Tag Archives: sickness


Yesterday morning, I walked. The wind stirred the leaves, mimicking a melody of foaming sea to shore.

Yesterday evening, I received very sad news that had me sobbing.

Last night, I worked at the laptop. My housemate came in and out of the room, making welcome conversation.

This morning, I panted on a gym floor.

This evening, I made dinner for a couple of family members in need.

Now, I put on my favourite tunes and hike up the speakers. For just a few moments, the sun escapes from behind the stubborn clouds and beams directly on to my smiling face.

And I dance.


To Let It Be

I turned to my friend and announced: “Resistance is what causes most of our suffering.”

This was off the back of a weekend spent in bed, sick and alone, while the sun shone, radio DJs played dance music to prepare us all for a fun Saturday night out, and my Facebook friends posted pictures of forest walks and ice creams in Dun Laoghaire.

I knew I was feeling sorry for myself. And I knew I had a lot to be thankful for. I wasn’t battling cancer. I hadn’t lost my home to a hurricane. And I wasn’t counting pennies to see if I’d be able to put food on the table.

But I was sick. And the weekend blazed sunnily through the windows. And there were no more dark chocolate covered rice cakes in the house.

And I was face-slappingly, heartbreakingly alone.

The thing is, I could have asked for help. In fact, one friend asked me if I needed anything. I replied honestly that I didn’t. There was nothing that I needed. And I didn’t want anyone to have to cancel their plans for me. I wanted people to be with me because they wanted to be there.

So I spent two days at home alone. Between sleeping, blowing my nose and weeping over my aloneness, I delved into Cheryl Strayed’s wonderful book Wild.

Cheryl had gone through some really tough times. Her father was abusive and her mother died of cancer. After Cheryl’s marriage broke down due to her infidelities and use of heroin, Cheryl took on an extraordinary journey in order to become the woman her mother saw in her. Cheryl hiked over a thousand miles alone on the epic Pacific Crest Trail.

“I felt more alone than anyone in the whole wide world,” Cheryl admitted. Later, she reasoned: “Maybe I was more alone than anyone in the whole wide world. Maybe that was okay.”

I lay in bed reading but it felt like I joined Cheryl as she sweated up mountains, grew blisters, lost toenails, and crossed paths with deer, bears and rattlesnakes. I walked alongside her as she raged into the wilderness, carrying a giant rucksack which she aptly named Monster. 

Before Cheryl set off on this amazing trek, somebody told her that the father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, “to give them the confidence to get on the horse and ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so.” She said that if you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself. This woman predicted:

“There will come a time when you’ll need to get on your horse and ride into battle and you’re going to hesitate. You’re going to falter. To heal the wound your father made, you’re going to have to get on that horse and ride into battle like a warrior.”

I could relate to the burden Cheryl bent beneath. As she emptied a lifetime of sadness and anger into the wild, I too allowed myself to heal and release. And when Cheryl didn’t think she could go any further, I championed her as she walked on anyway. Her strength and determination humbled me as she completed a miraculous journey back to self. Cheryl finished her memoir with the words:

“How wild it was, to let it be.”

How wild it would be, to let everything be as it is. Without trying to change it. Without resisting what is. Without wishing things were different. Without wondering and worrying, regretting and replaying.

So this evening, I turned to my friend and said:

“Resistance is what causes most of our suffering.” 

And she retorted:

“Thinking is what causes most of our suffering.”

She went on to describe her morning. How she had spent time sweeping up leaves. My friend, like all of us, has plenty to think about, but she didn’t think. She swept.

She watched the leaves swirling in the wind. She felt the brush in her hands. And she listened to the sound of the bristles as she swept.

Tonight in bed, I notice that I am curled up tight, thinking. It hits me that I’ve probably spent most of my life thinking. Not living. Not experiencing. Not being. I’ve spent most of my life in my head. Thinking.

