A call to arms

“They only deserve freedom, who are prepared to fight for it”.

I read these words over 25 years ago on a war memorial, and had forgotten them until today. This blog began as a platform for me to share my experience with cancer, morphed into a place for me to share my experience of life, and now with this post, I am moving into (for me) uncharted territory… politics and war.

If you have read my previous posts, it will hopefully be clear that I am not a fan of war. I have objected to the terminology of warfare being applied to cancer. The terminology of war is fear inducing and I do not believe it is appropriate or helpful in relation to cancer or anything else really. I do not believe that fear or violence or force is the answer to any of the problems facing humanity. I have believed for the last 13 years that my purpose and passion has been in slowly and steadily releasing myself from fear in its many forms. Fear of death, fear of cancer, fear of life. Fear of speaking my truth when someone may not like what I say, Fear of not being good enough, fear of looking like an idiot. I believed that the challenges and experiences Life has subjected me to were for the purpose of preparing me to help re-frame cancer so others could also use it as a tool for personal transformation and personal liberation instead of it being a harbinger of fear.

The last two months has brought a dawning realisation that my work has actually all been about freedom.

Releasing myself from fear was the path I took – cancer was the vehicle I used, freedom was the destination. I see that now.

It is a valid path to freedom. Fear is a prison. I spent many years trapped in the prison of a mind that was run by fear. Run by beliefs that were not serving me, that weren’t true. Beliefs that kept me small. Beliefs that bound me in bonds as effective as a physical prison.

Freedom is important to me.

My freedom has been hard won. I have achieved it through struggle and pain and tears and despair and a resolute refusal to give up. The price I have paid for my freedom is great. It cost me my marriage, my house, my business, my social network, my religion. It cost me my worldview, I have had to question every belief about the world, God, life, death and myself, that I have held. I have been pushed to the limits of my endurance – beyond what I believed I could bear. I have sat with the death of my soul mate, I have sat with the inevitability of my own death. I have sat with my fear of men, in a prison, in a room full of male prisoners and shared with them my vulnerability, my deepest wounds. I have have sat with my fear of responsibility, my fear of being alone, my fear of not being enough, my fear of not having enough, my fear of not being lovable….. I have sat with my fear, my fear, my fear……

And every time I sat with my fear and refused to surrender to it – I got stronger and my fear got weaker.

This path has not just been pain. The depth of my pain and struggle has been matched by the height of my peace and joy. I have learned to live. I have learned to love life. I have even learned to love myself – and that was possibly the hardest part. I have learned to love creation and Creator. I have learned to open to and trust a Divine Presence that I can barely describe, or imagine or quantify. I have learned to listen to the voice within me. The quiet voice that keeps drawing me back to freedom, love and peace. Every step of my journey, I was supported. As long as I showed up, willing to learn and grow, Life supported me. The right people, the right books, the right experiences, all showed up – exactly when I needed them.

Freedom is our birthright.

Fear takes away freedom. Abuse of power takes away freedom. Restrictive and separative ideologies take away freedom. Selfishness and apathy create an environment where freedom can be taken away.

And this is why I have chosen to stand up.

To do what I can.

My freedom, and yours, is under threat.

I have always stayed away from politics -I am a bit cynical – intelligence and ambition without deep personal insight is dangerous. Power corrupts. It takes a person with very strong and conscious values to keep pure intentions. We are good at fooling ourselves and justifying our actions. I have questioned unfairly at times, the intentions of those who enter politics.

I have barely read the papers or watched the news over the last decade because I object to the propensity of the press to report negativity and conduct fear-mongering. Little is unbiased, you never hear the full story. And I believed that the world was going to continue on its path whether I was aware of what was happening or not. I felt there was little I could do to combat the negativity and fear. So I turned my back on it.

But the world has changed.

I have changed.

There are two quotes that I want to share:

“”There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right” – Martin Luther King

and

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke

What I say in following is from the point of view of a person who lives in Australia, however it also applies to any other democratic country.

Our freedom is under threat from the ideologies of the China Communist Party. It is with great reluctance that I say this on a public platform. I may be wrong. I hope so. I may also be the last person in Australia to see this – after all I have made no attempt in the past to follow the news, but it seems very clear to me that the Chinese Communist Party has one agenda, and one alone: world power and world domination. For anyone who values their freedom, the time is now past to stay quiet. I don’t know a lot about living under communist rule – but the little I do know – doesn’t shout out FREEDOM.

Freedom is important to me.

How important is it to you?

Important enough to fight for?

I am not talking about fight in terms of guns and physical force. Lets hope it doesn’t come to that. I am talking about the people of this country being very aware of the threat, clear about what we want, united in our stance.

Do we, as a people, want to keep our freedom? I think we do.

So what can we, the people without any power but personal power, do?

Smarter brains than mine will come up with better solutions than me, but there are several things that occur to me:

  • Research for yourself to see if there is any basis in truth of what I am saying.
  • Sit with yourself and decide how important your freedom is to you.
  • Decide for yourself what you can do personally to keep your/our freedom safe
  • Support our government – let Scott Morrison know that we, the people of Australia are behind him in his refusal to back down to China’s threats to use trade for political manipulation. Lets not just leave it up to the few to make the difficult decisions – to try to balance economics with humanity. This is a democracy – politicians are meant to be working on behalf of the people. We must not remain silent and hope. If we don’t speak up, those with the deepest pockets on whom broken trade relations with China will impact greatly will be the loudest voices.
  • Support Australian industry: Australian made. If it costs you a little more than if you bought Chinese made, then remind yourself, you are investing to keep your freedom.
  • We must stand together. We must support each other. We must keep in mind what is at stake. We will face hard times if China severs trade, however we will face even harder times at some point in the future if we bow to their threats. The Chinese Communist party is infiltrating Pacific Island politics as we speak – this is not simple trade. This is political agenda. Their agenda does not align with our freedom.
  • We must understand, as Tony Abbot said in an interview a few days ago: “We see China in commercial terms, they see us in political terms. In fact, being a communist, totalitarian state, they view everything in political terms”.
  • The Australian people need to know the level of Chinese involvement in the Australian economy. We need to know what and how much of our assets, including property and businesses are held by Chinese investors.
  • We need to watch ourselves carefully in the process that this is not turned into racism or witch-hunts. That the ordinary Chinese resident or citizen is not vilified or blamed or turned on because of their nationality. It is not the person of Chinese heritage running the nail parlour or supermarket who is a threat to our freedom – it is the ideologies of the Chinese Communist Party. We must assume unless proved otherwise, that residents or citizens of Chinese heritage have chosen to live here because they appreciate our lifestyle – because they too, value freedom.
  • We must work together to keep our freedom. We must work together to ensure that the devastation wreaked on our economy by the Covid-19 virus does not weaken us and cause us to fight among ourselves. That we prevent overseas Chinese investors from using an ailing economy for leverage and infiltration. More than ever before, we must put our personal differences aside, our personal ambitions, and direct our energies towards protecting our freedom. The freedom of this country. We honour the people from earlier generations who were willing to fight and die to protect our freedom. Are we, in our generation, capable of sacrificing for the greater good?

