A call to love

This is the face of innocence.

The face of bliss.

A mind deeply connected with spirit and as yet, unprogrammed and undisturbed.

This is the face of my grand-daughter, Wren.

Once we were all like this. We came in, still deeply connected to spirit, innocent, pure, demanding love and nurture as our birthright. Over time, our minds developed, and we absorbed firstly from our caregivers, an impression of the world and how it works, then from the environment around us. These impressions formed our brains, creating neural connections that defined how we continued to perceive and experience the world. Some of us learned the world was safe and supportive, others of us learned fear, loss and disconnection as our reality.

We learned to give names to things, accepting what we learnt as true.

We learned about needs being met, or not. About safe arms, soft kisses, gentle touch. Or not.

We learned fear. We learned disconnection. We learned about lack. About not being enough. Not having enough. We learned to conform.

Gradually our sense of awe and wonder and excitement dissipated as new became commonplace and everything was objectified. Playdough was no longer an exciting textural material to be explored, touched and moulded, thrown, squashed, squished or licked. It became ordinary, disdained. We moved on to bigger, better.

We began to forget how to play and explore with all our senses. Our sense of self became closely entwined with and even dependent on others sense of self, and we learned that we weren’t really free to be ourselves, that other people, bigger, more important people had expectations of us that we needed to conform to if we wanted to be loved and accepted and nurtured.

We absorbed this by osmosis, not having the intellectual capacity to understand what was happening, how to stop it happening. Some hardy souls come into the world ready to fight for their individuality…these are the ones with labels in the classrooms and in the community. “Difficult”, “oppositional”, “learning disordered” this world historically has not been kind to those who don’t conform. Especially as children.

Welcome to planet earth baby.

This is what happens to all of us. In particular, none of us escape learning fear. We are all trained into a particular way of thinking by our family, cultural and geographical environments. We cannot avoid it. Much of human thinking is conditioned, unconscious, unquestioned and biased. The deep spiritual journey is a process of unlearning and returning to that state of bliss – a silent mind deeply connected to universal Divine wisdom.

A mind like Wren’s. The little ones have much to teach us if we will only look to them as teachers.

If I stopped here, it would be deeply depressing. We would fear for the little ones future. Wonder what is the point? Do we come here to suffer and then die?

There was a time when I wondered if life was meaningless, just a series of events that unfolded by cause and effect interspersed with random occurrences I had no control over. I felt like the victim of an often unsupportive and unfriendly universe. My mid-life epiphany changed everything.

The universe we live in is awe-inspiring, stunning and incomprehensible in its complexity, designed to support life and expansion. This planet earth is beautiful. Again, impeccably designed to support life, incomprehensible in its complexity and connectiveness, full of life and energy and potential and opportunity. An incredible classroom for growth and learning. But remember, what we feed, grows.

I have realised that the energetic foundation of our universe and planet is love, joy and peace. This is the goldmine of riches that humanity is sitting on. Largely unaware. This is the tragedy of humanity. That we are so lost in thought, lost in our minds that we cannot tune into the beautiful energetic foundations of the universe we are part of. The collective consciousness of humanity has created an energetic blanket of fear, wanting, competition, lack, greed and busyness and that is what most of the population are unwittingly tuned in to. Most are unaware that there is even anything else.

This world can be a joyful playground, full of constant unfolding delight. A wondrous love-filled experience, even loss and death losing its sting. It can be full of peace and full of potential. It all depends on our minds perceptions. We can return to bliss no matter what our age if we are willing to let go and unlearn.

If you can enter into meditation, leaving behind the little monkey mind that has a narrative for everything, you can swim in a sea of love and joy and peace. You can feel the edges of “you” fade away until you merge with everything around you, realising, feeling you are one with Life, which is God. No beginning, no ending.

You are life, endless, eternal life.

From that perspective, this current life ceases to be burdensome. It is understood to be simply a small part of a much larger journey that never ends. We hold physical life lightly because we know we are Life, experiencing life. A constant flow of movement and energy. We no longer get stuck and heavy. We can return to this. We can help to keep our children connected to the knowing.

If humanity could just choose love or peace or joy, or all three as the preferred state of consciousness, we could transform the world rapidly. The potential is there. We are sitting on it. It is waiting for us to choose.

Can we choose love?

Can you imagine living in a world where everyone chose love as their operating mode? We could be living in paradise on earth instead of the fearful consciousness we have now. This is the future I want for my grand-daughter. We can all play a part to shift the consciousness. We just need to choose to act from love.

My grand-daughter, your innocence and purity has broken our hearts open to deeper expressions of love. You are surrounded by love, and our pledge to you is that we will do what we can to make your earth journey as loving and beautiful as we can. You are fortunate, my grand-daughter, because you have parents that love you and are sensitive to your needs. You are surrounded by grand-parents, aunts, uncles, family friends who love you. We will encourage you to be authentically you, play with you and encourage your sense of wonder and awe to stay as long as possible.

Welcome to planet earth baby.

Everything has changed…again

It is two years today, 16th December, since I posted the first blog. Two years of intense, almost unbelievable change. Not just personally, but also globally. When I set this blog up in December 2019, I had no idea that the world and life as I knew it was going to change so drastically. No idea that both a virus pandemic and a pandemic of fear would within a month, engulf the world. Fortunately, we are only required to live one day at a time. Knowing what lay ahead would have weakened the knees of even the most hardy of souls.

There is an enormous energetic shift happening in the world, of which Covid-19 has been a significant catalyst. The energetic shift is from humanity living in fear in all its forms to living from a place of love. The old energies, which are responsible for the raping and pillaging of the earth, corruption, greed, racism, wars materialism, and other ugliness, are being exposed at every level, hence the world appears to be in chaos. Some of the old energies are not going to die easily, and those who have profited the most are not going to relinquish their position without a fight. It can appear that the world and its inhabitants are heading for hell in a hand basket.

I don’t believe so.

While the old energies are making a lot of noise, there is at the same time quietly happening, a rapidly rising global consciousness. People are waking up at a rapid rate and standing up for truth and morality and community and love. Many are hearing the call to active service and are taking a leap of faith way out of their comfort zones to stand up and trust that when they live according to their truth, the Universe/God will support them. This uprising seems to me to be of a largely feminine energy. Many women around me are hearing the call as well. This makes sense as the male energy has been prevalent for a very, very long time, and because it hasn’t been balanced by the feminine energy, it has resulted in the problems in the world today. This is not male blaming, to do that is to completely mis-understand what this is all about. We all have within us both male and female energies whatever our physical sex is. The best expressions of a human being is a balance of both energies. Neither is better than the other, both have their shadow sides. Men are also being called, given opportunities to heal their wounds and discover the gentler qualities within them of compassion, self-love, kindness, tenderness. These men are also standing tall within their own truth, holding their balanced energies to help the change. The old energies damaged men as well as women.

So what am I currently doing? It is past time for an update.

I am busy planning a future. A future in which I can in a tiny way be of service to humanity by sharing what I have learned. I have heard the call. One of the underlying driving forces for me over the last fifteen years has been a shift from living with fear to living in a continuous state of peace and love. This seems to fit in well with the current need of the world. I think I can be of help in some way. Surely other people want to live in love and effortless happiness no matter what is happening to or around them?

I believed it was possible to live in an effortless and continuous state of peace and love.

Now I KNOW it is possible and sustainable because I have been living in that state for over 5 years now, and the peace, love and joy just keep getting deeper and deeper and fear has mostly completely gone.

There are going to be some changes with this blog. I am going to return to its roots: fear free cancer. I have used this platform more often than not to talk about experiences in my spiritual journey rather than about cancer. This is because spiritual growth has always been of primary importance to me, and a large part of my healing journey. The cancer has been of secondary importance. It is relatively incidental to me as I have always viewed it as just a vehicle for growth. Most people find this inconceivable, because a cancer diagnosis usually triggers a lot of fear, and if a person isn’t aware, it can become their identity. “A cancer victim”. I have never considered myself even for a minute, to be a cancer victim. I cannot stand that phrase.

From now on, as the focus of this blog returns to cancer as the pivotal discussion point, I will talk about spirituality in direct relation to how it impacts on cancer and healing rather than as the main topic. I will be creating another blog called “croakings of a dying crone” in which I will share my philosophies for life and death and the small wisdoms I have learned over my lifetime. At this stage, this is what it will be called. I was writing a book by the same name which organically morphed into being called “Terminally Happy”, but the name ‘croakings of a dying crone” amuses me and it seems appropriate, however I need to set that blog up very quickly as I am no longer dying. More about that in a moment. If anyone wants to give some feedback about the name for the new blog, feel free. I may listen, or not. I’m not 100% committed yet to the name.

As I said earlier, the last fifteen years of my life have been based on learning how to move out of fear into love. In the last two years we can all see the world has descended into fear. A literal pandemic of fear that is not abating. Recently, within two days of a doctor in South Africa identifying the new strain Omricon and the possibility that vaccines may not be effective against it, borders started closing and fear escalated. A week later, she was saying there is an over-reaction and it isn’t as bad as first appeared, She hadn’t anticipated the hysteria that would result from her reporting the new strain. She is asking why? Why the fearful response before science even had a chance to establish more facts?. This is just one indicator of how fearful humanity is. An expert makes a comment and the world reacts in fear.

