One is not born, but rather becomes, a sick person. One is most CERTAINLY not born a happy sick person, but one can BECOME a happy sick person; and a happy sick person is much more likely to go on to become a FULLY HEALED person.
Against all the odds over the past 2 years of living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I’ve learned to become a happy sick person, and I’ve finally reached the stage on my healing journey where I am ready to share the toolbox of tips and tricks I’ve collected, appropriated and created with others: it is a veritable treasure trove, and I’m still adding to it all the time. If my illness were a marathon I am overjoyed to say that I can finally see the ‘fully healed’ finish line in the distance. It’s hazy, it’s still not quite upon me, but I promise you, it is NOT a mirage. I can see it, I can feel it, sometimes I can even taste it. Let’s say I’ve not yet reached the 26.2 mile point, but I’ve definitely crossed the 20 mile barrier. So I’ve still got 6-ish miles to go, and I know they’re going not going to be without their moments, and realistically it’ll take me a mile a month BUT I’m absolutely in the double-figures, and am definitely on the home straight- I will taste that sweet, sweet victory! Good job too, my legs are bloody tired from all this running; or rather they’re lethargic from never having the energy to run anywhere, at points even struggling to walk 30 metres due to the extreme fatigue. (Wow, I just felt a swell of emotion and had completely unexpected tears spring into my eyes there as I wrote that! I feel a huge sense of pride, of achievement, of RELIEF.) But it’s been a long road to get here. I’ve been to hell and back.
I’ve entitled this article ‘How to be Sick’ but in actual fact I think it could alternatively be called ‘How to be Alive’ as many of the things I’m going to share apply across the board, sickness or no sickness. But if you are reading this right now and you ARE sick, maybe even really sick- perhaps the words ‘chronic’, ‘incurable’, or ‘terminal’ are in there. Sweetheart, I am so sorry. I wish I could take it away from you. I really do. I’m sending you positive healing energy right now. But as lovely as that is we both know that that just isn’t going to cut it. What I do know is that despite all the doctors, scans, operations, supplements, medication, treatments and rehabilitation programmes in the world: in the end, the only person that can really heal you is yourself. And no matter where we are or what we’re faced with, there are many MANY steps we can, ourselves, take towards this (many of them without even leaving our sick bed). I hope that a few of my suggestions might prove helpful for you. No doubt our symptoms, illnesses and lives are very different, but whatever your ‘big something’ is, my hope that a few of these might go some way to help you on your healing journey.
I say ‘big something’ as over the course of my illness I have had SO many of those awkward as hell encounters when you meet someone for the first time, or see someone you haven’t seen in ages and they don’t know about your illness (why should they? You don’t want to tell them) and they make normal person chat (only trying to be nice of course) and ask you something like: ‘how are you?’, ‘what have you been up to?’ or the DREADED question: ‘and what is it that you do?’ Hmmm…. What do I do..? Well these days I’m pretty much a full-time sick person. What have I been up to? Being a house-bound sick person mostly. You know, the usual- a few extended moments of utter desperation here and there. How am I? Pretty fucking awful to be honest, and also aware that after this conversation is over I’m probably going to have to go and lie down for the rest of the day (through no fault of yours) as this exchange is making me SO exhausted… in fact I need to make sure that it doesn’t go on for much longer. How are you? Of course I DO want to know how you are but to be perfectly honest I doubt I have the energy to actually listen to your response. And hearing about your ‘normal’ life of doing ‘normal’ things just makes me feel even worse. What’s that? Are you COMPLAINING about your life? Do you know how LUCKY you are to have your health? Can I leave now and get back to being a desperate, house-bound sick person please? And then the guilt that follows from being ‘rude’… Ah, the dreaded ‘normal people’ conversations. One of the main reasons I left the city was so that I didn’t have to face any more of these ‘normal’ encounters when I simply wasn’t strong enough for them.
But a few months ago I had one that left me SMILING.
I was at a quaint music festival in the Highlands where we were taken on a tour, by coach (and even by a chartered steam train) to watch pop-up concerts at beautiful natural locations such as in the middle of a pine forest, or on the side of a stunning loch. My energy was great that day, and in between bands my Dad and I were foraging for berries and mushrooms. As night-time approached the festivities moved into a local community hall (more quaintness) and I had stepped outside to give myself a break from the loud music (I have VERY sensitive ears, literally can’t abide bad music; especially bad music that is really loud). I didn’t really know anyone so I was just leaning against the wall, only marginally uncomfortable in my aloneness. A man walked up to me, dressed in nothing but a leopard print toga, welly boots, sunglasses and a hat that resembled the ones worn by the guards at Buckingham Palace, but his had a distinct ‘jungle’ vibe. Oh yeah, had I forgot to mention that the entire festival was Safari themed? There were zebras and lions and loincloths everywhere. Anyway, we got to chatting, he was one of the festival organisers who owned the huge, sprawling country pile that had hosted part of the day’s music, and after a while he asked me the dreaded: ‘and what is it you do?’ question. I was silent for a moment, hesitated, and mumbled something about not very much, I’m taking a bit of a time out at the moment. And he looked at me, and without losing his stride for a second said ‘Ah, you’re in recovery from a big something?’ Yes. I’m in recovery from a big something, that’s exactly it. And we carried on talking as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Best ‘and what do you do’ conversation ever. Good man.
So I’ll start with the personal, then I’ll get into the list, opening my box of tricks and diving into the practical, and then we’ll get to the REALLY big stuff, the profound. But before I get on with emptying the valuable contents of my treasured toolbox for your perusal let me briefly share my ‘story’. I was not always a happy sick person, oh no, in fact I was an EXTREMELY unhappy sick person for quite some time… I came crashing down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E. when I was 25 years old, living the supposed ‘high life’, across the Atlantic from my Scottish home, in New York, where I was interning in the curatorial department in the biggest contemporary art gallery in the world. I was meant to be living the dream. My American dream turned into an American nightmare. When I admitted defeat I flew back to the U.K. such a broken woman I was unsure if I would even make it home on the plane. I collapsed: physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually- I collapsed in every which way possible. I spent days, weeks, months in bed. Often I was too tired to even sit up at all. Over the past two years I have frequently been so tired that I can’t speak, or think. More often than not being around other people has been torture. Sometimes I can’t so much as have a conversation over the phone for an entire week. I can count the number of times I have seen my beautiful nieces and nephew over the last year on one hand because as much as I dearly love them, after 10 minutes with them it can feel like my head is going to explode. It’s been far from easy. At one point (much more recently that you would think) I even planned my own funeral: Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock‘ for when people were taking their seats, Nick Drake’s ‘From the Morning‘ for the few misty-eyed minutes that those assembled were to remember times we had spent together, and Van Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks‘ as everyone was leaving again. If I was going to die from this, then at least the music HAD to be right (as I said, I simply cannot abide bad music.) I just stopped short of writing all this in a letter, along with a speech I wrote to be read out by my Dad at the funeral, sealing it in an envelope for my parents marked ‘just in case’ and strategically placing it somewhere noticeable in my bedroom, should the unthinkable happen. Both the speech and the song lyrics were carefully chosen to tie in with my spiritual beliefs, which will pop up in many guises over my list of 108 tips and tricks for healing (mostly in the ‘profound’ ones). Well, at least I’m partly mentally (and practically) prepared for when that inevitable day does come, as it will for all of us, but I have to say, I am bloody relieved it’s not now, and that it won’t be for a LONG time.
