How to LOVE all of Your Self: Part 3 of 4
We human beings are such paradoxes! We can be both strong and fragile. Our intricate makeup of Spirit, soul, mind and body is both complex and yet simple at the same time. It is in loving the fragility that we find our strength, and in the opening to this simplicity that we can endure the complexity.
Opening to this understanding continues to fascinate me and reminds me how it all hangs together.
I’d like to share this story to demonstrate this.
A few years ago I committed my entire life to the study and teaching of “what it means to be a human being.” As a result, my friends and loved ones often expect me to have it all figured out. After all who can blame them? I have spent so much time and energy focusing on this. My practices include meditation, prayer, yoga, reading etc, and I write about the subject. Yet I am no superwoman. As with so many of us, the fragility of my human self trips me up regularly and leaves me feeling bruised; all so I can open, learn and go deeper.
Let me share my latest bruising.
I have recently had a major challenge with my physical health (my body). Truth be told, while my body was dying inside my mind fought this truth, as stubbornly I simply didn’t want to be sick. I had too much happening and I didn’t have the time or the finances to manage or support my health, and so I convinced myself that I was fine.
The human mind is such a powerful tool, yet we use only a fraction of its capacity. Worse still, we allow our minds to resist what our Spirit wants us to acknowledge and grow from. I was using my mind to resist and deny my truth and causing myself more suffering.
My Spirit wanted to be heard and was sending me messages via my body, yet my mind justified my denial even when my mind and soul were being given a direct message from other people. So my body brought me to my knees – in order that I might become more curious, examine my beliefs and grow. Again.
About 20 years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) for the first time. My symptoms included, but were not limited to constant exhaustion both physically and mentally, muscle and joint pain (fibromyalgia), sore throat, headaches, cognitive difficulties, digestive disturbances, depression, blacking out, toxin build-up, heart and breathing challenges.
At first, I resisted my diagnosis until my doctor at the time fired me as her patient saying: “Jacqui you are so ill and not taking this seriously. The next step for your body is cancer and I sense I will be at your funeral in 6 to 12 months.” This scared the hell out of me. The next day I flew to New York to ask my husband not to spend another semester at Duke. I asked him instead to come home and help me. On our return, he immediately organized an appointment with my doctor so that I could beg her to take me back as a patient.
It was a challenging 12 months as I was challenged to expand my beliefs and become more curious about what my body was trying to teach me. I managed to get my health back knowing that as long as I live, CFS will always be my Achilles Heel whenever I’m stressed.
For those of you who have read my earlier blogs, you might know that shortly after this, my husband and I endured a near-decade in court with Deloitte’s. The stress of fighting a large corporate’s bullying tactics brought on another attack of CFS in 2008, leaving me exhausted and physically broken. Shortly thereafter I quit my job and slowly rebuilt my health over a 2-year period. I was so angry at allowing myself to let CFS take over my life again that I swore never to let it back.
But as life would have it, I was to have another cycle with stress after my divorce. By the middle of last year, I started feeling sick again. I have learned with CFS that antibiotics or any other chemical medication tend take a serious toll on my immune system. For unrelated reasons, last year I had to take 5 courses of antibiotics. Once again old habits kicked in, and I chose to deny my physical decline as I was ashamed of myself for the position I was in, but by early January of this year, I knew my body was in serious trouble.
Having just moved to a new city I sought out a homeopath. For 8 months I consulted with this doctor and made some progress. But my headaches were getting so severe I would end up being completely unable to function for a day or two at a time. I sought out a neurologist, and while we changed the cocktail of medication for my migraine attacks, the chemicals would leave me feeling awful and exhausted. My migraine attacks started to increase from once a month to once a week. I was starting to feel desperate and angry again. I prayed and meditated for signs.
On my last visit to my homeopath, she admitted that things were not stacking up when she examined my blood and eventually said that the only thing wrong with me was a hidden psychosomatic (soul) pain story that I needed to resolve internally and express through my mind. I like this doctor, but her explanation did not land well with me and so I was triggered, not wanting to go back to her. Knowing to watch my triggers I decided to sit with it and see what arose. My partner kept challenging me, asking why I could not self-heal from the migraines the way I had taken care of my cyst earlier in the year. Triggered yet again I said to him, “Because I don’t know what is causing them.”