Now, if there is one thing I know, it is how to get out of fear, anxiety and stress into living peacefully no matter what is happening around me or even within my body. It is time for me to step up and share what I know in a more planned and public way.

I am now ready.

The last two weeks have brought major epiphanies for me during which time old and fearful sub-conscious beliefs that still held control have fallen away. Every day, more fall away. There is a constant shedding of old stories that no longer serve me and have continued to keep me stuck and silent. My body and my mind just keep feeling lighter and lighter. The energy blocks which kept me sick are moving and my body is healing.

I know this with every fibre of my being. Mind, body and spirit.

MY BODY IS HEALING

In my blog titled “Everything is changing” I talked about being in hospital in June, an epiphany then, and living in a state of bliss. This lasted for a month, during which I wrote the majority of the book Terminally Happy, and then the bliss left me. That was difficult to deal with. I went rather abruptly from a state where everything was effortless, a state of high energy, no pain, flowing creativity, overflowing love and joy with a mind that didn’t interfere and everything fell into place spontaneously: back to my normal state of life. Physical discomfort, peaceful calmness, an interfering mind and much less energy. An enormously dulled down version of what I had experienced in the blissful state.

It was very disappointing and I wanted the Bliss back. I knew I couldn’t make it happen.

What it did leave me with however, was the awareness of just how unconsciously I still lived, how much my mind interfered, and the reminder that the state of Bliss is what living in alignment with your spirit/ The Divine is like. Even though I live in peace, joy and love almost all the time, this state was that on steroids.

This happened around the end of July. I endeavoured to be more conscious. I noticed my mind would decide it couldn’t be bothered doing something in a split second and at a sub-conscious level so I didn’t even realise it was happening, and then it was an effort to do the task required. When in the state of Bliss, my mind was largely silent and there was no resistance. Anything that needed to be done appeared before me and I effortlessly did it. Now I had to push against a resistant mind that endorsed procrastination without the thought even consciously forming. As always, awareness is the key. Once a sub-conscious program is brought to consciousness, it has lost it’s power to control.

Even though I had the epiphany in hospital in June that my body was healing ,I still did not trust and I slowly fell back into the old narrative of sickness as I began to have pain and discomfort again. I would often remind myself that I had been told I was healing, but I lacked conviction. I didn’t really trust what I had been told in the epiphany. My health kept deteriorating and I began to have tingling in my arms. I knew what this meant. A tumour high on my spine (my entire spine from the neck to my pelvis has cancer on it), was beginning to impact on my spinal cord. I was going to be paralysed from the neck down in the not too distant future. It was not something I had consciously considered before and I had to sit with it. I realised that I was genuinely OK about it. If that was part of my spiritual journey, then so be it. I would be able to deal with it. At the same time, this is now the beginning of October, I began to feel intuitively that my body was healing even though all physical signs appeared to demonstrate the opposite. My intuition and my physical reality appeared to be contradictory and I would waver between the two.

I was trying to go deeply into transcendental meditation and was in a daily routine of meditation, prayer and energy work. But I still couldn’t seem to break through. I was still stuck and I felt time was running out. I needed to finish the book before I was paralysed and life became much more difficult. I also knew there is a limit to how much cancer my body could live with before it could no longer sustain physical life. I needed to have a breakthrough.

I was beginning to struggle with pain again. I was on methadone which gave 24/7 coverage as well as dexamethasone, but sometimes the pain would come through, and I had difficulty getting on top of it. I had Fentanyl for this which is 100 times stronger than the morphine I used to be on. But it now wasn’t being that effective.

Then I had a “near anaphylactic” reaction to the Fentanyl. It came on quickly and unexpectedly after using Fentanyl with no problem, and as I felt as though my life energy was draining away from me, I wondered if this was what it felt like to actually die. I was struggling to breathe and had enormous pressure in my head and chest, my throat was tingling, my face sweating but my hands freezing. There was a moment of anxiety then indignation that I could die at this point when I believed my body was beginning to heal. I was debating to call an ambulance then decided to sit with it and see if it got worse. (I absolutely do not encourage anyone else to do this unless they are connected with and following their intuition. An anaphylactic reaction is life-threatening. Call an ambulance.) The symptoms began to fade after 10 minutes until all I was left with was breathlessness and an extremely blocked nose. I spoke to the community palliative nurses who are on call 24/7 and they agreed that it was clearly an adverse potentially anaphylactic reaction to the Fentanyl since it happened 10 minutes after I had taken the medication. They advised me to go to the Emergency Dept if my breathlessness continued, and to rest. Another 30 minutes and the breathlessness and blocked nose cleared abruptly and I felt fine. I went out on a short bush walk in a nearby forest with my partner. If you don’t buy deeply into a story, a situation comes and goes and leaves no negative impact.

I saw my palliative specialist the next day, but what happened was that I was now left with very few options for breakthrough pain relief. I had gone through most of them and ended up reacting to them all. This was the second near anaphylactic reaction I had from pain medication. My specialist had one more option to try, but it was decided it would be safer for me to be in the palliative care ward under medical supervision when it was first administered in case I had a bad reaction. Unfortunately there was a waiting list for a bed and I couldn’t be admitted for a while.

I went home with no breakthrough pain relief. Instead of becoming anxious, I decided that meant my body didn’t need it. It hasn’t. My intuition kept telling me “your body is healing”. I was still only half believing.

Two weeks ago, I began a course called Quantum Affirmation Collapse which was generously gifted to me by the creator of the organisation Think and Grow. Through Divine planning (long story), he had chosen to work one on one with me free of charge to help me work through the sub conscious beliefs I still held. In our first session I told him that I knew I had a sub-conscious belief that was literally killing me and I needed to find out what it was as time was running out for me.

I completed four questions in one of the units of the course and a collapse of epic proportion happened.

My mind blew open. I could see I was still holding onto rigid religious beliefs from my past. They had kept me silent, trapped in fear, unable to trust my intuition and my personal experience of the Divine. They had been so deeply buried in my sub-conscious mind I didn’t realise they were still there. I thought I had released them years ago, but there are layers and layers to strong held beliefs.

I realised I was completely free now to trust and always had been but I hadn’t believed it. I was filled with joy.

I could trust my own experience of the Divine.

I could trust my ‘knowings’ and my intuition.

I absolutely knew this at the deepest level. The sub-conscious heavy belief let go. My body felt lighter. I had other realisations that came up and fell away and my body felt lighter and lighter. My being felt lighter. Energy that had been trapped for over forty years began to move.

I also realised that during the last three years since I entered the medical system, I had gradually bought into the story of sickness. I now understood on a very deep level as a ‘knowing’ it was only a story and it no longer served me. It was a story I no longer believed, and I let that go. I kept letting go, letting go, letting go as all these stories and beliefs that had kept me tied to the past, stuck and voiceless continued to rise to consciousness and fall away.

I knew my body was now healing. I believed it in every fibre of my being. I realised I could trust what I had always known, right from the beginning of this cancer journey fifteen years ago: I do not need to die of this cancer and it would be spiritual and emotional healing that would heal me. I knew this for fifteen years, but I didn’t trust what I knew. I couldn’t trust it because it did not match the deeply subconscious belief I held from childhood that there was only one way to know God and that was the way taught by the Church I grew up in. The Church did not believe in spiritual healing, or a personal relationship with God that differed from what they interpreted from the bible. Still holding that belief, on a deep level over the years meant I could never fully trust my own experiences.

It has taken me fifteen years to learn to trust myself and the Divine. Am I a slow learner? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I do not regret any part of this journey because it was taught me so much. It has changed me immeasurably and brought me to this place where I can now be of some help to a fearful and suffering world.

So this is where I am at now. It is over three weeks since my latest epiphany. I am walking better than I have for over 18 months, I have no pain, every day the stiffness and discomfort in my legs lessens. I am more energetic, my lung capacity has improved, I am breathing easier (my lungs were full of cancer). Some of the obvious tumours on my body are reducing in size, I believe the same is happening on the inside.

For the first time, I am planning a future. Doing what I love and what I believe my life purpose is: helping people to change their perspective, heal childhood wounds and shift from living with fear into living in love and peace. I will work with people who are terminally ill and afraid of dying and help ease their fear. People with cancer who need hope to believe in healing. I will help people to embrace the Divine in their own life in whatever form it takes for them that is meaningful so they too can experience the utter bliss of living in alignment with their soul. It may be through my books, my on-line presence or one-on-one. The details will unfold.

I continue to learn as each day I realise another truth about myself. I have realised that everyone’s journey through life is totally unique, the answers are within themselves and it is not up to me to convince anyone of anything or try to heal them. I can only share from my authentic personal experience and support them to follow their own path to healing.

There is healing into death, and healing into life. I am healing into life. It was almost healing into death, and that would have been ok too except I would not have had this wonderful opportunity to fulfil what I believe is my life purpose. It would have happened next life. By grace, I am healing into life.

