Posted by: starrystez | October 30, 2014

New experiences with reiki

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Image from www.ajtherapieshealthcentre.co.uk

For the past two nights I’ve been practicing reiki on myself before I go to sleep. To do this, I’m placing my hands on the parts of my body that correspond to the energy centres and visualizing the colour associated with each area. Although I’m attuned to reiki 1 and 2 and have had very intense experienced with it, it’s been a long time since I’ve used it.

I woke up yesterday feeling very ill, much worse than normal. I had severe flu like cramps in my muscles, leg making it hard to walk about. This is not unusual for my condition but the pain was more intense than I’d felt for some time. There was no reason to feel worse; I had not overdone physical activity or been especially stressed, so I guessed the effect was due to reiki and I waited patiently for the energy to do what it had to do, trusting it was for my highest good.

Last night I repeated the process, visualizing the corresponding colour as I rested my hands on the energy centres for around 3-5 minutes each. I was very tired and quickly fell asleep after completing all the hand positions. Overnight I had some very strange dreams about being back in childhood, yet in a wheelchair (I occasionally need to use a wheelchair for trips out, but certainly did not as a child). The dreams involved me being rejected by my family and peers; in one, my sister refused to take me out due to me being in a wheelchair. In another, nobody at school would be my partner during P.E. What was also significant in both these dreams was the grief I experienced during them. I was suppressing the urge to cry and in so doing the pain at the back of my throat was so intense it was burning. I’m sure most of us have experienced that sensation when there is a tremendous urge to cry yet also to swallow it back down.

I woke up with that sensation and the grief still vivid in my mind although once I had fully awoken the urge to cry disappeared. Immediately, I remembered having my hands on my throat chakra and the brilliant blue I had imagined flowing into that entire area. I guessed the dreams had released a blockage that still existed. Whilst I could not remember a time my sister had wanted to take me our as per the dream, I had indeed been rejected by her and also by my peers at school. The memories of having no one to be my partner in P.E are especially clear to me and have been the source of much pain over the years. When one is insecure at that age, peer rejection is no less than traumatizing.

Using reiki has reminded me that despite all the talking I have done over the years, as well as some crying, there must be blockages that remain on an energy level. I feel hopeful that continuing to use reiki on a regular basis will help shift any remaining emotional pain and even lead to better physical health. I hope so.

Posted by: starrystez | October 26, 2014

Day out in Winchester

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Yesterday myself, my boyfriend and my dog had a lovely day out in Winchester, Hampshire, UK, which is where my grandmother grew up from 1906. I carried with me a postcard dated 1920 that was sent to her old house in a Winchester road that still exists today, but sadly the exact house she lived in was demolished some time ago to make room for a main road that runs alongside. Thus, the houses only go to around number 35 or so now; less than half remain. Nonetheless, I was delighted and a bit emotional to see where she had lived, and what a beautiful place it is too. I could accurately picture my rather staunch, religious and very strong-willed grandmother as first a young child and then a teenager sitting by the fast-moving river Litchen, which is still beautiful today, not to mention the striking and famous Winchester cathedral, situated in the city centre, just minutes away from my grandmother’s old road. We had lunch in the cathedral grounds watching the queues of visitors waiting to take a look inside.

It was a lovely day and we were lucky with the weather too. I wish we could have seen more, but with my health problems it is hard having days out, although this one was certainly worth it. An added bonus was the two trains it took to get there, which remains my favourite form of travel!

Posted by: starrystez | October 23, 2014

Setting myself free

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Image from http://www.cnncd.com

I’ve hardly dared say this, never mind believe it, but for the first time ever my life has reached a stable plateau. While there are the inevitable struggles, I am not constantly struggling. My life isn’t an endless uphill journey anymore. This realization is astounding.

Of course, every situation is relative. I am still ill, although slowly improving. I still encounter difficulties with my autistic son and these will almost certainly increase as he gets older and myself and his father begin to consider long term accommodation and care for him. My relationship with his father will never be wonderful. Not least, the pain of the past, my childhood, will never leave me, particularly as it re-lives itself over and over in the present, through the struggles with my son and the unfulfilled wishes I have owned.

It may seem to the outsider that my life is still full of ongoing struggles and perhaps in some sense it is. What has changed is my state of mind. I accept that the past has gone and I can’t change it. I can only do the best I can with what I have in this moment. My son was never the medicine to cure a painful past. His disability reinforced my awareness of this very obvious and yet frequently under-recognized fact. No child is a substitute for the loss of a childhood. There are subtle ways in which a son or daughter can help heal our wounds if the focus remains on them, but the child can never be expected to heal us. Experience tells me how damaging this expectation is.

I have to accept my son for who he is. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I struggle with this even now. Yesterday I was very poorly and watched my son destroy my bird-table because I was physically too weak to stop him, that is, before I managed to get him back inside the house. It hurts to know he has little empathy, for me or anyone or thing else. At times something has clicked when I try to explain, such as ‘the birds will be sad without their table’ but more often he reacts in the moment, apparently without much thought or awareness.

My pain is very self-focussed, however, for it stems from the belief of not mattering. What is conjured up, time and time again, is that it doesn’t matter what I say to my boy, or said to my family in the past. Just like it doesn’t matter how many treatments I tried, or how positively I thought about my illness, it did not go away. My words, my existence, my good intentions, my emotions, make no difference. This is what hurts so much. And this is the key to my freedom.

