Finding Our Way In a Wild New World
As I sat down to write this I realized it's been quite a long stretch of time since my last post. When I began writing about my healing path it was a genuine desire to do so and I listened deeply to that urge. I wanted to share my experience as I navigated what to many people is an unusual path and to me has been one of the most intense, transformative, challenging, dynamic journey's of my life. It's been two and a half years since my diagnosis, but what I see as a wake up call. A call to listen deeper, to genuinely re-examine the way I was thinking, the way I was consuming, the way I was loving (or not); a call to take an honest look at how I was living my life.
Our illnesses are our bodies talking to us; trying to tell us that something is seriously off balance and I believe it's up to us to listen deeply and address all the aspects of our life in order to restore the balance once again. Especially when we feel threatened or vulnerable, we may turn to our doctors or naturopaths and expect them to heal us, to fix us, to take our illness away. This is not to say we don’t have a support system along the way and we’re blessed if we do, but what I have come to discover for myself is that our doctors are our guides and support while we roll up our sleeves and do the real work.
A re-awakening of our own intuition helps us plug in to the healing that needs to happen and where our intuition guides us is not always going to be what many other people believe is the right choice. This path has nothing to do with them but everything to do with the one who must heal. With that said if someone’s heart is truly calling them to take the traditional medical approach (chemo/radiation) then by all means I believe they should listen to that. In my case there was no question my heart was calling me down a different path and I knew I had to listen and I’ve never doubted it for even a moment. Nobody knows us better than we do and if we don’t know ourselves then that is the task at hand and one of the most worthwhile efforts we can make in life.
We are life, we are nature and when we put up our defenses against that inner 'gut sense' or intuition, we end up creating obstructions within ourselves that, if left undigested/unsorted, will atrophy and become just another layer in the blockages of our energy system. Our mind exists within our entire body and while we can sometimes cut out the symptoms through surgery, if the same patterns are there --- if we are still exposing ourselves to toxins be it physical or emotional – the same symptom will likely return again often with a vengeance. To fully heal at the root cause requires a willingness to change one’s life and recalibrate at our core.
I have had a huge lesson in this particularly the last 6 or 7 months but especially the last couple months; While many people see me as a positive person, there were still deep layers beneath the surface coated in the residue of old stubborn thought patterns, steeped in negativity, self-depreciation. It’s taken me a couple years to really get down deep and see how stuck those patterns were and finally get real about it and say “Ya know what, thank you for your input but I’m on a new path now and I'm no longer listening to you."
The path of healing is not linear and when we’re focused on our healing going the exact way we think it "should" then we become rigid and narrow, leaving little room for the spontaneous unfolding of how healing needs to take expression through our body. Things often need to turn a bit chaotic before they can re-organize themselves into a healthy thriving and unified expression of vitality.
In the early days I heard many accounts of people who healed their cancer within 6 months or even less. Naturally I wanted that to be me! I wanted to heal my body and just be done with it, to ‘get back to normal’. There is no going back. And I'm so glad for that. I would never want to go back to where I was two and a half years ago.
The only physical symptom I've had of course is the lump that I discovered in my right breast 2.5 years ago and about 6 months ago my naturopath concluded the majority of it had turned benign and so our focus turned toward continuing to shrink it.
This takes time and there were some personal challenges that have gone along with this part of my healing that have kept me continuously showing up and continuing on the journey.
Listening for what is the right thing to do, what areas of my life were still too stressful, where do I need to tweak things physically, be more consistent, most of all where are the energetic (most often emotional) patterns that ultimately sit at the root of deep physical imbalance. For some, there is a very obvious and blatant physical toxicity through exposure to harmful chemicals that causes illness such as often the case with childhood cancer. While heavy metals were addressed in my regimen, this was not the root cause in my case. It's important to approach each person's needs individually, keep an open mind about how the healing may look and how long it might take. Most of all to realize if things are not going exactly as you expected, this does not mean you’re failing, it means we must turn inward again, keep listening and recalibrate. I have had to remind myself of this frequently. What we think matters. How we respond matters. What we do with the experience coming through us, matters. What our doctors say to us matters.
Personally speaking, my circumstances were such that I was unable to meet the long-term financial demands of paying for several of the ongoing treatments that were advised to me. This at first had me feeling down, but with some practice I had to turn that around and focus on what I did have access to. I was however, deeply blessed with support very early on which allowed me to get a good solid start on many of the natural therapies and establish a good foundation; from there I did my best with what I had. Interestingly, facing the financial limitations forced me to go deeper and work with the more subtle mental and emotional excavating that needed to happen. This is the kind of inner process I've been undergoing the last year and half and I was pulled to go inward and focus on the process and not worry about needing to share it unless I felt genuinely called to do so. One of the things I am most in awe of is that when we make the firm decision to follow our heart we will likely find ourselves being guided. I can look back and see that each time I committed to follow my intuition, I would cross paths with just the right person, teacher, mentor, service, book, medicine or practice at the very moment I needed them, the support, etc. Ultimately to heal fully, we must be willing to change our lives.
