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Here’s a new way to think about—and live—your week

 

ScreenHunter_02 Sep. 08 10.25MoneyDay: Make this a day when you’re mindful about what you do with money. Donate something to a charity, give some cash to someone living on the street, or buy a lottery ticket. Think about what money means to you—the power it has and how wisely (or otherwise) you use it. What’s the most powerful use you could make of your money today?

ChooseDay: This is a day for being very conscious of your choices. Focus on making only those choices that feel good for you, and avoid making any compromises that don’t feel right. Watch yourself as you choose, being mindful of what’s motivating you, and catch yourself when you’re about to do something just because you’ve always done it (and not necessarily because it’s the best option for you).

WhensDay: Now it’s time to focus on some advance planning. After making some new choices, you may be ready to make some new commitments, so let this be a day for focusing on the ‘whens’—when you’re going to start that new class, when you’re going to take time for meals/meditation, or when you’re going to start being honest with your partner about how you really feel. Make this a day of forging commitments, with deadlines, and ask a friend to hold you accountable for sticking to them.

TerseDay: Now it’s time to cut to the chase. No more faffing around. DO those things you’ve committed to getting done. Be clear and concise. Avoid rambling or going off on tangents. De-clutter your mind (and environment) so you can stay focused on what matters and not get distracted by the routines and busyness of everyday life. The time is now. Your life is short. The world is waiting for you to get clear and to show up. Get to it.

MyDay: This is a day for taking time out, for reflection, and for feeling and doing what’s healthy and right for you. It’s a day for saying YES to you and NO to any kind of stress, obligations, pressure, overtime or even doing favours for others. See what happens and what comes up when you make this day completely yours.

SatireDay: Life is full of ironies and this is the day for observing them, laughing at them and getting to the deeper reality. What are the ironies in your life? Can you see the irony in needing to be accepted by others who so badly need to be accepted by you? Do you see how pushing to get things done, or chasing someone to get them to love you, actually pushes both away? If you can laugh at yourself—at how we all strive so hard to get somewhere, when all we need to do is be powerfully ourselves—you’ll be halfway to the truth. Ironies are all around you. Watch for them and dig down to what’s really going on.

FunDay: This is the day to let it all go—to completely relax, have fun, go to the beach, laugh, play, put on some music, have brunch with friends, turn off your computer/cellphone, and generally be in your body, rather than in your head.

When you think of each day you live, do you see it as a weakday, a freakday, a meekday, a geekday or a peakday, when something pivotal happens to change the whole course of your life? Each day has come to mean something, after years of living one week after another (with Monday being the dreaded back-to-work-day after the weekend, for example), but you can give your week a whole new meaning by giving each day a whole new focus and purpose. Try it and see what happens. And let me know—next week.

 

Maybe yes, maybe no, or maybe just maybe…?

21/08/2013 3 comments

questionWords are powerful, and none more so than YES and NO. Are you using them powerfully in your life? In your work, friendships and relationships, what are you saying YES and NO to?

Do you say YES to honest self-expression, healthy boundaries and authentic interaction? Or do you say YES to more work, more care-taking, more compromises and more stress?

Do you say NO to disrespect, manipulation and being taken for granted? Or do you say NO to opportunity, daring adventure, fulfillment and growth?

What we say YES and NO to determines how much support, guidance, love, money, ease and success we can have—from our partner, from others, from strangers and from the universe. It’s a direct reflection of what we think we deserve and what we allow ourselves to receive, as a result. If we’re saying YES to lots of unhealthy dynamics, the universe will respect our choice to not put ourselves first (in healthy ways). It will acknowledge our message of ‘non-deservability’ and it will hold off on all deliveries of good stuff until we make it clear, through our healthy choices and behaviour, that we’re open to receiving again.

But don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself and see what happens. Say YES to one new thing in your life today—something healthy, positive or wonderful that you’ve never said YES to before. And say NO to one new thing in your life today—something you’ve never dared say NO to before, even though it would be healthy, positive and powerful for you to do so.

And let me know what happens.

Yes? No? Maybe? Hey, you decide.

Are you having phoney phun?

14/08/2013 3 comments

evil smiley

Some day soon (very soon, I hope), there will be a designated space set aside in restaurants, airports and other public places for those who just cannot survive without their cellphone phix. It took a long time for this to happen for smokers, but it finally did, once the realities of cigarette smoking could no longer be swept under the carpet.

