Perfectionism was my shadow; it followed me everywhere. If you were to flip through the pages of my early journals, you would find tangible evidence of how it had crept into my heart and stole my sense of self-worth. That was the name of the imaginary thief that had robbed me of everything good--the make-believe monster that had strangled every flower in my garden--the invisible root from which all the invasive, soul-suffocating weeds grew.
And I was the one who had invited her in.
Perfectionism was the disease that twisted my mind in knots, filling my thoughts with “nots”. It was the theme of the painful, life-long conversation I had been having with myself: "You are not good enough. You are not intelligent enough. You are not attractive enough..." It was why I had starved myself for so many years, and in so many ways, why anorexia, agoraphobia and acute social anxiety had been my constant companions. Not until I had come down with shingles was I aware of how much emotional pain I had been inflicting upon myself. Not until I was ready to release the past did I realize how brutally I had been punishing myself.
The question remained: Why?
There was a spiritual gift beneath the surface of this physical illness. With the pain came the awareness that I was releasing all the things that had been preventing me from expressing my true spirit--the layers and layers of self-created darkness I had unknowingly wrapped myself up in--the deafening noise I had allowed to silence my inner truths. Now, for the first time in my life, I was ready to stop living in fear. My silent cries had been heard; Spirit had answered my prayer by blessing me with a miracle. A new beginning was here, and from this moment on, life would never be the same.
Looking through my bedroom window at the overcast sky, I slowly opened my fingers and held out my hands; if the universe had given me a gift, I needed to make room for it. The question remained: Where was the gift?
My attention shifted to the blisters strewn across my right side; I wanted to see if they were healing. There was a bit of improvement, so I continued studying them. An insight struck me while I was searching for something good. I suddenly realized that, as ugly as this disease was, there was something undeniably beautiful about it. My body was releasing old energies I no longer needed to hold on to; my vibration was becoming lighter. Spirit had raised its voice to let me know that transformation was in full swing.
There was a glass of cold water on my nightstand; I reached for it. Alongside the glass was my first book; something made me pick it up instead. For some reason I opened the book with my eyes closed; my thumb was pointing to a specific passage in the Energy chapter. As I read each word to myself, chills traveled through every inch of me.
The following excerpt, from Silent Voices of the Soul, is beneath the heading "We can Release Energy".
"When we release energy from one aspect of our being, we let it go from every area of ourselves and our lives. Releasing a single thought causes us to do away with related thoughts, perceptions and feelings. Moreover, letting go of those energies results in the elimination of any physical realities connected to them. ...Depending upon where our old energy has been housed, physical release can assume many forms: sudden aches and pains in our joints (old emotional pain we have "felt to our bones" expressing itself), throbbing headaches (painful thoughts and memories coming to the surface), crying (release of sadness)...If "illness" or any show of physical imbalance accompanies our emotional release, we should not be surprised as the energies we have expressed spiritually, mentally and emotionally exit the body."
It took me a moment to catch my breath; Spirit had read my mind. My own book had answered my question before I had a chance to ask.
My journal was on the floor near my bed. I hadn't written anything in it for the longest time. Curious to see what I had channeled before I got sick, I turned to my last entry. Although it didn't appear to be related to the challenge I was experiencing, the biggest part of me knew better.
It was one of the shortest entries I had ever written, a silent cry for help.
"Dearest Universe, please help me break this self-destructive pattern. I don't want to be a perfectionist anymore. I need to stop doing this to myself. I need to believe in myself."
It's miraculous to me how the universe, in its infinite wisdom and divine intelligence, always supports us. Until I started writing this story, I didn't realize how precise this illness had been in terms of the ways it had physically manifested. Looking back I now realize that it held layers of meaning beyond my mind's comprehension.
The revelation found me when I was literally standing in front of a mirror.
I was bullied by my peers throughout my childhood and early adolescence. From kindergarten to tenth grade, my days were full of physical and emotional abuse. This illness expressed for me all the pain I had felt back then but, for some reason, buried. The hot, painful blisters were reminiscent of a second-degree burn I had received in first grade; a classmate seared my bare arm on a steaming radiator for no apparent reason. The repeated stinging sensation I experienced was symbolic of the mean-spirited, sing/song chant, directed at me by others, intending to jab me; it did, over and over, and over again. The irritating rash on my back represented uncomfortable experiences from my past that I had let get under my skin. Even the exhaustion had served a purpose. It forced me to be still. It afforded me the opportunity to feel the feelings I had tried so hard to ignore. I couldn't run away from the pain this time; there was nowhere to hide.
