Posts Tagged ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’

Do What’s in Front of You

December 31, 2015

What have you been learning this year? I’ve been learning to accept what is with gratitude and to listen and act.

On an early January morning this year I went for a walk by the river. I wandered along the river’s edge as the water lapped at my feet, contemplating and praying for guidance about my situation which felt precarious. Then I heard a quiet voice in my mind say, IMG_1596‘Do what’s in front of you’. I recognised this voice as it’s given me wise counsel before, and I knew there’d be more advice if I listened.

My employer had closed for a six week summer break and instead of having a relaxing holiday, I felt anxious about my lack of income, concerned as I’d been told my hours were going to be reduced and frustrated as I wanted to do more meaningful work, yet my energy levels were unreliable. I felt like I was on the wrong road and I didn’t know where the right road was.

 

It reminds me of an Irish joke I once heard.

Paddy walks into a bar and asks the bartender for directions. The bartender Mick says, ‘Oh no, you can’t get there from here!’

IMG_7622_2My logical mind had been trying unsuccessfully to work out how to change my situation, however the logical mind doesn’t understand the mysteries of the soul, which favours unfoldment over a clear linear path.

Without a pen and paper, which I normally use to capture these words of wisdom, I took out my iphone, clicked the voice record button, listened and spoke what I heard.

 

“Do what’s in front of you…When anxiety comes from searching, seeking, wanting things to be different to how they are right now, come back to this moment and do what’s in front of you.

 Take a breath and come back to this moment. What is it that has already arisen that you have not yet acted on? What thoughts or ideas have you discounted or pushed away? What further steps can you take that have already shown themselves to you? Come back into this moment and do those things.

IMG_5424You’re striving for more; more clarity, more insight, more answers and they will come when you do what’s in front of you right now. Let go of searching and take the steps that have already revealed themselves.

It’s like building blocks. To build something new firstly you prepare the ground so that it’s strong and stable. Then you build the foundations and imagine what the building will look like, what it will feel like to be in it. You are preparing the ground.”

 A list of things came into my mind, things that I’d previously, over days, months, even years thought, ‘do that’. Practical things from getting a better handle on my expenses, reading a specific book, recover my lounge chairs, contact specific people and find a new doctor to increase nurturing activities like dance, relax deeply, meditate daily and ask for guidance before bed.

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‘Do these things, clear the way, prepare the ground, build the foundations and as the year unfolds new opportunities will emerge, more actions will be revealed. This is a time for connecting with your heart, with nature, with all that is. Embrace and value each moment, each day, enjoy. All is well. All is very, very well.’

 

This year I’ve been clearing the way and preparing the ground by acting on old and new ideas.

 

I began to notice that serendipitous things occurred. When I asked myself, “What energises me? What do I love doing?”, one answer was the leadership coaching work that I’m trained for and rarely do as I doIMG_7468n’t find self promotion easy.

Within a week I received a call from a friend asking if I could give her a coaching session and could we do it as a swap or barter please. Our exchange? She’s a skilled seamstress and in return she helped me recover the chairs I use for my coaching work. I ticked recovering chairs off my list after a year of ‘I need to do that’.

I dusted off and repaired a portable whiteboard I hadn’t used for years and for some time I’d thought ‘either repair it or throw it out’. A week later I was asked to give a presentation on leadership at my Toastmasters club and the revitalised whiteboard was in use again. This presentation led to invitations to present at four more clubs, an area training day and then an invitation to help facilitate an eight week public speaking course at our local Council. Further opportunities for mentoring and facilitation came up in my club.

I’m passionate about leadership and supporting others to find their voice and pursIMG_7676ue their goals and in opening up my mind to ways to do ‘more meaningful work’, life presented these volunteer opportunities.

Sometimes life opens up different doors to the ones we expect.

