It’s About Relaxing

One of the things I learned from my visit with the Mediums was how incredibly good it felt to finally let go.  Even for a brief period of time.  It was amazing.   I went home that day and took a nap which lasted for 3 to 4 hours, got up, made dinner and headed back to bed landing another solid 8 hours.  I was able to sleep, a good, deep sleep. What that told me is that I can go to sleep without using anything to help me get there, or stay there.  There are ways, one just has to find them.

I know I carry an amount of stress, most people do.  I know that exercise is a good thing to relieve stress. It was actually the first “prescription” my doctor gave me after Kevin died.  She gave it to me knowing that I wouldn’t do it.  The last thing I wanted to do after my husband died was go outside.  I wanted to hunker down in my house, to lie mindlessly in my bed and will the time away.  I suspect that I may have done that, but frankly, I don’t remember much from those first few months.  My visits to the doctor were quite regular then; apparently it is a slippery slope into depression or mental illness after a shock like a death and so she monitored me closely.  I had to see her every few weeks, she’d administer some tests, we’d talk about coping – and invariably she’d suggest that I get outside and walk, run, just generally move.  Thanks Doc, but that is just not me, it’s my nature to hide – and so, I struggled on.

What I learned at the healing session, was how good it was to clear my mind.  To relax enough to let someone else in.  It sounds so simple, but worry, stress, fear, sorrow, all of those feelings are heavy, pervasive, and unformed in the mind, making them massive, overwhelming – best to avoid.  This nebulous mass is not easy to shift out of one’s consciousness.  It takes an act of will to move them, because first you have to recognize them.  To recognize them is to face loss, the memory of death, the very things you are running from.  That’s why you numb your mind in order to sleep – to stop the sadness from preventing rest.  So it was a pleasant surprise when, during the meditation, I was able to listen to the words, move with them in thought without the darkness taking over, and consequently, gained some relief.

What this experience has done is sent me on a quest for the definitive meditation.  I am thankful for YouTube.  I’ve started to explore the meditative offerings out there and was pleased to see that a good number of them have been uploaded in their entirety and are available to try.  My first goal is to try and actually get through one completely – I keep falling asleep!  Maybe it is just who I chose for my first sampling of meditations – Deepak Chopra.  (Why study with the student when the master is available?)  Anyway, I find sleep comes reasonably easy listening to him, and I have to say, what a nice problem to have.

I Stopped the Music

So I continue on reading through the different books I’ve been given.  As I suspected I found “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander a little heavy in spots. It was beautifully written and the descriptions of his experience were very detailed and rich.  I loved the quotes that Dr. Alexander used throughout, for example:

“There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as if everything is.”  – Albert Einstein

“There are two ways to be fooled.  One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”  – Soren Kierkegaard

These quotes were worked into the fabric of the book, supporting the notions and premises put forward by Dr. Alexander as he recounted his own Near Death Experience.  Absolutely no one can challenge the nature of his experience, because it was his experience. That he put his credibility on the line within the medical community speaks volumes to his earnestness.  What and how he wrote was quite compelling.  In short, his story offers a pure hope for those looking for it.  On an academic level, however, I suspect it generates more questions than it answers.

Much like in the other books I have read to date, the author encourages meditation as a way to go beyond one’s physical self.  “Proof of Heaven” introduced me to the term “hemispheric synchronization” or Hemi Sync – the use of sound waves to provide a gateway for extraordinary awareness or relaxation.  I found this a beautiful irony since for my entire marriage my husband, Kevin, had literally preached to me about the role of music and sound in achieving inner peace and harmony as well as fostering creativity and joy.  Hadn’t I listened to Gregorian Chants and a Lammas Ladymass every night for the past several years because my darling husband had told me that the rhythms and tones would induce relaxation?  Wasn’t that why we got our Tibetan bowls, to use sound waves to heal?  Music was crucial to any period of creativity for Kevin, he didn’t want silence, he needed sound – when he was painting in his art room, the house would be filled with some sort of classical music or, in recent years, an opera.

On the weekend I thought about how I had stopped the music in the house.  I had done it quite deliberately actually.  It was done with full awareness, almost like a punishment, like I was punishing myself or maybe even Kevin for dying.  For the 31 years of our marriage each day, particularly weekends, would commence with some sort of music flowing through the rooms.  It was the first thing Kevin did in the morning, even before he’d turn on the kettle.  He would turn on the CD, TV, computer, stereo, record-player – whatever it was we had over the years, and the house would fill with music.  After he died I’d stopped it completely.  On Sunday I started it again and thought about how lucky I was to have had him in my life.   Where ever you are Kevin, my love for you goes on and on and on.

