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Love and grief are two sides of the same coin. – Derived from talk by Stephen Jenkinson 

GriefThe hint of a life-threatening illness when I was thirty-five years old was almost too much for this young, vibrant woman to bear. In retrospect, I have deep compassion for my younger self’s initiation into this accelerated curriculum and I now know how essential it is for my soul’s evolution. Coming to terms with my mortality at that age was a tall order, living a mortal life while being in touch with its transitory nature was almost more than I could bear and has taken me more than a decade to integrate.

When I really think about it, how can we live fully if we cannot contemplate our impermanence? How can we fully live if we can? The human condition is quite a paradox. This is why mystics acknowledge that being human is not for the faint of heart. There is crescendo and there is de-crescendo, inhaling and exhaling. How do we  be with this human condition that feels so out of control to our egos without becoming completely overcome with fear? How do we not connect these fears with the cultural epidemic of our time – fear of death? How do we hold death with equanimity, as truly a part of life?

What I have come to understand is the only way to hold both is to feel  it all. Feeling the difficult feelings in our culture is not encouraged. Numbing or distracting behaviors are pervasive. Allowing oneself to sink into the grief of this illusory existence, to essentially face one’s fears of death is not an easy undertaking. The pun is intended. In my experience, only by following grief and despair to completion can the heart lighten and the healing power of humor emerge.

Grief is better tolerated than despair, in my experience. Despair implies hopelessness. I guess the question is: “What are we hoping for?” Are we hoping for immortality? It is painful for me to be with someone who is dying, but wants to live at any cost. The ego wants to convince us that if we succumb to these feelings, we will never get out. There are so many archetypal dramas in literature that demonstrate this primal fear. When one finds the courage to bear the grief, liberation is assured. Allowing oneself to fall completely into grief is the only way through this dense, vibrational field. Despair can be treacherous, becoming an impenetrable wall if you are at all ambivalent about your leap. I liken it to bouldering. You cannot have ambivalence when jumping from one boulder to another; you cannot look down, you just leap focusing on the boulder ahead.

Stephen Jenkinson, once the leader of palliative care counseling at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, has written extensively about the prevalence of “death phobia and grief illiteracy – how they distance us from one another, our planet and our world crisis.”

Grief can become a wall or it can be a portal to a deeper way of Being. Once we have come to terms with the illusory nature of the personality as our totality, the fulcrum tips. Only by leaping fully can our toe touch the boulder of the numinous.
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“You will never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” -Bob Marley

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Around 1986 I noticed my eyes were irritatingly dry. During a routine  eye examination with a young ophthalmologist, he asked me if I had rheumatoid arthritis or lupus in my family. Knowing the chronicity and severity of these illnesses, I became terrified and angry that he would ask such a question knowing so little about me and contrary to my general personality of avoiding confrontation, I told him so. After all, I had a one-year-old and a seven-year-old. How could he ask me something like that having no relationship with me? What happened to bedside manner and rapport? Nevertheless, he likely saw something and a seed of fear was planted.

A year later, I noticed my pinkies being numb in the middle of the night. I would have to stand up and shake my arms to resume normal circulation. At this point in my family, Sid had been on the road a lot working in sales. I was in a rhythm of being a single mom since my husband was gone most of the week. Coincidentally, if one believes in coincidences, I changed a television channel briefly and heard a woman ask a doctor, “my hands get numb at times, what could this be?” He replied, “it could be the beginning of a neurological disease.” He added, “I’m sorry.”

People have frequently asked me what my first symptoms were. Of course, these symptoms can be totally benign to most other people, but to me they were not. I have always perceived physical anomalies from a broader perspective which made Western medicine and the narrow perspective many physicians view illness, too narrow for me. In my teens I had been a voracious reader of psychology and alternative realities. In my adult life, I had either explored or participated in a few spiritual schools which brought much expansion to my physical world view. Nevertheless, fear had always been a co-traveler rendering me immobilized at inopportune times in my life. From early childhood, being afraid of my mother and then generalizing that fear to teachers and other adults, to growing up and learning to stand on my and two feet (the irony does not elude me) to ultimately learning my own value, fear has been a rigorous, ruthless teacher. I understand now that this illness became the embodiment of that fear, so that I could become it, to release it.

