Have you ever seen a movie six thousand times, but only gotten half a whiff of the real depth of that movie after the most recent viewing? Case in point; I’ve seen Joe Versus the Volcano at least 30 times since 1990, but only recently came to understand the immense truths contained within it. The film was always on in the background, and I’d often half ass watched it without really seeing it for what it was. The realization and understanding came slowly; a little bit here, a little bit there, until one day I said “fuck it” and sat down and really watched the film again for the first time. I took it all in with a renewed sense of awareness, and a considerably open mind. I dissected it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d enjoyed the movie time and again previously, but I’d only just seen the surface of it. And in truth, I was sincerely blown away. For all of its cheese, the movie was an acutely effective, multi-layered glimpse into a man’s thirst for knowledge, meaning, purpose, and self discovery. Looking beyond some of the dated, clunky 90’s camp, it’s quite a deeply rendered portrait of the journey that we all endure in order to accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish with our lives. It is a great little tale about overcoming obstacles, standing up for your beliefs, and never giving up. Who can’t relate to that, right? And if you’ve ever hated your job, the “I quit” scene below is a revelation.
In general, we all want the same things in life. One of my favorite poems, a short piece by English poet Henry Howard entitled ‘The Things That Cause a Quiet Life’, is a prime example of the simplistic human desires that we all seek out in order to provide personal fulfillment. Henry Howard penned his poem over 450 years ago, but the themes of the piece; happiness, peace, friendship, and good health, resonate into the current years. I say this to highlight the fact that we all want happiness. We all seek wisdom, and we all seek the same knowledge and understanding that will bring those elements into our lives. We all seek the same thing, yet we generally look for it in different places…but as long as we’re hunting for that wisdom, we’re on the right path. My mother, Jumoke, is a proponent of Universal wisdom; a seeker of the answers that the Universe provides. Growing up, I’d call her the Gypsy, in reference to her free spiritedness, intellectual vigor, hunger for knowledge, and willingness to provide and educate us all on what she’d learned. Her teachings have helped lay the brick that paves my own path, and I’m happy to welcome her as a regular contributor to this blog. Please read below, and enjoy.*
About nine months ago, I began to experience some health challenges – pain, inflammation and stiffness had begun to take up residence in my body. I was taken aback to say the least. I usually don’t even get headaches, but on the rare occasion that I do, before I reach for an aspirin, I’ll ask myself, “What painful or stressful thoughts are you having today?” And I always know the answer! I’ve learned how to be brutally honest with myself.
So needless to say, when my hands began to gradually become stiff, swollen and painful, I was horrified! Horrified!!! I had to ask myself what in the world was going on? And, of course, I knew. After 10 years of coasting, I had recently gone through a plethora of drastic change in my job environment. The situation had been simmering and roller-coastering for about two years until the final blow, and it all fell apart in mid-2015. I, equally, had been seething in the midst of it all for those two years, feeling at times uncertainty, confusion, frustration, annoyance, and at other times, so angry!…which is an emotion I don’t usually entertain, knowing how counterproductive it is….but I forgot. Being in the midst of turmoil can make one get all caught up in it, and I did. I forgot my tools. And by the end of 2015 I was hit with a thud when my body began to change, leaving me stiff (anger, resentment, rigidity, not flowing with the changes in life), swollen (filled with irritation, frustration, confusion, and inflamed thoughts about a situation) and in pain (all those silent, negative, painful emotions with nowhere else to go, settling in the joints of my fingers and hands).
You see, I know that the mind, the body and the spirit are not separate entities; they are ONE, and that what begins in the mind and breaks your spirit, affects the body as well. But in the midst of the anguish, I had forgotten, and I remembered too late that what you plant is what you harvest, and in my case, toxic thoughts produced a toxic body. I got my wake up call when it became difficult to use my hands, a major part of what I did on the job. I was forced to admit to myself that the instability I was experiencing, losing my source of income, the changes my life, had affected my wellbeing and now I was no longer being well. I had to confess that this illness hadn’t just “taken up residence in my body” out of the blue – I had unconsciously invited it in, lock, stock, and barrel, and now I needed it gone! I was ready to evict it! And I needed a restraining order keep it at bay! But first I had to re-mind myself of and re-connect with the Spirit within, which has the power to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, all the qualities I needed to counteract the dark cloud I had carried above me. I wanted the sun to shine again! And I had to revise and re-create kinder, gentler and more loving thoughts about the state of my life so that my toxic, wounded self could heal.
So after months of anger, fear, pity parties, frustration and confusion, now towards my uncooperative body (over the months the swelling, stiffness and pain moved intermittently from my hands to my shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and feet), doctor visits (rheumatoid specialist said I didn’t have rheumatoid arthritis) acupuncture, anti-inflammatory herbs, more frustration, conceding and taking aspirin for relief, then ultimately to acceptance, modifying my diet, reading Iyanla Vanzant-esque materials again, realizing my body was trying to communicate something to me, listening, acknowledging my emotions, having compassion and understanding for myself and for others in pain, more listening and more compassion, I am finally remembering what I’ve always believed – that there are no coincidences, and everything is in Divine Order and on purpose.
My pain was purposeful. It reminded me that going to extreme places of negativity is destructive and unhealthy. That there is a solution to everything if you trust that your life is already designed, and that there is an unwavering Energy within you that supports you when you rely on IT. I had so much blind resistance during those months, and was all up in the struggle and stayed too long. I could have accepted and assimilated the changes in my life sooner (change is inevitable), made some adjustments, trusted the process and gone with the flow (or gotten a new job, dammit!).
I also am remembering that love heals all wounds. I was not feeling much love then, so my immune system, likewise, was not feeling very loving and proceeded to withdraw its protection and subsequently fought against me (auto-immune disease) and allowed all that negativity to flourish! That’s what the Universe does (our bodies are a complete universe within itself), it magnifies beautifully in our lives what’s being expressed in our thoughts. And I was paralyzed during that time with hopelessness.
I have begun to relax and feel some relief now. I am back to my old habits of meditation, and visualizing myself as I truly am – a complexity of magnificence – cells, molecules, chromosomes, oxygen, and 7 octillions (can you imagine?) of atoms and many other precisely behaving quantum particles dancing and flowing in Techni-colorful unison! I’m back to my deep breathing habits, inhaling slowly into my lower abdomen (second or Sacral chakra, which is represented by shades of orange) and exhaling even more purposefully, visualizing toxins being released. That relaxes my muscles and brings a sense of peace to my mind and body. The pain and swelling is dissipating.
Looking back nine months ago, I was a wreck. Today I’m moving back in to a good space, mentally; and I’m now dwelling in a house of more contentment, looking forward to giving birth to a new and improved me!!!
I took on a challenge in honor of National Poetry Month, the above piece being the result. The piece had to contain ‘dance with the devil’ and ‘destiny’ in some form. Enjoy!