Who I am!
I am a life explorer. The biggest adventure of all came from exploring the power or attitude of faith to overcome fears on the mental, emotional and spiritual plain. What an adventure it has been!
Now, I am 65 years young. I live on the Gold Coast by the beach and love it. I climb aboard my 2-wheel push scooter each day and I go as fast as I can on a 5 km round trip as a part of my keep fit, having fun program. I spend a lot of time walking on the beach, body surfing, sitting on the dunes with a coffee and meditating, reflecting and receiving insights. This is nature at its best, my peace of heaven and gives me a delicious sense of freedom.
Cravings and Aversions
When I think about holidaying I crave for the polarities, the cooler climates, Antarctica (as you can see above), Alaska, Greenland, the North Pole etc. This both excites me and fascinates me.
We all live life between the polarities of Black and white, better or worse, giving and receiving, yes and no, right and wrong, good and bad, fear and freedom, through our cravings and aversions. I didn't know until I hit my 40's that my unease came about from a deep-seated craving to be myself. Unbeknownst to me, the fear of what I would find created an aversion, and with that an inner tug-of -war followed me where ever I went.
The inner tug-of-war
For most of my life I was going out there, trying hard, and striving, doing more and more to achieve more, to be better, forever changing to please others so I could feel good about myself, and to feel good enough in the eyes of family, friends and society so I could fit in. My idea of success was based on what one could be seen to be doing. I was constantly trying to prove and improve myself. No wonder I was driving myself crazy. With one hand, I wanted to be different and shine and with the other I wanted to be the same and fit in. The game of fear and freedom was being played out in my mind and life. In the end, this inner conflict turned into a self-imposed full-blown war and I ended up getting very sick and tired. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome woke me up to shedding those layers of fear and was he launching pad to becoming myself.
Finding myself meant remembering my true nature
I had no idea when that thought 'I'm going to find myself' came through, that giving up trying so hard to become someone, and becoming comfortable in my own skin, being whom I am would be my healing. I can see clearly now the only thing that stood between me and my real nature was my conditioning. I separated myself from the essence of who I am with those false, fearful, not good enough beliefs I held about myself, God and love. I didn't consciously know then that the decision to 'do whatever it took' to heal my life would lead to a spiritual unfolding and a remembering of who I am? When I separated God from my religious beliefs, I could better accept the love of God as the one wholesome essence of whom I am.
Faith is an attitude
This real Life presence became the foundations and the guidance allowing me to express a simple unique life that has become more than enough. It took a lot of unfolding but now I accept Faith as an integral and natural attitudinal part of my holistic healing, the prevention and intervention of mental illness, and the key ingredient that is often missing in our efforts to regain holistic (mind, body spirit) well-being.
Now, after twenty-five years my purpose still makes my heart sing. I continue to explore and to share my soul’s journey through inspirational talks, my writing, articles and blogs, through this community site and the pages of my books 'I AM … from fear to FREEDOM', and more recently 'I AM A Spiritual Approach to Mental Health.
I spent a lot of my life with those uncomfortable niggling nervous feelings inside because of the fearful beliefs I held about God, the meaning of faith and what that would mean for me if I got involved. What would my family and friends think?
My reason for coming right out of the spiritual closet now, is to share my experiences without restrictions so that others like me don't have to spend a life time fighting their inner demons (I now understand as fear) in an effort to be in control and to become someone more.
I discovered the more I surrender to spirituality being the loving and faithful connection of my mind-body system the better equipped I am to ease myself of the mental tug-of-war and associated illnesses.
As I continue to remember faith as my core essence and the foundations of Life, I can better relax and simply be who I am, without worrying whether it is enough or not. I can be happy now, not when I. It is from this stress-free state of mind that I am inspired to take faithful action, now doing things which before I didn't think possible.
Having sold our business and our home, my husband and I were packing to take a trip around Australia. The quiet, gentle statement 'I'm going to find myself passed through my mind. The words came, and were quickly forgotten. We spent 16 months on the road, with a 12 foot caravan and a fitted-out Toyota Troop Carrier. We left the caravan at various places around the country and ventured outback in the 4 wheel drive, covering the furthest points, north, south, east and west. I have such fond memories of that trip, the adventure, the spectacles and the challenges, but as we came to the end of our travels and made the Gold Coast our new home, something began to stir inside.
