Two powerful insights on Change and Healing

creek

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” 
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

 

These last few months have been hard. Hard, because I’ve been so ill and it’s not relenting yet. Hard, because I have this struggle going on inside me. It’s one that’s been going on for years. Maybe it’s also your struggle.

It’s a need to be productive. A need to work. To earn my keep. To make my days pay. A need to be doing something!!!

Perhaps it’s genetic. Perhaps it’s programming. Perhaps personality.

But whatever the origin, it has been causing me some grief. Lately my days have shrunk so small. From hour to hour I don’t know if I will have any energy to lift my head, or if my head will even function when I do.

Part of me feels immensely guilty for being so still. So useless.

I know, I know. It’s not useless. It’s ‘taking time out to heal’. If you were me, I would give you that lecture.

And yet…

Here I’ve been. Sick, guilty and frustrated.

My husband took me to the beach a few days ago, and waited patiently as I hobbled slow as an old woman down to the sand.

I stood with my feet in the waves a while, and then sat down near the water’s edge.

Image by Coastal Dweller

Image by Coastal Dweller

Inch by inch the gentle waves erased the footsteps of all those who had passed.

There were no dramatic moments – over the course of a few hours the tide simply crept up the slope of the beach.

I found myself having a cry, surrounded by beauty, and filled with futility.

“You’re getting there, Nic. Patience… faith…” my wise husband whispered in my ear as he put his arm around my shoulders.

I kept watching the ocean, swollen from the pull of the full moon above. The ocean that meets the shore every day. The beach that is swept clean by her actions every day. Moon pulling on water. Water pulling on shore.

That was a powerful realisation for me.

The steady application of a gentle energy, over and over, gets things done.

If you want to improve your fitness, one day of exercise won’t make any obvious difference. But if you make it part of your daily routine that energy becomes a force for change in your life.

Fitness, wellness, education, writing a book, growing a baby, starting a business, developing a skill – from day to day we may see little evidence of change, but cumulatively those results will stack up. All we need to do is hang in there and keep doing that thing.

I’m so impatient to be well. I’m so impatient to be working and writing and living larger in the world. And my frustration at not being there yet is immense.

What I’m doing to heal myself is like the actions of those waves edging up the shore. I can’t see immediate and dramatic change. Not necessarily in a measurable way from day to day. But month to month, season to season, year to year I shall see those changes. I need to cultivate some patience.

My second insight came when a dear friend of mine, a doctor, came and shared tea with me on my veranda.

I confessed my distress at not being able to work, to write, to think. To even create a simple blog is a stretch for me right now.

“Nic,” she said reaching out and taking my hands. “Getting well IS work. It’s important work. It’s a full-time job.”

Bless her, she made me cry! What a big realisation for me.

After she left I lay on my bed and thought about what she said. Healing is a full-time job. She’s right. It is for me right now.

My day is a regime. Wake up. Meditate. Drug number one. Wait thirty minutes. Oil pulling for twenty minutes. Blog. Followed by breathing exercises. Drug number two with food. Drug number three after food. Food must be of a healing nature, with suitable nutrients and anti-bacterial, immune-boosting qualities. Food must also be medicine. Deal with any side effects of drugs. Drink suitable number of glasses of water. Rest. Dry skin brushing and shower. Mid-morning supplements. Kefir, which must be taken away from antibiotics. Prepare chinese herbs. Drink herbs. Stretch and move body. Sunbathing. Lunch (of healing foods, proven to kill bacteria or do funky good things to rebuild my body) and more tablets. Afternoon nap. Gentle exercise if I’m up for it. Late afternoon herbs and supplements. Detox regime, including castor oil packs and epsom salts baths. Drug one thirty minutes before dinner. Dinner (yeah, you know the drill…). Drug number two after food. Wait one hour. Evening herbs and supplements. Meditation. Bed.

Sometimes the thing we want (for me – writing books, travelling, spiritual and psychic work) has to wait while the thing we need gets done.

It’s about patience. Priorities. Of putting our attention to what matters most. And doing those small actions over and over until we get that result.

I know things will get better. I will get better. And from the beginning I was aware that parts of this journey would be hard. I can deal with that. I certainly won’t quit.

So what do you need to do in 2014? What’s the priority for you? What’s the game changer?

Let’s get there together!