While visiting family in Pennsylvania, it was decided that I would see a world-class neurologist near the University of Pennsylvania. I was prepared to have an MRI and whatever scary practices I’d heard those doctors did to diagnose neurological conditions. I’d heard they stick needles into nerves which I mentioned to him. I found this doctor very comforting even after he told the that he has been known to stick a few needles into nerves. It is amazing what doctors can get away with with a little compassion. His recommendation, however, was for me to continue moving forward in my life. I suspect he could intuit my immobilization and supported me in moving through this fear. What I came to understand was there was actually no effective treatment for neurological illnesses at this point, anyway.

Despite my terror in the beginning of this process, I became completely open to internal messages. Perhaps I knew the only answers would come internally. One morning upon arising I clearly heard the words, “With the symptoms comes the Renaissance.” I was still groggy and I didn’t understand the word Renaissance so I replaced it with rebirth. With the symptoms comes rebirth. This and other internal messages I had been receiving provided unseen encouragement to continue an inner journey and an unconventional path. I immersed myself in herbalism, spiritualism/spirituality,  network chiropractics and any other discipline that expanded my internal journey. Although Western medicine didn’t seem to offer any answers, I intermittently revisited that system.

After having followed the Philadelphia neurologist’s advice to face my fears of inadequacy, which was the hardest obstacle I had ever encountered, I secured employment as a psychotherapist in the state system for nearly ten years. When I decided to leave my civil service job which was both fulfilling and deeply restrictive deciding to expand my private practice, again, terror grabbed me. Not only were about my feelings of inadequacy surfacing, but I felt that I was betraying my clients who were desperately needing me. The week I was to leave, my right thigh became numb. Nevertheless, I moved forward through my fears like walking through JellO.

Numb thigh and all, I kept moving. My private practice surged and I had more time to pursue other interests. Despite moving forward, I could not shake the unfortunate hitchhiker that continually threatened to immobilize me at the slightest hesitation. I began to pursue a passion from early in life, riding horses. During my fifties I learned to jump my horse over fences. I was doing well until I noticed that moving laterally when mucking stalls was becoming more difficult. And when my horse pulled out of his halter and I ran after him, I noticed I could not run. I went to the local walk-in clinic and presented my concerns. The doctor examined my musculature and found me extremely strong. What she didn’t realize was that I had been above baseline in strength my whole life. I admitted that I was afraid I had multiple sclerosis and asked to pursue this exploration further, but she felt no need.

In 2003, my interracial, interfaith gospel choir in New Orleans which I’d been a part of for many years decided to go on tour in Ireland to sing and speak about racism in America and sectarianism in Ireland. This deeply fulfilled my mission for bringing polarities together. While in Northern Ireland I began to limp, which was the first outwardly obvious symptom. I returned to the walk-in clinic where the doctor seemed irritated, but agreed to order an MRI. The doctor called me with the results of a normal MRI, which baffled me until I realized she had not included my spine. Why is navigating the medical so infuriating? Reluctantly, she agreed to a MRI of my spine.

When I met with her for the results, the MRI of my cervical spine revealed an anomaly at C5. She told me I had a fast-growing tumor that was, “bad” and should see a neurosurgeon immediately. For some reason, this information did not trigger fear. On some level, I knew this was not true and the neurosurgeon confirmed this belief and I was referred to a neurologist for treatment for multiple sclerosis.

I have to say that Dr. McKinley was one of the nicest, informative doctors I had met thus far. He was young and warm with a wife who was also a doctor and two beautiful children. As we got to know each other, I shared about Ireland and he shared that his family had a castle in Ireland. He enjoyed music and his family frequented the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year. After a year of six-month checkups, I parted ways, because he refused to order a cervical MRI. He explained since my cervical lesion had healed they never return once they have healed. My neck felt unchanged and I vehemently disagree with Dr. McKinley. Once again a doctor refuses to believe me. I went back to the walk-in clinic where she ordered a cervical MRI that revealed exactly what I felt. The Western medical system was neither kind nor respectful to me. I took it personally at the time, but I believe now with progressive neurological illnesses, doctors are over their heads. They need help, really they do.

In retrospect, I believe these doctors really cared about me and did not want me to have an intractable, catastrophic illness. These were wonderful people who could have been close personal friends in other circumstances. I was devastated to find out that after Katrina, Dr. McKinley zipped himself up in a sleeping bag and threw himself off a building. Despite my horror, I wasn’t surprised to hear how considerate he was, even in his despair.