I do not need my body to heal. It is better if it does, because living with a weary, painful body is an extra challenge. When I am well, I am full of energy and vibrancy. I prefer that. My body will heal because other people need it to. There will be people I work with who will need my body to heal to give them hope and strength. It is a powerful story to heal from cancer after 15 years. A body that has cancer in so many places. A body that has been diagnosed as “terminal ” for three years. A body that Medicine believes should have died a long time ago. A body that is not taking any treatment either pharmaceutical or “alternative” to make it heal. A spontaneous healing. There have been many before me, there will be many after me, but often their stories aren’t heard as the fear full story of cancer continues to be circulated by Medicine and the pharmaceuticals continue to spend millions and millions on research that actually hasn’t changed the death rate for cancer except in a very few instances.

I will endeavour to make my voice heard.

The answer lies in utilising the power of the mind/body/spirit connection. In connecting to the powerhouse which is our spirit.

A crucial part is letting go of fear. Old stories based in fear that keep us stuck.

Watch this space. I will keep you posted.

Life is wonderful.

everything has changed…

Everything has changed.

Two weeks ago I went into the local palliative care unit for symptom and pain management. This visit had been mutually agreed on the week before when I had seen my palliative care specialist. I was taking a slow release morphine tablet once a day for pain, then giving myself sub-cut morphine for breakthrough pain, but I could not manage to get consistent pain relief. I felt as though the morphine that had given me such relief, was now poisoning my body and not addressing the pain effectively. My specialist had suggested reviewing our options a month or so earlier, but regrettably, I have a very stubborn streak and am very stoic, so I had not taken up her suggestion.

My health was failing. My hair was falling out, I was in a constant state of nausea … opening the fridge door would result in a dash to the toilet..dry retching. I had no energy, I napped for most of the day, not even able to get the energy to read or watch TV. Pain wasn’t too bad, but would fluctuate dramatically. Having a shower then blow drying my hair required a rest in between. This was the physical state I was in when I entered the palliative care unit that monday afternoon.

Mentally and emotionally, I was fine…. if you have read my blogs, you will know that I made peace with death a long time ago. Much as I wanted to stay for my family and friends, and in particular for my first little grandchild who is due to be born in four weeks, I was happy to die. Part of me longed to “go home”. I have an absolute belief in life continuing after death, and that there is nothing to be concerned about at all – with an unconditionally loving Creator after all, how could there possibly be anything to fear? My physical body was becoming difficult to live in… everything was an effort. Having said this, I had no sense that I was going to die.

I am going to share with you now what happened to me that Monday night two weeks ago in the palliative care ward. It is up to you what you make of it. I don’t have a logical explanation for it….I actually ceased needing logical explanations years ago when I realised that Life works completely different to what I had thought (to be honest, I didn’t even think back then..or at least not about Life, I just tried to get through it).

Something happened.

I know this, because everything changed from that moment.

I arrived in my hospital room about 3pm and settled in. The Registrar came and did a brief physical examination, asked some questions, and then said my specialist would be arriving soon to discuss suitable changes to medication. I was just glad to be there. My specialist came – a wonderful compassionate woman who has been an enormous support to me over the years, and always listens to me even when I am stretching her science based beliefs to the limit… and said she felt that I would benefit from small doses of Methadone for pain, Dexamethasone for appetite and Haliperidol for nausea etc. No more morphine. Because I have spent my life being mentally resistant to using synthetic drugs, I have been a rather difficult patient for her; she has had to be patient and wait for me to address my polarised thinking which has occurred slowly over several years, but which brought me finally me to this point where I was feeling so unwell I was willing to accept more intensive pharmaceutical intervention.

I agreed to accept the medications, and she left. My tea was brought, I lifted the cover, began dry retching and ran for the toilet. Another Haliperidol, a 5 minute wait and I could eat tea. Wonderful! I had been living on toast and vegemite for 3 days.

At some point that evening, I have no idea when exactly, I drifted into a meditative state.

And suddenly….I find it difficult for words to describe…. it was like my soul energy grabbed me by the throat and with great exasperation said ” Rebecca!! …we are healing…. get on board”. I was taken aback… fleetingly thinking.. “soul energy is supposed to be gentle, not ferocious”.. (which is incorrect.. it is very powerful)…. and I responded “Oh, ok then”.

And that was it.

Except it wasn’t.

It was the beginning of something life-changing.

You see, from that moment on, I have had no pain, no nausea, I am so full of energy I can barely contain it at times, I am incredibly focused and motivated and creative.. everything is effortless, everything just works out… I am so full of love and joy and peace it overflows..I want to hug strangers in the street (I might get locked up if I did!)…

I believe my body is healing from the cancer.

Is it?

I don’t know. Time and medical scans will prove if it is. I am not terribly interested anyway. It is or it isn’t healing. Either way, I now live each moment deeply as it comes. Each moment feels like a new drop of dew… quivering with life.. filled with potential and possibilities…full of richness and beauty and love and joy, fresh and beautiful and alive…it does not matter to me how many more of these moments I have or not. THIS moment is so beautiful and perfect, another is not necessary.

I feel truly, stunningly, richly alive. unburdened by past or future.

I just AM.

In this moment.

So what happened? I can’t answer that for sure…the more I know, the more I realise I don’t know. But all I can say is this. Something happened, because everything is different. My physical reality is different. The small dosage of the drugs is not explanation enough… I believe I have been graced with spiritual healing. Fourteen years ago when I first knew I had cancer, I believed that my healing would be from Spirit, not from the physical plane of drugs, hospital treatments or even nutrition…but from Spirit. I just never expected that it would take over fourteen years. I have taken that long…not Spirit.. I have resisted, tried to conform to societal expectations, held back, not trusted… but Spirit has patiently worked with me. To get me to this point.

And now what?

I am living each moment, loving each moment, so full of joy and love…not because of the healing, but in spite of it. Physical healing will be the icing on the cake. I know with great clarity what I am here to do.. the last fourteen years of my life have been spent preparing me for this.

I will now devote my life to spreading a message of love and joy and peace. Of helping people to introduce Spirit, God, the Universe, Gaia, their soul, whatever you wish to call it…..names don’t matter…. into their daily lives so that the beautiful power that comes from living connected to a Being higher than ourselves can be experienced by everyone. It is there for all of us..we just don’t believe in it or trust it…we have been so programmed to only trust in what we can see, touch, taste and hear.. so over domesticated that we are no longer connected to the wisdom of our souls and the Universe.. and we are SUFFERING because of it. In particular, I will help people with terminal illness to find a state of complete and utter acceptance that whatever is happening is perfect. We cannot erase physical pain and suffering, loss and death from our lives, but we can live in such a way that they do not affect us negatively….they are simply an opportunity , as is everything, to open to the beauty of life.

If I can in some tiny way help alleviate suffering through sharing my story, and showing other people who are interested how to live in joy and peace no matter what is happening around them…then my life has been worthwhile.

Now, I have to go, I have a book to write. The deadline is August. I have been trying to write this book for eight frustrating years, beating myself up because it didn’t flow… it was such a struggle. I have no aspiration to be an author, but I have known that I must write a book.

The time is now right.

When it is Divine timing, everything flows…I’m learning that….

gratitude and humility

It is 1AM.

I am awake for several reasons – one, because I spent most of the day on the couch napping between hurried trips to the toilet due to the fortnightly attacks of diarrhoea my body is now inflicted with. If that is too much information for you, bad luck. I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t had diarrhoea, and sickness is often not pretty. That’s the reality. The other reason I am awake is because spending the day on the couch, and subsequently sleeping on the couch tonight (I haven’t been able to sleep in a bed for several months now), has put too much pressure on my spine and pelvis and the pain is beginning to escalate. Having given myself 10mg of morphine, I am now more comfortable, although it hasn’t totally eradicated the pain. Pain is an unpredictable and volatile companion of mine now. An almost constant companion, although I do have days where I experience no pain. Other days, it is difficult for me to bring it under control. But this is not what I am wanting to write about.

The physical aspect of cancer has never been of great concern to me. This makes me a little odd I think. Pleasantly odd I hope. At least, it is pleasant for me to be this way. When I woke up fourteen years ago and deeply, completely understood that I am (we all are) eternal spirit having an earthly experience, it transformed the way I saw life. My priorities changed, anxiety fell away, and over time I learned to surrender to What Is. The most important focus of my life became letting go of all the aspects of my mind that prevented me from deeply experiencing the joy, love and peace on which I believe this universe is built. I learned to welcome everything as an opportunity to grow. I learned to let go of victim-hood, blame, fear, anger, people-pleasing, un-necessary self sacrificing, martyrdom, resentment, all those things that we accumulate that stops the light from shining through. The things that take away our joy. The things that ruin our life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere close to perfect, whatever that is. I only tell you these things because I wish, oh how I wish that everyone could know just how beautiful life is when you live like this. How effortless it is to be peaceful and joyful and filled with love even when it appears from the outside that life is difficult.

There have been times recently when I have wondered why I am still here. By all accounts, I should have died years ago, and more recently, last June the medical prediction based on my scans was 3-6 months to live. I am still here, because I am still learning, still growing. The love, and joy and peace get deeper and deeper.

