A matter of life and death

All day I am expecting little Nova to signal her imminent arrival. I am holding my breath as Nova’s due date comes and goes.  It seems as if Mother Nature is doing her best as well, to coach Nova from her safe place. The birds are chirping happily because the sun is shining, the flowers are out, and the trees have exploded into full blossom. There is a soft breeze, the lawns are freshly mown creating a green carpet. Altogether our home and gardens are the perfect place for a soft landing on planet Earth. The only thing left to do is wait.

Birth and death are so inconvenient, I am thinking as I pull the doona over my ears that night. They are the most momentous events in our lives, yet we can’t stick them into a timeslot like we do with the rest of our daily routines. We just stretch and grow when we gain a little human presence or lose a loved one. And the miracle is that we can do it! We worry and sweat over the small stuff, like getting the tyres changed, or the kids’ lunches packed. Yet when we are confronted with life and death, we calmly take them into our stride, as if it’s something we do every day.

‘We only need one phone on, don’t we Pete, so can you please leave yours on buzzer? I don’t think Mieke is going to have the baby tonight, but you never know. Nova might come in a hurry and then Paul will need our help”. I suddenly have visions of labour hitting Mieke like an earthquake and the baby popping out before Paul can catch her, with blood going everywhere. My heart starts to pound, so I take a whiff of Peace and Calming essential oil and banish all destructive thoughts from my mind before turning the light off.

I used to be a catastrophe junkie and I inherited that from my mum. It didn’t do her any good, but she didn’t know any better. She survived the Depression and WW2 in Holland. I don’t have those excuses and catastrophizing didn’t do me any good either. I got hit by a truck at age 44 and was left with considerable damage.  At age 46, just when I thought I had turned the corner, I spent 2 months in a psychiatric hospital. I thought I had a brain tumour, but I ‘only’ had Panic Disorder. I nearly died again at age 51 from a bowel blockage, around New Year, and it had been just after New Year when I had the MVA that almost killed me 7 years earlier. This is also around my birthday and I often wonder what it was really like for me to be born? Not great and quite traumatic, according to the many kinesiology and cranio-sacral sessions I have had.

I spent a whole seven years recovering from the MVA. Now I see those 7 years as an incubation period and the bowel blockage as the last contraction before I gave birth to a more chilled out, cautiously optimistic version of myself at age 51. I had learnt a lot. The main lesson was to love, value and accept myself just the way I am and to stop trying to be perfect all the time.

I had to re-examine everything I had ever stood for. If you believe that you are at cause of your reality, why would I choose to get severely injured by a passing truck, full of potatoes, driven by a Dutch farmer? We were probably the only two Dutch people in Forth on that day. Some questions will never be answered and that is OK. They say that an experience is not finished till you can say ‘Thank you!” from the bottom of your heart for it. Today I find myself saying ‘Thank you!’ a lot, without having any control over my thankfulness. Isn’t that a fantastic outcome?

If I could do my life over again, I would choose to tune into a different radio station from an early age. I would only allow happy fantasies to play movies in my mind. I would allow myself to be completely unrealistic most of the time.  Thankfully we never had TV or radio because I had enough ‘reality’ going on at home with 6 children. Taking notice of mainstream media is like looking through a scope and viewing a distorted, nightmarish version of the world. One that isn’t even true. From my lofty position (after almost 20 years of listening to my clients’ heart felt stories) I know that humans are intelligent, loving and caring creatures, always ready to help each other. You only need to see how people die by taking the bullet for each other in a shooting for instance. Of firefighters risking their lives to save others. When push comes to shove, our true nature emerges and one of our true instincts is to give it your ALL so others can benefit.

Why do we have wars, rape and killings? I hear you say. Because the ‘killers’ have forgotten who they are. There is massive disconnect between their true self and their actions. Actions and behaviours are formed by your habitual thinking. If you want to change your life, start by changing your thinking…

In my case, my thinking was killing me. In others, it might be killing their calling. Your heart might give you a nudge or a light bulb moment and then you kill the idea by overthinking and over analysing it.  It’s no coincidence that the word analyse starts with ‘anal’!

This is actually an insult to our anus, which is the most intelligent muscle in your body (according to my son who learnt this in Veterinary Science).  It is much more intelligent than our brain. Imagine if your anus was struck by analysis paralysis! Some gas and bowel products come along, and your anus goes: Hmmm, let me think about it for a few days…  or weeks.. or months. Actually I am not going to act on my impulses!  You’d be dead unless somebody gave you a huge enema to override your anal paralysis. Now that I think about it: every time we suffer from ‘stinking thinking’ we need to give ourselves a mental enema!

The next day, I call in at Mieke’s to see if she is OK. She has had Braxton Hicks contractions for days. I offer to rub her feet with the essential oil blend called Sarah (Sarah is a great mental enema) and make sure she has the Spikenard ready. We are protecting the last dregs of Spikenard essential oil with our lives, because Spikenard and Valerian are out of stock due to high demand. These two oils help maintain your nerve during life and death and the little bottle of oil has done the rounds in my family. First there was Eli, who we used to call our Spikenard baby, because he was so chilled out. Then it helped Wilbur into the world. Wilbur is now well over two years old. Then Mieke used it for Fia.  Actually, I think that’s when the little bottle ran out and I found another one in my collection. This bottle has been used to ease Rosie Raven into the world in February, Macy Florence in June and now Nova is waiting her turn to ride the waves on Spikenard.  