As the year progressed my work hours didn’t drop off as I’d been told they would and unexpectedly increased for several months instead. Even though my paid work is not ‘perfect’ (whatever that is!), it’s flexible, I can work around my energy levels and I’m grateful to have it whilst I’m laying the groundwork for more reliable health and energy.

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By acting on all the quiet whispers of ‘do this’, I’m seeing that the path gradually unfolds before me, although not in the direction necessarily that I think it ‘should’.

I listen and follow my guidance some days better than others.

A sign that I’m not is when I feel anxious. Then I know that my grasping mind has stepped in and I need to quieten my mind and come back into the present moment.

 

 

As Lao Tzu said ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’

IMG_0884Acting on the things I’d already thought to do created movement and forward progress.

 

Our inner wise guide sees much more than our logical conscious mind and sometimes it doesn’t take us on a direct route. Sometimes we have to drop things off and gather things along the way.

 

If you, like Paddy and I, want to get somewhere other than where you are, revisit the things you’ve already thought to do and haven’t yet acted on, no matter how small.IMG_1468 These ideas are often delivered in a quiet whisper, when you are in the midst of another activity, not when you are focussed on finding answers. You may have ignored or discounted them and yet they keep arising, quietly but persistently. Start there.

I’ve discovered that as I put my foot down, the path is revealed, one step at a time.

 

What have you been learning this year?

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This Canary Sings a Tale of Toxins

December 17, 2014

Chronic illness is on the increase. Why is it so? I first learned that multiple chronic illnesses have at least two common contributing factors over eleven years ago when I came across an arIMG_4246ticle in the Weekend Australian newspaper about Australian doctors getting significant improvements with autistic kids by using the same strategies my research had shown were successful in treating Chronic fatigue Syndrome (CFS); improving gut health and detoxifying environmental toxins like heavy metals and chemicals. Further research revealed that many other chronic illnesses have links to these same two factors. There are often also genetic and additional factors at play.

 

When the article was published on 22nd February 2003 it stated autism affected 1 in 500 to 1 in 1000 Australian children. Accelerating rapidly since then, a 2012 article puts the figure at 1 in 110. A startling increase. I’ll focus on environmental toxins in this blog post.

We’re all exposed to an increasing array of toxins and this can go part way to explaining the increase in chronic illness. IMG_3685Since the Industrial revolution billions of tonnes of toxic metals have been mined from the earth and used by humans to make things. They’ve been released into the air, water and soil and hence the food chain and there is a bio-accumulation effect in plants, animals and humans that has reached every corner of the earth. Seals, whales, polar bears and walruses, staples of the Arctic Inuit people’s diet have become deposits for the world’s 12 most toxic chemicals and they are passed on in breast milk. Toxic metals do not degrade into less harmful substances over time.

In the north of Greenland, where twice as many girl babies are being born to Inuit families than boys, scientists have discovered that toxic chemicals in their food are affecting their hormones and affecting the gender of the children being born.

 

We begin accumulating toxins in the womb. The Environmental Working Group in America (www.ewg.org) tested the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborn babies and found nearly 300 chemicals, including BPA, fire retardants, lead, PCBs and pesticides that were banned more than 30 years ago.IMG_4078

What do these heavy metals and chemicals do to our body? The short answer is damage it. They affect various enzyme systems, our excretory organs, liver and kidneys, our nervous, endocrine, immune and digestive systems and may contribute to allergies, chronic viral infections, Alzheimers disease and other neurological conditions like Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis. Genetic factors mean people with the same chemical exposure will manifest different symptoms .

Why are some people more affected ? It seems that some of us have a genetic predisposition to not excrete heavy metals and chemicals as well as others.

 

An article in the August Prevention magazine says “’We all have a IMG_3941different genetic ability to detoxify…it is not uncommon to be missing one or two detoxification genes or have a polymorphism (genetic variation) which may affect your ability to detoxify’…says Jan Purser, naturopathic nutritionist and clinical detoxification expert. ‘If someone says to me things like, ‘I can’t have more than a few drinks without getting a bad hangover’, or ‘I feel really unwell if I don’t eat vegetables every day’, I think to myself, ‘I bet they’ve got a polymorphism in their detoxification genes.’ “ .

