Shiny Unicorn Attack (Cos It Had To Happen…)

“Never laugh at live dragons.” ~ J R R Tolkien

So, I’m standing in a health food store yesterday, waiting while someone finds a product I’d ordered.

I’m miserable. My eyes are streaming and one is gummed closed. My face is blotchy and puffy. I have a UTI and a chest infection and I am herxing badly from Lyme die-off. I’m wearing an adult diaper under my jeans. I am wheezing and coughing. I’m in pain. I look like death. I feel like death. I’m sleep deprived. It’s not my best day. (see yesterday’s blog for the full update)

I’m so uncomfortable. To distract myself while they find my stuff I go for a wander through the aisles. I could use some new lip balm. A sales assistant sidles up beside me and asks me how I am. ‘Awesome,’ I respond.

She looks at me and I smile.

‘Ok,’ I add. ‘Not awesome, but I’m doing okay. Thanks for asking.’

And then she does it. She hits me with the big New Age Shiny Unicorn.

‘Your problem? It’s a mental thing,’ she says. ‘You created it and you’re in charge. Just use some positive affirmations and you can turn it all around. You’ll be feeling better in no time.’ She attempts to lead me towards a helpful display of positive thinking books and Louise Hay affirmation cards.

I had to seriously reign in my violent thoughts.

‘Actually,’ I say, ‘it’s not a mental thing. I’m in pain. A lot of pain. I’m quite unwell. I’m happy, and I have a great life and a lot of gratitude and a good attitude, but I also have pain. No amount of positive affirmations are going to fix that right now.’

She tries again, beaming at me. ‘Oh, come on. You won’t know if you don’t try! You’re a master manifestor who is just doing it wrong. What else is possible? How could you create a happier day?’

I’m sure I’ve wet my pants. I think I can feel urine trickling into my shoe. My skin feels like insects are biting me. I excuse myself and go back to the front counter.

After I’ve paid for my supplements I have a quiet word with the manager about her overly-cheerful staff member and explain the conversation I’ve just endured. The manager has the good grace to look horrified and we agree that some staff training might be appropriate.

Rant over. If you don’t know what the problem is here then refer to this blog post.

Hugs and love, cranky Nicole who is actually still mostly happy and with a good attitude xx

It Had To Happen…

Image by Kristy Lynn

Image by Kristy Lynn

“The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.”
― Aleister Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4

 

Just read back over this before I posted and thought I might insert this small disclaimer: Oops, cranky alert… Also, minor potty mouth.

I’m all for magical thinking, and (as you’ve probably worked out!) as a practicing psychic and metaphysical teacher (yes, that’s what I do for a living) I’m totally open to thoughts, emotions and beliefs helping or hindering our healing process. In fact I’ve had some incredible health breakthroughs using mind-body medicine, and in facing and working through my own paradigm.

But you know what? I’m also a cheerleader for….

wait for it….

SCIENCE.

Yep. Science rocks. I respect the science that stands behind modern medicine, and many of the traditional healing therapies. Medically speaking, science has saved my life on more than one occasion. I believe that science and medicine can be a spiritual life path or calling. I also believe that it is not a cop out for me, a magical thinking kind of person, to use modern medicine and science in my own wellness journey.

So, please, crazy people, stop messaging me in response to my post yesterday to tell me that my current bladder incontinence is simply a manifestation of me being ‘pissed off’ and ‘anxious’. Don’t quote me any more passages of Louise Hay’s ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. Spare me the messages that tell me one session of past-life regression to resolve all the bad karmic shit I did in previous lifetimes will miraculously cure me (or anyone else) of all my physical and any other ills.

First of all, don’t you reckon that over the last thirty years, and given my background in spirituality and metaphysics, that I haven’t already explored all of this stuff? I have. And some of it has been really useful.

Secondly, cause and effect. Do you remember that stuff from science at school? I am suffering neurological incontinence right now as a direct result of medication, and its effect on my body and the disease that the medication is treating.

When I stop the medication, the incontinence goes away…

(But I may be a bit pissed off now anyway, actually, given some of the crazy-pants simplistic-thinking messages you’ve been sending.)

