How Acute Leukemia saved my Life

The lessons I have learnt from my condition has pretty much surfaced itself in a way where I can hardly begin to count it.

Fast forward 2 years plus later upon diagnosis, here I am, sat here typing on my laptop, with an entirely new and different perspective on Life, and most probably, a completely different person too, pre-diagnosis.

My health ordeal sparked off an internal journey to within. Deeper. And Deeper, smashing away to bits everything I have ever thought I knew. I realized I know nothing. And one of the life lessons are, I probably still know nothing. Every single thing which I thought mattered, no longer mattered that much. Everything I used to live for, completely dissolves itself away in front of my eyes.

The girl I thought I was, no longer exist.

It was time to be born anew.

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Within every adversity, lies an Opportunity.

My condition did in fact give me a new opportunity, another chance at Life. I don’t know how I would be as a person now had I not been diagnosed with leukemia, forced to take necessary actions to prolong my life then, one by one, day by day, until I can be sure that I am perfect health again.

Right now, I relish at how I view life, and how I am able to keep in check things which used to bother me in daily life.

Mind you though, It hasn’t been an easy journey. Took me 2 years to get to this place. Difficult, is underestimating it. One of the biggest challenges I have had to encounter was battling with my own mind. Yet battle I did, and succeeded.

It was more than a necessity.

It was my lifeline.

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Acknowledgement and Acceptance

However, one would be mistaken if battle and force was what made the ultimate solution reveal itself. The secret to the solutions which came over the prevailing 2 years of my life for the challenges which Life threw at me, arose out from a place of peace, fearlessness, and non resistance. The battle of the mind is necessary to keep you afloat, but there can come a time when all gets too much, and you are forced to look right at your fears, and acknowledge them exactly as they are.

In fact, one of the lessons I have learnt is to make peace with any situation that arises in any moment. Even if it is non-peace, anger, impatience, intolerance.

It was never about fighting fire with fire, but acknowledging, allowing, accepting, and merging with the shadow side and negative aspects of me, my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I learnt that transformation cannot be made happened. It can only be allowed to happen, when I stop fighting and resisting internally.

Yet these lessons only came little later. Thankfully, not too late.

Initially, I was afraid to die. I saw dying as failure. All that I could think at one point was, all my spiritual knowledge and all the ‘do-good-ing’ will render itself meaningless if I die. But little did I know then, that the acceptance of what I fear, was one of the necessary aspects to the solution I required then.

The acceptance of death.

A Knowing

I wouldn’t want to put into people’s mind that it was just a real strong belief that I can be well and healed of leukemia which was what did it nor would I recommend people doing what I did. The truth is, I don’t know for sure what did it. But what helped me recover from leukemia, was because I stumbled upon a traditional advanced Ayurvedic treatment. 6 months of chemotherapy sessions later, I decided that I have had enough of the invasive treatment.

I have had the guts, or perhaps, stupidity, to doggedly determinedly declare that I will heal without the said conventional treatment. I was determined to do it because deep down inside, I just had a knowing. That I could do this against all the odds of what was statistically known by modern science. 

And did it, I did. And recovered, I did.

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Lesson

If there is a one main thing which stands out in my whole entire journey, it is constantly learning over and over again to listen to the nudge from within, that internal “calling”. It is something which I can’t really pin point as to exactly what it is, but it is almost like as though my entire body knows, with every fibre of its being. Oftentimes, it shows up as an initial thought which faded away but remain behind the background of the “noise” of thoughts in my head. Other times, it remains as a feeling of discomfort which hovers inside my body, a feeling I can’t put a finger on. Almost like as though it’s a feeling of grey dust which flutters and rests in the insides of my chest and stomach.

The main message of that “feeling”, is a feeling of “No.”, “Don’t.”, or “Move.”, depending on what the situation is calling for.

I learnt that my body knows, before my mind could make sense of it. And I learnt more and more, although I was mocked for this once in a job interview, that I have an innate sense of people, things and situations, before I can absolutely consolidate it in my mind as a fact that is real.