This is my life, I realise. And I want to be present to it. So I resolve to climb out of my head and into my heart. To be in my body. To feel. To experience. To live. To be present. To be open. To simply be.

A vision of my friend sweeping leaves floats into my consciousness. I relax into the bed. I can almost hear the bristles flicking onto the pathway, as the leaves dance in disobedience.

How wild it would be, to let it be.



Time Out

Whenever I get sick, three things happen. First, I resist the situation. I resent having to slow down and take time off. I think I should be working (and working out). Next, I go with it. I recognise that my body needs to heal. I even enjoy the rest, the reading, sleeping and daytime television. And finally, I learn something huge and take a massive leap forwards.

This time, after the initial groaning and settling process, I learned something pretty major. I had been complaining about noisy neighbours, a lack of sleep, and tiredness. I had decided to approach said neighbours so that they would be made aware of my suffering and would hopefully change their noisy ways.

However, with a bit of time and space to meditate on the issue, I realised that I have a thing about noise. I have been living in my current flat for just over three years. And since I’ve moved in, I’ve had problems with noisy birds, followed by a noisy buzzer, and now, noisy neighbours.

Last weekend, I heard someone say: “Wherever you go, there you are.” I can’t stop thinking about this quote.

I had been hoping the noise would stop. I’d been wishing the neighbours would move out. I’d even been fantasising about living in a large, detached house in the middle of the countryside. But wherever I go, there I am. It’s not about the flat or the neighbours or even the noise. It’s all about me.


Spiritual guide Anthony de Mello said that no noise can rob you of your peace, unless of course it’s so loud that it damages your eardrums. De Mello opted to hold his meditation classes in a room on a busy street as he felt it was important to be able to centre yourself in any environment. His class used to meditate on the sounds they heard.

One mantra that’s helped me over the years is: “If one can, everyone can.” If Anthony de Mello’s class could connect with stillness in the midst of all the noise, then so can I. If people can get used to sleeping in a hectic city or a rowdy youth hostel or next to railway tracks, then I too can accustom myself to noise. If certain people can boast about being able to sleep through anything, then it’s possible for me to able to get to that state.

I once heard Soul Coach Denise Linn speaking on Hay House Radio about a shape shifting technique. She suggested imagining ourselves as being an abundant or successful person. Once we get into the feeling of being like that, she said, we actually transform into that person.

After listening to that show, I did a shape shifting meditation with my Positive Living group where we imagined being a beautiful bird. We were all able to feel what it was to be that powerful, majestic bird soaring in the sky.

A while later, I was struggling up a hill on my bicycle. I remembered the shapeshifting exercise so I decided to shape shift into a super fit person. The climb became effortless! So with regard to the neighbours, I could shape shift into someone who simply isn’t bothered by noise.

The other day, one of my Life Coaching classmates asked me how I feel after ten minutes’ meditation. I described feeling calm and grounded. I joked: “Wouldn’t it be great to be able to get into that feeling without having to do the meditation!” She sighed, “If only it was that easy.” But perhaps it can be that simple.

You want to be happy? What would it feel like to be perfectly content? Really get into the feeling… Can you do it? Yes? Well there you are, you’re in it. Want to feel relaxed, still and centred? Visualise feeling that way. Soon, you’re no longer visualising the calm. You are that calm.

Since having these realisations, I’ve still been woken by noise. But instead of labelling it in a negative way, as something that shouldn’t be happening (because the annoyance and anxiety that consumed me as a result of that thinking was what was keeping me awake), I’ve brought acceptance to the situation.

However, it can be quite a challenge to effortlessly move from rage to serenity in the middle of the night. So instead of beating myself up for getting so uptight, I’ve used a wonderful affirmation that I learned from the Emotional Freedom (Tapping) Technique: “Even though I’m [filled with anger], I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” 

That was the bridge I needed to go from desperately wishing things were different to acceptance of the situation and of myself. And every single time, I’ve drifted back into slumber.

