On Illness- part 1

On illness part 1

Illness is a gateway into another way of being.  Time shifts and morphs. The hours do not tick by, for those clocks hold no sway. You are in another realm. In this realm ordinary things become extraordinary, drinking water, sensing sunshine on your body, the rush of the wind in the leaves. All these little moments are magnified and intensified. This is the realm of magic and wonder. This is the realm of the Shaman. And here I roamed for three weeks, in and out of time, of sleep, of dreams, of earth. She of whom we are all made.


I have been in the descent phase of the cycle for the past three weeks.  I have been bleeding during all this time, mostly it was not my menstrual flow, mostly it was blood loss due to surgery and then infection. I still have a small pool of blood behind my uterus which will hopefully be absorbed back into my body. Just as our blood is reabsorbed back into the body of the earth. My body is healing is recovering but it’s been a long process. For over three weeks now, I have been shedding, releasing fighting and healing.  For three weeks I have been in the dark.

I do not fear the dark, well not all of it anyway. The cultural imprint which demonises the dark has some sway but I have learnt through experience that the dark can be a great comfort, perhaps the greatest of all.  Here you are nothing and everything. Here you lay your whole body down and are met, fully.  With illness there is nothing to do, you can only be. And the darkness is a place of being. Perhaps even of not yet being, of waiting to be, for the darkness is everything, even the not yet, the not quite is here.


While I wouldn’t choose to have ACIS (adeno carcinoma in situ) in my cervix it has been a gift. A gift of returning to my body. This is my work, my way and yet it’s so easy to stray from this path of body wisdom, of body knowing. And illness and disease brings you right back into your body. Wham. There is no other place you can be. I felt my whole self integrated, my whole self focused deeply on myself. It wasn’t simply the pain the caused this, it was a whole shift in awareness as my body dictated where and what I could do and mostly I could not do, I could only be.

This beingness is so profound. It  is a teacher, a wise and gentle teacher.  Which is not to say the pain was gentle but the only response to my experience of it, was to be, to sit, to lie, to walk ever so slowly, each step a miracle. Really truly. Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us of this, he says “Invest 100 percent of yourself into making a step. Touching the ground with your foot, you produce the miracle of being alive.” Our aliveness is a miracle.  We are all 15 billion year in the making, we are still flaring forth with the miracle of this great unfolding, this great mystery of life here on earth. I bow.


So here I am well enough now to write, to reflect on this journey aiming to stay present, to write while I write, think when I think and walk when I walk. For me, beingness is the antidote to our culture of doingness, of always being busy, of not truly being present because we are so focused on the things we still have to do. And they will never stop, unless we do. Unless we stop and pause and be.

And because I am still in recovery, this is all I am posting for now. There is more to be said but my energy wanes, even as the moon waxes. It is Lammas, the first of the harvest festivals as my cletic ancestors would have celebrated. I too celebrate with a small offering, and deep gratitude for all that I have harvested through this diagnosis/disease/illness/beingwithness. I am so grateful for the slowing down, for the reminder that my body needs rest. So too does the earth. Rest a while if you can in the pause of this seasonal descent. Many blessings

my whole body is alive

Yes my whole body is alive, and yours is too. But how much attention do you give to your body? How much attention do you give to the different aspects of your body? Do you take the time to explore your body? Do you pay attention to the messages, the moods, the feelings of your body? Do you feel into its dimensions, its energy, its awareness? Your body is ALIVE. Listen to it, tune into it. It is you, it is a loving tactile, feeling, sensing, knowing part of you. Without it, there is no you.

IMG_5531In every moment your body is evolving, revolving, moving in the deep grooves of rhythmic patterns.   in every moment it offers you the power to transform. Yes, because tuning into your body is transformational. In this world of mind as separate from body, in this world of mindlessness, we forget ourselves, we forget to look within, and forge the relationships with our selves, our bodies and through this with each other. But we can at any time tune into the mindfulness of our body. And when we do we open ourselves to our inherent creativity. Yes your body is alive with creativity.

And creativity is embodied in the body’s myriad cycles of  birth, growth, flourishing, and releasing, dying, death and spiraling into birth again. Your body is replenishing itself continuously, gifting you with its remarkable and resplendent gifts of  movement, of taste, of touch, of hearing, of loving, of feeling, of sensing, of voicing, of sounding, of birthing, of dying, of BECOMING and BEING.   leaf

Your body is alive. Replenish yourself by taking a moment to ground and centre, and focus your attention on your body. Choose a part of your body, your skin, your breath, your bones, your heart. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go, go within and sense the inherent life force manifesting in a myriad of ways…

Remember tuning into your body is a revolutionary act. And we need a revolution.

thanks to alice cummins for a weekends delight with Body Mind Centering.

Autumn Leaves

I am pondering the Autumn Equinox, this most beautiful season of balance, when we acknowledge both the abundance of the earth, and the nourishment of decay.  While writing I remembered saving some of Rosie Garlands words, which i have copied below. Autumn leaves are such a powerful and potent image of the beauty of decay.  One of the few ways our culture celebrates decay, and yet as Rosie points out, many of still fail to see the worth of leaves, or women.


Such poignant words which took me to all the women throughout history and today who are still not heard, and to the earth herself, for surely her story remains in fragments only. I also thought of Rosie Batty, the Australian of the Year, trying to make audible women’s voices, particularly the voices of women in violent homes.

I am saddened by the state of this world, but gladdened to know so many of us are calling the feminine back into our lives. We are saying yes to the Autumn Equinox, yes to the descent, yes to the creatrix, we are saying yes to the nourishment of the leaves, and the decay and the compost. By dancing in honour of the Autumn Equinox we are given a space to acknowledge the value of the descent phase of the life/death/life cycle. We are allowing our feelings of pain, rage, and sadness to arise in a non-judgmental way.  We do as Glenys Livingstone says,  “allow(ing) the grief, letting it wash over us, saying yes to it … and yet we may do so graciously, remembering the abundance received in every moment just by the fact of existence”.  We who know the power of decay who have a voice, a song, a dance, a drum, a poem must live this work. We must dance our dance, sing our songs, beat our drums so loudly and beautifully that those who have not yet found their own song/dance/drum can hear the call, and in hearing they can find a way home to their own creativity, to their participation in this dance of creation.

read Rosie’s words and let me know where it takes you…..

‘I thrust my hands into the cushion of leaf mould, sift it through my fingers. Each leaf is nourishment for the small beasts of the forests, who in turn feeds the greater beasts, who in turn feed men (sic) My head swims in contemplation of this marvellous chain of being.  Yet men stamp upon them kick them out of the way as if they are nothing. I wonder if we are not poorer for the loss of a single leaf each as lovely as the cast of wing of an angel.


I swoop up a heap and toss them into their air. They fall in damp patters full of the aroma of decay that is not dying but the promise of rebirth next spring. I hurl more and more …Each leaf is a woman, a million of us, tramped into dirt. We bud, we fruit and when we can bud no more, we serve no further purpose. After a brief harvest we are raked into heaps for burning. I see the face of the earth swept clear of our dappled light, our softness. A barren world scraped bare and dry, lacking the thick mulch of our abundance”

So in whatever way you can take the time to let the leaves fall, the buds and the rotting fruits. Let it all fall safely to the earth where the nourishment of decay can live on, and new growth will emerge in spring.

Many Blessings

Sarah xxx

Rosie Garland, Vixen, p. 403

Glenys Livingstone, pagaincosmology.com