Sitting next to Mieke, I feel the room imperceptibly contract and expand, in tune with her Braxton Hickses. I am not sure what Dr John Braxton Hicks was thinking in 1872, when he called these ‘false labour’ contractions after himself! Google says this: we have Dr John Braxton Hicks to thank for eliminating the confusion. Well, thanks for nothing! Who told us we were confused? The female body is perfectly capable of growing and delivering a complete flawless creation that started as almost nothing, in her own timing. Nova is just enjoying a few finishing touches while being gently massaged in preparation for her entry into this world. Just because Braxton Hicks contractions are not dilating the cervix, it doesn’t need to be labelled as false labour. The danger is that as soon as we label something, it becomes a ‘condition’ that requires a ‘treatment’… and here is another classic example of a bad thinking that needs an enema flush. What did women do before 1872 I wonder, before they had Braxton Hickses to give them a pain in the arse?

Mieke’s heels are resting heavy in my hands as I am nurturing her womb and ovarian reflex points. Nothing feels more perfectly whole than the energies of a pregnant mum at nine months. The only energy block I pick up on was Mieke’s eternal guilt complex about doing nothing, while Paul was baby-sitting Fia, their toddler.

I suggested for Mieke to enjoy the calm before the storm. Her heels were emanating a heavy feeling, not just from the extra weight, but more as if her body was mustering energy for the birth process. We all know that giving birth takes a lot of energy, and dying too, takes an enormous amount of life force. That is the reason why very sick people suddenly make a comeback just before they die. Their energetic life force is reaching a peak, to help the soul leave the body. Innocent bystanders feel hopeful that the dying person has turned the corner. They usually have, but not in the way we wish for.

We really know so little about the mechanics of all these unseen forces that are at play in the background of our lives. We can’t see them, so we pretend they aren’t there. We manipulate our way around them. We try to control the unexpected. We think and worry. Yet to our body, living a healthy life and then dying is the most natural thing to do. It is completely relaxed about it. That is why we take it in our stride when a life and death situation happens. More than that: it makes us feel 100% alive!

Our body is used to dying. It is great at it. For instance, the cells in our body die all the time. Every three months you have a completely new liver. There are 100.000.000.000.000 cells in the average human body. Do you know what all those cells are up to right now? No, and you don’t need to. Everything is happening in perfect order, in the right way, at the right time without you having to waste any thoughts on it.

While you are reading this article, 2.5 million red blood cells are dying every second. Yet you are still alive! How come? Because every second 2.5 million baby red cells appear from your bone marrow. That in itself is amazing to me, that new life springs forth from the darkest places of your body.  

When a 110-day old red blood cell dies, a freshly born red blood cell appears as out of nowhere, taking the place of the faded and jaded geriatric cell. Multiply this process by a million times and there you have the miracle of your 4 or 5 litres of healthy blood flowing through your arteries and veins. If those millions of old red blood cells refused to give up the ghost, you would age before your time and die with some sort of mystery disease.

When you look through old photos of yourself from years ago, did you know that the body you are looking at died long ago? Every 11 months all the cells of your body have been replaced. The only thing that didn’t die or was replaced is your true essence.

Imagine if your liver cells rebelled against the Universal laws about dying and said: OK, I have changed my mind about expiring, I want to stay alive forever! What would happen to the new cells that are being created second by second? They would have nowhere to go other than squeezing into your old liver, choking the life out of you. Your liver would take over your entire body, leaving no room for the lungs or heart to function. You would die from a horrible death.

From an energetic point of view, life and death are a continuum. There can’t be life without death going on every millisecond in your body. Yet we all fear death. Perhaps we have it all wrong, perhaps it is life that we need to fear? When I had a near death experience, it was the first time in my life I felt completely safe. There was no fear. Yet I know that little Nova, who hasn’t even emerged from the womb yet, is  used to the feeling of fear. By the time we are the size of a jelly bean, we are already capable of feeling fear. It is called the fear paralysis, or withdrawal reflex, and it’s there to keep us safe.

All our lives we fear death. Yet it’s life that is messy while death is a return to our true selves. We are finally free from our fear paralysis. Fear gets in the way of loving life and dying is a return to peace, joy and unconditional love. The cells of our body know this and when you stop over analysing, and drop into your heart space, you will know this as well.

When was the last time you allowed yourself purely unscheduled time? When was the last time you had an adventure in your own backyard? When was the last time you listened to the birds as if you were a newborn baby?

Start with small steps. Give yourself a mental enema by blanking out a space during your day and seeing where the wind blows you. Do something completely unplanned. Follow the divine breadcrumbs. Be open to experience something unexpected. See if you can rekindle your life’s calling. Your calling may not be to be remembered as Braxton Hicks, you might be recalled as the lady that collected rubbish from the roadside (like my mum in law did) or the person that fed the sparrows on her window ledge or the man who always opened the car door for his wife. It is the trivial things that we miss most when loved ones are gone.

My wish for you is that you rekindle the wonder and the joy of not knowing what is next and to be cool with it. A newborn baby is so helpless and yet it ‘rules’ its surroundings. Perhaps that’s the secret: to feel our helplessness and vulnerability and not to resist it and pretend we have all the answers. To go with the flow, trusting that in our not-knowingness the Universe will provide for us every moment of the day.

Yours in patience! Grada

PS: patience is a form of self-love in action!

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