A hair mineral analysis is one way to get information about the toxic heavy metals you have stored in your body. My hair analysis reveals that I still have high levels of mercIMG_3860ury, lead, arsenic, silver and uranium, despite years of detoxifying. I also used to have high levels of copper and aluminium. They all damage the human body.

The circumstantial evidence is strong that I, like many others, have genetic factors at play in dealing with the increasing amount of toxins we’re exposed to in our everyday lives.

When I was 18 I began going out to clubs with my friends, dancing, drinking, meeting boys and experimenting with this new freedom of being a ‘legal’ adult. One memorable ‘morning after’ saw me being  violently ill up until the next night. My friends who drank a similar amount to me had no significant side effecIMG_4218ts from our night out. Understandably I’ve been a cautious drinker ever since! Even one drink of alcohol can make me feel ill.

The other pointer to me possibly having a genetic pre-disposition to not excrete toxins so well is the fact that my sister Carole, the eldest of my 4 siblings, has also experienced Chronic Fatigue in her life and her daughter Fibromyalgia. When I told Carole earlier this year that I’d worked out the fumigation chemicals on the imported jewellery at work had been affecting my health, she recounted a story that I’d not heard before, which put another piece of the jigsaw in place for me.

She told me that when she worked as the Manager of a shoe store many years ago IMG_3808she became very sick and worked out that it was due to the chemicals used on the leather products. Leather tanning is one of the most toxic industries in the world because of the chemicals involved. She felt sick when she opened the shop door in the morning, as the off-gassed toxins had built up in the air in the shop overnight. It was the onset of many years of debilitating chronic fatigue. I asked her ‘when did you recover?’ and she said, ‘ I don’t think I ever have fully’.

Genetic predispositions to detoxifying may explain why Carole and I have both been affected by toxins in our work environments, whilst others working in the same or similar environments are not. Perhaps genetic pre-dispositions to detoxification may partly explain why some people develop chronic illnesses, from autism to MS and Parkinsons and some do not.

I was fortunate to find a doctor many years ago who diagnosed my illness correctly after one doctor told me my ill health was psychological, a common and distressing occurrence for people with these type of conditionsIMG_4247 and two other doctors shrugged their shoulders, having no idea how to help me.

That doctor explained to me the exponential affect of having multiple heavy metals in the body. Apparently adding one more heavy metal or chemical has the effect of times 10 or times 100 rather than plus 10 or plus 100.  One recent GP who had no understanding of environmental toxins on health said to me ‘Megan we are not taught about this in medical school’.

 

The Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine provides training and education in this field. Anyone looking for a doctor with awareness about these issues can look at a practitioner list on the ACNEM website.

Those of us with genetic issues impacting detoxifying can be considered to be the ‘canary in the coal mine’. Canaries were once regularly used in coal mining as an early warning system. Toxic gases in the mine would kill the bird before affecting the miners. Signs of distress from the bird indicated to the miners that conditions were unsafe. The use of miners’ canaries in British mines was only phased out in 1987.IMG_4158

There are things we can all do to support our body to detoxify, like eating foods that support our liver and support detoxification, including fresh green foods. We can have saunas and take herbs and nutritional supplements. I recovered my health this year, as I did previously, by following a comprehensive and extended detoxification program with a skilled and experienced practitioner and  I recommend getting professional support from a detoxification expert, especially if you have a chronic condition.

There are also ways to limit our exposure to toxins in the first place, like eating organic foods and using chemical free personal and cleaning products. The first step is becoming aware of what chemicals and toxins are in our environment, in products we use or eat and in environments we spend time in. There will be more than you think. You may already know about mercury in dental amalgams and aluminium in dIMG_4079eoderants for example but did you know there is often lead in lipsticks and mercury in eye drops?  Do you cook food in non stick or aluminium pans? We are surrounded by them in our homes and work places.