Meditation and Beautiful Endings

I’ve finished reading another one of the books I was given after my husband’s death.  The book is “Talking to Heaven” by James Van Praagh.  In fairness, I have to state that reading does not come easily to me as of yet.  It still is difficult to focus for any period of time.  I find that after a few pages I either lose interest or alternately get lost in the context of the book.  So it’s a slow go.

In “Talking to Heaven” Van Praagh provides examples of sessions held over the course of his practicing as a medium.  Some of the transcripts are fairly compelling, however, the author does have full creative license in how he conveys the details of his sessions; consequently the book presented to me simply as stories on a page.  It’s not that I believe or I don’t, it’s just that the practical, pragmatic side of me wonders about the authenticity of the experience recounted.  I recognize that the book was written to a specific audience, to people who are looking for more, for comfort and hope after the death of someone they loved.  As well, I have to acknowledge a significant influence at the time I read this book was my mental frame of mind.  I continue to be emotionally drained, spiritually low, and mentally tired and this was the state I was in as I read this book – nearly devoid of all energy and interest.  Consequently, stories about strangers deriving solace from a meeting with a medium just didn’t resonate with me.

Despite not engaging with the book I continued on to the end.  It was a struggle, however, almost at the end of the book I found the reason why I had persisted in reading.  In the concluding pages, Van Praagh provides some meditations to assist in “Saying Good-bye to Loved Ones.”  Reading the meditations I became very emotional.  The imagery gently supports the release of love, sorrow, loss and peace.  For me, the meditation provides the perception of a beginning, middle, end as well as an epilogue to love shared.  It offers me emotional continuity.

The disconnect in loving someone for a long time and then having them die is tremendous.  It can’t be described. The end of July will mark four months since my husband died and I am still lost in my emotion.  I’m not alone though.  My family and close friends continue to struggle as well.  I see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices.  There are days when I can’t deal with my own pain, let alone someone else’s. For the past week I have tried to run from it, from raw emotion.  I know that I can’t always run, and that it’s not healthy to run or hide from things that are painful.  This is where the meditation will be invaluable.  As emotional as it is, it is also deeply satisfying.

I will start in on the next book I was given – ” Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, M.D.  It is the story of a neurosurgeon’s near death experience.  I expect it to be well written, but also likely fairly weighty in content.  Likely another slow go ahead.

#9 – Visualization, Sound and Vibration

Lovely sound therapy for cancer.

Lovely sound therapy for cancer.

This is where I may lose some of you – but I don’t mind.  Since the outset of this diagnosis we have used two elements together – Tibetan Singing Bowls and Visualization.  My belief in visualization is unshakeable, and here’s why.  More than 30 years ago my mother and my mother’s sister, my aunt, where both diagnosed within weeks of each other with breast cancer.  My family, my mother, was very poor, and the medical assistance that she received was what the system here in Canada allowed for.  Saying that, I feel our medical system is pretty good.  However, my aunt, was very wealthy.  She was able to access the best specialists and explore opportunities not open to my mother.  They both had surgery – my mother had a mastectomy and lymphectomy – my aunt had a double mastectomy (although I believe the cancer was only in one breast) and lymphectomy.  My mother survived, my aunt died.  My mother for the balance of her days (which was another 25 years) told us the difference was that she imagined Roman gladiators going through the chemo line battling and slaying all the cancerous cells, something she said that my aunt considered too fanciful.

My husband is a music teacher and believes in the difference music can make.  For years we have had various books lying around the house about music therapy – he’s always believed that we have a tone and harmony unique to each of us.  When he was diagnosed with cancer we lost a few days to shock.  Once we got back up and running we started to use the Tibetan bowls directly on his chest.  The main bowl that I use is a G – Throat Chakra.  When I place the bowl on his chest and use the mallet on the rim the vibrations and sound are quite soothing.  He seems to find a great deal of relief and sleep comes quite quickly.  While I am using the bowl I try to engage his imagination by creating a scene for him.  I say things such as “feel the vibrations fill your lungs.  Your right lung is full, now your left lung.  The vibrations create a bright light in your lungs and create harmony and balance for your healthy cells.  Use your mind to find the cells that don’t belong and see them die.”  Something along these lines.  We do this each night at bedtime so that he has the opportunity to engage his imagination and visualize the cancer leaving his body through the night.  He heads into his night time sleep very relaxed.

There is lots of information on all of the above, on Tibetan singing bowls as an alternate therapy, on sound therapy, on visualization.  In our case this is something that we believe in and that poses little risk if any.  Meditation, visualization, de-stressing, relaxing all help to allow the body to focus its energy on the real battle against cancer.