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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…

Hope – Four Years Ago

This time four years ago I was discharged from Whangarei Hospital to come ‘home’ to celebrate a friend’s 30th who had driven up from Auckland.

After one of my biggest tummy flare’s, due to the most heavy pressure that I put myself under, I developed a peri-anal abscess. My flare had finally been controlled with oral antibiotics and my fissures healed with fresh aloe vera leaves. A few days later though, I became aware of this intense pain in my bottom area. When I stood up, the throbbing was so concentrated I had to lie back down. I had no idea what it was. I began waking up in the middle of the night to take painkillers. Eventually on one particularly bad night nothing helped. At 1am an ambulance came to pick me up.

A tiny hope flickered, that these months of unwellness might be coming to an end…that I could get on with things…

I hated having to give in and go, but the pain was so unbearable I hoped they could take it away. An hour or so later the doctor on call confirmed a peri-anal abscess and I began IV antibiotics. I spent the next day in Kaitaia Hospital (an hour from home), wondering what all this meant. At the time I didn’t have a smart phone, which is probably a good thing, so I wasn’t trawling the internet for all the possible outcomes. That night I was driven to Whangarei Hospital (2 hours away) in an ambulance, with a large strapping teenage boy who had just had his foot run over by a truck. His pain was palpable. I watched the stars rushing past, branches reaching up to meet them, feeling my aloneness expand and grow.

Long story short I got prodded and poked and examined by young male doctors for 6 days in hospital, still while on IV antibiotics, dragging a stand around with me to the bathroom and back. I was so keen not to risk a surgery near my sphincter muscle that I led myself to believe it was starting to feel slightly better. I still couldn’t stand for longer than a few minutes, but I told myself the antibiotics would take it all away. And I’m not sure if I convinced the doctors and surgeons, or if they really had hope it would go away too.

That small hope gave me an out…

My dad drove me back home. While I had been away Harlan had moved some of our stuff out to a friend’s beachfront cottage, where we stayed for 3 weeks while I recovered. A few friends were already there for the birthday weekend and I had a station set up in the lounge on my massage table. That way I could socialise without moving or having gravity work too hard on my bottom.

I’ve always put on a brave face. A protective shield of strength and independence to guide me through my tough times. But here, in this lounge, a little bit of that toughness was stripped away. I could hide so many of the confused painful emotions, but I felt bare and vulnerable and useless. I had to argue with that need inside myself to always be doing something. Preparing dinner, cleaning, helping. I had to try and let go, even just for a little while.

A week later I had to admit to myself that nothing was changing and my dad drove me back down to Whangarei Hospital. I was operated on overnight – the abscess drained. At 12am I emerged from my anesthesia haze begging for more morphine, and finally by the morning I could stop pressing the button for regular hits into my bloodstream. The pain eased, and with it came a trip back to the beach cottage that day. Erin, a district nurse, was booked to visit and attend to dressings.

This was the beginning of the end I told myself. With the abscess drained, I could fully heal and ‘get on with my life’. A little hope bloomed in my belly…

“Do you think I can book my flights for Australia in a few weeks?” I asked Erin about a week after the surgery. It felt like things were healing nicely and a lot of the pain had gone away. I had planned on heading back to the grain silos in South Australia to earn some summer cash.

“Just wait and see,” she replied, “wait for it to get better before you go and do that.”

Wise words. Hopeful words. Imagine if she had known the future.

Imagine if she had said: “No way don’t book those flights, you ain’t going nowhere. You’re going to think this is all healed, and then you’ll realise it’s created a fistula. You know, that condition you’ve read about, but tried to push out of your mind? You won’t be able to sit, standing will be tricky and walking won’t really be any fun for months…kind of almost years really…”

That’s where hope and optimism is a good thing. If someone had actually told me what was in store for me. All the pain and anguish, disappointment and raging emotions I’d have to experience, I would have given up. Right then and there. As we left the beach house and I could feel a bigger pain starting in my bottom again.