It is naive to believe that the iron ore which has lined the pockets of the Australian economy and which the Chinese Communist Party has no doubt used to build aircrafts, aircraft carriers and battle ships, won’t one day be used against us. There is a point, and Covid-19 is demonstrating that very clearly – where a choice must be made between what is good for humanity and what is good for economies. Have we been blinded by greed? How much do we need before we are satisfied? These are questions that must be asked individually and collectively. I am as culpable as anyone in contributing to the current state of the world.

This is a call to arms. It is not a call to violence, blame or hatred. It is a call for us all individually, to collectively protect our freedom, It is a call to self-responsibility. It is a call to awareness of our own, individual part in contributing to a future of freedom. Or not.

We must arm ourselves with knowledge, clarity, rationality, morals and values. We must arm ourselves with self-awareness. With willingness to support each other and the greater good of democracy and freedom. We must all step up – or be stepped on.

Ultimately, it is a call to peace.

But it is not a call to peace at all costs by bowing to manipulation and threats.

We are stronger than that.

The Little Things

I have been spending a lot of time out on my bike, photographing nature while the Covid-19 drama plays out on the global stage, and in a moment of clarity this week, I understood the value of the Little Things in living a happy life.

Like many people, I have spent a fair bit of my life waiting for the big things to happen. The exciting news, the next new thing, the anticipation of a great event, the social outing. Something to look forward to… and then it is over…it never seems to last long before it is simply another memory – it no longer exists except in my mind. And then… back to everyday life.

Now I’m not by nature, great at attention to detail. I think I’m probably too impatient. It was a family joke when I was a teenager. I was competent at sewing, in fact I made many of my own clothes for a while, but I wasn’t fond of hand-sewing – too slow for me, so if a hem came down, I was inclined to simply apply sellotape to hold it up. It worked ok until I washed the clothing and then ironed it. Let’s just say sellotape and a hot iron aren’t a great mix. I wanted the quick fix. The instant result.

Looking back, I can see that for a period of years, I also craved drama. Social drama. I felt alive and energised when something was going down. Something to focus on, to distract me. I married into an Italian family – plenty of drama there. I lived in my head a lot. Lots of anxiety, fear of not being perfect: I didn’t truly inhabit my body. I was very disconnected.

I saw beauty everywhere, but often it was a fleeting recognition – an acknowledgement and appreciation that lasted for an instant before I moved on. Going somewhere else. Lost in my mind. Distracted.

Years of meditation and deep spiritual work have taught me to slow down. To be more present. To be immersed in the moment. About ten years ago, I was working with clients with Autism, and I read a book called “Autism and Sensing – The Unlost Instinct” by Donna Williams. It is a stunning and eloquent account of her personal experience of living with autism. This is an excerpt from the book where she describes a chandelier:

“A chandelier would become a collective of interacting, seemingly playful sparks of colour, the image of which would trigger the associated sense of the chink-chink sound that would be made if the smooth hard (glass) pieces from which the colours emanated were touched together”.

“Recently, having moved out of this sensory I looked up at a huge over-head chandelier and remembered the drug-like addictive effect such an experience once had on me. When asked about it, I recalled experiences like it as ‘merging with God’ because I would resonate with the sensory nature of the object with such an absolute purity and loss of self that it was like an overwhelming passion into which you merge and become part of the beauty itself. It was the ultimate in belonging and ‘company’. The feeling was completely compelling and addictive and by comparison, the call of the world of interpretation seemed pale, weak, insignificant, foreign and of little reward”.

This particular post isn’t the time to comment on the neuro-typical persons perception of people with autism, and our attempts to make them “normal”. My immediate reaction to reading Donna’s description of her experience was a longing to know that experience for myself. It speaks to me of One-ness – the experience longed for by spiritual seekers the world over. Complete immersion in the moment. Total one-pointedness. Total attention. Timelessness. Aliveness.

Our senses are constantly assaulted with noise and visuals – more so than ever before in the history of mankind. Fortunately, our brain is very clever; to cope with the constant barrage, it creates filters and interpretations and labels to avoid over-whelm. On a normal day, we see the big picture and little of the detail until we direct our attention specifically and intentionally on one thing – this is when we experience the detail, and often a sense of timelessness. This attention and intention is where the power of creation lies. It is a portal to Now. It is a transcendence of self.

Watching and photographing birds, and taking macro shots of plant and insects has brought home to me an ancient truth – that it is the little things that make up the majority of the life we live, and if we can find pleasure in them, our capacity to live a joyful and happy life increases.

Photographing birds requires stillness and patience. I love the zoom on my camera, and how, when seen up close, even the seemingly ordinary and boring Pacific Black Duck, is breath-takingly beautiful. To zoom in on a flower and see its exquisite detail burst into life on the screen of my camera fills me with awe. I see colours and contrasts and perfection and beauty I have not ever noticed before. A single bush can give me an hour of wonder and delight as I photograph; the juxtaposition of light and dark, the fresh bud emerging, the flower in full bloom and an old flower dying. Moss on the branch, a new shoot, bees gathering nectar from the flowers, a wax-eye paying a fleeting visit, ants on the trunk. The warm sun on my skin, the happy hum of bees, the chatter of the birds, a gentle breeze teasing the leaves, the smell of damp earth.

I am beginning to take a baby step into Donna’s world. To immerse myself fully into the joy and wonder of the moment. To be fully embodied in sensory delight. A part of my surroundings, not just passing through with headphones on, oblivious. Life is a journey. Life is awe-inspiring, Life is full of incredible detail and beauty. Life is to be enjoyed; life is to be sensed, and lived and felt and smelt and tasted. We inhabit a body on purpose – to experience physical life in all its diversity. This is A path to joy and ultimately to God. There are many paths. This is just one.

We have eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to hold and touch – lets not waste these gifts on things that don’t inspire or uplift us.

I know I often bang on about western culture, but I think it is indisputable that somewhere, we have taken a step in the wrong direction. Instead of happiness, love and peace being what we are all striving for, (even though this is what we all long for), we’ve been brainwashed into jumping on the money, work and “accumulate more things” train which is hurtling full pelt towards destruction of the earth and our mental and physical health. The signs are evident – depression, suicide, mental illness, chronic diseases, anxiety and stress affecting more and more people.

The only way we can turn things around, is for more people to wake up. More people to wipe the sleep from their eyes and realise that underneath the hustle and bustle of frantic fast-paced driven living – we all just want to feel loved, happy and connected. And the way to that isn’t through money and possessions. (Athough there is nothing wrong with these as secondary pursuits). Clearly, the direction our culture is taking as a whole isn’t achieving that for us. Find your own way to connect with the joy, peace and love that lies behind and within the physical world – and within each of us. Its there… we have just drowned it out with noise, and covered it with busy-ness. (Busi-ness?) Each person who wakes up and makes changes with peace and joy as the objective, contributes to the overall uplifting of world-consciousness. There is no greater service to the world that is available to every person to give – be happy, know peace.

Live, love, enjoy now.

Finding clarity

I have been spending a lot of time recently in contemplation of Life.

My life in particular.

Viktor Frankl wrote a book called “Mans Search for Meaning”. Viktor was a prominent Viennese psychiatrist before WW2 who spent time in Aushchwitz where he was able to observe the way that he and others coped (or not) with the experience. He saw that the sort of person the concentration camp prisoner became was the result of inner decision and not of camp influences alone. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and gave away their last piece of bread – who lasted the longest, and he came to believe that mans deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose.

Meaning and Purpose.

Nietzsche said “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”.

