The Power of Belief

What we think about everyday impacts us. I am referring to the almost unconscious thoughts that run through our minds. It’s these thoughts, believe it or not, that drive our lives. Often belief systems about who we are can sound like:  “I’m not good enough or smart enough” or “I could never do that” (work with numbers, earn a degree, or build a company) or “I never get a lucky break” which manages our lives. Thoughts become our beliefs become our action.

Get in touch with those underlying thoughts that often run like an undercurrent within the daily mind babble.  It is estimated that we run 60-90,000 thoughts a day. Phenomenal!  What are we thinking? It is only when we become aware of the content of our thoughts, that we can begin to change them. By changing thoughts our beliefs change and in a short time, your life can change.

Here is one of my stories of change.

As a young woman working as an RN, I was quite sure I could never become a doctor – nor did I want to become like the MD’s working around me. But as I changed my beliefs over the next few years, it became clear that I could create what I truly wanted. So I did become a physician by changing my ideas of what was possible. I envisioned my life’s work into becoming something different by first seeing in my mind the desire to help people in a new way. It led me to the naturopathic college in Portland, OR – National College of Natural Medicine. I graduated in 1990.

This was a healing step for me because I got to work within a sane and loving environment that I created. My work was rewarding and the stress on my body was lower than if I continued to work in hospital systems. My mind had the power to change my beliefs of what I could do or thought possible. I made new things happen. And it was mine to do. This is the power of belief.

Think about what changes you have already created in your life. What do you now want in your life? What changes are needed? Start with the  power of the mind. Create a vision by drawing it or cutting pictures and pasting them on a board. See it and feel it everyday!  Know in your heart what you want for yourself. Listen inside for the next steps needed. Then take them. And keep going…



Introductory Excerpt from: “Healing Matters: Celebrating Women’s Innate Healing Nature”

As I began this project of researching and identifying the women who have made contributions, my disappointment rose. I stood in various libraries and found book upon book telling the history of medicine, very few were about women nor written by women. Even those few books about women were often written by men. The problem with this is simple: it’s just not the same story. Women telling the story (herstory) with their feminine voice view any history, including the history of medicine, very differently from men, and understand it differently.

The time has come to recognize this incongruity in healing, name it, and incorporate balance back into all aspects of medicine. In doing this, we will help people find their wellness. The medical team for the chronically ill individual may include physicians, researchers, bio-technicians, nurses, assistants, energy workers, body workers, acupuncturists, aides, social workers, and spiritual ministers. However in general, medicine as a whole is not well conected within its practice of helping people get well and stay healthy.

Dr. Alice Hamilton – Industrial Medicine Savior

Here is a female healer who left an indelible mark in the field of medicine.

Alice Hamilton MD  (1869 – 1970)is a woman of little historical  notice, but she did remarkable work for the industrial worker in the early 20th century. Through her endeavor of recognizing the hazardous conditions mostly men were subject to work under, the workplace became safer for workers. She identified that the predominately male workforce was being poisoned by things like lead,mercury, arsenic, radium and carbon monoxide. She became recognized worldwide for her work and was instrumental in contributing research data to prove that workers were being harmed.  As a result of her findings, the state of Illinois started the first workers compensation program for its citizens.  Dr. Hamilton was also offered the assistant professor position of Industrial Medicine at Harvard University.  It was a first for women.

As I have been researching  these remarkable women for my book – Healing Matters, my heart is filled with gratitude for their perseverance and tenacity. They are an inspiration for women!

“To work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worthwhile.  – Virginia Wolf.

Drug Research

An excerpt from Dr. Jeanne’s book concerning Drug Research:

When we look at the history of medical research it is surprising to learn how it has been conducted. Even in the recent past  younger adults age 20-40 were often recruited to determine drug efficacy. Most of these recruits were  male medical students. Believe it or not, women test subjects were not studied until 1992!  Prior to that time, men and men alone determined drug effects and side effects.  Imagine how the same drug used on a vital male compared to a 70 or 80-year old woman with a acute or chronic disease, slower working kidneys, and reduced circulatory capacity.  It doesn’t compare at all.  This type of thinking-linear, reductionist thinking has significant limitations.  Science likes to group things together, classify them as the same and then apply broad ideas and treatments.  Given the uniqueness of every individual, this narrow thinking can be downright deadly.