Doctors are human, aren’t they? With their human frailties like arrogance and frustration from having to diagnose patients with life-threatening illnesses, not enough scientific information and no treatment available. I used to say, “they are just mechanics and bodies are the vehicles needing repair.” In my case, we were faced with a puzzle with no solution. That is when you really find out what you’re made of.

“I was immature; I became experienced; I was consumed. -Rumi

What would it feel like to live each moment in unitive consciousness, including the whole continuum of life and death? There would be no loss, nothing to strive for. Love would be all there is and that would be true perfection. The Spirit world is like this, I hear, but there is no contrast in which to experience duality and therefore, accelerated growth. We come to “school” for those teachings.

Astrologically, the past month of April was projected to reveal extreme highs and extreme lows. Astrology has always been a Sacred helper on my Journey. It has become increasingly clear through the ups and downs of April, that I have been living much of my life with the proverbial one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brake. The events of the month were grueling and have revealed my exhaustion and, perhaps, some denial that I actually do have a progressive, degenerative illness, complications from which will eventually end my life. A hospice chaplain friend succinctly reminded me that this athletic regime I have created is not so much about healing my body, but the healing I am truly seeking will come with the surrender of death and that process is directed by my soul. I really needed to hear that. Sometimes I get so caught up in strategizing, that I forget what is truly in charge.

What is the expression, “Life is what’s happening when you are busy making other plans?”  Well, perhaps, physical decline is what has been happening when I’ve been busy making other plans. April has brought a rude awakening to my ego, the part of me that has been doing fitness training with a life-threatening illness. No matter how much I have been training, a physical downward spiral has been steadily progressing.

What is the alternative? The alternative is not to merely stay in a place of helplessness or despair, but to feel it all; to feel the depth of the grief and the occasional panic, to feel it all. Allowing myself to feel the despair, though challenging, can be a pivotal point where transcendence can be accessed. In my experience, attempting to grasp onto hope can be an illusory detour if it is keeping one from hitting the proverbial bottom of no hope. It is after one accepts that there is no hope that true transcendence is available through surrender. Weathering the pain of hopelessness is where spiritual maturity is required.

Surrender has never been easy for me. I have been told that the purpose of this illness is to treat my willfulness by five disembodied monks. After I thought about it, it made perfect sense when I think about all the times that I used my will to push through which ended up not being be healthier choices in my life. What better way to learn the limitations of my ego, but to get an intractable, progressive illness. True to form I have tried everything to heal imaginable and then some. I’ve had no choice, but to let go, to open more to the illness, what it is teaching me and to ultimately have gratitude for the deepening of the love in my life. Becoming comfortable with stillness was not something I would have chosen from my ego, but big gifts have been immeasurable.

I recently watched Ram Dass’ documentary Fierce Grace once again about his experience post stroke and he acknowledged that when he was “stroked” he did not have one spiritual thought. Upon this revelation, his reflection revealed, “I have more work to do.” Well, I have more work to do. Surrender, on a significant level, still feels like resignation, giving up. What is being required is an acceleration of my spiritual work, letting go more into Trust. That is my next big piece. Opening up to the freedom that comes from that. I suspect if we all could do that, we would all be beamed up into Spirit. We will meet in that “field” together that Rumi talks about. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.”  

Well, the limited amount of functioning I have had is becoming increasingly more limited leaving just that of the autonomic nervous system. When I realize some functioning is becoming nearly impossible and my strategies are no longer effective, I feel some grief and mourning for what was and will never be again in this body. Usually the grief lasts a few hours to a few days at this point. That’s very different, because it used to last a few years!

Some people call it courage; some people call it miraculous. I just call it “what is.” I can either kick and scream (although I cannot literally do either) or I can just choose to say “yes” to the new level of functioning. What I am finding with this accelerated curriculum is that losing something always has some new awareness I hadn’t been able to access, before.

I am not a saint and I am not an exception. I am just not interested in suffering on a day to day minute to minute basis, if I have any control over that. And that is about all I have control over!

Being alone nineteen hours a day, sitting overlooking the 14,000 foot mountain range called Sangre de Christo, I am realizing the importance of the acceleration of the spiritual work Ram Dass talked about. As a collective consciousness, we are moving from the third dimensional reality to the fourth dimensional reality. The latter involves unitive consciousness. The field of unity is already around us. People are gradually being able to access this field to eventually reach a critical mass, where rigid boundaries of duality will soften.

