Its been such an interesting week and I can tell that where yesterday’s post was short and succinct, today’s will be long…but it feels so big and so powerful, perhaps my most powerful yet.
For starters, I followed through a somewhat out-of-character urge to join a forum on a health matter although I long-ago decided these don’t aid recovery because they tend to whip people up into a frenzy and focus upon “what’s wrong” and “still going more wrong” day after day more-so than what’s going right. The very act of “becoming a member” feels like a badge that identifies you with that thing that jointly labels you and then the victim mentality peppered with self-righteous beliefs about who or what circumstance did this thing to you tend to run rife in the conversations of such groups made up of many people…none of which are conducive to the mindset of healing. If there’s one thing I know to be core to all healing, it’s taking full ownership for the circumstance you are in (not pointing blame…there is no blame); and never wavering in the self-belief that recovery is possible and that any delay in that process reflects unfinished business on your own path, nobody else’s. You will experience this inconvenient circumstance for just as long as it serves you to be in it and seeking external redress over doing the inner work will keep you there longest of all…which applies to all of life’s circumstances. That’s not to say its “your fault” or that you can’t discover or do useful things that might also help other people; but there is always a gift in there meant just for you at the far deeper level, something I have found over and over and over again. Once that gift is unwrapped, you invariably find it is time to move on to something a little easier…and you will; but not if you focus on nursing wounds of stuck circumstance.
Knowing all that, I had kept well-away from groups for years yet still, on a knee-jerk, I did it; knowing at some level that if I was suddenly drawn to it now, it must have something to show me. Sure enough, the people I met were a friendly bunch eager to share helpful information yet I still found I was now focussing on “what was wrong with me” for huge portions of my time since the group is fairly active all day long whereas, believe it or not, I tend not to focus on this very often when left to my own devices. So what drew me in, what was I expecting to happen? When I look back, it plays out something like this; I knew I had stuff to share that might be useful to other people in similar circumstances and yet passing traffic, here, is so arbitrary that I am hardly getting an audience. I knew I needed to drop what I know like a parcel into a place where it might be more useful so that I can now let it go; put it behind me, having felt like I did my bit to deliver something helpful…so, was this a sign I was now ready to heal? I also suspected this community held a reciprocal nugget of key information for me…and it did…not least in the way that, like a catalyst, it opened up what I am about to share with you.
I’ve identified many times how I knew I hadn’t been letting myself heal; how something had been repeatedly tripping me up on that final lap just as I caught sight of the finish line, like I felt I still had something to do here, from within the bad dream of physical pain. Twelve years and so many rebirths, so many relapses…always with a logical “excuse” but I knew the real cause of this reluctance to heal fully lay at a much deeper level. It was like I was nurturing a subconscious belief that I was here to help others, to shepherd them all to safety and could only do that from within a problem shared…so back into the burning building I kept going, peering through the smoke for yet another corner to probe. Every time another spanner got thrown into the works of my health, I would resignedly zip up that boiler suit and climbed back in to fish it out…and then write about it…but was this really my joy and how singed was I really prepared to get on behalf of us all? If my joy really was to tackle things this way…from the ground level as it were… then I knew this was tantamount to admitting that I would never recover my health because life would keep throwing spanners for me to go after…and there is an endless supply of spanners!
What if I already know there is an alternative way of getting my kicks, of being useful to humanity without the burn scars. What if I’m ready for recovery now…can smell it, have tasted it, know how it feels on those summer mornings when I spring out of bed and ride around on all the vigour of having that inner comparison to draw upon, showing me this is now and that was then and I know which one I prefer and want to keep. What if I know that there’s a level where, with a quantum flip of a switch, I can claim this for myself as soon as I’m ready to…
If all of this sounds jumped up and more than a little bit self-important or delusional, consider this; for whom do you stall your own recovery? Who in your world would not know how to handle a new and vigorous you; what decisions have you made on the back of your illness (perhaps huge ones, like giving up a career, selling your house, raiding your savings) that would now look fraudulent or unnecessary in the light of how you would be if this thing was suddenly gone in a nano second. So who do you think you are paying back, with interest, through your suffering? What hobbies, clubs, communities, friendships, routines, lifestyles, identities have you built around being in this club of the chronically unwell? What inner sanctum would you feel you no longer belonged to if you tore up your lifetime, long-service, membership card? Are there family members you long to be close to, perhaps ones that are no longer here, that you would feel less close to (you think) if you did things differently to them? Do you feel like you would be abandoning others to their fate if you got better “without them”? Can you allow that none of this matters…that everything can recalibrate and take on new and wonderful shapes on the back of a recovery that would have everybody clapping and cheering for you, at least at the highest level of their being. Do you fear going back into your old life, a previous career perhaps…rather, can you allow that this thing has changed you so utterly that you don’t have to do that but can actually reinvent from scratch now? That you have earned the right to call your own tune, having been through what you just went through? That the best rope you can throw anyone is to be the example of all they can look forward to themselves, just as soon as they want this enough for themselves to reach out for it? That the future this holds is so unexpected and new that you can’t second guess it and just have to summon the courage to go along for the ride. But, whatever, its got to be better than the predictable plug-hole future of “more” illness, surely.