 

There are many resources available on this topic, one resource on my bookshelf is called Invisible Killers. It is an invisible but very real factor that contributes to a lot of ill health. I’ve learnt to trust my instincts and act on this when the tangible evidence is hard to find and when there is little awareness of these issues amongst medical professionals. When the word ‘neurotoxin’ popped into my mind during a massage earlier this year as my health was declining I listened and acted.

We can all make a positive impact on our own health as well as the health of the world by the consumer choices we make. It’s become much easier to source organic and chemical free products due to higher demand from a more aware populace.  As an Inuit leader said ‘We are the land and the land is us. When our land and animals are poisoned, so are we.’  Awareness is the first step.

Recovering

July 6, 2014

Yay, I am feeling better! Thank goodness for that. A couple of months ago I was feeling quite unwell, fatigued and needing to have 2 hour naps everyday.  I had that ‘sick’ feeling like when you have a hangover and you feel toxic and unwell. With a hangover it goes away in a day or so, however the unwellness I was experiencing did not go away.

For the past 18 months I had been observing that it was more and more difficult for me to maintain my state of wellness which I had worked so hard to create. I was experiencing increasing fatigue and issues with my liver, nervous system, breathing and digestive issues that diIMG_0838d not respond to herbs as they normally would. Like piecing together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, I finally realised in April this year that the gradual deterioration I had been experiencing was due to breathing in toxic fumes off gassing from fumigated boxes imported from overseas. Can I prove it? No. Whilst my two co-workers did not appear to be affected I had to trust both my logic and more importantly I had to trust my intuition, which was giving me ever increasing insistent messages.

For the past three years I have worked in a warehouse breathing in those fumes, invisible, but no less toxic. The toxins, my logic told me, would have accumulated in my system, a system already weighed down by heavy metals and chemicals, a key contributor to the chronic fatigue I experienced for seven years from 1999 to 2006, after a general anaesthetic tipped me into debilitating illness. Hair analysis still reveals high levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, lead and uranium in my system despite all the detoxifying I have done over the last 15 years. A doctor I saw many years ago explained to me that having multiple toxins has an exponential effect, so the stress to the body of adding in one more is not like plus one it is more like times one hundred.

As two more shipments arrived early thIMG_1344is year my deterioration accelerated and my alarm bells went off. In the midst of a massage, during which I had prayed to receive healing, the word ‘neurotoxin’ popped into my clear quiet mind. It was as if it was being whispered insistently into my ear. It got my attention. I began investigating the fumigation chemical Methyl Bromide and found it affects the nervous system, respiratory system and liver. Aha!

Since leaving the warehouse on 22nd April I have been doing everything I can possibly think of to restore my body, to regenerate, to detoxify and nourish myself. I knew from my previous journey of healing that chronic fatigue type illnesses are multi-factorial and require a multi-pronged approach and that identifying and removing the causes of stress supports our bodies to return to equilibrium. What have I been doing?

I have been eating a clean diet high in organic vegetables and protein and no sugar or alcohol,  I have rested and taken long luxurious napIMG_0498s, regular walks and time in nature, Kinesiology and Neuro Cranio Restructuring sessions to help soothe my stressed nervous system, deep rest yoga classes to teach my body how to relax and unwind, tapping on meridian points with EFT (emotional freedom technique), taking supplements; liver herbs, parasite herbs, vitamins, minerals and especially a detoxification product. Natural Cellular Defense, made from the mineral zeolite that helped me get well in 2006, oil pulling; swishing organic sesame oil in my mouth every morning for 20 minutes which helps detoxify the body, listening to meditation tapes, doing breathing exercises, rubbing neuro emotional points on my body, visiting Kiva Spa to relax and detoxify via the use of the sauna, dance classes to connect me to my life force, to my joy, as a release. Two months ago I was laying on the floor in the class crying because I felt so unwell, now I can not only complete a whole class, I feel uplifted by it.

