss in this blog. These were similar to the symptoms I had before my gallbladder was removed and which often occurred after the surgery. This time, however, the symptoms had magnified, increasing in duration and intensity. Why was I still dealing with this? Why was it suddenly worse? Being true to form I went on “high alert” and immediately decided to “fix” myself. But where to start? My herbal books? Medical references? The internet? Then it came to me one night as I was tossing and turning in bed from the pain and subsequent worry. “As within, so without.” As if the phrase had become my new personal mantra, it kept repeating in my frantic brain. But what did it mean?
The answer was truly simplistic. I needed to take a hard look at what I was taking into my body and see how that what was reflecting on the outside. Whatever I eat or drink becomes a part of me. If I take in healthy, nutritious foods those nutrients contribute to a healthy body. A healthy body makes me feel good, causing me to smile more, move more, and produce the glow of good health. As within so without. Well, duh!
I began a quest to heal my insides. I cut all the things that seemed to be a major trigger. Gone was alcohol, any fried or fatty foods, and (gasp) chocolate. My friends know I like nothing better than a glass or two of wine after a long day at work, so you understand how difficult this was. Next, I began working on cutting down on the caffeine and sugars. Within days my stomach, my insides, began to feel much better. But I was still having discomfort at strange times. So I sat, made a mental list of what I had been eating at those times, then realized it wasn’t just food that was affecting me, it was my mood, environment, and attitude.
What we think, hear, see, feel, and experience becomes a part of us. A bad day shows on our face. Mental stress can manifest as slumped shoulders, tight muscles, a clenched jaw. A great day brings a spring to your step, a light heart, renewed energy and positive outlook . Constant emotional fatigue, worry and anxiety can cause physical malaise, often manifesting in a variety of symptoms, such as stomach pains, headaches, extreme fatigue, and muscular aches. Continued joy, brought about by letting go of the stress, refusing to bow to pressure and emotional turmoil, reflects in our smile, and has the wonderful side effect of a relaxed mind and body. Again, as within, so without.
Once I’d identified what the hell was going on in this fluffy, out of shape, stressed out body, what was I going to do about it? Well, I was going to continue with my trend towards eating healthy and ramp it up a bit. My husband is on board with the changes so we shall be planning meals, shopping and preparing food together. Not only will our meals be healthier , we get to spend more time together. A complete win/win.
The exercise may be a bit trickier. As I am writing this I am babying a hyper extended knee which precludes me from several forms of exercise. But it won’t be injured for long and a gentle walk can still be taken even with the injury. Who knows, I may even use that gym membership I have (the only time I’ve been to that gym is when I signed up). Start slow then gain momentum. It can happen!
The stress provides its own set of difficulties to overcome. My work environment is not the best for me and the job itself leaves me completely unfulfilled (but it pays extremely well and the benefits kick ass). I am trying to make the best of it, but it has been difficult. What I can do is work on my attitude about the job and find ways to better deal with the constant stream of crap. Meditation, exercise (there’s that word again), singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite Stevie Nicks, anything to release the pressure valve.
Game plan in hand, sticky note stuck to my mirror and monitor and the Kybalion on my altar, I now move forward towards good health and joy. Sometimes the answers have always been with you. You just have to open your eyes and reexamine what you thought you knew.
As within, so without. May this seemingly simple phrase aid you in your own journey to health and happiness.