We’re all still having too much phun with our phones to be bothered about health issues, and it’s going to take a phundamental shift in awareness or a very nasty collective wake-up call for this to change. But it’s not just about the harmful ephects of cellphone radiation; it’s about the respect, human connection and emotional presence that are being compromised in favour of being ‘connected’ to some person, in some place, about some thing other than what’s right in front of you. It’s a contagion of phragmentation that will have many more repercussions than losing a friend, not digesting your meal or missing a beautiful sunset.

Our electronic gadgets have also swept us up into a multi-tasking phrenzy. Our brains are not designed for this degree of processing, and multi-tasking not only reduces our productivity, our phocus and our problem-solving abilities; it also permanently damages our brain and makes us less smart. (Look up multi-tasking on the Internet to see just how damaging it is, but try not to do it when you’re in the middle of doing something else.)

For now, there seems to be no escape from the cellphone inphestation. Yesterday, I saw two young people sitting on the beach on a stunning summer’s day, heads together, talking intimately. As I got closer, though, I realized that they were both on their phones, texting pheverishly, ignoring each other, the eagle flying overhead, the beautiful clear water, and the antics of the one-year-old playing in the sand. (Unbeknownst to that little fella, he only has about another year left, before being directly hooked up to the source of the pandemic, although his thin little skull is already being bombarded by harmful radio waves from all sides.)

I hardly ever use my phone, but that doesn’t make much difference if you’re still using yours—beside me on the bus, beside me in the cinema, beside me in the restaurant, and beside me in every single café in town. If I went up to you in the restaurant, pulled back my hair and said, “Look. See this scar? This is from brain surgery to remove a tumour due to electromagnetic radiation“, would it change anything? I doubt it. You’d probably be annoyed that I’d interrupted you when you were trying to send a very important text. Besides, that kind of thing only happens to other people, right? Like lung cancer. Phunny. I used to think like that too.

Perception or deception? What you see is what you get…

14/06/2013 6 comments

perceptionI wonder how our lives would change if we put a positively powerful spin on our greatest challenges. What if, for example, I viewed my recent brain surgery as one of the highlights of my life? It might go something like this:

Gosh, this is exciting, isn’t it? Brain surgery! Never had that before. And none of my friends have ever had this kind of intriguing experience. What’s it all about, and what might they find in there, apart from that pushy little blob that’s trying to take over? I’ve probably been coasting too much, getting bored with the status quo and indulging in too much mental masturbation; since my mind loves a challenge, this one has obviously been sent to get me thinking in a whole (hole?) new way. And isn’t it fascinating to think that my waking self got dispatched into some death-like, timeless zone while the surgeon took a saw to my noggin? In a flash, I’m awake again without ever knowing I’d been asleep. Yet eight long hours have passed, with the most delicate dance of intricate interventions having been choreographed by a whole team of experts, completely focused on me. Am I not hugely blessed? Not only did I manifest a highly skillful surgical team to save my life, but I have a body that can re-grow an entire network of nerves, re-knit bone, and recalibrate the brain once the squatter has been evicted. Blimey. I’m amazing! Yet I’ve been twiddling my thumbs, metaphorically speaking—taking my sweet time with life and work, and really not pushing myself even close to my potential (while spending far too much time contemplating my limits to even glimpse what’s beyond them). It’s time to do something seriously superlative with all this power inside me.

It’s no surprise, then, that I now have little time for pleasantries or being polite, just for the sake of propriety. I no longer sweat the small stuff (well, maybe just a little, but I usually catch myself before I go too far down those nasty little rabbit holes). I’m keenly aware of my mortality, while realizing that my body has incredible creative, healing powers that I never truly grasped or valued before.

But what about the small stuff? If we take the stance that we’re in charge, that we powerfully attract all kinds of circumstances that are designed to ultimately advance us along our personal evolutionary path, then we must consistently hold that power in every single thing—from the tedious breakdown of a nifty new laptop, to the disintegration of a long-standing relationship. We’re either in charge or we’re not. We’re either powerful or we’re not. So patting ourselves on the back for having manifested a fabulous new partner, yet bemoaning the fact that we just got fired from work doesn’t make sense— and it doesn’t do us justice.