The idea of gong back into conventional business or getting a job without any meaning other than for the purpose of making money, left me feeling flat. During the transition, I decided to take up badminton again with the goal of becoming number one player in Queensland. I trained hard and my winning streak set me in good stead for achieving my goal. I found an outlet for my energy and a goal to fill the hole. However, something wasn't right, my recovery was slow and I constantly felt tired, yet unable to sleep. My nervous system was running on over-time. I stepped up my training but to no avail; my season came to an abrupt end. I left the sport feeling broken, confused, lost and overly disappointed, again. Much later, and looking back I realised I saw that as my last chance to be someone.
In 1992, after many visits to doctors and specialists, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Doctors told me there was no known cure, to go home, avoid any mental, emotional or physical stress and I might be all right in four to five years. I chose differently.
My Spiritual Unfolding
I was nearly 40 years of age. I didn't have any beliefs about God, Religion or Spirituality, or so I thought. Back then I knew nothing about our unconscious mind, the stories, stored beliefs and the accumulation of emotions that were driving my life. Yet, I made a very clear decision, commitment and a written statement to do 'whatever it takes' to heal my life (not the illness) and to help others to help themselves to do the same. At some level I must have known that CFS was not the real problem and therefore exploring and treating the illness was not the answer. It wasn't the presence of the symptoms we had to look at but the absence of something we had to look for. I was oblivious to the Spiritual journey about to unfold and how healing would drastically change my life and impact the lives of others.
Through intense therapy I woke up and discovered some very unhealthy, fearful and debilitating stories and beliefs I held about my self, God, and love and how they were running my life. I realised how those stories and unresolved emotions of grief, sorrow, hatred, anger, resentment, regret, guilt, shame, blame, disappointment, unforgiveness, and all that ''not good enough' stuff - which, by the way has become a global epidemic, and plays a big role in many cases of anxiety and depression - were fully alive, actively playing on my mind, and in my life. No wonder I felt weighed down and tormented. I soon came to realise that we could very easily change CFS to chronic fear syndrome because the chronic fear was present and driving my life long before the Chronic Fatigue showed up.
My mission in life became one of raising Faith and lowering fear
As it turned out CFS became a blessing in disguise. I could see this was my wake up call and a response to that statement I'm going to find myself. As I began to heal, I found natural gifts, skills and talents I never knew I had. I was launched into a new way of life with a meaningful purpose as an alternative therapist, practitioner, teacher and writer. I was healing my life and helping others to do the same. My tool box holds many suitable tools to use intuitively for a variety of clients. However I have come to accept that Faith turns these simple tools into power tools.
I loved my writing. It was as if the pen had a mind of its own and simply flowed across the pages. I called it Soul Talk. It was as if my soul was talking to me, inspiring me, answering questions and at times gently chastising me. In the late 1990's, as I sat down to write a program, something strange happened. My fingers got carried away on the keys of my desk top computer and three months later a down to earth spiritual program called Remembering I AM was birthed through me.
I AM became a way of life for me. It was a gift for me to heal and expand. It was the answer to my call Who am I'? I AM was also a gift for me to share. I AM became my way to help others to help themselves.
Testimonials from my readers...
"I love the way Marie invites me into what feels like a two way conversation. Her sharing through the book I AM A Spiritual Approach to Mental Health brings home some deep insights, and throws a new light onto the meaning of spirituality and faith, Love it - thanks Marie" - Wendy
"I am a mental health case worker and after reading Marie's book, I found myself spontaneously sharing some of the valuable insights with my clients. I quickly passed it onto my teenage son as a way for him to gain his own learnings.
I appreciate the courage it took for Marie to let me into her personal life to show me there really is a fine line between fear and freedom. This makes anxiety less scary and freedom a real possibility. Thank you Marie"
I AM A Spiritual Approach to Mental Health reinforces how the power of faith belongs naturally in our day to day life and the important role it plays in the lives of carers, parents & teachers to keep our kids safe and well." - Lynn