Praying, Dreaming and SchemingDo you dare to dream?
Figuring out what to write for this page took the longest time. I had a few ideas, but they were discombobulated, zipping around my mind without any rhyme or reason. And then, out of the blue, there was this seemingly ordinary moment (I was actually eating my backyard-grown lunch) when it all came together… Ordinary turned into crystal clear vision, sending shivers down my spine, flooding me with a wave of understanding, appreciation and gratitude… But wait; let me start from the beginning…
Back when I was sick I didn’t dream, I prayed. I prayed for sleep – any would’ve been great. I prayed I’d have enough energy to get out of bed – some days I didn’t. I prayed I’d have an OK day so I can play with my kids. On the days that I couldn’t eat, I prayed for that. When the pain relented, I prayed for it to stay at bay. And when it returned, I prayed for even a moment of reprieve. Despite what the doctors were saying, I prayed that this wasn’t a life-long illness prison. I prayed for an expert – a therapist, a specialist, a doctor – someone, anyone who could take a look at me and say, “ This is what you need to do to feel better.”
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That someone never showed up. And my health hit rock bottom. I felt like 30 going on 100, and I bet you there were centenarians out there sprightlier than what I was. Somewhere in the midst of drugs, tests, doctors, referrals and specialists I made the decision that changed the course of my life.
To say, “I made the decision” doesn’t really describe the reality of what had happened. It was more like this decision arose – of its own accord – from the depths of desperation, from the frustration I felt. This thought, this decision was like a separate entity that had a life of its own – and ever since that moment I have felt guided by an invisible hand.
It has been over 15 years since I decided that my health is my responsibility – and only my responsibility. I finally understood that in order to heal I had to become my own health expert; that there was no specialist, doctor, therapist or healer that could ever be as interested or as informed about my body’s inner workings as me.
To say that this has been an arduous journey is to say nothing at all. To say that I’ve learned a lot doesn’t even begin to describe the gruelling process of re-building an illness-ridden body and mind. But eventually my energy came back and I started to scheme and dream, and cautiously plan for the future. Illness scars the mind just as much (if not more) as it does the body and for me, dreaming is still a challenge. It is as though the imprint of illness is still hidden at the cellular level somewhere, in the matrix of my neural network. Hey, healing is a work in progress.
Back to that shiver-inducing moment of crystal clarity in the midst of my homegrown lunch – the feeling I had then was akin to the sweaty satisfaction I feel after a gruelling climb to a high mountain ridge and the sense of awe at the vista below me.
Suddenly I had the same bird’s-eye perspective of my life: every turn, every twist, every decision, every heartbreak, and every hardship now made sense. They were both a record and a road map to my own healing. They were also the required lessons that allowed me to gain the empathy and compassion, knowledge (dare I say wisdom?), and strength needed in order to help others. It isn’t really surprising then, that my students ask: “When you were going through tough times, was there “a Julia” there for you?”
I don’t exaggerate when I say, “I know how you feel. I’ve been there.” Let me show you a step-by-step pathway to feeling and being better. Let’s get your health prayers answered, so that you too can dream and scheme, and cautiously plan for the future. Starting today!