So What Next?

Background to ‘what next?’

I’m tapping on my drive home from Friday’s volunteering at our local Natural Health Centre. You see my counsellor has given me the challenge of tapping for an hour a day (in chunks), on anything, and everything to see what shifts happen. Slightly daunting at first, but I’m getting into it.

So, I tap when I talk on the phone, I tap when I talk to those who know that I’m a big tapping fan and won’t think I’ve gone mad, I tap when I drive and I tap when I’m pondering what to do next or procrastinating. I also tap when I’m with a client or friend who would like tapping support, and if I haven’t built up enough time I watch EFT YouTube videos.

It’s been two weeks now and I haven’t done an hour every single day. However, I have done an hour some days, over half an hour on others, only ten on others, but the great thing is that I’ve tapped EVERY DAY. I just need to do it for another two weeks, and according to research, it will be a newly formed habit 🙂

Anyway, today’s insights

I’m staring down the barrel of potentially going to Australia next week to visit a surgeon who has trained, and now trains others, in the VAAFT method. That stands for Visually Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment. For the last four years I have google searched various cures for anal fistulas, but it was only in the last 4 months that I stumbled across this technique – designed in Italy and now used around the world, especially in India.

The reason I didn’t immediately jump on the plane, was because I was waiting for my tummy to return to normal (which it has now). And yes there is also fear holding me back. Fear of failure. Plus, when tapping with my counsellor, we found a few small tendrils of fear…of change…and of the unknown that were useful to address.

So, what next?

so-what-next-change-afootAs I tapped, driving home through the mist, I began thinking about the trip and who I would tell that I was going. Who did I feel safe sharing this with, and what was bothering me about letting others know. I heard some responses like, ‘Wow, so what next?‘ or ‘Wow, so now you can get on with your life!‘ Whether these responses would come to pass or not is irrelevant, but I realised they brought up some annoyance in me. The annoyance that people/’the world’ may presume my life has been on hold, or that I haven’t been living my life in the way I would like.

And to be fair, the annoyance probably comes from the fact that for the first 3 and a half years of this experience with a fistula, my life was often on hold. I wasn’t living my life in the way I dreamed of. I spent a lot of time waiting for this to be over so that I could get on with it…often postponing my happiness. However, the wonderful thing that I realised was that I am now at a place where my life will not drastically change when my fistula is healed! Just in the last 6 to 9 months I’ve stopped putting my life ‘on hold’. I’ve accepted my situation (mostly) and gotten on with the things that are important to me. In the last two months I have even been planning a trip to America next year, something I would never have dreamt about not long ago because of the massive flying/sitting time.

Sure, I’ll have a comfortable bum, I’ll be able to sit normally and not have to sit with my legs underneath me, and I won’t have to hassle with some daily things, details I shall spare you from. And yes, I will be able to travel…in an aeroplane…comfortably…for more than 3 hours! So in that sense things will be very different.

So what next? Will simply be an excited anticipation of what next I am dreaming of on my life path. No longer will it be the insinuation that my life is on hold as it is right now.

But this realisation really heartened me. I realised I am ready for this shift. I am ready to take the leap of faith to at least give this a go. And there is a chance that it may not heal the fistula first time around, but I’m willing to at least try now!

So what next?

I’m opening myself up to the possibilities of change and shift and new chapters…

Releasing Fear: EFT in the Bathtub

Feeling the feelings

I feel the disquiet in my being today. I’m unsettled and my mind is scattered and wandering. It’s harder to be present to the way the clouds are changing shape or the deep rich smell of the freesias every time I walk past them on the table. Even though my mind used to be 100 miles an hour, it’s quickly adjusted to the new norm of being quieter and more present. So I notice this disquiet more acutely.

In the bath

eft-bathtub-releasingI think it’s partially exhaustion. Deep exhaustion from a long and tiring health journey. The last two months of working out tummy issues. But as I step into the bath, one beeswax candle to flicker its gentle light on the water, I realise that there’s also fear. Fear and other un-namable uncomfortable feelings sitting in my solar plexus. It’s coming from the fact that I’m finding it hard right now to imagine a ‘me’ with my fistula healed. It’s been over 4 years, and I’m struggling to get the picture of what fully healed feels like. That scares me, and then the fear makes more sense.