Last week you could say I had an existential crisis. Very unpleasant. I felt disconnected, agitated, felt I had no purpose and wondered if perhaps I had been mistaken and life was meaningless and random after all. Fortunately it didn’t last more than 24 hours: my heartfelt compassion to those who experience depression if that is what it feels like.

As often happens, it was a prelude to breaking lifelong habits of thinking that have constrained me and kept me stuck. The process is not always comfortable.

Feeling despair galvanised me into deeper meditation with the intent of obtaining clarity. Everything is useful in a universe designed to support our spiritual growth.

It had been bothering me a little for a while that I am writing a blog ostensibly about cancer however I often don’t mention cancer. I have realised very clearly that I am not, and never have been interested in cancer per se except as a vehicle for growth. For me, that is the sum of it. Cancer itself, in my mind is neither good nor bad – it is merely an opportunity for self discovery and ultimately freedom, and I believe that once it has outlived this purpose for me, either it, or I will go.

Who knows which.

I don’t want to write about various treatment options, there are many, many sites out there who do that well. Physical healing has always been of secondary importance to me. Healing emotionally, mentally and spiritually through cancer has always been my focus. Interestingly, I am still alive and very well long after statistics suggest I should have died. Perhaps I am not so foolish after all.

The connection and impact of mind and spirit on the body interests me greatly.

Freedom interests me even more.

This was another realisation I had in the last week. That for the last thirteen years I have been focused on becoming fear free – working to release myself from beliefs that prevent me from living in total peace no matter what, and I thought my purpose was about fear. Perhaps working with people who have cancer and are fearful, or people who are dying and are fearful, but lately this hasn’t felt quite right which probably initiated the collapse into meaninglessness. If this wasn’t my purpose after so many years thinking it was, then what was?

I realised that behind the desire to be fear free was a driving force to be free.

Freedom.

True freedom.

I am not talking about physical freedom although that is an aspect of it. I am talking about being free from the past. Being free from programmed sub conscious beliefs that don’t serve me. Being free to choose, consciously, how I AM in any given moment without being triggered into reactions. Being free to make decisions and choices based on what I feel is right for me, not because it is the “right thing”, or I “should” do it. To not be controlled by emotion.

Being present; not lost in thoughts of the future or cling-ons of the past. In the present is where life is. Everyday I go out in nature and photograph birds, and I see them serenely living their lives in each moment. It seems to me that the little Honey-eater doesn’t sit on the branch brooding and resenting the magpie that chased it, planning revenge. Or the Great Egret I saw yesterday standing in the estuary suddenly dive-bombed by bullying seagulls didn’t appear to dwell on it. They moved on. It moved on. Serenely.

It appears to be only humanity that is both blessed and cursed with a mind that thinks beyond survival instinct. This mind is not harmless or powerless. Not at all. This mind makes our life enjoyable or not. This mind creates the experience of how we live our life. This mind affects our relationships. This mind creates our perceptions then directs us to see only what we believe. We see nothing as it really is because we see it all through the biased filters of our mind.

Our mind has the most powerful affect on our life. Above anything else by far.

We think other people upset us, but it is our mind that upsets us. We think our environment affects us, but it is our mind that creates the perception of our environment that affects us.

I believe we have a choice.

We are being lived regardless, either way. Life will unfold as it unfolds. We actually have precious little control over much outside of ourselves as you may have noticed. This Covid-19 scenario is helping us to understand that a little better – our illusion of control, the illusion of stability of economies, the illusion that death shouldn’t happen – even among the elderly.

We have a choice. We can continue to believe we are predominantly a body and a mind, and leave the mind in control – the unruly, undisciplined mind in control – that way lies suffering.

Or,

We can choose to go a little deeper, open our minds to being more than that. Align ourselves with our spirit. Seek meaning, clarity, peace and purpose above money, assets and materialism and discover the joy that lies beneath. And begin to rein in the un-managed mind.

In his book, Viktor Frankl says “everything can be taken away from a man, but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances (concentration camp), decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually”.

Times are changing. We can’t afford to keep sleeping. We need to become more conscious of the choices we make. Conscious of our attitude. Consciously choose our attitude.

First we need to believe that a consistently peaceful, happy mind is possible… Then seek to have it for ourselves.

Learn to immerse ourselves fully in each moment. Really truly experience life. Get out of our head.

Healed by Cancer

(First, I just want to say, I love this photo. A magpie, knock-kneed, disheveled, feathers awry, completely oblivious to its appearance, just going about its business. There is a lesson in that for me.)

“Healed By Cancer” is the title of a book by a woman called Jayka Duncan.

I love this title – it perfectly summarises my experience with cancer also – to be honest, I wish I had thought of it first!. I also love the book, and highly recommend it as a raw and honest account of emotional healing that is very easy to relate to – for everyone.

Let me tell you how I came by this book and how it has helped me. It is a classic example of synchronicity – of how life is designed to support us. There is an old saying that “when the pupil is ready, the teacher arrives” and I have proven that this is true over and over again, but I still sometimes forget to simply set an intention and then be open to whatever arises rather than trying to force life to work on my terms. If we have specific ideas about what and how things should happen, we miss so many opportunities for growth and healing because we don’t even notice them.

About a month ago, my therapist commented on me being strident. I was extremely indignant, and vehemently (stridently?), asked him to rephrase it – which he did. (Ironically, it turns out it came down to perception. My idea of strident is “harsh and loud” – backed up by the Oxford dictionary, his interpretation is “forcefully putting your point forward” also backed up by a dictionary, but I latched onto the definition that fitted what I believed. We have since had a good laugh about it). I reacted to my understanding of the word, and it really rankled. About a week later, in a conversation with an old friend, I mentioned my indignation about being called strident, and he agreed that I was strident, adding “in the nicest way, you don’t have a mean bone in your body”. I was not happy. Again, fixated on “loud and harsh”. I felt that clearly I had no clue what I came across like, and to be honest, I was pretty devastated (and humiliated) that I was considered “loud and harsh” (or so I thought). It eventually dawned on me that I could stay stuck feeling indignant and unacceptable, or alternatively, investigate why I was reacting. Why I felt so defensive. This was based in fear… I needed to do some deeper inner work.

So I simply sat in quietness and said “I want to understand why I cannot accept being called strident”. I set my intention then carried on with my day.

I have been a member of a facebook page – Holistic Cancer Healing for a while. I am not often on it, but that day, I saw a post by a woman anxious about finding a lump in her armpit while having radiation for breast cancer, and I decided to reassure her not to panic, it doesn’t mean she is going to die in the near future. Then another woman added a comment – Jayka Duncan, and mentioned that natural treatments hadn’t worked for her, but she had healed quickly after doing emotional work. She named the book she had written about her experience “Healed by Cancer”. My interest was piqued because I have always believed that if I am going to heal from this cancer, it would mostly be due to emotional and spiritual healing. I downloaded her book on Kindle and started reading.

It felt like she was writing my story.

Obviously many of her life experiences were different, but what was essentially the same were the emotional wounds that had kept her stuck in playing out patterns of behaviour that weren’t healthy. You see, fundamentally we are all very much the same. We all want to be loved and approved of, but we have all had experiences in life and particularly in childhood when we are not able to apply reason to experiences, that left us feeling unworthy in some way. It is almost impossible to come out of childhood without feeling like this. In childhood, while we have limited understanding, we develop defense mechanisms to help us feel better about ourselves, and we carry them into adulthood as subconscious programs. The problem is, until something major happens that forces us into deep inner work, we spend our entire life running on a program of woundedness, reaction and defensiveness, and we project this onto the outside world.

