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Fear on a Healing Journey

fear is like a snarling beast
beating at my door
let me in, it growls
goosebumps pop out
up my spine
stomach clenched
in a tight ball
no breath

But actually there is no beast. And I can move away from fear when I drop into awareness long enough of this moment. Right here and now. Awareness of my body, and of the deep breath I take low into my belly. Fear struggles to take root where there is slow breathing. That’s just how we’re wired. Deep, slow breathing usually means safety.

Healing journeys don’t always feel safe. Sometimes they’re the most frightening roller coaster ride you’ll ever take. Up and down, round and round, waiting to be spat out at the end. What condition will I be in then? Will I have all my limbs? Will there be parts of me missing? Stop with the future-tripping, come back to now.

no, you can’t come in
yes, I know you’re there
your stale breath is in the air
I know I used to let you rampage
around my home
me cowered in the corner
in the dark
afraid
feeling powerless
to do anything

It’s not like that anymore. That neural pathway I let you rule is growing over, like a well-worn path to a deserted rubbish dump. It’s not in use anymore. That’s no longer my game. I’ve chosen a new pathway. Yes of course I know you’re not leaving for good. And yes, I know you will visit. But no, I will never give you back the reins to my life.

You will never get to call the shots again.

Authentic Partnership: ten years and counting

What started out as romance 10 years ago has turned into an ever-evolving journey of authentic partnership.

Harlan and his travelling companion Paro!

It was Labour weekend 2007 that Harlan made the bold move to come over to the Sunshine Coast, Australia, to visit me. We’d met two weeks before I was booked to fly to Brisbane and go and work my way up the East Coast for an indefinite amount of time. We’d clicked, but my Inner Mean Girl was worried that he might be wasting his time flying over two months after I’d left when we didn’t really know each other.

We kept in touch via letters as I spent time working in backpackers in Noosa and Rainbow Beach, and the closer we got to Labour weekend the more excited I was! Harlan hired a Wicked Campervan from Brisbane and I met him in Noosa to share three days together. There was lots of swimming, exploring, talking, lounging and passion. A day or two in I asked him if he wanted to come to Australia and go travelling with me. He thought about it over a shower and decided “Yes!”.

Taking off in our newly acquired camper-van (Maxine)

He flew home and gave notice on his job, and a few weeks later I flew back to NZ to find a job and start saving for our trip. In May 2008 we arrived in Brisbane together to begin our three-year long working adventure in Australia.

In these ten years there’s been so much adventuring, learning, loving, laughing, planning, deepening, and fun! There’s also been disagreements, fights, emotional stretching, some days where we both want to walk away in different directions, frustration, and a lot of extra tricky navigation because of my healing journey.

But through that all, we’ve kept communicating.

We’ve maintained communication, even if sometimes it’s one pushing for it and the other pulling back. Even if it takes a few days to open up. There’s been raw, open honesty, and the strong desire for connection. When it’s been deeply, frighteningly tough, we’ve come back to that base of communication and also injecting a little humour and lightness, even if it takes tears, space and frustration in between.

You see two years after we met we attended a couples’ workshop (with Harville Hendrix) in Melbourne to provide us with some specific communication tools. We also read Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, and then last year went to another couple’s workshop in New Zealand called Emotionally Focussed Therapy. We didn’t go as a last resort. We didn’t go seeking these tools because our relationship was broken and needed fixing. With my mum being a psychologist and all, I learned that: communication tools are important before you hit emergency mode at the bottom of the cliff (in any relationship).

The thing is, we weren’t given the handbook for how to navigate authentic partnership with another whom we share our life with.

We weren’t handed out the tools when we left school and told “here you go – use these to navigate your relationship and they’ll really help you through the times when everything isn’t ‘easy’ and in the ‘flow’. So these decisions were made because we knew we needed this and also sometimes needed a mediator to help us through trickier topics.

For my own journey I’ve gifted myself with regular counselling in the last couple of years. By default, of course, it has filtered out into my partnership with Harlan. The more I have developed my self-awareness and self-honesty, the more I am able to own my stuff, and the more I can show up in this relationship without a whole bunch of unnecessary heavy baggage and make Harlan pay for crimes he didn’t commit.