It took me decades to heal and take back my power. This illness depicted graphic excerpts of the painful journey.
Back to the backstory...
Healing is a process. It doesn't happen overnight, all at once. Rather, it happens in stages over time. I know this as a healer. I remind people of this all the time. But as I lay in bed, my patience went out the window. All I wanted to do was speed things up. All I wanted was instant relief. All I wanted was to feel the way I felt before I got sick.
This time, The Silent Voices reached out to me.
You do that a lot, you know.
"What do I do?"
You clench your fists.
"I do? I didn't realize that. How often do I do it?"
"OK...So my fists are clenched. What does that have to do with anything?"
The universe has presented you with a gift, Love. And you keep saying, "No thank you."
"I don't understand."
You need to think outside the box.
"Cute. But I still have no idea what you're taking about. Are you implying that this illness is a gift?"
We are telling you the truth, Dear Heart, just as we always do.
"This doesn't make sense to me at all. How am I supposed to figure this out?"
You can ask your mind the question, but only your heart knows the answer.
I had difficulty wrapping my heart around the message my Guides had given me. God knew that I was more than ready for a miracle. But what, exactly, had I prayed for? Pain and exhaustion? I knew there was another answer, and that it would make itself known when I was ready to embrace it. In this moment, truth eluded me; fear had drowned out my inner voice. Deep down I was aware that my physical imbalance was only telling me part of the real story, that I needed to look beyond its surface to understand its full meaning. First, however, I had to force myself to take a good long look in the mirror.
It wasn't pretty. Wrapped around my right side, in a straight line halfway across my stomach, were eight raised, bee sting-like welts. The rest of the itchy rash was beyond my field of vision. Standing with my back to the bathroom mirror, while holding a hand mirror in front of me, was the only way I could see it. Had I not known what I was looking at, I would have guessed that an angry artist had gotten carried away with a can of bright red spray paint. My soul was screaming, but the silent cries fell on deaf ears. What was I so afraid of? Why couldn't I hear what Spirit wanted me to hear?
Discouraged, I went back to my room and got into bed. The pain was worse than it had been before. Tears fell as I slowly curled my body into a ball.
"I need you," I said to the silence.
We're with you, my Guides whispered.
"I know that I came down with shingles for a reason. But I'm not seeing the bigger picture. Please tell me what I'm missing.
Are you asking us to connect the dots for you?
You have to look at this illusion with your heart, Love. Only then will you have access to the hidden truth.
"It's hard enough to look at it with my eyes."
Because It hurts your eyes to look at it.
Imagine that you are having a healing session with a client right now. What wisdom would you offer her?
"I would tell her that a painful emotional experience that had been buried in her cellular memory is now asking to be acknowledged and released."
Yes. Why now?
"She is letting go of the pain from her past."
"She is in the process of healing and transforming her life."
"She is making room for miracles."
Writing feeds my soul in ways beyond words. It's how I keep my inner child alive. Until I came down with this virus, I didn't realize I had been taking a blessing for granted. The same was true for the rest of my creative pursuits: dancing, singing, knitting, baking...The list goes on and on. Sadly, I didn't have enough energy to do any of the things I loved to do. Nothing prepared me for the heavy exhaustion and constant pain. Some days were better than others. I was grateful for the better days.
It was a hot and humid morning in early August. The East Coast was experiencing the heatwave of heatwaves. I remember lying on my back in bed, with my journal pressed to my chest, wishing I could write something, anything. For years, writing was how I had welcomed each day. Now, holding a pen between my fingers for more than a few minutes was a major challenge. I was incredibly upset because I couldn't understand why this was happening to me. Inching my way to the center of my bed, I positioned myself under the rotating ceiling fan. Then, I closed my eyes, pretending that a cool breeze was blowing through the window. I breathed slowly and deeply, hoping to ease the pain. It didn't work, so I initiated a healing session with my Guides.
"OK, Everybody," I whispered. "I hope you're all here because I need all the help I can get right now."
We are here. How can we help you, Dear One?
"The pain is unbearable, and all I want to do is sleep. But I can't sleep because of the pain. This must mean something. Why is this happening to me?"
Let's start with the pain, Love. Describe how it feels.
"I have never experienced anything like this before. I don't know how to describe it."
Don't think. Just breathe and let the words flow.
"OK...It feels like I'm getting stung repeatedly by a swarm of bees, on top of a really bad sunburn. And, at the same time, my body hurts as if it had been beaten with a stick."