When I imagine my future it doesn’t hold chronic illness in it…but then it never has. This is what has seen me take such huge strides in relatively quick time over the last decade. When people hear my story and then look at me, I suspect they don’t believe the half of it…but then if I let that bother me I would keep going back to the mark of their expectations of how I should look. I would affect more pain, more limitation without even knowing I was doing this…I know I would…which is why I have chosen to do this thing alone, by and large. By keeping to myself, I’ve kept my path free of weeds on which I could stumble. So, somehow, I knew when I had the impulse to briefly join in with more people, it marked the end of that path; that I was delivering something, perhaps picking something useful up but not stopping for tea.
So I went in there and had all these conversations, sharing what I knew, directing people to my blog, encouraging and enthusing as I do in my other groups where we talk about more uplifting stuff. Some people resonated with what I had to say and we hooked up a little, made some friends. That was my delivery. And then there was that half-expected package waiting for me as though tied with a bow and left with my name on it. Someone quoted from somebody’s book about certain mushrooms being useful to heal myelin and so I asked the right question of Google and came upon Lion’s Mane Mushroom (topic of my last post). I knew straightaway, from the excited feeling in my gut, this wasn’t just information about yet another supplement; the information seemed to glow with its own inner light…not unlike that sea anemone picture I used in my last article. It synchronistically connected in multiple directions with several layers of preoccupation I had been pursuing lately, slotting in like the missing jigsaw piece that I long-ago dropped down the side of the chair and had finally curled my fingers around, poised ready to drop it into the last remaining hole at the centre of the picture I had been building.
After that, it was like I woke up a little and noticed how this forum had very quickly taken over my newsfeed with its updates and not all of them thoughts I wished to pursue; how I was spending most of my time going back in there when I was, otherwise, focussed on writing and painting, enjoying the sunshine in my garden to continue conversation threads that distracted me to the detriment of my own natural flow…and so my amber light turned to red and I pulled back, clicking off “notifications” so that I was now in charge of whether to go in there or not. By now, I knew I had another direction to head in, which required full positivity, no false-starts on the back of other people’s thought processes. There comes a time, in healing, when its down to just you, on your own, calling all the shots…even if you are on a surgeons table surrounded by doctors…and this was mine. I needed that hushed place and I knew I needed to get fully into my positivity, into my creativity, into the sunlight of this glorious Indian summer and into the centre of the vortex of what was being held out as a possible future for me. This autumn has already felt new…like a brand-new trajectory that I am taking compared to all the other round-and-around in circles of this once most challenging of seasons…and I was all buckled up for a brand new flight.
We all love community, even community of family…but there comes a time for asking some pertinent questions. Within that community, was this a place where you could imagine announcing “hey, I think I’m fully recovered now…I’m over that thing” and not receive an “if” or a “but” from anyone? If not then, for a time, in order to heal, you need to distance yourself (if only in the sense of not speaking out-loud to people, not even nearest and dearest, about what you feel is transforming for you) and see what you can do. Or seek out those people who believe, unwaveringly, in your fullest recovery; and, I realise, I have been most adept at finding such people in recent years…but not in health-related communities. At all costs, avoid people who pity you or from whom you would feel good seeking sympathy…ever…as these people won’t help you get to where you are going (compassion is quite a different thing). Don’t risk other people’s wavering, their questioning, the fact that they won’t be on the same page as you or would would seek a logical reason why you think something is about to change. You need no logic, no explanation…when you know you just know but don’t risk the vulnerability of that tenuous tip-off from your highest aspect or the opportunity could be gone before you know it. I knew I had to believe in this transformation one hundred percent, no wavering, wobbling, questioning or making conditional upon outside circumstance and that meant pulling into my own centre where all things are possible, the very vortex of creation when it comes down to the reality I get to experience. It was time to step into my big shoes and make this happen and to iron out any remaining complacency over this. Perhaps the forum had popped up as a test since I had to demonstrate that I wanted to unconditionally heal, hook line and sinker, and not be prepared to have anyone else suggesting to me that it just wasn’t possible or that something else was waiting to pull me down on the other side. Not even a well-meaning person saying “I hope you’re right…” was acceptable to me in this place, it had to be water-tight, the only reality I know…the recovered one…mine.
