I’m in Boulder, Colorado right now leading a Sounds True event about trusting the invisible forces of love to guide you in your life. Yesterday, we spent all day talking about how we can invoke spiritual guidance, the tools and practices that can help you receive guidance, and what gets in the way of opening to this kind of guidance. Today, we’ll be focusing on the tricky topic of discernment.
As I shared with you yesterday, my beloved mother was just diagnosed with a rare and aggressive kind of leukemia. (If you missed it, you can read about our shock and our magic stories here.) When life throws you a curveball, advice is often the last thing you need. You need permission to be emotional. You need room to be with what has happened. You need . . . whatever YOU need. It’s so individual. That said, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that help me when life throws me curveballs.
With my mother’s permission, I want to share with you all the curveball life just threw my family. A few weeks ago, my healthy 71-going-on-55 year old mother started feeling palpitations in her chest, a fast heart rate, and some shortness of breath. She thought something might be wrong with her so far always healthy heart, so she went to Urgent Care, where they found a healthy heart but severe anemia of the macrocytic (big blood cells) variety. We thought she might have a B12 or folate deficiency and hoped the treatment would be as simple as a vitamin supplement. But the next day, the doctor called me. Her blood smear was just reviewed by the pathologist, and it didn’t look good. It looked like leukemia, but the only way to know for sure would be to endure the painful gold standard test—a bone marrow biopsy.
As fellow lovers of truth, science, and consciousness, I need your help, my friends. One of the healers I interviewed and studied for my Sacred Medicine book has had her TEDx talk censored by TED, and we need your help broadcasting this "idea worth spreading." Brandy Gillmore, whom I met two years ago and who has since become one of my best friends, was once a person who suffered from such severe neurological pain after an accident that for six years, she was immobilized by the pain, bound to her bed and a wheelchair to get around. She failed all Western medical treatment—narcotics, epidural blocks, etc. Through the unfolding of realizations about how pain, the mind, and healing work, she was able to heal herself (with prayer and Divine support, as well as the power of her own mind) from years of agonizing, debilitating pain.
Years ago, when I was practicing medicine in an unusual way and trying to find language to describe what I was doing, I struggled through words that didn’t quite fit my definition. Although words like “integrative medicine” and “holistic health” got close, the way those words are understood in our culture wasn’t the same thing I envisioned. To me, “integrative medicine” meant you play nice in the medical sandbox with acupuncturists and homeopaths. “Holistic health” meant you recommend green juice cleanses and prescribe a lot of supplements. “Functional medicine” means you order a lot of unusual laboratory tests not usually covered by insurance, and you treat often neglected biochemical imbalances naturally. While I very much appreciate the value of natural medicines, green juice cleanses, non-mainstream lab tests, and alternative healers, and while I fully endorse the benefit of all of these interventions, I was more journeying down another rabbit hole, where patients were having “spontaneous remissions” without drugs, supplements, raw vegan diets, or acupuncture needles.