Also, stop with the guilt thing. I’m fortunate that I don’t buy into your arguments. But please, stop berating my friends and fellow illness-sufferers with all of this poorly-informed rubbish about them being responsible for their illness, or that their thinking or stupid dietary choices (ie not vegan, or eating of non-organic, or gluten, dairy, sugar, not prayed over, possible GMO soy choices) caused their cancer/car accident/marriage breakup/congenital heart defect/gay child/lyme disease/miscarriage/sudden hospitalisation after ruptured appendix. I’m totally bowled over by this judgemental and mean nonsense. What happened to kindness? What happened to good old-fashioned common sense?

Humans are complex beings. Incredibly so.

We are fortunate to live in an era where science and metaphysics are aligning, and where we have a wide array of healing methods and tools at our disposal. There is not a one-cure-fits-all cure for anything. Ask any healer – western, eastern, metaphysical, scientific or otherwise. If they are honest they will tell you that the treatment that cured someone will have also failed to cure another with the same malady.

Did I mention that we are complex and bio-diverse?

Lastly, in response to the ‘new age leader’ who emailed me to say that I am a disgrace to the movement for even using modern medicine at all, and setting such a poor example to others. Sorry, but WTF? When someone I know suffered a horrific injury with a chainsaw do you think I should have stood over them waving my crystals and chanting positive affirmations? What healed them was an incredibly skilful and careful surgeon who took three hours to irrigate their wound before using microsurgery to stitch them up, restoring full limb function. Modern drugs – a truckload of antibiotics, was another useful tool in that healing mix.

Pilates, rather than positive thinking, fixed one friend’s bladder weakness and leakage. Another friend found her cure through an excellent physiotherapist.

I’m always open to new ideas, treatments, and modalities.

But I am not open to your lack of open-mindedness.

Engage brains, people. They are one of the most magical-thinking, cosmically-cool healing tools you have.

I pray that if you are ever unfortunate enough to experience a chronic illness, injury, accident or awful life circumstance that the people who reach out to you do so with kindness and wisdom rather than judgement.

Rant over.

Image from pinterest

Image from pinterest

PS: I wrote another post on this same topic some time back. You may find it useful:

Sad Unicorns OR Is Your New Age Thinking Positively Unhelpful?

Measuring Progress

“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” 
~ C.S. Lewis

 

I spent the morning with my Lyme doctor yesterday. It’s been over a year since I embarked on a strict regime of diet, supplements, herbs and industrial quantities of various drug combinations. On top of my pre-existing meditation and alternate therapy practices that have kept me alive and functioning thus far, defying conventional prognosis.

Yesterday was all about evaluating my progress this past year, and determining our next course of action.

I went to my appointment armed with a list of symptoms: those which had improved, those which had worsened, new symptoms and those which have resolved and gone away. My list was only slightly shorter than War and Peace.

Image from Claire in London

Image from Claire in London

So, how did I go?

I can’t actually tell you yet.

I have a fistful of blood work tests that need to be done. I have to pee in a jar and poop in a cup.

I have to make appointments for a brain MRI, ultrasounds and scans of various organs and body parts. There is every kind of test for my heart.

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And in the meantime I shall be drug and herb free. Two glorious weeks without this punishing regime of horrors. I feel like a kid at the beginning of summer vacation, with all those beautiful clear days stretched out ahead of me.

Once my results are in, we’ll formulate a new treatment plan, my doctors, alternate therapy practitioners and I.

I am looking forward to comparing where I am now with the results of previous tests and scans. I am hoping for good progress.

In the past thirty years, while I have dealt with declining health, often the only way to evaluate my progress or response to various healing agents was how I felt. I know lots of people who use that technique for evaluating their progress with Lyme treatments. And I think that is valid to some extent. If you feel better, you must BE better, right? And if you feel worse…

Truth is, I have felt WORSE, sometimes much worse, over the course of the previous year, as I have knuckled down and followed this healing path.

And I have had many times in my life where I have experienced a lessening of symptoms, or an upward swing for a while. When you live with chronic illness any kind of better day or improvement in energy and function, even if that improvement is marginal, seems like a really BIG thing.

