I was obviously not a well child from a very early age, frequent chest infections, colds, ear infections, tonsillitis, pneumonia, low haemoglobin and by the time I was sixteen, fibrositis from doing lots of ballet and fencing and trying too hard at everything. Pasty-faced I struggled on through my twenties and thirties, still trying too hard to keep up as I battled with my body.
In my late thirties, I began to take charge of my health. Through an interest in Jungian Psychology, Homeopathy and the Alexander Technique, I began to have a different perspective on life and became involved in various modalities and alternative health practices, body work and psychotherapy. By the time I reached my mid-fifties I felt fitter and healthier than I ever had in my life.
But I was still seeking outside of myself for cures rather than the true feeling I knew healing to be – from within, but I didn’t know how to go there.
A crisis struck when my late husband and I were 60 and he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. I went about nursing him in the old pattern of trying too hard and not understanding at all where the support came from that I needed – inside myself. When he died, I collapsed and all the unacknowledged stuff that had been suppressed in all those years of gaining what I felt was health and fitness surfaced to be dealt with. Old illnesses came back and new ones too – arthritis of the hips, a severe rash all over my body, bowel problems and osteoporosis. Clearly my body was telling me something and this at least, I finally understood, but not how to act on it.
At this time, I met a very wise man who has guided me to understand how true healing comes from within and that only I can bring that about through addressing my hurts, clearing my old ideals and beliefs and building an appreciation and love for myself.
This time it was full focus on the inner me, becoming aware of my emotional dramas, my mental reactions and learning to master them. I discovered that all my life I had been identifying with my body’s symptoms and losing touch with myself with all the anxiety that then ensued.
At 76 I am learning that I can live a rich and fulfilling inner life that supports how I live in the world, regardless of illness. Healing happens in allowing myself to surrender to my body and what it is undergoing because of my previous choices, rather than seeking a cure. It is about opening my heart and mind to everyone.
Remaining in the present moment with whatever is going on. Having presence, is a big key to not falling into the trap of blame, negativity and anxiety.
This is what is so important, being present in each moment and becoming aware of what is happening in the body and accepting and appreciating this awareness.
This may sound depressing, but it is not, for I am actually finding I feel well and vibrant inside despite the recent diagnoses of a large cyst on the kidney, polyps on the gall bladder and increase of the osteoporosis. You certainly would say my physical being is not healthy or well, but I actually feel well (most of the time) and being so much less troubled by the effects of all the above comes from choosing which energy I live with – a loving, fiery energy or an unloving dulled energy. I also feel stronger in my body through three years of osteo strength and awareness exercise.
Bringing conscious presence to everything I do allows me to live each day with awareness of how I move and express myself, to deepen my relationships, to give myself times of rest, to love and appreciate who I am and to serve humanity in whatever way I am able and this gives me purpose.
Being multi symptomatic at this age does not have to hold me back, only if I let it. So, I can go on living my life in the fullest way possible for as long as my amazing body keeps going. Who knows how it will all turn out, and which ailment I will die from.
Living life is in each moment, it is in the richness of every experience and being aware of what that looks and feels like will help me embrace my dying in that loving, alive energy.
Joan C., UK