My most recent discovery has been gratitude and humility. I realise now, they have never been my forte. I truly didn’t know that they could feel so beautiful. Discovering gratitude and humility has arisen from learning to receive. I have never been good at receiving. I much preferred giving. I always believed, even from a young age, that I was here to help people. Some of this was genuine altruism with a good smattering of wanting to be liked. Giving was also a position of power I think. I hated feeling indebted to someone.

Because of the deterioration in my physical health, and my inability to do things that I once took for granted, I have had to learn to ask for help, and to receive it. I’m not going to lie… it was really hard at first. I am fiercely independent in this way although contrarily, I have a deep longing to be nurtured and cared for, but I subconsciously saw that as weakness.

Like many others, I have written gratitude journals in the past, and they were very helpful at times to remind me of the great things in my life, but to surrender deeply into gratitude is an entirely different experience. Deep, heartfelt gratitude is such a beautiful feeling; It is like melting ever deeper into a love and joy that floods the heart and overflows, seeking expression. And with it comes humility – a profound gentleness and thankfulness at being the receiver of whatever has been bestowed.

I am deeply, deeply grateful for the wonderful people who are in my life, and for the care and love I receive. They are too many to mention individually, but in particular my partner, whose ability to nurture me and unselfishly attend to my comfort continues to amaze and delight me. My two sons, whose unconditional love I cherish and of whom I am proud to be called their mother. My sons partners, who love and care about me – something that gives me joy because I hadn’t expected that they should. My ex-husband, who always has my back, and who holds a special place in my heart. My sister who is my best friend, confidante, and staunchest ally. My mother, with whom our increasing closeness in the last six months has been a great joy to me. My many, wonderful, caring friends who take time out of their busy lives to phone and visit me. And the many people who I am in contact with who aren’t close friends, but whose care is evident, even if it is just a passing acquaintance. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart – you make my life rich and full of love.

Everywhere I go, I experience love and kindness and I believe that this is a reflection back to me of how I view the world. Most of us learn to protect our hearts at a young age, and we continue this throughout our lives. Holding people at arms length, cautiously loving, fearing rejection and hurt. I am learning to love with abandonment, to love everyone and everything. You see, I don’t fear being hurt or rejected anymore, so I don’t feel the need to protect myself. I know that someone else can’t make me feel something – that feeling arises within me, from me. Any negative feeling comes from a fear within myself, and I welcome it to the light so I can see it and let it go.

As human beings, we long for connection. We are hard-wired for connection. Connection is made through the letting go of fear, and opening deeper and deeper into love and joy, gratitude and humility… peace. It is within the capabilities of all of us to do this…if we choose it. It makes life beautiful.

I thoroughly recommend it. The rewards are far greater than I ever anticipated.

Take it from me…. life is too short to waste on negativity and keeping love at arms length.

Forgotten love

It seems that as I experience more pain in my physical body, I become more sensitive to the suffering in the world. Watching the news is almost unbearable. It is something I seldom do now. Unfortunately the News Corporations are not awakened enough to understand or care what the impact of their incessant reporting of negativity, rage, blame, shame, violence, death, hurt and pain has on the subconscious minds of the millions of people who watch their programs. To believe that it doesn’t feed a negative worldview is naive in the extreme. If only people were more protective of their mental health. Collectively we could achieve change. Why couldn’t there be a balance of good news stories as well as bad?

As long as the driving force of humanity is money and progress – nothing is going to improve. Albert Einstein said: “No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it”. There needs to be a change of consciousness for humanity and this planet to survive and thrive.

That change is a shift from fear to love.

It begins with you.

It begins with me.

What if, every day, in every situation, we asked ourselves “what would Love do?”

Stop reading for a moment and truly, deeply contemplate this question because it has the power to change your world, and ultimately, our collective world.

In this moment, in this interaction, in this decision, what would Love do? What would Love choose?

If the question is asked with genuine intention, the answer will arise from deep within you. Because no matter how crazy and frantic and violent and ugly and self serving human ego can be, at our very core, our very essence – we are Love. Despite what would appear to be evidence to the contrary, – the state of humanity – I still believe this with my whole heart.

Buried beneath the human mind of thought patterns created by every experience, every moment of our life, we are Love, and we can access this with intention.

When we love, and when we create, we are expressing our divinity. Our Divine heritage. We are always creating. In every single moment, we are creating – as humans it is impossible that we are not. Every thought is a creation. Much of our creating is without conscious awareness – but when intention and attention come together, then our creating becomes conscious – sometimes with incredible results.

But,

In every single moment, we are not Loving.

And herein lies the potential for the destruction of humanity and the planet – creating that is not born out of or balanced by Love.

We can see evidence of this everywhere. And apart from the creation of weapons of mass destruction, it is never more evident than in the business world that humanity has created where profit, bigger, “better”, and faster are the accepted building blocks of creation. No love in sight. Just cold, hard cash the desired result, that depicts success ..or not.

And the result? Greed, corruption, destruction of the planet, competition, self serving, extremes of wealth and poverty, abuse, exploitation, loneliness, depression, STRESS, violence…I could go on. It isn’t all bad though. There have been improvements in healthcare, social welfare, living standards (for some of the worlds population), education, social equity (in some parts of the world and population). These result from creation balanced by Love.

Someone once said that the greatest cult of all is our culture. In the so called “first world” countries, we have accepted the status quo of profit and “progress” as the ultimate aim because we have been indoctrinated in this thinking since birth. It is normal for us, we barely even think about it. But if it leads to the destruction of the planet and ultimately humanity, then it is unquestionably not a good thing… When we stop and think, isn’t this obvious?

The problem is, there is no stop button. A few weeks ago I took our dog for a walk near the river. When I stopped the car, I almost cried, because where a few months ago I had stood in a large paddock and photographed a tree silhouetted against the sunrise, with the kangaroos watching me, and birds calling, now, it was terraced, flattened, and machinery was parked there ready to continue the “development”. It hit me then that as long as we measure success and progress by money, there is no stopping the destruction of the planet. As the saying attributed to the Cree Indians goes “Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money”.

Love has been forgotten in business and politics.

Love is being lost in the communities, in homes, and in hearts.

You see, we have developed this false belief that Love arises spontaneously. Sometimes it does, but often, Love is a choice… and we have forgotten to choose Love. We are too busy to choose Love. Too tired, too wounded, too un-awake, too filled with righteous indignation to choose Love.

What does Love choose?

Love chooses understanding over intolerance. Forgiveness over anger. Peace over conflict. Kindness over unkindness. Compassion over judgment. Love is not weak, needy or dis-empowered. It is strong and powerful and breaks down barriers. It carries within it the redemption of humanity. The saving of this beautiful planet.

This Love of which I write is within us all. A Love that transcends human ego, a Love that is Divine. As we choose Love every day, this love flows from our hearts out into the world. It shows up in deep friendships, random acts of kindness to strangers, family love, romantic love, love for our pets, love for the planet, love of parents for their children, nurses for their patients. This is the Love that says “I love you, but I cannot stay” when the situation is toxic, and means it. This is the Love that gives without expectation of something in return. This is the Love that sees the pain that makes someone abuse, and still loves without surrendering to the abuse. This is the Love that says “I am worthy of respect” and sets boundaries. This is the Love that sees Divinity in everyone and everything. This Love….Loves.

And oh, the rewards of choosing Love! The beautiful, feeling of loving! The human ego cries “love me”, the heart that has tapped into the Divine Love within whispers “I AM Love”, and the energy of that Love radiates out, touching everyone and everything nearby.

Choose Love, each day as though the future of humanity depends upon it.

Because it does.

It’s all good

It has been almost three months since I last wrote a blog post.

A rather intense three months.

SInce the last blog, my father died in another country, I decided to get a casual job (3 months into my “based on your scans, you have 3-6 months to live” prognosis), and I have lived through two months of chronic, at times unmanageable pain.

But life is good.

I have learned to be a consistent “glass half full person”. (Although there have been several times I have curled up on my partners lap weeping with sheer exhaustion from the unrelenting pain. But that only lasts for ten minutes and I dry my eyes and get on with life).

People tell me I am strong or brave or courageous. And other flattering words. It may appear this way to others, but I don’t see it that way.

You see, I have discovered the secret to living a happy life.

Develop beliefs that inspire, sustain and uplift you, and life becomes effortless. You become incredibly resilient.

It is simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. Our beliefs, as I have mentioned many times before, are buried deeply in our sub-conscious mind, and were generally established in the first seven or so years of our life.

We spend our lives living out our beliefs.

Some beliefs serve us well, others don’t.

Keep the good beliefs, ditch the rest and reprogram your sub conscious mind.

Coming from a deeply religious background, I had many beliefs that kept me afraid of God, death and life. This manifested itself in constant anxiety which I carefully hid from others. I felt that everyone else “had it together” except me. I tried extremely hard to be perfect. I had a belief that unless I was perfect I simply wasn’t good enough and this paralysed me, causing me to play it safe and consequently I never achieved what I knew I was capable of because I was afraid to fail. It was easier to stay small.. if you don’t try, you don’t fail.

The day I realised that all the fear originated from my mind therefore I had the power to change it, was the day a different life began.

I used to be terrified of God. The God I absorbed in my child mind was the God of the Old Testament. A punishing, vengeful, petty, jealous, touchy, demanding God who would torture me for ever if I didn’t do exactly what he wanted.

