Rest Doesn’t Come Easy

IMG_9969We’re in Austin, TX for four months, resting. Well, that’s what we tell people.

But, after three years traveling two different continents at a relatively active pace, I would say we are here in Austin to learn to rest.

Rest doesn’t come easy when one’s value is based upon what one accomplishes. Poet, David Whyte writes; “Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is not stasis but the essence of giving and receiving. Rest is an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually, but also physiologically and physically. To rest it to become present in a different way than through action, and especially to give up on the will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we put it right; to rest is to fall back, literally or figuratively from outer targets, not even to a sense of inner accomplishment or an imagined state of attained stillness, but to a different kind of meeting place, a living, breathing state of natural exchange‚Ķ”

Oh! It it is nearly impossible to engage in. All of the elements are in place, our desire to seek rest initially lead us to have conversations with kinfolk in Austin when we were here in May. They in turn began to share our need for rest with their neighbors, etc… We prayed and asked for this rest. Then a friend spoke with a friend, who had a friend, who had a precious plot of land right on Lake Austin. He was happy to gift us with a place to park our rig, allowing us amenities of sewer, water and electricity. He met us when we arrived and welcomed us, stating he hoped that we would use the property well and that rest would come. He then took us for Texas BBQ and went on his way.

So here we are with this beautiful setting, the sun shining on cue each day we wake, and just enough in our fridge to fill our bellies.

The first week, Rhys was still with us, finishing out his four weeks on the bus. So, much of our time was spent showing him the amazing sights and sounds of Austin, including Barton Springs, Torchies Tacos, Congress Street, the University area, Contra dancing and a day for packing and swimming at the lake. It was a great week and I’ll write more about it later.

The second week there was an inkling that rest was upon us, but the slow down was going to take time. Our bodies were ready, but our minds were still consumed with outpouring and giving. We volunteered with our kinfolk at MLF, we sought new friends on street corners, and through our social media and began hosting gatherings at the lake.

Then in the third week, we were scheduled to attend a folk music conference. We went, engaged with our fellow folkies and shared music. We met Matt Nakoa, a fellow muso from NYC, and quickly found kinship with him. We were careful though, as we didn’t want to distract him from benefits that the conference had for him.

All the while, we could feel a wooing happening in our hearts towards rest and the desire to give in to the rest was coming upon us like a wave far out in the ocean, building and building. What a dichotomy to have a spiritual awakening in such a physically driven place. It started to feel like we were trudging through mud, we were meant to be networking and gleaning wisdom about the music industry. Instead, many conversations, which started with practical ideals about traveling and touring full-time, ended in philosophical and spiritual musings about faith and purpose. Some of the conversations where so beautiful, and others were met with a deer in the headlights stare.

You’d think after that weekend we’d finally give in, but instead we had another party at the lake. (And, I should mention, that we all were feeling different levels of this pull towards rest, however, I was the one most resistant) The party was relaxing and some really great conversations happened. Another weekend passed and then it hit. My mind started to spiral after a few misses from friends who we still hadn’t seen in Austin, all whom had worthy excuses. None the less, it brought up insecurities and feelings of unworthiness, and lack of purpose. On Saturday night we shared sacred space with a group of folks we met a few weeks earlier. It was refreshing, yet I struggled to maintain composure. We went to church on Sunday and the minister talked about how important encouragement is to the soul. He talked about how we need to encourage one another day after day, so that we won’t lose heart, leaving us vulnerable to temptation. I could feel my heart slipping. I wanted rest, but rest seemed to represent loneliness, a feeling I know all to well.

IMG_9971So, here we are one month into our stay and this morning, after weeks of mind battles about rest,¬†white knuckling, running here and there on supposed errands, worrying about this and that, I woke with an ever-present monkey on my back. I knew it was there all along, but I finally decided to let it go. I spoke, “I want rest. Real rest.” I needed worship. I needed a moment of intimacy with the one who offers rest. I downloaded “All Sons and Daughters, Tonight” and as I listened and sang along I allowed the wave of rest to wash over me, remembering and¬†releasing the need for an inner sense of accomplishment or even an imagined state of attained stillness, but rather to a different kind of meeting place, a living, breathing state of super natural exchange. I’m sure it will be a journey but as these waves wash over us through the next few month, I trust that we will slowly, rest easy.

