Heartbreakingly Wonderful News

“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” 
Elizabeth LesserBroken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

 

Would you be surprised if I told you of the bittersweet joy that is my healing journey?

I have experienced deteriorating health since 1984, when I was bitten by a tick during a picnic in Brisbane. For thirty years I have fought to obtain a diagnosis and effective treatment for this invisible illness which has slowly but surely stolen my life.

In January, 2013, I was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

Yesterday I went back to my Lyme doctor to investigate my progress, one year into our aggressive treatment plan which uses antibiotics, herbs and diet. One year on, both my doctor and I needed some kind of tangible evidence that this treatment plan was working.

Since my late teens, when I first became ill, I have tried so many things in my efforts to regain my health. Until last year I’d actually tried EVERYTHING I could think of except antibiotics.

EVERYTHING.

Natural therapies, complimentary therapies, medical specialists, psychology, hypnotherapy, past life regressions, chelation, ozone therapy, detoxing programs, every kind of diet, nutritional supplements, all kinds of machines and energy work, every network marketing product, spiritual healing, positive thinking, meditation, prayer…

Everything.

Three decades of my life, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ‘everything’.

Some of that ‘everything’ kept me alive.

Some of that ‘everything’ even gave me limited improvement for a time. But still, I ended up with lesions in my brain, cardiomyopathy, and on a fast track to my own imminent demise.

A year ago I was dying.

I had my affairs in order. I’d made my will.

At the end of 2012, life, as I knew it and lived it, had diminished to such an extent that I knew there was nothing left to sacrifice. Piece by piece, year by year, I have given up on things. On dreams. On hopes. On normal things. Simple wishes. I kept making choices based on a smaller and smaller view of the world.

I found clever ways to keep existing, and to be grateful for being alive, despite those limitations. I made choices, not based upon the wishes of my heart, but simply based upon what I might cope with, while still managing to shape this small world of mine with meaning. And I told myself that was okay.

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I kept up a running commentary in my head, in my meditations, even in my dreams. I would be okay. I would get through this somehow. All of this misery must be for some higher purpose. One day, I’d tell myself, as I desperately tried to cling to the tattered shreds of my life. One day I would make sure that my life truly did count for something. One day, I would find a way to heal. I hung on and would not let myself face the possibility that it might turn out otherwise. One day I would be well again, I told myself.

No matter how hard it was some days to believe that this could possibly be true…

And then I did find a way. Through a set of divinely synchronistic circumstances, a brave and clever doctor diagnosed me with Lyme. Another brave and clever doctor was prepared to take me on as a patient and treat me. I was prescribed truckloads of antibiotics. Ridiculous amounts that made me more horribly ill, even as they were supposed to be making me better. If I wasn’t herxing, I wasn’t healing, I was told.

It took all I had to hang in there with the treatment. I’m glad I did. Under the care of this kind and compassionate doctor I have made incredible progress.

I still have a long way to go. But the lesions in my brain? Gone. The cardiomyopathy? Resolving. In fact, my heart is on its way to being normal. Do you have any kind of idea how big of a deal that is?

My bloodwork has improved.

I can feel strength returning to my body.

My mind works again. I mean REALLY works. Works so that I can write. Works so that I can function.

I’m not independent yet. I have another two years of drugs ahead of me. I still can’t drive. I’m still in pain. I am still fatigued.

But I am healing. I am alive. And finally my horizons are expanding rather than contracting, after just one year of intensive antibiotic therapy on top of all the other good things I was already doing.

I should be overjoyed.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I am overjoyed. My husband is. My family are.This is the best of news.

It’s just that I am also so very achingly sad right now.

As I stood in the shower on Sunday, Mother’s Day, I cried. Because of Lyme I have miscarried five times. I shall never be a mother. Lyme took that from me, and so much more.

My husband gave up his career to care for me, and it is too late for him to get that career back. The career that was his passion, his pride, his life.

We have both missed out on family time, and time with friends. Our finances and future security have been impacted, and our resources dwindled in my pursuit of health. Over the years we have watched genuine caring doctors, willing to think outside the box for patients like me who had fallen through the cracks, be persecuted and closed down.

Because of Lyme I have given up career paths, education, business opportunities, dreams, relationships. I have said no to so many things. I have been unreliable in my life, and with those I love. I have endured the criticism, judgement and contempt of many, including health professionals, family and friends. I have been in bed, in a quiet dark room, or living small, while life moved on without me.