If I hadn’t had the time off that my flu had forced me to take, I’d probably still be blaming the external forces for my suffering. It can be so enlightening and empowering when you give yourself permission to slow down.

Images: weheartit.com

Images: weheartit.com

Stinking Thinking vs Good Gut

In the space of a couple of days, a handful of people have told me to stop thinking and listen to my intuition. And this morning, I tore off a page from my Louise L. Hay calendar to read: “All that I need to know at any given moment is revealed to me. My intuition is always on my side.” And just in case I hadn’t taken notice, as I write this blog post, the following picture pops up on Facebook!

louise hay

For about a month now, I have been thinking, thinking and more thinking. I haven’t felt as calm as I had been. Chinese Medicine tells us that too much thinking puts extra heat into the body. I’d done so much over-analysing that my mind was ready to erupt and I’d given myself an infection. I was exhausted, sick and cranky and the negativity had deviously spotted a chink in my threadbare armour.

Today, finally, I feel that I have dropped back into who I really am. I trust that my gut won’t lead me astray. I realise (or re-realise) that worry is a useless and destructive activity. Today, I choose to breathe, to be present and gentle with myself, and to enjoy this wonderful day.

So this morning, I went for a walk by the river in the August sunshine. A warm breeze swept over my bare arms. I strolled beneath lush green trees that whispered soothing lullabies. And the river kept moving and flowing. As all things do.

No More Excuses

It’s all well and good having brilliant flashes of insight into our behaviour. It’s marvellous to come to some understanding as to why we might be miserable. We can have many an Aha moment as we read tonnes of self-help books and watch endless YouTube clips of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. But what’s the point if we never actually change? We moan:

“I’m exhausted because I push myself too hard. I’m constantly striving for perfection. Because I think I’m only worthy of love and acceptance when I’m perfect.”

What a wonderful realisation! But what can we do with it? We might take a little rest (if even) and resolve to love ourselves unconditionally, before falling right back into our old self-destructive patterns. Working too hard, exercising and dieting to excess, and denying ourselves any morsel of pleasure in life… until the next time we binge or act lazy or reconnect with a bad habit; until we fall ill or get depressed and can no longer do all those things that make us feel we deserve a space on this planet. And yet again, we punish ourselves and cry, and wonder what’s the point of life… And if we don’t break down completely or (worst case scenario) decide to take our own lives, we pick ourselves up, wipe away our tears, root out those Mooji clips and dusty Thich Nhat Hanh books and start all over again…

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. At least we’re trying. I know I do the exact same thing, time and time again. I thought my life would never be the same after watching an inspiring movie, after being introduced to Byron Katie’s work, after reading Awareness, Mutant Message Down Under, Veronika Decides to Die, The Power of NowAnd I really believed it. Every single time. Until my next spell at rock bottom, when I was left wondering where it all went wrong.

Maya Angelou wrote, “When you know better, you do better.” So, if we know what’s to be expected from that sort of conduct, why not save time, energy and heartache and just change, once and for all?

All the motivational books and videos and quotations do help. But they can only bring us forward a certain amount. It’s not called “self-help” for nothing. Ultimately, it’s you, and only you, who can help yourself. People can give you advice, tips and recommendations, but if you’re not ready to take them on board or if you’re unwilling to change, then it’s not going to do much good, is it?

“You can’t teach anybody anything, only make them realise the answers are already inside them.” Galileo

It’s much easier telling others how to live their lives, and to spot where they’re going wrong. We can talk all we want about needing to transform our thinking, but when it comes to actually making a change, most of us chicken out. Because it’s unfamiliar and scary. It takes courage, determination and persistence to change.

I’m not going to finish this off with a persuasive video clip or a book list that’s guaranteed to change your life.

Just change. Do it.

Images: http://blamethecrane.tumblr.com/; http://stylishwebdesigner.com/50-stunning-photographs-to-refresh-your-mind/

Homeopathy: getting “worse” before you get better

Not a lot of people know what homeopathy is. Others immediately dismiss it, deeming it daft or calling it “witchcraft”. And then there are those who have seen homeopathy in action. These people begin to understand how it works and witness how it can heal.