So if I client cancels or if something important gets rescheduled, I ask myself what opportunity I have created by orchestrating this turn of events. I almost always find the answer: I needed to rest; I wanted to work on my book; I needed to go for a walk—and if I hadn’t, I’d never have found that amazing book or bumped into that guy who… You get the idea. I’m in charge. I’m running my own show—even when my subconscious brings me stuff I don’t like; it’s only doing its job—putting me in touch with something I wasn’t aware of or hadn’t yet seen from an enlightened, empowered perspective.

So it’s all good, even when it’s bad. And we’re in charge, even when life seems chaotic. What you see is not necessarily what’s there. Yet what you see is what you get.

Is fear the story of your life?

28/05/2013 2 comments

Caveman and t-rexOnce upon a time, we lived in caves. We also lived in fear. We were hunters, but we were also prey, vulnerable to attack from nasty, brutish beasties. Outside our caves (and sometimes also in them), life was scary, unpredictable and full of unknowns. We learned to lie low, to reduce our exposure to danger; we learned to be stealthy to avoid being eaten alive; we learned to understand our predators so that we could outwit them; and we learned to hide, as being visible could mean big trouble.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century… and we have traded caves for boxes in the sky; we’ve traded loin cloths for suits, clubs for cellphones, and grunts for smooth talking. But we still live in fear – fear of competition, fear of not being good enough and fear of not being loved. We’re afraid to be ourselves, to stand up for what we believe in and to do outrageous things. We’re afraid to be fully seen for who we are, even though (in fact, because) we crave visibility and acceptance. We’re afraid of rejection and of not being liked, which makes us needy, distorts our sense of self, and leads to compromises that bring us more of what we don’t want.

We may wish to blame our parents, our parents’ parents, or even our prudish Victorian ancestors for our inhibitions – and for all the disappointments that result; yet these fears have existed in us since the first hairy beast – and the first human being – roamed the Earth (and, back then, there may not have been much difference between the two). We are safer now than at any other time in history, yet our fears have not diminished accordingly. Instead, they have been channelled into a much more insidious – yet equally life-depleting – context. They are fuelled by low self-worth, by a sense of unacceptability and by the idea that we’re innately sinful and imperfect, constantly in need of improvement, redemption and forgiveness.

But where does this impetus come from? The answer is religion, although religion is not the answer to anything else at all. Whether you are religious or not, you have been shaped, distorted and diminished by religious influence. Even if you consciously reject all religious constructs, they have had an impact on almost every culture on Earth, filtering down to you through your parents, teachers, politicians and presidents, while seeping into the morals, laws and constitution of almost every ‘civilized’ nation.

Religion has disconnected us from our own ‘hotline’ to God/the universe and our own power, just as effectively as rubber-soled shoes have insulated us from our electrical connection with the Earth. We no more need a religious framework to connect with our all-powerful, co-creative, spiritual selves than we need a cable to connect us to the Earth’s energies. Existing as human beings is enough, as is standing barefoot on the grass.

Our natural flow of power and energy has been distorted by generations of programming. As a result of self-appointed religious intermediaries, and the manmade rules and regulations that they promote, we have surrendered our autonomy as innately worthy, creative and masterful beings.

But there is nothing wrong with us. In reality, the only thing we need to ‘fix’ is the layers of negative programming and conditioning that have scrambled our connections – with our self and with our power to create the lives we want.

Removing these layers of low self-worth sets us free to clearly see the truth – and to apply the universal laws that enable us to thrive and love life. Like taking off our shoes and walking barefoot along the beach, it reconnects us with the Earth and with the life-giving energies that fuel our body, mind and spirit. But if we always have our shoes on, we are no longer grounded in the earth, and the ‘charge’ from cellphones, wi-fi and countless electrical appliances can overwhelm the body, creating sickness, inflammation or stress. Similarly, without emotionally, mentally and spiritually grounding ourselves in the truth of our mastery, we fall prey to the unfounded fears of our forefathers. But just because they succumbed to religious oppression, way back when they risked being burned at the stake, doesn’t mean we have to.

So kick those shoes off and get re-connected with the earth, and with your innate goodness and ‘godness’. Look around you and see just how truly safe, loved and cared-for you are – by nature, by your own creative self-sufficiency and by the universal energy that fuels us all. Whatever fears you have originated in your mind. And if you can change your mind, you can do anything.