I went to bed that night and asked again “why can I not accept being strident? and why did she (Jayka) heal and I haven’t?”.

Suddenly, with complete clarity, I could see that the reason I couldn’t accept being seen as strident was that despite all the inner work I had been doing for years, I still could not love every aspect of myself. I saw I still believed that in order to be acceptable, I had to possess certain attributes and strident most certainly wasn’t one of them. I still couldn’t forgive myself for not being perfect.

Now, as I have mentioned before, I have a very strong fundamentalist Christian background, the first 40 years of my life spent trying to love a God I was actually terrified of. I had a deep seated subconscious belief that I needed to be perfect like Jesus, and because I clearly wasn’t that, then I was unworthy and unacceptable. Obviously this didn’t make me feel good about myself. For many years, I didn’t even realise this was a driving force in my life. (Who/what do you have in the drivers seat in your life?).

As a result, I spent most of my life attempting to be perfect. This might seem to be a noble aim, but it actually isn’t healthy, especially when its roots are based in fear. (Aiming for personal perfection is a lost cause because it isn’t attainable. Earth is a spiritual learning and growing school. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t be here). The roots of my need to be perfect were based in a deep fear of being completely unacceptable the way I am. Not good enough. Unloveable. Unworthy. As I discovered, at the very deepest core, was the belief that I was so disgusting I shouldn’t be seen. I didn’t deserve to be alive.

As a child, (and in particular, a female child), I absorbed the belief that I needed to be quiet, submissive, gentle, self-effacing, humble, amenable, calm, easily controlled, patient and in control of my emotions. I tried to be these, I really did, but I was born with a very different nature. For many, many years, I managed to suppress myself and worked hard to fit into what I thought I should be in a desperate attempt to be worthy and approved of. The end result was that one day I realised I had no idea who I was. There was no “Rebecca”. There was simply someone who had shaped herself to be what she thought everyone else wanted her to be. I literally had no concept of my will being as valid as someone else’s. I had no idea who I was.

The day I woke up was over thirteen years ago, and I am now a very different person. I think a better person. Some may disagree, but that isn’t my business. At the very least, I am much more authentic. Cancer has been very much a part of the healing process, but obviously there is still a program of fear running in me if I can be so discombobulated by “strident”.

So I sat with myself and acknowledged all the parts of me that didn’t fit in with the notion of the ideal female I had absorbed in my childhood – and there were many parts that didn’t fit. Following Jayka’s lead, I allowed myself to feel the inadequacy, the fear and shame and reassured myself it is ok to feel like this. It is ok to be those things. I am acceptable. I am loveable. I surrendered the need to be seen and heard, I surrendered the need to be a certain way to be loveable. I surrendered the need to be perfect. I accepted that at times I could be strident in the worst meaning of the word, but that did not mean I was completely unacceptable as a person. I saw that I had been acting as though I was ALL strident, All the time.

Peace came.

Healing is a process. It usually isn’t linear. There have been many times over the last decade when I have breathed a sigh of relief, thinking “great, I have dealt with that one”, only to revisit it later.. again, and again. But each time, going deeper and deeper. If the pain and fear and patterns of behaviour are strong and deep, our mind will often only allow us to work a layer at a time. Like peeling back an onion.

These fears will arise again. I know that, but the difference is, instead of getting stuck in them and unconsciously living from the fear and reacting, realisation will quickly arise and I will see the pattern and be able to step out of it and make a conscious choice to act and think differently. This is why awareness is so important – from it we can make conscious choices.

This, my friends is real freedom. To NOT be bound in chains of reaction and patterns of behaviour that don’t serve us well. To be able to love ourselves in all our glorious, messy imperfections. We are all the same. All imperfect, all learning and growing. Some consciously, most unconsciously. If we cannot love ourselves – including the parts we don’t really like, then we are condemning ourselves to a life of intolerance towards others. Other people’s words and behaviours will impact on us, stealing our peace, upsetting us, making us feel angry or frustrated or hurt or offended. These reactions only ever arise from our own unhealed, unaccepted parts but we hide from this by believing that it is the other persons fault – if they were different, hadn’t said that, hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t feel like this. Not true.

Over the years, through utter frustration and helpless rage at what I saw as someone else’s bad behaviour they refused to address, I slowly learned that I could choose not to take it on board, I could choose not to suffer simply by looking inward and asking “why am I reacting like this?, what part of me needs to feel offended and upset? why does the role of victim fulfill a need for me in this?”

It is probably one of the hardest things we can do – take responsibility for our own actions and reactions. Own them and acknowledge that each time we are triggered to react it is an opportunity for US to heal – not the other person – the timing of their healing isn’t our business.

We are a world of people who don’t love ourselves enough. How can we tell? By the way we treat each other. By the way we treat nature – polluting the very environment that sustains our physical life. By the way we treat ourselves -the mental and emotional abuse we inflict on ourselves by castigating ourselves and endlessly worrying, anger, fear, intolerance and not attempting to heal our wounds; the physical abuse we inflict on our bodies by not nurturing and keeping them healthy, eating chemical filled non-food disguised as food, smoking, not exercising. The list goes on.

Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

I’m trying.

And I am learning to forgive myself for not being perfect.

Love or fear.

Which do you choose?

Banging on about fear

At the risk of boring everyone by going over the same thing again and again, I am going to talk about fear.

We have conned ourselves.

We have conned ourselves into believing that fear is a normal state. I don’t believe it is. Actually, let me re-phrase that. Fear IS now a normal state to live in, because we have accepted it as such, but it doesn’t need to be.

You know, stress and anxiety are forms of fear. Their roots are based in fear. Had you ever thought about that? I didn’t realise it for a long time. It wasn’t until I went through my “Dark Night of the Soul” and the fear got so intense it almost paralyzed me that I began to really investigate and unpick my fear. I had to, because I couldn’t live like that anymore. It ended up being the greatest gift.

There are several cute acronyms about fear that are frequently bandied around. One of the most common I want to mention is “FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real”. Very cute, but in my opinion, of no value whatsoever (apologies to whoever thought it up). If you are feeling fear, someone telling you that it’s “false evidence appearing real”, isn’t helpful. At all. I mean seriously, it’s very real to you right? You can feel it. Let’s be real – It is going to take re-programming a belief system to get you out of fear, and someone telling you that what is causing the fear isn’t real isn’t going to achieve that.

Fear is a massive problem for humanity.

If we want to improve the way that humanity lives on a global scale, the level of collective human consciousness needs to rise above the level of fear. Into Love. When fear leaves, love enters, because love is what we are, at our essence, underneath the fear. Let’s start a revolution -stop the fear, feel the love. (A revamp of the 1960’s “make Love, not War”).

Fear is the pandemic we need to address on a global scale once this insignificant (in comparison) Covid-19 pandemic is dealt with. Fear contributes to more deaths annually than Covid-19 has caused, it just isn’t so obvious and death isn’t so quick. On a collective level, covid-19 is the focus at the moment; on an individual level however, now is a good time to address fear – many more of us than usual have TIME. No excuse!.

