Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Utmost gentle affection

‘Know that you will fall asleep. When you do, wake yourself with the utmost, gentle affection…’

Yogi Amrit Desai

While making holiday preparations, I became aware of a persistent headache that seemed to interfere with my desire for peace and serenity. Instead of reaching for the medicine bottle I decided to sit with the tension and see if there was something I needed to acknowledge.

When I allowed myself to be honest about the pain, I realized that I was holding tightly to beliefs about the ‘special-ness’ of the holidays instead of just being present with the unfolding experience. I was glossing over some sadness about memories that were lost to the mists of time. Nevertheless, they still seemed to hold power below my conscious awareness and revealed themselves as an annoying headache.

I sat and asked my inner self what I needed to do to release the pain. I intuitively felt that deep breathing and thoughts of forgiveness of the past would help bring balance to the unconscious hurt. After a short time of doing this, I saw that my present life circumstances and the people around me were the perfect balm for healing this old belief.

As I breathed, I stopped feeling resentment that the present did not meet up to some outworn, idealized belief. I forgave myself for believing these old thoughts had any power over me. I was shown that it is only old thoughts, feelings and memories that appear to manifest as sickness or tension in the body. Only unacknowledged, unforgiven thoughts can seem to cause us pain.

Be willing to sit patiently with the discomfort. Watch the ego wiggle and squirm as it is witnessed; its peevish ways revealed to the light of day. Have compassion for any parts of your self that appear alone, separate or misplaced in time and space. Witnessing with Loving Presence will bring greater awareness of how to proceed from the heart, leaving outdated ideas in the dust.

Our task is to treat ourselves with supreme gentleness and be willing to let these seeming hurts float to the surface. We can then pull them from the waters of our unconscious mind and quietly blow the breath of new life back into them. Sudden harsh movements, such as criticism or judgement, will cause them to slip away again until the next healing opportunity arises.
Falling asleep is inevitable; waking up is unavoidable. Therefore be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with utmost gentle affection….

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


“…Awakening of the heart leads us to question every belief, challenge every perception, and re-evaluate our intentions.. we realize how we form judgements based on these images…from this value system we make endless plans for our lives, we set goal for ourselves and others, and we attempt to control our surroundings and the events that occur.”

 Maggie Victor, A choice for love

Christine was recently guided to consider ‘weightlessness’ before starting a Mandala workshop. Meditation and reflection on this concept revealed the value of handing our burdens over to spirit, the inner teacher.

As we begin to notice the sophisticated ways that habitual thoughts interfere with our peace, we make slow but sure strides toward undoing the ego. Affirming that these thoughts are not real and forgiving ourselves for believing in them is very powerful. As we begin to question beliefs that we have taken for granted, we start to regain our true selves.

Very often, beliefs are heavy and weigh us down with fear and worry. As we learn to hand them over, we discover the weightlessness of our true nature. From this place of peace we become open to inner direction. When we develop confidence in our ability to listen to spirit in our own unique way, we rely much less on the learned patterns of the past.

Rear view of seated meditation
This image emerged from Christine’s inner eye. It shows that by surrendering the ideas and beliefs of the world, we can awaken to a deeper kind of awareness. From this place, we are free from the burdens we have placed upon ourselves that can lead to illness.

Experience has shown us that our divine nature is all-powerful and always brings us what we need in ways that we can handle. This may not appear to be the case to our ego, which always tries to undermine our efforts. Laughter can be wonderful medicine when ego tries to make things too serious.

Forgive yourself for believing that you are small and insignificant and reach fearlessly and passionately toward the immense love that you are. As you may have found, joining with your true nature is an unforgettable and profound experience; it changes the way you view your life and the lives of those around you forever.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

End-of-life care with Loving Presence

May all beings find happiness and the causes of happiness,
May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering,
May all beings never be separate from the bliss that is sorrow-less,
May all dwell in equanimity, free from aversion and clinging.

Whether you are facing illness, overwhelming stress, or the end of your own life, it is possible to move through these challenges with greater peace and joy.

Allow yourself to consider that suffering is not necessary and it is possible to see every situation as an opportunity to awaken. The Buddhist tradition uses the Prayer of the Four Immeasurables to remind us how often we add to our discomfort.

By clinging to things we believe we need, or resisting ideas and concepts that go against our familiar way of doing things, we feel deep emotional distress. Equanimity means that we sit effortlessly and do not buy into the stories our fear-based ego tries to throw at us. We simply watch patiently and forgive ourselves for believing they have any power to hurt us.

