2. Shame


The very first thing I did when I was told that I had a dis-ease was not tell people about it.

I’ve always been a bit of a hermit – and I’m married to another hermit. Even in my early 20s when I was at journalism college, a friend said ‘If I ever see a job advertised for “hermit – optional social life” I’ll let you know.’

I guess there were three main reasons apart from that. Firstly I had to get used to the idea myself and I had to find out who I was now as opposed to who I had been and I didn’t think other people’s opinions on the matter would necessarily help. Selfish? Hell, yes. And about time I started being a little bit more selfish. WBX would call it self-full.

My husband knew of course, my two best friends, my homeopath and my healer but that was enough for the time being.

The second reason was because I had to learn how to deal with being in the medical system. I’ve not had a stroke of illness in my life that needed hospital treatment apart from a couple of broken bones. I hadn’t even been to a doctor in 18 years.  I found it incredibly difficult because it was all about Nigel and the only bit that was about me was that I was carrying Nigel around for all the appropriate tests. 

Suddenly others believed that they had complete autonomy over my body. That did not sit well.

The third was because I had to process shame.

Why shame? Because I’d been an holistic teacher for years; I had (I hoped) helped many with sessions, workshops and books. I ‘shouldn’t’ have got something like this. I should have walked my talk and been healthy until I was 100 when I’d have died in my sleep.

That feeling was fuelled by some of the holistic community’s reactions to Gill Edwards’ and Gerry Hicks’ deaths a year or so back. People seemed to think that someone in spiritual work had to be perfect. I guess I thought that too in a way (though Gerry was 89 – and something really does have to take you out eventually).

But I thought it meant I was a failure; I felt like a failure. And to start with, I couldn’t understand because I thought I had done all I could. In fact, just like Brandon Bays, when I found the emotional root cause of Nigel I said ‘but I’ve dealt with that.’

Obviously, I hadn’t.

What was wonderful – and life-enhancing – was that those I did tell as the weeks went by did not judge me the way I had been judging myself. They were shocked sometimes, but never other than loving. 

One wonderful lady, who’d been a client as well as a friend for years said ‘Maggy, you’ll lead us all through this. You’re still an inspiration.’ That made me cry.

Maybe it's true. I do know that the phrase 'I have been there' is often of great comfort. It means someone understands your journey. I have understood the journey of those who were in financial difficulties because of psychological and spiritual blockages. Now I can understand the journey of those who sick or in fear for their life. Ho hum. As the Buddha says, “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.”

It made me think about where I was familiar with shame ... I wrote a list of times when I had felt humiliated during my life. It turned out to be a very, very long list. That was a bit of an eye-opener.

So, lesson one – of so, so many, lessons – was "you were carrying shame and you didn’t even know it. Shame alone is a dis-ease. We could do with dealing with that."

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