Time for a toxic-parenting purge? [Part 1]

25/04/2013 2 comments

30 Missing Pieces telling offParenting is a tough task. Perfect parenting is an impossible one. But most parents do a phenomenal job of caring for their children, while holding down a job (or two), remembering everyone’s birthday and making order out of chaos. There are some, though, whose unresolved issues and emotional pain from their own upbringing result in abuse and deep emotional scars for their offspring. The fallout is costly, with failed relationships, unexpressed anger, and years of therapy for many worthy souls. And even if they arrive at a place of compassion and understanding for their parents’ pain, it can be hard to completely let go of the feelings and memories that distorted their world.

In cases like this, it can be refreshing to give yourself permission to vent and to not feel obliged to love someone just because they gave birth to you. It can be healthy to reclaim yourself by rejecting all that ‘stuff’, through humour and spontaneous self-expression, in ways that got suppressed through abuse in your formative years. If you’ve done years of therapy and have diligently peeled away the layers of pain that got laid down, it might feel good to just ‘let it rip’.

Over the years, many women have came to see me about the pain of their past – and the damage done by their severely dysfunctional alcoholic parents. These parents had dumped all their toxic pain on their children (a projection of their own sense of worthlessness and despair, since their children are an extension of them) and some took a perverse pleasure in seeing them suffer. It’s hard to feel compassion for parents like that – and maybe we shouldn’t even try. If we find ourselves trying to make sense of such wanton cruelty, it’s often because we’re trying to figure out what it was about us that caused them to be that way. That, in itself, is a big part of the damage done to our sense of self and our innate self-worth.

So, for all those lovely women (and men) out there who have experienced the pain of a loveless and alcohol-driven existence, here’s a tongue-in-cheeky recipe for relief that will hopefully bring a smile to your lips and a lilt to your heart. (For other forms of toxic parenting, see Part 2 – coming shortly.)

Imagine a world without those parents; they have evaporated into the ethers in an alcoholic haze and are no longer using up valuable oxygen on planet Earth. You’ve decided to expunge all negative feelings and memories associated with them. What should you do?

Celebrate! Take a whole week off work and give thanks that you’re finally free. But don’t go drinking, now. You know what happened to them, and you don’t want to give them the afterlife satisfaction of turning into an alcoholic yourself.

Spend all of Monday walking on the beach, breathing in that delicious parent-free air. Savour the fact that you are a self-sufficient, autonomous, self-determined being, and give yourself total permission to be as outrageous and creative as you a-parently are.

On Tuesday, eat a whole bar of organic dark chocolate, just to re-affirm that you can actually enjoy yourself (maybe even experience ecstasy, if it’s really yummy chocolate) without getting drunk. Notice the uniqueness of your experience, which you can’t possibly describe to anyone else, even if they’re a connoisseur of chocolate, and remind yourself that all your experiences are your own, for you to accept or reject, as you see fit.

On Wednesday, go into a pub/wine bar and order a fresh orange juice, sipping it slowly as if it were heavenly nectar (which it is). Luxuriate in the fact that your taste buds are alive and well (rather than being numbed by alcohol) and that you can fully appreciate the delicious, sun-kissed perfection of nature’s simple goodness. 

On Thursday, go dirty dancing and take special delight in being able to pirouette 10 times without falling over legless. Even if you do fall over, you can laugh, knowing that it puts a healthy spin on life; and you can get up, knowing that you’re still in charge of you.

On Friday, write them a letter telling them what you think of them and send it off to the Guinness Book of Records, without a return address. Be creative, exaggerate, and inject as much humour as you can, knowing that laughter is a form of self-love – and an antidote to pain.

On Saturday, go sit on a mountaintop and give thanks for all that you are that they were not …and apologize to the universe for ever thinking that you were anything other than perfect – not to mention courageous, strong and forgiving, with an uncanny ability to see life’s many ironies.

By Sunday, you should be feeling fabulous. Parents? What parents…?

Please note: No parents were harmed in the making of this blog.

Are you switched on?

02/10/2012 5 comments

Isn’t it funny how we all desperately try not to repeat the mistakes our parents made? We’re determined to be emotionally available for our children, to protect them from bullying, abuse and second-hand smoke, and to feed them nutritious food.