(If you are more than fleetingly interested in the subject of fear in relation to covid-19, then check out https://londonreal.tv/dr-bruce-lipton-coronavirus-epigenetics-immune-system-most-dangerous-part-of-covid-19-is-fear/?utm_source=drip).

If you feel called to be an activist for global change then follow that call…. for the rest of us, the best thing we can do to create a better world is to work on our own fear. Yes really.

Lets start by defining fear. What is fear?

A general definition is “An unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined”.

Note that the definition says Perception of danger, real or imagined. One of my favourite spiritual teachers -Byron Katie uses the analogy of confusing a rope for a snake. When we realise it is a rope not a snake, we can laugh and relax. We have no fear. The problem is, our mind sees snakes everywhere, we need to begin to see ropes instead. That is how we get out of fear. It is all about perception and awareness.

Lets look at several different forms of fear:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Panic
  • Phobias
  • Anger

These all have their basis in fear.

How many of us have experienced or are experiencing anxiety or stress? Most of us. Have you really, deeply understood that it is fear? Pause and think about that for a moment. Yes, stress is a fear response. Anxiety is a fear response.

When I was about 35 years old, I started a Certificate in Mental Health, and in one of the classes, a condition called Generalised Anxiety Disorder was discussed – In a moment of sudden clarity, I realised I had all the symptoms. I had no idea there was a name for it, let alone a solution. I thought it was just the way I was, because I had been like that for as long as I could remember. It had become normal for me. I don’t think I am the exception to the rule. In fact, I know I am not. Statistics show otherwise. The problem with anxiety and stress is that these are the two most toxic forms of fear. Why? Because they tend to be chronic… they are ongoing, and we just get used to it. But it has an increasingly negative effect on our health.

Fear is a primitive survival instinct.

Way back, when the human body evolved, or when we were created, whichever belief you subscribe to, life was much simpler. When we were confronted by (an analogy Bruce Lipton uses) a sabre toothed tiger, in an instant, our sub-conscious mind perceived a threat and triggered fear – a chemical response initiated by the brain to activate the body to fight or flight. As a result of that trigger, chemicals flooded our body, creating physiological changes such as:

  • constricting some blood vessels (namely in the digestive system) to redirect blood flow to the legs and arms ready for fight or flight
  • Suppressing the immune system (not necessary while running or fighting)
  • increasing blood pressure,
  • release of adrenaline providing extra burst of energy
  • increasing heart rate
  • heightened alertness
  • Muscles tighten
  • affects insulin needs
  • alters acid concentration in the stomach

(There are many more changes, however these will suffice for now.)

Clearly, it isn’t healthy for any of the above reactions to continue for long periods of time. The reason anxiety and stress are so toxic, is because the body stays in fight/flight mode, and as a result, it is constantly flooded with chemicals and hormones that are only meant to be short-term. The reason you feel that weird sensation in your stomach when you feel fear? It is the blood vessels constricting in your digestive system. The body is perfectly designed to be in fight/light for short periods, but not long ones.

The fight/flight response works beautifully when confronted by physical danger that quickly passes. It fulfills its purpose well. However, these days this response is generally triggered by different kinds of perceived threat – and different fears – that don’t pass quickly.

  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Fear of not being smart, pretty, slim enough
  • Fear of not being successful
  • Fear of displeasing people
  • Fear of not being able to complete work on time
  • Fear of making a mistake
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of not being in control
  • Fear of not getting everything done
  • Fear of being judged
  • Fear of not being love-able
  • Fear of not coping
  • Fear of not having enough money
  • Fear of emotion
  • Fear of something bad happening
  • Fear
  • Fear
  • Fear ad infinitum

We Need To Stop. Right Now.

We need to stop and take a good look at the values we want to live by, and what is really important to us as individuals. Not the values or the definitions of success that a sick society conditions us to believe in (the biggest cult of all is our culture – it brainwashes us to think a certain way, and although we are all individuals within it, we are still programmed by our culture more than we imagine). As a result of our conditioning, most of us are seriously afraid underneath that we aren’t enough (meaning worthy of love), and that we haven’t got enough, that maybe there isn’t enough to go around (hence the rush on toilet paper) and these are the fears that sub-consciously drive us.

Why is this?

Because we are programmed all throughout our lives to believe this. It starts with our parents (they can’t teach us what they don’t know, and they just teach us the programs they have running – we can’t blame them, most of them do their best, just like we have done our best bringing up our children). When we are little, we receive incessant subtle and not so subtle hints that we should be better. We realise very quickly that if we want to be loved we need to do/be certain things. We go to school and on top of the expectations at home, we discover more is expected of us. We learn that winners are grinners and we are supposed to be good at everything; maths, writing, spelling, sitting still, listening, suppressing our nature exuberance, sports. It we aren’t good at something we are shamed. We are graded and compared with others. And it only gets worse, after a while we realise we need to have the right clothes, the right appliances – ipad, phone etc, the right shoes. Our teeth need to be straight, we shouldn’t smell, our body (particularly if we are female) should be a certain size. We become fixated on the bits that aren’t up to scratch instead of being thankful that our body actually works.

Then we graduate from school. We can’t wait to be grown up and out of school. But it gets worse. The pressure to be and to have gets worse. Now we need to get a job – a good job, we need the house and the cars and the phone (the latest), we need overseas holidays we need fancy food, we need wifi and bigger TV’s, appliances and more and more and more and more…..

We are bombarded with visual advertisements that undermine our sense of worthiness and our sub-conscious fear even further. If you have this or that you will be more beautiful, skinnier, happier, more popular, more successful. Beautiful, photo-shopped, air-brushed models lure us to shipwreck on the rocks of our “not good enough-ness”. The Media pedals fear, inundating us with the horrors human beings inflict on each other from all over the world as well as locally. Reporting “bad” news with breathless excitement. News announcers – really? is this what you were born to do…. promote fear? Do you really realise what you are doing in the name of a “good” story?

And then we have to juggle… we have to work full-time to pay the mortgage and the loans while we are trying to bring up our children, and do the housework and cook. Keep on moving, can’t afford to stop. Go, go, go, quick, quick, quick, busy, busy, busy….. no time to think, just blindly follow. (Do you know what you are following? Do you really know where you are going? Is accumulation of stuff your ultimate purpose? Is it really worth devoting most of your time to?).

Now we need the alcohol, the drugs, (legal and illegal),the cigarettes, the mindless TV shows and movies, computer games, facebook, instagram, twitter, under-eating, over-eating, over-exercising, sex addictions, shopping addictions, caffeine addictions to get us through the day because we are over-stimulated and over-stressed and fearful.

We have been trained to be consumers and blindly worship the gods of materialism. Striving, ever striving, thinking that somehow happiness, peace, love, joy will be our reward. We’ve got it “arse about” folks. We are putting our faith in the wrong gods.

And we call this living?

Then something collapses. It might be our mind, it might be our body that just can’t take it any longer.

It’s too much. It isn’t natural the way we are living, and it certainly isn’t healthy. Humanity is sick and getting sicker by the year. Sicker mentally and emotionally (depression, suicide, mental illnesses, addictions all on the rise), sicker physically (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, all lifestyle diseases on the rise), sicker spiritually (unconscious of a connection with a higher power).

We are letting fear rule.

Stress and anxiety are an indicator that something is wrong – we need to address it instead of ignoring it. Long-term stress and anxiety weakens our bodies, but even worse, in the meantime, it kills our capacity to live fully and deeply this precious life.