During this journey I have also realised that I need to be able to give myself what I need instead of expecting those things from Harlan. Sometimes when I’ve been lonely and desperate for company it’s been because there is a hole of emptiness inside of me that I need to fill. But until I realised that, I was liable of lashing out and demanding more time with him and pushing him away. Or if I’ve been looking for acknowledgement, it’s because I haven’t yet acknowledged myself in the way that I desire. I can only fully and truly receive from Harlan what I already give to myself.

I’d love to say, that with these tools, learnings and insights it’s become easy and breezy – but I would be talking nonsense.

A lot of things have become easier though: when we find ourselves in our downward dance we are both able to identify it earlier and move ourselves back to connection; I am getting better at timing my ‘truth-telling’; Harlan finds open communication easier; we both own our parts more easily. And even though in that sweet romantic honey-moon phase in the early days there was less of the challenging and more of the fun, ten years into the journey our connection is so much deeper, fuller and richer.

I think a lot of us would like to think that love is the main ingredient for a strong relationship. But I’m of the belief that authentic partnership requires more than just love – otherwise we could end up partnering with many different people throughout life, right? It requires respect, openness, trust, and truth – not just with each other but also with ourselves. I believe it also requires patience, compassion, gentleness, and the knowing that we can’t change another.

Through the many, many dark days that I experienced on my recent healing journey, Harlan has been my rock, my dearest friend and often the only one I could share my painful space with! He has known when to use lightness and humour, and when to say nothing and just hold my hand or give me a hug. He has made me 100s of teas and allowed his t-shirt to dampen with my tears of despair.

I am so deeply grateful for Harlan!

In this space we have learned together – me how to more often ask for what it was that I needed (rather than expecting him to intuit it), and him that he didn’t need to fix me or offer solutions; me to be aware of taking my pain out on him, and him not to take my outbursts as personally.

And then sometimes we both get it really wrong, because we’re human. We’re all only human. And we’re all doing the best we can in each moment. Remember that! You are doing the best you can in this moment!

Hitting pause to take stock of your relationships (past or present), provides insight into what it is that you’ve learned and gained on this journey together. This insight is a powerful thing, because it brings awareness to things you can celebrate and also aspects that may need more exploring.

Are you willing to take stock of your relationships and what insights they’ve allowed you? Go on, I dare you xx

 

Into the light

deep down inside me there’s a yearning
a stirring – something pulling me
I hear Mother Earth calling to me
out of the valley and up the hill
the light calls me higher to seek out
the last glimpses of Father Sun
as our part of the Earth turns slowly away
for renewal
for a time to start again
fresh
awakened in the morning dew drops

I watch the sky sing her praises
pinks, golden, blues, greys
honouring the light that every
single cell
in my body craves, needs
relies on
yours too

I am a sun-worshipper
in another life I must have been a lizard
chasing the sunspots
hibernating in winter

we desire the light to warm us
and illuminate the world
in the light I see things I never knew were there
they come into clarity and I feel a peace
fall over me like the morning mist
soft, gentle, refreshing

I am renewed
I am held

India: I am ready

I step off the precipice and fall
for a moment I’m dropping
hurtling towards the hard ground

then I remember I have wings
I open them
they creak
stretch and the blood flows through them
my wings

it’s been a while
let them fly
let me fly
into the big unknown that beckons me
calls to my heart strings

and then there is vastness
openness above me
below me and all around me
I am free to journey

how did I forget my wings?
these beautiful light feathers
for soaring through the air
simply waiting for the words

I am ready.

And so I am. For another exciting chapter on this journey called life. In under two weeks I fly to India. A country that both scares me and intrigues me. A place where the Goddess Kali resides in many places. And I will meet her, even though I may not at first know it. I will feel her presence in the dirt and in the sunsets, in the poverty and in the wealth, in the rivers and in the temples dedicated to her.

I am going to the Fistula Research Centre in a city north of Delhi called Chandigarh. I am going to seek advice and treatment from a world expert in fistulas. There are not many of those around, and to be honest this colorectal surgeon, Dr Pankaj Garg, is the first such person I came across last year after 4 years of trawling the internet at regular intervals. I stumbled across his site about 8 months ago, and back then the idea of going to India with a sore bum and a tummy on the sensitive side scared the living daylights out of me. Australia seemed like a good first option. It did not pan out as expected though, so India came back onto the radar.