I will never get those years back. My husband will never get those years back.

I held my Lyme drugs in my hand this morning. A few tiny pills. Pills that are making me well. Pills that could also have given me a whole other life, if I had only taken them earlier. I have recently learned that my government was advised back in 1990 that Lyme disease existed in Australia, and that doctors needed to be educated to better deal with this new threat, which was expected to become more common.

lyme letter

Imagine, if I had been diagnosed back then, at a time when I was already so ill, when my family and I had already suffered so much.

I’m grateful for all that this disease has taught me. I’ve learned humility and compassion. I can honestly say that living with Lyme has grown and shaped me in positive ways. It has forced me to walk a spiritual path, and to explore that path with a dogged determination as I looked for answers.

But in the end, my answer came largely from modern medicine. Alternative medicine and my spiritual practices kept me alive, against all hope. Modern medicine is what is giving me my life back. Antibiotics, anti-microbials, anti-malarials. Tiny little pills.

All that misery, all that pain which my family and I might have been avoided if only I’d been diagnosed earlier and been given those tiny little pills.

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For all of you dealing with Lyme and its co-infections, I urge you not to give up. Healing is possible. I am healing. You can too. Something in the mix will work for you, as it has for me.

This bittersweet symphony that is life is still beautiful to me, and I am grateful beyond words to be given a way back to health.

I am also grateful with everything that I am for all of you who have encouraged and supported me, who have sent me messages and cards and gifts that were often the ONLY bright moment in the darkest of my days. You deserve credit too, for keeping me alive and helping me to hang in there. Thank you.

Yesterday as much as I celebrated this glorious victory, this incredible come-back in the fight to become well, I mourned my losses, and grieved the life I gave up on the way to becoming who I am. I know that there is more loss there yet to be acknowledged. I know that grief can tap me on the shoulder, and cut me off at the knees when I least expect it. That’s okay. It’s part of my healing process too.

Today I am stepping forward with optimism, and renewed purpose. My life matters. I am here for a reason. In stripping so much of my life away I have come to know my core, my essence, and I know this next part of my journey is to embrace that fully.

I love that I am healing. I love that there is still time for me, and that I will be well enough to use that time to a greater purpose.

My progress is heartbreakingly wonderful news.

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Some useful links:

Lyme Disease Association of Australia

Karl McManus Foundation Australia

Lyme Disease Association, Inc United States

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

Eating the Sun Meditation

Malcolm Jagamara - "Inapaku dreaming"

Malcolm Jagamara – “Inapaku dreaming”

“The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious–the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ~ Albert Einstein

The next installment of my Kimberley Story

One of the most nurturing and empowering meditations I know is the practice I call ‘Eating the Sun’. I use it for energetic cleansing. I use it for physical healing. I use it for emotional and spiritual healing. I use it to recharge my batteries. I use it when I’m burdened and my soul aches.

It was taught to me during my time in the Kimberley by Little Auntie, with some help from Grandmother. Although it is a powerful practice it was many years before I came to appreciate just how powerful it is.

One time Little Auntie and Grandmother came to visit, waiting in the shade while their old truck was repaired by the Aboriginal stockman and our station mechanic. Their truck was always in need of repair, and the stockman was part of their extended family so they often stopped by.

I was inside on the phone, talking with a family member who was going through a very hard time back on the other side of the country. It was painful, being separated by so much distance, not being close enough to give them a hug or to play a bigger part in their lives. It made me miserably homesick.

When I came and said hello to the two old aboriginal ladies, Little Auntie took my hand in her thin bony ones and closed her eyes for a minute. As she did she made a strange humming sound. When she finally let my hand go she beckoned me to follow her.

Grandmother came with us, translating Little Auntie’s muttered greeting. “Big time sad you are. Dis no good. Heavy, heavy. Dis sadness you take him from dem other fellas. Take it in your own skin. Make dem feel better. But it sit in your body, make you sick. Little Auntie show you proper good medicine fix you up.”

Grandmother held my sweaty hand in her cool, dry one and we walked behind the diminutive figure of Little Auntie as she led us out into the paddock until we were standing under the blazing sun.

The tiny Elder motioned for me to take my boots off. And then she guided me with her hands until I was faced directly into the sun. Her leathery hand reached up, gentle as a feather, and closed my eyes, tilting my head until the heat and light penetrated my closed lids.