I prayed and meditated my ass off, asking for understanding and then one day at the gym I began to trust my Spirit by listening to my body. I was on the treadmill trying to run. Every time I had to lift my legs it felt like I was 100 pounds heavier than I was. While I had gained 12 pounds, I just knew it shouldn’t be this hard. The day before I had even found the simple act of washing and drying my hair physically and mentally exhausting, and yet I had ignored this.
I rushed home and started searching for a new doctor. Within 4 hours I was sitting in front of a spiritual healer after reading an inspiring article of his on the internet. As I walked into his warehouse – yes warehouse! – before I had even introduced myself he said to me, “It is your gallbladder, you need to heal your gallbladder first.” I sat down and we chatted for 15 minutes about various religions and then I left after paying him only $15 for the consultation. Triggered by his environment, I left thinking, “Now that was weird.” Once again I ignored the sign.
Two days later I was having a massage with my usual therapist and asked her if she could do a diagnosis on my organs as she is a qualified reflexologist as well. While she diagnosed that my liver, kidneys and colon were not happy, my gallbladder was in severe distress.
This was a message directly to my mind that aligned with the spiritual healer and my Spirit’s message via my body at the gym that told me: “This should not be so hard.” I now knew I needed to dig deeper. I needed to become more curious and listen to the messages that were coming my way, after all, I had asked for them.
The next morning, I began my search for a CFS specialist and came across what seemed like my dream doctor. Originally qualified as a Medical Doctor, he currently practices Integrated Medicine combining: Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Nutritional Advice, Mineral and Vitamin supplementation, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine, Iridology and Naturopathy, with particular interests in IBS, Headaches, CFS etc. I was excited and made an appointment with him.
While extensive blood tests showed no illnesses, my gallbladder was indeed a mess, and treatment revealed over 500 unhealthy stones, making it impossible for my body to burn fat or flush toxins. Likewise, my digestive system was a mess and once again months away from a chronic disease like Crohn’s Disease or colon cancer. We are now working on healing my gallbladder, liver, kidneys, digestive system and colon through supplements, acupuncture, meditation, prayer and patience.
I now wake up feeling refreshed and have energy all day. I have no body aches and am excited to report that I have not had a migraine in 38 days. My body is flushing the toxins and while I am eating almost double than before, I have lost 8 pounds over this 30-day period through no additional effort.
I know I have turned the corner and that six months from now, my body will be feeling so much stronger.
Why did this happen to me?
I believe it came to me as a gift and a reminder of my human complexity and fragility. That day on the treadmill I allowed myself to feel and acknowledge my fragility and thereafter I embraced the complexity of being a human being by acknowledging that I needed to heal in an integrated way by listening to my Spirit through all parts of my being; Body, Mind and Soul.
My body had spoken by imploding. After first resisting I had found courage to be more curious. Once again I had to work hard to shift my beliefs for understanding in my mind. During the same time while working with my coach and mentor I had opened to the challenge with my soul.
I have realized that I still question my Intrinsic Value as a writer and need to find ways to set boundaries with others so that I can honor my Intrinsic Value. New to the world of being a writer, I publish my work as I want to help others, but I need to ensure my writing takes care of me as well.
My first doctor was right; I had found my psychosomatic block in my soul, the strange little man in the warehouse was right as my gallbladder was a mess and was the block in my body, and I was right as I could self-heal once I could understand in my mind what I needed to work on in an integrated way. I had found the courage to sit with my triggers. They were the gifts from my Spirit to open my beliefs and be more curious so that I could respond from an enabled point of view.
Each of the individuals who crossed my path contributed something and each one was the perfect gift from the Universe/God. All I needed to do was not resist their message, listen and find the connection with my individual Spirit.
I had started the journey of fixing my body by looking only at the outside. I needed to look within to self-heal and when I had found the courage to see my own story and how the Universe / God was supporting me, I could let go of my ill health.
I had faced my suffering in truth and this afforded me the freedom for conscious choices.
When we are integrated in body, mind and soul, our Spirit we can access our inner wisdom through the healthy ego and bring forth the truth that needs to be heard.My first homeopathic doctor called me on Monday to check in on me and she was so excited at my progress. I will pop in and see her in a few months as promised.