It is currently 40 degrees there in the height of summer and in July the monsoons arrive. However, this is the time Harlan can come with me and leave the bees to quietly and cosily winter in their sunny bush sights. Two dear friends are joining us too, and between the four of us there will be adventure.

Where there was fear and trepidation before, there is now excitement, anticipation and a feeling of adventure running through my veins.

You see I realised a few months ago that physical adventuring has been minimal through this healing journey of mine, and that I’m craving it. My soul needs it. It feeds me in ways that nothing else can. When I first got back from Australia I knew that when the pain settled we needed to explore, even if it was in tiny ways, we would do it.

And then one day last month, with the desire of healing my bum, the idea of India was reborn. It started out as a spark with only tiny flashes of light. But it very quickly grew into something more. The flight is 17 hours, which for someone who doesn’t even drive at the moment is very long! It’s hot! Some people experience Delhi Belly….

We all spent the first week almost reluctantly committing. Knowing we desired adventure, and me that and healing. However, as the days have passed, and more links and pictures have been shared between us, there has been a growing excitement and anticipation. What started out as a trip purely for healing my bum, has turned into so much more.

This time thinking about India, underneath the wildness of the idea, I feel a great sense of peace and calm. I am ready. The time is now.

It will be a pilgrimage. Me journeying to far off holy lands. Since I was named Kali, after the Hindu Goddess, I have always known that I will visit India at some point. I just hadn’t planned for it to be so soon. Lucky I’ve never been a big one for plans and so I can flow with the currents and go where I need to go at the time. I am ready. I am ready to adventure on all levels – physically, spiritually and emotionally.

I have opened my wings and my Inner Wisdom is guiding me.

I am ready.

Goddess on the Go: A New Deck for Me

Goddess on the Go cards

Goddess on the Go

A few days ago a small package arrived in the post, and to my excitement it was my Goddess on the Go cards, by Amy Sophia, from Book Depository. I stumbled across them online when exploring another Oracle pack on google images, and when I saw these beautiful, soft watercolour paintings by Melissa Harris, and read that they are the size of a pack of playing cards I read further. I searched some of the affirmations on them and they really appealed to me.

Affirmations

“I am” are two of the most powerful words in our language. Wayne Dyer talked about their power and so have many others before him. Amy Sophia, creator of the Goddess on the Go deck refers to the branch of spirituality connected to the ascended masters in her explanation of the words ‘I am’. One of these masters, Saint Germain uses these words to mean ‘the Divine that resides within me’. Basically this means ‘our soul’, so when we use these two words before the rest of our sentence, we are connecting directly to our souls!

Since I work with affirmations and my own mantras a lot, I decided that these cards might work well as a quick check in with my Inner Wisdom at various points through the day to see what messages she has for me. Although I have a range of other decks, these have not disappointed. So far, each card I’ve drawn has been perfect for that moment. My one this morning was no exception, so I decided to write a little post about these Goddess on the Go cards.

Today’s Card

I drew: I am choosing to see my challenges as my Highest Good.

This was a perfect reminder for me this morning. Things have been a bit rocky in the bottom area since I got back from Australia, and sometimes I get lost in the ‘when will this ever end’ mode. So this affirmation is exactly what I have been actively stretching into for the last few weeks. It’s very easy to fall into victim mode and let my Inner Mean Girl take over: ‘why is this happening to me‘, ‘my bum’s never going to heal‘, ‘no-one knows how to fix it‘ etc. But that gets me no-where fun.

If I take ownership of this situation with my fistula instead, on all levels, then I take my power back. The only thing that I have direct control over in this life, is my reaction to situations, or my thoughts and perceptions around them. So, when I become more conscious of those thoughts and words passing through me, then I feel empowered. And in this space it’s easier to tap into my Inner Wisdom.

For my highest good…

Clearly there are lessons here for me to learn. So, I can either throw a tantrum and dump all my books on the floor and feel like I’m being punished, or I can get curious and see what knowledge there is to be gained. It’s not easy to do, by any means. It takes practice, like many other things in life. However, the more I practice, the less time I spend in that victim, Inner Mean Girl, mode that I can sometimes slide into when the pain doesn’t seem to go away.

Have I stopped going there? Of course not! I’m human. We’re all human. Plus, I’ve only been practicing this for a relatively short while. The difference is that I am more aware of my thought patterns and recognise this place a lot quicker and then make the necessary shifts in my heart and mind to move back into an empowered state.

