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“When you become a lover of what is, the war is over.”- Byron Katie

In order to fully understand the significance of this illness in my life and to open to the possibility that it was, in fact, for my highest evolution, I engaged in conventional and unconventional psychotherapy, holotropic breathwork, energy work, as well as hypnotherapy to open to the bigger picture perspective of my soul’s trajectory. I understand that many people do not believe in reincarnation, so the concept of past lives might be be a stretch. In those situations in transpersonal psychology, perhaps it would be more acceptable to use the term “symbolic story.”As in dreams, the symbolism is never arbitrary. Through hypnosis, I was able to explore a past life, or symbolic story, where I was in Eastern Europe during the 40s. I was a wealthy Jewish woman who clung to her material items and was thrown into the street with all my neighbors, “like cattle.” I died in a gas chamber while I realized that I had focused on materialism rather than love. Then we fast-forward to when I was exploring choices for my present lifetime, I realized why I chose a catastrophic illness as a strong possibility, and how something as horrific as that could be for my highest purpose. The hope was that I would realize that I am not my body. The body is merely a vehicle that is chosen and used for the lifetime, then dies. I chose a strong, beautiful and dependable body in order to support my evolution and the evolution of others around me. It seemed significant during hypnosis that the element of surprise was added to shake people out of complacency. A major teaching for me in this lifetime was to feel deserving of love.

The information during this hypnotherapy session confirmed earlier insights regarding the illness. Early on, I’d “heard” internally the phrase, “With the symptoms, comes the Renaissance.” Although I was far from understanding this challenge as being regenerative at the time, this was consistent with that understanding. Since my life has always been about transformation and service, I felt joyful to do my part in forwarding the evolution of the planet.

The constellation of my life has changed tremendously since my diagnosis. Many friends have moved away from me, and some at lightning speed. I have compassion for them as my circumstances can elicit much fear; “if that happened to her, it could happen to me or my loved ones.” I myself can remember feeling that way about frightening circumstances. The people in my life, however, who could hold my experience, grew exponentially. Actually, everybody grew including the friends who left. When you see your limitations, that can be transformative as well.

Accepting the comings and goings has been a large part of letting go of will and moving toward acceptance. Through acceptance, I have felt liberated and moved into a state of joy and deep connection. Inner and outer connectedness is the likely outcome when one has the spiritual maturity to stay. Pema Chodrun, a Tibetan nun teaches a whole practice of “staying,” staying in the chaos of transformational change. When I realized that I could find joy in these circumstances, I knew I could find joy in any circumstances. After all, who gets to deconstruct their life one event or person at a time? Who gets to unpack and consider every aspect of their life one event at a time? This week was spent going through all of my clothing and jewelry choosing their destinations. This is for Casey, this is for Jordan, this goes to the Free Box in Crestone. I am concurrently grieving and celebrating every aspect of my life over a sixty year span. Also this week, I completed my end of life paperwork which will enable me to have an open air cremation that is legal in Crestone when the time comes, whether it be in ten years or ten minutes I have created my closing act down to the Native American flute and Taiko drums. Who gets to do that?

I don’t want to give the impression that this process has been easy; on the contrary, it has been fraught with much grief, thoughtfulness, and life review. What have I left incomplete? What relationships are less than clean and loving? I can even project into the future, to anticipate future needs of my children and grandchildren and communicate with them, like time travel. Casey set up e-mail addresses for her boys for me to date in the future so they will have communication from me.

How fortunate I feel to be able to be present with myself and with my children through this process. Really, who gets to do this?

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“Each time we drop our masks and meet heart to heart… Each time we are able to remain open to suffering, despite our fear and defensiveness, we sense a love in us which becomes increasingly unconditional… Awakening from our sense of separateness is what we are called to do in all things.”- Ram Dass

The practice of caregiving is changing as our culture ages and evolves. An old paradigmatic understanding of this practice involves a unilateral, unidirectional expression of support offered from the caregiver to the subject. However, as one develops more sophistication about the energetic exchanges between people, it becomes apparent that much more is actually happening during the interchange. From my experience, it is impossible for two people to interact intimately and not have complex and often unconscious forces operating on the dyad. As the individuals become more sensitive to the subtleties, the caregiver may be in to notice either an infusion or depletion of the respective energy fields. It is the essential for the caregiver to explore these shifts in emotional and/or physical well-being if one is to be calm a more conscious care practitioner. It is only when these energetic shifts are perceived and acknowledged that the source of these effects can be understood. This is the process of self–reflection and Knowing Oneself. The better one knows one’s self, the more satisfying relating to others will be and the more effected the caregiving relationship.

I believe that an individual’s ability to render care effectively is directly related to his or her capacity for intimacy. This capacity is initially nurtured during infancy by the primary parental relationship. There is also a karmic imprint with which the soul is incarnated, but that is for a different discussion. Although the parents are central to influencing the initial imprinting once the soul is incarnated, there will be many subsequent surrogates throughout the course of one’s life who will contribute to this capacity. I believe that developing one’s capacity to love oneself and others is the work of most souls for the lifetime; the karma is the dharma.

In my personal experience, the identical imprints from my primary maternal relationship have recurred in every significant relationship where deep love has been present. In other words the unresolved issues from my primary relationship has been operant in every subsequent intimate interaction. As these patterns became more conscious, the healing of these issues was possible. This is why it is essential that one does their Shadow work if they are to evolve spiritually and have satisfying intimate relationships. As the unresolved issues become resolved, the amount of suffering the individual experiences significantly decreases.

My spiritual development involved both the physical body and the mind. Relatively early in life I chose the field of psychology as my life work, or what feels more accurate is psychology chose me. In my experience, many people choose psychology because it is they themselves who need healing and my situation was no different. As I have stated in previous blog entries, my relationship with my mother was complicated. Accordingly, every subsequent surrogate for healing this primal issue in my life reflected these complications, whether they were school teachers, coaches, therapists, husbands, or in my later years caregivers. Although my mother clearly cared about me, my relationship with her was neither warm nor nurturing. The resulting vulnerability required much psychological healing in order for wholeness to prevail. The subsequent surrogates provided a virtual tag team in order to assure future health and stability. A good deal of the unconscious material, the unresolved issues from childhood, surface with my husbands who provided much mirroring of my unexamined Shadow. It is important to note that this mirroring process is excruciating while the material remains unconscious. During my later years, caregivers would provide this mirroring in order for healing to occur. In such an intimate relationship, I cannot emphasize enough the need to become aware of unconscious dynamics in order to alleviate unnecessary suffering. Any assistance 1one can secure along the way can bring tremendous healing.

During his last year, I have attracted a circle of caregivers including five women and three men. We meet tri-weekly with a facilitator whose role is to mirror, reflect, and witness. She coined the phrase “care partnering.” As integral parts of the system we all give and receive healing consciously. Each individual is interested in his/her own healing and spiritual growth. It has become increasingly apparent to all in the members of the circle that we have come together to consciously co-create a new paradigm for caregiving. The care circle is a moving, growing organism that feels more like a hologram than a collection of individuals. With the collective intention for increasing awareness of our archaic wounds, the healing manifests and the group level as well as with each individual. There is a synergy that appears to be happening with this level of collective intention.

As baby boomers age, there will be more of a need for caregiving. It has been shown that keeping the elderly and/or disabled in their own homes is both economical and compassionate. It has been satisfying to witness the level of presence engendered by each member of our circle spread to other individuals in need of care in our community. I hope this can serve as a model for a new paradigm for offering care.

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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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