It suddenly felt like my last post “Its not your fault...” was calling for a postscript, not to qualify it but to build upon its breakthrough. Never has a post felt more cathartic than that one for declaring “stop bottling everything up, say it like it is and if things feel shitty, say so” (and that, plus what I am about to add, applies to everything we get “stuck” on, not just our health). Just breaking the protocol to say what I did out-loud opened the floodgates in me ready for something else to come through; and all so perfectly in-sync with some extraordinary ‘weather’ conditions on our planet this week (more on that in a minute).
What saying all this out-loud enabled me to do was to recognise something distinct about chronic health issues, other really big “life challenges” and also the kind of personal-growth journey we go off on when we are experiencing them. For many people, I think it is a truism that when their life seemingly falls apart or becomes particularly challenging in a way that seems to threaten their survival, they embark on a path of existential enquiry, often leading to inner expansion and even ‘spiritual’ growth …and as they do this, they often find a great deal of solace from new mindsets that put them into an altogether new and more roomy kind of peace with those circumstances or “what is”. Accepting whatever arises becomes a sort of mantra – and this is good, this is a healing process and can generate a certain amount of traction of its own due to a mindset that seeks out the positive in every situation, and not necessarily in the most obvious places. It goes like this: if everything is serving me, I can let go of the overwhelming, yet instinctive, resistance to some of the most frightening things that present themselves to my experience. This calms everything right down, allowing the body to get out of “fight or flight mode” and allowing the hidden gifts in every situation to pluck up the nerve to show themselves around the edge the door, like the timid child (the eternally hopeful, relentlessly optimistic inner child that lives inside each of us) that holds the very solution that we are looking for. A very great distance indeed can be covered, on a healing journey, with the aid of this mindset and, indeed, it does a lot of the groundwork in preparation for the next stage but then, at some point, it reaches a whole new place…
That place feels like there is nothing left to push against anymore and yet, still, nothing is permanently resolved with your situation; you are probably still in a state of dramatically yoyo-ing health – with some pretty alarming, possibly progressive, symptoms presenting for your attention – and this still feels like a situation you need to “do something about” for the sake of your own wellbeing and survival. Yet there’s a confusion now sitting at the heart of it and am ambivalence too – does it serve me best to “do” or to just sit here and “accept” – and there are no signposts in this place; neither option feels quite right. Like a vast swimming pool with no visible sides, you are left out at sea; no longer allowing yourself to form resistance to even the direst circumstances because you believe this makes them “persist”, you remain passive and disarmingly calm in the face of every new challenge and yet without any discernible forward traction as your pay-off. Yes, you seem to make some headway by going with the flow for a while but then the flow sends you right back where you were a little while ago…or rather, maybe there was no flow so much as an opinionless wiggle, just as happy for you to be in one place as another. As a fourth dimensional experience is to the third, this place compares with your old “normality” as a bizarre landscape full of obsolete-definitions, ever-moveable goalposts and contrasts so indistinct you can hardly make them out yet, with nothing to consistently rail against or kick off from, you feel like you are going nowhere and you know you don’t want to stay in this place either.
In chronic illness territory (though this phase can play out in any aspect of life…leaving you feeling suddenly, even uncharacteristically, ambivalent about what – if any – career you really want to pursue, about where or how you want to live, etc.), it presents as a vast sea of frustration and unsolved “problems” that never show their true colours sufficiently for you to get anywhere finding their solutions. Things still feel terribly amiss with your health (lifestyle, career…); things that you desperately want to tackle, get around or “cure” and yet (though you still diligently carry-out all of your research), all routes seem to lead back to each other in endless circles. In fact, the whole linearity of cause and effect seems to have vanished! Though everyone has their pet theory, and tackling one thing or another may seem to help in the short term, no one things presents as the actual root of your “problem” as they all feed into one another as both the cause and the outcome simultaneously; something which probably sounds remarkably familiar to anyone researching fibromyalgia and its many paradoxes! It all becomes one very giant “chicken and egg” situation, with you caught up at its epicentre.
So what gives that forward motion back to you when there’s no side to kick-off against? My thoughts on this happened to occur to me as I woke in my October bedroom, where it was still pitch-dark enough to suggest it was the middle of the night, though traffic sounds told me it was already morning; which is a typical awakening during a season that has come to represent the circumstances of most struggle for me. What makes this so? What makes the period of time between autumn equinox and winter solstice the very hardest of all, played out in all my most struggling cells, the most bizarre and problematic physical symptoms? Within that context of endless challenge, why do I find myself dwelling more on the negatives and fears and especially health challenges than progress and excitement and all the other things I prefer to think about; what turns my focus so decidedly from what’s going well to what’s going wrong? This is like its own chicken and egg at the heart of fibromyalgia and never is the truism of the conundrum more marked than it is, for me, at this time of year, compared with the ‘lighter’ months when the hand ropes of positivity seem to glide me along through (m)any challenges that present themselves.
And yet…I know this in my heart-of-hearts…this is no case of dire pessimism, of self-defeatism or even depression creating its own health issues (which comes right back to the point I was making about chronic health in my last post; no one is inventing, creating or perpetuating their own chronic health situation – having been in the territory for the longest time, I know that theory is too naive, and culturally convenient, by far). The subtlety of the breakthrough lies in (properly!) getting past this insidious mindset of “blame”, even having that big rant at the unfairness of the situation if that helps (and, like a declaration to the universe that you are passive no longer, it might!) and then acknowledging your full knock-everyone’s-socks-off power to change anything you don’t choose to put up with anymore, yes – even before you really know what it is that you are acknowledging here. The alchemy is in the unapologetic unleashing of the full extent of everything you are and are capable of – you don’t need to know how to operate all the knobs yet!