But guess what we’re doing instead. We’re walking around with cellphones, while carrying our babies in a body sling. We’re exposing our youths and teenagers to harmful wi-fi radiation – not just at home but in schools, libraries and almost every other public place. And we’re wired for sound (and visuals and games) in every square foot of our homes and offices. Looking back at past generations, we may find it hard to believe that doctors used to promote cigarettes as being good for our health, and that tapeworms were sold as a great way to lose weight. But what will the next generation be thinking of us, when it becomes widely recognized that our high-tech gadgets are creating all kinds of health problems and fatal illnesses—not to mention killing off the birds and bees so essential to our food supply?

Headaches, abnormal heart rhythm, cancer, fatigue, MS, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss, tinnitus, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping and numerous other conditions that you’ve been unable to resolve (or may have attributed to stress)… these are all symptoms of electromagnetic sensitivity—the body’s physical reaction to the constant bombardment of electromagnetic fields and radio-wave radiation that permeate our living and working environments.

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is coming at us from every angle—from cell phones, cordless phones, wi-fi networks, Smart Meters, laptops, wireless keyboards/printers, kitchen appliances, electronic equipment, heating systems, and fluorescent lights. Not only that, but often the wiring in a house or building can contain what’s known as ‘dirty electricity’—a high-frequency current that produces magnetic fields that emanate from the walls into your living space, with the potential to cause numerous conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, attention deficit disorder, cancer, infertility, miscarriage and birth defects.

All of this and more is explained in Jim Waugh’s fascinating book on EMR (Living Safely with Electromagnetic Radiation—a complete guide to protecting your health), which is an eye-opener for those seeking an explanation for their health-related conundrums. Waugh shares numerous accounts of individuals whose debilitating conditions disappeared when the source of electromagnetic radiation was detected and removed. Pets, too, are seriously affected, with dogs, cats, horses and other animals succumbing to lameness, tumours, diarrhoea, skin diseases and paralysis—often because of a cordless phone in their owner’s home.

I need no further convincing of the importance of ‘cleaning’ up my act. Yet I realize that it’s another ‘inconvenient truth’. We all love our wonderful, labour-saving, mobility-enhancing technology, and none of us want to give it up.

What can you do to minimize the negative impact?

Here are some tips from Jim:

-Never leave an unused appliance plugged in as the cord/cable and socket will emit a strong electrical field. Don’t stand near them, either, when in use.

-Stand back from the electric elements on your stove, when turned on. They too emit a strong electrical field.

-Change all your so-called energy-saving CFLs back to incandescent bulbs – if you can (they will soon be banned for sale in Canada). CFLs emit harmful radiation (causing skin burns if placed too close to the body), and they contain toxic mercury. According to Walt McGinnis (see http://www.greenmuze.com/blogs/guest-bloggers/1031-the-dark-side-of-cfls.html), CFLs actually increase a consumer’s carbon footprint because they are energy hogs to produce, operate and dispose of.

-Never sleep with an electrical cable or plug behind or near your head – such as the cord from a bedside lamp going behind your bed to reach a socket. The electrical field can disrupt sleep and other body functions. Check appliances on the other side of your bedroom wall for any appliances plugged in there – for the same reason.

-Use a separate keyboard with your laptop, if possible. Using the built-in keyboard exposes you to a strong electrical field.

-Switch from a cordless phone to a corded one. This may not be easy or convenient to do, but numerous health problems have been associated with the use of cordless phones—among pets as well as humans. Cordless phones use the same kind of pulsed microwave radiation as cell phones and are known to be more dangerous because they operate 24 hours a day, even when the handset is not in use.

-At night, turn off your wi-fi and all other appliances not in use.

-Never charge your cell phone in your bedroom. During the day, avoid putting it in a breast/hip pocket, if possible. Keep cell phones away from babies and small children as they are much more susceptible to the harmful radiation than adults.

-Be mindful of others around you and how they may be affected by your techno-gadgets.

In Sweden, EMF sensitivity is officially recognized as a disability, and the government provides benefits as well as designated EMF-free areas for those who are affected. While Swedish brains are presumably no different from ours, they certainly seem to be a whole lot smarter.

