The Graduation

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Dear Seamus,

I have been reading about and practicing techniques around manifestation for the past few years. A few weeks ago I felt urged to ask myself why I had not yet managed to create a cancer-free body. The past two and a half years saw the realisation of several seemingly improbable dreams. A gorgeous healthy son from my supposedly infertile body, a debt free financial situation for your Father and a beautiful farmhouse for us to live in. My belief is that if I could create those things, then there must be something blocking the health issue. I knew in order to find out I needed to be totally and utterly honest with myself. I needed to dig deep, deeper than ever before.

I have always believed that cancer, or any illness, was not just ‘of the body’. I always knew there was something more to it. As far back as the 1920’s Dr E Evans researched what he called The Cancer Prone Personality; a psychological profile that outlines how this type of personality evolves. I first came across it in Ian Gawler’s book “You can Conquer Cancer”. I was simultaneously stunned and relieved to read a basic template of my own life.

I have just started reading a book by Dr Kelly Turner called “Radical Remission”. She researched cases of radical remission, by analysing written cases or conducting interviews with people who have experienced remission. Dr Turner found nine key factors that came up again and again in the vast majority of cases. The last on the list, having strong reasons for living, was of particular interest to me.

You have been my greatest inspiration to keep living. My wish to be here to Mother you and guide you, has rooted me to this physical reality. I have been imagining the future where I am at your various birthday parties. Turning five, turning ten, turning twenty-one. Your celebration would be mine also. I have felt you in my embrace as your height nears mine. I have run my fingers through your teenage hair and smelled the laundry detergent on your freshly washed shirt. I have looked you in the eyes as you tower over me, smiling down at me with love. You are always there.

Yet the images of my own path were lacking in the same vivid detail. Why was I not able to clearly see my own future as I enjoyed my life after cancer?

I was thirty-five when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news came shortly after my surrender to the all-that-is, begging for a way out of my desperately unhappy existence. My life changed dramatically after that.

I had always wished for people to be more loving and open. Mostly when I expressed that, I was told to “get real”! Yet now, with a life threatening illness, people were more loving and open to me. It finally was my reality.

My Mother, your Nanny, and I had endured a difficult relationship. Not many people were open to hearing me speak about that so I tolerated my pain silently. Then cancer dissolved the barriers between us and I am having the most close and loving Mother and Daughter relating of my entire life.

I had felt lost for years in terms of a career path. I was creatively shut down. I hated working in offices, in jobs that seemed to have no purpose other than increasing the company bottom line. I resented doing it just to pay my bills. The side effects of cancer treatment took me out of the work force. I was finally free of those stifling environments.

I moved from a large city to a small village to recover and thought my world had shrunk. Instead the world opened up to me as I devoted myself to spiritual studies. Then I fell in love with your Daddy and gave birth to you.

It was my realisation that cancer had become inextricably connected to many wonderful experiences and events. There is a part of me that not only cannot let go of cancer, but that cannot imagine a life of extreme happiness and incredible awakenings without it.

Cancer was my saviour, my teacher. Cancer rescued me from a living hell.

In Chapter 17 of “You can Conquer Cancer” Ian Gawler recounts the story of a woman who came to his meditation group in its’ earliest days. Diagnosed with an untreatable advanced brain tumour, she embraced the recommendations and experienced a complete recovery. A year later the cancer was back. When Ian spoke with Barbara, she told him she had abandoned all the changes. She openly spoke about how her life had changed for the better when she had cancer. A more loving husband, attentive friends and a liberation from her work duties. After she recovered her life seemed to go back to ‘normal’. She said she would rather die than go back to her old life. Shortly afterwards, she did die.

I understand Barbara. It has been my biggest fear that I should ever go back to my old life.

It was a light bulb moment. I experienced a great understanding.

So my mission now is to disentangle the idea that cancer = good things. Even for all the physical discomfort it has brought me, the gifts of cancer were so great I felt on some level that I could withstand the pain.

I will never forget the lessons of this great teacher but as a student, I want to graduate. When you graduate you become the master and your teacher is no longer required.

My son, my Seamus, you have kept me here in this time space reality because you were my reason to live. You will always be my inspiration but there has been a shift. The purpose of the letters now is not so that you will know me in my absence. They are a journal, as I capture a part of my life in which I learned so much. My evolution has been woven together, word by word, to share with you and many others.

I must now dream my best life possible where I am the master. The master of myself.