The truth is, I still don’t get it all right, or get my life in a way which completely satisfies. However, if you know what I know, external situations can never satisfy you. Satisfaction and contentment is a trait one has to develop internally for true fulfilment in life. It is an interesting way of living. Yet when one gets in touch with this, you might then begin to realize that most external pursuits are done in a way which is back to front. You might then realize that you can begin to pursue something externally, not because you want it to fulfil you or a need inside of you, but just because…. No other reason, then just because it is fun, because it is something you find interesting, because you’d like to see how it can contribute to your natural expansion and evolvement as a human being.

Constant Evolution. Constant Expansion.

It is in the nature of Life and Nature itself, in that change is programmed in its DNA. Constant evolution. Constant expansion.

To live against this programming, would set one up for trouble. Because then you will fight against change when change and evolving itself, is wired into your own DNA. We are not meant to remain stagnant. In fact, we are meant to evolve. To become even better than we were in the previous moment before. To see if you could handle things better and in a different way. To see if your previous thoughts and behaviour is benefitting you or not. To question old ways of behaving and thinking. And to understand the implications of this, I believe will benefit not only you, but humanity at large.

And this is where Life has gotten me to at this point.

 

~

Ever Evolving. Ever Expanding. 

Where my condition has brought me to today, through all its twists and turns, through all the eventual daily life challenges which a condition like mine would spark off like financial dramas, every single one of that has brought about the realization that nothing is really ever as bad as it seems. A situation can never be so bad, that it is the end of the world, that it has to ruin your life so badly that it bothers you day in, day out.

When I was diagnosed, I often wondered why I made my life a living hell with all those iggledy pickledy things which worries me day and night before, why I have had the tendency to be concerned about things which are so insignificant, that when I was unwell and dealing with larger problems, every one of those things seemed so small.

Yet, up till now, Life continuously remind me of this way of living. My diagnosis has lead me onto a pathway, where I am constantly reassessing and readdressing the way I look at life.

I begin to live in a way where I constantly remember what really matters. And the truth is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t choose to live my life any other way than how I am now, or change a thing about what happened because if it never happened, I would probably be just exactly how I was as a person, living a solidly miserable existence, never knowing how Life could really be – even if its just a glimpse of it; Fearlessness. Boldness. Courage. Strength. Fulfilment. Ever Evolving… and Ever Expanding.

 

Note: For those who might not fully understand what I am referring to when I talk about presence and acceptance, I learnt about them from Eckhart Tolle. 

 

P.S: I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you know of  anyone going through something similar? Have you had direct experience with a condition/illness? Do you have to care for someone who is going through a severe illness? What are your thoughts on that? Has your thoughts on how Life should be lived changed? Let me know in the comments below, and if you like what you read, subscribe for more of such articles 🙂 

 



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My Planet, My Concerns

 

A simple thought provoking question first.

 

Could we last for another 100 years?

 

The talk on Global Warming was a topic I honestly never thought I’d come to a point of even beginning to share and talk about. This was never something that interested me, and I always thought like few of my friends, that the Earth has its way of rebalancing itself, and all will be well, irregardless. Until one day, as Life had it, it shoved some people and information my way showing me the probability of less-than-positive-light on the eventual outcome of the Earth. (For example, watching “Before The Flood”: by Leonardo Dicaprio)

So, here are couple points.

Our generation, people my age, are the ones who will directly feel the effects of what has been done and what is being done. It will unfold in our time, in the next 20, 30, 40 years to affect us, my children, and my grandchildren, directly. 

 

My Vain Optimism

Now I am an optimistic person.

When I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, I was utterly convinced to the point of being accused irresponsible and irrational that I will recover despite all statistical evidences that suggests that I probably won’t last another 5 years. I am still going at 2 and a half, and I am in much better health than before. Whether I will last another 3 years is not as important a question as knowing, whether I am fully recovered from this disease or not because I am, thanks to a traditional advanced ayurvedic treatment.

So here, you can see, I am as optimistic as it can get. And I benefitted from that positivity. But I don’t really fancy what I am seeing when I get myself educated with global warming and climate change. While I am an avid believer of the fact that what you don’t know can’t harm you anyway, but had I not gotten myself checked in the hospital and taken practical steps, all the while remaining overwhelmingly optimistic, probably I would more than likely be dead by now.

Hence, there is the fine line where you thread and balance by educating yourself with known facts , and dealing with the information so you can get the best final outcome.