I never felt good enough. The concept of Grace completely by-passed me because it didn’t fit in with my sub-conscious belief of what God was. This is what our mind does. It hones in on the things that fit with its established beliefs and ignores the rest. I am sure the Christian belief that we are saved through Jesus’s blood was preached in the church I belonged to, but I didn’t hear it.

The reason I am sharing this, is because my beliefs about God were a huge part of my problem with life. It would be very easy to blame the church, however we each live within our own personal reality, while sharing a general physical reality with others. My negative experience was a direct result of the beliefs I had absorbed early on, and my mind then built on those. Another child in the exact same circumstances could have reacted differently. There is no-one to blame. (Besides, blame is dis-empowering, it simply keeps you in victim-hood).

Once I was clear enough in my mind to understand that my mind itself was the problem, I began the process of reprogramming. In the beginning, my mind almost destroyed itself with fear. All the different spiritual beliefs I read about, my mind considered a sacrilege and I acted as though I was going to be burnt at the stake. I was terrified. Fortunately, and this is the part where Grace first became evident; my Soul, that part of each of us that is forever connected to Spirit, made itself known to me in a very conscious way for the first time in my life, and gave me a deep knowing that everything was unfolding exactly as it should. It gave me the courage not to give up. Not to let fear keep me trapped.

Now, I live from a belief and complete trust in a Divine Being and universe that has my back. An unconditionally loving Divine Being and universe. The two aren’t separate. Nothing is separate. This belief allows me to live knowing everything I experience is for my good. That in everything I experience, I will find love, peace and joy because these are the building blocks of the universe. (How could it be any different with an unconditionally loving creator? We aren’t here just to suffer and die). In this state, I can welcome anything. The deeper I live this belief, the more I find it to be true. It is effortless, almost all of the time, for me to be happy. What is happening to my physical body does not detract from that. This is possible because of another deep belief I have – that I am a Spiritual Being having a human experience. This world is not my forever home. Being in spirit, which is my natural state, is.

I think humanity is very confused about the purpose of life, and this confusion has manifested in the dysfunction, anxiety, fear and violence so prevalent in this world.

I do not feel myself as separate from God-Divinity-Life whatever you wish to call Supreme Being. I really don’t think the name matters. (If someone called you by the wrong name would you be deeply offended if they weren’t intending to be deliberately offensive?) The Divine is everything. We are never separate.

I don’t concern myself over the length of my life. I do what I can to stay alive, but ultimately it is out of my hands. The length of my life is Divine business. My business is to live as joyfully and passionately and lovingly as I can in each and every moment. This is my only really meaningful business. It is not to accumulate as many physical assets as I can, and live in stress and anxiety to do so. It is not to make other people happy or please them. It is not to get recognition on facebook, Tik Tok, or even to have a family.

Western culture has got it out of order. We have been conditioned to believe that living joyfully is what we do when/if we have enough energy left after we have finished working our butts off for the material assets we have been conned into believing bring happiness. This is the wrong way around!!.

Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said to “seek the Kingdom of Heaven first, and all these things will be added to you”. The Kingdom of Heaven is joy, love, and peace here and now, not just a far away hoped for heavenly realm. Other spiritual teachers say the same thing.

You see, if you focus on finding love, joy and peace everywhere, in everything, you will find it everywhere and in everything. Including in the job you thought you hated, or the person who challenges you most, or in the illness you thought you were terrified of. This is real, and its yours – you aren’t relying on someone or something to provide it for you. It arises spontaneously from within.

I challenge you, if you aren’t already doing it, to consciously choose to live joyfully and passionately and lovingly as your main business in life.

It will transform your experience beyond imagination.

a new story about cancer

My sister sent me a link yesterday to a webinar on YouTube with Zach Bush MD called “It’s time to tell a new story about cancer”. It is indeed.

Now, I’m interested in anything that involves Zach Bush. He is an incredibly knowledgeable man who marries Science and Spirituality with great skill. Like another of my favourites – Albert Einstein. If you haven’t made his acquaintance on YouTube already, can I suggest you have a listen. All of what he says may not be to your liking, but he seems to know what he is talking about, and the wisdom, compassion and fluency with which he delivers his knowledge is compelling.

The webinar is about The Cancer Story Project. This project was launched in July 2020 by a woman called Cheryl Buck who in 2016 “was one of 1.6 million people who heard the words “you have cancer”. For the previous decade she had been researching cancer and other chronic diseases from a nutritional standpoint, focusing on Indigenous cultures and their awareness of the intrinsic healing power of the body and the earth. Her mission through the Cancer Story Project is “to tell a new story about cancer that empowers someone who has it and the people and community around them to embrace the cancer journey in a new way”.

Wonderful news that someone has started a global movement to change the story about cancer. It needs to happen. Enough of these ridiculous and fear-inducing labels of “cancer victim”, “cancer sufferer”, war against cancer, fight, battle, “lost the battle” blah blah blah. A negative language of warfare has been attached to cancer that reinforces the fear and does nothing to inspire hope. The whole cancer system of Oncology needs a complete overhaul including honest and open discussion about how effective at prolonging life the treatments really are. If they aren’t greatly effective, but it is all that is available at the moment, let everyone know so they are free to make their own choices and decisions about how they wish their body to be treated without being pressured (yes, pressured) into using the limited toolbox of treatments that Oncology currently has. There is a very interesting and disturbing article that can be found at https://www.icnr.com/articles/ischemotherapyeffective.html which discusses the use of relative risk rather than absolute risk in reporting the effectiveness of chemotherapy on the commonest types of cancer. In my opinion, it is all about making informed decisions, and that is very difficult to do in the current Oncology “bubble”. One, Oncologists are often not happy when their treatments are questioned, and it seems that they are not always privy to the facts about efficacy themselves if this article is to be believed. (An editorial in the Australian Prescriber dated 1 Feb 2006 regarding the article provides a seemingly balanced review. I leave you to make up your own mind). Two, they only generally believe in the treatments they have been trained to recommend, and three, it is very difficult to think rationally when you are being pressured to take urgent action and you are in a state of shock.

For medical treatment of cancer to change and become more holistic and less purely physically focused – the change is going to have to be requested by the people. If an Oncologist recommends treatment, every patient has the right, and should, request evidence of the efficacy of that treatment for the type of cancer they have. I am a bit cynical about statistics – especially as according to statistics I should have died ten years ago. Medicine is very, very slowly becoming a little more receptive to “complementary” treatments, but most of the money contributed to research is still being poured into looking for a pharmaceutical answer to the disease. This is awfully one-eyed, but understandable. The pharmaceutical companies are the only companies rich enough to do the trials, and they have convinced the majority of the population and definitely the medical profession, that drugs are the only viable option. Unfortunately, many wonderful “alternative” treatments only have “anecdotal” commendations due to the prohibitive cost of double blind trials. And anecdotal doesn’t mean much in the science of medicine.

I have privately been beating the drum for re-framing cancer for a decade now, and for the last 9 months more publicly through this blog. A few people have told me they used to be afraid of cancer, but now aren’t through watching my experience in living with it for many years. I hope that others also through this blog have lost some fear as well. This has been my intention – to share my journey, my learning, to help other people experience cancer not as the worst thing that has happened to them, but rather as an opportunity to stop and take stock of their life and the way they are living then take steps to live in a way that brings maximum joy and peace and love. This is what life is really about. Everything else is a distraction – but “everything else” has taken first place in our culture and we have unconsciously adopted the mindset and lived it out. It has brought us to a place of dis-ease. We are not at ease – proof lies in the constant increase of depression, anxiety, mental illness, addictions and chronic illness in the human race. These are not the fruits of an enlightened culture. They are the fruits of a dysfunctional and dis-connected one.

Perhaps cancer is a gift to humanity. It is a pause, a prompting to go within. To halt the busyness and re-align, however it is very difficult to do this when you are consumed with fear. Cancer is a very powerful word. It has the ability to change your life. Whether for better or worse is your choice. How we experience cancer is always going to be our choice. Whether we experience it isn’t.

Cancer brings with it the opportunity to confront and accept our own mortality instead of ignoring it. Ironically, embracing death teaches us how to really live. How to be more present, more grateful, more joyful. Isn’t that a good thing?. Anyone out there not want to be more present in each moment, more grateful and more joyful? Anyone out there prefer to be more fearful, more agitated, more depressed because they have cancer?

Its your choice.

I don’t think this notion of choice really sinks in for many people, because I see people constantly choosing to continue to suffer unnecessarily. For some reason it seems like a totally impractical and abstract idea that simply choosing to perceive cancer (or anything in life) in a different way can radically improve the quality of your life. Perhaps it is too simple. Or it seems like too much work. We have been trained to expect a magic pill to cure our physical and mental woes so we can just continue on living in the same way that caused us to end up with the woes in the first place. Someone said (it is attributed to Albert Einstein but there is no evidence that he actually said it) “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. Hmm

I decided thirteen years ago that suffering was no longer an option for me. I’d had enough of fear and anxiety. It didn’t take me long to realise that it was only my mind that caused me to suffer. Life happens. It just is. It is our minds that attach meaning to it. Both collectively and individually. The meaning that we attach to it will either bring us peace or suffering. Its really that simple.