But until last year, few of my improvements have ever lasted. And scientific evaluation of my condition over time, using evidence based medicine, prove that prior to 2013 I continued to deteriorate. Although, in my defense, I have stubbornly refused to die, even if that was my expected trajectory! 🙂

So, I welcome this next barrage of tests. I welcome being able to use the best that science and modern medicine can give me. I want to be able to critically evaluate what’s working, what isn’t, and working out from there where we go next. Yes, I am the psychic who embraces quantifiable results and proof of change!

I am hoping for measurable improvement. I’ll keep you posted as to how I go.

Image from Chronicles of Illusions

Image from Chronicles of Illusions

PS 🙂 Thank you to everyone who has contacted me with advice and suggestions.   Some of your ideas and treatments have been happily embraced by myself and my very open-minded doctors. An especially big thank you to all the lymies who have given me tips on coping with herxing or who have suggested alternate therapies, herbs, essential oils and so on to compliment my current drug regime.

Thank you to my friends and readers. Your healing energies, prayers, letters and words of encouragement have meant the world to me, and have kept me going through the darkest of times.

 

And for all if the people who have contacted me with suggestions about changing my obviously-flawed thinking which caused my disease (Dude, get with the 21st century – they are actually called pathogens and you can see them under a microscope!) , repenting of sins, God’s cursing of psychics, past life regressions as THE definitive treatment, multi-level marketing product miracle cures accompanied by pages of written testimonials about people feeling better, and stories of people who have cured their Lyme disease with a crystal, drinking their own urine (I went there already and it didn’t work!) thirty-day water fast (tried that too), psychic surgery,  amazing technological device or  a simple solution of bi-carb soda or other common household product, thank you. I’m always opening to expanding my knowledge and trying new things. However… If you can claim a cause or cure, I would appreciate your evidence and long-term results to back this up.

Sad Unicorns OR Is your New-Age Thinking Positively Unhelpful?

Sad Unicorn by theGREENER on flickr

Sad Unicorn by theGREENER on flickr

“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.” 
~ Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ~ Jim Morrison, The Doors

*Warning – The following post is not all puppies, rainbows and unicorns…

1uni

If you are a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I’m all for cultivating an optimistic outlook, for practicing gratitude, kindness and counting blessings. I also believe that thoughts are things, and that what we focus on and attach strong emotion to tends to manifest in our lives. Positive thinking and self-love bring many benefits.

So what I’m going to say next might sound like a contradiction, or even come as a shock…

I think that some of this Positive-Thinking Law-of-Attraction stuff is getting dangerously out of hand!

Emotions just are. They are human and useful, and part of the scenery as we journey through life.  No point in being too attached to them – they change all the time, based on how much sleep we’ve had, our current health and relationship status and a myriad of other factors.  Emotions are mostly transient, but haven’t you noticed that there is a big push lately for us to be enlightened enough to somehow stay happy and calm and in a permanent space of unconditional love, which we then beam out from us to others to help them feel happy, calm and loved too?

This same train of thought suggests that all those ‘lesser’ emotions, those ‘negative’ ones, are there merely for us to transcend, and it is a sign of our awareness (and for some, spiritual superiority!) to no longer entertain negative thoughts or emotions in any situation.

'Angel Melodies' by Josephine Wall

‘Angel Melodies’ by Josephine Wall

I disagree! It is NORMAL as a human to experience anger, pain, sadness, depression, guilt, shame, fear and regret at different times.  It is APPROPRIATE to feel these emotions in response to certain situations. I also believe that it is unrealistic in these circumstances to expect ourselves to easily and readily ‘snap out of it’ and be all Love and Light.

There is also a New-Age belief that by feeling negative emotions or thinking negative thoughts we are then creating further negative energy in our lives.

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You’re thinking people, so I’ll ask you to draw your own conclusions about the following scenarios:

A beautiful young woman rang me yesterday, utterly distraught.  She has a four-year-old son, and an eight-month-old daughter, whom she is still breast feeding.  Both children were conceived through IVF, and shortly after she became pregnant with her daughter, this woman’s husband of ten years left her, and began a new relationship.