I am realizing that as I let go of each ability on a physical level, I am opening to a new ability on the subtle level. So I ask myself, what really is disability?

I am realizing that whatever the challenge that may seem catastrophic, there is always a gift on the other side of the grief. We can reach that place beyond acceptance into a place of transcendence, which is where the fourth dimension lies. Many are being called to experience the expanded. awareness of the fourth dimension. Rumi and Ram Dass are great teachers beckoning us to this dimension of heightened love and unity.

I will meet you there.

“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.

“One world is dying, and another is being born. Let us attend to both with compassion.” Marianne WilliamsonDan-and-Terri-in-MauiSMALL

Terri Daniel became a friend in 2011 after I read her fascinating journey with her son Daniel. At ten, Daniel was diagnosed with a rare neurological illness, much like ALS. Terri was his primary caregiver for the remaining six years of his life. For the last two Daniel could not speak. Terri learned to communicate with Daniel telepathically, so that after he transitioned at sixteen, the communication resumed and they have now written three books together.

Their first book, Swan In Heaven affirmed a revolution in me that was well underway, internally. Daniel disseminated profound teachings, one of which has informed much of my understanding of my process of late. Daniel described a “mirror image” process, where when one dies and their breathing diminishes, on the other side the diminished breath manifests as light. So as the breath from the human body dissipates, the light gets stronger in Spirit, “until the last breath closes one door and opens the other.” I have realized that as my functioning decreases in this denser form, my Light is increasing in function and Beingness. For me, the apt metaphor is one of being birthed. The only experience I can compare this to what is watching a filly being born on our horse farm in Louisiana. With each contraction, the filly was more a part of our realm.

My respiration is greatly diminished, but my Spirit is getting stronger every day. The home health nurse is always astonished at the shallowness of my breath. Also, living at 8000 feet altitude diminishes my breath even further. The introduction of any errant bug can be the catalyst for my transition at any moment. Living on the edge has its challenges and its rewards. The more I reflect on the latter, the more regenerative and joyful my life is.

Moving toward one’s end-of-life can be traversed abruptly or slowly. Some people believe how one proceeds is predetermined prior to incarnating. How free will can interplay with this predetermination can alter the trajectory. We are just beginning to understand what can be called the last frontier.

Exploring my feelings surrounding this transition can bring varying degrees of fear and panic, until I realize everybody does it. We are all birthed into this physical existence, like the filly and we are all birthed out. They are the most natural processes. If you believe in reincarnation, which I do, I have probably done it hundreds, maybe thousands of times. Amnesia, chosen on a soul level, makes it seem new every time, allowing the teachings to be integrated on a deep level.

Thinking about who and what I am leaving brings tremendous grief in the limited knowing sphere. I completely believe that we really don’t go anywhere, we just vibrate at a higher frequency, making it harder to perceive. I told my children they will just have to learn to listen better. Terri learned to listen to Danny better. Imagining where I am going, seems adventurous. I have had a vision from long ago of an amphitheater on an ocean that feels familiar. I know this is a sacred place beyond this frequency. I just know it. I have always felt there will be a great celebration when I cross over and there will be much support, as I will continue to be a support for my loved ones, family and friends.

When I remember to focus on my destination, I become joyful. I am thankful for the sacred trailblazers who are compassionate enough to show us the Way.

“You wait a lifetime to meet someone who understands you, accepts you as you are. At the end, you find that someone, all along, has been you.” -Richard Bach

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Siegfried Zademack

I recently shared with my dear friend Alice, who is on a similar Journey as me, that with this illness I believe we are being brought into greater balance. The personal journeying she has shared with me recently has affirmed this Knowing. I wanted to share some of my deep, personal balancing.

I have been particularly touched by a couple I have known for some time, who has been journeying through MS together. One has the illness, but they are together in their commitment of seeing this curriculum through. After David left, I communicated with Stephen to ask what enables him to stay. His response was so profound and personal that I will not share it on a blog; suffice it to say that he expressed reverence and deep love in his serving. Hearing his perspective gave me so much hope for humankind and appreciation for these friends whose lives are unexplainably interconnected with mine.

From time to time, we check in with each other to share strategies and mutual respect. As I near the end of my ten week commitment to The Presence Process* with this week’s theme being, I FORGIVE MYSELF, what keeps coming up is that I need to forgive myself for having this illness. Everything else has been forgiven, but this last piece seems intransigent.

