There’s so much talk about tidying up your closet, bedroom, and kitchen counter. But how can we clean up our busy minds? Ingrid Bacci is a PHD CST who once struggled with high levels of stress and major physical pain that doctors said was incurable. After her challenging journey to self-wellness, she has dedicated herself to learning, practicing, teaching and writing about life-transforming healing techniques. Her books, The Art of Effortless Living, Effortless Pain Relief and Fear-Less Now are all available on amazon.com.
Thank you so much for sharing your story and wisdom with us Ingrid. It’s great to connect with you again after so many years!
Q: Could I ask you about the moment when you knew you had to make major, life-changing health decisions?
A: When medical doctors told me I had an incurable and chronic disease, something inside me knew that their diagnosis didn’t have to be my reality. After that, it was one step at a time down a new road. As I took that road, which combined nutritional changes, body-centered approaches to both physical and mental healing, and meditation, among other things, my self-awareness and my understanding of what was important in life gradually morphed. I began to see life in a completely new way. Essentially, while my physical limitations had played a role in my illness, the critical factor was emotional and spiritual. I had unconsciously been living out my parents’ dream for myself and was out of touch with who I really needed to be. Consequently, each step along the road of healing was also a step into greater self-awareness and trust in my own path.
Q: In the many years that you’ve been teaching and helping others, is there something in common that you see in people with stress, sadness and anxiety or even anger?
A: We tend to think of our bodies and minds as separate, but they are not. What I mean by this is that every thought and every emotion we have affects us bodily and contributes to health or to illness. We all are subject to stress, and we all feel sadness, anxiety or anger periodically. It is also healthy to feel and to discharge these. But if stress, sadness, depression, anxiety or anger become bottled up and unconscious they can wreak havoc on the body in any number of ways. Similarly, if they become conscious but habitual…i.e. if you are chronically sad, or angry, or anxious, this will inevitably affect your body. The path of healing is therefore among other things a path in which you learn to both acknowledge your emotions readily, so as not to hold on to them and the same time you practice learning to release negative emotions (anxiety, fear, depression, anger), since these only hurt us as well as alienating us from those close to us. This is not easy to do, but it is profoundly rewarding.
Q: How do you feel about the constant stream of technology, social media and information we receive? What do you think it does to our mental state?
A: Unfortunately, the constant deluge of information we are subjected to creates a restless and anxious mind addicted to stimulation and unable to focus independently. If you can stop tuning in to the internet or your iPhone, e.g. for one or two days a week, you will quickly realize how much more relaxed you become. By ‘relaxed’ I mean calm, clear and focused…all qualities that are deeply satisfying in themselves.
Q: Would you be able to share any techniques on how to declutter or calm down our mind if it is frantic?
A: I cover these issues extensively in my books, but here are a few tips:
1) Practice meditating on your breathing to slow down your mind and take yourself out of your mind and into your body.
2) Any activity that helps you become more present to your body will help you calm down. Examples include yoga, dancing, playing an instrument (excluding heavy metal!), listening to peaceful music, painting, doing pottery, etc.
3) Spend time alone, practice experiencing and enjoying solitude.
4) Spend time in nature.
But more than anything, if you really WANT to let go of having a frantic mind, you will find your way. The truth is, too many of us are unwilling to do the work to create inner peace, even though we may complain about not having it!
Q: We store so many memories in our brain, many of which we are not even aware of. Is there a way to make peace with some of the thoughts we don’t want to revisit and let them go?
A: I was very fortunate to discover craniosacral therapy (a powerful manual therapy that diagnoses and treats pain and discomfort through touch) many years ago, first for my own healing, and then as a practitioner helping others. I learned through that discipline that subtle touch can release deep emotions stored in the body and free us from our past. I also learned through that work that once you fully acknowledge experiences you have had, rather than stuffing them or not taking the time to process them fully, then they no longer bother you. If you can fully relive painful experiences from your past, with the help of an experienced therapist or even a wise friend, then they will no longer bother you. It takes courage to do this, but all growth takes courage, and we are here to grow.
With Thanks to Ingrid,
Photos by Autumn Goodman , Jason Weingardt, Fabrizio Chiagano, Anna Sushok
Bio: Michelle is a former beauty executive who loves being part of the Care Skincare Team. She’s married with two young children who have more energy than all the drinks on a Starbucks menu.