There’s a Matt Kahn interview with John Burgos out this week, about healing with love; very timely for me and the world and I had it earmarked to listen to yesterday morning. It has been a big week for me; a new understanding that – right at the core of the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue that has ‘plagued’ my health for years was a virus, something that had tucked itself away into all my cells, turning my own body processes ‘against’ me, messing with the very functioning of my DNA, switching my self-healing processes and appropriate reactions off. I shared all this in my other blog under (Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue – are they Epstein Barr?), the writing and researching of which was a cathartic process in itself, and then I collapsed. It was though, as I switched into automatic reaction to knowing there was an ‘enemy’ at large in my body, that (although my mind was open to regarding this discovery as such a positive), an automatic contraction occurred and all my renewed determination to combat what I had now identified only provoked an escalated situation, a stepping-up of inner security, that played out like a toxic episode in my body. By Friday evening, I was in so much widespread muscle and nerve pain, truly agonising head pain, that I was sobbing and my family were alarmed. It felt like rock bottom. Where did I even go from here?
Anyone who follows Matt’s work will be familiar with the concept of loving whatever arises but we also know there are those times when doing that is so counterintuitive it almost hurts more than that we are struggling with. His approach to dealing with even the biggest of those things that challenge us is very radical to the point of saying to whatever that is “I love you, please stay, pull up a chair and drink some tea with me…” Yes I listened to his interview with Burgos as I lay in bed on Saturday morning but then I had to pause it again to take in what he had to say in his talk-through of the process. In this, he would have me say to myself that I loved this thing (my virus) and welcomed it, even invited it to stay as long as it liked and to show me what I could do for it to make a better experience for it. Gulp, what, really?
Let me just clarify, I already knew that everything was perfect, that each and every step of the journey I have been on was divinely orchestrated, by the highest aspect of me, to serve my highest purpose. I was also more than able to accept that it had showered me with gifts all along the way; that I literally wouldn’t be the ‘me’ that I am without this thing woven like a dark thread through the tapestry of my life. Pull on that thread and what would be left, would the sense of self I have come to know and love even hold together any more? I knew this and yet gratitude was one thing; saying “please stay for another cup” quite another. And yet. I knew that, as soon as we say “get out of here, you’re not wanted, not welcome, get out of here, you don’t fit in with me, I don’t see your point of view or honour what you want to experience by doing what you are doing” what we are really saying is “I reject you, deny you”. Reject and deny who? Where do I stop and this thing start anymore – we have been together for decades, it is me, so who am I negating exactly? How is this self love, love for all, oneness – all the things I truly believe in.
Yet I breathed myself through what I was hearing – by now, on my yoga mat – in fact I integrated it with the movements that have become so integral to the love and appreciation I have unleashed for all aspects of my physical self, the body that has seen me through thick and thin, and – not so unlike the experience I had had a few days earlier (described in my last post Twinning with my self) – it felt as though an epiphany exploded in the air and showered me with the light of understanding. Minutes later, I was downstairs opening the floodgate of a fast-flowing monologue that both startled and engaged my family, I must have talked for about an hour non-stop as I gathered, and then re-combed and wove anew, all the threads of my experience into this new understanding and then we all ran with it, there wasn’t a level on which this didn’t feel relevant to how we experience this often contradictory-seeming world, it ignited a conversation that is still going.
All of the day before, I had struggled most with the idea of aggressively fighting this thing in my cells; was already seeking high and low for the loving approach I could adopt if I am to save my body from further pain and destruction and yet make my stand without a fight.
As I’ve shared before, I really don’t resonate with waging ‘war’ or fighting on any level, not against cancer, terrorists or whatever it is; all this ever does is escalate. As though I needed further demonstration of this, the extreme symptoms in my body the night before, when I was suddenly in such pain, SUCH pain…were a very clear demonstration of the effect that mindset of ‘getting rid of’ had had upon the virus as it had only upped the ante and returned more gunfire from its defensive stance. But I was left at a loss as to what alternatives I had.
Before listening to Matt, just after waking, I had an apparently random idea pop into my head – “what if this virus is a Trojan horse?” – and, after listening, that arbitrary thought began to make sense to me. Yes, I realised, it is that very thing; cosmic ‘me’, my highest self, had set all this up so the virus could get into every deepest corner of me, could even soften up my DNA ready for profound changes, a quantum leap of experience, and then I would love it unconditionally anyway and, being heard, it would light up with its own reciprocal love and then blast light into every corner of my being, my very DNA. Radicals turned loved filled – hard to imagine but imagine it anyway as it is our best hope. Created through radical love.
How much sense did this arbitrary thought make; after all, this ‘virus’ has been in there so long, has so thoroughly merged with me, my lurking fear was that if I just started yanking it, it would be like pulling a barbed hook out of a fish. Me and it have become one and the same (or have been reminded that we always were so…) so if we go ‘down’ we go down together; what a very profound thing to take-in about my supposed ‘enemy’.
