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“It’s the stuff God hits your ass with, when he doesn’t want to kill ya, he just wants to slow ya down.” -Richard Pryor on MS

Leanne_Spiritual_Heart.341200433_stdI believe that people take on catastrophic challenges for different reasons, because in our deepest Being, we want to wake up; we want to evolve and we want to effect the collective evolution of humanity. That is not small potatoes. Otherwise, the Universe would be seen as an uncompromising, sadistic force, which I do not, cannot and will not ever believe; that is too antithetical to what I feel in my heart. Without my cumulative felt-perceptions nurtured over many decades and perhaps many lifetimes, I might have the consciousness of a chickpea, not meaning to disparage a chickpea. Sorry Rumi.

My belief system has been nurtured by my evolving love for myself and humanity. How could this curriculum be for anything but my betterment? When I feel moved to look deeper into the etiology of the illness I feel like an investigator looking for clues. Either we volunteer for these rigorous curricula or they are arbitrary, the latter of which I don’t believe for a minute given the outcomes I have witnessed and experienced. I also believe that we set up reminders along the way when we might be deviating from our chosen course. At these points, like breadcrumbs along the path, we face crossroads where free choice can be exercised to alter the trajectory.

I can remember making choices during my life that, in retrospect, were not in my best interest. Rather than seeing these choices as failures or even tests that would imply right or wrong, I see these moments as opportunities for my Soul to catch my attention. Based on the curricula chosen by the Soul, these nudges are instructive and they become louder and louder when ignored.

Working on surrendering my egoic willfulness, I suspect that I created a failsafe plan to get my attention that would not allow for error. Early in the illness, I felt punished and ashamed. Now I understand that the opposite is really true. Because I am a courageous soul with fierce determination, I set out a curriculum where surrender was the only option.

I can remember example after example of times in my life when I deferred my own judgment to other people’s opinions. I can remember denying my own intuitions and desires to meet other people’s needs. The most representative example of this self injurious behavior was after a marital separation where I was left emotionally devastated. It took two days to get myself out of bed and back to work, after six weeks of singing Amazing Grace for an hour each day while driving over the causeway to New Orleans, I gradually brought my life back to a place of joyful homeostasis. I began to dream of finding a small house for myself and the children that was only mine.

When my husband sensed my joy he requested  a reconciliation, I pivoted away from my dream to reconcile. I began having anxiety attacks like I had never experienced. I remember being unable to leave the car, but still I ignored them. In retrospect, these felt like wake-up calls that I systematically ignored. What could my soul do, but make the alarms louder? That was when the symptoms were beginning. But it is never just one incident; there are often many unheeded calls. Remember, the illnesses or injuries are not punishments. They are sacred breadcrumbs to assist your return to your chosen path.

Around this time the symptoms had begun. Instead of abandoning my dream, I needed to turn toward my dream, to empower it, to empower myself. Only in retrospect do it realize the significance of ignoring the prompting from my soul. I gave my soul no choice but to intensify the constriction. This was a loving gesture, like a parent creating instructive containment to assure healthy development in their child. There is no judgment regarding the required curriculum on a Soul level. Challenges and resulting behaviors are met with neutrality. What is most important is the return to a deeper sense of self-love. “God does not want to kill ya, just slow ya down.”

People design specific karmic lessons during their pre-birth planning to focus on developing particular traits, i.e. self-esteem, generosity, compassion, becoming more self-referential during their mortal lifetimes. I believe that becoming self-referential was central to my learning and being willful was in the way of making better choices that would deepen self trust. Okay, enter progressive degenerative illness  to affirm to my ego that my soul is in charge. From the perspective of this singular life, it seems like a big deal, but from the scope of thousands of lifetimes it is a mere speck in the bigger picture.

The hope and promise of a life fully lived brings with it the perspective of seeing our lives from the bigger picture perspective. With this understanding, suffering can be greatly reduced and deep joy and satisfaction attained from the knowing that we have done our best. It is for this intended outcome that I continue to log my Journey.

