Hmmm. How to start? Writers tend to blab everything, or they select the best bits to blab at the right time. I don’t want to make this about the illness. It’s about seeing myself as whole and complete and already healed, get my drift? Direct the energy to the healing state that is already occurring, or as the hypnotherapist said, “If you keep saying ‘I’m sick,’ your subconscious will work to make it true.”
Ah, but at the same time, I think, I thought, I am/was, a cynic. Perhaps not any more. I’ve seen some things and felt some things and I don’t want to create that reality for myself any longer. If this sounds New Agey, I forgive myself, because I discounted so much self-help for years, (and rightly so), but there’s a basic underlying message there that is simple and true: whatever keeps us from loving ourselves and knowing that we’re worthy is the same thing that makes us sick.
Twenty years ago I received my first diagnosis. At that time I took a year off work and did a year-long detox diet called Living Foods and lived on a small gulf island off Vancouver Island. After I went back to work I went on another strict, but more worker-friendly way of eating, macrobiotics, and stayed in the healing-diet mode for two more years. All was well for 20 years, well, 18, since I suspected something two years ago, but that test came back negative. This May it was positive, not as in positive thinking, however, not really, not yet.
Now it’s August 15 and things have gone from terror due to the reoccurrence diagnosis on May 26; a sad break-up; no place to live on Galiano until September 1st; oncologists and surgeons and GP’s that take their time and leave me hanging; to a two-week retreat that opened up new possibilities. I mean, in a sense, the surgery and healing diets had worked the first time, for awhile, but why did it come back? The scientific answer is, or could be that the margins were not clear from the mastectomy (the present tumors are both on the scars from the previous surgery) and a few stray cells were left behind.
But what if it’s more than that? Certainly I’ve had problems with addiction (cigarettes, sugar, over-work, stress) during those 20 years. Tragic love affairs seem to be the norm, listless and unsatisfying relationships with my brothers, friends, co-workers and a lack of passion when it comes to my life in general, and particularly sadly, when it comes to my love of writing, painting and learning the piano. Everything feels difficult, like work, “and for what?” I seemed to be secretly asking myself.
Cue the trumpets, because I’ve been having a reawakening of sorts since my retreat. It was held on Cortes Island at an old, rundown Tibetan monastery, now a hostel with all of the tankas and buddhas still intact. It was a Healing Tao retreat based on the work of Mantak Chia as taught by 30-year teacher, Minke de Vos. At first I was cynical, hated the schedule and felt that at my age, and since being retired, I don’t want to follow anyone else’s orders or schedule. I felt I should be able to attend the sessions I wanted and sleep through the ones I didn’t. But Minke and Dave had different ideas. I don’t think I missed any sessions during the whole two weeks, and I really started to enjoy the sessions during the second one.
Without describing the practice or the thousands-of-years-old Taoist philosophy, I’ll tell you what really got through to me and reset my spiritual healing mode. First, it was the idea of us holding emotions and high virtues in our organs. Let’s leave that there for now. I’ll tell you more about that later. Another part that really got me was the “unwinding” which we did at night before bed. It’s a practice that’s done after some intense “bone-building” chi gong and is done by allowing the chi or energy that runs through us to guide us in movements that the body needs or wants to do for healing. It often involves repetitive movements, spinning, rocking, any type of movement you can imagine. I found I worked most of the time on the floor doing “baby/child-like” movements, lots of crying and allowing of this physical, emotional, spiritual being to do whatever it needed to do.
The third thing is the extent to which this practice uses positive imagery to bring universal and earth energies into the system to be converted and refined for our use. There’s no reason why anyone, anywhere, would have to be depleted! There is a universe full of energy if we know how to access it. And images of our own star above our crown, the top of our heads, to beam energy down into our master glands, the pituitary and the pineal, is just one of the many beautiful images that bring these Taoist practices to life.
Stay tuned! To be continued . . .