How do you define rest? And, how do you find it?

Advertisements

A Perspective on Healing; Part 5

fighting CancerMentally, fighting cancer¬†takes a toll. Even for the most rational mind, it’s not uncommon to have morbid or fatalist thoughts flash through the orbital sphere invoking a sense of aloneness, a feeling of being out of control and vulnerable. It’s important to admit honestly to someone close, what struggles the mind undertakes, to speak them out load and then to release them. It’s also important for the listeners to understand their role is to listen, love and encourage. I’ve shared my struggle with my family, close friends and want to talk about it in this forum. Mostly, to document the process of healing but hopefully to encourage others who may be going through treatment (whether Traditional or Western) and those walking alongside.

For those who are just catching up on my cancer journey, you can read from the beginning here… Shift in Thinking, Introduction to Black Salve, Using the Black Salve, Nutritional Therapy.

THE MENTAL GAME:

Six months ago I was introduced to a whole new way of thinking about my healthcare. I began to learn more about the science of cancer, the history of Western approaches, as well as, Traditional options including; Black Salve, nutritional therapy, PH of our bodies and what creates a hostile environment for cancer to grow in our bodies. Through it all a deep desire for healing ensued.

20140623-095337.jpgAfter very successful Traditional Black Salve treatments, on three separate spots, I started to feel quite empowered. My confidence was building up¬†enough for me to tackle a 20-year-old spot on my leg. The one that, a few years ago, the dermatologist told me was very suspicious, the one he wanted to biopsy for $1500. The one he said seemed like a rare, deadly form of cancer that likes to grow near scars. The one he later said, was just scar tissue and not to worry. His wishy-washy care left me feeling uneasy about the spot on my leg, but I didn’t know exactly what to do about it. The introduction to the Salve changed everything and a¬†few months ago, I applied the Black Salve to the spot on my leg. I was ready for whatever verdict my body was going to offer. I waited the prescribed 24 hours and there was no reaction. No reaction means, no abnormal cells. I jumped for joy, my family jumped for joy. We celebrated!

Next I successfully treated a spot on my nose and my confidence level sky rocketed. I was finding more consistency with my PH levels and had a growing knowledge of my food/supplement intake. The healing results were hard to contain and anyone who would listen, would hear about the victories my body had overcome.

Skin CancerTreating the next area¬†was high on the radar as¬†I planned to address a spot that had formed near my left eye about a year ago. Originally, it started as a fungus or rash on my lower lid. I sourced a few over the counter anti-fungal creams, which did nothing. I tried a concoction of essential oils including Vitamin E oil, Rose hip, Frankincense, and coconut oil, and the rash went away but a small boil or cyst shaped mole appeared, which sat dormant until I addressed the spot on my nose. During that treatment the boil began to shrink, which alerted me that it might be rooted/linked with the cancer that I was treating on my nose. And, so on May 20, two days before our son’s 13 birthday I applied the Blk Salve with boldness to the spot on my left eye. It reacted violently, immediately.

I though I was prepared mentally, however, the reaction was so dramatic that it caught me off guard. My confidence plummeted. I began to flail emotionally, unsure of how to communicate this drastic sense of loss and the heavy feeling of mourning that swept over me. I felt defeated and all that I could manage to say, was “Why is this happening to me?! I don’t want this in my body. I don’t want cancer.” The pain was immense (mind you, I have a very low physical pain tolerance) I hid in my room for two days, unable to face my family and our two fellow travelers. Mentally, I went darker and darker. Still unable to communicate what I was¬†feeling, my tolerance for basic tasks and conversations was short and I’m sure I pushed my family away. On the third day, all I wanted to do was stay home but thank God, I had to muster up some gumption to focus on my son’s birthday. And, thankfully, we had so many dear friends in Austin, TX (where we were parked for 3 weeks) to help with all of the B-day prep and encouraged me through my sadness and pain.