“To follow the path follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master”Zen proverb

http://www.radicalremission.com

http://www.gawler.org

The Miracle is Now

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Dear Seamus,

Your birth coincided with a terminal cancer diagnosis for me. Amidst the fear, shock and broken dreams I heard a quiet voice that assured me everything was going to be ok. I chose to believe in those words and I made a decision to reach for a miracle.

I have had a strong focus since that time to be healed. I have read many books that have inspired me, educated me, soothed me and provoked serious questioning. I have dabbled in vegetarianism. I have meditated. I have chosen to eat a lot of chocolate with as much joy as possible. I have written letters to you so that you may know me if I am not here with you as you grow into an adult.

I have prayed and been prayed for. I have tearfully admitted my fears to others and listened with love to theirs. I have enjoyed beautiful lightness with a soaring, joy filled heart. I have crashed into the depths of despair where bed is the only safe place I know.

I have been hospitalised with severe physical side effects of disease with an innocent astonishment. I have panicked and worried about little aches and pains.

I have happily day dreamed about future events of various times in your life in which I am present. I have gone to bed some nights fearing that it will be my last.

All the while I have desired a miracle. Something in me knew it with such certainty that the largest and most ferocious fears could not distinguish its vibrant little flame.

My body is up against a barrage of multiple medications which makes me more susceptible to fatigue. My mind and my drive, however, sometimes rage ahead with a determination that requires a younger fitter physical form. So from time to time I am faced with feeling burned out and exhausted and I find it difficult to do the simplest of tasks. I am reminded of my physical restrictions. Let me tell you darling, I do not like it one bit. Sometimes I can be graceful and accepting and other times I am frustrated and furious.

Two days ago I sat on the edge of the bed in my underwear, too weary to go any further in dressing myself after a shower. Only a week ago I had spent a wonderful weekend in Sydney, attending a workshop and catching up with friends. I had felt invigorated and energetic, happy to enjoy the company of friends I rarely see, along with some new ones. Now here I was, head in my hands, sobbing. You stood in the doorway and watched me intently before disappearing down the hallway. You reappeared with a small container in your hands. As a gift you had been given a large tube of smarties and I had put the last of them into a plastic dish and kept them on the top shelf of the fridge.

Your little hands fumbled with the clasps but you managed to get the lid off. You tilted your head to the side and walked towards me. You leaned on my leg and carefully picked out a chocolate. With big blue eyes gazing up at me you pushed it against my mouth and nodded.

“Choga”? You nodded again. I laughed and accepted the smartie.

So I just sat there with tear stained cheeks as you fed me smarties. You had an incredibly intuitive sense of the situation and proceeded to nurture me. You proved to me that it is indeed a Universal truth that chocolate makes everything better.

Something else became crystal clear to me. I had been seeking and reaching for a miracle of healing, yet in that moment it was so obvious that the miracle was happening now.

A moment of sharing is a miracle. One human being showing love to another is a miracle. That moment of feeling overwhelmed and tired is a miracle. The fact I am able to have the occasional crappy day two years after a terminal diagnosis is the miracle.

I am the miracle, you are the miracle. The miracle is now.

With gratitude I took down my vision boards and gave them to God (and the recycling bin). I have stared at that blank wall several times now, feeling tiny sparks of excitement about what is to come into my life next.

Sometimes we ask for a miracle and become so busy co-creating it and visualising it that we forget to simply put out the welcome mat and turn the kettle on. The miracle will come. It may appear to be late or disguised as something else that you never expected, but it will come.

Seamus, never hesitate to ask for a miracle. Your only job after that is to keep your eyes and heart open, for miracles are everywhere.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle” – Albert Einstein

Treasures at the Gawler Foundation

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Dear Seamus,

I spent last week in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, at a Gawler Foundation retreat. The Gawler Foundation was founded by Ian Gawler after he made a full recovery from a very serious and often fatal type of bone cancer. His healing was seen as miraculous by conventional medicine standards and it was as fascinating as it was multi-faceted. Spurred on by a deep desire for wellness, Ian tried many avenues from chemotherapy to meditation to diet to psychic surgery. After he healed completely he felt he must share what he had learned, not only about having cancer but being able to achieve good health after a terminal diagnosis. I had looked into the residential retreats at the Gawler Foundation a few years ago. At the time I couldn’t get enough money together so I put the idea aside and got on with my day to day life.

About a month ago I began to feel increasingly exhausted and unwell. I had been so occupied with family life that I had put my physical health last on the list. I had slacked off with my Friday meditation class and was relying on stimulants like coffee and sugar to get me through each day, or through another book. My body was beginning to struggle under the pressure and one Saturday afternoon I was alone in the house and felt so ill I had to call a friend to take me to the hospital. Even as I walked down the hospital corridor I knew very well that there would be nothing that they could do and that the way I felt was entirely up to me.