Medication is a temporary bandaid, not a solution. Addictions are ultimately self destructive. If we can’t change the external circumstances, we need to change the internal environment – our mind. Our perceptions. We need to start seeing ropes everywhere, not snakes.

We shouldn’t just accept fear as normal. It doesn’t need to be. We all have the capacity to live happy, peaceful lives. The only thing preventing us from doing so is our mind.

I ask you…. Please. Stop right now, and make a commitment. Make a commitment to eradicate fear in all its forms out of your life. Believe it or not, we live in a universe that is designed to support us. If you make a conscious choice to recognise fear as the enemy, and choose to live fearlessly, live true to your own inner truths, then life will bring you every experience you need to assist you in achieving this.

We need to make a commitment to being open. By this I mean being open to change. Open to understanding how we can grow and benefit from every experience. Open to perceiving differently. Open to questioning the status quo. Open to seeking peace and happiness above everything.

Within all of us, (as Dr Melissa Rankin calls it), is an Inner Pilot Light. When we begin to listen to that, we begin to live with integrity to ourself, to our own path, to our life.

Covid-19 has given many of us the chance to slow down. Let’s use it wisely. Don’t waste it on worrying about what might be. Use this Pause to spend some time in meditation, contemplation, in nature. Journal. Spend some time with yourself. Really with yourself, no distractions. Examine yourself, Meet yourself. Know yourself. Love yourself.

The antidote to fear is Love

Love or fear.

Which do you choose?

When I loved myself enough

“When I loved myself enough.

I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy.

This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits –

anything that kept me small.

My judgement called it disloyal.

Now I see it as self-loving”

(From When I Loved Myself Enough by Kim McMillen)

This is a time for reflection.

A pause in Life.

It is a time for simplicity, a time to slow down.

A time to love yourself, nurture yourself. How long is it since you have done that?

Do you even know how?

This time is a gift….. or not.

So many opportunities we miss, because they don’t come packaged as we thought they would be. So many opportunities for learning, for growing. For love instead of indifference. For rest instead of rush. For quiet instead of noise. For peace instead of fear.

As Eckhart Tolle says in his exquisite book Guardians of Being:

“We get lost in doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating –

lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems.

NATURE CAN SHOW US THE WAY HOME,

the way out of the prison of our own minds”

“We have forgotten what rocks, plants and animals still know.

We have forgotten how to Be –

to be still, to be ourselves, to be where life is:

HERE AND NOW”

Most people live in the prison of their mind, thinking that is just the way it is. This is particularly apparent at the moment. So much fear and anxiety, whinging and complaining. Even abuse. Yesterday I heard stories of people with foreign accents being snarled at and told to go home. This is fear talking. Fear is dangerous because it can make people act in ways that are self-serving and ugly. It makes some people vicious. we don’t want to contribute to the fear.

If you are filled with anxiety and fear or anger and frustration, and you cannot be happy in this moment, then your mind is your prison.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Do you know what real freedom is?

This is what I think it is:

Real freedom is a peaceful mind. Real freedom is not being upset by our external environment. Real freedom is not being reactive because we have healed our emotional wounds. Real freedom is the ability to be present, totally in the moment. Real freedom is not believing our thoughts. Real freedom is being able to love deeply and fearlessly. Real freedom is seeing beauty everywhere. Real freedom is being consistently happy. Real freedom is not being afraid of dying. Real freedom is accepting what we cannot change. Real freedom is trusting that everything is unfolding as it should. Real freedom is knowing that we have no control over anything much except how we choose to experience life. Real freedom is knowing that we are worthy just by virtue of being alive. Real freedom is knowing that we are not just temporary bodies and minds, but more importantly, eternal Soul.

I am taking this time to reflect on my life. On how I am living my life. On what makes my heart sing, and ensuring there is more of that in each day. I can see clearly now, where I have been careless and arrogant, taking things for granted. Where I have not respected the earth, where I have chosen to be lazy, and where my actions have not been congruent with the values I believe are important.

It has been humbling.

For an interesting and rewarding exercise, go online on http://www.motivationalinterviewing.org and check out their personal values card sort. You can download and print them off (or just write them down if you can’t print). Sort them into piles of very important, important and not important. Reduce until you have eight values in your Very Important pile. These are the values that you want to embody. Then sit and review different areas of your life and see how they fit with the values you have chosen. ie in your relationships, hobbies, work, actions, thoughts etc. This can really help to get on track and living a life in congruence with your deepest values.

We can take this time to reflect and grow or we can whinge and stagnate.

Our choice.

Again, Love or Fear.

Which do you choose?

What lies beneath

The photo above is of the swamp at the entrance to the estate I live in. At first glance, it is butt ugly. And sometimes it smells less than fresh (to put it politely). It kind of reflects what I want to write about today.

Most people take no notice of this swamp because it isn’t beautiful, you have to leave the sealed path to get into it, there are much more obviously appealing places to go and generally people are in a rush. Plus it is enthusiastically patrolled by marauding mosquitoes who viciously attack the second you arrive.

But I love it.

As always, it is about perspective.

I love it because it is raw and gritty and has depth and texture. A bit like life at the moment. It is also home to an incredible variety of birds (and probably insect life but I haven’t got that up close and personal yet). At the moment (autumn), it has donned a mantle of many different shades of brown.

To see the beauty of this swamp requires Stillness. Silence. I need to wait patiently with awareness (protected by my extra strong insect repellent).

I sit.

The breeze whispers tenderly to the trees, strumming the leaves like a classical guitarist, and caresses the water like gentle fingers stroking a lovers back, ripples of ecstasy shivering across the surface. The reeds murmur in delight as they sway and dance, slim and flexible, and the messy paperbarks rustle indignantly.

Dead trees stand in stark dignity.

A heavy Pelican grooms itself; unwieldy and lumbering on land, but gloriously stately on water and in the air, it stands on the dark branches of a tree long since dead that sprawls in the water, tenderly stoking each feather with its long beak, stretching its elongated neck to rub its head with sensuous enjoyment under its wings. On another branch the Yellow-billed Spoonbill balances on one leg in drowsy contemplation as a family of Pacific Black Ducks mill busily in the water below.

The Black Swans arch their graceful necks as they float serenely and in the shallows the Great Egret in long legged pure white elegance slowly stalks, pausing to admire its reflection in the water.

A lone Little Pied Cormorant perches in a dead tree, luxuriously spreading its wings to dry as the warm sun slowly rises in the sky and the Pink and Grey Galah’s squabble in raucous rivalry in the Norfolk pines.

The White Faced Heron shyly skirts the reeds, prim and plain in its soft grey, like a governess from a forgotten era mindful of her humble place and the Osprey sits at the top of a tree surveying the scene with haughty grandeur.

It is a place of enchantment, buzzing with life. Many different species dwell in harmony here, and they come and they go, and they barely leave a footprint.

I sit in the peace of wild things and look over my shoulder and see the road and houses and cars and power-lines and busy rushing people, oblivious to the wonder and beauty just metres away.

And I feel sad for the Great Loss that humanity experienced when we forgot how to be still. When shallow sophistication, money and busyness became our new Gods and we kissed their feet in homage. When we began to see the natural world as something to be used, exploited and abused. Or when we simply became indifferent, tucked up tight in our safe, solid buildings, secure in our technological superiority, cushioned from reality.