So I planned my funeral. What else? Of course I howled in several doctors offices: FIX ME! CAN’T YOU SEE THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH ME?! FIX ME, GODDAMN YOU! (I lost count of all the blood-tests and scans, all of which showed nothing.) I went to specialist after specialist: surely you can fix me?! No one could. I blamed them all. I blamed my hollow career ambitions to work in the soulless art world; I blamed my emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend; I blamed the party-hard lifestyle I dedicated my late teens and early to mid twenties to; I blamed my dysfunctional upbringing that was characterised by my parents’ divorce… Oh man, did I blame, Blame, BLAME. WHY ME?! WHY WOULD THIS HAPPEN TO ME? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?! I fully embodied the role of the persecuted victim. I was a superstar. And when that didn’t work I did what I’d always done: I sucked it up and FORCED myself back out into the world. I got a job, I started a new relationship, I went back to my old life. I managed to keep up this charade for a few months, and did a good job of pretending that I wasn’t a sick person until I broke down completely, AGAIN (I was never ‘repaired’ of course, apart from on the most superficial level). I simply could not deny it any longer.
I was SICK, man, was I sick.
I left the job, I left the relationship, I left the city I’d lived in and all the friends I’d made over the last decade and I moved back to the countryside and in with my Mum and for a good few months I resumed my role as the persecuted victim (I knew the lines off by heart of course) until I realised once and for all that it wasn’t serving my best interests at all, and I would NEVER heal if I kept going like this, and I finally, slowly, falteringly, painstakingly, started learning to be a happy sick person. I stopped blaming everyone. Most of all I stopped blaming myself. I went into therapy. I stopped ‘do-ing’ and I started ‘be-ing’. I somehow managed to make the transition from strung out social butterfly who literally couldn’t stand to be in her own company, to the happy hermit who simply LOVES nothing more than to be alone; but who still eventually wants to leave the chrysalis for good and get back out into the big wide world.
Most importantly I started to acknowledge that Real healing is not just of the body: Real healing is of the BODY, MIND, HEART, SOUL and SPIRIT. In fact, in many ways the body is the least important on this list. I learned that if you fully commit to fixing the MIND, HEART, SOUL and SPIRIT, then the BODY will follow, no matter what the illness, no matter how serious. I dedicated myself to it 100%. And as much as I stopped with all the blaming I faced the profound and painful reality when it comes to healing:
Our biography becomes our biology.
And although no one, least of all myself was to ‘blame’ for this illness the truth was that with my biography (I’d been through quite a lot over the years, it must be said), coupled with ALL the bad choices I’d made over the years… well ALL that (and more) went into my illness, so of course there was no doctor that could ‘fix’ me. I would have to learn how to do it myself, untangling one knot at a time, and there were MANY knots. That’s not to say I haven’t had a LOT of help from others, I have, LOTS. I am eternally grateful to my parents for agreeing to support me, allowing me to take all the time I need to recover from this illness, I know that not everyone has this luxury. But I had bottomed out completely, there was literally no other option, my illness was so severe that I have simply HAD to bow out of the ‘world’ completely in order to make a full recovery, and I’m getting there, I’m really getting there. But at the end of the day the only Real healer is yourself and I can say with absolute certainty that today I am a happy sick person. In many ways I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, despite still being a ‘sick person’. (But I’m not going to say I still don’t have my bad days, of course I do, I still have bad entire weeks sometimes in fact.) One of my main reasons for writing this is that when one of these inevitable bad days (or God forbid, weeks) rears their ugly head then I can re-read this and remind myself of just how far I’ve come, be hopeful for the exciting things that the future is going to bring, and in the meantime, remember the things that help me to feel GOOD, even when I’m feeling BAD.
And if it helps me then there’s a chance it might just help someone else too, right?
So below are the things that have really helped ME with my M.E. Maybe some of them will help you too, word for word, but I would ask you, when you are reading through them, if it doesn’t seem exactly relative to you, ask yourself ‘what is MY equivalent of this?’ For me it might be candles, crystals and folk music, for you it might be luxurious hand-cream, talking to the plants in your greenhouse and knitting. Whatever, it’s all relative. But the intention is the same. And even if we aren’t able to dedicate every waking hour to healing ourselves, we can decide to take every available moment that we can, and make changes to our lifestyles, big and small, where we can, to serve our highest interests. And you can make SO many more changes than you think. This is not easy of course, I left my ENTIRE life behind. I’m not exactly sure what will be there when I go back to it: back to the ‘good’ bits that is (my family, my friends, my community, my yoga and dance classes)- the bad I’ve severed ties with completely, for good. So what are the things that we can do to make ourselves feel good, to make ourselves feel better, to help ourselves HEAL? (N.B. try as we might we simply cannot ‘make’ ourselves heal. No amount of pushing, force and making demands will EVER lead to healing. It is about accepting, allowing and surrendering. No matter how long it takes.)
So below is my guide of 108 personal, practical and profound ways to become the happiest sick person you will ever meet. My healing BIBLE if you will. We’ll journey from the practical to the profound with a couple of detours on the way. (and if I don’t say so myself, MAN ALIVE, it’s gonna get PROFOUND. Stick it out, hey?! FYI the ‘profound’ section kicks in around the 50 mark, I need to warm up first. If you’ve got the practical stuff down already then you could just jump to the profound, this is where the BIG TRUTH is). At first I was a Rookie when it came to knowing how to heal, but as I say, in the past two years I’ve been to hell and back, and in this past year I have fully dedicated myself to healing- it has been my job: every day, every hour, every minute, and I may be an uncharacteristically young player, but these days I’m definitely batting for the big leagues. So although with many of these I am playing soft-ball, sometimes I am going to play hard-ball. Some of these truths are sugar coated and will go down easy, but equally some of these might be bitter as hell and hard to swallow. But this entire thing is about healing WITHOUT pills of any sort. Pills are never going to help you heal. They can treat the symptoms, yes, but they will NEVER treat the cause. (Why 108? Because this number is revered by the Mathematicians of Vedic culture who viewed this number as representing the wholeness of existence). And healing, Real healing is a return to wholeness. To be healed does not necessarily mean to be cured. To be healed does not even necessarily entail making a full recovery. But by pursuing Real healing, no matter whether or not our illness has a ‘cure’ or not, we CAN return to wholeness.
So let’s get started with this list.
- Straight off the bat I’m going to contradict myself. STOP MAKING LISTS. Allow yourself to forget about all those things you ‘should’ be doing, all those things you ‘would’ write on your to-do list, and just allow yourself to BE. The world will not stop without you, it’s ok, REALLY.
- Equally stop looking at the calendar, stop looking at your watch, do not pay attention to the rate at which the days, weeks, or months pass by. Live from moment to moment and allow yourself ALL the time you need to heal. Never impose it from without, your healing journey has its own timetable, your job is not to schedule it, your job is to fully surrender to it. I used to fill every single hour of every day and was NEVER without my diary. Live completely off schedule. Or write one thing in every day: ‘HEALING’.
- Be patient, be gentle, take each day as it comes. There will be good days, there will be bad days. Try not to let the good days excite you so much that you get ahead of yourself, do WAY too much and then end up crashing and setting yourself back. (I can be particularly bad for this.)
- But whatever you do don’t let the bad days get you down. Open to them. Love them. Lay low: ‘slow and low, that is the tempo’ to quote the Beastie Boys. Don’t allow yourself to think that you’re back to square one just because you’re having a bad day, or even a bad week. You’re not, I promise, it’s all swings and roundabouts. Remember that recovery is NEVER linear. If it were a graph, it would look like this:
- If you do schedule things, and of course it is lovely to plan to do things that we really want to do with people that we really like, make peace with the fact that you might have to cancel if you’re just not feeling up to it that day. That’s ok. You can do it another time. It’s always ok. If they’re a good friend then they will understand. Start getting comfortable saying ‘No’ when you don’t want to do something. Whatever it is.
- Start thinking about the things you want to say ‘Yes’ to.
- Do them.