As far as those “if and but” conditions of external circumstance go, I long ago accepted that external conditions…whatever form they take…are only a reflection of myself like a mirror held up for my highest evolution. Not like a symbol of something I should blame myself for, but of a miss-alignment, a misunderstanding of who I really am, what I’m here to do, some of the things I believe about myself, what I am truly capable of. To make recovery conditional upon external circumstance was the biggest misunderstanding of them all; it reflected back at me that I was small and helpless, a victim…and I knew that was wrong with every cell of my body; that wrong feeling WAS the illness, if I had to nail it. As if to remind me of this, the first morning after a day spent talking on the forum I woke up feeling more symptomatic than I had for probably 8 or 9 months….I had slipped (temporarily) into that smallness and it felt so “off” it hurt profoundly. Life isn’t out to get me, it isn’t my opponent, nor is the world…I don’t believe that at my highest level so why do I role-play that version of life’s lead character. If it helps, imagine your death-bed self and ask that version of you what they know about your reality; would they say “hell, you were set up from the beginning, everything was out to get you, you were given health only to have it taken away and someone somewhere has been enjoying watching you struggle and squirm your way through a miserable life”. I know that’s not what my higher self is seeing…quite the opposite…so why waste another moment believing it or living as if it is so.
This was no raspberry being blown at the idea of community; this one had been a gift…accepted on my own terms without deep diving into its group mentality. Groups can be a great way of pooling information…that part works…but when an individual subjects his or herself to the commonality of a gathering that is made up of those who are – by definition – not happy with their lot, they become the overspill of that attitude, a fragment of that discontent…no longer holding up their own light or, if so, they are now holding it in a wind that would risk snuffing it out at a crucial moment. It’s a paradox that, in spite of challenging health, I have been almost unfailingly happy with my lot on more counts than not; have never lost that spin on life, certainly not for the last five years of my most-accelerated recovery and this mind-set is more precious to me than rubies. As is the understanding that I know that only I can “save” myself and that focussing on that is enough for me to help “save” the world; in an “apply my own oxygen mask first” kind of way, I know (and have asserted in my family life for a long time) that my own wellbeing takes precedent over any willingness to deep-dive into other people’s problems…as should be the rule of thumb to us all. This isn’t selfishness; it’s the most loving act of all, out of which all other transformation flowers to help transform the circumstances of everyone we touch with our experiences. If I could teach the world one solitary tool of transformation, self-love would be that thing and would heal the whole world overnight if it took on; no righteous indignation necessary. Until that day, my best placed effort is to hold this space…perhaps help others hold it too…even if I do that, primarily, on my own rather than in community.
Another gift that came out of the brief dive into the forum was an article shared in there that I reviewed (kind of…) in a post on my other blog entitled “Speaking your truth”. The author of this article felt like a version of me mirrored back at myself in that she had these major health issues going on and spoke about them super-honestly and from a deeply personal angle that, some people raised in conversation, may have lost her some of her audience and a certain amount of credibility. It forced me to consider, do I also alienate my audience in speaking this frankly, this long-windedly and perhaps not all that conventionally about my experiences…and does that make what I say any less worth the saying or, in fact, is it what I am here to do? Is this my particular “swim-against-the-tide gift, my niche? As she did for me (and I loved her post and its honesty…which goes to show there is a perfect audience for everything), am I holding up the corner for others like me that have another spin on things to offer; those of us who provoke a new response on whatever subject of the heart we have taken on?
That being so, have I really “taken on” the illness that never gets better as my big subject of choice for the whole of my writing career or do I have other subjects in me now? Do I have to make this one the work of a lifetime or do I have much more to say on the topic of how I recovered and transformed my world by showing others how I did it? Wouldn’t that make a far better story, forging a new path for those who need any encouragement when it comes to adopting the kind of mindset that gets their stuck wheel out of the mud and rolling freely towards their best possible outcome, transforming their reality? Does that means saying it like it is about the multitude of ways that we get ourselves stuck in the first place, even if that sounds like a critique of the way people self-sabotage and hole themselves up in bunkers built out of an unrelenting spin of fear and victimhood; situations which, if given all our focus, keep delivering more and more evidence of themselves? Does this mean much more to me – ultimately – than great readership numbers, popularity or even many readers at all, so niche is this approach? Am I here expressly to point out what is going right rather than what is going wrong …how out-of-vogue is that…and teaching people how to transform their own reality by focusing on that (as I have)? Is this the life’s work of unfailingly delivering the positive spin that I can imagine smiling about as I draw my last breath, having given it my best shot rather than walking the well-trodden path of fighting everything that ails me? The fire in my belly as I say this tells me “yes, it is”!