Viewing cancer as a gift-bearer will attach a positivity and purpose to it that will carry you through with much greater ease than viewing cancer as a fearful threat. Cancer can help us to heal relationships, forge deeper connections, build our personal community, make us stronger, more resilient and compassionate… If we embrace the experience and be open. Through cancer we can discover how loved and valued we are by those around us. We can open to healing the trauma and hurts of the past. Become more free.

Cancer can be a liberation.

Or it can be a terrifying diversion away from life as we planned it.

Its our choice.

I will never advise someone not to have chemotherapy. I firmly believe that everyone must choose what feels right for them at the time, however I question the wisdom of poisoning the whole body as a treatment for a disease. It doesn’t make any sense to me. The fact that the body is an incredible organism designed to heal itself and restore balance, is never more in evidence than when it recovers from the effects of chemotherapy. We really need to trust the body’s innate ability to heal and support that fully. Unfortunately, most Oncologists do not yet recommend their patients support their body through nutrition and mind. The advent of Integrative Oncology is a really positive step forward – however it may be a while before it becomes standard practice.

There are exciting new frontiers in mind-body medicine being explored by people like Joe Dispenza, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Bruce Lipton, Greg Braden, Dr Melissa Rankin, Kelly Turner Ph.d and Dr Zach Bush to name but a few, and to have their learning incorporated into mainstream treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases would, I believe, improve outcomes and reduce suffering dramatically. This is only going to happen in the near future if people are open with their Oncologists and medical staff about the techniques and modalities they are using in addition to those recommended by the Oncologist.

So, let’s create a new story about cancer. One that enables us to live through the experience with equanimity, taking anything that arises in our stride, being peaceful and happy. It is possible. I’m doing it. More and more people are doing it.

It’s part of our evolution.

It’s all good.

A Near Death Experience

I want to share with you a Near Death Experience that my partner Ian had several weeks before he died.

Ian lived with Neuro-Endocrine Pancreatic cancer with Metastases to the liver for over 9 years. When he was diagnosed, he was told there were no effective treatments available for him, and to come back for palliative chemotherapy when the pain got too bad. He wasn’t a man to take this diagnosis lying down. He was stubborn and determined. The fact that he lived for over nine years was regarded as nothing short of miraculous by medical staff.

Three weeks before he died, Ian began vomiting blood. The possibility of this happening had been lurking on the periphery of our life for over two years. We had been told then that he had developed what was essentially varicose veins of the esophagus due to the portal vein carrying blood from his liver being slowly blocked by a tumour. His body, in its immense wisdom and capacity to reinstate balance reacted by diverting blood through other veins in his body which weren’t designed for such a large flow, and due to the extra pressure, caused varicose veins to form on his esophagus. We had been told that one day they may burst and Ian would bleed out and die. This was something that took me quite a while to come to terms with. I had a phobia myself about vomiting in public, and knowing that my partner may at anytime begin to suddenly vomit blood and bleed out, challenged one of my greatest fears. I eventually managed to find peace when I truly understood that life unfolds perfectly. Everything happens at the right place at the right time for our higher good.

This particular day, Ian had awoken in the morning, and rushed to the toilet to vomit – a large blood clot. One of the varicose veins had begun bleeding during the night. He came back to bed and went back to sleep. He had the most amazing capacity to put things out of his mind. Initially I was infuriated by it. He would go back to sleep while I lay awake worrying. Eventually I learned to let it go, accept whatever was happening, and go back to sleep myself. He awoke an hour later and vomited again – this time the blood was fresh. I managed to talk him into going to the local emergency department. He hated hospital, and was always very reluctant to go.

They checked him over and decided he needed to be sent by Flying Doctor to a Perth hospital – 170kms away. They gave him medication to help control the bleeding. I called my sons to come from work to see their step-father before he left as we knew it might be the last time we saw him. We said good-bye and he was taken away to the ambulance for transporting to the airport. It was arranged that I would go home, pack a bag for him and myself then travel by car to Perth and meet him at the hospital.

I was driving alone to Perth when I suddenly realised that I was completely calm and peaceful. The only thoughts going through my mind were that life was unfolding perfectly. Everything was happening in exactly the right way at exactly the right time, and all I needed was to be open, and trust that everything was perfect. It felt wonderful to be in this state where I felt no stress, no fear, and it enabled me to be completely present. I had spent the first 45 years of my life in varying degrees of anxiety, and I knew that if I had been forced to go through this even a few years earlier, I would have been experiencing a great deal of stress and pain. Now, I just felt peaceful. Peace is very under-rated in our culture for some reason. Not many people find much value in seeking to have a peaceful mind, however once you have experienced it, you never want to live any other way.

On arriving at the hospital, I was pleased to hear that Ian had survived the trip. He was soon reviewed by doctors and it was decided he would be operated on to try and stop the bleeding. I can’t remember why, but the operation didn’t happen for several days. The hospital room had a large window with a window seat, and this was where I slept for 5 nights. It was a new hospital, but for some reason, it had been built with no facilities for the families of country patients to stay. Ian tended to become very agitated if I wasn’t close, so it was better for everyone if I stayed in the room.

The operation was not a success. Within 12 hours, Ian began passing blood. A lot of blood. It was decided to give him a blood transfusion, he had the first bag, the bleeding continued. He had the second bag, the bleeding continued. They put the third (and unbeknown to us, the last) bag up. Ian was very cold by this time. Lying under a pile of blankets. I was reading to him from A Course in Miracles, and I remember the room as warm and dim, and very very peaceful. I looked over at him at one point and he had a big smile on his face. He opened his eyes and looked at me, and said “don’t mind me, I am in a place of unconditional love”. This from a man, who had great difficulty in accepting he was loved. He told me later that he left his body and was looking at it lying on the bed from behind.

It was around this time (he told me all this later), that he saw angels around him, and he said to them “Go to Bunnings (a large hardware store), and get some epoxy resin, and I will trowel it onto these veins to stop the bleeding. He was a carpenter by trade and felt that he was more skilled than the angels at working with epoxy. He visualised himself doing this.

The bleeding stopped.

The Doctors were astounded, they couldn’t understand what had happened, and decided to send him back to Bunbury via ambulance with a paramedic as soon as possible. I followed the ambulance in my car. Ian was taken straight to the Palliative Care Unit, and they told me afterwards that from the clinical reports from the doctors in Perth, they were expecting him to be unconscious and near death. Instead, he was talking and joking with the staff. He told his Palliative Specialist that he was going to stay a little while to recoup, but he would be going home. He did. He came home for a week, and the day before he returned to hospital, he insisted on climbing the ladder to help the boys clean the gutters of leaves. The next day he vomited blood again, and returned to hospital.

I stayed with him in the hospital, and helped him to shower in the morning, He was quite weak. About 2pm, he asked me to help him to sit on the side of the bed, then he stood and put his arms around me, resting his head on my shoulder. His whole body trembled with the effort. I didn’t realise that this was his goodbye. I helped him back into bed. He turned his face away from me, and I knew in that moment, that he was going to leave his body soon. He had made the decision. He had never wanted to be in a state where he needed physical care. He was fiercely independent, and I believe he decided it was time to go. I went and said to the nurses, ‘he is going to die soon’. They felt it was unlikely, but came and felt his pulse,and agreed that he had in fact taken a turn towards death. He was barely conscious from then on, and died peacefully at 7.30pm that evening.

We had a deep soul connection, him and I, and when he died, I still felt the connection. I have never felt separated from him. Death has no meaning to the soul. Love transcends death. The bonds are never broken. You move on, but they are never broken. Grief can stop us from feeling the connection. Our beliefs can stop us from feeling the connection. The connection is still there.

We are in eternity now. Life continues. Death is just a return to our natural state of being – in spirit. The body has gone, but the essence, energy and consciousness of the soul continues forever. A week after Ian died, I was walking on the farm, and it suddenly felt as though time stopped still. It was completely silent. And in that moment I understood that Ian was ageless, and so was I. I knew us as eternal beings, and I realised that even if I lived another 40 years on earth without him, it was just a blink of an eye in eternity. There was nothing to mourn. Yes, I missed him, but we had been soul companions forever. We would be together again. Everything was exactly how it should be. Life was unfolding perfectly. I was full of joy and peace.

Our beliefs about death and what happens afterwards will either cause us to suffer or rejoice. It is a choice. I believe that embracing death – both Ian’s and my own, has taught me how to live. It has taught me that only love matters. It has taught me not to take life so seriously. Not to get sucked into the stress and rush and anxiety that pervades the planet. It has taught me to live today, I may not have tomorrow. It has taught me to love life more, appreciate what I have, love nature. Embracing death has taught me not to be attached. To love, but hold loosely. Embracing death sets us free.

Let’s stop trying to ignore death. Let’s stop hiding it away. Let’s stop the solemnity and glumness of the funerals. Let’s celebrate life while we live, and then, when we die, may others celebrate our life and be glad they knew us.

Joy and Love and Peace are everywhere – just a change of thinking away. Seek them everywhere and you will find them…..

Ian Haslam 17/05/65 – 17/03/15

expectation

Through expectation, we set ourselves up for disappointment and anger…… and then blame someone else.