- In order to find out what these things are. Moment to moment ask yourself the question: ‘What can I do for myself in this moment?’ or ‘What would make me feel good right now?’ A bath? (who cares if it is 1 p.m. in the afternoon), Curling up on the couch under a blanket with that novel? Calling a friend who you always feel good after talking to? An episode of your favourite programme that never fails to cheer you up? A Walk?
- Do it.
- And when you’ve noticed that it’s stopped working and you don’t feel good anymore ask the question again: Maybe the answer this time is: lying down in a darkened room? Sitting quietly and drinking a cup of tea in complete silence? Having a wee cry?
- Do it. And so on. (And never repress a wee cry- or even a BIG cry- let it out, feel the feelings, ask them questions, send love to them, and let them pass. If you allow yourself the time and space to cry they will pass MUCH more quickly and effectively than if you were to try to fight it, or ‘suck it up.’)
- Lie down and REST.
- In bed.
- Out in the sun. Especially out in the sun.
- On your made bed with a blanket over you during the day.
- In bed or on your made bed with a blanket over you at any time of the day or night with healing crystals positioned all over your body. I have been known to lie with up to 10 crystals at a time. Often even using an eye-mask to hold them on my third-eye and crown chakras, yup.
- Get into crystals. These tiny energetic powerhouses can help heal SO many different illnesses and they are so PRETTY. Amethyst for skin cancer, Rose Quartz for any heart issues, clear Quartz for absolutely ANYTHING. (This is the most purifying crystal there is, I have a beautiful palm -sized one I received as a gift which on any given day spends several hours in my hand).
- Breathe deeply. Lie and BREATHE. Sit and BREATHE. Stand and BREATHE. Walk and BREATHE. Talk and BREATHE. Simply BREATHE and BE. Deep inhales through the nose and exhales through the nose. Breathe deep into your belly. Sometimes I do a few counts of ‘in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4.’ Let the breath breathe you and relax you. Nothing beats breathing.
- Be grateful. Be grateful when you wake up in the morning that you have woken up in the morning (hard when you have a splitting migraine I know, but try). Be grateful at night before you go to sleep. I have a ‘gratitude jar’ where I write at least one thing I’m grateful for that has happened over the course of the day and I fold it up and put it in the jar. (Sometimes I’ve SO many things that the scrap of paper is covered in tiny indecipherable scribbles. Other days, the really bad days, I can struggle for even one thing… even if it’s just ‘a yogurt’, that’s something. One day when all I could face doing was watching trashy rom-coms it was ‘Ryan Gosling and Ashton Kutcher.’ Yes- I am grateful for their handsomeness, that their handsomeness exists in the world.) On the really bad days, tip it out and read through all the scraps. Feel better? Thought so.
- Eat food as if your life depended on it. It does. Healthy food. Food is medicine. Always make sure to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, every day. Fuel your body, give it good, wholesome, lovingly prepared food to encourage it to heal.
- LISTEN to your body. It is a font of knowledge. Make a friend of the body and ask it what it would like to eat, what would make it feel good? If it says an entire tub of ice-cream then you’re probably not listening to the right voice. Listen deeper. It WILL tell you: a bowl of hot soup? a salty broth or a sweet thickened root veg soup? Some rich, dense, grounding meat? A cold crispy salad? Chocolate? (perfectly acceptable).
- Which foods are REALLY quote-unquote ‘healthy’? Read up on nutrition. Do your research. Oh yeah, and while we’re on what is ‘healthy’: have you given up the fags, drugs and booze? Sure, if it really isn’t detrimental to your healing then a glass of wine or a nice artisan beer every now and then, but be honest, how does it affect YOUR body and mind? Know your truth. My truth is that there was no way my body was going to be able to heal if I kept on filling it with toxins. Poor thing– didn’t it have enough to deal with? That’s not to mention what it did to my MIND, and my relationships. My other truth when it comes to this is : ‘My name is Emma and I’m an alcoholic.’
- You might want to look at the amount of sugar that is in your diet: I don’t just mean processed sugar- I also mean all the sugar in fruit, grains and root vegetables. Sugar is the underlying cause of many diseases and often is the main cause of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the main cause of illness- MANY different illnesses.
- You might also want to have an honest think about whether it might be beneficial to your healing for you to start eating meat. I know, I know, controversial. But starting to eat meat has honestly been one of the BIGGEST factors in my own healing. I have not had an easy time accepting this.
- When you’re having a good day and have the energy, try out some of your favourite healthy recipes.
- When you’re having a really bad day still make sure to eat well, even if you are literally getting up out of bed to get food, go to the bathroom and then going back to bed. Be extra-super-very nice to yourself on these days, it’s hard, you need all the support you can get. Give it to yourself. The more you support yourself now, the quicker you’ll get back on your feet again.
- Before eating be thankful for the nutritious food you are lucky enough to have before you. Sit at the table. Enjoy eating in silence. Taste every ingredient. Savor every mouthful.
- Maybe you are lucky enough to live with someone nice who will bring you food in bed on the bad days and will cook something delicious and nurturing for you whether you are able to help or not. Wow, you are lucky. Appreciate it.
- Soothe yourself in the evenings by lighting candles and burning incense or lovely aromatherapy oils: Lavender to relax, Geranium to balance, Rosemary to invigorate and uplift. Do it for yourself. You deserve it.
- Once you’ve set the atmosphere, listen to your favourite music. REALLY listen to music. Let it touch your heart and make your soul soar. Have a wee weep into a pillow if you need to. (There’s something beautiful about these wee cries.)
- SING– maybe you want to sing along to one of your all-time favourite great sing-along songs while making one of those delicious, nutritious, lovingly prepared meals you are making for yourself? Who cares whether you are in tune or not? Maybe you want to combine singing and healing TOGETHER and chant some healing mantras in Sanskrit? Ah, they make you feel all warm and BUZZY. I meet with a group of lovely people regularly to sing some in a yurt by candle-light, it’s lovely. Hopefully I will be singing on my friend’s album when he records some of the beautiful mantras he has written in the new year. Perhaps you even want do one of the things that makes me really happy (when I have the energy) which is to record myself singing some of the folk songs I love which I share online under my sultry sombre folky songstress alias.
- Do you play an instrument, or did you in the past? Could you take it back up? I have to say that this one is still in the intention stage for me at the moment, but hey- everything begins as a thought. I have a guitar, a violin, a ukelele, a keyboard (under the bed) a recorder and a tin whistle (in a drawer somewhere) and a tambourine and maracas lying around my house, patiently waiting for me to take them up. Honestly, I just haven’t had enough energy for these yet. Sure, I’ve danced around with the tambourine a few times but every time I try to sit down with the guitar I quickly become super frustrated, feel a migraine coming on, and have to give up. But I accept. I’m not quite ready yet. I will be. Are you? (New Year’s Resolution for 2016. 2015’s was ‘start a blog.’ Well, would you look at that!)
- DANCE– like no one is watching: around your bedroom/living room/kitchen/garden to excellent, upbeat music. Do it in your pyjamas, do it in that dress you used to love going out dancing in, with the intention that you will get to air it on the dance-floor again one day in the future. Do it naked. Not enough energy to dance around? Do some bed-dancing (yep, exactly as it sounds. dancing, but while lying in bed.) Too much of a headache to listen to music at all let alone dance? I’ve been there, I’ve been there for weeks on end. Accept it, and in the words of Depeche Mode ‘enjoy the silence.’ The time will come for music listening and dancing (whether of the in bed or out variety.)