*"Mental and physical symptoms are communications, like dreams from those parts of ourselves which we have twisted away from. If we attune ourselves to their message, we can heal ourselves. Self-healing is learning to love and understand ourselves. Illness is part of our dialogue with our wholeness; it is part of the healing process itself." ~Judith Blackstone
I have ridden so many waves of emotion on this journey and there have been incredibly dark moments of fear, question, and doubt - not in the healing path I chose - but in my life's trajectory; in what this life meant to me, what it would become, how it would unfold. There have been many moments where I felt the overwhelming solitude of the journey and everything that comes with that. But equally as I've opened to that I've connected with other expereinces more deeply as well such as nature, my yoga practice and my deep rooted thought patterns.
During all this recalibration, I had to piece together my own routine. I have been crazy inspired by some amazing teachers, moments and books. Some of the best life medicine I have come to experience is play and creativity, nature and steeping in these elements. Earthing is something I've become really passionate about and a practice I believe everyone should be doing every day. Bare feet on earth. Daily.
We (myself included of course) so easily become disconnected by the constant bombardment of messages coming at us in every day life, via social media, the pace of daily life demands, our own thoughts, our responsibilities, bills and rent due, etc., it leaves us exhausted. For many of us our bodies are sending us signals on a daily basis but we push through and ignore them. To an extent we’re fairly equipped to do so but most of us take it to an extreme. We just stop listening. This is the seed of disconnection, which bears the fruit of health imbalance, which leads to imbalance in our choices and soon our earth displays profound imbalance on a global scale. We must reconnect. This is a practice.
For the last several months I started to feel like I was losing my way a little bit. I was working a lot and trying to keep up with day-to-day life but the loud buzz of the inner changes that were grumbling around beneath the surface of 'me' left a disorienting feeling inside. I began to realize that things had begun to shift at such a deep level within me that there became a bit of a misalignment. The more my now-true self surfaced the less I fit in with the job I had, the people I spent time with and even the town I've lived in for 20+ years. If I didn't fit where I was, then were did I belong? Circumstances then recently unfolded in such a way that I found myself parting ways with the company I had been with for five years. I had worked for wonderful people and it was my saving grace on countless occasions. They were my family in many ways through some of the darker hours of my life but our relationship had come to an end. Suddenly I felt a lot more lost.
Around this time my daughter was simmering in her inner process; reflecting on her life the last several years after coming through a severe eating disorder, sexual assault, and soul searching and now standing transformed but also restless. She had her sights set on Oregon for quite some time now and one day I did a little research and found a lot of things resonated.
The feeling continued to grow and with circumstances as they are it suddenly felt no longer like a question but a decision that had been made. The more I stopped trying to fit myself in to a box or idea of how I "should" be, I realized that I have things to share and offer the world, but to bring that to the next level of expression I need a new place to expand into the new and unfamiliar aspects of myself. Sometimes when we stay too long in one place we end up becoming defined by the things and people around us when really we need to crack the shell a little bit and step outside of the confines of what we've known for so incredibly long.
True change begins within but sometimes as part of that excavation we are called to new lands, to connect with new energies and embark on new beginnings - without knowing much more than that. Our world is changing and we are all in need of healing in some way or another. I am passionate about healing and I believe the path to tapping in to our most vibrant self is through removing the barriers that prevent us from experiencing our own highest version of health and embodied living.
That process can be - as I am discovering - very messy, disorienting, scary, uncomfortable but I'm realizing its how we respond to the process that determines our experience of how things unfold. We are co-creators but make no mistake (as I have many times) , we will be challenged on this. Asked to stand rooted in our truth while the storm of other people's toxic and harsh words rage all around us. Still we must stand rooted in what we know and live it, no matter how wobbly it might feel. This is how alchemy happens; by enduring the fire of purification.
I don't have all the answers, that's part of the journey each of us is on; to find our answers. Believe me people, I have had many mornings waking up at 4am gripped by panic and the voice in my head demanding "Are you flippin mad woman?! What the hell do you think you're doing??" Yes, the fear is there. But so is the inner knowing that life is far too short to just live out old patterns and curse our daily stresses. We must be the change.
I believe we are capable of so much more in this world and all I know is it begins with ourselves. I have this one life to live and I want to get busy living it. The only thing that scares me more than the fear is the deep regret I know I will have, if I allow the fear in my mind to over power the call of my heart. May we all move forward with love in our hearts and a willingness to lean in and shine our lights brighter than ever for that right now is what the world needs more than ever before. Loving you all. XO