Last week I asked my partner to take me into the Bunnings store so I could buy bags of potting mix and manure for my garden. At that time, I was still unable to push a trolley without feeling an unpleasant heavy feeling in my chest, so I needed help. He kindly agreed, so off we went. We got ourselves a trolley, and were heading towards the soil section when he said, “I just need to ask about something”, and off he went. I was left standing there with the trolley thinking he is just going to ask one of the attendants about a product and then come back to help me, but he disappeared.

I wait for a few minutes, then start to wonder if perhaps he had felt unwell and needed to rush to the toilet. I think “well, he could have told me”. After a few more minutes, I decide to push the trolley to the soil section and load the bags myself. I admit it, I am not great at waiting. I don’t like queues. The trolley is quite heavy now and I feel the uncomfortable feeling in my chest – I am not sure if it is my heart or my lungs which are complaining about the strain. Hopefully it is my lungs, if it is my heart, maybe I will collapse in the aisle in Bunnings and create a disturbance – I would rather not.

Now I am starting to feel annoyed. I have been abandoned, my partner was supposed to be helping me. In righteous indignation, I gamely push the heavy trolley towards the checkout. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my partner approaching with a roll of something in his hand. Good for him, he obviously found what he wanted. He hasn’t been caught short and made a dash for the toilet, and here I am, risking a heart attack (really?), pushing my own trolley. See how my mind took its own riotous course.

I am not happy.

He says “you could have waited for me, I was only 5 minutes”. That isn’t the point, thank you very much. I huff and puff my way through the checkout, in martyred silence towards him. He is starting to get annoyed himself. He says “Well, I put myself out to bring you into town, and this is the thanks I get”. Probably a valid point, however I am not ready to concede. Also, I am now not feeling that well. Perhaps the trolley pushing wasn’t as good an idea as waiting for him was.

When we get home, I sit down to recover and take a good look at myself. Why did I get annoyed? I can acknowledge now that I was unreasonable, but why?

I realised that I had created an unconscious expectation of going to Bunnings and getting the potting mix that didn’t involve my partner going off and doing his own thing – especially without telling me what he was doing (yes, guys, communication really does make a difference). The whole situation could probably have been avoided by him telling me he was just going to dash off and get something if I could just wait 5 minutes rather than put the potting mix on then having to push a heavy trolley through the store. A perfectly reasonable thought process you would think. But I Had Expectations. (Of communication too, clearly). I was standing in an area surrounded by plants – which I love. He could be forgiven for thinking I would be perfectly happy just loitering looking at the plants until he came back. Any other day I would have been, But Today I Had Expectations. And somehow, even though I wasn’t even aware of that myself – he should have known. Hmmm.

Unreasonable?

Absolutely, but in my defense, I had no idea that I even had an expectation . It was entirely unconscious. When things didn’t go as I thought they should – I became annoyed. And the scary thing is – in that moment I felt completely justified. Full of righteous indignation – I mean, he was the one that was in the wrong, leaving me like that – if I had decided to risk my health rather than wait 5 more minutes for him, then that was his fault too. I was busy heaping coals of condemnation on his unsuspecting head.

We both had phones – I could have called him. But no.

In hindsight, I was embarrassed with myself. How ridiculous I had been.

My mind had fooled me.

Our mind frequently fools us into interpreting and believing things that simply aren’t true. When we are acting and reacting unconsciously (without focused thinking), our minds are entirely subjective and biased. But the mind is also capable of objectivity when deliberate thought is imposed and an attempt at objectivity is made.

I apologised to him, and acknowledged that I had been unreasonable. End of story. It could have continued on though if I hadn’t been able to look at my own actions honestly and take responsibility for them. He was more justified in this instance to be annoyed than me, and we both could have ended up ignoring each other, and the rest of the day would have turned sour.

Relationships are full of expectations and subsequent disappointments. And usually we blame the other person for the way we feel. You made me annoyed because you….

Stop right there.

No-one makes us feel anything.

What we feel comes from within ourselves – our own interpretation of the event…. Always.

And our own interpretation of the event is always coloured by our expectations, our beliefs, and our egocentricity. Add to that a desire for control, and we have a recipe for potential disaster in relationships -with anyone. This becomes particularly apparent when our children become teenagers. We are no longer able to control them easily, we have huge expectations about how they should behave and think, and because they are trying to establish their own identity and control over their own lives, they are most likely to challenge our authority and hold a mirror up to our own behaviour. Often our response is anger – a defensive response that is excellent for shutting down the immediate rebellion, but ultimately risks closing down effective communication until the teenager becomes an adult or a parent themselves. Not desirable if we want to be there to help guide them through the teenage years and balance the influence of their peers..

The ability to look honestly at ourselves releases us from hell. It really does. When we can take responsibility for our own feelings and subsequent actions, we stop blaming others. We begin to have closer, kinder, more loving relationships with other people. We are calmer and kinder. We stop having expectations of other people then losing it when they don’t live up to it. Life is less stressful. We begin to communicate our wants and needs more clearly without using emotional manipulation to get what we want. We create good boundaries. We can hold our dignity and express our view without becoming emotionally involved or needing the other person to come over to our way of thinking. We become more tolerant.

Life becomes so much more peaceful and happy because we aren’t wasting energy on getting angry when people don’t behave how we think they should. People behave how THEY think they should. People only change when they see the need to. We only change when we see the need to. Let’s just look at ourselves and take responsibility for our own behaviour. When we are perfect, then we can have expectations of others. (When we are perfect we will CHOOSE not to have expectations of others).

It requires courage to look at ourselves honestly. It takes humility to apologise. When we have been involved in a situation where the other person has behaved badly (in our estimation), we can still apologise for our own behaviour if it has been less than admirable. We humans have a strange view of apologies. We feel that somehow it might diminish us and make us smaller than the other. And yet, the opposite is true. It makes us stronger and wiser. It also allows us to let go of the situation instead of holding on to it. We accumulate so many little resentments and disappointments over the years that clog up our energy. Individually, they may be small, but collectively they are big. They drain us of vitality,

Let’s let go of expectation and live life joyfully and peacefully with our fellow, imperfect human beings..

Drop expectations – it leaves you space to simply enjoy each moment.

Death … and then what?

This seems to be a topic most people don’t want to think about..

I love talking about death and the afterlife. I find it the most inspiring and uplifting topic, but there are not many people who are open to discussing it. There are several reasons for this I think. One, it is confronting; until we are forced to acknowledge our own mortality, often through a serious illness, most of us try not to remember that we are going to die. Two, there are so many differing opinions as to what happens after we die, that it can be overwhelming. There are those who believe death is the end – oblivion afterwards, those who believe you sleep until the judgment day, those who believe in reincarnation…. I have spent the last 13 years reading about the afterlife, and I am sharing here what I have come to believe. Take it or leave it… but at least read this with an open mind….

I remember going to the funeral of a family friend, an older man who had died in his sleep (way to go!). It was stormy that night and I recall trying to shut images of him lying in a coffin in the cold ground from my mind. It didn’t bear thinking of. I was probably about 14 at the time.

The church I belonged to was very hazy about what happened after you died. I got the impression you “slept” until a judgment day which occurred sometime during eternity. They were very clear however about what happened after the judgment day. If you were counted worthy, you went to heaven with Jesus. If not, you went to hell with Satan and were tortured for eternity. I don’t think anyone was ever quite sure they had done enough to be worthy.

Thirteen years ago in the midst of the collapse of my life after leaving the church, I decided I wanted to “make friends” with death. I was afraid of death. Also, at that point, I was afraid of life. Making friends with death may actually have seemed the easier option to begin with. In fact it was – making friends, real friends with life took me much longer. I hadn’t really had much to do with people dying – three of my grandparents had died by the time I was in my mid-teens, but I had not been present when they died, so I was quite removed from the reality of it. I was also rather uncomfortable with sick people, but I decided to get a job in the local hospital.

I thought the job was as a Patient Care Assistant. Turned out it was as a cleaner. Now, I hate cleaning toilets – the universe has a sense of humour – and I ended up cleaning 15 toilets a day. The first day I was rostered to clean the rooms up in the Palliative Care Unit (I really didn’t want to work in there – it scared me), I walked into a room where an emaciated little man was lying on the bed presumably asleep. But his eyes were half open. I was really freaked out. I thought he had died. Then he opened his eyes fully and looked at me. I felt an enormous surge of love flow through me, and in that moment, I decided I was going to train to work as a Patient Care Assistant in Palliative Care. I did, and I loved it. It was such a privilege to share the dying journey with people and help in a little way to make them more comfortable.

Five years later, the emaciated man in the bed was my partner, and I held him as the life-force left his body. His face relaxed and all the lines of pain that scored his face dissipated as he quietly left. I couple of faltering breaths and he was gone. It was beautiful. Before we were together, the soul connection was so strong, we “felt” the connection as a tangible thing. When we were together, his illness, two ego’s, and the busyness of life tended to make the soul connection less real, but before I had even left the hospital after he died, I remember feeling it so strongly again and saying to myself “Aah he’s back”. You see, he was a gentle soul, but a sensitive man who had become hard to protect himself – they were two very different identities.