- Get out into NATURE. Go for walks (when you have the energy.) Be honest when you don’t, Sometimes I have had to be indoors for over a week my energy has been so precarious. It’s all allowed. But when you do have the energy- get out there! And If you’re on the fence, maybe this is a time to give yourself a little push? Break through that Agoraphobia! Even to the end of the road? I bet you’ll often end up going further. Walk slowly, take it all in. Hug trees. Take naps in trees, and on haybales, on a park bench (be the best dressed in hobo in town; I did this regularly while I was still living in the city and in recovery). Go for a walk with beautiful music in your ears. Go for a walk and listen to the sound of the birds, the river and the leaves rustling in the trees. Live in the city? Walk through the park, every day you can. Walk along streets with rose bushes. Stop and smell the roses. Walk along streets with lavender bushes. Stick your hands in them and smell the beautiful scent. Rub it in your hair. Rub it in someone else’s hair. Get out of the city into REAL Nature whenever you can. Live in the country? Appreciate it. Go for a walk and observe the changing seasons: the leaves as they change colour, then fall; the gothic, spindly bare trees through Winter. Crack your boots on ice-covered puddles and marvel over the beauty of snow on the hills. Feel like life is beginning all over again when everything starts to bud in Spring before bursting into the lusciously verdant world of GREEN you’d forgotten even existed. See the world come alive, the sun shine, the grass grow, and the country lanes blossom with wild flowers, berries, bees and butterflies. Watch the fields grow high with barley, watch as they all get cut down, turned into haybales and Winter comes again. Watch it all over again. Everything changes, everything dies. Reflect on this. Is there anything more magical? Appreciate it.
- Paint a picture, paint a birthday card for a friend, throw a pot, knit a scarf, make little models out of clay, out of your kids’ play-dough… Whatever. Create. Something. Who cares if you have the art skills of a five year old. I do and it doesn’t stop me. Don’t believe me? Here’s one of my efforts, a picture I made based on a Chakra meditation I did once.
- That reminds me: Meditate. MEDITATE. Meditation is without a doubt THE most important healing activity in my life. Actually it’s the most important activity in my life, full-stop. It has changed it beyond recognition. It can heal anything and anyone. Here’s something I wrote about it. I can’t even begin to explain it here, please follow the link and have a read if you’re interested. That’s just the beginning, I’m currently writing a book about it called ‘The Silent Meditation Retreat.’ If I could put a star on this one, out the entire 108, I would. ******************************* Oh look, I can!
- How to get started? Maybe try an online guided meditation.
- Why not, (if you have the energy) see about going to do a course at a local Buddhist Centre. Many of them teach meditation completely removed from the religious context. I did this for 6 years.
- Or maybe you want to jump in at the deep end and do a 10 day silent meditation retreat where you meditate for 10 hours a day. I did my first one last year. You will learn so much about yourself and the nature of the universe that it will blow your mind! (This is what I’m writing the book about btw, the technique is called Vipassana meditation. They have centres worldwide.)
- And what goes hand in hand with meditation? Yoga, of course. If you have the energy, find a local class, go along on a good day and if you like the teacher and you feel good after it, then go again. If you don’t, don’t. Look for another teacher, look for another style. Yin yoga and Dru yoga are lovely, slow, relaxing forms of yoga that would be perfect for someone who is convalescing.
- If you have yoga class ‘scheduled’ but you really don’t feel well enough. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your body. Sit this one out. If you feel on the edge and can’t decide whether or not to go. Maybe this another one of those times to give yourself a little push? If you usually feel really good after class then perhaps you will this time too?
- Do as I do and develop your own at home yoga practice. Here is my guide on ‘How to do the Perfect Sun Salutation.‘
- Do as little, or as much as you feel like. Never push yourself. It should feel GOOD, it should feel soothing, relaxing, ENERGISING. It should not feel frustrating. Sometimes on my really bad days my yoga practice is honestly just lying in ‘corpse pose‘ on the floor (yep, exactly as it sounds.) Sometimes with added crystals. On my REALLY bad days I consider it a great achievement if I manage to move from lying in my bed to lying on the floor for a little while. No matter how bad I feel I am still finding ways to care for myself.
- Want to try the most AMAZING form of yoga I’ve ever come across that makes energy RISE up your spine and through the top of your head and makes you BLISS OUT in complete and utter EUPHORIA?! Then try Kundalini yoga (and come to my classes when I am a fully qualified teacher. Here’s hoping by September 2016- New Year’s Resolution!)
- What do you think about Astrology? Sure the horoscopes in newspapers and magazines are absolute BOLLOCKS but do you not think that there’s something in the fact that we might JUST be affected by the movement of the planetary system that we are the most MINISCULE part of?! Check out this guy Kaypacha’s weekly astrology reports– not for each different starsign, but for the planet as a whole. Watch in wonder as you see the macrocosmic movements of the planets to be mirrored on the microcosmic level of our personal lives. Really helps to know what’s going on when shit seems to be hitting the fan all over the place.
- Clothing. Now this might seem a bit ‘surface’ at first but I think it’s important. Being a sick person means that you have to spend a LOT of time in your pyjamas and ‘lounge wear.’ I remember before I got sick my flatmate saying to me once as we were sat watching a film and I was dressed as if I were at work ‘you just don’t do lounge wear, do you?’ And I didn’t. I was FAR too busy to. I was either at work, socialising, or I was in bed (I hadn’t the first CLUE how to relax: a big part of the reason I got sick of course.) But when you’re sick this changes. Get pyjamas you really like. Get a comfy dressing gown (mine has a hood with ears). If you find that by the next Winter you are STILL sick and when you dig out the fleecy pyjamas that you used to LOVE from last year from the drawer and find that when you put them on you feel physically SICK because they remind you so much of how much WORSE you felt last year- send them to charity, or bin them. Something else I’ve found about clothing: within your limited ‘sick person’s wardrobe’ find ways to make yourself happy. When I was growing up I had a penchant for brightly coloured and patterned trousers. I had totally forgotten about it for a decade but once I started to reconnect with myself I realised it was important to me to re-embrace ridiculous trousers. So I lounge about in the brightest, busiest, craziest comfy trousers you have ever seen, and it makes me really happy. (These ones were a gift, what a great gift). And a completely new one- I have found that it FILLS me with joy to do yoga in full length brightly coloured leotards, all colours of the rainbow (or yogatards as I like to call them.) Makes me DANCE with glee. I intend to be known for them when I become a yoga teacher. What’s your equivalent? A ballgown in bed isn’t the most practical of course, but whatever it is, find a way to channel it. And don’t forget to dance around in that dress in the hope that one day you might be able to do it again, outside, in the world, at NIGHT, with PEOPLE, for REAL.
- When you can, when you feel like it, as much as you can: laugh, play, be SILLY. BE A BIG KID. Seek out people who make you laugh until you cry. Ah, how I wish I had more of these people in my life right now. (This is one thing I really look forward to about getting back to the ‘good’ bits of my ‘old’ life.)
- When you’re having a REALLY bad day find a mantra: one that I’ve found really works for me is to say to myself ‘I treat myself like I would a sick child.‘ And I try to be as super-duper gentle, patient and loving with myself as I possibly can be.
- It might feel strange at first (ok, it definitely will) but use terms of endearment, as you would with someone you care for, with yourself. Darling, Sweetheart, My Dear. Whatever works for you. Especially on these days where you need to be extra-super-very gentle with yourself.
- On these days it’s also important to have something to cuddle.
- Are you lucky enough to have a real live person to snuggle up with? Do you know how lucky you are? Appreciate it. Do you have a dog or a cat? Make them your snuggle buddy.
If, like me, you unfortunately don’t have a special person to cuddle right now, or a furry friend, then hug a hot water bottle, hug a pillow, hug a cuddly toy (shhhh… but honestly, try it). Have a wee weep into a pillow if you need to. Darling, it’s a beautiful thing that you want to love and be loved.
- It is a sad truth that when you are in recovery from a ‘big something’and you have to bow out of your life (as it was) that friends (and even family) WILL fall away, and perhaps will even withdraw for you. This is tough. You are going through the WORST possible time in your life and instead of stepping up and being there more than they have ever been there for you, your friends and family start dropping like flies. They stop calling, they stop visiting. You feel so alone.