My desire to matter has taken me on a long inner journey where I have had to come to terms with endless turmoil as I attempted to ‘prove’ myself to others. I have since learnt that this is futile because the outside world will never present me with all the validation I crave. I might be the most loving and attentive mother in the world but my child, disabled or not, has his own path to lead. I might be the most considerate and understanding ex-wife only for my ex husband to be lost in his own issues and negative perception of me. And I might confront my family about how painful my childhood was, only to be met with denial.

All that is left is me. My inner journey has included psychotherapy, where I was beyond blessed to work with wonderful counsellors who believed in me and helped me on my way. In many ways they gave me what my childhood family could not; self-belief, positive reinforcement, and strength to carry on. I worked through a lot of trauma and grief, as well as continuing my endless struggle to beat my illness and lead the life I wanted. As my understanding of the past increased, so did my awareness of clinging to certain identities or assumptions about life, such as ‘it will always be a struggle’ or ‘I need to work through this some more.’ As necessary as it is to work through past pain, it becomes more important to be able to let the process go, to shed the metaphorical skin.

And this is where I am now. I am letting go. I accept that my life has not been as I’d have chosen it. My external choices are limited now due to age, illness and pure emotional exhaustion. But my internal choice is strong and it is here that I remain blessed. I have always done the best I can, even if others don’t see that. I can accept what has happened to me and move forward. My health is improving. I have a kind and understanding boyfriend with whom I am looking forward to spending a good future. I get to see my son once a week and it is (mostly!) quality time. I am studying for a second degree. I am able to travel again, within reason. I am not in constant pain and anguish anymore.

It can a tough decision to give up past identities, particularly when there are secondary gains from hanging onto them. I could remain angry, bitter and sad for the rest of my life, with therapy a constant companion. My pain would become my identity, enslaved to my anger and loss. But as I look out on this beautiful autumnal day, watching golden leaves loosen their hold on the claw-like branches of my horse chestnut tree and gently sway in the wind, I know acceptance is the right choice. I have set myself free.

Posted by: starrystez | October 21, 2014

Windy morning at the seafront

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The tail end of a hurricane produced gale force winds which affected a large part of the UK overnight although where I am in the south escaped the worst of the weather. Despite this the winds were still blowing strong this morning, particularly at the seafront where the frothy waves made stunning views. I sat inside the warm and ever-packed seafront cafe and enjoyed my large slice of coffee and walnut cake and orange juice ( a much needed sugar rush!) as I watched the huge waves crash onto the pebbles in quick succession, creating beauty in a truly magnificent scale. The photos don’t really give nature its due.

Posted by: starrystez | October 16, 2014

Magic and the Divine peach

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image from students.expression.edu

A couple of nights ago I had a funny vision as I lay in a dozy, half-sleep state. I saw the peach from the famous novel ‘James and the giant peach’ by Roald Dahl. I haven’t read this book in years but liked it as a child. What was even funnier was that I was one of the insects that had been transformed by the magic croc tongues given by the mysterious man to James at the start of the book. These tongues turned an ordinary peach into one large enough to house James and several now human-sized insects and squash James’ abusive aunts to death on its travels. Dark yes, but Dahl was no sickly sweet children’s author.

All I can remember of my vision is walking towards the peach knowing I was going on a great adventure and that I had to trust it. As I awoke I knew I had to remember what the book was about. As it turned out, it certainly involved a great adventure: the child James and his insect buddies had to overcome several terrifying obstacles such as nearly having their peach-boat pecked apart by birds on their way over the Atlantic in search of a new life, and friends, in New York City. Orphan James had lived most of his life with his horrible aunts who made his life an utter misery; he was shut away when it suited the aunts, did most of the chores, and he had no friends to play with.

And yet, his plight did not go unnoticed. The stranger with the croc tongues brought the magic that was needed to instigate James’ transformation. No one knew who he was in the book; he was never mentioned nor thought about again. To me, he represents Divine Grace. Grace is that little bit of magic sent to each of us to ensure we follow the path we were meant to, or the nudge that we need to get off the incorrect one. It is the feeling that, when looking back on our life more objectively, despite the inevitable suffering and pain at times, or perhaps most of the time, people and events showed up exactly as we needed them.

However, the man with the croc tongues obviously did not take James across the ocean to his destiny. He didn’t play any part in that. It was up to James to use his bit of magic to find his path. It was no doubt a very scary journey indeed for an orphan boy travelling with people/insects he didn’t know, inside a peach that just a short time ago had been growing from an ordinary peach tree but now had suddenly grown to mega proportions and killed his aunts. The only life he remembered was gone. He had to trust it was all for the best. He had to place his faith that the journey would take him to where he needed to be. To do that, he had to lose everything he ever knew to embrace an experience unlike any he had ever had.

Of course, this is simply a children’t story and can’t be taken too seriously. But at the same time it’s difficult to avoid the profound truth that lies within it. It has added significance for me because I’m terrified of most insects. I know this is relevant because I was writing about this the evening before I had the vision. I try hard to show compassion to all creatures and avoid killing them unless absolutely necessary, but my fear quite often gets the better of me. I feel out of control when insects come near me. I fear they are going to get in my face or my hair which leads to a feeling of being attacked. So it is very interesting that the story of James and the giant peach came to me in a vision. I believe it is saying ‘do not fear the unknown.’ In the story, the insects turned out to be the best friends James had ever had or known. He lay all his trust in them and the strange territory that was the peach.

The vision is thus a reminder to embrace the unfamiliar. It shows me that each of us are being guided to reach our destiny, yet it is up to us to make it happen. Divine Grace can give us the magic but it is up to us to trust and use it.

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