Breathe, breathe, breathe...
"Thank you for that."
What emotions are you experiencing as you breathe through the pain?
"Can I skip this part?"
This is the most important part.
"I'm feeling so many painful emotions at once: anger, confusion, frustration, sadness...
"I feel out of control, like I'm losing my mind."
You say that like it's a bad thing.
"What's good about it?"
"Please enlighten me."
You have been praying for a miracle, Dear One. What if we told you that this is the miracle you have been praying for.
To be continued...
Change was my constant companion throughout this soul-stretching/mind-bending journey. It was also my greatest challenge. But I had signed up to experience everyday miracles. And, according to my Guides, in order for that to happen, I had to be ready and willing, not only to embrace change, but also celebrate it. From start to finish, that was the spirit of this project, an open invitation to dance with the ever-shifting winds.
The invitation intrigued me. The assignment was straightforward. My Guides would give me a spiritual message each morning, and I would bring that message to every challenge I encountered during the day. In short, they were asking me to conduct some kind of spiritual experiment. I was hesitant at first, only because I was half-way done with the first draft of my second book. I didn't want to stop writing my manuscript to start something new. They were insistent that I take them up on their offer, however. For months, my answer was no. Little did I know, the joke was on me. Had I read through my old journals I would have realized that we had been working on this "new" project for years.
It was 2012. I thought I had been writing the sequel to Silent Voices of the Soul. I remember telling, Shani, my South African soul sister, that I felt driven to get it into the world. We were having a Skype conversation at the time. She looked at me and said, "Robin, I am worried about you. 'Driven' is not a productive word. I don't mean to frighten you, but you are not strong enough to write this book. Your energy doesn't feel right to me. Your body is exhausted. You need to rest. And you need to stop writing for at least six weeks."
My reaction to her words was beyond defensive.
"Six weeks! You don't understand, " I said. I can't stop writing for six minutes! I have to finish this book!"
"You need to rest, Love. Then, in six weeks time, you will be strong enough to write again. Oh, one more thing. You won't be writing this book anymore. You'll be writing a different kind of book."
"What do you mean? I don't know how to write any other kind of book."
"Yes, you do," she replied.
The idea of abandoning my manuscript upset me. I couldn't bear the thought of it. I asked her if there was a possibility that she had tuned into someone else's vibration. Shani is a multi-gifted intuitive; I should have known better than to question her. As it turned out, days later, I was diagnosed with shingles, a painful, debilitating illness. The doctor told me that I would need a lot of rest. As she handed me my prescription, I asked her what the recovery time would be.
"Six weeks," she said.
To be continued...
"The Silent Voices That Speak as One are a group of non-physical light-beings that have never seen a physical incarnation. Before writing my first book, I simply referred to them as my Guides; I never thought to ask for a name. They introduced themselves to me in the late 1990's after telling me that we were going to write a book together. During the twelve year collaboration, our connection strengthened and evolved. These days, we write together every morning while I'm having my coffee. I consider our relationship sacred and, at the same time, as informal and as warm as a life-long friendship.
My mother's insightful words were still on my mind. I wanted to know more.
What is the meaning of a plus sign? That was my question for my Guides. While looking at my computer keyboard, three words surfaced immediately: positive, abundance, and expansion. I wrote them down. As soon as I did, another word surfaced: infinite. Grateful for the information, I called my mother to pass it on. She agreed with what I had come up with, but insisted that that was just a piece of the puzzle. "Someone is trying to tell you something," she said. "Those plus signs are symbols. And those symbols hold a message."
I needed to look at the bigger picture.
The timing of this divine intervention was meaningful to me. I had been writing and revising my manuscript for years. It had been through so many transformations. Even the title had changed three times. First, the book was going to be called "Dancing with the Winds of Change". Then I was guided to change its name to "Making Light of Things." Now, the words at the top of the document read: "Spirit Unbound". Something struck me in the midst of my spiritual detective work. It wasn't until the last name change that my computer started speaking in plus signs. I noted the synchronicity; I don't believe in coincidence.
Speaking of synchronicity, while I was writing this post the other day, I was guided to look up the meaning of a plus sign in a dictionary. I never studied chemistry. Little did I know, there is more than one meaning.