A few years ago, I was introduced to a couple of very talented homeopaths, who are part of a wonderful holistic centre (The Lifeflow Centre). I attended, mainly because of depression, but also for the extremely uncomfortable, painful, and all too regular kidney infections that I’d been afflicted by. If possible, I also wanted a boost of energy. And if they could sort out any of my many other problems, that was cool too. I’m delighted to report that my energy started to increase, my confidence has never been better, and I have a brighter outlook on life. My world is lit up with possibility now. As if all that isn’t enough, the kidney infections have ceased. My periods are regular for the first time ever, as are my bowels. My skin, hair and eyes have more lustre and sparkle. And the dermatitis that had plagued me from the tender age of 10 has almost completely disappeared! I am no longer taking any medication (I used to be on antidepressants and the pill, and I have used many steroid creams over the years for my skin. And, like most people, I popped painkillers whenever a hangover, headache or period pain came my way).

My aunt is another example of how homeopathy can improve someone’s quality of life. Before introducing herself to this alternative medicine, she was taking 17 tablets daily! These included antidepressants, sedatives, sleeping tablets, steroid creams for the psoriasis that covered her entire body, pills for her bowels, and for blood pressure, cholesterol, fluid, stomach ulcers, diverticulitis, arrhythmia, and vertigo. Now, she doesn’t take one single pill. And she didn’t drop dead, like the doctors had her believe. The psoriasis is completely gone. She’s looking better than she ever did and she’s a lot more relaxed. Her enjoyment of life has increased dramatically. She is more alive. Her vital force has been reignited.

Homeopathy fascinates me. I attend a full day of class, twice a month, which is given by four homeopaths, who are so passionate about their work that they don’t even charge for the course. I read books on the subject, sit in on cases with a homeopath whenever I get the chance, speak to people who have used homeopathy, and observe, with interest, my own journey.

I won’t go into much detail about the history or principles of homeopathy because that is readily available on the internet. I want to talk more about how to proceed once you’ve decided you want to go down the natural route of getting better. However, I will introduce you to the concept. The principles of homeopathy were first proposed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann over 200 years ago. While conducting  an experiment, Hahnemann took four units of Peruvian bark twice a day, for several days. He began to develop symptoms identical to those of malaria without coming down with the disease. This led him to the conclusion that effective drugs must produce symptoms in healthy people that are similar to the diseases they will be expected to treat. Six years after the experiment, he formulated the theory of homeopathy.¹

Today, this principle is known as the “Law of Similars” and is the basis for the use of the term homeopathy (“similar suffering”). The idea of treating “like with like” can be explained further. For example, drinking too much coffee can cause agitation, sleeplessness, and even palpitations but, when made into the homeopathic remedy Coffea, it is used to treat all these problems. You may have come across this concept in conventional medicine, for example, the stimulant Rilatin being used to treat ADHD, or small doses of allergens such as pollen being used to desensitise allergic patients. However, one major difference in homeopathy is that substances are used in such tiny doses that they are completely non-toxic.²

How does a homeopath know what remedy to use? Think of it like this. We are all made up of energy. Within us, we hold on to every type of energy that has existed on the planet since the start of time, which may make more sense to you after watching this clip.

We access the energy of an animal for times when we need to exhibit aggressive behaviour. We need the energy of a mineral for the structure that we require in our lives. We tap into the energy of a plant to access our sensitivity. However, it is when we become stuck in one of these energies that we get into trouble, and this is when illness arises.

The job of the homeopath is to discover which energy you are stuck in. He/she will then give you a tiny dose of that energy (treating like with like) to blast you out of it. Imagine being stuck in a groove of a record, going over and over the same thing and not being able to get out of it. The homeopathic remedy will lift you out of that groove and move you on. This becomes apparent when you have taken a deep homeopathic remedy. You suddenly feel as if you have arisen above the problems you once thought you were forever trapped in, and you are now looking down on them impassively. When you are no longer caught right in the middle of them, they don’t have as much power over you.

