Between the trees the candles flicker and beckon, leading us down towards the clearing
Where the fire glows.
We gather, in circle, side by beautiful side, in anticipation, bodies swaying, drums and rattles in hand. Nervous. Poised. Expectant.
And then, arising from the remnants of the day, it comes.
The first call to action.
Like a heart beat in the night.
Boom. . . . Boom. . . Boom. Spirit horse is rounding us up and calling us to play.
Is that my heart or is that my drum? I no longer know or care, carried along, I am, on the rising crescendo of sound and rhythm.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
Like moths around a flame, we dance, we sing, we merge with the fire – heart and soul surrendering to this, the Dance of Life.
Boom. To be blessed by the earth beneath our feet, protected by the guardians of the woods, under the loving watchful gaze of the Moon and an audience of stars.
Boom. Here I am. Naked. Daubed in body paint and drumming the guts out of a Saturday night with a load of strangers. And, yes, totally, stone cold sober. BOOM!
This is a celebration of what it means to be truly alive.
In this moment I am intoxicated on life.
I am SKY CLAD and LOVING IT.
This is not just an ordinary day.
This is deep healing. This is my medicine.
It is so. so easy, and completely understandable, if we allow ourselves to get lost or caught up in the fear, grief , anger or negative emotions that accompany a serious health diagnosis. It can be so hard knowing which way to turn, and overwhelming to come to terms with such shocking and shattering news, and it might feel as if nothing is within your control. And, when we are at our most vulnerable physically emotionally or spiritually, the hardest thing to retrieve or retain is our sense of personal power. It becomes a vicious cycle: so the more disempowered we feel, the more threatened and unstable our life appears to be, the more opportunity for the newly created void to be filled instead with the negativity of fear etc. Until, we can only see the glass half empty.
As I gaze deeper into the flames and surrender that part of me that is judgmental, cynical or afraid. And, when I stop questioning the rationale behind my actions, when I truly give myself permission, just to BE. To go with the flow. To let go. That’s when the power returns. Drummed up again from somewhere deep within, and from somewhere deep inside the Mother. Besides, when the chips are down, there ain’t nothing to lose. Not even my dignity. And there is everything to gain. Because when you meet the fear, face it, when you challenge the expectation, when you peer beyond the confines of the box, when you surprise yourself, that’s when you can take the reins. That’s when you can climb back into the saddle, at least just for now. And there, ‘neath the inky sky, drum in hand, entranced, I let my heart burst open to the magic of the midnight flames, as the fire flirts and dances with me, enticing me like a lover, guiding me like a teacher, mad, frenzied, exuberant, teaching, whispering secrets, purifying.
The way I see it, is that the potential for deep “healing” is within us all. And, the concept of “Healing” is very different form the notion of “Cure” in my opinion but no less profound.
Everyday, the focus of my intent, is for healing. It enriches my life, my wellbeing, and lies beneath almost everything I do. Carrying this intent within my breast, has made what is a difficult journey into an adventure, a pilgrimage. If in some small ,yet clumsy way, I can share my #glasshalffull with anyone, to lighten the burden of your quest, to spark a small flame of hope, to walk alongside you, then it would be a privilege.
I feel very blessed. When cancer called, it revealed to me a long overdue, yet golden opportunity to embark on a healing adventure. And, I intend, not only to walk it with my head held high, but to reach out to the tribe, to walk with me. It’s a funny thing; when you have cancer, the talk is all of drugs and chemo, and appointments, and scans, and radiation, or surgery, and mets, and mutations, injections, biospsies, samples, protocols, plans, options.
I’ve seen a lot of medical staff during the last 8 months, incredible people, doing an incredible job given that the resources available to the NHS are so severely stretched. My gratitude for their care and service is matched only by my admiration for their dedication. Yet, not one has made any suggestion of implementing healing practices which exist beyond the parameters of conventional allopathic medicines and treatments. I’m not merely referring to complimentary or alternative therapies, of which I am a big supporter, but with a background in yoga and shamanic practices , I strongly feel that we do ourselves a dis-service if we ignore our own capacity for being :
The Alchemists of our own Healing.
We all possess our own unique Medicine. Medicine, is anything that heals. Our Medicine is our unique gift from spirit, to the world, a spiritual gift or talent. The tragedy for us humans is that we have forgotton this fact, something our indigenous brothers and sisters still remember. Losing sight of the medicine and magic within us, makes human beings sick.
Believe it or not, being diagnosed with cancer, allowed me to explore my connection to my own medicine. If you are still not sure what I am talking about, it is anything that makes you happy or enriches your experience. For me, it may be drumming around a fire, meditating, listening to healing frequencies, making offerings, lighting a candle, for you it may be enjoying a cuppa with friends, it really doesn’t matter. We just gotta find what is that does us good, then go for it.