Image from Miraja

Image from Miraja

We stood silent for a minute. I became aware of the sun, there beyond my closed eyes. I could see it as a ball of light. The colours blazed behind my lids as a swirling mandala of reds, purples and orange. It was beautiful.

Little Auntie began to speak in her whispery-thin voice, with Grandmother translating.

“Let that sun fill you up. Feel it on your face. Feel her power come in you.”

I stood there and surrendered to the Light. As I did my body sagged with relaxation.

“Under your feet is country. Country your mother too. Get strong wid your feet. Get dat strong connection to country. Feel it like dem big roots of a tree going down down, long way into the ground.”

Image from Heiko Gartner

Image from Heiko Gartner

I did that, and slowly I began to become calm and centred.

“Now open your mouth. Eat up dat sunshine. Swallow it down into your belly. Let it burn up all dat sadness. Let dat energy fill you up till no more can get in.”

It sounded silly. Eating the sun.

I stood there with my eyes closed but I couldn’t understand how to eat energy.

Someone lightly smacked my arm. Little Aunty chastised me in a way that needed no translation. Self consciously I opened my mouth and found that I literally could eat the sun. I could feel that golden light as I swallowed it down.

She made a small self-satisfied noise as I kept eating up that sunshine.

“Now breathe out all dat sadness, all dat dark and sick place inside you. Breathe it all out and fill up with plenty more sun. Don’t you worry. Country, she take dat bad energy from you and soak it all up. Heal you and make you strong from two mothers, Mother Earth and dat good Sun.”

I breathed out, visualising wispy grey smoke leaving my body to be absorbed into the earth. The heaviness left my heart and I felt stronger and more peaceful.

Image by Justin Maes

Image by Justin Maes

“Remember say thank you!”

I offered up a heartfelt prayer of thanks.

Later, we came back to the station and drank sweet tea and ate some of Cookie’s homemade cake.

Grandmother smiled and patted my arm kindly. “We aboriginal women, we can heal dis in you. You dat ting. You can heal dis in others. Use your hands. Use your heart. Take dat pain or bad feeling or sickness and put it in your own body. But you gotta know how to clear yourself. How to heal yourself and get dat good energy back. So eat dat sun. Now you know how, eat dat sun, okay? It’s plenty good medicine.”

And she was right.

It’s a simple meditation. Here’s a summary for you:

  1. Face in the direction of the sun. Even on a cloudy day this still works. With closed eyes you can tune in very strongly. You don’t even need to be outside. You could face a window in direct light. But if you can, stand on the earth with the open sky above you.
  2. Root your feet deep into the earth. Truly feel that strong and supportive connection with country. Be barefoot if you can, but be practical too.
  3. Drink in the sunlight, drawing it deep down into your belly. Fill your whole body with light. Send the light to the places in your body that need extra healing or energy.
  4. Breathe out illness, sadness, negativity and despair. Surrender that wordless heavy energy. Give it all up via your breath, knowing that the earth will absorb and transmute this.
  5. Fill yourself up with more light, as well as sending it to specific places on the planet, or to others, if this feels right.
  6. In your own way, give thanks for this gift of energy and healing.

You can do this meditation daily, many times a day or just when you need it. And perhaps from time to time, as you eat the sun, think of Little Auntie and how an old Aboriginal woman you’ve never met, from one of the most remote parts of Australia, has gifted you something good and true.

Wishing you joy and peace in your life today.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

Dancers from the Yarrabah community perform during the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in Laura, Australia Picture: GETTY

Dancers from the Yarrabah community perform during the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in Laura, Australia    Picture: GETTY

Writing as a Manifestation Tool

Image from collegelifestyles.com

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. ~ John 1:1

Words have power. Whether they are thought, spoken or written down, there is a great energy to words, and over the next six Mondays we are going to focus on ways to harness this power through journal writing, so that we can bring the energy of positive change into our lives.

No matter if you believe in God, Universal Energy, the power of the mind, synchronicity, the Muse, yourself or humanity – I’m going to show you how to work with those beliefs, and with words, to create transformation. You’ll gain clarity, and begin attracting the help, guidance and information you need to move closer to your own idea of a better life.

The Law of Attraction

There has been so much talk about the Law of Attraction, but many people struggle to understand what it is, how it works, or if it’s even real.