The nurses confirmed that I was exhausted and dehydrated. They suggested I drink plenty of fluids and enjoy some time out if I could. They concluded that dealing with a teething baby on top of everything else was taking its toll. When I got home I got onto the computer and looked up The Gawler Foundation. By Monday lunchtime I was booked in for the next residential retreat and my frame of mind began to shift to a better place.

The next few weeks flowed by quite quickly and I made it easier on myself by making some much needed amendments to my diet. I took a break from eating meat and started juicing vegetables. At first your Dad was a bit flummoxed at the idea of having both vegetables and salad at meal times, however he dove in and added it all to the steak on his plate. I felt torn as the retreat loomed closer. I desperately needed a break to get myself centred and re-build my energies but I questioned myself about being away from you for a whole week. I found some peace about it when I weighed up taking one week to ensure my good health for years to come as opposed to the slow and systematic decline in my health if I continued to struggle through.

The Yarra Valley is absolutely picturesque. Even though I am accustomed to living in the country and seeing these types of landscapes, its beauty was not lost on me. I chatted briefly with my three roommates before heading off to the dining area. I sat and watched as others arrived and I was amazed at how familiar everybody looked. A sure sign to me that I was meant to be exactly where I was.
The opportunity to be with a group of people who had had a cancer diagnosis and wished to get well was a new experience for me. To be surrounded by souls who like me, were searching for healing against the odds, was invigorating and comforting.

The regular meditation created a calmness in me that opened the door to possibility. The plant based whole food diet was delicious and restored my energies. A lot of the content we covered in the sessions was compounding what I had been exposed to in my own enquiries. It felt like life was saying ‘Yes! You are on the right track! Keep going!’

It was totally compelling to learn more about the cancer prone personality and several pieces of the jigsaw fell into place about how I interacted with the world and created my own experience. I had a breakthrough earlier in the year when I realised I was taking responsibility for other people’s happiness. Now it made sense in the bigger picture in terms of how I had not expressed my authentic self, my needs and my feelings in life. I was always accommodating for other people, second guessing their thoughts, opinions and emotions and I would then react to that. Not just that I would react, but I would react by trying to please them. I always concluded that if I was pleasing to them, they would not hurt me. It was yet another testament to my belief that your self-worth came from outside yourself. I learned to love myself in the last few years yet there was some old pre-programmed behaviour that I just couldn’t seem to release that was contrary to my new found love of self. I had begun to unravel some of the mystery by recently becoming interested in neural programming and its effects in forming the personality. This was touched on during the retreat. To know more about these traits that run thick through the personality of many cancer patients was an eye opener.

Seamus can you imagine what it was like to be at a retreat with a bunch of other people pleasers? It was like I had come home to my own tribe after years of searching for them! There was so much love and consideration. All interactions were dripping in a delightful courtesy!

‘You go ahead’,
‘No, after you’,
‘No no, after YOU’!

I took so much away from my week at the Gawler Foundation. A renewed sense of trust that life has a pattern and a flow that we are not always privy to but it benefits us in the highest sense. That all my experiences to this point were, are, just as important as they are meaningless. My life experience has facilitated a massive growth in consciousness but all that experience can now be dropped and allowed to fall away. In the grand scheme of things its meaning is what we assign it to be. My experience does not equal the sum total of who I am.

The benefits of this week will resonate with me for the rest of my life, which I plan on being a long and healthy one. When I close my eyes and think of the others with whom I did the retreat, including the facilitators, I picture a beautiful wooden box. It is hand carved and a beautiful deep golden brown. When I lift the lid it is filled with precious gems. Glistening and sparkling, there is an array of intense exquisite colours. I see rubies and emeralds and sapphires. That box is filled with the treasures each one of them gave to me during our time together. I was so blessed to have found the sanctuary of their company for one week.

At the heart of us there is a diamond. When you realise you have something so incredible and so beautiful, you don’t want to hide it again.

Seamus, know you are a precious gem. Always allow yourself to sparkle and shine with the intensity of your magnificence. There is no other gem like you in the whole world.

“I am thy God, a diamond shining
Upon the waters of thy soul”

The Shining Diamond – Orion Beaufort

For more information on the amazing work being done at the Gawler Foundation visit: http://gawler.org/

Desire and Belief

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Dear Seamus,

Desire is part of the human experience. It can take many forms, like a physical desire for food when you are hungry or the emotional desire for companionship when you are lonely. Traditional Buddhism teaches the dropping of desire because it can lead to suffering. Usually desire breeds more desire. We desire something until we achieve it or possess it. Before too long the satisfaction fades and we are desiring something different. It can be the never ending cycle that is hard to break free from.

