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‘Never be afraid of pain.⠀
We live in a society that has made us run for tablets or to doctors to fix our pain.⠀
Pain is a great teacher.⠀
It teaches us that when pain happens, we go and find the source of the pain.⠀
We sit with the pain and ask it what it is shouting at us for?⠀
What is the lesson we are not getting, nor acknowledging?⠀
What are we holding onto for dear life, when we should let go?⠀
What are we not digesting?⠀
What are we not expressing?⠀
Where is anger?⠀
Where is resentment?⠀
Where is fear?⠀
Where is unforgiveness?⠀
Where is holding onto grudges?⠀
Where is holding onto pain – because there is a payoff somewhere, like it earns us sympathy or we can use it as an excuse, or as “look at poor me?”⠀
Pain teaches us to take responsibility.⠀
Pain teaches us to let go of all that old baggage, that emotional clogging, that intense holding onto what no longer serves our highest soul growth and good.⠀
I went through excruciating pain in the last few years, in order to delve deeply into myself, and to release whatever I was holding onto in the form of emotional baggage, false beliefs, low self-worth issues, etc. one by one. ⠀
Yes, it take guts to delve ever deeper inside yourself for healing and answers.⠀
Yes, it take guts to delve into that pain and ask it what it is trying to tell you.⠀
But, let me tell you, once I shed all that baggage, and worked through the pain, my whole life changed, and a deep inner peace, contentment, equilibrium and immense love filled up all all of me.⠀
It is infinitely worthwhile and healing comes, healing balm is spread, and love opens up and expands, as the walls around the heart come tumbling down, and love is freed up and expands, ever expands and to be free to roam where it wills.’

-Judith Kusel

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‘Healing begins with acceptance and culminates with letting go.

They taught us that we can’t change the past, but in a very intimate, profound, and beautiful way we can. When a great misery occurs it remains with us for as long as we hold on to it, attachments become attachments because of the energy we use to keep what happened or the image of what we want to happen locked away within our mind and body – this is the cause of tension in our being. When we hold on to these attachments they travel with us as a burden, from the past, to our present, and into our future. They can even travel forward in our lineage long after we are gone.

The miracle of healing ourselves is so powerful, because in the movement of accepting and letting go, we relinquish the energy of burden not only in our present, but in our past and future as well. Imagine the timeline of your life, now imagine the burdens that you carry as an extra line layered on top of your normal timeline. As we let go of our miseries, this extra layer becomes thinner and thinner. Yes, it may not change what happened, but the extra energy we carried because of these occurrences will no longer weigh down the timeline of our life. What happened, happened, but now these moments are no longer attachments of pain and sorrow, now they are lessons we learn from, lessons that bring us into a present of greater freedom, happiness, and wisdom.

Letting go is not an easy process, it requires a practice that produces results and a commitment to continue delving inward so we can release deeper and deeper attachments. We all heal differently, but know that there is something out there for you. Be bold, courageous, find a practice that suits you and meets you where you are at. Healing will come to those who seek it. Sending love to all beings. May we all reap the benefits of letting go. May we all be happy and peaceful.’

-Yung Pueblo

If you’re not familiar with his work and are interested in reading more, go to #yungpueblo.

Get Real- Jeff Brown

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Photographer Erkin Demir

“I know we often want it all happy and positive, but that’s just not where much of humanity is. Many of us are overwhelmed with pain, undigested sadness, unexpressed anger, unseen truths. This is where we are at, as a collective. So we have two choices. We can continue to pretend it’s not there, shame and shun it in ourselves and others, distract and detach whenever possible. Or we can face it heart-on, own it within ourselves, look for it in others with compassion, create a culture that is focused on authenticity and healthy emotional release. If we continue to push it all down, we are both creating illness and delaying our collective expansion. But if we can just own the shadow, express it, release it, love each other through it, we can finally graduate from the School of Heart Knocks and begin to enjoy this magnificent life as we were intended. Pretending the pain isn’t there just embeds it further. Let’s illuminate it instead.”