 

Dealing With The Information

For us positive thinkers, it is all good being positive and doing light work and visualizations, and avoiding negative news. But the real truth is, if we are all wanting to truly be of help and service, we need to be able to sort through the data and facts presented to us by science, and having the emotional maturity and wisdom to deal with it.

I don’t agree with fear promotion, and showing up with too much negative statements like saying “Oh, you might get cancer tomorrow.” I don’t agree with doing scare tactics.  I don’t believe in having such a negative viewpoint and perspective of anything at all because that is not how it works.

I know that had I not have the belief that I will recover from acute leukemia and with a non invasive treatment , I would have continued on with chemotherapy, and that, quite frankly, would not have benefitted me. Believe me when I say that at that point, options for other therapies and treatments were close to none. Alternative treatments which would cure other stage 4 cancers did not give even an inkling of a hint that they could help mine. Yet I managed to find a treatment that would assist me to where I am today.

So here I say, “Anything is possible.” and it will serve us well for us to continue in this light.

 

But here is where I feel we need to work on. 

Getting acquainted with information on climate change.

When we get educated, I can tell you, it will push you right out of your comfort zone. You might get angry with what you find. You might get fearful. But that’s ok.

It’s important to acquaint yourself with facts and reality and it’s ok to feel emotional i.e angry or fearful with what we find. But that is where awareness starts, and it is only with awareness when we can do something about changing the mindset and therefore the situation.  

I don’t see myself as an intelligent person where I can scientifically make a difference. I am quite simple really. But, I can’t help but feel that if I could just practise presence, be something of a frequency holder, whilst at the same time, if I can write about this, then I’ll write about it to just bring alittle bit more awareness and tap into something that’s in all of us. 

There are little things that we can all do, for instance, awareness of the things we consume. Could the awareness in the choices we make , make a much bigger difference? 

 

What You Do, Makes a Difference

Our awareness, bringing awareness, could make a huge difference. This is our urgent task. Also remember, governments follow public opinions. And maybe that’s where the real change will happen.

Even though science might paint a very bleak picture, it doesn’t stop us from being able to feel optimistic about the possibilities of what solutions could come. But a real awareness of the problem is more likely to bring about a solution, than by burying our heads in the sand, because there is very little doubt based on the facts that are coming through, that we are headed towards a catastrophe.

 

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Live Like You Are Walking A Tightrope Across Niagara Falls

 

The other day, I wrote a post on “Getting Over Depression”, but for some reason, did not share it out there. I am all for sharing my experiences, and letting people out there who might be going through the same thing know that they are not alone. However right now, truth is, I am feeling alot less than an inspirational and a self help preacher. Still, stay with me, because you might still gain something out of this post on Living Life. And look, this is just how it is. Life journey at it’s best. Even during the down times, there is beauty in it. So if you are really going through a similar situation, just know that you are not alone. I can bet at least someone within your circle, someone whom you know might very well be going through the same thing.

Keep going.

I found that in the midst of life throwing lemons at you, one of the best thing to do is to keep going, and my way of keeping going is to get involved in something that I really enjoy doing.

I’ll be frank, my situation is abit of a precarious one. I have a love for many things, yet at the same time, at the moment, my current truth is I do not wish to be tied down to anything, or rather, I am not sure if I’d want to be.  After almost 2 years 5 months in, recovering from acute leukemia, I feel like I am like a baby chick just born into this world. Many choices, many decisions to make. It is a quest for myself to find out who I really am, what I want to do, what I really want to pursue, who I want to Be, and what I’d like to redefine myself to be.

Let’s face it.

I am no longer the same person I knew or thought myself to be.

It feels like a complete reborn, with past shackles slowly coming off me, and me redefining who I want to be. Life is a constant evolution, growth and expansion, and I am personally witnessing that for myself. While it can be extremely uncertain and the not knowing where I am going absolutely drive me nuts at times, I have to say that being an observer to my own life can be quite satisfying as well.

So here’s what I have been up to:

Engaging myself with what I love as much as possible 

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Breakfast/brunch lately has been a special affair given the scenes I would have set up before hand for a photoshoot. When you finally sit down after about 50 takes of shots, it’s one of those moments where despite all that is going on, you just feel really grateful to be alive. Plus, the weather has been quite kind recently over here.