Exercise 15 – Practices to enhance your connection with your Mind
Intended outcome of this exercise:
- To connect with your Spirit’s courage as you broaden your mind with new thoughts, feelings / emotions.
- To use your mind to bring forth your Spirit’s chosen intention of courage and curiosity.
- To remind yourself how amazing it is to have a mind.
Over the next 2 weeks undertake the exercises below. Download your journal pages for exercise 15 here.
Your Mind’s Gratitude Practice
During the remaining weeks of the Dare to Ask Journey take on a mind gratitude practice 2 to 5 times a week:
- For no less than 20 minutes at a time, read something inspiring that will stretch your current thinking or beliefs. For example, if you are Christian you might contemplate reading a Buddhist book, or vice versa. If you believe psychology is the only answer to self-exploration, read a mystical book on angels or how body work can bring healing.
- After finishing the reading, ask your Spirit for the courage to bring forth an intention of curiosity to your mind, as you answer the following question in your journal:
- What did you enjoy about what you read?
- What have you learned that you did not know before your reading?
- What challenged (triggered) you about what you read
Note: If your answer to any of the above questions is “nothing”, then either read it again or search for a more challenging and meaningful book. If possible, make an effort to read from a paper book, away from any screens, with your phone turned off.
Your Mind’s Active Practice
During the remaining weeks of the Dare to Ask Journey take on an active mind practice 1 to 2 times a week, for no less than 20 minutes.
Note: It is important that this practice is done with a friend, colleague or family member whom you trust.
- Think about a challenging topic in your life that triggers you. Next ask a friend or family member to present the opposing view on the topic, whether they believe it or not. One can also undertake this exercise when it presents in real life, as in a conflict situation.
- At all times before speaking:
- Ask the other individual if they have the capacity to hear your view? Only speak when they have answered yes.
- Ask that they do not interrupt you while you share your point of view.
- Once you have finished sharing your point of view ask them to share their opposing view. Do not interrupt them at any time. While they do this ask your Spirit for the courage to bring forth an intention of curiosity to your mind, as you make notes about:
- What you enjoyed about their point of view.
- What you have learned about the topic that you did not know before.
- What challenged (triggered) you about their point of view.
Note: If your answer to any of the above questions is “nothing”, ask them questions until you can find something that will stretch your thinking and beliefs. Do not debate the topic or try to convince them otherwise. This practice is aimed only at teaching you to listen deeply, so that you can be open, in the present moment, to the opinion of another. Make an effort to undertake this exercise without interruptions, including from your phone.
- Thank them for sharing their point of view once they have finished.
In both of these practices, the intention is not to shift or change your belief. Likewise, do not get into a debate to justify your beliefs.
The intention is for you to honor your Intrinsic Value while holding a safe space for the truth of another (whether an author or individual in your life). The intention is merely to listen to the beliefs of another by understanding their narrative. Don’t judge or ridicule the material / topic, just be with it. If you wish to change or broaden your beliefs after engaging with the topic, then proceed with consciousness as you explore further.
While undertaking the practice take time to note:
- How your body feels (felt senses), Did you feel any resistance? and;
- What thoughts, feeling or emotions come to your mind during your practice. Did you feel any resistance?
- Are you present for the practice or do you wish you were elsewhere? If so, bring back your focus to fully absorbing your choice to participate in this practice in the present moment.
Your key aim is to relax, have fun and think of nothing else other than the moment you are in:
- If you are tense in your body or feel resistance, breathe into the tension / resistance and relax.
- If you notice your mind wandering away from the activity to other pressing thoughts, practice coming back to the present moment of discussion.
Until we meet again in 2 weeks’ time, play with your practices, celebrate life, be grateful for the courage t you have to challenge yourself for further growth.
If you have questions about how to trust your Intrinsic Value, either submit your question or persoanl story in the comments section below or in a private note here (link). Share with all of us what you have learned about yourself or how you would like to expand and change your way of being. You can share through the same links above.
I love you all for your courage.
As always, warm love and regards
Special thanks go to Gerard for supporting during this painful and challenging quest of Self inquiry.