I'm not gonna lie. I've dabbled in my fair share of "woo woo" -- however we wish to define it. From mind-body medicine to mantra-based meditation. Acupuncture, feng shui, psychic readings, past life regression, rebirth experiences, tarot card readings -- you name it, I've probably done it. I trust that all of these experiences are tools we have in our arsenal to embracing a deeper conscious awareness in our everyday life.
As I reflect back on the early days of my spiritual intrigue which kicked off right around my teenage years, I see that I was in a desperate state to logically understand things outside of my control.
While I informally explored through various books and an occasional astrological chart reading, my really first deep dive into came during my post collegiate years with the discovery of Louise Hay and her book YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE. In it she provides a comprehensive list of ailments, the emotional cause and then a healing mantra. That book became my bible in my early 20s. Whenever someone had an ailment, I was the first to point out their emotional blockages. In time I learned, that most people want to stay oblivious to this connection so I backed off. Although there were a select few that became as obsessed as I, and before the Internet had completely taken hold, I was the "woo woo" go-to gal. From headaches to hemorroids, I would get calls from friends and family members interested not so much for the emotional cause, but more for the healing mantra. It was manic, but meaningful, like so many things in my life at the time. But it also made so much sense and served as a catalyst to my path towards further defining the connection between mind-body-spirit and the role our ego (if we are aware of it) can be our greatest teacher to grow, evolve, and connect.
So almost a decade and half later with much more conscious awareness and tools under my belt, I thought I had things figured out. And then I learned I had breast cancer.
Upon the moment of my diagnosis, I had an array of conflicting thoughts. The first of course was that of shock and momentary devastation. I was the healthiest person I knew. And then all the years of being the "woo woo" go-to gal came rushing in. Did I manifest cancer? Now, to think I actually manifested cancer is pretty narcissistic and the ego trying to take credit, but I was confused. Had my own awareness betrayed me?
The first thing I did when I came home from that first appointment was to look up my trusty Louise Hay book, which I have referred to over the years. I had to get creative to diagnose, but I merged the terms cancer, breast and left side together and got the following.
Breast Emotional Issue: A refusal to nourish the self. Putting everyone else first. Overmothering. Over protection. Overbearing attitudes
Breast Healing Mantra: I am important, I count. I now care for and nourish myself with love and with joy. I allow others the freedom to be who they are. We are all safe and free.
Crap -- that seemed spot on and totally resonated for me. How had all my work and use of these "woo woo" tools not captured this sooner? Couldn't one of those psychics maybe given me a heads up? In a helpless moment of embracing that whatever my belief around manifesting my disease, the message seemed clear and it was time to tap into my toolkit of healing, which I unknowingly had built up through the years.
I took my cancer journey as an opportunity to put into practice all of the mind, body, and spirit tools I learned over the years. The difference is that I realized all my exploration over the years was actually coming from a place of fear and angst to avoid the exact thing that was happening to me. But now, I had the opportunity to practice from a place of heart-felt awareness and exploration, understanding of the modality, and appreciation of the depth of healing I knew I could receive. And so I did.
I practiced visualization before every surgery and treatment. I meditated every day as a home base of stillness amongst the uncertainty. I practiced Pilates to keep my body moving and engaged. I did acupuncture to help alleviate side effects of the chemo. I learned energy healing techniques to help process my emotions and physical sensations. I explored relationships that weren't necessarily healthy for me and learned to put boundaries in place. And I opened up in a way I was never able before to receive the love, support, and nurturing from my loved ones and friends.
Yet despite all of this integration, I can't deny looking for a little "woo woo" perspective every now and then as a catalyst to continue to be open and deepen my awareness. So about a month ago I had a reading with an Intuitive. Without me saying a word, she immediately picked up on my cancer journey and she asked if I knew what it represented. With a glowing pride I responded that I actually did -- and cited my healing lesson/mantra. She stopped me mid-sentence and told me I hadn't learned what I needed to learn.
My heart stopped -- excuse me? In my head I was panicked. What the f!*k? Then what has this past year been about? I paused. I surrendered. I nourished. I suffered. I put boundaries in place. I trusted people I loved that that they would be taken care of. I discovered a love for myself and others. What do you mean I hadn't learned my lesson?
At that point I didn't really hear the rest of the reading. Like the good ole' pre-cancer me, I shut down emotionally. I left that reading devastated and fearful. I felt like all the work of the past year was for nothing, and worse, that the cancer was just ruminating and waiting to come back.
Luckily the session was recorded, so once my irrational albeit validated anger and emotion subsided and I was in more grounded place, I listened with new perspective.
The truth is, I needed to hear exactly how I perceived the information, because if I'm being honest, she identified my biggest fear. What if I didn't get the deeper significance of this surreal journey?
What I realized is that the journey is never really over. But what is important to acknowledge and actually was articulated in this reading (but I couldn't hear at the time) is that this was a monumental year of transformation. I have shifted my consciousness from one of DOING and searching from a place of fear and angst to one of BEING and arriving at a place of stillness, connection, and listening to that deepest part of my soul. There will always be fear of the unknown, but I am more grounded than I was before and am armed with a deeper conscious awareness and tools that is shifting how I live my life with more love, peace, equanimity, connection and joy.
I feel it is important to note that this is my experience. I never take anything whether it be something I read, an energy healing, or a psychic reading as absolute truth but merely a perspective of my energy at that point and time. I still have free will and with a conscious awareness, the ability to shift my energy. I also embrace that because I had this awareness going into my diagnosis, it was my responsibility to at least be open to the lessons that were waiting to be revealed. I acknowledge that not everyone shares this belief system and that everyone's journey is personal and unique to them.
So did I manifest my cancer? I don't know. And it doesn't really matter. What matters is I treat my body with the respect it deserves. That I nourish my spirit with relationships and activities that are fulfilling and meaningful. That I express myself with truth and authenticity. That I keep my heart open. That I stay connected and present to life. And I continue to stay open to exploring new ways of deepening this conscious awareness.
On that note, I'm off to complete a meditation certification training in Sedona, Arizona, which I have been pursuing over the last four months. And for exploration sake, I've scheduled time with a shamanic healer at an actual energy vortex for what I trust will be a one-of-a-kind "woo woo" experience. Let the journey continue.
You can read more about Paige's life musings on her blog The Sunshine Chronicles.