When I’m in that empowered state I find it much easier to tap into what my Inner Wisdom has to say, and these small, pocket sized cards are my new favourite way to do that throughout the day.

What tools do you carry in your toolbox for shifting you back into an empowered state? Do you use cards? EFT? Singing, dancing, walking? There are so many awesome ways and I’d love to hear yours 🙂

I Can Heal Myself – Can’t I?

Can I heal myself?

I had an epiphany of sorts today! When you hear the words “you have the power to heal yourself“, what does that mean to you? Do you feel empowered or guilty? You don’t have to look far to find those words. When you google, listen to podcasts, join summits, pick up a book, you may come across a variation on that phrase. Maybe they just jump out more at me, because I have often attached guilt to them.

I have usually interpreted those words as: I should be able to heal myself. And if I can’t then there is something inherently wrong with me. I’m doing something wrong. Eating something wrong. Thinking the wrong things. Not meditating enough, or not doing enough yoga. I think this actually says a lot more about my journey with self-blame than anything else. I’m sure there are many people who hear these words and feel inspired!

I digress. I do find them inspiring.

Because I do believe we have the power to heal ourselves in different ways, just not alone. What I realised today is that I sort of interpreted these words to mean we should be able to do it on our own. And when I realised that, it made think about how healing, in my opinion, is never in isolation. We are never the only ones who heal ourselves. There are so many people who are part of our healing journey and play vital roles – some more noticeably than others.

Take for example the blog you stumble across that tells you about clearing your meridians to kick-start you every morning. Or the magazine you pick up in a Dr’s office that has an article on self-love. How about your acupuncturist, your counsellor, or your mother? Then there’s the surgeon you choose because he really honours you in the process and makes space for your opinions. Or your friend who you have coffee with every week, and she helps you get clear on what you’re really feeling.

It may seem like a lonely journey at times.

And you may be one of those people who has interpreted these words as I have before: that you should be able to do it all on your own. However, our input is pivotal in our healing journey. Creating a team around you is vital, and it’s all part of the process. But owning your power in that journey is key. The inspirational books, podcasts, groups and forums that you’re part of, the few people in your life who you can really open up to and trust…you’re not doing it alone. You are doing it with a team that you are case manager of. You get to create that team.

power-to-heal-myselfMaybe I have a new interpretation of “you have the power to heal yourself“. I do actually believe that you have the most power in your healing journey. The power lies with you to listen to your Inner Wisdom/Guidance/Knowing, whatever you want to call it, and then do what feels right. If you keep giving the reigns to your acupuncturist, homeopath, Dr, counsellor, you’re giving away that power. When I listen to everyone else’s opinions and they drown out that voice inside of me that only speaks the loving truth, I’m giving away my power.

When you take the power back, and create a team around you that really supports all aspects of your healing, then I believe all sorts of beautiful shifts are possible.

And yes – I can heal myself.

Listening to my Inner Wisdom

The need for Inner Wisdom

On Monday, the 23rd of January, I had the perfect opportunity to practice tapping into my Inner Wisdom. This is what I’ve been studying since September. Learning tools that I can use with myself and also with others, and now here I was faced with a decision where my Inner Wisdom was key. It was just over a week after my first fistula surgery in Brisbane with Dr Naidu, and my mum (Av) and I had been staying 1 ½ hours north in Noosa with my Aunt and Uncle.

Today we were heading back down to Brisbane to go and see Dr Naidu for a follow up. Av and I had packed up all of our things at Wally and Debbie’s in preparation to fly home in a few days’ time. We didn’t quite know what we were going to do but we planned to leave on Wednesday.

Feeling pretty positive about how things were going we met with Dr Naidu. He looked at my surgery site and he made the call that he wanted to see me for another surgery that Friday. There was too much leaking and he was worried that we needed a bigger seton to help the flow. Unfortunately he was really unwell, so I couldn’t ask all the questions that I wanted to.

Av and I walked out the room in a daze. We headed towards the café, as it was lunchtime and after I rudely shouted at her in front of everyone because she was unsure of her order, we went and sat down at a table.

Lashing out

“Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean that you can be rude to me in front of other people,” she said to me. “I know,” I replied and burst into tears. She wanted to come around from the other side of the table to comfort me, but I put my hand up. I sat looking out the window of the 5th level, looking down at the buses coming and going below me. I wondered what next? I had no idea. Where I had felt so certain that we were going home, I now felt like a boat without any rudder. I felt a mess and completely lost. “I don’t know where to next,” I said.

