Since the only constant in life is change, just living is, by definition, an ongoing process of adjustment. Experiencing and observing all of this change over many decades has led me to conclude that life itself has been my best teacher and thereby the school for my soul. While both life and change are challenging, it seems change is particularly so, for nine out of ten of us would apparently rather die than change (which is a little gem of info I got from a magazine I bought at an airport newsstand in 2005). So how I handle or relate to change will pretty much determine how I experience life. But I, like most, seem to have this almost instinctive resistance to change that seems to come from somewhere deep within my basic design.
I’ve long wondered about the source of this resistance, so I was delighted when I recently came upon the following link by author and lecturer Bruce Lipton http://youtu.be/EeUrU-UA858 in which he explains the underlying reasons for this phenomenon and why bringing the unconscious part of ourselves into consciousness is so important. I found his message most reassuring, for he basically validates what these past fifteen years of my life have been about. The information he provided also gives me a fresh perspective around why my decision to shift my identity, as described in my Big Bang blog, has taken so long and been so challenging!
My grandfather had been a doctor, so my conditioning from childhood had been to believe that doctors knew what was best for me. But this whole experience has taught me, in a very personal way, the downside of abdicating my own responsibility for knowing and being in right relationship with my own body, because I’m one of those who doesn’t fit easily into our traditional Western medical model, which seems more focused on my parts rather than my whole.
This meant that I had to find the more holistic practitioners, which is when I discovered the truth of that adage “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. Although it took a while, I finally found a friend who knew somebody who knew somebody, etc., and one referral led to another. The learning curve was remarkable and the non-traditional treatments I received ultimately proved effective. Eventually, with the help of several gifted, alternative healers, the fibromyalgia was cured, though it took several years and required patience and many changes.
It was also during this process, that two doctor friends informed me that close to 90% of all health problems are the result of the patient’s lifestyle habits, so it’s even more clear that taking personal responsibility for one’s health is the most effective way to avoid illness, though other factors still come into play as well, which means that there is still no guarantee, as I’ve also learned.
Lest I give the wrong impression here, I want to express my sincere gratitude for what our Western medical model does do very well in many areas, like the two radio-frequency ablation procedures I needed for my heart with its A-Fib which has also been cured! I now depend on both traditions, allopathic and nontraditional, and am learning which to favor for what problem and finding more often than not, that I need a combination of the two. However, finding providers who are willing and ready to work cooperatively like this is still not easy for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that it can be time-consuming.
Fairly early in my long quest for health, I happened across Caroline Myss’ book Anatomy of the Spirit which led me to conclude that I wasn’t just having a physical crisis, but a spiritual one. Several years earlier, on the recommendation of my stepdaughter, Patricia, I had read the book Fear No Evil (which was channeled by Eva Pierrakos from her Guide, transcribed and then edited by Donovan Thesenga). I had found it the most profound of all of the psychology/spirituality books I’d read to that point so off I went to The Sevenoaks Pathwork Center in Madison, Virginia (near Charlottesville), for a Memorial Day workshop.
Again, my hopes for a simple solution were dashed, for it showed me that I needed a lot more deep, emotional unpacking. No simple or easy solutions! So I signed up for their package and flew there one weekend a month, nine months of the year for five years. With the help of the very wise and loving professionals there, I learned a whole lot more about change, most particularly, that real and meaningful change takes time and is not for sissies (I found self-forgiveness very challenging).
I might have chosen another of the many worthy approaches to physical health and spiritual growth, but this turned out to be the best introduction for me because it became clear that I needed to find and penetrate that Teflon layer of defenses around my heart which going to church, prayer, Bible study, reading and counseling had failed to crack.
Probably the reason the Pathwork approach worked so well for me was that they used the Master Teacher model Fr. Charlie referred to, for though we had reading to do, their process primarily supported each of us in identifying and working through whatever emotionally-based issues were forefront in our lives at the moment, which concurrently taught us how to take total personal responsibility for it. All this helped me discover the vast difference between knowing something in my head and experiencing it in my heart where my ego couldn’t cover up my true feelings. Thankfully, the heart can’t lie!!
This whole process required indirect changes, for the ripple effect meant that change in one area of my life necessitated adjustments in the others as well, all of which has taught me about surrender and loss, both of which are pretty much what getting old is all about. It’s been a process of “intensive self-realization,” one in which I have learned a great deal about what has gotten in the way of my surrender to change, in particular, my fear:
I’ve come to a crossroad where I’ve seen the old inner landscape where there is fear: fear of life, fear of death, fear of pleasure, fear of giving up control, fear of feelings – fear of being per se. It takes considerable self-confrontation to become aware of these fears. They are usually covered up, but they exist nevertheless. (Pathwork Lecture #158)
Furthermore, I’ve come to accept that:
Only within myself can I recognize the very special meaning and purpose of this life and the individual tasks that I have to fulfill for the purpose of life is not to have it as comfortable as possible but to develop towards a higher state in order to reach perfect bliss as rapidly as possible which is a state that doesn’t exist on earth. (Pathwork Lecture #3).
Hmmm. I must confess that the little girl in me likes the idea that clearing out all these bad and sad tapes from my unconsciousness might have a benefit for my everlasting soul!
Yes, change is the constant but how I respond to it is my choice and whether and how I make that choice matters. I’ve found that my attitude, how I choose to feel and think about a given situation that’s calling for change, makes all the difference in the world, as Father Charlie’s story about Margaret’s passing illustrated. Other habits of mind we would be wise to cultivate, according to Father Charlie, are: remembering that the inevitability of eternal life is the way we rid ourselves of the fear of death, which is the ultimate fear of loss; and remembering that failure to rid ourselves of this fear leads to criminality and virtually all other dysfunctional human behaviors. These have been very motivating ideas to me, for peace on earth would be a most exciting way to welcome in a New Golden Age which many feel 2012 could be about!
WOW! If we really did this we might even be able to create a heaven right here on earth for ourselves and one another! What a lovely vision to aspire to! It would certainly make surrender and confronting my own little ego with all its fears worth the effort!! And it might even make me healthier as well.
About ReflectionsThe idea for the title “Janet’s Reflections” probably came from the same place all ideas come from: Somewhere Over the Rainbow! I usually get inspired in the wee hours of the morning when I can’t sleep, and this time, the more I listened, the more I liked it. After all, reflections aren’t just about thoughts, but also about mirroring: cause and effect; action and reaction. Ultimately, what defines the conscious me if not how I interact with the world around me in this mirror-like fashion? There’s so much more to me than I’ve been willing or able to see until now, so this opportunity to share my new found perspective is going to be fun and exciting. Hope you’ll join me.