But no one did and so I kept hoping. I kept visualising and praying and doing whatever it took to give me moments of courage that this would pass quickly. That life would return to ‘normal’…

And now, here I am four years on, still with a fistula. It turns out I had to learn to get on with my life as it was, not how I wanted it to be. Not how I thought it should be. I had to learn to live it as it was. I had a new normal. An ever-changing normal. These last four years have been a rollercoaster ride of note. I’ve had such highs of goodness and hope, and I’ve had such deep dark lows that I’ve wished the lights would go out.

But through it all, somehow…hope.

I’ve used that sheer determination and strength that used to hide away that vulnerability, to navigate this journey. To keep going, one foot in front of the other. When courage collapses, I pick it back up and shake it around. Sometimes I yell at it and ask it to let me give up. But in the end I need it there to help me grow, journey and transform myself along this exploration of life and self. I want the courage, because what a path we’ve walked!

When I say I’ve had hope, I suppose it’s been more like my bedrock. I haven’t always felt like it’s there, but some part of me must…

Hope, stubbornness and determination have led me to a place of freedom. I may not have freedom to sit and travel the world and do those sorts of things right now. I used to pin a lot on those, but now I look elsewhere. There is now a deep flowing freedom in my soul that I never thought possible. Freedom from so many ties and expectations, criticisms and comparisons that kept a firm noose around my neck all those years. That noose sometimes choking me of the ability to breath in life and enjoy it as it was.

So here’s to hope.

And here’s to freedom. To letting go. Sometimes we go looking for freedom and find it in unexpected places. Other times we hope-letting-gohave a very clear and firm picture of it, only to learn that it looks totally different. It actually feels nothing like we imagined. It’s even bigger and better.

I know hope can bring disappointment. That I know more than anything. But I also know that hope brings with it the ability to carry on and navigate and move, even when you have no idea what’s in front of you.

Right now, in this moment, I honestly think that the most important thing is to hold onto hope, but to let go at the same time. Keep moving forward, but don’t limit yourself with rigid expectations and shoulds.

Let life unfold without you fighting it and constantly reimagining the life that is happening to you in this moment.

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.

 

The Desperation to be ‘Fixed’!

The fuel of desperation

Desperation was my driving force, my momentum for the first 2 ½ years on this journey with a fistula. Every possibility, every magic pill, potion and lotion I would dive at it, desperation fuelling my direction, my hope. I searched, tirelessly for natural cures, balms, miracle stories on the internet and the next wonder worker in New Zealand, heck in the world.

It was exhausting. Desperation is an exhausting place to be in. Gentleness and desperation don’t live together too well, and so life was full on in an excruciatingly slow kind of way.

desperation-shores-insanityLife as I knew it had been turned upside down. Ideas had been crushed. Insanity often crept into my peripheral vision, lurking there, waiting for me to let down my guard. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I dived head first into the murky mess of it, flailing, sobbing, wishing for another world. Luckily I am a good swimmer and I would eventually get myself out of those currents and beach myself on the shore, exhausted, with nothing left to give.

‘They’ said “Acceptance is the biggest healer. If you can accept your fistula, accept life as it is, life is going to be a hell of a lot easier.

God I knew they were right. I knew if I could just accept my lot that struggle would reduce and I might find some peace in my monkey mind. But it’s easier said than done I’m afraid. I tried. You can’t accuse me of not trying. I tapped on it for days, for weeks. I mean even the basic tenant of tapping is to ‘deeply and completely love and accept myself (just how I am)’.

I don’t know what came first. A lessening of pain and struggle or the work of wonderful healers, an accumulation of tools in my toolbox and the amazing journey I began with my counsellor in Canada. Or maybe it was the perfect synergy. Does it really matter? Either way, under a year ago desperation’s fuel light came on. I didn’t realise. You know how when you’re on a mission to get somewhere in the car and it takes you ages to actually realise there’s an orange fuel tank glaring at you? That’s what happened to me. On some level I sensed a change, but it was subtle and unexpected. Plus, don’t we get used to the status quo so quickly?

On empty!

Desperation began to stutter and choke. I wondered what all the fuss was about and then one day I suddenly realised I felt a gentleness in the periphery. I would read something about an amazing cream and not start pulling my credit card out, ready to have it sent on the next courier. People would tell me about healers or links or books and I wouldn’t pounce on them for more.