“The mind-body connection is a strong one, but progressive multiple sclerosis can be a buzz saw intent on breaking that bond.”– Marc Stecker

 

food_piece_of_cake-0262Geez Louise, working for me is not for the faint of heart; especially around the changing of the seasons. If you are thinking of answering an ad and have some trepidation, listen to it. I have some helpers who had been with me the whole seven years I have been in Crestone. Maybe they deserve a medal. If you make it through the first three hours, it is not uncommon to be with me for multiple years. How they do it, I’m not sure. Before the illness, I could not have done it. And some of them are under thirty!

This month’s Care Circle, the meeting with my care team, will be the largest so far. I hope my kiva room can accommodate all the seating. I must be doing something right, drawing such a large crowd. And these people are the most amazing individuals I have ever known. They are completely committed to doing whatever it takes to keep me in my body. I literally owe my life to them, on a minute to minute basis. I have almost always had a lot of love in my life, but this is beyond what I ever imagined. In my early life there was a lack of nurturance to which I attribute the need for this extreme curriculum. There is a T-shirt that reads, “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” Well, it’s never too late to bring a wounded infancy to wholeness. I have made the connection between a profound lack of healthy mothering during childhood and a progressive form of multiple sclerosis in prior blog entries. I know of six anecdotal cases reflecting this theory, my own being one. This curriculum can offer hope for the deepest healing; bringing hope to a world in need is a worthy endeavor.

Yesterday, the dreaded occurrence happened: an injury. Fortunately, this is rare, but it is more likely to happen when training new people and they don’t understand my vulnerabilities. During a transfer, the plate and nine screws that held my femur together was torn. Don’t ask. Fortunately, my physical therapist was here and offered much reassurance. That was timely, because I had turned white as a sheet and was ready to pass out. See Shattered, the first chapter in my book, also in my blog if you don’t have a book. This describes my original femur accident from 2007.

I think what happened was, the emotional trauma from the original accident surfaced that had not been cleared. During the night, if I closed my eyes to let go into sleep, I would have an anxiety spike. I instantly made this connection to dying fears. Who gets to be this aware? And, of course, I experienced this in what appears to be slow-motion, so I feel everything, in a big way.

Without an injury, I could live for months, maybe years. The injury is the unknown variable. Perhaps it is the mysterious work of the sacred initiator waiting to midwife me into the next consciousness. That does not instill comfort to this mortal humanoid.

Okay, if I have sufficiently convinced you that working for me is difficult, now imagine being in my place. That would be a quick visit, because living with my circumstances is almost unimaginable to most people, even people with life-threatening illnesses or milder forms of MS. Most of the time it is not so difficult, living my ordeal, observing life from my perspective. It is really a rich, full life.

I know I am living parallel existences. My dreams are as real and as unreal as my waking life feels at times. Some Knowers say that our dreams are more real than this physical reality. I believe that, because I know this is merely a costume for the movie that is my life with this curriculum. Now I get to clear the trauma surrounding my femur injury, otherwise, it will continue postmortem. I have read about people having chronic body issues with memories of being mortally wounded in a parallel existence, or past life if you prefer a linear perspective. Since I sit nineteen hours a day, I have the time and opportunity to release the trauma. So release I will.

Although, my ego would never have chosen these circumstances, I recognize the wisdom in the selection on a soul level. I know that in a blink of an eye, this experience will be over. In the meantime, I prefer to spend my time increasing my consciousness and in service to others. Each moment is another opportunity toward this end, however, gluten or non-gluten, it is not a piece of cake.

“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”–Thich Nhat Hanh

HealingMandala.jpg.w300h300When we talk about healing, what does this mean in its greatest sense? Does it mean the body heals? Does it mean that we feel better? What I have learned in my journey, is that true healing means bringing oneself to wholeness, understanding the totality of our existence; finding love from the inside out.

In my particular situation, I needed to understand that I was not my body. My body is, however, a vehicle to understand the totality of my soul. This can be mind-boggling, because we are not our minds either. The purpose of our physical incarnation is to have experiences and evolve. This in turn will grow and enrich our souls.