Thinking of you and sending much love. I might not have the energy to respond to all of your comments on my blog right now, but I read every one. This is a beautiful community. Thank you! xoxo

Together we can do anything! Image from The Soul's Journey

Together we can do anything! Image from The Soul’s Journey

32 thoughts on “Two powerful insights on Change and Healing

  1. Thank you for sharing! I am so happy for you that you have a safe home and a loving arm around you and loving whispers in your ear! Slowly slowly, much love Lyn xx

  2. Oh, Nicole, I remember feeling so much like this when I finally had to leave my job at Christmas in 2010 and apply for Federal Disability. That’s why I wrote and published my first poetry book – it kept me busy (and sane) the year and a half it took for all the testing and red tape; and I needed to prove to myself that I was still capable of being productive, of completing something worthwhile. That success carried me through several months, but then my spine and other health issues began to get worse – so I fell way behind; in my blog and in my writing. My life is like yours this year – a shrinking world, days of feeling unproductive when I want to be writing – not feeling like I’m “living”; just surviving. I’ve been learning a lot of patience. I’ve been learning acceptance – and that acceptance does not mean giving up. My daily reality is pain, pills and exhaustion; sometimes with a little reading or writing, or something that makes me feel happy, thrown in. I’m unable to take care of my home; and no longer have a ‘social life’. When I am able to participate, it could take me up to a week to recover, even if I’ve enjoyed myself. I taped a sign over my computer desk this year; it says to “do what I can, when I can”, “take care of myself first”; and “I am loved”. It lists the 3 things I would like to spend time on this year: my novel, my second poetry collection; and some graphic artwork. It’s easier for me to see them that way than to write specific goals that I have less chance of achieving, thereby letting myself get upset or depressed over it if I’m unable to do as much as I’d like. From an “A” type personality who worked 50, 60 and 70 hour weeks in the corporate marketing world, lived in a nice condo and earned more than my partner, never worrying about finances …. to living by myself in a small apartment on a tiny disability income that is less than the poverty level of Canada … let’s just say that in the 12 years since I first became disabled, life has been increasingly challenging. The main thing is to never, ever give up. (sorry this is so long, I just realized how much I wrote here) ~ Sending you love and positive energies, Julie xoxox

  3. Your honesty and courage are such an inpsiration Nicole. My eyes are fogged with tears as I type. I am in awe of your courage and wisdom. And your creativity and you weave the bloody hard facts into an inspirational blog. It is hard to find the words that express how much your words touch me at all levels and provide such guidance for the small challenges and lessons in my life. You truly are giving me such inspiration as you heal and so openly and wisely (with the assistance of your beautiful husband) share your Heroine’s Journey with us all. Much much love Nikki XXXXX

  4. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but every word you write is wisdom for me. I think the world of you and hope and pray that all this pain will finish soon xox

  5. As you have said before, from where you are now as opposed to 12 months ago is significant. It is normal to feel frustrated, angry, negative and all ‘those’ emotions, but you Have made progress ! You give so much, remember to be kind to you and give yourself as much love and encouragement as you do to us. Remember that elephant is a big sucker, but one mouthful at a time will get him in the end.

    lots of love Cherie

  6. I love your blog and I eagerly await your new posts. I have never commented before, I’m a lurker! But I just wanted to give you a virtual hug and send you love from afar for your body to settle and find a nice place. The fact you are writing amazing posts when feeling so rotten is testament to your incredible spirit. Big hugs xx

  7. this is a really powerful, honest blog! coming straight from your heart, your vulnerability! well done! it must be so frustrating to be living with such potential, such possibilities, such vibrant life force and yet having life take you down this long, long painful and lonely road of healing! there is nothing i can say that isn’t a superficial platitude. all i can offer you is encouragement and love and tell you that you’re doing a great job in your healing job! we both know it isn’t forever, but for now it is as it is, sending much love sx

  8. Oh Nicole, my heart goes out for you and my healing journey seems so mild when i read you daily routine. It has amazed me just how much time healing takes and the test of patience one develops.

    Hang in there, you are in my daily meditation and prayers and remember what you are doing is very powerful for you and others on a healing path, you inspire me and hundreds of others daily.

    We are both so blessed we have husbands that are the most wonderful carers in the world.

    I read rest, ….. rest…… that seems to be of of the secrets too

    All my love, sending you healing vibes, angels and prayers
    namaste
    Suzie xxoo

  9. All you need to do right now is exactly what you are doing. Rest and heal yourself.. In fact you seem to be packing in a lot in one day.

    Sending you my love, light, blessings and angel hugs.
    Jennie xxx

  10. sending lots of love your way. you are a tower of strength to those of us out here in the world. you are an amazing inspiration for what is possible. a game changer for me in 2014 would be to spend more time being creative and less time checking my email, or spending time on pinterest! so that i have some new work to post to share with the world and my customers come spring time! i love you nicole!

  11. Yay for breakthroughs. When I read the words of your Dr friend AND your response, fist punch in the air! You are working. So. Very. Hard. Give yourself permission to get this oh so important work done (& yes, I’m ignorning the pot kettle black stuff ‘kay 😛 ).

    As others have said, you have come so very far and the ocean analogy – so very true. Keep having faith, know you are loved and supported. ❤ ❤ ❤

  12. I hope you realize that even in your pain, your struggle, your impatience, you are inspiring and teaching others how to be honest, how to live and love. You are my heroine. Sending you much light and love and healing energies. Namaste.