She and everyone else had thought it was a happy marriage. It was a complete shock. One day he was beside her and the next he was gone. Her husband had tied up most of his assets in protected structures, and there was no money available.  A protracted battle was entered into. The man has told his ex-wife that he wants nothing to do with her or their children (he has never seen his daughter, and has had no contact with his son since he walked out) and he says he will let the courts decide what minimum he has to pay toward their upkeep. The young mum ended up moving back in with her parents as she had no income of her own, her health was poor and she was completely devastated by the unexpected end of her marriage.

Of course this has been a stressful time for this young woman.  Her husband deserted her, she went through a difficult pregnancy entirely without him, and she was anxious about the future of her little family. On top of that she had ongoing problems with a hot, sore breast during pregnancy and, later, severe mastitis.  No matter what she tried it just didn’t get any better, and she consulted several nurses and doctors.  Finally one of them sent her for some tests.  She was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, so advanced that there are no treatment options available.  All they can do is provide palliative care. She has weeks left.

And here’s the saddest part.  In a desperate attempt to prolong her life this woman went to a respected doctor who is also an alternative medicine practitioner. One of the first things the doctor said, upon taking this woman’s recent medical and life history, was that the young woman’s anger and negative emotions towards her husband had most probably caused her cancer.

Really?

Can it be as simplistic as that? And if so, why isn’t everyone else going through great life upheaval and trauma suddenly manifesting life-terminating cancer for themselves?

So here I have this traumatised young mum sobbing into the phone, wracked with guilt that her recent pain, anger and depression have manifested a cancer that will now deprive her children of their mother.  Over and over she said to me, “I’m so sorry. I just don’t know how to fix it. I truly didn’t mean to do this.”

She wanted me to help her have a sparkly-clean mind, filled with love and rainbows and unicorns and hope.

Somehow, if she could get a mind like that, miraculously she would heal…

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Another friend has long suffered with serious depression.  It was brought about after an incident that would change anyone’s life; the death of her younger sister and brother in a car accident (not her fault! – they were slammed by a drunk driver at nine o’clock in the morning just outside their school) when she was a newly licensed driver. It left her with a legacy of physical pain and disfigurement too.  She has battled to get out of the hole, and truly it has been less than helpful when well-meaning friends and even health practitioners kept telling her to ‘get over it’, and that her happiness is a choice.

Their words implied that she was to blame for the place she was in, and she was left even more guilt-ridden and shamed over her inability to get unstuck. Truly, she was trying, but at that time she didn’t have the tools she needed to start turning things around. Every time she posted positive affirmations around the house, or repeated them endlessly, she felt more and more of a failure, as she measured the disparity between her current situation and where the affirmations told her she could be. Positive thinking made her feel even less worthy and deserving of help, change and even life itself.

This beautifully illustrated journey through depression from one of my favourite blogs, Hyperbole and a Half, explains this place so well:

Adventures in Depression

Eventually my friend found her way back to a place of balance. She is a counsellor, working with others, and her life has meaning again for her. There’s even laughter and happiness.  Sure, she still has hard days but we all do.  That’s life.

Life is a crucible that forges us through fire, and it is our trials and troubles which often truly enable us to grow and transform, more meaningfully and more lastingly, than any amount of positive thinking.

It belittles us, and it cheapens the human journey, to use trite phrases about positive thinking in the face of real struggle.  Life is wonderful, and at times heartbreakingly sad, hard and just plain awful. Sometimes we are helpless and powerless in the face of our own pain, or the suffering of another.

The magnificence is in finding something within us that enables us to keep going, even if we bumble and fumble and drag ourselves along, until we get from that place of darkness back into the light, forever changed.

Every decent book I ever read had a hero or heroine who faced disaster, betrayal and every other form of hardship. The way they travelled that difficult road is why we stuck around – so that we could be inspired, cheer them along, learn from them and eventually watch them grow into the sorts of people we desire to become ourselves.

There is a place for positive thinking, and for wanting to manifest our future by aligning ourselves with a vision of abundance that makes us feel good, and excited about what’s yet to unfold.

But there is also a place for experiencing the fullness of emotions created by being in the now. And sometimes that now will be paved with pain rather than rainbows.

The rainbows come later, after the rain. After you’ve ridden out the storm.

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