Not any more.

In one swiftly moving and silent virus, our smug complacency and denial of death has been confronted, and we are displeased.

And afraid.

When I take time to be present and sit with nature, I quickly understand it is only the minds of mankind that are in uproar and chaos. Nature is undisturbed. Peace and harmony still reign. The cycle of life and death is uninterrupted. Life continues to express itself through Form on this earth as it has for millenniums past and will for millenniums to come if we stop our abuse and indifference.

What lies beneath the chaos and mayhem is PEACE and JOY and LOVE.

It is there in the silence. It is there in Nature. It is in us.

We have covered it with our noisy foolishness. Fortunately we cannot destroy it.

In the midst of our feverish busyness, Nature (with the reluctant endorsement of our governments), has offered us an OPPORTUNITY TO PAUSE and REFLECT. To become WISER and STRONGER, more COMPASSIONATE and CONNECTED.

Love or Fear….

Which do you choose?

love your body

Because it is the only one you are going to get this lifetime although you may be able to source some spare parts if you are lucky.

I have chosen Love.

Not fear.

So, lets start with loving our body.

Despite believing that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, and that the most important aspect of the triune of humanness is the Soul or Spirit rather than the body or mind, I still think it is important as much as is possible to look after and work with what we have. We have a body for the purpose of experiencing life on earth. Having a healthy body makes the experience much more pleasant.

Humanity is fascinating to observe. The answer to why there was a stampede to the toilet paper aisle instead of the health food shop continues to elude me. But perhaps there is something important I am missing.

Our first line of defence against COVID-19 is Sanitisation and social distancing.

Our second line of defence is our Individual Immune Systems.

A fact that seems to have escaped most people. This is indicative of the general state of affairs when it comes to health. The prevailing attitude is “I can eat what I like, smoke, drink and not exercise, subject my body to constant, chronic stress, and when my body begins to collapse from the abuse, the medical profession will provide me with a treatment so I can continue abusing my body”. To be clear, I am not sitting here feeling superior and pointing the finger. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. Probably more so, because I know better and I still fall off the wagon into lazy eating habits.

As a race, humanity is so over-domesticated, most people have lost their natural instincts. All animals and birds know what to eat to sustain their life. Humanity doesn’t seem to. We have been conned by clever marketing and indifference to our bodies into believing that if it is in the food section of the supermarket it is fine for us to eat. Actually… NO.

We have chosen to ignore the fact that many chronic diseases in the developed countries are “life-style diseases”. Directly attributable to what we eat and how we live. We don’t want to acknowledge this because we are too busy. And it seems too much of an effort to change. Yes, it is an effort, but one that is worth it.

There are simple things we can do to support our immune system, and I am going to share some of the things I am currently doing to keep my body as healthy as I can.

Don’t worry, be happy…

Never under estimate the power of the mind. I know these are uncertain times. I know that 1 million Australian have lost their jobs this week. I know that businesses are having to close. I know there is a viral pandemic and people are sick and dying. I know life as we have known it is changing. But I also know that worrying doesn’t make anything better. In fact it makes life ten times harder because we suffer much more and we aren’t as open to opportunities as we could be. Most importantly, we are unable to appreciate what we do have by focusing on what we don’t have and what may go wrong. In my next blog I will talk about how to Not Worry in detail.

Fear in all its forms – anxiety, worry, stress – impact on the immune system. Majorly. I can’t emphasize this enough. A really good reason to work on reducing fear. There are many peer reviewed scientific studies to back this up. Fear puts our bodies automatically into fight/flight/freeze response. And one of the results of this is that our immune system is suppressed. Why? Because the body is very clever and very efficient. The immune system is not a high priority when you are faced with a deadly snake and you need to run, kill it or freeze, so the body redirects energy and releases chemicals to support you to take appropriate action i,e increased blood flow to muscles, raised blood pressure adrenaline etc. The relaxation and repair state is when your body and your immune system are at their best.

Start a gratitude journal. Each day write down 3 things you are grateful for and why.

Read books or magazines that uplift and inspire you.

Nutrition through food..

I think everyone knows that fresh fruit and vegies (preferably organic or spray-free) are optimal foods for health. They are full of vitamins and minerals that our body needs to operate smoothly. Nuts, seeds and legumes are also beneficial. For some people it is important to eat meat. For others not. I tend to only eat meat once or twice a week at most.

What our bodies are not designed to do is work well on processed foods full of sugar, salt and chemicals.

I get it. It is much easier to snack on rubbish food than make some hommus or raw protein balls. Fortunately, I love cooking and thanks to cancer, I have time, but I still, if given the chance would happily reach for a packet of biscuits. The best way to get around this is to make sure there is always something healthy to snack on in the fridge, and nothing rubbish on the pantry. If you can’t go out… problem solved.

Sadly, I can be a bit lazy, so this is where smoothies and juices come in. Particularly smoothies. Throw a handful of spinach in with coconut/almond or rice milk, a banana, date, tspn of cacao powder and honey if you want it sweeter and blitz. Yuuum! I also add frozen berries and a variety of powders that I will mention in the next section.

If nothing else, try to cut down on the rubbish food and start eating more greens.

Nutrition through supplements..

While this pandemic is strutting its stuff, I am taking;

  • 2000mg Vitamin C per day. Liposomal is best, but anything is better than nothing.
  • 15mg zinc tablet to assist absorption of Vit C
  • 6 drops of Selenium
  • Iodine drops to support thyroid function
  • 4-6 Vida Defense enzyme and anti-oxidant capsules
  • 3 Digestive enzyme capsules (our immune system is situated in our gut, so gut health is important)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of Power Up powder in my smoothies- – huge amount of vitamins and minerals
  • 16 drops of Cell Food (oxygenates cells and supports clearing of radiation from the body)
  • Colloidal Minerals
  • and currently winging their way to me from Power Labs –Elderberry drops which have been touted as the latest and greatest in boosting immune support against Covid-19.
  • I also use Synergy Natural 100% organic super greens powder in my smoothie sometimes

Obviously I have significant underlying health issues which necessitates me going over and above in supporting my immune system, but at least take Vit C and zinc, and some digestive enzymes to support your body.

Keep Hydrated…

With plenty of good water and vegetable juices.

Exercise…

Keep, or get moving! Our bodies are designed to move, so move. Get that blood circulating through your body.

If you are going into lock-down soon, get a skipping rope or a re-bounder or something. Try Yoga – there are plenty of you tube videos showing you how. If you can’t get on the floor, look up chair yoga. Utilise the internet to look up exercises you can do in your living room. I go for a bike ride 3 times a day – it is something I can still do at the moment.

Nature…..

If you still can, get out into nature – it is extremely therapeutic and if you can manage to have a calm enough mind to feel the still, silent quietness of nature it will be beneficial to your mental health as well.

Meditate….

Everyone should be learning how to meditate. We are going to need to dig deep to get through the next few months and meditation will be enormously beneficial. It supports the immune system too. In particular by taking the body out of flight/fight mode and into relaxation and repair mode. If you can’t manage mantra or Zen meditations, try mindfulness or guided meditations. There is a multitude of them on the internet.

Supportive communities….