It was a novel change. Unexpectedly, instead of feeling this desperation to be fixed, I felt a hunger for change and growth. The soul searching I did with Debra made we want to find more of the inner peace that was beginning to take form.

change-directionsMy relationship with myself grew to a whole new level. Of course I still wanted a healed bum. Of course I didn’t want to have to spend the rest of my life sitting on my haunches hurting my very patient knees. I didn’t want to have to wear a panty-liner every. single. day. of. my. life. But the majority of the time I had changed direction on my journey. I was seeking peace, I was catching moments, right here and now.

There were still the bad days. Days where I would find myself on the carpet (because that doesn’t require pressure on your bottom) rocking myself from side to side begging. Begging the angels, begging the Universe, begging Mother Earth to just get this over and done with already. How f%@#ing long was it going to go on for?

A gentleness

The great thing is, these times passed quicker and also more gently than before. I didn’t wallow in the feeling, desperately trying to feel positive, desperately looking for solutions. Instead it was easier for me to just be with my emotions. Watch them like a wave and know that they too would pass.

The reason I write all of this, if you’re still with me, is that I have a semi ‘ultimatum’. The surgeon has proposed a draining seton on the 30th of June if I don’t feel a heck of a lot better. You see, just before I went to see him, with the idea of taking myself and this seton to explore kshar sutras in India or Austria, I decided to try my body with Ayurveda. finding-gentlenessNot out of desperation but curiosity. And it’s actually really loving it so far. I’m only three weeks in, but hey who knows where it may take me.

So, 95% of the time I feel really calm about it all, I trust that my body will do exactly as it has to, and I will be very clear of what direction to take closer to the time. My body and I are pretty in sync these days, so our communication is great.

A sip of fuel…

However, I think this ultimatum must have put a cup of fuel in desperation’s tank, because I feel the odd lurch and cough from it at the moment. “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to heal before the 30th of June.” “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know if I want to go the seton/kshara sutra route yet.” “What else can I do to speed my healing even more right now?” “Who can I call on? What can I take?

Thank goodness these are very fleeting and far apart. I have time. I have choices. And deep down inside my inner wise woman knows the answer. So instead of falling into a desperate flailing mess trying to find those answers, I relax back into that gentleness and remind myself that I don’t need fixing. That I don’t need answers now. That what my mind body and spirit need most right now is calm. Peacefulness, gentleness and that deep deep love that every human craves.

The Fear Surrounding a Surgeon Appointment

I was due for my surgeon appointment for the first time in 18 months this last week. I wanted to discuss some alternative options that I’ve been exploring for healing my fistula, and of course I was nervous. Surgeons like performing surgery, and so asking them about anything that a) isn’t orthodox and b) isn’t about surgery, makes me feel nervous.

The last time I saw Dr B I was in a weak place, both physically and emotionally. My appointment was not what I had hoped and I left feeling like I had not been heard. I was disappointed in myself for not speaking my truth and in him, for not magically saying what I needed him to say.

This time I wanted my experience to be different. So, I booked an extra appointment with Debra, my counsellor, and just under a week before I was scheduled to see him we had a session – particularly on this topic.

It was fantastic and the best thing I could have gifted myself.

Tapping – EFT

We tapped around my fears. We tapped around past disappointments. We tapped in the positive of what I wanted from the session. We also tapped around clarity and disappointment. And speaking my truth.

When I had first voiced my fears of the appointment to Harlan, he gave me a beautiful answer:

Dr B is an expert in his field, you are in expert in your body. So, just like you can’t tell him how to perform surgery, he can’t tell you how you feel and exactly what your body wants.

Hmmm. I liked it, so we tapped on this as well.  A lot of tapping 😉

I got clear, made some notes and decided I would tell him about the natural treatments I’ve been pursuing and not feel scared about sharing my research on the kshara sutra and Ayurveda with him. This is something new for me. I automatically tend to believe that Western specialists will poo-poo these things and don’t even give them the opportunity to prove me wrong.