So what has worked? Most probably a combination of everything, not least of which was removing myself from the source of the exposure. After two months I am breathing easier, I have more energy, the fatigue has lifted, my nervous system has begun to calm down, the colour has come back into my face and I no longer need two hour naps to get through the day.  While I continue to detoxify I am very grateful to be feeling better in such a short amount of time.  Compared to the seven years it took me to recover from CFS this is the blink of an  eye.

IMG_0575We are all exposed to an increasing number of invisible toxins, heavy metals and chemicals, in our modern world and some of us are the ‘canaries’ signalling their presence. A doctor I saw who supported my decision to leave the workplace told me ‘it is hard to prove’ and yes if I am looking for scientific validation then it is.  I have found that many doctors don’t understand  the factors that contribute to chronic fatigue type illnesses or understand the impact of the increasing toxic load we are all accumulating and living with. Some of us are genetically pre-disposed to not excrete environmental toxins as well as others.

Leaving the security of a job was scary and I am grateful that I heard and trusted my intuition and removed myself from the source of the exposure. Where did the ‘neuro toxin’ lead that dropped into my awareness in that massage come from? A message from my higher self or a spirit guide perhaps. ? Wherever it came from, I am very grateful that it came.

 

To Blog or not to Blog ?

June 28, 2014

For a while I have wanted to set up a blog. Well, not actually wanted to, so much as I have been guided to write a blog on multiple occasions and I have doubted, resisted, been unsure and given up! Until now. My inner dialogue generally goes along the lines of ‘Start a blog’ .  A clear and simple directive from that still, knowing inner voice which I have trained myself to hear and to follow. Eventually. I find this inner voice is often fairly succinct and does not necessarily elaborate on why. So then my ‘not so still’ inner voices get to have a big debate about the said directive, in this case along the lines of , “Yes but what am I supposed to blog ABOUT? What do I have to say that someone else would find interesting? What if others don’t like it and criticise it? What is my subject?  What does the finished product look like? What is the POINT for goodness sake?”. Silence.

So here I am on my third attempt to follow this simple and clear inner directive to “Start a blog”. I don’t know exactly when the guidance began, however it was sometime after 2006 when I recovered from a seven year bout of chronic fatigue syndrome. Since then I have provided support and information occasionally to others who are suffering from a chronic or chronic fatigue type illness,  often referred to me by friends or friends of friends, who were seeking to learn from my experience. I and many others find that these types of illnesses are not the forte of the medical profession and they were mostly unhelpful in my recovery.  I first took action on a blog in March 2010, when I asked a friend to set one up for me in WordPress.  I wrote three posts, was unsure how to continue and stopped.

Then two years later in March 2012 I wrote an entry in my journal: ” Idea to do a blog with my channelled insights and reflections and use my photos to illustrate – from my walks, connecting to nature. Photo of sunlight and cloud – The light is always there, it is sometimes obscured/covered up by cloud.”

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The entry was referring to this photo that I took at South Golden Beach one morning at sunrise. As my journal entry in March 2012 stated … the light is always there, it is sometimes obscured or covered up by cloud…or self doubt.

Another two years later in April this year  as my health became an issue again and I entered a period of change and healing, that same quiet still, patient and persistent inner voice counselled me to ‘”Start a blog”. Okay already. I have found in life when things present again and again that perhaps there may be something in it!  I wanted ‘THE BLOG” to be delivered to me fully formed and clear and ‘perfect’ to avoid the spectre of external criticism. That old chestnut! I have surrendered at last and will allow the evolving blog itself to reveal to me what it wants to say. I am sure I will learn a lot along the way as I listen to that still quiet voice.

Do your voices of fear and doubt sometimes override your inner ‘knowing’ or is it just me?