During our most recent communication, I must have shared my pain and disappointment about traversing this journey alone in contrast to their shared path. There have been so many similarities and synchronicities along our respective paths, it is surely not a coincidence.

But for me, David left. Stephen expressed something remarkable to me. “… dearest Aliyah, I have fallen for you in a way I cannot explain. Somehow there is a sisterhood of like souls on similar voyages and somehow the two of you have me on the same liferaft. You make it easier for me to care for [my wife]. I feel that I could be with you in your situation with perfect ease…” That last line was the clincher. I could not stop sobbing. He had struck a nerve. Pun intended.

I was able to see the part of me that is so balled up and black that I cannot possibly be lovable. After all, David adored me and he could not leave fast enough. As I sat with the pain in my being, and allowed myself to soften and expand around this pain, I realized that it was myself that I could not forgive. Somehow, this invitation allowed me to see the deepest judgment I held was for myself: I had been so cruel to my mother when she was sick for ten years of my young life. My mother has long since forgiven me, but I had not forgiven me! My healing with this illness has involved revisiting the primary relationship with my mother, as I have described in much detail in previous blogs.

It has taken Stephen’s kindness and devotion for me to access that place that we can perhaps call the missing piece. I also understand why I could never maintain a primary relationship and simultaneously do my deepest healing. I would fetishize and romanticize the love from others to protect myself from touching into this blackness. I had to hear love from another person, but also someone from the same liferaft. It is a wondrous process to unlock the depths of where we cannot love ourselves.

It is by entering our deepest wounds where illness can sometimes be just the medicine we need for bringing us into greater balance.

*a book by Michael Brown

“There is no path to love. Love is the path.” –Casey Miller Atre (derived from Mahatma Gandhi)

220px-Minotauros_Myron_NAMA_1664_n1The stories I’ve been hearing lately from others living with the constellation called progressive multiple sclerosis and the people who love them, are nearly unimaginable. I almost feel negligent for complaining in comparison. Really. One friend, after having received steroids in an attempt to remediate the effects of an exacerbation, was left with necrotic hip and shoulder joints. This means he is living with the equivalent of four constant joint fractures every moment of his life. Another friend, after fracturing her femur, had to have her tendons surgically severed in order to allow for daily functioning and care. Her beloved husband, her primary caregiver, is caring so deeply for his wife, the mother of his children. From the outside looking in, it is a sacred practice of love and devotion; and from the inside out seemingly pushing him beyond his boundaries.

Really, this illness knows no bounds. To me, it is almost incomprehensible. The prospect of watching one’s body decline, one function after another, has been beyond what my mind can hold.

And it is beyond my mind where I have come to accept these circumstances and be able to live with them. What keeps occurring to me, from beyond my mind, is that we are being prepared. I don’t know how I know this, but I know this. No question. I also know that I don’t know what we are being prepared for, but we are without a doubt.

In Greek mythology, the Minotaur is the monster, half bull and half human, who dwelt at the center of the labyrinth. The Minotaur, in my Story, can be represented by MS. The labyrinth can be understood as the Spiritual Path. This is where the title of my blog comes from. Actually, some people refer to MS as their MonSter. The Minotaur represents a distortion of authenticity of Spirit perpetrated by the ego. This projection needs to be fed through continual distortions of Truth or addictive behaviors. The Minotaur becomes transformed, or liberated, through honest reflection, or finally facing one’s core limitations.

Many people feel victimized by whatever curriculum is before them, whether it be illness, caring for someone with an illness, or other challenges, whether they are physical, emotional, financial, etc. that take them to the edge of their limitations. Feeling victimized by the illness perpetuates feelings of powerlessness.

Often I feel like the heroine of my Sacred Journey through the labyrinth, by encountering my personal Minotaur. It can be said that this monster in the center of my mandala represents a battle with my own willfulness, or my bullheadedness. This encounter is as different for everyone as the symptoms of the illness is different. Each person’s struggle is their battle with some aspect of their ego, a significant block to living authentically in deep connection with Spirit, in Love. My willfulness has been a huge hindrance keeping me from surrendering deeply to the What Is. And it is in living with what is, where true joy lives.

Who wouldn’t want to live in joy? What is one willing to give up in order to live in this state of love, this state of oneness? I believe the Minotaur is the Guide who will return us to this state, if our soul is willing. Of course, our ego is not willing, the ego is complicit in the limitation whose sole purpose is keeping oneself in the illusion of safety.