1. Mathematics The symbol (+), as in 2 + 2 = 4, that is used to indicate addition or a positive quantity.
2. Chemistry The same symbol, used to indicate dextrorotatory rotation of polarized light.
All I saw were plus signs, pages and pages, and pages of them. As I inched my way through the seemingly never-ending paragraph, I prayed that my manuscript was intact. Suddenly, a powerful energy surged through me. At the same time, I felt as though someone was standing behind me. Never had I experienced a spiritual energy of this magnitude. Even now, almost two years later, I find myself struggling to come up with the right words. Some things are beyond words. This is one of them.
Eventually I ended up where I had left off. Saying that I was relieved to see something I had written is an understatement. Just to make sure the rest of the messages were still there, I clicked the up arrow and started counting. My heart filled with gratitude when I reached the top of the list; everything was still in order. After painstakingly removing each plus sign by softly tapping the backspace key, I saved the document. Then, for some reason, I emailed it to myself.
Over the years, family and friends had been insisting that I back up my files "just in case", I never took their advice. I was about to wish that I had. As soon as I hit send, my computer started buffering. Seconds later, the screen turned black and the fan shut off. I touched the keyboard; it was hot.
When I told my sons what had happened, and offered my spiritual interpretation, they both rolled their eyes. Jp explained that the computer was dying in technological jargon that was way over my head. And Thomas agreed with his older brother. I understood where they were coming from, but I knew there was much more to it than that. There was no denying that my computer was on borrowed time. From a physical angle, it was obvious that was true. But something beyond the scope of logic and reason was also happening. As far as I was concerned, that was undeniable as well. As much as I would have appreciated their support, I honored that we were in two different places. We agreed to disagree.
My mother is the one who introduced me to the metaphysical world. I knew she would have insights to offer, so I picked up the phone and dialed her number. Sure enough, she had heard of this kind of thing before. She believed spiritual messages were coming through my computer in another "language". Her explanation resonated. I asked her if she thought this could be some kind of code. She said "yes" without hesitating.
We talked for a long time before saying "goodbye." Full of appreciation, I placed the phone back in its cradle, walked across the living room, sat down on the couch, and prayed.
To be continued...
I knew better than to let fear take over my mind, but this was an anxiety-provoking situation to say the least. All I wanted to do was finish proofreading my manuscript. I had been writing with my Guides for the past six years. I was finally ready to share their messages with the world. But as I kept trying to move forward, something kept holding me back. Deep down I knew that something spiritual was going on. Unfortunately, I was not in a place where I could recognize the truth.
Impatience got the best of me. I couldn't sit still. My metaphysical self had departed to parts unknown. Needing to do something, I started lightly tapping the backspace bar. Erasing one plus sign at a time was a tedious task, but it was the only thing I felt comfortable doing. Eventually, they all disappeared. Even so, I decided to wait a while before resuming my project; I didn't know what my computer was planning to do. Five minutes passed. Five more went by. Nothing happened, so I picked up where I had left off.
The second I started reading, the phone rang. My mother called to see how my day was going. I explained what had happened; she was relieved that the issue had been resolved. We talked for a little while before I went back to work.
When I returned to my manuscript, all I could do was stare at what was directly in front of me.
My entire body started tingling while chills traveled up and down my legs; Spirit had my full attention. Gently, I pulled out my chair while I breathed myself back into my heart. Carefully, I sat down. The tingling intensified as I fixed my gaze on the screen. Slowly, I scrolled my way up the manuscript in search of my messages. I did my best to remain calm; I couldn't find any words.
To be continued...
Nothing is broken. It was a good thing that I was in the process of writing a book about miracles. Otherwise, I wouldn't have believed it. My computer had been acting up for months. Sometimes it would overheat and shutdown without any warning. Sometimes it would take me to a website I had never asked to see. Sometimes it would play music I had never requested. My head kept telling me it was time to start looking for a new one, but my heart insisted on procrastinating. I didn't know anything about computers, and I didn't want to take time away from my writing project, so I kept putting it off.
Now, directly in front of me, was a paragraph of plus signs where spiritual information should have been. And above that were pages and pages of channeled messages that had taken me years and years to put into words. Deja vu set in. I lost an entire chapter of my first book by saying “yes” to a computer command I pretended to understand. I didn't want to put an entire manuscript in jeopardy by taking an unnecessary risk.
This wasn't the first time the plus sign thing happened. I had been experiencing the same challenge for weeks, hoping it would go away by itself. But, as time went on, the situation only escalated. What had started as an occasional occurrence had expanded into an everyday challenge. And what made things even more challenging was that I never knew when it was going to happen.
My head and my heart were engaged in a tug of war. While the detective in me wanted to understand what was happening from a logical standpoint, the child in me needed to believe in miracles.
To be continued...