My Surgeon Appointment

Wednesday morning rocked around, my bum was feeling better than it’s felt in a long time with taking my Ayurvedic herbs, and Harlan and I were off to the Greenlane Hostpital in Auckland. I thought I would feel nervous, but I didn’t really. There was a little niggle of jumpiness in my tum, and so…you guessed… I tapped some more 😉 We sat in the waiting room and I focused on the smiling people, the positive people, not all the sadness that you can often focus on in hospitals. When Dr B came out to get us, I didn’t feel scared.

We began the appointment with some light-hearted banter and then delved into the details. I didn’t feel like I was inferior to him. I didn’t feel like I needed to please him. I just discussed, openly, what I had been thinking. The appointment went well. He gave me his time, he called me an optimist and he laughed about compromising with me on dates because I wanted to give our final decision more time.

I left feeling proud of myself for my clarity and deeply grateful for all the amazing support I have around me while making these big decisions.

I also realised just how much changing our own attitude before these ‘scary’ appointments changes the attitudes we get in return.

Finding gentleness among stress…

finding-gentleness-among-stressThis is a post-script to Are you a victim of mental abuse?

Throughout my journey I have gotten the idea that stress is bad for the body. I’ve seen its effects first-hand, I’ve had people tell me to stress less (much to my frustration, because it’s not that simple)…I understand that it produces too much cortisol, which in turn does all sorts of things to your physical body that lead to body breakdown. Stress is there for the fight or flight response and when we tell our body that we’re in flight mode 24/7, things start do go a little wonky (read Dr Libby Weaver’s Rushing Woman’s Syndrome for more on this).

So I tried to deal with stress. I tried to come up with tools (like walking, EFT, taking time out for myself to read or chill). But the problem for me was that I was’t quite getting to the root of the cause. How stressful is it being abused 24/7? Everyone has a lot on their plate, but when you start telling yourself it’s too much to cope with, you can’t possibly get it done in time, it won’t be good enough, what will other people think, it will be a total failure, I couldn’t possibly do that, I’m no good…and on it goes…I believe that’s when normal life challenges turn into super stressful situations. I believe we can have these time pressures and challenges in our lives, but if we are 100% by our sides all of the way, encouraging, backing ourselves up, believing in ourselves like we would a good friend, then they don’t need to become stressful situations…they can simply be challenges.

Now the trick for me, that I foresee going forward, is keeping up this gentle relationship once everything in my body is running smoothly, when I don’t have a constant reminder to be gentle. It’s easy once everything is going well to forget to take those regular moments to say thank you.

thank-you-body

I believe that because I have shifted some emotional baggage that I’ve been carrying around for way too long, with regular EFT sessions, that continued gentleness will hopefully be a little easier than last time.

I have also now seen and felt, firsthand, the benefits of self-commitment. So now, every month I will make sure that I prioritise and book in an EFT session with a therapist. I will make sure I do Donna Eden’s 5 minute energy routine most days, I will make sure I put wonderful energy into my food and water and gently talk to my body and mind like a would a good friend…not because I have to, but because I want to and it excites me.

It’s easy to put your health and healing in someone else’s hands…the homeopath, the naturopath, the doctor, the surgeon, the acupuncturist, the Chinese healer, the energy healer. Since September 2013 I have been super seeking and seeking and seeking…for miracle answers, for miracle pills, for miracle potions and miracle healers and top surgeons…just to take this fistula away. I have spent oodles of time and money on the above…and I say to myself, these supplements will heal me, these herbs will heal me, that naturopath will have the answer.

And gosh I don’t know where I would be without all of those amazing hand-holders along the way…I am so blessed to be a lot healthier than many people who have a Crohn’s diagnosis or an anal fistula. The problem is I seem to focus on healing happening from an outside source. What’s not so easy is to take the power back, and through tools such as EFT (or anything else that works for you) to make steps towards healing yourself. Bringing the power back into your own body, in this moment, and believing that you also play a vital part in it all.

So that’s where I’m at right now…who knows where this journey will see me in a week’s time or a month’s time, but right now I’m willing to take on the challenge of kindness to self. I’m willing to see what life holds for me when I put down those boxing gloves and say no to being a victim of mental abuse.

 

Are you a victim of mental abuse?

 

victim-of-mental-abuse

I was. For years and years. Not only was I a victim of constant mental abuse, but I was also the perpetrator. I was a serious bully, and as Carol Look says, if I spoke to a child the way I do to myself I would be charged!