However desire is not a bad thing. The Dalai Lama in speaking of detachment said; “Detach(ment) does not mean to give up desire. Desire must be there. Without desire, how can we live our life? Without desire how can we reach Buddhahood?”

For a long time I rejected my desires. I pushed them aside to please others. I ignored them because I thought they could never happen for me. They were repressed so deeply that I hardly recognised them any longer. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 I shed my skin and became raw and vulnerable. My heart’s desire at long last could push through to the surface. It was undeniable and much larger and stronger than any of the layers I had hidden it beneath. It was to have a family. The first step was to acknowledge that desire, to embrace it whole heartedly as my truth. The next step was to believe that it would happen to me, to understand that I deserved it. That no matter how wounded or unworthy I felt I was, that my heart’s desire would always trump the lies of my mind. Then I surrendered it to the will of the source of all things. My only job was to believe that my desire was already in existence and to stay open to the physical reality of it. I changed my Facebook status to ‘in a relationship’ even though I wasn’t (yet). I made a vision board with pictures of families. I spent time with people who had children and as I held their baby in my arms I committed that feeling to memory. I would know that feeling when I held my own baby. I had to be my desire in any way I could.

Now I have a family. I desired it and I believed it.

The Teachings of Abraham tell us that a belief is only a thought you continue to think over and over. If putting this into practice brought the experience of family into my life, then I could only imagine what else I could create if I matched my desires with my beliefs.

When you were born and I received the secondary cancer diagnosis, it set off another very powerful desire. It was to live. To be healthy and happy and enjoy my beautiful family. So from past experience, I knew it was possible. It is no mean feat believing that you will survive a secondary cancer diagnosis. My diagnosis was so dire they told me I would have palliative treatment. This would make me more comfortable so I could go home for some quality time with my family. My specialist wrote in his report that I had experienced a “catastrophic relapse”. A senior doctor in Radiation Oncology at Canberra Hospital took my hand and told me how sorry he was, over and over again. I was told my diagnosis was not curable, only manageable.

So, I had to choose. Do I believe what they are telling me? Or do I court my own wisdom which goes against the logic of all the medical evidence?

I felt so out of place in the Oncology ward. In my heart I knew it was not my time. I needed some assistance to get me back on track and then I was out of there! When they gave me the radiation schedule, my last treatment was on a Monday, meaning I had to spend the whole weekend in hospital waiting to go home. I badgered my medical team to give me the last two shots on the Friday so we could leave. I wanted to be in my bed, in my space with my loved ones so I could heal.

I was so ill when I got home that it was difficult to believe that I would ever be well again. I had no appetite, was losing weight rapidly and a bout of pneumonia left me bed ridden for days. So with very little energy and a fierce drive to get well, I started doing what I could to shift my belief to match my desire. I read Ian Gawler and Petrea Kings books. I ordered Anita Moorjani’s ‘Dying to be Me’ on the internet and read it in two days. I weaned myself of all the steroids and pain killers the hospital had sent me home with, leaving just the basic treatment regime. I chatted with my naturopath and ordered digestive enzymes and probiotics to help get my digestion back on track. I ate ice cream because it made me feel good and quite frankly I needed the extra calories. I never thought I would be so pleased to see weight gain every time I got on the scales.

All over the bedroom walls are positive affirmations of my wellness and reminders of self-love. I wrote a list of comments I would like to see on future medical reports, like “unexplained total recovery” and “no traces of metastatic disease can be found”. I look at them and read them every day. I meditate every Friday morning with a group of others and dedicate the time to my healing. Every night when I go to bed, I feel gratitude for the day and for all that I am experiencing in my life and repeat the mantra; MY BODY NOW RESTORES ITSELF TO ITS NATURAL STATE OF GOOD HEALTH.

Now I show up to my medical appointments and the nurses comment on how great I look and with hands on hips playfully ask “what are you doing here?!” My specialist is pleasantly surprised by my good health. The report from the last CT scan stated that there had been a “remarkable improvement”.

Seamus, time will tell how it all pans out but I can tell you from where I stand, in this very moment, that I want nothing more in this world than to be healed completely. I believe I can be. If you have a desire, no matter how ludicrous it may seem in the context of your life, believe it. You have absolutely nothing to lose, except having the experience of a miracle.

“If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can dream it, you can become it” – William Arthur Ward