I also believe, for myself, I had been given many opportunities to surrender, but was unable to comply, for whatever reason, during an earlier time of development. Agreeing to this PhD level curriculum is directly related to my maturation which has brought willingness and courage.

I have empathy for those who don’t yet know that we are being prepared. I didn’t know in the past and it was excruciating. Knowing is merely a process of being able to briefly turn aside from the suffering and allow oneself to See. That’s what it took for me. I must’ve prepared the foundation for this Knowing to take root.

One’s Sacred journey through the labyrinth, I believe, is as arduous and excruciating as one needs it to be in order to finally surrender. Many people do not undertake this Journey until they face their death. In my opinion, whatever it takes to finally have the resources to face this Sacred encounter. Each journey is perfect for the makeup of the individual. Judging or comparing one’s design is merely resistance and creates more suffering.

Many people appear incredulous that I could actually have gratitude for having the most progressive form of such a dreaded disease as multiple sclerosis. Once I have lived in Love, I would do whatever it takes to be in that state. I suspect that with the guidance of the Minotaur, my bullheadedness has morphed into healthy determination, for which I have much gratitude.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”-Bob Marley

119-1911_IMGBy the time I entered Dr. Klinghardt’s office, I was already dependent on a wheelchair. Dr. Klinghardt had the dubious distinction of receiving the most intransigent cases of lyme disease that had failed to improve with other doctors and many had morphed into progressive degenerative illnesses. In one of his lectures, I remember hearing him say he would rather treat acute cases than illnesses such as multiple sclerosis. In retrospect, I can understand why. Dr. K is a world renowned M.D. PhD with offices in the US and Europe.

My work with Dr. Klinghardt began with working to bring my immune system into balance by clearing opportunistic infections and toxins that had taken over my body. I followed nearly every protocol he recommended, processing my own urine that had been filtered twice and then injected into my body, I changed my diet, learned about my family constellation and allowed multiple injections throughout all of the scars on my body in an attempt to open energetic pathways. One auspicious day, I remember Dr. Klinghardt asking me the question, “When you were a teenager did you incur a head injury that rendered you unconscious, like falling off a horse?” I was shocked by the question, because my answer was, unequivocally, “Yes!”

When I was preteen, I was riding my trainer’s horse in a horse show. All I remember is sitting in the saddle, nervously, and the ground coming up and hitting me. The next thing I remember is being in the truck on the way back home. There is no memory of what transpired between those memories. There was no recollection of being brought into the center of the ring during the class, my clothing being loosened or any other reports I later heard. There is no memory of his horse being trailered or me climbing into the truck. I only remember looking at my legs sitting in the truck upon our return. Our doctor made a house call and acknowledged a probable concussion, but no treatment was prescribed. We didn’t wear helmets those days.

How could Dr. Klinghardt have possibly known that I had a head injury? How did he know a horse was involved?

With the revelations of the latest research regarding head injuries in football and the long-term neurological illnesses being incurred, I couldn’t help but consider my history. Could one concussion effect my body to this degree? Did this accident seal my fate? Are we that fragile as humaings?

It was after I returned to a life with horses that the symptoms began to accelerate considerably. I had not been deterred out of fear. After all, I could always trust my body. So in my 50s I learned to jump horses. For having much fear in my life, it did not show up in physical activities. Could reconnecting with horses been a trigger for the symptoms?

Many of these questions are unknowable, especially on a medical level. I believe that an accelerated path such as what I have undertaken, cannot just be one fluky incident. I am not a victim in a cruel, arbitrary Universe. I have no doubt that this curriculum was required for me to evolve profoundly on a spiritual level. I know this to be true in my situation.

My daughter sustained a head injury in her 20s. When we went to see John of God in Brazil together as I began to limp an amazing thing happened. After a treatment of psychic surgery from Joao, we had been instructed to return to the casita where we slept for 24 hours straight. When we both awakened, her brow had swelled for no apparent reason. She had had a sunburn, but that would not explain her enlarged brow. She acknowledged that the only time she had experienced this was after her head injury. I believe that Casey had a profound healing that day in Brazil.

There was a reason that this illness was not cleared during my two week visit with John of God. At the time I believed that I had failed, but over time I have come to realize that healing is not black-and-white, that there is a bigger picture at work here which is part of a loving Universe and part of the Great Mystery. As I have matured spiritually, my gratitude for how this Mystery has shaped and guided my life has grown.

