Resurrection of the Phoenix

Phoenix

Dear Seamus,

This Easter I didn’t want to just give you a gigantic pile of chocolate. We found a lovely bright little trike at the shops and your Daddy put it together after you had finally gone to sleep. It had a little container under the seat which we put a few treats in. We looked forward to you discovering your gift on Easter morn.

However, like myself and your Dad, you were struggling to stay asleep so you wandered out of your bedroom at 3am. Daddy was tucked up on the couch watching a film and I was lying in bed. I heard you stir and then saw you walk past our room and down the hallway. I didn’t have a chance to warm your Father as you waddled half asleep into the lounge room, with me stumbling two steps behind. Your eyes fixed on the bike and you demanded to know;

“WHO BROUGHT THAT BIKE COME HERE”?!!!

That was that, you were wide awake and therefore so were we! With sheer delight you opened some chocolate eggs and rode your bike round and round. I had the video camera charging but I had no idea how soon I would be using it. I filmed you enjoying your bike and sharing your chocolate with us.

When you look back on that footage in years to come you will see how much you have changed. The older you get the more obvious the transformation will be.

Physically we are going through constant regeneration. There is a common misperception that we all have brand new bodies with sparkly new cells every ten years. Some cells have life spans that are shorter, some just months or even days, or some cells last up to five years. There again there are cells which are never replaced once they die. The fact is though, that we are dynamic organisms. Ever changing and ever evolving.

We go through other life cycles besides the physical ones. Just as we experience corporeal metamorphosis, we also live through intangible transformations. Spiritual changes which we usually describe in a material way, such as “shedding our skin”. Regardless of how it is explained it is always about an uncovering of what is beneath.

So many others that I know, including myself, have been recently exfoliating beliefs and ideas. Molting attitudes and patterns. Peeling back those outer layers and taking tweezers to ancient thorns. This can initially be painful. Wounds are sensitive. There is great tenderness. It can make us cry. Cry we must! Just as blood cleanses a physical gash, tears cleanse our emotional lacerations.

Then we cease to be our old selves. We have died to the past.

Where the longitude of cessation meets the latitude of rebirth, we are born the Phoenix. We are rising from the ashes of extinction, for we are never the same again. We cannot be. Once the cut is healed it does not open again of its own accord. It is sealed, closed. It becomes merely a visual reminder of one single step in our evolution.

It seems so very timely to me, that this Easter so many of us are experiencing resurrections of our own. There is a reawakening to ourselves.

Some of us are tentatively stepping forth into our restorations. Others are leaping into the revival, invigorated with a lightness of being!

The imagery of a man dying in a crucifixion has always been confronting to me. However it certainly does catch your attention in terms of suffering. We all suffer. Most of us have nailed ourselves to a cross. We judge and blame. We criticise and play victim. We withdraw our love by setting conditions. We react to others and hold them accountable for making us feel emotional pain. Sometimes we even hand a hammer and nail and to someone and beg for them to make us suffer. Suffering is what we know, it is our normal and it is as real to us as any material thing.

We all suffer. We all suffer, until the moment we decide not to anymore. Then we do not suffer anymore. That is when we discover what life really is. Then we rise from the dead. We rise from the judgement and blame. We rise from criticism and victimhood. We rise and we love unconditionally. We rise above suffering. We rise into life.

We become the Phoenix and spread our wings so we can fly above all these things.

Seamus, suffering is a choice. It always will be and it always was. Will you choose to crucify yourself? Or will you choose to remove all limitations and walk amongst others in freedom?

Remind yourself that at any time, you may come down from the cross. It can only mean the death of great anguish and your miraculous delivery into being.

“A bridge of silver wings stretches from the dead ashes of an unforgiving nightmare to the jewelled vision of a life started anew” – Aberjhani

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A Healed Mind

Sanity

Dear Seamus,

According to statistics, a large number of Australians will suffer with mental illness in their lifetime. Of course that is if you get officially diagnosed from a list of disorders. There is a lot of stigma attached to mental illness. Most people can think of nothing worse than bearing the label of a mental illness. Others find relief in finally being able to name their inner torture because they cannot bear the exhaustion of battling it in secret any longer.

Many moons ago after I left school, I studied an Associate Diploma of Social Science. My favourite subjects were the Psychology Units in which I excelled. My major assignment was to pick a mental illness and write an in depth report. I chose Schizophrenia. It was extremely interesting but the most fascinating part of the study was an educational video on the disorder. Towards the end, there was a shot of a young man smoking a cigarette while sitting in the garden and staring off into space. The narrator was summing up all the information and added that there was one belief that those who were delusional were actually just experiencing another reality, the real reality as opposed to the dream of what was ‘normal’. It stayed with me and ensured I had a about what mental illness was.

Before I began a loving relationship with your Daddy, I had a companionship with a man who had been given the label of Schizophrenia. His behaviour, feelings and thoughts were controlled by heavy medication so that he could live the ‘normal’ life. As I was fresh from the initial cancer diagnosis and my experience of unlearning, I had dropped judgements I had lived by my whole adult life. So in learning of this label of mental illness and some information about how his life had played out so far, I chose to experience his friendship in the now, without the past, from one human to another human.

His family had shown me photos of him as a young man. He was fit and healthy and had a warm, friendly smile. Physically now, he was quite different because of the effects of the medications. One warm February afternoon, we were chatting on the veranda of his Grandparents home. We were laughing and as I looked at him I saw something absolutely extraordinary. The younger, fitter, healthier version of himself which I had seen in photographs, stepped forward and smiled at me. I could hardly believe what I was seeing but it was as clear to me as any other person that stands before me. I pondered on it later and came to the conclusion that he was showing himself to me. His true self was stepping forward to say I am here!

He was saying; I am not lost beneath all this medication and all these labels and the judgement of others.

We had many open and honest conversations about his experiences of being Schizophrenic. We had many loving and happy moments in our companionship, along with some challenging moments. But that is the nature of all relationships.

Because I did not fear that label of mental illness, I went on to have a wonderful friendship with a generous, sensitive and funny man. If I had not been able to get past the label, the concept of who he was, I would have missed out. I would have missed out on knowing and experiencing a great person.

A dictionary definition of mental illness is:

Any of various disorders in which a person’s thoughts, emotions, or behaviour are so abnormal as to cause suffering to himself, herself, or other people.

For all the years that I suffered deeply with depression and anxiety, I felt anything would be better than having the label of mental illness. So I struggled along, masking my pain. Knowing some of the intimate details of my friends lives, thoughts and behaviours, they were doing the same thing.

My mind was broken. It was fragmented by beliefs, judgements, illusions and fears. Yet beneath all of it, my true whole self was waiting. Waiting to shine again, as that is the beautiful truth. Self-love was what was required to stoke the fire, the oxygen to the flame. In the heat of ultimate love, my mind was healed.
If my thoughts, behaviours and feelings go against what is deemed normal then call me crazy, please! There is not much of the dished out version of normal that I relate to, or have ever related to.
Seamus, a label is a two dimensional piece of information which we give meaning to. It speaks little of the human being beneath it. Ignore the judgements and have your own experience, based on your own feelings about that person or situation. With a free heart and whole mind, you can be open to the most incredible life experiences. Create your own normal darling, it will be your only sanity.

“Everybody will think you are crazy, but you are simply being natural; and nature is not crazy. To be natural is the authentic sanity: the more natural you become, the bigger will become the distance with the artificial society and the artificial people – but you will be becoming more and more sane” Osho