The first patient in palliative care whose body I helped a nurse to wash was an elderly gentleman I had grown fond of. He had died during the night and I was on shift the following morning. I was filled with trepidation at the thought of washing his body and preparing it for the morgue as I had never seen a dead body before, and I was worried I might faint or freak out. As I walked into his room, I had the sense of a soul liberated from a cumbersome human body that had been bedridden. It felt joyful. The body was so still – the life-force had left, and it was so apparent it was simply a vessel, a vehicle to carry life for a while, and then when the time is right, discarded. It was beautiful to respectfully wash and honour the body that had carried a precious soul on its journey through life.

For thirteen years now, I have read copiously and widely on the many ideas about what happens after we die. I have read accounts of people who had near death experiences, or out of body death experiences, I have read the Tibetan book of Living and Dying, books by mediums who can communicate with the dead, psychiatrists who practice past life regressions and hypnosis to access the super conscious mind, I have read what Yogananda has to say on the subject, and various other enlightened people. I have read the Bible.

I have come to the following conclusion. I will not know for sure what is true about the afterlife until I die myself, and therefore the most sensible thing to do is to choose a belief that uplifts, comforts and inspires me and takes away any fear of death. Which is what I have done. Having said that, I want to say I haven”t just blindly grabbed a belief and decided that will do. I like science, and I like experience. Some of the most compelling stories of the afterlife for me were from those who were trained in the medical sciences, and who came to their own beliefs about the afterlife reluctantly initially because it went against everything they had been trained to believe. Dr Eban Alexander, Dr Brian Weiss and Michael Newton PhD are among these. I will list their books among others, at the end of the blog. Although many of the accounts given by people who had near death experiences are remarkably similar, they are also individual – just like life – we experience life and death uniquely while sharing common events.

From all my reading and research, and my own experience of my partner communicating with me after he died, I have developed some very strong beliefs that seem to me to be perfectly feasible. These beliefs allow me to face my own imminent death with complete peace – even, to be truthful, a sense of joy at returning home. I have owned a copy of Michael Newtons book Destiny of Souls for about 8 years, and it resonates so deeply with me, it seems as though my soul lights up and says Yes!!, that’s home, let’s go!!. I have found the pull so strong that I have to ration reading the book.

All my beliefs are based on the assumption of our Creator being unconditional love. If you believe that, and logically follow that thought through… you cannot believe in everlasting hell. An unconditionally loving God and hell are not compatible. Unless of course you choose to believe in a Creator that is only unconditionally loving to a few who live how He(She), wants them to… which still means conditions to the love, so it isn’t unconditional.

I believe:

  • we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Spirit is our natural state.
  • my body and personality are vehicles to experience life on this earth. They are not “me”
  • “me” is an eternal spirit (soul) that cannot die
  • my physical body dies when my soul has finished what it came here to experience
  • my body dies at exactly the right time
  • my soul knows exactly what to do when my body dies – it has done it many times before
  • when my body dies, sometimes a little before, my soul leaves the body and ascends – most people who die and are revived, talk about looking down on their body, and, along with many others, Anita Moorjani – in her beautiful book “Dying to be me”, describes how she heard and saw conversations between her doctors and her family held away from her room as she lay in a coma.
  • my soul, after death, with all its consciousness, goes wherever thought goes. ie, I think of a family member and I am instantly there with them.
  • my soul may stay around the earthly realm for a while – especially to comfort those who are grieving me.
  • at some point I will be drawn into the spiritual realm – many people speak of a bright light, and travelling at speed. Always there is a feeling of unconditional love and total acceptance of who I am.
  • I will be met by my spirit guide – who is with me while in human body and in the spirit realm, and also some of my soul family – those souls who I have incarnated with over lifetimes in a human body. These reunions are joyful. I am home.
  • The spirit world is even more beautiful than the most beautiful places on earth. Sounds and colours are more beautiful. Everything on earth is dulled compared to the spirit world.
  • What I experience is based on my spirit – if, for example, on this earth I have loved hurting people and causing pain, I will go to the same level of vibration in the spiritual realm – ie with other souls who are the same. Hence the notion of hell, except there are always loving beings working with you to help you change.
  • in spirit, I either appear as light – with a unique vibration instantly recognisable as me, or I can project to others the human form and face they recognise.
  • each life in a human body is a tiny blip in the eternal life of my soul. Life begins, and continues forever in the spirit world.
  • we are in eternity all the time – both in human body and in spirit, death of the body is just part of a continuous flow of life.
  • my soul evolves spiritually over eternity – including many lives on earth – until it is so purified it melds into complete oneness and bliss with the Divine Creator.
  • at some point, after death of the physical body, I will sit with a council of elders to have a review of the life I have just left. This is not in the spirit of criticism or judgment, but lovingly and with the purpose of learning from mistakes and victories.
  • at all times, I am held in love.

This is only a portion of what I believe, I could probably write a book on it, but hopefully you can get a sense of it. I have held most of what I read against what Yogananda has written about the afterlife in his books to see if it holds up. Yogananda was an enlightened being with a lot of spiritual credibility, so therefore is a good yardstick. We should all learn to trust our intuition about what we read…. we have the ability to know truth from nonsense, so if it resonates and feels right, take it on board. If it doesn’t let it go. Know also that the truth you know today, may not be your truth tomorrow as you learn and go deeper into connecting with your spirit.

A note: I had heard of reincarnation – in jokes, but the first book I read on the subject, I felt an immediate recognition of the truth of it. it made sense to me, and provided the only rational explanation for the apparent inequity of opportunity that had quietly bothered me for many years. I would think how unfair it was that some people had the hardest of lives and awful mind conditioning from a very young age, while others were brought up in loving, spiritually open families. It didn’t seem equal. Reincarnation provided the answer for me, and everything I have experienced since has only served to reinforce the truth of this belief. For many of us in the Western World, especially those brought up in Christian homes, it is a huge stretch to consider reincarnation as truth, even though most eastern religions regard it as established fact. There are many Christian scholars who acknowledge that references to reincarnation were taken out of the New Testament of the Bible in AD 325 by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. In 553 AD, the Second Council of Constantinople confirmed this action and declared the concept of reincarnation a heresy. They felt it would weaken the power of the church by giving people too much time to seek salvation. There are many, many meticulous studies on reincarnation by intelligent scientific people – we aren’t talking flaky New Agers who believe in unicorns. The evidence is very compelling, but don’t believe me – look for yourself. Personally, I don’t think it is intelligent to reject or malign a belief without first looking at the information available about it. Only then are we in the position to have an informed opinion about it.

In conclusion, none of us know the full truth about death (or even life). There are some very enlightened souls who have shared what they know, and many people who through personal experience have come to some strong beliefs, who also have shared what they believe. The beautiful thing about most people who experience a Near Death Experience is that all without exception, lose their fear of death. And their attitude to life changes. We are lucky to live in a world where we have access to so much information including sacred scriptures from all around the world and accounts of people’s personal experiences.

I believe that making friends with death shows us how to live more freely. Contrary to popular belief that it is a subject that is depressing and best avoided, I believe it has taught me to embrace and love life more, because I have learned to hold life lightly and lovingly. It is very difficult to get overwhelmed by experiences in life when you know you are an eternal spirit that lives forever – perspective changes so completely, even death of the physical body is regarded lovingly.

Why suffer unnecessarily? We are all going to die, it is unavoidable. It is really quite odd when you think about it, that the one experience we are all going to go through, is the one that most people are completely devoid of knowledge about.

Some wonderful reading material if you are interested:

  • Dying to be Me – Anita Moorjani (at least read this one – it is an easy read. I have loaned it to many people, and they all say it has changed their life. Many have subsequently bought their own copy).
  • Proof of Heaven – Eban Alexander MD (great for skeptics – this guy was a neurosurgeon and atheist before his Near Death Experience – he was regarded as basically brain dead and came back to a full recovery)
  • Journey of Souls – Michael Newton PhD (Initially skeptical, after a patient spontaneously entered a state of higher consciousness during clinical hypnosis where she experienced “life between life”, Dr Newton meticulously recorded many more patients experiences in the same state. Very compelling and inspiring to read).
  • Many Lives, Many Masters -Dr Brian Weiss (an eminent, highly trained psychiatrist in the US who did not believe in reincarnation until during hypnosis a client spontaneously went into a past life. An easy read)
  • Love is stronger than Death – Cynthia Bourgeault -(Written by an Episcopal priest about her intense spiritual relationship with a Trappist Monk and Hermit. Their connection continued after his death).
  • The Tibetan book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche. (For people serious about spirituality – the Buddhist view of death).
  • My Son and the Afterlife – Elisa Medhus MD (A doctor and atheist before her son committed suicide)
  • Dying to Wake Up – Dr Rajiv Parti MD (Chief of Anaesthesiology, Dr Parti had a near death on the operating table. It changed his life. An easy read).
  • Dr Raymond Moody is a well known philosopher, psychologist, physician and author who has written many book about life after death and near death experiences. He has been studying the subject for over 50 years.
  • Paramahansa Yogananda – The Divine Romance is probably the easiest read. (This is for people who are serious about spirituality.)

Have fun!! (seriously, you will enjoy reading any of these books.)