At The Light Tree we begin from first-hand awareness that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. In other words, we are clear that we are already healed and whole. It is only our fear-based ego, with its limited view of situations, that distracts us in myriad ways from knowing the truth of who we are.

In her nursing practice, Marcy has noticed that aversion and clinging only add to feelings of panic that signal a perceived loss of control. This kind of spiritual pain is compounded by a dizzying array of fears that can arise during a health crisis.

A common question when facing serious illness is: ‘What hope is left for me if I am dying?’ This is the ego’s limited view of itself and is a perfectly natural response to an uncertain situation.

Marcy has found that the most helpful response is to sit patiently with the peace of Loving Presence and witness each aspect of the fear until its dissolves. She begins by acknowledging the discomfort that arises and begins to express itself. From there, new ways of coping begin to emerge that were previously invisible to the distressed mind.

Taking this approach has shown her the importance of removing limitations on how healing unfolds for each person. By avoiding attachment to an outcome, or clinging to the opinions of others, she invites you to find your own state of equanimity. From this calm place, new awareness unfolds and although the situation may remain the same, your perception of it will evolve.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dissolving fear into love

Fearless embodiment does not mean that fear is not present; rather in the face of that fear; you know you are one with Spirit. And here you are held as you trust that you can meet these places within and allow the love that leads to the truth….
-Stacy Sully-

How do we dissolve fear and confusion into the love that already exists within us? When illness strikes it becomes even more challenging to stay calm and optimistic. Our inner voice can seem far away as cynicism and anger arise to meet this often unwanted change in our plans.

Chronic illness and stress can lead to greater self awareness if we choose to use them as tools for healing. The challenge is to have faith in our innate ability to heal our minds. We can dissolve fear, panic and anger as they emerge to sidetrack our healing process. The misery cycle of self-limiting thoughts is not inevitable!

Our fear-based and limited self, the ego, immediately wants to control the situation with familiar and outworn patterns it learned from the past. Be glad; the sooner we recognize them the faster we can show them the door!

Our ego has taken over our minds like a virus. We don’t always know its habits until it tries to be in charge of our functioning. By acknowledging that a disease lives in our mind, it can be brought to light by the power of self-awareness. Our unlimited Self knows exactly how these foreign ideas and fantasies can be dissolved. An inward focus will assist our innate wisdom to point towards our own personal healing journey.

The antidote to fear is forgiveness; not the kind of forgiveness in which our ego likes to be judgmental and self righteous. Rather, we advocate self-forgiveness and encourage you to let yourself off the blame-shame-guilt hook and move on! Staying stuck in the patterns of the past is hurtful and keeps us locked in cycles of pain. It is more helpful to say ‘I forgive myself for believing that this is real’. Say it every time your critic jumps up like a noisy, yapping puppy!

To learn more about forgiveness you might like to read the bestselling book Love Is Letting Go of Fear by psychiatrist Jerry Jampolsky. He has guided millions of readers toward the realization that by releasing the restrictive thinking imposed by our own minds we can embrace a life in which negativity, doubt, and fear are replaced with optimism, joy, and love.

Meanwhile, start to notice when attack thoughts arise to discredit, minimize or ridicule your efforts. Be happy! This is an opportunity for forgiveness. Willingness to develop self-awareness is the first step to dissolving the ego’s thought system.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Love is the healer

Let it Be Love that guides you, that wills you, that fortifies you and informs you.

Let it Be Love that circumvents all time and has you stand in the newness of every moment.

Let it Be Love that calls you home from guilt and fear.

Let it Be love that carves the pathway where you no longer are a stranger to yourSELF.

Let it Be Love that answers all questions and quells all doubts of past and future.

Let it Be Love that gently undoes the Ego.

Let it Be Love that reminds you that you stand in eternity as the very gift that Love has given itSELF.

There is only ONE truth and that truth is Love Let it Be Love that reminds you that there is only Love.

Love is the only action worth taking, the only knowledge worth knowing and the only truth worth living.

By Stacy Sully, our beloved friend and guide.

Monday, November 21, 2011

To love or fear: this is the question

"…anguish is unknowingly intensified and reinforced when we journey through it with fear and doubt as our guides. If we can learn to use the situation as a catalyst for facing up to and undoing fear rather than feeding it…we can unite in healing the underlying cause of all distress-which is fear it self. When the perception of fear falls away all that’s left is love. Love is the core of our true nature."