- Man, this is HARD. It’s so hard to have to be more or less house-bound practically ALL the time. It’s so hard to barely have the energy to send, or even reply to a text message, let alone have a phone call, or God forbid SEE someone, even for a coffee (getting the bus into town, and having to be in a busy cafe, surrounded by lots of people, talking for over an hour and then having to make it ALL the way home again.) Are you kidding? I’d have to be in bed for days after that.
- Know this- Sometimes the people that care about us the most find it the hardest to be around us when we are sick as they simply do not know what to say, or do. They want so badly to be able to take our pain away for us, but they can’t, and it hurts them. It hurts them so much to see us suffering that they have to stay away. Forgive them. Also, it must be said: you know how Misery loves Company? Well Company can’t stand Misery, her negativity is catching like the Plague! Company has to stay away to protect himself. Don’t be a misery-guts, jus’ sayin’.
- And let’s be honest. On average how much time do you really spend thinking about other people? I know that I spend the majority of my time thinking about me, Me, ME- and often I am far too caught up in all my own stuff to check in on other people. They are exactly the same. It’s not that they’ve stopped caring about you. Not for one second. But they have their job, their commitments, their kids, they may not have a ‘big something’ but they sure as hell have got a lot of ‘little somethings’ of their own to deal with. And it’s true of course that right now you aren’t able to do the things that you used to do together: go for coffee, go to the park, go to the cinema, go out dancing, visit them at all. In some ways it’s quite simply a case of out of sight out of mind: and yeah, you’re in your house all the time! Hey, it’s ok! Forgive them. Find ways to enjoy being in your house- that’s where you need to be right now. And If you find yourself thinking about them, instead of saying to yourself: ‘I NEVER hear from them, don’t they care how I am? I’m SICK!’ text them, call them, as them how they are. How do you feel now? Better? I thought so. And God forbid, if any of them end up suffering from a ‘big something’ of their own in the future, you know what it feels like to go through that, and you know just how lonely it can be, and just how it means SO much to feel supported, so you can do it for THEM.
- Know this also- People are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Some of the friends that have fallen away might have just been ‘seasoners’; some of the friends that fall away will have been ‘reasoners’ (in fact, you can count on that. The ex that stamped on your heart? That adversary at work? That party pal that stabbed you in the back? All reasoners. They have something to teach you and then they move on, and so do you. (often it’s a very HARD lesson) Let them go. You will meet more. The ‘lifetimers’ are not going anywhere. Sure, your ‘big something’ might mean that you’ve barely spoken for quite some time. Maybe it’s just the odd text message, a rare phone-call. Maybe it’s going to be quite some time before you will be well enough to see them in person again, but they are ‘lifetimers’, they’re in this for the long haul, and you WILL see them again and you will get to do the things together that you enjoyed doing so much, or you will find new things to do, that fit in with where you are right now (that might very well involve no ‘doing’ at all.) And they love you.
- And as much as certain friends from your old life will fall away, and you might go through a period of feeling like a Billy-no-Mates social leper who is going to be ALONE, FOREVER. Worry not. You will start to meet new people that are more in tune with who you are now, and who you are becoming. They will pop up in the most unexpected of ways. Aren’t you meeting these people already? And are there friends, maybe even people who were more like acquaintances from your old life who you would have NEVER have expected to stay in touch with you as you traversed the gauntlet of the ‘big something’ who have proven themselves to be wonderfully supportive friends? Thought so. And if right now you haven’t quite reached that stage: worry not, you will. (I know I’ll be reading this section carefully on my bad days when I feel like The.Loneliest.Person.In.The.World.)
- No matter how your ‘big something’ has affected your friendships- without a doubt, the MOST important friendship you have to cultivate to get through this is with YOURSELF. Treat yourself as you would your best friend all the time. Start to enjoy his of her company. You are NEVER alone- you are always with your best friend, the person who you know and who knows you more than anyone else in the world. Do you really know them that well? Do everything you can to get to know them on the DEEPEST level possible. Find out EVERYTHING that happened to them in their life and how they feel about it. Be there for them. What do they love to do? Do it (when you feel up to it. It may be completely different moment to moment). What are their biggest hopes and dreams? Help them, in any way you can, to move towards making them come true, one step at a time. Be the best friend you can be. This will only help you to be an even better friend to the other people in your life.
- How do you go about being your own best friend? Find out WHAT makes them feel empowered: Ask them; observe them in action- by themselves, around other people, in different environments- discern the answer: DO these things. Find out what makes them feel disempowered : Ask them; observe them in action- by themselves, around other people, in different environments- discern the answer: STOP DOING THESE THINGS. Find out WHO makes them feel empowered? Observe how they feel after talking to someone or spending time with them: Feel good? energised? uplifted? inspired? happy? at peace? Spend more time with these people. Find out who makes them feel disempowered: (ditto above list): Feel sad? bad? drained? depressed? negative? exhausted? STOP SPENDING TIME WITH THESE PEOPLE: and if that isn’t possible, learn how to protect yourself around them and DO NOT take any of their draining negativity personally, it has NOTHING to do with you, It’s THEIR stuff, it’s their business. You have enough of your own stuff to be getting on with, leave them to their own stuff, stay out of their business. But Darling, Forgive them. They need to learn to be their own best friend, just like us. But they have to do it for themselves. Focus on YOU.
- Another important way to become your own best friend: Stop that negative self talk. STOP IT. Would you talk to your best friend like that? Not in a million years. This is one of the single BIGGEST reasons you are not healing.
- Whenever you have a negative thought- it might just be a wee one ‘Can’t even do your dishes today? How pathetic is that?’ maybe it’s a big one ‘Who are you kidding- you’re NEVER going to get well. What’s the POINT?’ –STOP– ask yourself ‘Is that True?’
- Wait for the response. If it is a list of excuses, or blaming, or anything that is trying to convince you that you should keep listening to this voice that wants you to remain in a fear-based existence. Ask again.
- Is it REALLY true?
- Is it?
- Didn’t think so.
- Read Byron Katie, she came up with this technique. So simple but it REALLY works. (You are dialoguing with your Ego here, you are NOT it, but it tries to exert control over your life in any way it can. It wants to keep you living in a fear-based existence and will do and say ANYTHING to try and get you to stay there as opposed to opening to love. You have to play hard-ball with it. And you do this by accessing the voice of your soul. And CRUSHING the soul-destroying Ego with its truth. With love, of course. (How to you access the voice of your soul? Get Silent. Listen, Listen deeply, Meditate)
- Encourage yourself to follow your dreams. Imagine them with WILD abandon. (N.B. Your wildest dreams come form the voice of your SOUL and NOT the voice of your EGO.) Could your illness perhaps be partially explained by just how much you’ve denied your dreams to yourself over all these years? Did you deny them so much that you wouldn’t even let yourself dwell on them in your MIND, let alone encouraging yourself to pursue them in reality? Mine certainly was. Lose yourself in the complete reverie of visioning your ideal existence: in mine I am a perfectly healthy, wise-as-fuck widely travelled Kundalini yoga and free-style dance Teacher/Healer who is the Matriarch of a retreat centre situated in amongst the trees in the Scottish Highlands- complete with an with a big outdoor deck (for yoga and dance, and concerts) and an indoor studio (for more yoga, and more dance, and more house concerts) All of which I have paid for with the proceeds from my No.1 bestselling books and the movie that someone made of them). And when I’m not teaching yoga, dance, meditation or helping people to heal, frolicking about in nature or travelling to places of natural awesome beauty all over the planet, I’m writing MORE bestselling books. Oh and I have the most wonderful husband, of course. What’s your equivalent?