Here’s my simple take on it. The Universe is one of vibration, where like attracts like, where a thought attracts its match. It works like this: the clearer the thought, and the more powerful the emotion attached to that thought (positive or negative), the faster you attract that thing/situation/person into your life. I know that it is real because I have experienced it for myself, and you’ll discover that it is too if you keep working with me over the next few weeks.

So these activities focus on writing as a manifestation tool, but you’ll find they will also start strengthening your intuitive abilities and sensitivities.  It’s a natural result of becoming more aware of the energies in the world around you.

Journal Activity:

Begin by watching this two  minute clip to help to put you into a more positive vibration (which is a great starting point for manifestation):

Now, over the next week use the following journal starters and write as much or as little as feels right for you.  Begin by transcribing these words (the ones in coloured ink) into your journal. Then choose a journal starter that resonates for you and let the words flow.  You can use the same journal starter more than once if it really resonates for you.  Write from the heart, and be focused on SOLUTIONS rather than problems.  You don’t need to know the answer, you just need to know that you want one!

We need to get that jumble in your head out and onto the page.  The real work has already begun, even if it feels messy.  In fact that’s how it is supposed to feel.  Pour it all out onto the page, and enjoy the relief once it’s out there…

Dear Universe, 

There are things in my life that I would appreciate some help or guidance with right now. I know some of these can be quickly sorted, and some may take more time. I am open to however this works.

I don’t know what the answers are, or even how to start, but I am going to trust that there IS an answer, and that with your assistance I CAN find help. I trust that the best possible solution for me exists for the following situations:

  • I would love to find healing in my relationship with
  • I would love to attract into my life a person who could
  • It would be terrific if I didn’t have to __________ because then I could
  • An idea I’ve had in my head for a long time that I’d like to turn into a reality is
  • One thing that I’ve never been able to get sorted is _________ and it would mean so much to me to have some change here because then I could
  • The one thing I really need a teacher for is
  • The one thing I really need a healer for is
  • The one thing I really need a friend for is
  • The one gift I’d very much like to share with others is
  • It’s terrifying, but if I could only
  • I know I’m not good at _______ but it has to get done.  Somewhere out there is some one who is good at ______________ and if I could find them and have them do this with me, or even for me, it would free me up to
  • One belief inside me that is really holding me back is______________.  If I could get some help to overcome this I would be able to
  • If I could find some forgiveness for ___________ then I’d be able to
  • I have this half-formed crazy idea inside me, and I need help to get clarity around it so that I can
  • The one thing that would really change my life right now in the simplest of ways is
  • I’d love to have more friends who were also interested in
  • I’m so lost that I have NO CLUE.  What I’d appreciate is some direction so that
This week, look for evidence of help. Stay open, and have an attitude of curiosity. Help might come in the form of a show on TV, a blog post, a book that jumps out at you, a flyer in your letterbox, a suggestion from a friend, or even a sudden knowing…
Much love to you  ♥ ♥ ♥

Image from bigstock

Sometimes Your Only Job is to Ask for Help

Image from lingualift.com

Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem. ~ Virginia Satir

I have a friend going through a tough time right now. For her everything seems to be going wrong. There are substance abuse issues, and she thought by cleaning up and getting that out of the picture, somehow everything would be fixed.  But the addictions only masked pain, hidden traumas, and a deep inability to cope with problems from the past.

We all have our strengths, and we all have our breaking points.  What cripples me might be a walk in the park for you. Still, comparing ourselves to others never helps.

When you have gotten to a place in your life where something isn’t working, where nothing is working, where you feel backed into a corner, helpless, weak, angry, resentful, disempowered or worse – when your self esteem is through the floor and you just can’t think straight anymore…

YOUR ONLY JOB IS TO ASK FOR HELP

IF you could have fixed it, if you’d known what to do, you would have done it.  The pain you’re in is because you DON’T know how to help yourself.

That’s okay.

YOUR ONLY JOB IS TO ASK FOR HELP

There are so many wonderful people in the world who have trained specifically to help you with your problem. They may have even been in your shoes.

When you’re this far down, and you are just not coping, there is someone out there who will know what to do.  Reach out you hand.  Ask.

Whether it will be a quick fix, or something that takes time to sort out, you don’t need to know what the answer is, you only need to know that someone else will. Whatever you are going through, someone else has walked that road before you.  And one of them will have a map to get you out of there. In fact, it’s probably their calling.

One day, it might be yours.