  13. Nicole, patience is very hard when you are an over achiever as I know you are. So am I. Things never happen fast enough. I battle with mental and health issues. I constantly want to do new projects, learn new things. I get many pie in the sky ideas. I feel like life is too short, I don’t have enough time to learn and do all the things I want to do. Living in Saudi Arabia is tough. I miss the Australian bush, the eucalyptus trees, the birds, the flowers and the freedom. So to comfort myself I got very very busy writing blogs, teaching arts and crafts, I joined a quilting group, being a consul for expats, helping young girls on our compound… So much so that I became scatterbrain, physically ill, foggy brain, very forgetful, stressed, nervous, and very shaky. Then one day about 2 months ago I said stop! I stopped being the responsible person who helps everyone. I resigned as the consul. I ceased helping the new girls, I stopped a lot of activities I was doing. I stopped writing so many blogs, even though I knew many loved to read them. I know it inspired them. I needed to slow my pace. I am feeling much better and thinking more clearly. Not everyone understand nor do I expect them to. Some still ask for my help or where are my blogs. It is time for me to be a little selfish and take care of me. It is hard to let people down when you know they rely on you. Nicole if any of this resonates with you STOP, cut back on what you do, let yourself have permission not to blog EVERY day. It’s OK. Sure some will be upset, but most would understand. You can’t help or fix everyone! We each have to carry our own load. Lots of love Lyn

  14. My dear Nicole…I cannot begin to imagine the pain and frustration you are dealing with on a daily/hourly basis.I do know that over the last few years my life has been up and down including illness. Some days just to hard to bare but with the help of my gorgeous partner, my wonderful cousin (who is fighting her 2nd bout of cancer)my sister in law and most importantly you I have turned my life around. I was always on the go, house had to be spotless, working full time, never taking time for me and dealing with everything else that was happening in my life. Then my sister in law told me YESTERDAY IS HISTORY and TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY and introduced me to you. I have never looked back. This year is all about me first because if I am healthy and content everything will fall into place. You will get through this and some days will feel like why me days and some with be absolutely magnificent. Your loving family and friends and all of us will be there for you. I use a lot of your saying and pictures as screen savers or I print them and put them around. When I start to have a why me day, I look at the sayings or I read an old blog of yours and it reminds me how lucky I am.
    love and hugs Wendy 🙂

  15. Dear Nicole
    You enter so many lives everyday and supply them with wisdom, laughter, tears, recipes and room for reflection. I have become one of those lives, and I thank you so very much for your sharing. I look forward to waking in the morning to read your blog. I can see so many people are sending their good wishes, and I hope you draw strength from everyone.
    In your full time job of healing, may I offer you the following idea. Have your visual of what you will look like, feel like, be able to do when you are well. Build colours around the visual, and add objects, people, animals that give you strength, courage and comfort. At the end of each day while you are working towards good health and healing, leave a matching jigsaw piece on top of your visual. As you build your virtual jigsaw, you will build good health.
    Hugs galore
    Lisa

  16. I am so happy to be part of your wonderful community Nicole . I feel so sad for you ( my hopes and needs seem so small in comparison ) I love the image of you sitting by the shoreline feeling frustrated and your husband’s arm rests against your shoulders …then there is a light bulb moment that just changes that negative thought and turns into a positive one …you have a good husband ( so do I… we are blessed ) .
    Take care Cherry x

  17. Blessings and healing Nicole. This message resonates for myself and my daughter Nicole who has your journey and has been in the same puddle as your magical words describe. When you are sitting in that puddle it is hard to have the patience of the wisdom. This blog will be a wisdom so timely for her and will resonate and assist so much as it comes from you. Know you are special and keep healing and spreading your light.
    Loads of love, light and energy this day to you. Namaste Jocelyn XO

  18. I’m thinking of you often Nicole sending you love and healing. You are such an amazing inspiring woman, I see such an great strength in you, though you may feel weak and vulnerable I see only your greatness, the light you shine on the world. Much love Xx S

  19. If gentle care would do it I imagine there would be many of us who would fluff your pillows, straighten up your bed and bring you food and many many many cups of wonderful tea.. you are indeed doing so terribly well. It all sounds beyond horrible, so trying. But rest and understand that your blog is part of your brillance and luminescence even though you are so unwell. Imagine what is to come and even the brillance of a luxuriously fulfilling ordinary illness free day. Keep on keeping on. Much love….xxx

  20. Trying to find words to express myself after reading this blog, and put them into a constructive sentence…… so instead I’ll type the words that pop into mind……

    strength
    happiness
    patience
    serenity
    calm
    focus
    priority (self)
    love
    gratitude
    compassion
    sincerity
    appreciation
    healing
    affection
    canine companionship
    thank you Nicole xxx

  21. Thank you for sharing this experience, which sounds heartbreakingly difficult. You teach me gratitude for my own health. And compassion for all those who struggle to do things I take for granted. Sending love and light and conviction that you will be well again sooner than you expect.

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