Then, here’s a question for you; one I am asking myself – in a scenario where you recover fully, do you fear that no one would believe your story, that all you have been through would be taken away from you? That, six months in, it would be like it never happened and all you would look back and see was a vast nothingness where years of illness once stood, like you had sat around doing nothing all those years? Do you worry your self-esteem will take a knock that only keeping the story of illness going would help buffer you from by delivering the daily justification of why you “can’t” do whatever you aren’t doing with your life? Is there some level where you are proud of what you have been through and don’t want anyone, yourself least of all, to forget about; are these you’re living battle scars that need to be polished daily? To see it like that is to overlook how all the gifts you have taken from the experience are on the inside, like a great stash of potential that only such a hard path walked could ever have distilled into such a concentrated form – you – and that all that that potential only comes to fruition after the deep attachment to the trigger event has been shaken off, like a seed needs to break free of the dark heavy soil to grow shoots and bear fruit. In fact, to bury yourself in the story of what you have been through is to skip a season; to miss the opportunity of this lifetime and remain deep in that soil, a living death…perhaps stored up for another lifetime to take upwards but why not do it here and now, this time around in these weather conditions. What are you waiting for? Believe me, there is no such thing as the perfect weather conditions to risk growth and yet…in ways we hardly fathom…life always comes to meet us with what we most need when we reach half way to meet it!
Were these limiting belief systems the final hooks that kept me pinned down in sight of the citadel of good health; a misbelief that said I would run out of purpose if all was well or would be blighted on the stem like a fruit that had forgotten what it had grown itself for? Is this how we all keep ourselves at arms length from what we say we really want? A fear that there would be nothing to do, nothing to solve, no excitement, no mission, no purpose, no big combat scene taking on the forces of so-called evil that have (within this illusion) kept us down. Are we most afraid of the end of the game? Are we addicted to the camaraderie of shared purpose that adversity throws us as a bone to keep us quiet and preoccupied while the higher potential of our lives goes sailing by?
It can be an incredibly tough assignment to have to sit down and imagine who you would be without the health issues or other challenges that have kept you busy for so long. The very fact of this being so difficult tells you this is long overdue since its entanglement with your identity tells you your identity is all-but held up by it. Even then, without it, you wouldn’t fall down…but yes, in important ways, you would be very different. In other ways…key ways that speak of the transformation that has been running alongside the track of this most-human of journeys…you will be just the same, which is glorious, strong, self-knowing, wise, courageous, loving, deliciously irreverent, unwaveringly optimistic, so funny and so very astute; oh, and so much more…only you probably didn’t notice all these wonderful qualities being grown out of your hardship while your focus was always on what you were dealing with. Without having to know how a future that looks very different would play out, you just have to be prepared to trust it and jump on for the ride…and that willingness tells the universe you are ready. Think of it as a second chance at life; how much would would you wish for such a chance if you were at the very end of yours (because, however bad things may have got, we seldom consider that one until it is right upon us). Keep your focus on the good feelings while your body catches up with this new choice to thrive…and it will…and keep fear out of it. If you really want this, at every level of you, then its your for the taking.
So many unexpected truths tend to surface when you probe this ultimate layer of attachment to a circumstance that has keep you locked down for so long yet it is a rich and fertile soil in which to manifest the next layer of your life; and then you know why you put yourself through it. It requires a degree of honesty, with self and with others, that is open to being misunderstood and your willingness to “go there” is like the signal to the universe that you are ready for transformation now.
A sure sign that you are there on that threshold is that a symbol will appear that will allow your logical mind to process through the stages of something completely new happening without the bafflement of “how on earth…” raising too many questions. This happens more than people know and yet real healing doesn’t so much take place on the operating table or because a new course of treatment is pursued as because that person made the decision to become well again. The ritual of healing provides something for the mind to hold onto; to hold the hand of as it walks through the glowing doorway into another layer of experience. Equally, sometimes, that quantum decision to survive isn’t taken and the hand is let go of; the treatment an unexpected failure. True healing takes place at that level of deciding “I am now healed” and that decision is the key; everything else shape-shifts around it to make it seem feasible.