Build your own supportive network, support others and make sure you are supported too. This is really important and is going to make the coming months much more endurable. We need to actively build deep and supportive networks. Technology is going to be critical to keep us connected. Help older people to use facetime etc so they feel more connected. There are many studies that prove loneliness and lack of support is detrimental to our health. Use this time to get more connected.

I hope that some of what I say is helpful. You are probably going to hear more from me now I have settled into self isolation!

Keep well everyone…

Resist or surrender

In just a few short weeks, life has changed dramatically.

My all important freedom has been severely curtailed. As of Wednesday, when I learned there were several cases of Covid-19 now in this city, I no longer go out into the community, and physical contact with everyone including my family is limited.

I have spent the last ten days preparing for this. It was obvious back then that it would be necessary for me to isolate at some point because I am considered to be high risk to die if I contract this virus.Despite having cancer throughout my body, I am extremely well, but I am one of the vulnerable and this is something that has taken me a while to get my head around. I think anyone who knows me well would agree that I am fiercely independent. I am not good at asking for help, I would much rather give than receive. Despite needing plenty of time alone, I also like to spend time surrounded by people so the thought of being isolated at home for a long period of time and having to rely on others to help has required a fair bit of mental adjustment.

Fortunately, as yet, we are not officially in lock-down. I anticipate that will come soon though. And it needs to. At the moment I can still get out and ride around the estate on my e-bike photographing nature for several hours a day. The photo above was taken this morning. Nature is very calm. Very serene. I learn a lot about how to just BE from nature. Nature is completely unaffected by the turmoil troubling humanity. If you are feeling discombobulated (I love that word!), then spend some time in nature and allow yourself to relax into its gentle calmness.

Life is changing. It feels as though we have lost our innocence. Four weeks ago we were just living our lives as normal, comfortable in our routines and now most of the worlds economies are in crisis, and there are major threats to both our lives and our livelihood.

Uncertainty abounds.Fear has escalated. What new restrictions will tomorrow bring? What if, what if, what if……. our mind can torment us with worst case scenarios and dire imaginings.

As always, we have a choice in how we react.

Resistance or surrender. Love or Fear.

Whichever we choose, the reality is that we are riding the pandemic freight train regardless. It has been set in motion, now we are all along for the ride. The only choice we really have is whether we go gracefully or kicking and swearing.I am choosing to go as gracefully as possible. Life has managed to teach me to make the best of what comes along. I gave up beating my head against a brick wall a while back when I realised that all I achieved was a headache.Annoyingly, the brick wall was oblivious.

We can choose to resist What Is. We can complain and moan and blame and sulk and rage. The Covid-19 virus doesn’t care, it will just carry on doing its thing regardless. Government officials will continue to make decisions they feel are right. All that is achieved is that we feel depressed and angry and victimised. These feelings weaken us.

Or,

We can choose to surrender to What Is. We accept that change is happening. We accept that life is going to be different. We decide to make the best of it. As a result we feel empowered. Uplifted even. We cope much better. There are inspiring examples of this attitude coming out of Italy. We are strengthened. Accepting What Is allows us to be open to opportunities because we aren’t wasting energy resisting something we can’t change. Surrendering to What Is doesn’t mean passively giving up. Not at all. It gives us to a clearer mind to see what positive actions we can take.

We have a choice. We can choose love or fear. Surrender or Resistance. If we choose love, we will grow through this. We will become more resilient personally and nationally. We will strengthen our communities and support one another. We will heal each other and the earth. The whole experience will be much less painful. Or we can choose the fear route, joining the stampede to the toilet paper aisle, fighting our neighbour for the last roll. The fear route is guaranteed suffering.

The price of fear is too great. I’m choosing Love.

Death is a touch of the soul

“Death is a touch of the Soul too strong for the body to ignore

It is a call from Divinity which brooks no denial.

It is the voice of the inner spiritual identity saying;

return to your Source for a while and reflect upon the experiences

undergone, and the lessons learned

until the time comes when you return to earth for another

cycle of learning, of progress and enrichment”

Alice Bailey – The Unfinished Autobiography

This is one of my favourite quotes about death.

Death is a touch of the soul…

One of the greatest causes of our suffering as a human being is identification of ourselves as a body. Many of us make the mistake of thinking we have a soul, when in actual fact we ARE a soul – we have a body.

A body that is temporary – how temporary we don’t know, but chances are, it is only going to last a hundred years at most. The Soul is eternal, the body is temporary.

Most of us live in cultures which are heavily identified with physical matter rather than Spirit. We have medical systems that see death as a medical failure, death is not discussed, many people never see a dead body and we have very few rituals to help us mourn in a healthy way when some-one dies. People are so busy earning a living, accumulating physical objects there is no time for reflection.

Death has become the enemy.

And seen from a purely physical point of view it is. It seems to rob us of everything familiar and solid and gives us a vague and dubious hope of something largely unknown instead. It seems to be the end.

For the Soul, death is the liberator. The friend that releases the Soul from this heavy, cumbersome physical body that imprisoned it for a while. Free again.

Home again.

The call from Divinity which brooks no denial…. when this call comes, there is no choice but to follow.

It comes on time. At the right time.

From the physical viewpoint, it seldom seems the right time to die – especially to those who love the one who has been called. We don’t want them to go. We want them to stay – for us. It will mean change and uncertainty. How will we cope? What if we don’t?.

Life will never be the same.

Life IS never the same – from one moment to the next it changes but I don’t notice. The changes are small enough to ignore.

Until a big change is forced upon me.

Life is change.

Life is movement.

Nothing stays the same.

I can either resist or accept.

Resistance closes me to life, it puts a hard shell around me and prevents me from fully participating in life. It takes away joy and peace. I can become bitter and resentful. Stuck in my pain. Isolated, Alone.

Acceptance opens me to life. It softens me, makes me more wise and loving. Opens me to learning and growing. Through acceptance I can experience the love and peace that underpins all creation. I feel connected, loved, alive.

About a week after my partner Ian died, I was walking early one morning with Monty his dog around the farm where we lived, when suddenly it felt as though everything became still.

Completely Silent….. It was as though time ceased… Even the birds stopped singing.

I had an overwhelming sense of knowing Ian as eternal spirit. Timeless and Free. And then I understood completely that I also was that. We all are that, and I knew that it didn’t matter if I lived another 50 years on this earth without him, because it was nothing, just a blink of an eye in comparison to eternity. For that brief moment, I experienced myself as timeless. The wonder of that moment remains with me five years later.

My mind and body, because they are creations of this world, only know time as experienced on this earth. My Soul, although linked to a physical body for periods of time, exists outside of time and space, and is timeless.

My Soul is fearless because there is nothing to fear. My Soul knows no grief for there is nothing to grieve. My Soul knows each physical life is like a play performed on a stage for the purpose of learning and enrichment, but sometimes my mind forgets “I” am just the actor playing a part and I take it way too seriously.

Would I grieve if in the play a character died, and I knew that in a little while, when the curtain goes down on the final scene we would be re-united again? From the viewpoint of the Soul, this is all it is when the physical body of some-one we love dies.

Millions of people in this world suffer because they identify themselves as a body and mind and not a Soul. This is guaranteed to cause suffering. Choosing to know ourselves as Soul will bring us out of suffering into peace and love and joy. Its not difficult. We live in a universe that is designed to support our Soul growth – that is the whole purpose of it, so whenever we decide to know our-self as Soul – everything we need will come to help us to achieve it.

We just need to be open.