Horses have been instrumental in bringing much guidance into my life, which has, in turn, brought much joy and evolution to my Soul.

“Die before you die and find there is no death…”-many mystics

Hibert_LTD_V2I died again. Not in the literal sense, but what is literal? Is it metaphor or allegory if my whole identity shifts from who I think I am in my ordinary life to who I truly am, in a greater sense? That is what happened… again.

Sometimes, there is a shift in consciousness that makes the colors brighter and my heart burst out of my chest. Now that is literal.

I have been preparing for a ten week commitment to begin after the new year, in order to focus on increasing my sense of Presence. With the intention of giving this to myself, I felt a blow to my solar plexus in the form of deep shame. I could call it my Achilles’ heel, an issue that threatens my feeling of Wholeness, when I least expect it. When I hear of someone developing a program or protocol after healing from a life-threatening illness, that scenario can trigger a belief in my deepest failing.

It hit me yesterday, full force, touché right to the gut. Why did I not heal? I have followed all of the protocols, programs and intuitions that have seemed sure to bring total healing. In my psychospiritual work, I have attained every state those who have healed attained. Did I make a Faustian pact, an agreement based on fear of being totally who I am in every facet, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually? I can remember feeling the fear, the contraction, like coming out of the dark room and being overwhelmed by the sunlight..

In order to fully grasp how profound this is, I have to review a similar shift from a previous blog entry:

While I was fully experiencing the all too familiar yet diminishing sense of failure of healing physically, I felt an existential shift that was much like the one I described in a previous post while I was watching The Piano. That profound shift of consciousness was from a sense of victimization of losing everything during the course of the illness, to the empowering realization of, “wait a minute. I let that go, and I let that go, and that…” I think this shift was from the egoic belief on the level of the body to the greater Truth that, “I made a conscious choice to sacrifice my physicality for my greater evolution.” I recognized that I would have otherwise gotten lost in nonstop movement, nonstop physical play. I recognized this addictive tendency and my higher self chose this teaching!

SACRIFICE–the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to do something else or help someone or surrendering a possession as an offering to God. The root of sacrifice is SACRED; therefore, a sacred offering.

With this insight, my whole life made sense. I cried. I cried because I saw the lie in the belief in failure. I knew that this is what I would understand on the other side. I felt the difference between falseness and Truth. I felt the liberation. I knew that the illusion was that death was final. I felt the transcendence of Truth and the release from my physical body; my dear, sad, suffering physical body, my vehicle for this revelation.

If we are fortunate, we die many deaths before the final transition from our physical body to Spirit. Yes, I died yesterday, again.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river in you, a joy.”–Rumi

imagine

Without my two grand boys, I would not be a grandmother. I cannot write a blog of love and regeneration and not include my beautiful boys River and Luc. River was born in 2011 when I briefly lived nearby. We drove two hours to the hospital in New York City and I saw him when he was a few hours old. Luc was born exactly two years later; in a mysterious and unseen way, despite being in Colorado I felt as if I were present, experiencing the blessed event with my children. What an amazing feeling to see our families meld into one little being with so much promise.

I wondered what sort of grandmother I might be confined to a wheelchair with so much disability. I always saw myself throwing them up in the air and flying them in the air with their stomachs against my feet, like I did with my children. What sort of grandmother could I be to my grandchildren?

One day, when Casey was pregnant, I posed that question to them during a state of vulnerability. Feeling a relapse into the belief that I am my physicality, my son-in-law broke through my mood with, “It’s like, you offer a register of consciousness.” In that moment, it was like an electric shock wave sped through me that reminded me of who I truly am and what my Sacred mission is.

So my beloved River and Luc, I will not be sitting on the floor with you, I will not be holding books to read with you, but I will hold a frequency of Love and I will follow your lives, wherever they will take you. I will be in the wind if you listen closely, I will be in the water tickling you, and I will be in the sun’s rays warming your skin. You can learn to listen closely and you will hear my words of love and encouragement. You will never be without me in your hearts. And that will be true for any other siblings or cousins in the future.

My life has always brought many surprises to myself and others which has provided an opportunity for deepening. I hope that we can meet together in that field of Love and Depth.

VISIT THE BLOG FOR MY NEW BOOK – MEET ME BY THE RIVER!

Go to - http://www.meetmebytheriver.net -- And you can find it on Amazon!
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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