Such a symbol has appeared to me many times now along the healing path and the last memorable time was two years ago when I had my mercury filling removed. Though this presented as a practical necessity at the time, it was when I was in the dentists chair that I realised how quantum the experience was and how this heavy metal in my head and stored in my cells had become the symbol of something weighing me down and now ready to be let go of. In ways that I equated with a red balloon (as I wrote about at the time), I started seeing red balloons everywhere and their flight to freedom came to represent me and where I was heading to via that upwards step in my healing process; and yes it took me to a new level, but not all the way. Perhaps my balloon got entangled with an electricity pylon since electric symptoms were the next-new-thing to come along…
Two years later, my next symbol of healing has arrived and it comes dressed up as a a sea anemone, as written about in my previous post Repairing your myelin (which you’ll need to read to really understand what I’m talking about). This symbol, much like the balloon, has a childlike lightness to it…a reminder that, to heal, it is necessary to, quite literally, “lighten up” and stop taking ourselves so seriously. The image of the sea anemone that I share in my other post, all lit-up on the inside, reminds me so much of a toy my daughter used to have, an amorphous tendrilly ball – just like a sea-creature – that lit up when you caught it; we had a lot of fun throwing that around the room when she was little. As a symbol of an early version of me – neurological speaking, my early ancestor – I like the concept of the sea anemone; quite beautiful in its lack of complexity, it is a response system and nothing much more than that, really, whilst I am a consciousness and I get to do so much more than just “respond” automatically to my environment yet being reminded that those responses are not all that complex when it comes down to it, that they are still childlike in their simplistic reactions to stimuli, is no bad thing. It puts in place that my autonomic human self is like the child compared to the adult mentality that actually steers the ship; that, as a consciousness that is so much more than “just” a body, I get to choose how much anything affects me…and to choose when I am ready to be well.
So the sea anemone and the lion’s mane mushroom turned up on my horizon, out of this conversation on the forum, and I could see immediately how they could be used as my next symbol of transformation. Within the lion’s mane I find the word ion – a preoccupation of mine these last few posts – and in the root of the word ion I find source meanings such as “pathway”, “the way”, “to walk” and “I go’ and, via the sanskrit word “yoni”, links to “vulva”, “birth” and the divine feminine…all preoccupations that I have discussed at great length in my other blog (“Scattering the Light“) around the subjects of “a return” and a “pathway” that I have sensed I am on; that we have all been on for the longest time. If you are left cold by these wider references, suffice to say the synchronistic layering of meaning around this potential route to healing told me this could be a powerful source of alchemical healing, in my case, if I use it mindfully. The “scientific” potential for lion’s mane mushroom to actively heal the one health foible that, as I understand it, underlies my last bundle of remaining health issues is merely a way for my logical mind to get its head around what I feel is standing on my doorstep asking to be allowed in now, like a sheeny visitor I have been half-expecting to show up any day. I intend to work with this new symbol in a way that my mind can keep apace with…because the mind likes to hook onto routes of healing that can be logically explained away or shared with other people; would rather have those than the kind of spontaneous remissions it never quite trust but which can be the most astonishing and transformative when we allow them in.
Meanwhile, at a whole other level, I intend to unleash the full force of my quantum healing potential using every means at my disposal…and I have a few. If that sounds “way out”, it’s really no different from the methods your reiki practitioner or any other “energy” healer uses while you surrender to nice sounds and sensations only I do this for myself; one of many gifts I have acquired along this marvellously enlightening path I have been on. As for the details; I’ll keep those to myself for now but you can be sure I will be back to share more in the fullness of time. If I’m honest, sharing this kind of information is what brings me infinitely more satisfaction than listing supplements you can take, taking on environmental triggers or regurgitating other people’s research. Its as though I am on the threshold of coming to realise a whole new layer of potential and I find there is no room for my own health issues in that place; that my real strength lies in sharing what has already been transformed (which is all I need to know at this point in time).and that if I want this reality enough, it is already mine. When you join me here, wanting it this much and nothing – no minutest part of you – held back from the healing process, you will know it because it feels like you are holding a self-crafted key that glows in your hand…and not one that anyone else gave to you to “save you” but the one you have been making for yourself all these many months or years of trials and tribulations, of which you have now had your absolute fill. When you have it (and you will know when you do) simply try it out in the keyhole of yourself (perfect fit!) and just turn… then watch your life turn with it and be amazed at what you just did.
** Within ten seconds of typing the last word…my lion’s mane mushroom arrived at the door! **