Many people who are born at this time, have chosen to enter into a challenging time in history, to be a helper. A light worker can be identified by taking on challenging circumstances and following it through to completion, or transformation.

In order to transform suffering, one has to enter the energy form of the suffering; the greatest healing happens from within the same vibrational frequency. Sometimes the healing manifests within the body, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the heart comes to completion and the body dies. Some of the most profound healings happen when people face their mortality. To limit the concept of healing to the physical body is reductive. Some of the deepest healings I’ve witnessed were when people were working with life-threatening illnesses that were degenerative and irreversible.

Some people believe that certain souls choose to take on significant challenges in order to move themselves and their soul families forward in their evolutionary trajectory. If this sort of curriculum is consciously chosen by the higher self and physical healing is not a part of the program,   and acceptance and joy can be attained, the transformational value is immeasurable.

There are many who believe in the orthodoxy of the “law of attraction.” This is a valid truth, but one needs to consider that sometimes the soul attracts what is in the individual’s highest good, not necessarily what the ego wants. My ego would never have chosen this curriculum. But, in retrospect, and in view of the bigger picture prospective, I acknowledge my courage and growth and the evolution of those my life has touched.

Healing is a complex, mysterious and Sacred Journey. In expanding one’s understanding of true healing, our soul’s capacity for love and empathy expands. And, according to me, my fellow travelers and the Hokey Pokey, that’s what it’s all about.

“Most of the pain we feel is nothing more than a story that needs telling.”
― Ashly Lorenzana

depression

One of the most feared effects of suffering is the experience of bodily pain. I’ve been fortunate to have relatively little neurogenic pain despite having a progressive, degenerative illness. Besides neurogenic pain, there are other forms of pain common in chronic illness caused by inflammation, such as joint pain, effects of disuse atrophy, and more. I specifically designed my diet to exclude foods that are inflammatory. I’ve gone to great lengths to do food sensitivity testing in addition to avoiding known foods that cause inflammation.

I had much more joint pain prior to my dietary changes. For many people with autoimmune issues, a Paleolithic diet excluding dairy and gluten have remediated the symptoms, and in some cases reversed the illness completely. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. When this became clear, I knew my healing needed to be on a deeper level.

Minimizing daily pain has not only included dietary changes, but riding a motorized stationary bike three times a week to increase circulation and promote skin health. Despite all of my strategizing, there are times that pain is unavoidable. I have undergone various medical interventions that were extremely painful including three abdominal surgeries. There were many less conventional interventions I underwent that were experimental in treating MS, like eight hours of venoplasty to open constrictions in the venous system which was thought to exacerbate progression of the illness. In India, I had a minimum of two injections per day and at least three epidural procedures over eight day durations.

Changing my relationship to pain has been a recurring theme on this healing journey through the body. One of the central teachings has been that I am not my body. I used to believe that I was my body, being identified with my reliable physicality. I used to believe that I thought with my brain. I now feel that I “think” more with my heart than my head. In going through this transformation in belief, my intuition has become stronger and wiser. My relational interactions come more from my heart, more from an inspired place. My work with my clients and friends has become clearer, more heartfelt and effective in encouraging their evolution.

When I think of what has been my greatest ally in learning to separate from the belief that I am my body, I realize that pain has been a master teacher. There have been times when I have experienced pain from pressure sores and couldn’t move for multiple hours due to my disability; there was no way to alleviate the pain. Choosing to live alone, that is a significant consideration. During those times when I could not turn away from the pain, I learned to be present with it. It has been during these times that I realized that there is a part of me NOT experiencing the pain.

This has been a significant practice, developing the “I” separate from the pain. I can remember in childhood having to be wrestled to the floor by the doctor in order to receive an injection. Our tolerance to physical pain increases as we mature. I believe that this is the process of lessening our identification with our physical bodies.

Facilitators like Steven Levine, in the area of death and dying, have been teaching medications to assist people in dis–identifying with extreme pain successfully for many decades. As we identify less as a human body and more as a soul being, our human drama and suffering decreases as our consciousness evolves. This is part of the progression that will assist us when we are ready to make the ultimate transition, to drop our bodies and return Home.

 

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. more...

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