The Sankaran method of homeopathic case-taking is an excellent way for a homeopath to find an individual source (or constitutional) remedy. This method was devised by an Indian homeopath, Rajan Sankaran. The homeopath focuses on the descriptions the patient gives of his/her pain, the sensations experienced in their dreams, and the language the person uses to speak about their passions and fears. Hearing these sensations enables the homeopath to recognise which remedy is needed. This is a very deep and powerful form of homeopathy and I have seen it cure disease and change lives for the better.

Rather than suppress symptoms, as is the norm with conventional medicine, homeopathy gets to the root cause of disease and pushes it out. We can go no further without explaining Hering’s Law of Cure. Healing takes place from top to bottom, from the inside to the out, from greater organs to lesser organs, and in the reverse order in which the symptoms appeared. Watch this for a simple explanation. 

We live in a society that’s obsessed with doing, achieving, and keeping busy. As a result, we demand quick fixes. Conventional medicine speedily suppresses symptoms but it doesn’t get rid of them completely. The disease must go somewhere so it burrows deeper into the body. If you have a rash on your skin, be thankful that it is located on your most external organ, where it cannot harm you as much. However, if you decide you want to get rid of it quickly, you may be prescribed steroids. These drugs will remove the visible symptom from the skin, but will push the disease inwards. Personally, I would rather not take a drug that merely suppresses symptoms, upsets my stomach and puts pressure on my liver.

Alternatively, if you use homeopathy to treat disease, your experience will be very different. Because of Hering’s Law of Cure, once you’ve started a remedy, you will briefly revisit your symptoms in the reverse order in which they appeared. You may develop a rash or get diarrhoea (which is good as the toxins are being pushed out of your body). The pain in your hip may come back for a short period, as will the kidney infection. The earache you often suffered with as a child will return for a short time too. Remind yourself that this is an excellent indication that the homeopath has found a good remedy for you and that things are happening in perfect order.

Hahnemann stated that life is based on the vital force within us. Once the vital force is in harmony, it keeps us healthy. An irritation of this, however, leads to illness. The homeopath’s primary function is to fire up the vital force in each of his patients. And the manner of achieving this will be different for every single person. Mohinder Singh Jus (2006) explains that homeopathy perceives the individual root of disease. In order to be able to do this, one must explore the personality of each patient. Holistic medicine concentrates on the person as a whole. A homeopath will therefore examine the patient’s mental, emotional and physical state so he/she can discover what is upsetting the vital force.

As strange as it sounds, you should be thankful to your disease for pointing out that something is wrong and that you need to change. If you don’t make the necessary adjustments, the disease will keep coming back, no matter how many drugs you take or operations you have. Until you let go of the control, shame, anger, fear, resentment, blame, or whatever it is that’s eating away at you, you will not heal. Thankfully, a good homeopathic remedy will allow your mind to expand and your attitude to shift so that you will adapt to a healthier way of thinking, thus making it easier for you to change. The remedy will also relax you and allow you to finally accept yourself for the way you are, causing the guilt and shame you’ve been dragging around to dissipate.

Understandably, some people grow impatient or get scared when they are being treated with homeopathy. They wonder how long it’s going to take and they fear the return of old symptoms. Here are some tips to follow when you make the switch to homeopathy:

1) Be patient

It takes time but know that you are getting better. Be thankful that you are using a natural medicine that is not going to fill your body with chemicals and harmful side-effects. Remind yourself of Hering’s Law of Cure and take note of the symptoms you are experiencing.

2) Rest

If you are one of the many who constantly pushes yourself, this is going to be very hard for you. However, how hard you are on yourself is probably one of the main reasons why you are sick. A good homeopathic remedy will make you very tired. If you feel like you’re walking through mud and you can barely move any of your limbs, that is a good sign. Your energy is now flowing to your most important organs in order to heal them. So, it’s in your interest, and in the interest of your vital organs, to rest as much as possible.