For years I’ve thought I was pretty damn good to myself. I ate very healthily, I didn’t dare drink much alcohol because who knows what that would do to my body, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t take drugs, and I made sure I exercised regularly. I was extremely disciplined in certain areas and had lists of internal rules that I HAD to stick to otherwise ‘watch out’! And boy oh boy if something wasn’t done up to the standards I had in mind, on would go the boxing gloves and there would be a barrage of internal abuse.

Sound hideous right? Well in truth it was. I was missing the point that I could be as strict and as ‘healthy’ as ever, but that if my relationship with myself was so unhealthy and mentally abusive, something was going to have to give. And give it did.

At 21 my body had had quite enough of all the mental abuse and decided it was time to stop – clearly I wasn’t listening to the messages. Enter a Crohn’s diagnosis following a physically and mentally harrowing few months. This prompted me to slowly begin learning new ways. Slowly being the operative word. I didn’t think I was such a slow learner but it turns out I am…and that’s OK ;).

11 years after being diagnosed with Crohn’s and managing my way through a number of flare ups over that time, I’m only now starting to get the hang of this ‘being nice to myself’ thing. Fancy that…at 32 beginning to learn to talk nicely to the person I live with 24/7 and who walks by my side through everything on this journey. Good grief…no wonder that inner me was begging for a divorce ;).

I’ve had an anal fistula for just under three years and I do believe that it has forced me onto the path of self-kindness and self-appreciation more firmly than anything else could have. In August last year I had my first tummy flare-up since my fistula developed 2 years before. I turned to all the things I normally turn to, but I also decided to book in an EFT session with my tutor, Deborah, in America and see what would come up (I do a lot of personal tapping, but I believe it can sometimes be more powerful with someone else, especially someone who doesn’t know you well). Anway, she was very straight up with me and when she heard what was going on inside my mind all day she told me that with 90% of my energy going on beating myself up there was definitely not enough energy left to run my digestive system…fair call! I sat with that and let it sink in.

A week later I saw Angela, my Chinese Energy healer in Auckland, and she pretty much told me the same thing. She said we could literally fire-fight – she would do the fire and cupping and acupuncture for me which would bring my internal chi back up, but if I didn’t address what was going on in my head then I would eventually sap away all that energy again. After my sessions with her my digestive system returned to normal and I thought I had it all sussed (bar the fistula business).

 

relationship-with-yourself

I took it on. Well I thought I had anyway, and I became a little kinder to myself. The moment a challenge arose, however, or if I was in more pain than normal…along would come the bully, boxing gloves back on: ‘you’re not doing enough’, ‘it’s not good enough’, ‘what have you done wrong this time’, ‘you’re not trying hard enough’, ‘it’s not going to work out’…on and on. It exhausts me just reading that!

Sure enough, in April this year, following a festival where I had a stall and my stress levels were a little raised, I had a flare up. First of all I was quite disappointed, because usually I go for years between flare ups. Secondly I wasn’t impressed because the pain levels in my bum sky rocketed, sleep plummets, I turn into a manic depressive monster and then I beat myself up a little more for not being able to fix it quickly enough or not being able to rise above it.

Before I saw Angela, to bring my chi back up, I decided it was time to commit to regular tapping and therapy that wasn’t self-administered or from my mum. So I booked in with Deborah – a 1 hour session every Tuesday for the next three weeks. That has moved mountains for me. In between I also had 4 sessions with Angela, but I have felt a tremendous shift in my self relationship. When I got back from my energy sessions my tummy was back to normal but dipping in and out of functioning well. Instead of freaking out and looking for the next person to give me drops or tinctures to stop it in its tracks I decided to start talking to my body…gently, kindly and softly. I did actually freak out, but more due to a lack in anyone within 100km who could ‘rescue’ me, I decided to try a little bit of self work. I thanked my body every time something went well (which was actually really often), and when things weren’t good I was compassionate and gentle with it.