Nouk Sanchez and Tomas Vieria. authors of Take me to Truth.

When illness or similar events come knocking on your door, perhaps it is an invitation to view the circumstances differently. It is unhelpful when we become so overwhelmed with fear that we cannot see all the possibilities in a situation. If we are willing to move past our hurt, confusion and suffering, there is a different way to view our lives.

Sally Patton, in her wonderful book, Don’t fix me, I’m not broken describes how labelling illness can come to be a help, or a limitation to healing. She describes how labels can serve to bring services to a person in need. However, fear can arise if we begin to believe the limiting thought that this label is wholly true and that we are defective and in need of ‘fixing’. If we are tempted to view ourselves as passive and broken, rather than whole and wonderful, our suffering can intensify.

If we are able to see that our true nature is Loving Presence we can relax and be open to self awareness. Awakening to our true self is a natural aspect of the human experience. Everyone has the ability to be a loving presence when life appears to be calling out for a new experience.

A skilled art therapist such as Christine can assist us to take these shadows out of the depths of our mind and illuminate them with the wisdom of inner guidance. It’s funny to see how the monsters that might have haunted us all our lives appear to be frail and illusory when brought with kindness into the light of day. Clearly, when invited with the intention to heal, inner guidance emerges spontaneously to be our friend and guide. 

Working with guidance from spirit is a universal ability that everyone is able to draw upon. It is not a mystery or a talent only available to a select few. You and your loved ones can have full faith in your ability to know how your next steps might unfold. It is only the thought of fear that locks us in its tight embrace.

I have found that labelling illness is neither good nor bad. Choosing to include various healing methods such as acupuncture, yoga or psychotherapy can be just as valuable as a trip to your physician. It’s up to us whether we invest this decision with love and confidence, or doubt and fear.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finding our inner authority

Remember the false self is false; it is non-existent, but by believing in it, we act as if it were real.

-Vernon Howard-

If we are to free ourselves from the need to place our power in the hands of others, we must first acknowledge that illness itself may be a sign that we have already given away part of our authentic self.

Dr. Michael Greenwood notes in his book, Braving the void: Journeys into healing that physicians are often taught that they must carefully consider the messages they convey to patients. Because of the enormous power that contemporary society places upon medical authority, both physician and patient becomes trapped by the limitations of these beliefs.

In healing my own misplaced beliefs about the collection of symptoms named Multiple Sclerosis, I learned that when I placed my power with an external authority, I became paralyzed with fear. My inner voice became more obscured than ever, and I felt terrorized by my ego’s frantic efforts to take control. I even contemplated suicide, so deep was my pain and torment.

Since then, I have learned that healing is a journey into the very heart and soul of what I believe is my self. Healing, or the descent within to reconnect with the lost self can be messy, painful and confusing.

For this reason, finding a group or person who will walk the journey with you is essential. It is not a journey for the fainthearted; sometimes only illness or threat of loss will bring us to the brink of looking for a new way to experience ourselves.  Whether it is your mom, family physician, massage therapist, neighbour or support group, create a team of loving people around your emerging self.

Whatever the method you become drawn to, check in with yourself along the way and see if it’s right for you. Be willing to let go of things you cling to, and notice ways you avoid or deny people, things or ideas. I have found these things only appear to be real, so forgive and release them. They are only obstacles to the awareness of Love’s presence.

Rediscovering your true self is worth it because, surprise! You are much more than you ever thought you’d be. Don’t take my word for it; that’s for you to find out for yourself.

When you find your own path towards the heart, you have turned a corner. There is no going back to your old, limited self. Yes, you are different now, never to be the same again. Give thanks for that!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Waking up in everyday life.

Love appears to us in unexpected ways. I was swimming at Crystal pool one morning and my inner teacher clearly said to me, ‘Let me love you in places you cannot love yourself’. 

Naturally I was taken by surprise, but I also felt strangely comforted. I have noticed that when my everyday, ego mind is distracted, my inner self delivers an unmistakably clear message to stop and pay attention. Art, yoga, swimming and taking exercise in nature can assist us to relax and drop into a deep sense of peace.

For example, although I do not particularly enjoy experiencing the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, it has given me an opportunity to slow down and pay attention to my inner world. My body is more keenly attuned to how I feel in all situations.

My habit has been to suppress my true voice and push my feelings deep down.  If I do that now, I often have the unpleasant sensation of stepping on an electrical cord. Discomfort is a sign that I need to slow down and take care of myself. My ruthless, controlling self is at it again!