The party¬†turned out well, and I started to regain my composer. However, over the next few days my mental focus shifted to chastising myself for allowing such weakness, I tried to white knuckle joy back into my everyday life. Then the first Escher (tumor) came out. I was relieved that the ordeal was over and looking forward to going back to “normal.” I was looking forward to not having a band-aid on my face and for my mind to rest and recharge. Unfortunately, the “white root” I had been warned about, reared its ugly head.

You see, at times cancer can have a root system, meaning that it’s not isolated. The roots can travel like tree roots to other parts of the body. When you use Blk Salve and an Escher comes out, you check to see if there is a pink or white spot. Pink means, free and clear, ready to heal and move on. If there is a white spot, it means there is a root and not all of the cancer is out. That means, you might wait a day or two for a few layers of skin to form but you must¬†re-apply the Blk Salve. If you remember in¬†Debby’s story, she had to do this procedure 4 times until it was free and clear. And so, I knew this was a possibility but figured that since the other spots I treated didn’t have the white root, that this one wouldn’t either.¬†The root alerted me that this one was more serious and the mental game re-surged. Ugh!

Black Salve Cancer TreatmentI re-applied. The process began, and this time I was determined to take captive my thoughts. I began to read more scripture, pray more though out my day but the fearful thoughts settled in like unwanted guests. I tried to stay busy, which sort of worked.

With a band-aid on my eye, many conversations with others ensued about my experience with skin cancer and the difficulty I was going through mentally was exasperated by their responses. ¬†My choice to treat it Traditionally, whether spoken or unspoken, was called into question. Some suggested I see a “professional,” and stop trying to take things into my own hands. From a Western mindset, this makes sense. We live in very defined, rule based system that says if you’re not with us, you’re against us. We also live in a society that wants quick fixes and is inept at dealing with others pain. And so, to swim upstream is often rebuked when things get difficult or don’t go according to plan.

In the mean time, the second Escher came out and the white root was still there. By this point, anger started to flood into my soul and fueled a re-application right away. The area reacted even more violently than the first treatment as the Escher went deeper and satellite areas started to emerge. I was at my limit mentally, feeling isolated from my family and friends, as trying to communicate to them was like walking through mud. All I could manage was a silent groaning in my cries to God.

In a last-ditch effort, I reached out to some of my new comrades on a Black Salve Cancer forum. They are from all over the world and have all been through it and more, some of them are experts in the field, some of them laymen like me but all of them champions for one another. They began to offer handfuls of encouragement, advice and wisdom on what to do next. My spirits lifted and as the third Escher fell off I had a renewed focus.

Black Salve Alpha and OmegaThis week, I began my fourth treatment on this bugger of a spot. I hope this is the last battle for this one, but even if it’s not, I know I am not alone. I know there are those who have gone before me. And, most importantly, I know that even when I feel out of control, fatalistic, angry or alone God is faithful no matter what.

This experience has birthed in me a desire to cultivate a culture of healing where ever I go. I will continue to work to take captive my mind and with the resources and knowledge God has provided, I will seek answers through the Word, prayer and by reaching out to other who have gone before me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Byron Bay And The New Earth Tribe

20140228-190313.jpgI’m a beach girl. The surf and sand call to me in my dreams. Craig has taken note of my intense need for this natural setting and booked us a few shows up on the New South Wales coast.

We made our way up from Melbourne to Wollongong, Sydney and as far north as Yamba. We had 2 days free between shows and had our eyes set on Byron Bay. Only another few hours north through banana and sugar cane fields and we could be basking in the sun on one of my dream beaches. It was a birthday wish of mine, but an expensive wish, at over $200 a night in Byron Bay. So, we needed to find a host, and actually really we wanted to find a host. There is nothing more life-giving than sharing a meal and story with kinfolk. And, even better than that is, sharing in that community, ON THE BEACH!