I start tapping, letting the fears pour out and dissolve into the bath water. You see I’ve found a surgeon in Brisbane who performs the fairly successful VAAFT on fistulas. I also found a fistula research centre in Northern India where they perform a range of procedures. So I’m facing a decision between a 3 hour flight to Australia, or over 20 hours to a foreign country that people warn against ‘Delhi belly’! And right now, with my strength, energy and physical resilience sitting a little low, I choose Brisbane.

IMGs

releasing-the-fearThe problem is I hear my Inner Mean Girls (IMGs) telling me all the reasons it might not be a good idea. I hear their words streaming at me, so I give them a voice while I tap:

  • It might not work!
  • You might be the 20% who don’t have success.
  • What if you get disappointed?
  • Are you even strong enough right now?
  • At this rate you won’t be going anytime soon!
  • What if you’re making the wrong decision and India is the better option?…

I let my IMGs be heard. And I acknowledge their fears. I know why they’re there – they’re just trying to protect me from the painful feelings of disappointment. Really they have my best interests at heart, but now that I’m feeling more in tune with my Inner Wisdom I let them now they can tone their behaviour down.

Winnie

I call this one Warning Winnie. She started years ago when she didn’t want to see the disappointment that followed me getting my hopes really high, time and time again, on something that might ‘fix me’. So, to protect me from the violently emotional crashes that often followed, she starts her monologue whenever I am thinking of trying something new:

  • Oh you know the chances are slim of that working.
  • Try anyway, no harm I suppose, just keep your expectations low.
  • Remember, you’ve tried so many things, don’t let this one get your hopes up!…

Honestly, for a while, her words really served me. I needed that caution when I was throwing everything at anyone who might offer a ‘cure’. It wasn’t until I slowly figured out more of a balanced perspective, that I didn’t need her constant warnings anymore. Once I realised it was also an inside job, this whole healing journey, and that I didn’t have to keep handing over the power to others, I wasn’t desperately searching for the ‘next thing’.

I remind myself of this in the bath as I tap. That now I check in with my body when I’m faced with a decision and see how it sits before blindly pursuing it.

Finding more quiet

So yes, it is scary. Yes, there is a chance the VAAFT might not work. But in the bath I realise I’m not just going to rush into it because I’m tired of waiting. I would have done that a couple of years ago, but now I know to wait and let things unfold. I’m going to go with what my body is sharing with me. If she’s tired and needing time to go inwards, that’s what we’ll do. When she feels strong and ready to go overseas, when my tummy is back to normal, I’ll start the decision process there. I’ll follow my gut…literally. I can meet with the surgeon and decide then, no big deal I tell myself.

One. Step. At. A. Time. No need to rush (something I’ve always found hard ;)). Easier said than done! But one thing this journey has taught me is more patience.

I close my tapping round withbreathing-deeply-releasing-fear gentle reminders to myself that I will tread slowly and from a place of connection rather than fear:

  • Releasing fear at the deepest cellular level…
  • …all the way back through my past…
  • Releasing fear from my entire system
  • Knowing I can do this!
  • Peace

Then I take a deep breathe and in my mind go to my peaceful place: in the waves, diving under and over them and body surfing in the foam.

I’m ready to climb out the bath feeling lighter and calmer in my solar plexus. The gentle candle-light now catches and holds my attention and thoughts aren’t tripping over each other like they were. So I say: Here’s to following love and trust rather than fear!

 

Hormonal Imbalance – Is it getting you down?

Did you know that hormonal imbalance is at the root of so many things that feel out of balance for women (and men)? From dry, chapped lips, to internal rage, weight retention to fuzzy brain, anxiety to depression…the list goes on.

If you’re already struggling with other emotional or physical heath issues this can feel like the straw that broke the camel’s back. So, I decided to address this for all those feeling confused and wanting to cross a possible culprit off their list.

Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance is so common these days, especially in women, that it’s worth knowing a little more about it. The reason is the stressful lifestyle that many of us are living, and also the increase in environmental toxins. Below are some of the potential causes (mentioned by Holly Lucille):

  • excess exposure to environmental xenoestrogens (an industrial compound found in consumer products such as detergents and skincare products)
  • use of synthetic estrogens such as the birth control pill and hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • anovulation (lack of ovulation during menstrual cycle)
  • digestion issues (which tax the estrogen-detoxification process in the liver)
  • unrelenting stress (which strains the adrenals and the thyroid)
  • unresolved emotional issues
  • poor diet
  • negative lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use

Some symptoms of estrogen dominance (retrieved here)

  • Acceleration of the aging process
  • Allergies, including asthma, hives, rashes, sinus congestion
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cold hands and feet as a symptom of thyroid dysfunction
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression with anxiety or agitationhormonal-imbalance-anxiety
  • Fat gain, especially around the abdomen, hips and thighs
  • Fatigue
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Foggy thinking
  • Hair Loss
  • Headaches
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Insomnia
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Memory loss
  • PMS, irritability, mood swings
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism
  • Water retention & bloating
  • Zinc deficiency

My journey with hormonal imbalance

For years my gut issues have been very connected to my menstrual cycle and I’ve heard people mention estrogen and progesterone imbalance numerous times. I’ve also experienced varying levels of PMS and fibrocystic and tender breasts. So four years ago, when I developed this fistula, I finally decided to try out saliva tests. My progesterone was very low. I began a regime with a NZ-based clinic but didn’t stick with it long enough to notice too much of a difference.

hormonal-imbalance-progesterone-ostrogenThen, at the beginning of 2015 I saw a holistic doctor in Auckland to help get me into balance. After hearing of my various symptoms, among others tests, he included a thorough hormone test on my blood test – estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, FSH, LH, testosterone. The test has to be carried out between day 19-21, which is where estrogen and progesterone levels should technically be similar. To understand more about how these hormones interact with each other, check out the chart on this page.

Sure enough my progesterone was very low and estrogen very high, and so began a more dedicated journey. Part of his solution was herbal supplements and a cream to rub on at certain times during my cycle.

Hormonal helpers

My doctor recommended the product EstroSense – a natural supplement that not only supports the liver, but also allows the body to properly metabolize estrogen and therefore over time lower estrogen levels. The reviews for it on amazon and iherb are awesome! I’ve now been taking it for about a year, with great improvements in things like PMS, sore breasts and terrible period pains.

The otherhormonal-imbalance-progesterone-cream prescription was for natural progesterone cream. At first I got that from a compounding pharmacy, but now buy this brand from iherb. You begin applying it to the soft parts of your body (inside arms, inside thighs, tummy, breasts – and you alternate each day) from Day 14 until Day 28 or the day you begin bleeding. Overtime this is meant to build up your progesterone levels, but you need to lower estrogen significantly first.

There are some amazing resources out there and tons of information on the web. When my holistic doctor left for overseas he recommended Dr Helen Smith in Auckland to carry on with. I still haven’t seen her, but believe she offers all the same thorough tests and support that he did. I believe the trick is to find a doctor who believes that you can sort your problem out from the root up, rather than masking them with plasters. So if you can find a holistic doctor in your area, you’re well on your way 🙂

Emotional help

Of course I have continued with emotional support from my counsellor, and also self support with tools like EFT, affirmations, mindfulness, moving my body in gentle ways and reducing stress in my life. I believe that all these combined are what has made me feel more peaceful and physically and emotionally stable around my cycle.

May you find peace with your health and hormones…

Artist Residency in Healing – Shadows

I’ve spent the afternoon lying on the couch reading my current novel: All the light we cannot see. Energy that I thought might be increasing didn’t last too long. I fitted in a load of washing, my 5 minute energy routine (Donna Eden), vacuuming the lounge and some work on the computer. Then the couch beckoned to me.

I hopped up now and then to send a text, drink some water, take my drops, or eat my lunch. I want to be jumping around doing a million things, but my body wants rest. Quiet gentle time. So I give her that time.

I look up and see those shadows on the fridge. This means the sun is dipping behind the trees, it ‘s time to move from the couch…

Looking back from the shadow – the jasmine that is casting her pattern on the fridge. Next to her, a small apothecary.