For more info, see emfsafehome.com

From dental disaster to mental re-mastering

15/08/2012 5 comments

I don’t know about you, but I find going to the dentist very traumatic. So when I broke a tooth recently, I was steeling myself for some radical (and expensive) dental treatment. The visit turned out to be much more traumatic than I expected—but not because of the dental work, which was yet to come. Instead, I had a very disturbing experience with the dentist himself, and I left his clinic feeling more traumatized than if I’d undergone major surgery.

Considered to be one of the best in the field of biological/holistic dentistry, this man was nonetheless arrogant, unprofessional, disrespectful and insensitive. He openly bullied his staff and he wasted precious time (at roughly $5 a minute) extolling his many virtues, claiming to be so incredibly happy with his superior skills that he had no time for everyday things. And it was clear that he didn’t really want to be spending it on ordinary mortals like me, either. Added to that was the fact that every other dentist who’d treated me had, he said, done a really bad job, and it was going to cost me, big time, to repair the damage. With them, I had wasted my money, but undergoing his extensive treatment (for TMJ disorder, crown reconstruction, dental implants…) would, it seemed, be my salvation.

I don’t normally like to put negative labels on people, but I’m allowing myself this rare dysfunctional luxury—partly because it can be healthy to just emotionally vent, and partly because it helps me to understand what’s going on for me. I also think it’s important to try to define the subtle negative undercurrents and passive-aggressive behaviour that we so often experience in our communications. These things can be hard to articulate, and we may feel we won’t be heard or understood anyway …which is why we tend to let them go unchallenged.

Admittedly, I’m unusually sensitive, acutely aware of undercurrents, hidden agendas, underlying emotional drivers, and the deeper truths and dynamics behind our words and actions (which is a wonderful asset in my work). Nonetheless, after 35 minutes of this dental diatribe, when the master himself had left to deal with more important surgical matters, I was stunned to find myself crying uncontrollably—literally unable to contain my emotions. When my embarrassing sobs finally subsided, I began to reflect on what had happened and why I’d reacted so strongly to his behaviour.

The true gravity of a cavity…

If I see myself as perfect and always attracting what I need (rather than being a victim), then this dentist must represent something more meaningful for me. But what did it mean? He was irrational, which prevented me from having a reasonable conversation or taking a logical approach. He was destabilizing—nice one minute, but aggressive the next—so I didn’t feel safe. He needed to be heard but didn’t listen to me, which brought up issues of trust and validation. Yet the emotional overwhelm kept building, as he piled on the pressure—financially, emotionally and psychologically—completely insensitive to the fact that I was dealing with a brain tumour that is aggravated by stress. At the same time, despite his claims that he was just “too smart for anyone else to keep up with him”, I was ‘reading’ him on many levels. I could see why he was arrogant; I could see high blood pressure in his complexion; I could feel some deeper warmth and compassion underneath all the bravado; and I sensed that he was far from happy.

Of course, he’s not a bad man. His mind was just so fevered and intense (a bit like mine!) that he could not relate appropriately to others. His work had saved him—given him an outlet for his creative energy and provided him with the accolades and recognition he wanted. Yet, at a deeper level, I sensed that he was lost and in desperate need of acceptance and validation from others. But with so many data and stimuli coming at me at once, my brain just couldn’t process it all …and I broke down. There was nowhere else for all the backed-up energy and tension to go. It had to come out; when it did, I recognized it as trauma—just one more layer on top of what had been buried inside, many years ago.

Perhaps if I’d allowed myself to collapse emotionally with him, rather than his assistant, I’d have connected with the deeper essence of the man—the heart and all the loving dedication that keeps him alive and engaged in his work. Maybe it would have been healing for us both and maybe we’d have seen the powerful impact we can have on others. Not all our cavities are in our teeth, and I believe that sharing our deeper selves can help us heal the ‘holes’ in our hearts.

We think we need to ‘hold it together’ so others won’t be upset by our upset, but really we owe it to ourselves and to them to just let it rip and to share the raw, authentic emotions that we keep so tightly contained, terrified of their powerful intensity. Maybe that’s the very essence of trauma—a deep hurt that never gets processed or healed, a ball of suppressed emotions that keeps attracting triggers on the outside, pushing us to the edge of overwhelm so that we finally crack, let go and set ourselves free.

