My very dear friend Mary Ellen died of cancer. There was no one like her that I knew and she is greatly missed. Part gypsy, part white witch, full on Sufi spiritual counsel, she lived as her own artistic canvas.
When she was young, she dressed in Chanel Couture, but as she matured into her own design she evolved into exotic bohemia in technicolor. She did not attempt to grow old gracefully, but with a carefully selected eye for flamboyance that she alone could pull off with grace. Her flaming red hair tossed about on her head while she dressed her tiny body in black leather motorcycle jackets, pink ballet tutu’s and perfect tight fitting jeans bought in Paris.
When I courted her friendship, she was at an advanced age when you seldom bother deeply with new personalities. I brought her Raw chocolate treats and other yummies, and in time she softened toward me and gave in. I was thrilled when we bonded as regular BFF’s. We talked for hours about the long road that made up our lives. She loved big cities, world travel, French cheeses and fine wines. We would walk and talk together. Our conversations where free flowing, the way women talk when they’re comfortable with each other over lifetimes.
After owning a Natural Foods restaurant on the East Coast she had spent ten years as the head of the Ayurvedic pharmacy here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In her home she made potions and concoctions for herself from ancient herbs and roots from India. They sat everywhere around her apartment in cobalt blue bottles.
Our love of alternative health was one of our deep bonds.
But when she discovered she had cancer, she panicked, lost all confidence and trust in herself. She chose to do everything John Hopkins Hospital had to offer to save her. She delegated all her life decisions to the ‘experts’.
She knew I’d healed my own cancer using natural methods. She had great respect for my journey. She gave no one ‘the time of day’ that did not match her standards of authenticity. But her own health crisis seemed too giant for her to even feel remotely empowered.
Colds and flu were for herbs and natural methods. Cancer was for the ‘big guns’—conventional medical techniques. Men in white coats offering surgery, chemo and radiation.
“No human relationship gives possession of another; every two souls are absolutely different” Kahlil Gibran
Her personality was as strong and independent as my own, and so I had to step back. Also called ‘minding my own business’, and ‘finding other ways to support her journey’. Help only when asked.
WHEN IS IT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE TO TALK ABOUT LIFE STYLE CHANGE?
This can be tricky. Food is everywhere. American’s are riddled with health problems from our food system. Health Coaches are natural helpers. But it is up to us to create healthy boundaries for ourselves and those we love.
The state of our health is completely tied up with the culture in which we live and our lives as individuals. The idea of using our own power to affect our health and create balance, as well as emotional and spiritual freedom on all levels, is a relatively new concept. These are pioneering times.
I believe this is where we find ourselves now as educators dedicated to reshaping our world.
For many of us, including myself, this has meant acknowledging how entrenched our own habitual fears and health-damaging patterns are in order to be able to open our hearts to others and truly be present. And, like so many, I have spent years with energies tied up in woundings from the past. Our frustration with the self destructive habits of others lessens as we come to appreciate that we all share these same patterns at different times in our life.
“Should we all confess
Our sins to one another
We would all laugh
At one another
For our lack of
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