The change of light on the fridge reminds me of washing now in shadow, so I slowly move myself from the couch, camera in hand and snap what I’m seeing. I go outside to the washing line. It’s soft and clean and no damp has landed on it yet, I’m just in time as I throw the pegs in their bag and the sheets in the basket.

Now I’m here, thinking what my top gratitude for the day is:

  • That I am witnessing the beautiful play of light at different times of day, especially this evening.

 

Artist Residency in Healing

The beginning of an artist residency in healing…

After reading about the artist residency in motherhood I felt inspired to explore some options for myself. What do you do when you would love to go and get creative in an inspirational space just for artists, but you’re stuck at home? In my case on a healing journey, house bound by health circumstances. Day in and day out.

Well, it turns out you change the way you’re looking at things. You change that lense and begin observing life through an artist lense, just as you would an artist in residence. You provide an outlet for those creative juices that have been feeling stifled and cooped up. A dream is to one day go on a residence and write, looking at at lavender fields, smelling roses, hearing bicycles tinkle down cobbled pathways. Actually my dream is just to write more. But since it’s tricky sitting with a fistula, and lying on my tummy writing has a short life span, I don’t write as much. It’s not an excuse, it’s simply a fact.

I also love playing with my camera, so camera it is for now…

under-the-table-2

Today’s view from a prostrate healing position – on my deck on the first day of Spring under our outside table.

under-the-table

Admiring the scattered patterns of lichen underneath the table slats.

I’m in what some may call a flare up. My gut is struggling to process much and with it goes my energy and strength to do anything at all really. I’m drinking probiotics, swallowing turmeric, eating fermented goodies, dropping big pink drops of B12 under my tongue, Vitamin D, talking lovingly to my body, massaging acupressure points…and on it goes…it’s a slow process this one. My fistula thinks it’s all too much, but we’re working out ways to ease the journey.

I am lucky. Today is a gloriously sunny day and it almost feels like summer isn’t far away. That perks up my spirits and I’m sure sends more healing energy through my body.

So, top of my gratitude list for today is:

  • Delicious warm sun on my bare legs and blue sky all above me!

Navigating losses and gains

Tino is lying down beside me as I start my tapping/counselling session and I feel a pang of pain and loss. Oscar didn’t get to do this with me. I feel it in my chest and throat. I didn’t know what we’d talk about this session, but now I know where we can go…

navigating-losses-oscar

Oscar – our beautiful rescue who left too young…

I’ve had a fantastic session on the guilt and remorse of what I couldn’t give Oscar in his last few years. I’ve felt so much better about it since. But now this is a slightly different area that’s just popped up – it’s more on the loss.

Oscar and losses

The tears run down my cheeks and I whisper the words after Debra so that I can get through the rounds of tapping. The sadness, the wishing and what I can’t get back. ‘I wish I could have been who I am now back then for Oscar‘ – yes that’s so true. Realisation. I wasn’t though. The Kali then was doing her best to survive this rudderless journey. No plan and no surety of a destination. My main goal to stay sane and make it through the day.

Yes he did spend hours on his mat alone, me in bed. And yes I could have had him in my bed with me, but my decisions weren’t sound and I didn’t know we only had him for another year. He was meant to stick around with us until I was 40, us watching him getting grey and old and slow. How could I know, I was only doing my best.

I feel the high emotions start to resolve and let go and now I can follow after Debra. She brings it around so that I get a clearer understanding while freeing myself of the trauma. We check in and I’m lighter inside…but now there’s more about other losses. Not just of Oscar and my time with him, his last days, but the losses I’ve experienced because of this fistula.

My blue jeans…

lost-blue-jeansDebra has a way with words and they ring true. I think of the jeans I always wore. My uniform was jeans. Now I can’t wear them because they hurt my bum. I love them. Always felt comfortable and attractive in them (when I wasn’t being hard on myself), and she explains how this is actually part of my identity. And part of any chronic condition is re-figuring out our identity. Not that it defines us, but life has to change and adapt and then you have to figure out this new identity.

It may all sound silly, and I felt silly even talking to Debra about it, but it’s how it feels. Little things go here and there. Compromises. Small deaths…big deaths. And we have to keep re-finding ourselves through it all.