Av was out of her depth. I had been the one who organised everything on the trip – accommodation, car, flights, toll and so on – so without my guidance and my knowledge of technology Av felt lost. What could I say to her? At the same time I didn’t want her comfort either. I just wanted it all to be over. I couldn’t face more struggle and more decisions about my bum.

We still somehow managed a giggle at the absurdity of it all, in between tears and me morosely staring out the window.

A plan

Av eventually called Wally and Debbie. Wally laughed when she said that she had no idea what we were going to do next, and they insisted that we come back up to Noosa. I felt relieved. At least we had a plan and at least we were going to be in a beautiful home with beautiful distractions again. Right now I could do with some of those.

So without lunch, only a coffee for Av, we headed straight back onto the motorway and back up towards Noosa. It was a long journey. My mind was buzzing and I didn’t know what to do. I had spent hours uncomfortably sitting in a vehicle already and I just wanted to get out and not have to make any decisions! I knew that I was about to have to practice diving deep into my Inner Wisdom. Diving deep and figuring out what my Inner Wisdom knew was the right thing to do. I had an inkling that more surgery wasn’t for me but I had to do some diving and rolling and tumbling with the ideas to make sure that I felt solid in my decision.

It wasn’t going to matter what anyone thought. In this moment, I knew that I had to feel into my body what was right. What did my gut tell me? It wasn’t a small decision either; staring down the barrel of another general anaesthetic and more pain. This wasn’t going to be taken lightly.

Inner Wisdom practice

I was so thankful for the Inner Wisdom preparation I had been doing for the last few months. As self love students, we have had to create a daily practice of checking in with our Inner Wisdom – what she needs and wants to share with us – so that in the moments when we need her we have developed a relationship with her and find it easier to listen. We need to understand the process in order to be able to share it with others.

Now was the moment.

In the evening, on a visit to the wholefoods store I talked to Av about why I had been so thrown. What was it about our surgeon visit that shocked me the most, because really I had already said I wouldn’t be up for more surgery if the option arose. After talking it through and distilling the ideas, I realised it was that what I had had done was supposedly not enough. Bugger that!

By nightfall I knew what I needed to do. I knew my body needed a rest from more pain and I decided to move into a space of trust that what I had had done was enough and that my body could take it from here. The next day I received an email from the hospital confirming the anaesthetist for Friday, and that made me realise I hadn’t let the surgeon know that I wasn’t going ahead.

A decision is reached…

I composed a text message to him:

Dear Dr Naidu, I have decided that my body is not ready for more surgery yet, and I trust that the seton that is in there will do more than not having anything. We will fly home on Friday and I will keep you updated on progress.

A few minutes later he called.

Usually I would have had stomach flips at going against the decision of a surgeon, or fear that I was doing the wrong thing. But this time, only calm. I felt grounded and very certain in my decision. So when I spoke to him I was clear and he was very respectful that I knew my body best. I finished the telephone conversation feeling empowered and very much knowing that I had followed my truth.

I was walking on air when I left the office. What an amazing feeling!

Here I had direct proof that my daily Inner Wisdom practice was paying off!

Would you like to share an example of following your Inner Wisdom? I would so love to hear xx

Postscript: I am back home now and healing is going well – I am flowing as much as I can in trusting my body and its innate healing abilities. 

International Day of Self Love 2017

Self Love 2017

Hi lovely ones!

Today is the 10th International Day of Self Love (founded by Christine Arylo), and I recorded a quick video about this year’s theme – Staying Strong. Not in the macho way, but strong in the sense of staying true to yourself and feeling that strength in your core.

Self love is a topic very close to my heart, because it has been one of the beacon’s of light on my healing journey. And the more I dive into strengthening self love the easier my journey is becoming and I’m reaching a place of real gentleness with myself which is a treat! In the next few days I will be sharing an example of how strengthening my trust in my Inner Wisdom recently served me in an important decision.

All around the world this month people are holding virtual and in-person get togethers – in over 41 countries. I held one last night with an intimate group, but excitingly Christine Arylo is holding one online – simply go to the link Stay Strong and you too can join in!

What self love promise would you like to make to yourself for 2017?

 

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…