What did I really think I would find, if I went blasting with everything I had into all those darkest corners of my health, but aspects of myself cowered and blinking back at me through the dark. So here – this – in a much simplified version of everything I suddenly understood, is what came to me: what if this is the great opportunity that chronic illness gifts those who have it? What if the silver bullet of all of our ‘darkest’ situations is actually a bullet of love delivered to the deepest recesses, where all that pain and fear has so diligently led because – when we stop and listen it out and meet it with compassion, then we transform everything from the darkest recesses outwards, wham! That is not to say we allow it to continue abusing us, taking liberties with our own freedoms, or destroying what is precious to us (we take every necessary step to mitigate all of that) but we stop it in its tracks with the most unexpected thing of all, a loving response, and so we disarm it, we gain its trust and we work with it to find common ground and mutual healing. The enormity of what I had just gathered for myself was profound and has played out in my body ever since; a full day later, I feel very different to how I felt during Friday’s crisis point.
Then all the news broke into my awareness about another crisis point that took place on Friday – in Paris – and I saw, in an instant, how this was just more of the same…how it was a much bigger opportunity NOT to turn our reactions into the same old patterns of fear and hatred and obliteration, but to meet in a place where other people’s pain are heard and met…not what most people want to hear this weekend, I grant you, but I hear it as an invitation of hope through the demonstration of my own body, which feels much calmer, more at ease, more like it is truly, deeply, healing now than I have known in a long time. There’s a current of love flowing through me this weekend that is like an egg cracked open and love spilling out – for all – quite in spite of the panic and terror the worlds, both inside of me and out, have been quite determined to show to me, in spite of all the media and newsfeed preoccupation that would tug me into another current. I know that in holding this space of unconditional love, I make my own small contribution to the healing of the world.
A loving footnote about Paris…
I’ve been feeling very deeply into why what happened in Paris should have me feeling any differently than about any atrocity anywhere else, in any less familiar corner of the world and I realise that it is the personal aspect and the proximity that does that for me and many of us; we can relate. Place de la Republique, where several of the restaurant shootings took place, is just steps away from a hotel we stayed in on one of the most wonderful visits to Paris we ever had. It was on the route of many a laughter-filled walk ‘home’ after an action packed day, was the morning’s first sunlit pause to the aroma of coffee as we set off on yet another day’s adventure pounding pavements, creating dearest memories. We peered into all of those amber-glowing restaurants at night, smiled at all that relaxed and friendly Parisienne vibe that contributed to our wonderful experience of this favourite of cities.
Before we fully knew what and where had happened yesterday, one of the first things we did was check that our most favourite of cosy restaurants, scene of many happy celebrations and lovely people who helped make those memories so lasting for us, wasn’t on that list; not that one set of people was more important than any other but a most human of reactions. Here it was again, that thing that recruited more reaction than another. I realise it is all the light-filled, most personal, of associations that make this kind of news the hardest to swallow and, conversely, I realise this is why it is made all the easier for me to keep those lights switched on for those places, in my heart, now that it matters the most that I hold that light steady. Other corners of our world, sadly, hold less associations for us all; receive less coverage, are made less relevant by those who choose the ‘news’, we seldom (if ever) go there and so we overlook them. Like the very deepest cells of our bodies, we only ‘go there’, at all, when things go so badly wrong that it affects us directly, personally.
I am sending love into all those places today and, going forwards, by continuing to hold light in Paris where it is easiest to do so because knowledge of that place is as familiar as my own right arm, personal enough for me to imagine that light shining because of vivid memories that we carry like candles. Similar, I guess, to how it is far easier to heal in our bodies when we can remember what it used to feel like before anything “went wrong”; when we can rewind our memories to an earlier draft of ourselves and hold onto that as a focal-point. The good-feeling associations we have of a place affected by tragedy are the gift because they allow the recognition – at some deeper level – that this ideal state already exists, somewhere out there, and also that we are one with these people because our recollection of that ideal state, our holding on to it energetically speaking, really matters and makes a difference – we know that inherently, without being able to explain fully why. Once we ‘get that’ we can take it a step further and realise this is true of all people or places, whether their streets, their habits or their perspectives are familiar to us or no; they could be a dust-bowl on the other side of the world and yet we can still ‘know’ them as a place blessed with love and healing; can imagine them in a state of wholeness – and so this becomes something that we can learn to apply universally to heal the world. Because, like yet another Trojan horse sent into all places where the light has, temporarily dimmed for some reason or other, this heart association is then capable of radiating light to all the furthest extremities, the deepest layers and cells of this chronically ill world, to all the people in all the places in the world (without exception) that are in need of more love and understanding shone into dark corners, helping to bring about whatever healing is most needed there. Today, I choose to shine my light into all those places, and all hearts everywhere – may we all be healed as one.
I’ve continued to develop this theme through a series of posts which work together in so many ways across varying levels of exploration –
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue – are they Epstein Barr (where it all started)