- Daydream. Go for it. Remove all limitations. I am going to say something REALLY important here: If you take only 3 words from this ENTIRE article make them these: ‘Thought creates Reality.’ ****************************** There’s the stars again. Yeah, yeah, I hear you: ‘I’m SICK! What good is it going to do me to imagine all of these things I WISH I could do/have but I CAN’T have because I am SICK and there is not a CHANCE IN HELL of them coming true. Nothing good ever happens to me. Even if I wasn’t sick they are too unrealistic. Anyway, it’s more likely that I’m going to DIE from this illness than for ANY of the things I wish I could do ACTUALLY happening, woe, Woe, WOE! So I’ll say the three words again: Thought creates Reality. Drink them in. If you want to keep on with those negative thoughts: about your capacity to heal, and your capacity to follow your dreams, then that’s your choice, but be careful, you have been warned. Want to give it a go and allow yourself to imagine your wildest dreams in the most intricate, alive detail you possibly can, sickness or no sickness? Just watch in complete astonishment as opportunities start to present themselves whereby taking little steps, when you feel that intuitive call, you find that your external reality starts to move, the teensiest bit at a time, in that direction. Sometimes making BIG LEAPS towards making your dreams come true. Everything starts with a thought. Healing, dreams, EVERYTHING. Illness. Jus’ sayin.
- And your dreams at night are just as important. Ask before going to bed to be given illuminating dreams. Write them down as soon as you wake up in the morning. Write them down in the middle of the night if you wake from a dream and remember it. I keep a ‘Dream Journal’ especially for this beside my bed. Interpret them. Firstly for yourself: what do the images and symbols mean in relation to your life? Then you can widen it out by using Jungian based dream analysis. It’s absolutely amazing what your unconscious is trying to communicate to you in your dreams. Listen. It is a very powerful form of therapy.
- If you need it. Get therapy. I did. I do. Ideally find a therapist who is smarter than you. Find a therapist who will not take any of your bullshit. I have found all that and more: a ridiculously smart therapist who takes absolutely NONE of my bullshit (this is quite some feat) and is an expert in dream analysis. Wow, my psyche is fascinating. So is yours- check it out!
- Open your mind and try out alternative therapies. They will only be able to help you if you allow yourself to be open to them. To help me heal from my illness I’ve had Reiki, I’ve had Acupuncture; I’ve had Accupressure; Cranio-Sacral Therapy; Crystal Healing; Shamanic Healing; Metamorphic Healing; Pranic Healing, Bowen Technique; I’ve had Vibrational Healing… I’m probably missing some out. I’ve had healing in person and I’ve had distance healing. Wow, have I learned more about myself, my illness and what I need to do to heal having these treatments than if I had a lifetime in the doctors office! These healings work on the energetic body. An excellent treatment, as well as healing your body on an energetic level, will help guide you towards what you need to do in order to help heal your soul, spirit, heart, mind AND body. All of these holistic therapies are all drawing on the same ‘source’ to help you heal, just in different ways. Some people are better at channeling it than others. Everyone is capable of channeling this, EVERYONE. But you want someone who has the highest possible AWARENESS of what it IS that they’re channeling. (I’ve just started my Reiki training and am now channeling healing energy myself. Wow, it’s AMAZING. Yep, it’s from the ‘source’, that’s for sure, (we’ll come back to this idea later), but I’ve been experiencing this for quite a while already since I took up Vipassana Meditation. The source is COOL.)
- READ. LOTS. Read all those books you have been wanting to read for years but have never had the time. Read books that expand your mind, make your heart sing and nourish your SOUL.
- Escape into a wonderful novel: D.H. Lawrence is my favourite. Paulo Coehlo, another. And I’ll admit- I DO re-read ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ on a yearly basis. What’s your equivalent?
- Read non-fiction books on ALL the subjects you’ve secretly wanted to be an expert on for years: for me that’s Trees, Birds, Foraging, Nature, Crystals, Astrology,Yoga, Nutrition, Healing, Spirituality, Shamanism…. What’s your equivalent?
- Read ALL about healing the Body, Mind and Spirit. Some of my favourites are by Caroline Myss, Charles Eisenstein and Murdo MacDonald Bayne (you can read these for free online)
- Read the amazing book on healing your Mind, Body, Heart, Soul, Spirit AND the PLANET that I recommend to anyone that will listen: Charles Eisenstein ‘The More Beautiful World We Know in Our Hearts Is Possible.‘ (again, you can read it for free online here). Wowza, this is a good book.
- But there are many MANY bad books. If you start a book and you get part way in and you’re simply not enjoying it, put it down. (don’t do anything you don’t want to do, no matter how small). Find something that you will enjoy. Life is too short.
- When you’re too tired to read (happens to me quite a lot- that’s the sign of a BAD day) then listen to a nice audiobook. Oh how I LOVE Clarissa Pinkola Estes, you might want to read this one too.
- Read beautiful poetry that hits you right down in your soul: Rumi, Emily Dickinson, David Whyte, Mary Oliver and Rainer Maria Rilke are some of my favourites. Why not write poetry? if you are so inclined. I WISH I had that talent, not one I have, anyway, not yet.
- WRITE– write a journal. I write screeds and screeds every week, it is one of the most important tools I have of getting to know myself, and learning to be my own best friend. It is the place I can be really honest about how I am feeling, sometimes in all its horrific glory- Ah, CATHARSIS! It is also where I do all my daydreaming on paper: envisioning all the things I want to happen in my future.
- Write a Blog (it’s working for me! And people seem to be responding pretty well to it).
- Write long emails and letters to friends, people LOVE to receive snail mail. And for me, right now, I find that this is the easiest way to communicate as it demands the least energy, plus it’s just really lovely. Send someone a postcard, send it from your home. Who cares that it’s not coming from an exotic location? Whoever you send it to will be delighted that you are thinking of them.
- Write a BOOK. They say we’ve all got at least one book in us, right? Well since I opened to this idea I’ve realised I’ve got SEVERAL. I’m part way through writing the first one right now. (If I’ve talked to you about it you’ve no doubt heard be refer to it as my ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ It’s got to pay for my retreat centre, remember?) And my second book ‘Honouring the Chrysalis’ is also already fully written in my head; and in my journal. There would be no books if I didn’t keep a journal: the origin of all of my writing in one way or another can be traced back to my journals. I even hope that my journals will be published one day, like the Diaries of Anais Nin, who I also LOVE. But they are, by my own admission, FAR too fiercely private, intense, irrational, revealing and deeply vulnerable to be published any time soon- and this is coming from the Queen of the over-share. Oh, and I’ll say it again: Everything starts as a thought, remember?
- Thinking about writing and connecting with yourself and others: SCREW SMALL TALK. Life is too short. CONNECT DEEPLY WITH PEOPLE. Talk about your hopes and dreams, your passions, things that move you beyond yourself and the things you love so much it hurts. Tell your stories and talk about your irrational philosophies about this crazy world we live in. If someone doesn’t want to meet you there, then that’s their loss. Be kind, be compassionate, be loving, but don’t force yourself to make uncomfortable small talk. Silence is Golden. You can say SO much more in silence than you can in small talk. (N.B. When you say ‘I’m fine’ and you’re not: no one is fooled by these words- your energy conveys the truth. When you say ‘how are you?’ and you don’t really care- don’t be fooled, your energy conveys the truth.) Say what you mean and mean what you say and choose your words carefully. Make them beautiful: life is too short. And for those people who aren’t yet ready to meet you there: be there, waiting patiently, door open, ready to have a truthful conversation whenever they are ready, they’ve just got some work to do on learning how to be their own best friend first. Forgive them. Oh, and LISTEN, listen as passionately, deeply and attentively as you talk, if not, even more so.