I do so love the mornings, when the occasional whisper of the morning breeze gently touches my face from time to time, always seemingly trying to remind me to stay present in the current moment where all the magic is.

 

That’s also where I learnt that Spirit, or a Higher Power speaks to you through Nature.

If you are open to hear it.

 

 

 

So here’s a simple, short little something of what I have since been applying into my life:

Live every moment like as though I am walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls. 

And no I am not saying to live in fear. What I really mean, is to be fully engaged with your senses, to be fully in the moment. When you are in such a risky situation, where a single wrong step can be fatal, that’s really the point when you will be fully, thoroughly, absorbed in the moment. 

 

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That’s the moment when you truly engage with Life.

 

 

 

Yet, you do not need such an intense situation to begin engaging with Life and its wonders.

In my experience, when I am fully absorbed in every action, fully present with all my 5 senses, that’s when I can truly see and feel the essence behind everything. Life becomes even more special. The trees look greener, the brown woody colour of my table looks even more enhanced. When I look out the window,  I sense the magnificence of the towering buildings which I have been looking at for the past 5 years, which was once just ‘another’ ordinary building to me. Everything around me looks even more 3D. That’s also what happens when you see something or someone who takes your breath away. Even just for that one instant.

I found that when you look at something without any conscious or unconscious inner commentary or judgement, when you become aware or conscious enough of the running train of your thoughts, it is when you begin to truly look at something, like as though you have seen it for the first time. Like as though you are looking at something with a new, fresh pair of eyes. Try this on a person and see what happens. It can be interesting. 

Of course, that is just my experience.

I always say to people, you cannot truly know something until you have tried it out for yourself.  Until it becomes your experience. Until it becomes your truth.

So begin by getting out of your mind, and don’t run away with your usual thoughts and the feelings which comes with it. They will be there  and you probably can’t stop them. But what you can do, is to just allow them to be. Look at your thoughts from the perspective of an observer in the background, but don’t judge them. It is what it is.

With enough practice, you might realize that you are thinking a thought, but that you can also disengage from it. When you do that, you will find that you can allow your thoughts, feelings to arise and be as they are, without letting them run your life, and taking you over. Also, often times, our thoughts, conscious and unconscious judgments mask up the true experience which you are meant to be experiencing in any given moment.

And in every present moment, there is much magic and power awaiting for you to realize it, and to know that to be so

 

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Secrets, Lies, Truths – Being Honest with You

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Secrets.

In my life, and from what I witnessed and am still witnessing amongst the culture that I live in, I noticed that people have secrets.

Well, let’s face it.

No matter what society, or culture you come from, everyone, have secrets. Of course we do. And it’s not like we are going to spew our deepest secrets to the person we just got to know, or a stranger sitting next to you on the tube.

But what I am going to talk about is truth, to yourself, and then to the people closest to you. This also involves people you are involved in matters which matter in your life, activities which make up a whole lot of your life, i.e work, and in general, relationships you have going on with literally, everyone and everything.

Having said that, are you aware that relationships govern everything that is going on in your personal life?

Yes. Starting from your relationship with you.

So let’s start with that.  

Telling the truth to you.

And I personally learnt that, that can be the one most difficult to thing to do. But when applied into my life, I also realized that it can be the one most liberating thing to do for myself.

Sometimes, we are afraid to be honest with ourselves. Because we are afraid to lose everything we have ever known and the very thing we are trying to cling on to. Yet, the beauty with truth is that there is light which is shine on that which was once dark, unknown, or should it be said, perhaps something that was once.. refused to be acknowledged – for some of us.

I once read an article called Keeping Secrets – a Life Limiting Habit , an article which made me realize the dark side of keeping secrets. Of course, all of us always do something and behave in a way which is rational to ourselves. We always conduct ourselves in a way we deem appropriate, even if to another, it is not. So with regards to secrets, more often than not, I realized that keeping secrets is a form of trying to protect ourselves, rather than trying to protect the very person we are hiding it from.

Well, the thing is, no one wants to be lied to. In actual fact, no one really, wants to be withheld from a truth. But because most of us do that, i.e keep secrets, some of us tend to be more understanding of why another keeps secrets.

Now the thing is this. If we want to be told the truth and have no secrets with our loved ones, and this applies not only to love relationships, but all relationships in general, how can we make it easier for this phenomena to happen more frequently in our lives?