~ Jeff Brown

A Bag of Nails-Anger

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Dark sea Painting by Werner Knaupp

Once upon a time there was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail in the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. But gradually, the number of daily nails dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the first day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He proudly told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

“You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”

Taken from: http://viewonbuddhism.org/anger.html

Osho: Accept, and then simply observe

 

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“Through awareness, transformation happens spontaneously. If you become aware of your anger, understanding penetrates. Just watching, with no judgment, not saying good, not saying bad. There is lightning, anger, you feel hot, the whole nervous system shaking and quaking, and you feel a tremor all over the body – a beautiful moment, because when energy functions you can watch it easily.

Close your eyes and meditate on it. Don’t fight it, just look at what is happening. Just like you watch a storm in the sky – the whole sky filled with electricity, so much lightning, so much beauty – lie down and look at the sky and watch. Then do the same inside.”

-Osho

How Lyme Disease Was The Cure For My Dis-Ease

d5da51662429fd3128b923d4d7edf3b4These days I’m almost thankful that a tiny little tick bit me and gave me Lyme disease. This disease was the catalyst for some major changes in my life.  It took a formidable illness like Lyme to force me to quit my much loved career, slow down, and start to make the changes I needed to become a more balanced, mindful and inwardly peaceful individual.

After being quite unwell for many years, I was diagnosed with chronic late-stage Lyme disease, Lyme borreliosis plus three other little co-infections. I had no idea then what a difficult road recovery would be and I’m actually grateful for that. Had I have known the huge war Lyme would rage on my body and mind I probably wouldn’t have been so positive about overcoming it nor would I have persevered as I long as I did.

Fast forward a few years later, I’m a newer, much healthier version and so grateful for everything that transpired during my Lyme journey and treatment.  Lyme has changed my life in ways I never saw coming. It helped me learn some serious lessons about myself, about others and how I live my life.

Lessons Lyme Taught Me:

1) The Importance of living life in the moment- My life came to a standstill of sorts during my treatment and this was a blessing in disguise. At my sickest, there was no planning for the weekend, next month, or even next year. Life was about getting through each day. Some days getting out of bed and showering was an achievement in itself.  While at the time I was beyond frustrated with the pace of healing and how limited my life had become, being very sick taught me a valuable lesson; how to live in the now, the only place where peace can exist.

It never previously occurred to me that I could not live a peaceful existence unless I was rooted in the present moment. I now understand that living in the past, reliving past hurts and pain over and over again, simply isn’t helpful or conducive for a balanced, peaceful life.  The past has happened, it’s done, and no amount of rehashing hurts or regrets will change it. Make peace with your pain; acknowledge what has happened, accept it, forgive those who have wronged you, or even forgive yourself, and bring yourself back to the present moment. The only moment that is real.

This same awareness can be applied to worrying excessively about the future; this is just as counterproductive as living in the past.  Only now exists, and now is the only place where peace can be found. Be present in your life, no mater shows up.  Look at the works of Rumi, Buddha, Ram Dass, Osho, Sogyal Rinpoche, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle; they all seem to share a similar message.

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2) I learned how to surrender– As a former control freak perfectionist, Lyme was the perfect lesson in learning how to let go of the reins and surrender completely. For three years Lyme was in charge and I struggled profusely against it. I refused to surrender to it for the longest time. I fought very hard to keep a regular life and even harder not to give up on so many things I deemed important. Things that were often at odds with healing. Only once I finally let go and stopped fighting the process and the disease did I find peace. This was huge for me. I was having a crash course in mindfulness.

Once I surrendered, things really started to change. I accepted that I was sick and that I possibly would always be sick and I had to make peace with that. I also accepted that I’d probably never teach again and possibly would never work full time again. Acceptance was the only thing left to do. If you can’t leave a situation or change it, then you have to accept it. As Tolle says ‘All else is madness.’

Learning to surrender and show equanimity has had a follow on effect in other areas of life. I understand now that most of the challenging events and people in my life are out of my control and I’m learning to be OK with that. The only thing I can control is how I respond to situations and others. Letting go and learning to be equanimous during both  challenges and successes is an on-going goal for me.