Now, I don’t make excuses, if I know It makes me feel good, if it helps me relax, if it makes me see the joy in life, then it is Medicine.
The more we invoke the power and potential of our own medicine, the more we restore ourselves emotionally, energetically and spiritually. It is my thinking that dis-ease comes about when there is a psycho-spiritual malfunction. So, the more we can take the opportunity to resolve any wounds or unresolved emotional traumas that have or continue to cause us pain, the more we can cleanse harmful negative energy from our system.
So, for example, I have found it challenging, yet so, so liberating to do some work around forgiveness, both of others and myself. It’s a question of making peace with things, and it feels so clean, clear and good. I’m not there yet, it’s work in progress. But I’m in the driving seat. So, next stop, anger. Well buried, that one, Let’s see which stone that’s hiding beneath.
I am grateful that I have the foundations of a strong spiritual practice. I cannot imagine facing this journey without it. Within it I find a world of magic and possibility, of imagination and power. It reminds me that, within us all, we have all the answers we will ever need to truly know, that within us all resides an inner warrior, inner teacher, inner guru, and our inner healer. It furnishes me with an opportunity to practice gratitude, for everything. And the more I can embrace this attitude of gratitude, the more joy and fulfilment I receive from life.
Every morning, I open my eyes, and the first thing I say to myself is: Thank you for my life. Every damn bit of it. Why not? I am alive, I have my family, a roof over my head, food in my belly, and love and support. That makes me pretty rich. Thank you for my life. Thank you for my Life. The more I take the time and space to honour it, the more it becomes my truth and reality. It is cancer that has shown me just how plentiful my life is, how blessed it is. If we open our eyes, and charge ourselves with really observing and witnessing how things are, what will we find once we strip away negative and entrenched belief systems that no longer serve us? We will perhaps find the person that we are truly meant to be. And there is no time like the present to begin to set them free get to know them.
One of the hardest things a human being can do, is to remember how to love themselves. When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Do you immediately cover yourself in a cloud of judgement, negativity and criticism. What message is that reinforcing? That you are not worthy? That you are unloveable? That you are unattractive? Where do these thought forms come from? How long have you been telling yourself this. When did this arise? And, how healthy is this for you? How might you feel, and what impact might this have on your healing and wellbeing if you were able to challenge and change this thinking?
No matter where, when or who makes you feel this way, you have the power to transform this story. Yes, you really do. If you believe it to be so. Just give it a try.
Clear your mind. Place your left hand over your heart centre, and your right over your solar plexus. And, looking into a mirror bless yourself with these words borrowed from Hawaiian and Polynesian traditions.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Begin with 12 repetitions. You could build to 108 using it as a mantra. Please practice this excercise with an attitude of compassion, non judgement and loving kindness towards yourself. Even if you struggling with receiving the blessing you are bestowing upon yourself initially, commit to it. There is an ancient and powerful energy/vibration within the affirmation, so don’t be afraid to fake it ’til you make it. If you trust that it can work, then it will. If you experience resisitance within you, that’s OK, it’s normal, don’t give up. You are worth it!!
And, if you want to take a leaf out of my book and dance naked around a fire, just you go for it. Being naked reminds us of our vulnerability, it reminds us we are all the same, it connects us to the elements, it challenges our beliefs about our bodies their attractiveness etc. So, I wanted to let me body know how proud I am of it, to tell it it is doing really well supporting me through this, how amazing and beautiful it is. We all are. It’s a primal act of encouragement. I am sending a message of positivity to it, not hatred and disappointment.The fire teaches us all about strength and courage, it ignites our warrior spirit, shines a light where there is darkness, burns away and purifies anything that no longer serves us, it wants to gobble all that pain, and fear, and dis-ease. The fire is hungry for your prayers, it wants to hear the deepest secrets of our hearts. our dearest wishes, the fire wants to remind us how to dance, how to sing, how to be in community, not just with one another, but with all life on this beautiful planet, and this universe. The fire is our most ancient ancestor, come to us directly from the sun. And it resides within each and everyone of us. A flame, a spark of life.
(Below, harvesting the energy of the sun)
Rub your hands together, do you feel that heat? Do you? Do you feel the fire? YOU created that, it comes from within you. Now place your hands upon your body wherever you need healing right now.
Gently, with an intention of love and compassion.
Feel the heat pass from your hands to your body, and imagine all the love in the world , right now, is surrounding you. Holding you. Flowing into you. Caressing you. Protecting you.
There you have it. Medicine in the palm of your hands.
Om shanti. Peace. Peace. Peace. Always. With love.
Oh, yes. And my #glasshalffull tonight? Prosecco!!! It may be a banned substance, but I am going to give myself full permission to savour , relish and enjoy.