True healing and thoughtful medical care needs to be done on an individual basis.



Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale is an icon today because of her contributions to the evolution of nursing, but more importantly to sanitation. During the Crimean War (like the Civil War), the chief cause of death was unsanitary conditions leading to infectious diseases. In fact, ten times more soldiers died from typhus, typhoid fever, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds.

Thankfully, the discovery of bacteria by Pasteur and hygienic principles instituted by the nurses in war torn areas, for example, improved conditions and chances for recovery of the wounded.

Women were in the hospital “trenches” helping the stricken soldiers survive their wounds from the battlefield.

Conditions at the makeshift hospital were fatal to soldiers because of overcrowding, defective sewers and lack of ventilation. Six months after Nightingale’s arrival, the British government sent out a Sanitary Commission to Scutari in March 1855. Sewers were flushed out, ventilation improved, and lives saved. This piece of history bears repeating; women have made a tremendous difference.

Kuan Yin

Kuan Yin is known as a goddess of compassion and a representative symbol for women’s healing. The quality of compassion during an illness is an essential component to wholeness and recovery. Women embrace this ideology in everyday living; it is in her DNA.

“Kwai Yin” is known as the Great Mother in China and is the embodiment of the yin principle (the feminine). In Japan she is known as Kwannon which Joseph Campbell reported as representing ‘Boundless Compassion’. (Barbara Walker, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Harper San Francisco, 1983)

In Buddhist tradition the word compassion translated from the word ‘karuna’ is a much more powerful word. Karuna is described as a deep love for all beings with an intensity like that of a mother’s love for her child.

Throughout the world Kuan Yin is beloved by many. People turn to her who are sick, lost or frightened.She is seen as a great protector and a benefactor for the weak, the ill and especially for children. (Read more at

The female essence of healing is found in many cultures throughout the world. The ‘yin’ is equated to the dark side of the yin/yang symbol which holds a deeper central power, taps into the unseen side of life and is like a river that flows with ease or force always seeking its own level.

Kuan Yin honors all human life with a deep love and passion. Her energy is needed now in the world more than ever before to restore the planet and her inhabitants back earth’s roots.

Women Healers – The Nurses

Nursing, for example, is considered a noble profession today. Its origin, though, might surprise you. As the first nurses received little formal training and very low pay, nursing attracted women of the lower socioeconomic classes desiring to help others. Many of the first “nurses” were actually prostitutes that male physicians convinced to help the cause, most notably during the Crimean War in the 19th century. Needless to say, nursing was a job low on the scale of social hierarchy, which was emphasized by the doctors of the era, as well.

It wasn’t until Florence Nightingale joined the ranks that the nursing profession and opinions about it began to change. Following her groundbreaking and tireless work during the Crimean War; in 1860, she established her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world. Nurses still take the Nightingale Pledge and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide on her birthday.

More will be available from Dr. Jeanne’s upcoming book, Women’s Ways of Healing: Medicine’s Missing Link due out 2012.

Trotula of Salerno

Trotula of Salerno is a fine example of a great woman healer. She contributed great scholarly works on women’s anatomy and physiology (though was discredited by her male counterparts). She trained at the University of Salerno, one of the few places women could study in the eleventh century. Details of her life are scarce, however she authored several medical books, and it is claimed she was chair at the University. While she was discredited for her prolific writings by medical authorities, three texts survive and are credited to her: Diseases of Women, Treatments for Women, and Women’s Cosmetics. The writings of this trailblazing woman were collected and over the next few centuries, edited as they passed through many subsequent “authors” who claimed credit for her work. The Trotula, as the three combined texts became known, is divided into twenty-seven sections and focuses on problems with menstruation and childbirth. It is still well recognized as one of Europe’s most important medical texts on women’s health.

Women were doing great things over the last thousands of years and we have not been aware of her greatness because much of her work was discredited. Trotula had also been named a “crazy midwife” a tactic used to discredit and hide women’s value.

Resource: Woman As Healer by Jeanne Achterberg.

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