As healthcare practitioners and as human beings, we have a responsibility do our own inner work, to have solid boundaries, to demonstrate appropriate behaviour and to not dump our unresolved issues on anyone else. Our clients invest their trust in us, and we hold their hearts in our hands, whether we’re counsellors, doctors or dentists. We’re not just fixing a tooth, an illness or an emotional crisis; we’re helping to build wholeness—one word, one action, one smile at a time. And aren’t dentists supposed to give us lovely smiles?

Healing gift

01/08/2012 1 comment

 

IImaget was my Dad’s birthday recently, and I wanted to get him something special. I spent weeks trying to come up with something unusual that I could mail to him in Ireland—without having to take out a loan to pay Canada Post. But when the day arrived, I still had nothing. Part of the problem (I told myself) was that my current health challenge prevented me from haring around at my usual break-neck speed, scouring the shops till I found some quirky item he might like. A brain tumour can have that kind of nasty effect, inconveniently bringing normal life to a standstill, and forcing you to cut back on all the things that seemed so urgent and important.

But then I had a ‘brainwave’, you might say. Since our challenges so often contain a hidden blessing, I reflected, perhaps the most meaningful gift was something a little less tangible. So, on 18 July 2012, I made a promise to my Dad: I committed to completely healing myself of this brain tumour before his next birthday—and to celebrating the breakthrough with him in person. Although I was technically giving this gift to myself (which felt a bit like cheating, and maybe even a bit cheap), he seemed to find it more than acceptable. (But then my Dad’s like that.)

And, today, after more than two years of steadily worsening symptoms, something happened. After making that heartfelt commitment, I felt better, with less pain and more energy than I have felt for a long time. In fact, it felt almost too good to be… untrue. And as I sat on the beach (eating a rather yummy coconut-milk, chocolate-vanilla ice cream), I realized that I felt calm, content and confident of being able to keep my promise. I also realized that I’m not actually making anything happen; I’m just allowing it to.

I attribute this amazing shift to my love for my Dad, yet I wondered why I could not have made an equally heartfelt commitment to myself, without involving anyone else in what is, after all, a very personal process. But, of course, we so often learn to love ourselves more by loving someone else. And if that’s what it takes to get there, to heal, and to be reminded of what’s important in life, it’s a gift that can be shared. After all, healing ourselves—mentally, emotionally and physically—is surely our ultimate gift to the world.

So my thanks to my Dad for allowing me to use his special day as a turning point for me. I hope I’ll stay mindful of this gift every day of the year to come, and that when (not if) I heal myself, the new-and-improved me will make up for all the other times I failed to give him, me and everyone else the kind of heartfelt presence (and presents) that we all deserve from each other.

I’ve still got a long way to go on this healing journey, and a year to complete it. But maybe it can happen in a month or even a week, if I allow it—or if I find some way to deepen and hasten the gift…

Anyone else out there with a birthday coming up soon?

Categories: empowerment Tags: , , ,

Should I humour this tumour?

24/05/2012 16 comments

Not many of my friends (and none of my clients) know this… but I have a brain tumour. I say that in the same way that I’d say I’ve got a house guest—and I think of it like that too. It has taken up temporary residence inside my brain while I figure out the purpose of its visit.

I know it’s a messenger, and if I don’t figure out the message within the next 3 months, it will either get evicted by surgery or nuked out of existence. But if it’s a diligent messenger with a mission of guaranteed delivery—a bit like FedEx—then it may well pay me another visit to make sure I get the message. And if my own stubbornness is anything to go by, it probably won’t quit till its job is done.

So I’m looking at the options: with surgery, I’d be left with a trapdoor in my skull after the surgeon saws through my tough noggin to reach the intruder—with unknowable consequences; with radiation, I’d be left with a crusty ‘raisin’ that may or may not re-inflate itself to the size of a grape—or maybe even a plum—and possibly in a more aggressive, attention-seeking form.

With those images in mind, I’m quite motivated to crack this on my own and to find a natural solution. It won’t be the first time I’ve had insights from illness, so I recognize the value of digging deeper. And this tumour is prompting me to go deeper than ever before. With my focus on empowerment, I’m also committed to resolving conundrums—and I’ve had many in my own life, pushing me to look at the underlying dynamics. Yet when I started my online research, I was amazed to discover that there were no online stories of anyone curing this kind of tumour (a benign acoustic neuroma) in a natural way. Think about that. There are hundreds of cases of people successfully curing all forms of malignant cancer through natural means—but not one single online report of a natural cure for a benign acoustic neuroma (none that I could find, at least).