- Get to know your silence intimately. Turn off the TV, and be with yourself. Sure, the occasional really well-made film is great; so is an awesome nature programme; a groundbreaking documentary; a fiercely intelligent, high-quality series; or something that makes you WET yourself laughing (or the once in a while guilty pleasure rom-com). But mindless television watching is one of the most soul sucking addictions there is. Make like a rock-star and throw the infernal thing out of the goddamn window.
- Equally, are you even listening to what’s on the radio? Or are you merely using it as an distraction from your own thoughts? Or so that you feel less ‘alone’. (I’m only saying this as I used to do it, bigtime). Be honest. You can do it. Be with yourself. (Remember that you’re never alone- you are always with your best friend. Remember also to call yourself out on those negative thoughts!) This is HARD at first, it’s second nature to us to escape our own thoughts at every given opportunity as we don’t want to face them, but it gets easier. I promise. It becomes BLISSFUL
- Speak your truth. Live from your soul. Life is too short. Don’t know what your truth is? Ask yourself. How well do you know your best friend? Get comfortable speaking your truth to yourself. Then you can begin to share it with others. Don’t know what your soul is? It’s where you find your truth. Once you know your truth never let anyone else tell you otherwise, they are probably still living in fear. Forgive them. Then again, listen to them, and listen well, and take heed if they happen to be totally right. Maybe they’ve been travelling down this ‘stop living in fear’ path for longer than you and have something to teach you. Be open to learning new things from other people, as well as for yourself, (even from the most unexpected people) and as a result changing your mind, for YOURSELF. This is called ‘soul evolution.’
- Are you lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone that you love unconditionally and who unconditionally loves you? Wow, you are SO lucky. Find new and innovative ways to show them how much you love them each and every day, and allow them to love you back in exactly the same way. Life is too short.
- Are you secretly in love with someone and would like nothing more than for them to allow you to love them and to allow themselves to love you back? Tell them. Life is too short.
- Do you feel unable to love? Is your heart behind a pane of glass? Is it a brick in your chest? (I’ve been there). Are you afraid of getting hurt? Of losing your independence? Or of being abandoned, again? Are you scared that it won’t work out? Do you fear that true love just doesn’t exist? If this is the case you have to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING you can to CRACK that heart of yours wide open so that love can pour in and out. Life is too short. (N.B. Like healing you are absolutely unable to ‘make’ this happen by pushing, forcing, or demanding. It is a process of one thing: surrender.)
- Are you in a relationship where deep down in your soul you know that they don’t really love you and/or you don’t really love them? You have to leave (yeah it’s going to be hard, gut-wrenching, but you have to.) You have to honour your soul. And if you keep on denying it, it won’t let you get away with it. It will make you ill. Has it already? It’s better to be alone (or rather, with your best friend) than it is to stay in the wrong relationship. Wait for the real thing. You will know it when it comes. Life is DEFINITELY too short.
- Stop seeking emotional support from people who are just fundamentally not equipped to be able to give it to you (a relationship like the one above would be one example of this). It’s not their fault: Hurt people hurt people. If someone didn’t receive unconditional love themselves (usually as a child and then they unconsciously repeat the pattern in their romantic relationships and with their children) then they have NO IDEA how to provide it for another. Forgive them, they are doing the best they can. But that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t break the pattern. You can go inwards, go DEEP, right to the soul, right to the source, and learn how to receive it without needing ANYONE else to provide it for you, whether from your parents in the past, or in friendships and relationships now. How do you do that? Go DEEP. LISTEN. MEDITATE. (And about your parents- chances are they REALLY were doing the best that they could with the knowledge that they had at the the time), and then YOU can learn to give it: not only to yourself but also, to others, (maybe even to those people who sadly unintentionally hurt you so much by not being able to give it to you in the past.)
- What was it? Forgive it. Forgive him. Forgive her. Forgive them ‘they know not what they do.’ Forgive yourself. FORGIVE YOURSELF.
- Accept it. Accept him. Accept her. Accept them. Accept yourself. Accept yourself.
- Release it. Release him. Release her. Release them. Release yourself. Release yourself. (If you can, having a therapist REALLY helps for this stuff because if you’re anything like me then you will have to go through a lot of fear, anger, hate, grief, resentment and RAGE before you can REALLY release things. It’s only natural. Man, did that stuff FUCKING HURT!)
- But enough already. Stop playing the victim. Stop holding onto your wounds. Stop with the ‘why me’s’ and the ‘it’s so unfair’s’ . Why NOT you? Would you rather that this was happening to someone else? There is no rational reason for this, the laws of the universe that we are subject to are decidedly IRRATIONAL, but there is MEANING. Find it. Remember the only real truths about being a human being: We all get ill, we all suffer, we all die. But are you JUST a human being? Are you just this body? This sick body? Are you just this mind? This unruly spoiled brat that tries to control your entire life and leaves you MISERABLE? It’s your mind that needs some serious disciplining. Stop blaming the body, the poor thing has only been doing what it’s been told by the mind. Most of all stop listening to the pathetic, fearful voice in the mind whose sole reason for existence is to make you feel that you are vulnerable, that you are separate from everyone else and that they, and the world, can harm you. GET IT TO FUCK. This is your Ego at it’s VERY worst. Learn to listen to the other voice, that’s waiting there patiently, just for you to pay attention to it that says: ‘whatever happened, whatever it was, whatever you did, whatever they did: it is completely forgiven, in fact there was never anything to forgive in the first place.’ The voice that says even in your darkest moments: ‘I have infinite love for you; I have infinite patience for you; I have infinite time for you.’ THIS is the voice of your soul. THIS is the voice that you have to learn to listen to. THIS is the voice that will tell you EXACTLY what it is you need to do to heal. Don’t think you don’t have one: you do. Don’t know how to find it: Go DEEP, LISTEN, MEDITATE. And this is also the voice that will tell you if it really is your time.
- Forgiveness really is everything. EVERYTHING. Darling, in Reality there is actually absolutely nothing to forgive. There never has been. You have always been and will always be innocent, invulnerable, infinite, and completely loved and protected. Even in your illness, even in death.
- Ask yourself ALL the big questions: Who Am I? What am I? Why am I here? Why am I on this planet? Go DEEP. LISTEN. Meditation really helps- I could not have come to my answers to these questions without meditation. Find your own answers by committing to following your own path. (FYI- I’ve realised that the answer I’m on this planet is to be a yoga teaching, healing, wise-as-fuck…etc, (what’s your equivalent?) And the answer I’ve come to to the ‘Who am I?/What am I?’ questions is this: I AM Spirit; I HAVE a Mind; I am IN a Body.’ And it’s about using the second two in service to the first and not the other way around.)
- Ask yourself more big questions: Why did I get this illness? Where did I go wrong to end up with this illness? What has my illness come to teach me? How do I learn the lesson? What do I need to process in my past to allow be to move forward? How can I turn this illness into an opportunity? How can I use it to help others? Go DEEP. LISTEN. MEDITATE. (If you have to ask the question ‘why was I born with this illness?’ then perhaps you have to open to the idea of ‘Biography becomes Biology’ but expand that idea to….dare I say it? Past Lives.) (And FYI- I know I got my illness as a result of my biography becoming my biology and lots and lots of misguided choices I made over the years as I was listening to the voice of my Ego and not the voice of my Soul. I have learned my lesson and now I am dedicated to making the right choices and using my story to help other people to break-free of their ‘stories’, and as such, to Heal. Wow, what an opportunity. I appreciate it.)
