Being Nearly but not Quite . . . . . . .
Today I ‘should’ be getting on with putting my Minister’s Manual together which has to be handed in tomorrow at my last One Spirit Interfaith weekend. But this morning, I’m driven by my heart to write this Blog and get it out into the world. It’s like an unseen energy that is keeping me focussed on this and I cannot do anything else but follow it. There’s something important for me in writing this morning. There’s no logic because I need to get my Manual completed in time, and yet . . . . . .
It all started last night when I went to see the wonderful Dr Gabor Mate presenting a talk in London entitled ‘Why We Get Sick’. One takeaway was: ‘Illness comes along when we are not being ourselves and it comes along to tell us something. The biggest stress in our lives is trying to be someone other than yourself’. Anyway, I could go on but this is not the purpose of my Blog. If you want to know more, do read his latest book entitled When The Body Says No.
In my 40’s I developed some strange symptoms of visual disturbance and numbness in my head and neck. To cut a long story short, after a brain tumour was ruled out, I began to be tested for Multiple Sclerosis which is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Eventually my Consultant told me that my brain scan showed that I had lesions in my brain but, in his view, not enough to say that I had MS. However, he rather pointedly said that he wouldn’t stand up in court and say that! This was my first memory of nearly but not quite in relation to my health. So near and yet so far. Looking back I see that it was the beginning of my personal development quest and my dive into Spirituality. I began my own therapy and my life started to irrevocably change.
A decade later, I found myself facing a different Consultant, this time telling me that I had a high rheumatoid factor and if I didn’t start taking some heavy duty medicine then I wouldn’t be able to walk in my later years because my joints would be screwed! Although he didn’t use the word screwed, of course!! I started to take them for a few months but felt awful. I did a lot of research and decided to take a big risk to stop taking them and find other alternate ways of dealing with it. It’s difficult to go against the medical profession but my heart kept on telling me that this was what I needed to do. Even though I was afraid that I might end up in a wheelchair . . . not with MS this time but with RA. I’m 65 now and I’m still walking and dancing wildly. Yes I do have some stiffness and aches and pains but I am not immobile. I still have that high rheumatoid factor but my latest Consultant told me that it often doesn’t always manifest into something. A second nearly but not quite health scare.
But, oh my goodness, as I reflect on this episode, I can see that it was asking me to dig deeper into my emotional and spiritual life. I continued my journey which eventually led me to train as a One Spirit Interfaith Minister. I didn’t realise until listening to Gabor Mate last night, that most of my life I have not been my authentic self. I have been trying to fit myself into different shapes to please people, to get their love, to be appreciated, to feel good about myself, to get them to notice me and pay me attention. I did this by listening to them, soaking up everything, all their emotions such as anger and bitterness. I would never say how I felt. Their need seemed more important than mine. Although often I was shouting internally as I faced a barrage of emotions – ‘What about me?’ but I would never say. No wonder I ended up with migraines as my head would eventually explode with the unexpressed emotions, especially anger. My stress levels, cortisone and adrenaline, were constantly on a high . . . . no wonder I had this leaning towards auto-immune diseases. However, people though I was great so it was worth it, right?
It’s not just my physical health but also my emotional health. In my late 20s I was in love and this man who was everything to me asked me to marry him. 24 hours later he reneged and said he couldn’t do it. I was devastated, desperate and closed my heart for many, many years. My dream of marriage and kids was, yes you’ve guessed it, nearly but not quite. I don’t think I ever truly expressed the anger and abandonment that I felt.
So, I want to start this enquiry: What am I not saying? Or, How am I not being myself? This Blog is part of outing how I try to hide things about myself in case they are not acceptable to some people. I’m still that little girl trying to squeeze herself into the tiniest of containers.
I want to be me. That authentic me that I was always meant to be so that I don’t have a need to be a nearly but not quite kind of person. My Spiritual life is vital to me these days and I am in love with God. Although I do talk about it, I am aware that I can censor it slightly depending on who I am talking to. Back to that need to be accepted. Pretending to be somebody that I am not or maybe it’s more pretending that I am not the woman I am. The love-filled, spiritual explorer who is about to become an Interfaith Minister. I don’t want to be a nearly but not quite Minister. I want to be a full-blown wholesome definitely kind of Minister.
Reflecting back, I can see that the nearly but not quite moments have been pivotal times in my life. If I had married the man I loved so much back then, I might have continued to be that person who was not herself, constantly trying to please and failing. If I had taken medicine for arthritis I probably would have set up other problems. But these nearly but not quite moments have been times for change, for exploration, a longing for something different although initially I had no idea of what that was. It’s still unfolding, of course. I trust my heart, my connection to God so much more these days. I trust that everything that occurs has a reason, even when it is suffering or something I do not want. For all my suffering and nearly but not quite moments have led me to this moment when I feel over flowing with love and trust what God is asking of me. I am becoming more me and I am still a work in progress.
And now, to that Minister’s Manual! . . . . . . . . . . .