Obviously, I’ll have to find my own way. Like many, I explored the conventional approach first and was presented with the limited, invasive options: surgery or radiation. As I sat there, listening to the neurosurgeon explain the pros and cons of either option, I was aware of my growing frustration. The hearing loss on the right side is permanent and irreversible. You may end up with facial paralysis and you may lose movement on the right side of your face. You may not be able to close your eye—but we’ll give you some special weights to put in the eyelid to help with that. With radiation, the tumour may come back and it could be cancerous. With surgery, we can’t say what may be affected but, for sure, your hearing will go and there’s the risk of death. But if you don’t get either surgery or radiation, you’ll die anyway, if the tumour keeps growing at the current rate…   

It wasn’t just his lack of compassion that bothered me; after all, it’s probably a good thing for a surgeon to be able to operate fairly robotically, without getting all worked up and emotional (I wouldn’t want him snivelling or sobbing uncontrollably while wielding a scalpel inside my brain). It was the fact that there was absolutely no enquiry into the underlying reason for the tumour occurring in the first place—plus he didn’t listen to what I had to say. He had his spiel, and that was it; the readings from his high-tech equipment overrode what I was feeling. So when I told him that I was starting to experience the same symptoms on the other side of my head, he said the MRI showed nothing on the left side and that I was imagining it.

That prompted me to tell him a little story. For years, I had a stabbing pain in my right eye. I consulted eye specialists in Switzerland and in Canada but they all said the same thing: there’s nothing there. Finally, in desperation, I went to Emergency and was referred to another specialist—a young Asian woman who… wait for it… pulled a piece of metal out of my eye. For seven years, I walked around with that piece of metal in my eye because… well, there was nothing there. (I think all those other ophthalmologists needed to get their eyes tested.)

But I knew where this indifference was designed to take me—and it worked. When I left the neurosurgeon’s office, a healthy dose of self-responsibility had reasserted itself and I was on a mission. I was going to fix this myself, if it was the last thing I did (and, yes, I did see the irony in that).

This got me thinking about my rights—not just as the host of this unwelcome guest in my headspace, but also as a person who’s supposedly in charge of her own circumstances. That is, after all, what I teach others and what I strive to practise in my own life. So I asked myself what I was entitled to that I wasn’t giving myself. What was I not doing? And it occurred to me that maybe what I was not doing was… not doing. Rather than doing more, I needed to not do certain things. (I needed to cut things out of my life—before the surgeon needed to cut things out of my skull.) I needed more head space. Things were getting too crowded in there. I needed to download some data rather than uploading even more.

So I started doing less, thinking less and just letting things be. I could feel that the tumour was agitated by too much mental activity and I realized it was pushing me to be still. My brain wanted peace. Reflecting on my daily routine, I saw that there was precious little stillness—in body or mind. Yes, I meditated and did some yoga; otherwise, though, I was constantly doing, thinking, moving, analysing, talking, planning, creating and working my mind. With all our techno-gadgets, our brains are constantly over-stimulated. We’re bombarded with e-mails, texts, commercials, traffic and hordes of other equally hyperactive bods; our sensitive electrical systems are constantly assaulted by mobile phones, cordless phones, TV screens in every café, ipods, ipads and wireless networks 24/7. And we wonder why we’re sick or why we can’t sleep, focus, concentrate or keep going for 15 hours every day.

So stillness, ease and peace have become my focus, and things have started to flow. I’ve received gifts of bodywork, hands-on healing, laughter, emotional support, and a session with an amazing alternative healthcare practitioner who has actually cured someone of an acoustic neuroma, using natural means. I’ve started his programme, while maintaining my own regimen of yoga, chi gung, relaxation, sitting in nature and being more creative with food.

The mind still wants to be in charge, of course, and I resisted sharing this information, for fear of being seen as weak or of not practising what I preach in my work. But the wiser part of me knows that most of my wisdom and expertise has come from addressing challenges like this, rather than trying to deny or suppress them.

So watch this space… while I monitor the space inside my head—and hopefully both will soon get filled up with some really good stuff.