[Ahem: To do this, you might (like me) need to get a handle on the latent apology at the heart of everything you are about; send some love to the part of yourself that thinks you are so small, so meek and so flawed – let it know what a star player its been all this time – and then watch that part of you grow up into something else entirely!]
Try it from this angle; health issues that you’ve had this long and have worked this relentlessly to recover from aren’t a sign you are lagging behind, failing at anything or self-sabotaging your life; rather, they’re a clue you are daring enough to enter all-new territory where the safe sides of well-being, marked out as a predictable “biology textbook” set of cells behaving as we have all come to expect, no longer applies. For the pioneer heading into this territory, it all comes up for grabs; literally nothing is predictable any more and, like all transitional phases, this is fraught with a whole new set of challenges. Whilst still, partially, stuck in the biology of yesterday (created by the epigenetics of all the decades of your life thus far), that slow-moving form of energy known as biological “you” seems to dissolve into something with the potential to reinvent the rules in every minute and what you are left with doesn’t seem to adhere to conventional theories or, for that matter, to respond to conventional healing modalities (hence the ever-wider application of “new” energy healing modalities, since that is what we are dealing with here – energy, in a more refined yet far less predictable, form). So, where does that leave you, inside this body that seems to be making it all up as it goes along?
Perhaps it leaves you doing exactly what I am doing this morning….actively looking towards whatever light you can find in any given situation, narrow chink squeezed around the shutters though that may be at times. Focussing on what you do prefer (out of every set of two or more possibilities); choosing the most positive, least triggering, focus in every set of circumstances to place your attention on; daring to run with the best outcome at every choice-point; allowing that the best scenario in every imagining is already yours…in other words, amplifying all the good stuff!
You probably think you have been doing this already – I know I did – yet its as though there’s a subtle but important difference in the room. I don’t mean to insult you here if this sounds like very old hat but, while you may feel like you have heard all this before, bear with me and give what I just proposed some space to expand here – from within the new perspective that you are anything but failing at anything but, rather, pioneering – and see where that recalibration leads you. Allowing this in, it feels as though a whole new layer of something I thought I already understood has just been reached and, already, I detect an upward spiralling in myself where, before, it all felt like the endless circles of so many whirlpools in that vast side-less sea of circumstance. Regarded from a place of empowerment and mastery, not vain and desperate optimism, the knowing that your focus is everything and exactly what is called for to direct this “new” biology that you are pioneering is absolutely everything; perhaps all you will ever need.
In fact, whatever your particular “stuck point” is – be it that the body weight you can’t ever seem to shift, the lack of abundance that undermines all your hard efforts to succeed, the love or liberty to lead the life you want that eludes you – try the same thing; that is, seeing that you were the master all along and that the very stuck-point you are looking at is just your attempt to create an artificial “side of the pool” to hang onto, and push off from, when everything solid that you once knew as reality started to melt down into the endless flux of all possibility. Absolute, limitless possibility is a daunting thing and straddling two paradigms at once is a remarkably challenging thing, even for a master but we can look forward to letting go of those stuck points in the same way as we swam, that first time, without arm-bands; we get to do it without the buoyancy aid sooner or later.
So, back to that weather front I mentioned “coming in” from outer-space; what we have seen this week has been some powerful geomagnetic storms exacerbated by another chink of light…that is, one in the magnetosphere; literally, a hole in the earth’s magnetic shield, allowing a high-speed solar wind to pour on in. This has resulted in a memorable week of northern lights, not only because of their particularly magnificent display or for the fact they have worked their way as far south as Northern Germany, The Netherlands and Virginia but for a new phenomenon that has had aurora-watchers jumping around with excitement. So bright have they been that they been that they have no longer been relying on the darkest skies of the darkest season to “show up” but have been clearly visible in urban landscapes, visible dancing above city lights and juxtaposed with brightly lit buildings. Like a giant mirror to the fact we no longer need the stark contrasts of experience to push against in order to gain traction towards our goals (that is, knowing – and repeatedly experiencing – what we don’t want in order to choose the opposite), we get to appreciate, discern and so follow the light of what most attracts us, without having to set it against some sort of “dark sky” of what we currently have!
You could say, its a taster of fifth dimensional experience, one where we are no longer confined to a world of desperately pushing towards an abstract idea of “that’s what I want, that thing way over there” by using the kick-off point of “my current experience is exactly what I don’t want!” Rather, we draw ourselves towards what attracts us by connecting with that thing in the affirmative, engaging with whatever tail-end wisps of it are already evident in our current experience so that we recognize when it is in the vicinity and, by atuning ourselves to the resonance of that particular feeling, following that vibe wherever it leads us. In health-recovery terms, that’s all about focusing fully on – and making the most of – those aspects of experience where we feel best, somewhat improved or even neutral so that we can use these feelings as the hand-ropes of our experience and guide our way towards more of them.
Looked at through this lens, the most bewildering physical conundrums are transformed into the temporary turbulence of a newly expanded way of being, an evolution, that many people have been expecting and hoping for; and we become the physical evidence that this new era has started, only, for some of us, I guess it only starts to feel fully “real” once it becomes integrated with our biological cells. Only, we are having to learn to drive the physical vehicle of the body all over again, using a brand-new operating system that still straddles two very different versions of so-called reality – part of which is still struggling with the quantum dilemma; am I a wave or particle (to which, I guess the answer is, either or both as we choose for ourselves in each and every moment). What if all this turbulence only hints at us being on the leading edge of something fluid, impulsive, playful, subject to moment-by-moment reinvention and guided by the unlimited creativity of our most vast and endlessly expansive imaginings; a biology that will dissolve all our greatest challenges away in a moment smaller than measurable time, once we get the hang of it. Now, isn’t that a thought worth amplifying!