Exploring losses and gains

After diving even deeper into the healing journey and my beliefs around deserving and ability to heal, I felt a lot calmer and ready to let go of a whole bunch of tied up emotion. My homework now is to write a list of losses through this fistula journey. Then gains. Then I need to look at some of the losses that have been recuperated, or changed for something even better suited to me now. And also look at some of the ‘losses’ and figure out ways to bring them back into my life in some way or form. Debra says I’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂

So this is where I’m off to now. To journey this journey and find wholeness no matter what it is I feel like I’ve lost and found…

How much do you say?

How much do you say to people when they ask you: How are you? Or how much do you divulge when you’re explaining why you won’t be…going to dinner…attending a catch up…going surfing today when you usually love it…going to someone’s wedding…

  1. Talking about bums is hard. It’s one of those places that aren’t really spoken about, especially not to light friends and acquaintances. Even with close friends it’s not a common topic! It would be a lot easier if you could say Oh you know I’ve got this wound on my leg that’s not healing, gets infected most days, and it makes it really sore to sit, therefore drive etc, so that’s why I can’t come. Or Oh, today my leg’s just playing up. Then people would get a really clear idea of why you pulled out of a lot of things, and why you spent so much time at home.
  2. What message do you want to put out to the Universe? So someone who has an idea of what I’m going through asks me how I am at the moment. If there is inflammation and pain and I’ve been having a real mental struggle with it, do I say I’m feeling really good thank you, or do I express what my senses are telling me? I am in a lot of pain and just so over all of this right now. Or do I say Even though my senses are telling me otherwise, I am well thank you. (I’m leaning towards this one at the moment…).

When you have something that’s considered ‘hidden’ or a chronic condition that you want to be positive about, how do you fully let people in on your journey without feeling like you complain or are a stuck record? Because yes that fistula is still around… And how do you send out the picture to the Universe of imagining full health and vibrant well being without keeping those very real, hard experiences from people around you.

It’s confusing. It’s a tough one for sure. How much do you say? I hate having to say, my health is up and down, because actually it’s not. My general health is great, and I don’t want to put that message ‘out there’, but often it’s the easiest phrase.

I haven’t come up with any answers myself yet. It’s a work in progress. Over the years I have become more open about bums, but I still like to gloss over it as much as possible. And I suppose I would love for others to be holding in their minds a picture of me that’s more able than I always feel.

What do you say?

When your buttons are pushed…

Remember, they’re your buttons!

Do you know someone who really pushes your buttons? Or something you’ve seen that’s really pushed a particular button?

I do, and when it happens it’s not usually comfortable. I may feel sad, hurt, upset, angry or really frustrated. What they’ve said, however, and how they’ve reacted is their stuff. It’s coming from a place with many stories and events – but their stories and events. What it pushes is our buttons. Our buttons. Our stories. Our events. This means, that even though we might be feeling really angry with what was said, it’s our buttons that are being pressed and coming from this state we react rather than respond. We may lash out, get furious, break down into tears or say things we regret all because a button was pushed.

disconnect-buttonsFortunately and unfortunately (when we feel like blaming someone) we are the only ones who have the power to cut the wires to each button. Once we’ve figured out how to do this, however, they hold no power over us anymore. We release the story, the event or the pain that was attached to that button. With this button disconnected, the same person may say the same thing, and instead of seeing red and reacting, we can respond instead.

By cutting off the wires to buttons doesn’t mean that suddenly people can say mean things to us, or do us injustices or bully us. Quite the opposite. It means that when people do just that, instead of feeling out of control because of this reactive button, we are able to respond from a place of calm power.

When we react from a space of a pushed button, usually we simply fuel an equally out of control reaction from the other person and so we both get caught up in a whirpool of emotions, stories and events that are running us both and powering our respective buttons. From the place of calm power, however, with buttons disconnected, our responses hold value and integrity and may even lead to positive change. We are less likely to say or do hurtful things that we may regret. In this way we open the space for the other person to reflect on their actions and possibly adjust their ways. And we open the space for ourselves to be really clear on what the next best step is.

pushing-my-buttons

What inspired this post was an interview with Brad Yates on the Tapping World Summit 2016 that I listened to yesterday where he talks about Releasing Work Stress. In it he mentions buttons that are often pushed in the workplace, and reminds the listener that they’re our buttons, and how tapping (EFT) is one of the tools we can use to disconnect them.