- Ask yourself EVEN MORE big questions: What is death? What comes after death? What if I’m not supposed to recover from this illness? What if this is my time? What does that mean for me? GO DEEP. LISTEN. MEDITATE. (FYI- What comes after death? Well, If we ARE Spirit, and we HAVE a mind, and we are IN a Body, then we can leave that body it and we will not die. And if the body is not something we ARE but rather something we’re residing in for a while, a long while (and man, isn’t it incredible? Then shouldn’t I do absolutely everything I can to take care of this thing so I can enjoy this thing called life?!) Appreciate it. Death is nothing but a cross-roads, like coming up to a junction and your car breaking down, and you simply hop out, cross over to the other side of the junction, hop in a shiny new car and you’re off again. There is nothing to fear. The thing that you ‘ARE’ goes with you: your SOUL, your SPIRIT. You cannot be harmed. You are invulnerable. And, oh, man: ‘What if I’m not supposed to recover from this illness? What if this is my time?’ Well, I have lived through that- (that day I planned my funeral, and many other days besides that) and you know what- ok, I’m going to preface what I’m about to say by stating that I am NOT a religious person, in fact I was brought up a devout atheist, so this might shock you- but I just HANDED IT OVER. I said- ‘If I’m supposed to die from this then I trust that you, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are, have a plan for me- and it better be a fucking good one. So if this is meant to be my time- then I accept it, I trust that you know what you’re doing. (And if now it is the time then I’m going to make sure that at least the fucking funeral music is right!) Turns out it wasn’t to be my time, this time. So dare I say it: Let go and let God. Get out of your own way. Accept that you are just part of something much bigger than yourself. Feel the overwhelming sense of relief, and JOY, and PEACE. It’s ALL allowed. There is NOTHING to fear. Don’t wait to get as close to death as I did to realise this. You don’t have to.
- So that brings me to this: Ask yourself THE BIGGEST questions there are : What is God? Why are ANY of us on this planet? What is the meaning of LIFE? (WOAH, those are some BIG ASS questions right there!) Well the answer that I’ve come to is that God is a word– and a big scary word at that, which causes many of us to recoil in horror at first (I’ve been there. I was there for a LONG time). But the word God could also be exchanged for the word Spirit, or Soul, or Energy, or Source, Love, Light, Creator, Big Mind or Buddha Nature, Chi/Ki/Qi, Tao, or Oneness, or All, the Whole, or Being, are you a Star Wars fan? ‘The Force.’ (What’s your equivalent? What word do you want to use? It can be anything! It could be Marjory!) It doesn’t matter what word you use- and it doesn’t matter if you choose Christianity, Buddhism, Energy Healing or Quantum Physics to get you there. They’re all different ways of pointing to the same place. And beyond being a word, what do I think God is ACTUALLY? It’s simple really: God <or insert your equivalent here>is EVERYWHERE and EVERYTHING. There’s a great Maya Angelou quote ‘There is nowhere that God is not.’ God ,or <insert your equivalent here> is inside of me and it’s inside of you, it’s inside of that flower, that cloud, that mountain. But as much as I LOVE that Maya Angelou quote, there IS somewhere that God is not: the EGO. God is NOT in our egos that keep us living a fear-based existence which falsely tells us that we are separate individuals and that we have to sacrifice, attack and defend in order to survive. It is the EGO that creates illness. It is the ego that harms other beings. On the microcosmic level it is the ego that creates negative thoughts. On the macrocosmic level it is the collective ego that breeds hatred and starts wars. The ego has unfortunately created many, many awful things in this world… What is the Ego? FEAR. It is the EGO that we have to cure ourselves of (individually and collectively) in order to heal, from ANY ‘big something’, even a ‘big something’ that has the words ‘chronic’, ‘incurable’ or even ‘terminal’ slammed in front of it. Even from a big something that involves multiple NATIONS spanning many CENTURIES. Darling, start with yourself- you simply must get rid of the Ego. You must GET IT TO FUCK.)
- And know this- God/Spirit/Source/Energy/Love/Light/The Force/Marjory is NOT some abstract concept that you ‘believe’ in. No, it is something you EXPERIENCE. PHYSICALLY. NO ONE who has experienced God <or insert equivalent here> would ever harm another being, they realise that attack in any way shape or form is completely futile. They realise that words can be weapons, as well as bombs (whether ‘in the name of God’ or not), and they also realise that even defense is a form of attack. The truth needs no defense. It just IS. No, no one who has really experienced God <or insert equivalent here> still lives in the fear-based mindset that pushes people to attack with words, or actual weapons. Really experiencing God <you get it by now> is like tapping into a huge big energetic force field which then flows through your body, which is the most blissful feeling you will have ever, or will ever, experience. And you can tap into this source anywhere, anytime, anyplace: you can channel it to heal yourself, you can channel it to heal others, you can channel it to help heal the PLANET. (Go back to no. 73 now for a second, get it? Get what ‘source’ is and how powerful energy healing can be when it is channeled well? Can you guess who was the most powerful energy healer that ever existed then? Yup, you got it.) It is something you KNOW only BECAUSE you have experienced it. You will have had momentary flashes of it in your life before, when? When you have experienced deep LOVE. Why are we ill? Because we’ve forgotten how to experience it. Because we’ve forgotten what we ARE. We’ve been tricked into thinking that we are our EGOS. If you don’t KNOW that you have experienced it, then you haven’t, yet. But you CAN. It is your birthright, it’s why we’re here. It’s that ‘something’ that you’ve always felt to somehow be missing from your life. How do I experience it? GO DEEP, LISTEN, Live from your soul and do your equivalent of every fucking thing on this list and more and Meditate, Meditate, Meditate. And as my favourite 16th Century Mystic Teresa d’Avila wrote about experiencing God: ‘once is enough.’
- Yeah, once IS enough. Once is enough to KNOW. But once you can tap into it, tap into AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Hell, spend as much of your day and night there as you can, it feels bloody great! And, another bonus, it will help you to be pretty damn wise. Use it to heal yourself (from ANY illness, no matter HOW serious), and then go on to channel it to help others and the planet. Keep going deep, keep listening, keep meditating. Keep expanding your mind, stay open to receiving updates from within and without to help you to refine your truth.
- When you tap into the source: FILL YOUR OWN CUP FIRST. You cannot give to others from an empty cup. But if you make sure to fill your own cup to the brim first, then it WILL overflow into others, and eventually ALL others, no matter how they may have treated you in the past.
- So HEAL YOURSELF FIRST. And remember, in Reality there is no separation, (God is everything and everyone right?) So as long as you are healing yourself you ARE healing others and you ARE healing the planet. Wow, what an opportunity. Appreciate it. If you can do this then you WILL be healed. You WILL be returned to wholeness. You will be healed and returned to wholeness even if it is your time. But even if it IS your time, there’s NOTHING to fear, you’re just hopping in another car remember? (I’d want a Red Landrover Defender, or actually, I’d want a kick-ass VW Campervan. What’s your equivalent?)
- And if it simply isn’t your time, if like me, you’re meant to recover from this and go on to DO stuff in the world then make sure you KNOW YOURSELF and begin to take steps to align yourself up with that dream of yours as much as possible (baby steps, everything starts with a thought). We do live in a cosmically ordered universe but YOU are the only one who can put it into ACTION. Get into alignment by following your soul. Make good choices. Get empowered. If you choose to follow the ego- that is the path of suffering, that is the path of misery, that is the path of the ‘big something’, that is the path of death. Choose to live from the soul. Commit to it 100%, then ANY ‘big something’ CAN be undone and you WILL be happy. And my Darling, be patient– although you are healed on the level of Soul, Spirit, Heart and Mind you might just have to wait a while for the body to catch up- you’ve put the poor helpless thing through a LOT. I’m still waiting for mine to catch up completely. But it WILL. Real healing is nothing short of complete transformation. It is an absolutely unbelievable experience. I am so happy. My illness is THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME. This butterfly is ready to break RIGHT OUT of the Chrysalis now. And you will be too. Live your life. Love your life. THIS life is still too short, make the most of it. Appreciate it.
********************** And please do SHARE this article, and SEND it to anyone you know who is going through a ‘big something’– it might just give them a little bit of comfort, and we need ALL the support we can get. Love x