adventure

HOW I USED TO SEE THE WORLD.

Yesterday, I promised an adventure.

Over the past year, I’ve tried lots of things to cope with my incurable disease and my hemorrhaging soul. I swallowed pills for five months that made me want to die. Once I was stronger, I started practicing spiritual yoga and meditation. The whole time I prayed for strength and sanity and the will to keep it together for another five minutes.

But I was still hurting. All. The. Time.

In desperation, I turned to non-traditional remedies. I let a Native American shaman conduct a ceremony for my healing, which essentially amounted to an exorcism of the parasitic forces attacking my body. At home, I drank a wicked blend of detoxifying tea. I swallowed enough water to drown a camel and signed up for a breathing and meditation program at my yoga center. Every chance I got, I climbed mountains and immersed myself in nature. I carry a set of beads everywhere.

adventure

HOW I SEE THE WORLD NOW.

From the outside, I’m the same. I look like me. But a nuclear holocaust scorched the earth inside me. I’ll never BE the same.

Actually typing that is hard, but admitting it to the people in my life is even harder. I’m the strong one, the inspiration, the person everyone’s used to needing. I’ve never had the luxury of needing anyone or anything, and for most of my life, I owned that reality. I’ve been my biggest advocate, my greatest mover, my constant firework, and except for my husband, I’ve accomplished everything via sheer force of will. When I cried, I did it on the toilet or in the shower or at 3am, not with people I could never, ever need.

Until the scale tipped too far.

I found myself sobbing in my hairdresser’s chair at two in the afternoon, more rejected and alone than I’ve ever felt in my life. How did I wind up on this debilitating adventure?

She handed me a card for a place called The Healing Hut. “I’m a Christian, Andra, but this reiki stuff helped me. I don’t know how or why it helped me, but it did. It might help you, too.”

Before I outline what I experienced in my first reiki session, a nontraditional healing practice that deals with the soul’s energy, I’m going to state something definitively.

We live in a hurting world.

I grew up in an evangelical Christian home, and I identify as Christian. As I’ve lived, I’ve come to understand that faith is a mystery. It’s all a bunch of stuff we cannot prove. We choose to believe it because it gives us comfort or speaks to us or helps us cope with living in the world today. Or we believe nothing for the same reason. I’m okay with whatever a reader believes, because I can’t prove who’s right. I’m not going to judge anyone for what speaks to them, feeds their souls, or helps them cope, and I’m absolutely not going to call their faith wrong.

What happened in my reiki adventure?

I lay face-up on a massage table. Megan, a perky pink-haired spitfire and my healer, explained how reiki realigns the soul’s energy. I told her nothing about myself beyond my name. Once we got that out of the way, she settled back in her chair and said, “You’re exhausted.”

And she proceeded to recount everything my soul has struggled with for the past year. I’m not saying whether she’s right or wrong, because her interpretation of my energy is for me to process.

Here’s what she told me.

You’re exhausted because you’re a giver. You give so much to so many, and you’ve been doing it a long, long time. Unfortunately, givers attract some toxic, selfish people, and you’re surrounded with quite a few of those right now. Pretty much every long-term relationship in your life beyond your marriage is 90 you/10 them, and it’s been that way for years. You’ve tried recently to tell a few people how this is impacting you, and that’s no small thing coming from someone like you. You DO NOT like to reveal weakness. You have a really, really hard time raising your hand and saying you need anything. But you did it for these people, and it fell 100% on deaf ears, the worst thing that could possibly happen to someone like you.

This situation is sucking away your soul.

You’re exhausted, and you’re not sleeping. You’re having digestive issues right here.

She pointed to a spot in my esophagus where food gets stuck every time I eat these days.

You cannot keep giving to people who don’t give back. Plenty of people love you and want to give to you, and you deserve that, because you’re such a giver. You make a difference for so, so many people, even more than you know.

But you’ve got to correct this situation, set boundaries, and jettison toxic people from your life, or your soul will never heal. You have so much to do. These past few years have been awful for you, but you’re going to come through it and do something that will be massive. You have one of the biggest souls I’ve ever seen. Don’t lose hope. Just do the work to make these changes and replenish the sawdust-filled cup of your soul.

It seems truth is a pretty hard thing to pin down these days, but she spoke with clarity and confidence. Anyone can call it quackery. What she said was unsettling and has started to mold an assurance I haven’t held in quite awhile. I’m seeing her again in one month, and I’m undertaking some challenging soul work effective immediately.

Wish me luck.

To learn more about neglected parasitic infections in the United States, CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE CDC WEBSITE.

If you haven’t bought my books, help a sick girl out. CLICK HERE TO BUY MY BOOKS.

COMMENTS ARE CLOSED.

soul

Meet my guideson Cooper.

You last saw him in my NYT best selling memoir Not Without My Father. My novel Hard to Die is dedicated to him, a fitting tidbit for this little story.

A story of my soul

For years, Cooper has been obsessed with dinosaurs. He is a walking encyclopedia of dinosaur trivia. Wherever he went, he spouted scientific names, specific diets, and times lived. No toy was as magical as one with a dino-theme. What better gift could two guide parents give a child than taking him to the cradle of dinosaurdom, Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park? We redeemed every travel point we had to ship four humans to this spot for under $500, an epic memory-making experience for Cooper.

AND HE HATED IT.

Look at that face on our fossil safari. HE WAS MISERABLE. He never stopped reminding us how awful it was. We kept trying different ploys to coax him toward enjoyment, but he always pointed out what was wrong. He wanted dragons, not dinosaurs. A love of dragons is a recent development.

He came around eventually, BTW. I *think* we made some exquisite memories.

When I look at this face, I see the products of my soul. What are the products of my soul, you ask?

My books are living chunks of my soul, carved from my very essence.

This experience reminded me how I feel every time I hack off another piece of my soul in book form and launch it into the world. I want everyone to receive it with joy and unfettered glee, because it’s my soul, after all.

What you hold in your hands is more me than I am. It’s the purest me you’ll ever find.

And so much of the time, creators find themselves staring at a facsimile of Cooper’s bloody expression and wondering why they try. What’s the point of untethering finite lumps of one’s soul and flinging them into the world when so few people care? I mean, there’s only so much soul to distribute before it’s all used up. Gone. A dusty husk. A barren well.

If I am resilient or inspiring or strong, I am because I keep creating in spite of this collective face. Creators are compelled to drain their souls and watch what happens when you hold them in your hands. The two parts – making and releasing – are the essence of being a Creator.

Be gentle with souls. You never know when you’ll need someone to be gentle with yours.