In my social work practice, I coped with stress by telling myself a lot of untruths. My favourite was that I was doing ‘good’ in the world by helping to fix all its troubles. My ego-self was convinced that I knew how to bring an end to human suffering. No wonder I overwhelmed, tired and stressed! 

It has taken a lot of patience, courage and self-forgiveness, but I am constantly amazed at how listening to my inner voice saves me from a lot of unnecessary struggle. Every day is not easy, and I still have lots of opportunities to forgive myself, but miracles happen all around me when I stop trying to play god and do it by myself.

Now I am more able to wait until a situation unfolds and have confidence that I will be guided. I am learning to take a back seat to my misguided need to fix something that is not broken. This is a common way I project an idea into the world so I can temporarily feel useful and needed. Naturally this obscures the fact that I am already enough, and so is the person I think I am saving.

When I relax, the world seems friendlier and I find my ego’s antics hilarious. I don’t need a buzzer from my nervous system to alert me to my frantic fears and maladaptive ways of coping with them.

Love arrives in all its splendour to remind me of what I already know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Suffering is optional

Today my body seemed to be telling me to step back and rest.

When I sat with the discomfort, I became aware of all the stories each symptom carries within it.

I realized that while hurt is sometimes inevitable as part of a disease, the stories we tell ourselves and others are not. In other words, suffering is optional.

While it may be useful to be able to describe the symptoms of illness, this can also serve to deepen these beliefs and stories. Once my neurologist had diagnosed my illness and helped me pinpoint why I had been feeling unwell, I intuitively knew that I wanted to be cautious about how I spoke about it.

I did not want the fear stories of others to fill my mind when I was trying to make sense of it myself. This kind of thinking only left me feeling as if I were buried up to my neck in sand with the tide coming in. It seemed that being ‘helpful’ only meant standing by and taking photographs while shouting well-meaning encouragement!

Why is it that we think fear is helpful and protects us in some way? And how can we be truly helpful when someone has been given a frightening diagnosis?

Being overly positive and optimistic obscures what the person needs to find out for them selves. It can be a way of hiding and seems to say, “I don’t think we know how to handle this, so let’s paint a happy picture instead”.

I have found that if we ask those around us to be patient, to resist the urge to ‘fix’, that illness has a message. Our deepest fears can emerge in the presence of patience and love. They are too timid to show themselves if there is too much noise and activity around them.

If we want to be truly helpful we must wait until the fear uncovers itself, revealing the miracle within. With patience we find our true identity, wanting and waiting to be discovered.

Terror only obscures this awareness and drives it deeper into hiding. If you want to be truly helpful, give up the need to soothe your own fears and be still. Stop ‘doing’ and start ‘being’. Leave the care of physical needs to those who feel called to do it and be confident that the ‘sick’ have wisdom inside that wants to be shared.

When those involved feel a deep peace with the presence of someone struggling with bodily issues, then healing is happening.  Let go of your need to control the outcome and ‘save’ them. It’s in the hands of a something much greater, so cease your helpful efforts.

Be grateful to witness the unfolding of something wonderful. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


We are very happy to have an opportunity to share our thoughts and experiences of healing with you.

We would like to begin by clarifying that we welcome everyone, whether they practice a specific form of spirituality or not. As far as we are concerned, all paths are valid ways to awaken to our true Selves.

In our case, sickness and ‘death’ have awakened the desire to know ourselves and others more deeply. We noticed that facing these issues with love and support evokes wisdom that is far beyond the body’s ability to see and understand.

With this in mind, we ask you to look past terminology and alternate ways of seeing the world that you might find unusual. Forgive yourself for any tendency to judge something that might trigger your defences. Words like God, Jesus and Mohammed might be a balm to some, but invoke a strong reaction in others.

Marcy and Melanie are students of A Course In Miracles and although we consider ourselves practitioners of radical forgiveness, we actively embrace all expressions of love and desire for inner peace.

Our basic philosophy is as follows:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the Peace of God.
(ACIM, 2007, Introduction)

Marcy and Melanie would like to acknowledge the incredible teachers that have inspired them along this journey.

Jewel (Julia Day), Nouk Sanchez, Tomas Vieira, Stacy Sully, Gary Renard, Sarah Pilkington, Donna Martin, Kenneth Wapnick, Adyashanti and their Mighty Companions who have helped them to see beyond the bodies eyes to the Truth of what lies beyond. Many, many thanks to our families and all our wonderful friends.