3) Treat your homeopath like a doctor

Keep in contact with your homeopath as you journey through Hering’s Law of Cure. And if you’re feeling seriously agitated or have any doubts or questions, pay him/her another visit. A good homeopath will want to keep tabs on your progress and he/she may need to administer more medicine or adjust the potency or remedy.

4) Don’t panic

You may feel worse than you ever did and more tired than you thought possible, but don’t panic. Others may urge you to go back to the doctor and because this medicine is so new to you, you may be inclined to agree with them. But give homeopathy a chance. Contact your homeopath. Seek out support from people who’ve already been treated with homeopathic medicine. Give it time. You’ll soon realise that you needed to go through the tiredness and that brief reoccurrence of symptoms in order to heal.

5) Reclaim your power

Take the power back into your own hands. Most of us have grown up in a society that looks up to doctors, surgeons and consultants. Many of us live in extreme fear of tests and results. We take drugs without question. We pump our bodies with antibiotics, steroids, painkillers, and much more. We presume that the man in the white coat knows best. Who are we to question the reasons for taking this medicine and its potential side effects? So, why not educate yourself on medicine, both conventional and natural?

Some of you have been using homeopathy without even being aware of it. Perhaps you have already used Calendula and Arnica for cuts and bruising. Why not take this self-medication further by investing in a homeopathic first aid kit?You’ll save a fortune on doctors’ visits. Start getting rid of your pains and sicknesses by searching the easy-to-use handbook for your symptoms and treating accordingly. I once had such a bad headache, I could hardly see. I made up a homeopathic remedy and drank it down. The headache disappeared in seconds! Children do very well on homeopathic medicine. They love the autonomy that comes with finding medicines for themselves. Homeopathy is also very effective in treating animals. For a deeper constitutional remedy, however, consult a homeopath.

Many people scoff at homeopathy. They dismiss it before trying it for themselves. They wonder why it is not more popular. It is in the interest of rich doctors and powerful pharmaceuticals for homeopathy not to become recognised as a valid, effective medicine. I might ask why so many people believe so strongly in conventional medicine. Can you honestly tell me that you know exactly how a painkiller works? Or an antidepressant? Yet, many of us swallow them without thought. We rarely ponder on where the pain goes or what side effects the drugs will have.

We have become victims of scaremongering. We are so fearful of dying that when we hear the dramatic news reports on the most recent “pandemic”, we rush to get vaccinated. But how many people suffer horrific side effects and even death from these vaccinations? According to this next clip, conventional medicine is the biggest cause of premature death in the U.S.

When a person is sick, the most important thing that needs to be changed is the mindset that is creating the disease. Listen to the way you describe your symptoms. You complain, “I am constipated” instead of stating, “My bowels are constipated.” Is your body ill? Or are you ill? You are what the homeopath is interested in. Naboru Muramoto explains this beautifully:

“Western medicine divides the human into categories and regards each malfunctioning part as separate from the whole. In the Orient, we believe that it is impossible to isolate a part without considering what effect it will have on the whole. We do not concentrate on the illness, but on the entire body. We do not label disease. Because all diseases come from the same source- an imbalance of energy flow throughout the body.”

To me, homeopathy is synonymous with freedom. It is liberating to remove the pedestal that had been so firmly placed beneath doctors and consultants. To no longer live in fear of a test result. To not have to face going under the knife. To be free of the medication that would only serve to dampen my vital force. And, more importantly, to be released from the mindset that had held me captive for so many years.


1. Sing Jus, Mohinder (2006) The Journey of a Disease: A Homeopathic Concept of Suppression and Cure. Kandern: Narayana Verlag.


2. The Society of Homeopaths (2011) About Homeopathy.

*The Lifeflow Centre runs an excellent class on health two Saturdays a month.