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3) Life cannot be peaceful without balance- If it weren’t for Lyme I’d most certainly still be teaching and still burning the candle at both ends, living a life without a trace of balance. I feel that while I was a capable teacher, I was beyond hopeless at being a balanced employee. I loved working hard, being super organized and having everything in ‘perfect’ order. Now I shudder at the thought. Ego sure loved getting praise and accolades for my hard work too.

Post Lyme, I no longer want a job that requires me to work six days a week, work after hours and even during my holidays. I can see now that while being a workaholic perfectionist made me a pretty good employee, it failed to help make be a healthy, balanced individual. Also waking up so fatigued every day didn’t allow me to show the level of patience, kindness and compassion that my students and coworkers deserved.

I learned that if you find balance, you’ll also find peace. Whether it’s with work, relationships, friendships, family, food, or exercise. Wherever there is imbalance, work to rectify it. The more balanced I am, the more productive, happy and energetic I feel. The happier I am, the kinder and more compassionate I can be with others.

 4) Anger is a very harmful emotion- Anger is a very powerful emotion and can negatively affect not just your mind, but also your body. Because anger produces a chemical response in your body, if left unchecked or prolonged, the flood of these stress chemicals can eventually cause harm to many different systems of the body. I learned that anger and health simply cannot coexist and that carrying anger with you is incredibly self- destructive.

In reality, pain is universal, we ALL experience it, and it’s a part of being human. Unchecked, this pain and suffering can lead to anger. It seems perfectly obvious now, that by not forgiving those that caused me pain and/or suffering, I was actually the perpetrator of ongoing pain to myself. Forgiveness is the key to liberating your mind from anger and is the only way to gain peace.  Even if you’re feeling particularly bitter and don’t yet believe that the person deserves forgiveness, think of YOU. Don’t you deserve to be free of the pain?

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 5) Disease is Dis-ease: During my Lyme treatment I’d cry to my husband “Why can’t I have a different disease, any disease other than Lyme?” I now understand that having a disease, any disease, means that your body and/or mind is in a state of dis-ease. It makes no difference what the type of illness you have; you are ‘without ease’. No disease is a walk in the park. But that’s the nature of illness, it forces you one way or another to make changes and evolve as a person. I’ve learned from Lyme that health is not simply the absence of disease. Rather, health should be viewed as the state in which each parts of the body are working together effortlessly and at ease. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

 6) The Importance of Finding the Right Doctor For you- Respect your body enough to walk away from medical care that doesn’t seem right or isn’t on par with your values and beliefs.  I had a renowned and very experienced Californian Lyme doctor when I lived in the States. Being so revered and experienced, I did whatever he said. If he instructed me to stay on a particular antibiotic, which was at toxic levels that had me up day and night with vomiting and diarrhea, then I would. No matter how sick I got, I did what he said. The unfortunate lingering result of this has been many food intolerances and a nasty Leaky Gut.

Fast-forward a few years, I’m pretty picky about who I listen to when it comes to medicine. It’s my body, I’m the one ingesting the treatment and if I think there’s a healthier, more holistic way then I’ll seek a second opinion. Luckily, I found a wonderful doctor here in Australia who was my saving grace. Since meeting her my health has improved ten-fold.  Her values are in line with mine; a healthy mind, body and spirit are needed for good health. We used regular and complementary medicine to achieve this, and I say WE because we both came up with options for treatment and she gave me the choice on which option to take. After all, it is my body, so it is my choice.

My advice for Lyme sufferers, or anyone suffering an illness, is not to focus purely on physically healing. Rather, see your illness as an opportunity to heal any areas of your life, be it emotional or spiritual, where you have an imbalance or discord.

Thankfully, it looks like the worst of my Lyme storm has passed and I feel like there’s so much to look forward to. I’ve been off medication for over a year now with no relapses. I am still living with Lyme, however my last blood work showed that I no longer have co-infections.  Yay! I am no longer plagued with chronic fatigue and I am happy to say that my ‘good’ days far out weigh the tiresome ones. Now my focus is on managing my energy levels, continued healing, meditation and mindfulness.

Namaste. May you be well.  May you be happy. May you be free from suffering.

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