Hello my fellow Gupta re-trainers. I am so sorry for my long absence from our group. My life was highjacked by events and I was away from home for four months dealing with family issues.
Some of these issues were highly stressful (taking over financial responsibility for my 100-year-old mom and finding a way to enable her to stay in her home of over 70 years), others were ultra-busy but also delightful times with children and grandchildren.
But the most stressful was my only sister being diagnosed with cancer two months ago, and now undergoing very difficult treatments. I’ve had to fly back and forth to her home to help her and will do so again in coming months, as well as being perhaps her main emotional support person, the one who has helped her talk with the medical team as they collectively worked out a course of treatment, and the coordinator of her support network.
Complicating and deepening the emotional impact is the fact that I lost my husband to cancer nearly eighteen years ago. Needless to say, all of this has been emotionally and physically very challenging. It has caused me to dive deeply into how my family relationships affect my emotional and physical well-being. As I wrote the words in the previous paragraph, it struck me how much I’ve done, and still my brain constantly sends me the negative message that I’m not doing enough! What a resilient amygdala I have!! (smile)
However, like the other challenges I’ve faced – especially Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – this has also become an opportunity for learning and growth.
And what have been my main tools for using this opportunity and maintaining my emotional and physical health? The toolbox I acquired doing the Gupta Program.
Since recovering nearly four years ago from CFS, I have used these tools somewhat sporadically. Now I have now been using them daily, and what a huge difference it has made!
Specifically, I’ve been doing my own version of the hour of power every morning: twenty minutes of mindfulness meditation followed by three or four rounds of ART, then a meditative twenty-minute walk with my three dogs and a nice breakfast. (I do yoga later in the day as by the time I’ve done my dog duties I’m too hungry!) I also do frequent short “Stops” during the day as negative thoughts occur, or after a difficult phone conversation, or when I feel physical symptoms that I know are indications of a hyper-vigilant amygdala (chest pains or an incipient headache). The physical symptoms back off right away; the emotional ones take a little longer, but still respond.
An interesting thing that I’ve re-learned is that I deserve to enjoy my life. At first, I had an overwhelming sense that I should be able to fix my sister’s illness somehow. Using ART and talking realistically to those thoughts (and that older-sister part of myself that feels responsible for my younger sister), I have become able to deeply understand that I don’t have the ability to fix her. That being anxious all the time doesn’t help me or her. And that my greatest desire is for her to be able to enjoy her life – and that if I truly believe that, then it also follows that (as I’m sure she would tell me!) I deserve to enjoy my life as well.
I recently saw a post of a Charlie Brown cartoon in which Charlie Brown and Snoopy are sitting under a star-filled sky, staring at a campfire. Charlie Brown says “We only live once, Snoopy,” and Snoopy responds, “Wrong! We only die once. We live every day!”
How true. Let us each gather the joy available to us in each day we have; let us sense the equanimity that lies at our core when we calm down our amygdala’s “Danger! Danger!” messages.
For all of you who are re-training and wondering if it can really result in full recovery, I hope you will take from my experience that it really can. Through all of these challenges I’ve been facing, I’ve had no recurrence of CFS. I’ve maintained my health throughout. And the tools we are using in the Gupta Program are ours to keep and use to our benefit for the rest of our lives.
I’ve loved horses and horseback riding all my life, and I’ve now searched out and found a way to go riding again. (My sister is delighted for me.)
When I had CFS, I realized one thing I could do while in my reclining chair was to write a novel based on some historical research I’d done. I’m happy to say it has now been published, although I haven’t had much time and space to promote it recently! It is a historical novel about the fight against slavery in the US and Canada focused on two young people working in the Underground Railroad while also falling in love with one another. It has gotten good reviews! If you’d like to read it, you can find it on Amazon, have a local bookstore order it, or order direct from the publisher, Hardball Press: https://hardballpress.com/new-titles.html
It is called Freedom Soldiers by Katherine Williams.
I developed CFS at age 62, following a traumatic series of events. This was on top of a lifetime of political activism, raising five children, teaching high school, and the loss of my beloved husband ten years earlier. I was a very good example of a people-pleaser, helper and achiever, all wrapped up in one. I only valued myself when I was in one of those roles!
After three years of researching and trying everything I could find to heal myself, I stumbled on the Gupta Program. Five months later, I had achieved full health and, as Ashok suggests, spent the next year rebuilding my physical and emotional conditioning. Meanwhile, while ill, I had done something I’d privately aspired to since childhood: I wrote a novel. So I can now (amazingly) call myself a writer, and I’d like to use that skill to assist and hopefully motivate others to retrain their brains and emotions to recover full health, as I have been fortunate to do.
Now approaching 70, I live most of the year in my late husband’s village in rural Jamaica with my three dogs. I also spend time in my old hometown of Chicago and keeping up with my five children and numerous grandchildren, who are scattered around the world and are my greatest love. I’m dedicated to doing what I can to create a just and equal life for all of Earth’s people. My love of Nature keeps me in the countryside and motivates me to help preserve this beautiful planet we call home.