 

 

 

Am I doing enough?

On doing enough…

Am I doing enough? I find myself questioning as I sit with my back against the wall in our bedroom, tears flowing down my cheeks, gently tapping on my EFT points. The flowering kanuka out of the window droops and sways in the misty drizzle, no sun to pick me up. This spiral of questioning, which hasn’t plagued me for a while, has been twisting and turning around in my grey matter since I woke up…in pain and frustrated. Tired. Tired of a physically uncomfortable body.

“I’m doing so much to help myself on an emotional, physical, everything level, and yet I’m still struggling.” I feel like shouting.

“So obviously I’m not doing enough.” What it always comes down to when I’m in one of these moods. “I could do more. All this effort is not enough. What else can I do?”

you-are-enough-maya-angelou

“I don’t know Maya, why I am a still in this position if I’m enough?” my irrational argumentative side wants to say. “I’m always trying to prove to myself that I’m enough…doing enough…growing enough.” But deep down inside I grudgingly admit that I suppose I am enough, in this moment, whether I’m in pain or not. Because I am a wondrous being of light, just like everyone else. And I know to seek out a sparkle and some gratitude right here, not to wait for a future time without pain…

And even though I feel so consumed by my struggle and frustration in this moment, I look around the room to find something I am grateful for. I remind myself that this is my current reality right now, and that’s OK, but that it isn’t a forever reality. I don’t always feel like this. I look at Millie, on the ground next to me, paws over her head in a joy attack, and even though I am still quietly sobbing I feel a glimmer of gratitude for the joy she brings me and the constant companionship.

I feel like in these moments I put my hand into my tool box and pull something out that gives me hope. Sometimes it takes me longer to reach into that box, other times I do it almost immediately. But my toolbox sits, patiently, waiting for me to remember the little jewels that tinkle inside it. Today it’s tapping and remembering the wise words of people like Maya Angelou that we are enough…that this moment is enough, because it’s the only one that we have.

This toolbox would be lovely in a physical form. To write all the tools I’ve collected onto cards and have them in a beautiful container that I can refer to when I need a pick-me-up, and when I need to remind myself that I am enough and that I’m doing enough, even though in the dark moments it doesn’t always feel that way!

 

Ever still wonder what you want to be when you ‘grow up’?

Do you ever still wonder what you want to be when you grow up?

I love what I’m doing right now, but sometimes I wonder what it is I’m meant to be doing in this world…when I. Grow. Up. In those moments, I remind myself that now is where it’s happening…not when I grow up 😉

I was listening to a mentor of mine speak the other day about struggling to find her place in the world when she was in her early twenties. She wanted to do something unique. She wanted to help others. She wanted to do many amazing things. But didn’t know where to start. Sound familiar?

She was given the following advice. You might like to try this for some streamlined inspiration:

  1. Write an exhaustive list of ALL the things you want to do with your life.
  2. Then start crossing off all the things you’re doing/want to do…
    1. because you think they’ll make you money
    2. because someone told you you should
    3. that will benefit someone else
    4. that don’t feel realistic or true to you
  3. Narrow what’s left down to what makes you feel sparkly and happy inside 🙂
  4. Thank the other ideas, and release them out to the universe, knowing that at any time you can choose to have them back on your list.

Even if what you’re doing right now isn’t on that passionately inspiring list, turn your perspective around so that at least parts of it fill with you with joy. Do what you do. Live in the moment like a carefree kid and notice things…then even if you’re a professional dishwasher you will notice beauty and wonder! You will notice how the water sparkles on a wineglass and creates mini crystals. You will look in wonder at the streaming glaze patterns on a ceramic mug.

Who wants to grow up anyway? Don’t kids have the most fun and understand living in the moment?

when-you-grow-up-recovering-wholeness

Happy, fun, carefree vibes your way!

Love, Kali x