What is the real truth here?

The real truth is, sometimes, or in fact, most times, most of us do not react well to the truth.

While we might think we can handle it, but can we, really?

On this note, we might want to think about making it easier the next time, for the next person in our lives who open up and be honest about what they feel with regards to any issue. No matter how difficult it might be. #FoodForThought

Then again, it’s not our fault – for those of us who want to be told the truth, and for those of us who withhold the truth.

Our current education system does not teach us how to handle such sensitive situations.

Society does not teach us how to tell the truth, and to do it the right way. And society surely does not teach us how to be more accepting of other people’s views and opinions as well as being open to an outcome of a situation.

Even as I am typing this, I chuckle at how I could have handled such situations better. The first port of call is, do not under any circumstance talk about such sensitive issues through texts. #ExtremelyImportant #FirstLearningPoint

That might be overreacting a little, but you get the drift. 🙂

Telling the truth, or discussing a sensitive issue, as difficult as it might be for some of us, might require us to do it in person because sometimes, when we are within the capacity of the other, we convey much more than our words. Our body language says a lot about what we really feel.  So if you are really going to want someone who matters to you to get what you are trying to say, you better really mean what you say, and be honest and as open as you could possibly be.

Now, sometimes, in the communication of our truths, we get confused.. And that, is the real truth. Sometimes, we just don’t know what we want, and we are actually scared and lost.  

Now here is the next part.

Are you able to be okay with you?

Communicating truths to another is one thing, and is a tactful skill to be applied even in the most skilled conversationalist.

But the thing is, what actually makes telling a truth, and discussing sensitive issues so difficult?

Well, it could be due to the fact that we find it difficult to live with ourselves – with the real truth that lies within us.

We are not okay – with us.

When it comes to speaking of something that matters to me, and conveying what I really think about something, I found that what really bothered me is what others might think about what I think. It is ultimately the need to fit in, the need to please, and the need to want others to accept me in that what causes the friction and conflict within me when conveying my truth.

The learning point is this:

When I accepted myself, when I accepted what I think and feel, and that it’s okay for others to have their own opinions and viewpoints, and that not everyone is going to think the way that I do, I became okay and sure footed in conveying and sharing my truth.

There is no longer the need to “sugar coat” my words as there is no more need to want to make others accept what I think and wanting them to ‘like’ and accept me.

I became okay, and liberated in that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and with this thinking in mind, I have set myself free.

I became okay with the knowing that people might not like me, and might not even be comfortable with me being in their circle.

I realized that there is no need to put up with bull**** and things I do not agree with. That it is within my rights to communicate freely, but also realizing just as much that it is equally as right for others to express themselves and communicate their thoughts.

Having said so, there is a fine line between truly communicating our truths in an open and genuine way, and expressing what we think and feel in a manipulative, hurtful and blaming way. To even get into the subject of how-tos and to navigate around the ways of trying to express our truths might need more than a thousand five hundred and thirty one words as on this page so we wouldn’t get into that here. But the rule of thumb is, you will know by way of how you feel whether you are getting onto the manipulative, blaming line or you just really, genuinely, want to express how you feel, and what you think because you want to resolve an issue, or because you want to get what you feel out in the open.

Remember that when you are in such a situation, how would you think you would feel if someone else claims to tell you something of what they feel, yet seemingly blame you for it? Telling the truth is one thing. Doing it tactfully and with grace, is another.

Of course, this topic is very subjective, and requires a lot of maturity and wisdom to handle it. In fact, I think I could even come up with a lesson called “Navigating The Tricks and Trades of Telling A Sensitive Truth Course 101” – and study it in detail myself. 😛

Coming back to our topic at hand, at the end of the day, it’s not even so much about what others think of you. Everyone is wired very differently. Neither do you have the capacity to control how and what every single person in your life think of you. To try to attempt that will be not only unfruitful or unsuccessful but it will be one of an unnecessary, exhausting, never-ending spiral.

At the end of the day, you need to live with you. So to even begin learning to be honest with others, you might want to start by being that, to yourself.

When you are honest and more in acceptance of you, you might even begin to find that you will be more tolerant and respectful of others opinions and viewpoints and allow them… the space, to speak their truths…

 

 

Jassica Nia xx

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