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From the Book

"THREE DAYS AFTER MY HUSBAND DIED UNEXPECTEDLY...HE TOLD ME WHY."

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Teacher as Student

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Life, it seems, likes to play jokes on me. If you read my blogs and follow my Facebook page you will see a trend over the years where I talk about things like being close to nature, slowing down, being present, enjoying what is, and loving life for it's simple pleasures. And you might assume this is how I live my life. The truth is, I try, and I'm human. Meaning, a lot of the time I get caught up in the mess, I get frustrated, I get rushed, I get stressed, I want things to be different. But I would always justify those things with my situation and say that if I did the peaceful stuff here and there it was ok.

About a month ago I read an article that a friend wrote. She is a yoga teacher and in my opinion, also a spiritual guide. Her post said in a nutshell, "If you are having difficulty in your life and it keeps coming back it's because you haven't learned what you need to learn from it yet. Embrace the difficulty, if for the sole reason that it is there to teach you something."

Her blog hit me like a ton of bricks. I'd been struggling with eczema for over five years. The itching was so bad on over 50% of my body that I would scratch in my sleep until I was bleeding. It was miserable. I'd tried creams from the dermatologist, antihistamines, acupuncture, holistic medicine, chiropractic, energy work, supplements, changing my diet several times, counseling, finding out what allergies I had, genetic testing, etc. etc. etc. With no relief.

The moment I read her blog my whole focus changed. I realized I needed to learn something, not fix something. But what was it? I decided to completely let go. Meaning first, I decided that it was really ok if I had the eczema for the rest of my life, and I embraced the idea that it was here to teach me something and I was open to the learning. I got comfortable with those thoughts, they became my reality. Then, I told the universe that I was ready for the answer. And no matter what it was that I would do it. That actually felt a little scary. Because I knew I might be trying things that would be very hard. Or, at the least unknown.

Two days later I stumbled across a book that caught my eye. It was called, "Where God and Medicine Meet." I bought it knowing nothing about it, but feeling like it was something I needed to explore.

The book is a dialogue between a western medical doctor and Neale Donald Walsch, whom I quote in "The Gift Giver". When I realized that, I had a feeling the answer might be in the book, and it was, but it was not what I was expecting. For forty or fifty pages I read with nothing striking me as important, and then one page hit me. There was a study that the medical doctor talked about that showed how after only eight hours of the subjects performing mindfulness meditation exercises they changed the way their bodies expressed their genetics enough to have measurable changes.

I read the page three times. This was the answer. I was absolutely sure. I'd done enough yoga to know that the true master of mindfulness meditation actually doesn't sit and meditate all day, that instead they are simply present in the moment with no judgment. I also knew, this was no simple feat.

I started the next day. Each moment I tried to focus on only what was going on in that instant. I constantly brought my wild and wandering mind back to the present. I probably told myself to slow down 500 times or more.

The amazing thing is, that even though I was purposefully slowing down, I got more done in that day than I normally do and I enjoyed that day more than I had enjoyed any day in the last six or seven years, maybe ever...Driving to pick up my kids from school became an experience rather than a chore. My meals were a joy, rather than a necessity. I tasted my food, rather than just finishing my plate. Life was mesmerizingly DIFFERENT. I kept it up the next day, and the next.

Within a week my eczema was 50% gone. In two weeks it was nonexistent. In addition to slowing my life down, I had stopped taking all of my supplements, and gone back to eating exactly what I wanted. And even so, no more itching.It felt like a miracle.

It is now a month later and the eczema has not returned. I've continued to take life slower, I still say to myself at least 250 times a day or more, "It is ok if you don't get this done right now, it's ok to slow down, look around and see exactly what is here, chew slower and taste your food, notice the sunlight coming through the trees while you are driving, breathe first before you correct your child, feel the breeze on your face when you are walking into the grocery store, listen more to your friend, slow...down." has become quite apparent that I needed to be the student. I was teaching, but not learning or living what I was teaching nearly enough.

I'm learning.

Love and Light,
Jennifer

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"A story about loss turns into a beautifully written affirmation of life."
       .... Neale Donald Walsch, author, Conversations with God