Don’t get me wrong it was hard not to let fear get in the way, but I knew that wasn’t going to be helpful. I just knew that what my body needed was some serious loving. I also observed the foods I ate, and what felt best for my body – not what my mind and books/internet were saying I should eat. I returned to Donna Eden’s energy work and started working with my meridians and doing her 5 minute energy routine every morning. I talked to my food and water and I talked to my body when I ingested anything.

I felt a sudden gentleness with myself that I have never felt, and day by day my tummy improved to the point where it is functioning 100% perfectly again. I still have a fistula, and I have a niggling blocked lymph node under my left arm, but I am feeling the most peace I have felt in my body for years!

 

 

Love yourself!

Love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does!

– Anita Moorjani

Gently she cradled her in her arms. Belly soft, breathing slowly, rhythmically. “I am here with you,” she whispered. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise. We are in this to the end, and I will never leave you again.”

She didn’t know she would make this commitment that night, but so it came, whirling around her like a mini cyclone, screeching in her ears til she heard the words, “Love yourself.” And just like that it went quiet and in that stillness she heard a small girl’s voice whispering, chattering, almost inaudibly unless she held her breath.

love-yourself-inner-child“She’s so mean to me. I can’t trust her anymore. She’s always saying horrible things. I wish she’d go away. I hate it sometimes. I’m just trying to be me and all she does is tell me I’m not good enough.”

It stopped and there were sounds of nervous sobbing.

A gush of air escaped from her lungs as she sat down on the floor. It wasn’t a little girl locked in the pantry or outside wanting to be let in. No, this was her own inner child. The one she’d neglected and forgotten about. He heart raced. It was true. All those accusations were true. So how could she expect miracles and a happy life when one half of her was down-trodden and abused? Whispering quiet apologies and promises, she sat there until outside it had gone dark. Still no reply. She stood up and took a deep full breath of air into her lungs and that’s when she felt it. A timid settling inside her, unsure, but hopeful.

And so she promised to never leave her again. To try to never speak those awful words.

Do we get told ‘love yourself’?

Why is it that we are not taught self-love at school? Surely this is number one? I don’t mean the “I’m top of the class in Maths,” or “I’m so good at soccer,” type. That can be ego or arrogance creeping in, and often comes at a cost of true self-love. When you’re not top in Maths for a test, the barrage of abuse cracks around in your head “You idiot, you should have studied harder. I can’t believe it, it was so easy and you just stuffed up.”

No, I’m talking about the gentle, kind self-love. As you realise that the more you abuse yourself in your mind, the more timid a part of you becomes. It is what guides you through the deep and meaningful moments in your life, but when its feels shut down you may struggle to hear it in these times of need.

I’m too fat. Look at my love-handles, ooo yuk! I’ve got rolls – 3 actually and look how they go over the edge of my jeans.

Well look at my face, it’s hideous, I’ve got these blind pimples all over my chin. It’s so gross.

I hate my arms, they’re all flabby. I want nice toned arms like those girls you see in … magazine.

At least you guys have got boobs, mine are non-existent, I don’t even need a bra, so I have to wear falsies to pretend. I’m so jealous.

love-yourselfAs a female I struggle to believe that many of you missed out on these types of conversations, either during lunch breaks at school or in the changing rooms. How was it that no-one told us to cut it out. Hang on, they did actually. I clearly remember my mum saying to me and my friends that we were beautiful and were definitely not fat. ‘Ya, Ya” we thought, of course she’s going to say that. It made no difference, not to me anyway.

It just seemed the accepted thing to do. You heard adults talking about their bodies not playing ball as they aged, and you compared yourself to all those photo-shopped, anorexic models and felt inadequate.

When I walk down that grey stony path of remorse my feet hurt and my heart sits heavy in my chest. All those years of beauty, freshness and youth ‘wasted’ on ungratefulness. I put ‘wasted’ in inverted commas as of course it wasn’t wasted. It was all part of my journey and all part of growing up and learning certain lessons.

One day when your body doesn’t behave quite the way you expect it to every morning when you wake, you start looking seriously down that path and wondering how you could have taken all this for granted. How you could have taken your young lithe body for granted. Its endless energy, all your organs behaving as they should…

Then a quiet reminder: Love yourself! And I am thankful that I found this path of self love in my 30s…better later than never 🙂