A friend in the US, went to a school called Deep End School of the Supernatural in Byron Bay and sent out an SOS to friends there. At the same time another friend in Australia, totally unrelated to our friend in the US, sent out an e-mail to a friend named Phil Mason. Phil and his wife, Maria are the spiritual directors at a grassroots Spiritual Community in the heart of Bryon Bay called New Earth Tribe. And get this, the Tribe runs a ministry school, the same school our friend in the US attended, so we knew it was meant to be!

20140228-173627.jpgPhil put us on to Hans, one of the Tribe leaders, who was happy to host us. Hans¬†welcomed us to his rustic jungle surf shack. ¬†There was talk of spiders, lizards and the Boa that lives on the roof of the front house, just above Hans’ room. We also talked about the possibility of sharing a meal and an impromptu house concert, which we were happy to do. However, it was the first week of school and both Hans, Phil and Maria were flat-out getting life in order for the new students. And so, we all decided to play it by ear and see what unfolded over the next 48 hours.

Byron Bay BeachAfter we settled in, we found our way down to the beach¬†and experienced one of the most mystical, beautiful, and joyful places we’ve ever seen. We dined that evening at Orgasmic Food Byron Bay, a Middle Eastern Restaurant boasting the best Falafel around. We couldn’t agree more, even our 12 yr old with his picky taste buds, loved it! After a long stroll on the beach we finished off the night with a gelato from Bella Rosa.

Despite the fear of spiders, we had a decent sleep in the surf shack. We woke the next morning before the sun and hurried down to the beach to watch the sunrise. The air, colors and gentle movement of the waves were mesmerizing and enchanting. We stood in awe and savored the precious moment with praise and thanksgiving.

Byron Bay SurfAfter a light breakfast and nap we were ready for the surf! We had our first lesson in Carmel, CA in October and our son was stoked to give it another go. ¬†The waves were fluffy, that’s really the only word I can think of to describe them. They were like riding on fluffy clouds. The sand was softer than talcum powder and a light brown color.

Besides the 9000 locals, Byron Bay attracts millions of backpackers from around the world.  The beach was packed with crowds, but everyone was kind and had a sincerity about them. They all seemed to be as genuinely amazed as we were by the surroundings. We enjoyed a light lunch and a spent another hour or so in the crystal blue water before heading back to camp to get ready for dinner and the gathering that Hans organized.

Phil and Maria MasonAt dinner we dined with Hans, Phil and Maria. Although, our first time meeting Phil and Maria, it was as if we were old dear friends. We sat across the table soaking up every word they said, taking it all in, and longing to stay. We were encouraged to hear about their work in a community that is a mecca for a diverse range of creative and alternative cultures. Also known as the rainbow region, the area in and around Byron is considered to be the spiritual home of Australia’s hippy movement. With that climate in mind, New Earth Tribe was birthed. They are disciples of Christ who are seeking to recapture the essence, power and relationship with the Spirit that He walked in. ¬†I love it when a ministry is in context to the culture around it, meeting people where they are at and offering and opportunity for folks to truly know God more.

After dinner we drove about 25 minutes into the hills to the Cloverdale house. There were fairy lights and candles lit, wine and nibbles set on white linens and blankets strung about the lawn. The vibe was festive and four beautiful women welcomed us to their historical Queensland home. More kinfolk from the Tribe joined the gathering and we enjoyed a night of festivity, celebrating a faithful God who delights in putting the body together.

One day at a time. That’s become a motto, not so much because we are so laid back and easy-going, but because we have been so stripped back touring here in Australia that we really have had times where we go to bed at night unsure what the next day will hold.

Sometimes the weight of logistics can really take its toll on our little family. But, then there are times where we let go and just allow things to unfold. These have been the times where we have experienced provision, seen the most amazing miracles, connected with hidden community and found deep solace in a God who goes before us.

20140228-174927.jpgBy the way, we were smitten with this lovely little bus. We spotted it in a town called Bangalow along side of the road. And, it was for sale! $21,000 or best offer.

After two months without our bus/home we are missing the conveniences of having a home on wheels. There was a tickle of a thought that maybe we could purchase this darling orange mobile but it was too quick to catch and it fluttered away. How cool would that be though?!