It took a health crisis to make me realize I needed more of the introspective, receiving Feminine Energy in my life, although I didn't recognize it by that term at the time. I was so busy exercising my Masculine Energy and 'doing' all the time that I never allowed myself any time to just 'be' and ultimately it made me sick.
As the primary breadwinner for my family, I worked full-time. I had two baby girls 18 months apart. In each case, I continued working until the day before I gave birth and returned to work a mere six weeks after. I committed myself to nursing my babies, even when I had to resort to expressing milk on the road. And it wasn't unusual for my colleagues to stop by my office at noon to request that I be on a plane by five p.m. Under these circumstances, my resolve as a career woman and a mother became severely tested. But I carried on pushing through, determined to do it all. My Masculine Energy was in overdrive.
Not surprisingly, I felt utterly exhausted. Eventually, that exhaustion became unmanageable and I got really sick -- my glands were raw and my limbs so heavy that I could hardly lift them -- all I wanted to do was sleep. My doctor informed me I had mononucleosis and predicted a recovery period that ranged between three weeks and three months.
But after three months passed, my fatigue continued to pummel me. I returned to the doctor multiple times, but the lab tests revealed nothing. Although I didn't know it at the time, I had another two years of symptoms ahead of me. My friends suggested exercise, but a walk around the block left me exhausted rather than refreshed. I well remember the feeling of the glands in my body swelling and fiery sore.
I continued to work during this period, but concluded each day by collapsing on the couch, completely depleted. I declined social engagements in favour of sleep. My weakened immune system left me vulnerable to any cold or flu circulating the office, and when I inevitably caught that cold or flu, I'd revert back to the acute stages of my mono, sleeping for days in a darkened room -- any natural or artificial light produced horrific migraines. Crawling out of bed for a glass of orange juice so exhausted me that I would consequently sleep for another forty-eight hours.
Throughout the next couple of years, I fell into a routine of collapsing on the couch each day after work and declining all social engagements. I continued to visit my doctor, hoping with each new appointment that an explanation would be found. I regularly completed the same medical test; every box would be methodically ticked off and each ailment would come back negative. It was very disheartening. I knew I was sick, yet my tests incessantly declared me healthy. I remember my doctor telling me, "If you were a different kind of person, I'd suggest that this is all a result of depression, but I just don't believe that's the case". I agreed with her.
Finally, she sent me to be evaluated by the Infectious Diseases department at the University of Saskatchewan. After a series of tests and examinations, the doctors gave me an official diagnosis of Epstein Barr Syndrome. I was the first person in Saskatchewan to be diagnosed with the illness, which is a precursor to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Epstein Barr Syndrome was first chronicled in medical journals in January of 1983; I received my diagnosis in May of the same year.
Although my illness had been identified, the virus was still too new for doctors to adequately treat me. It was a good news bad news story -- I knew that my suffering was legitimate, but I lacked the ability to alleviate it. Desperate for relief, I went to the library and took out books on people who overcame terminal diseases, hoping to find a common thread weaved throughout their stories.
As it turns out, that common thread was meditation, the necessary tool for visualizing ourselves healthy. I had some university friends who learned Transcendental Meditation but the lessons cost $500, money I didn't have. I remember my friends returning from their retreat with a mantra and a rose; for that kind of money, I needed a guarantee for stronger returns. Instead, I made another trip to the library to borrow any and all books on meditation I could find; in 1985, this quest resulted in a grand total of five small books. Still, I managed to teach myself how to meditate.
Each day, I would sit for 20 minutes and clear my mind, allowing myself to 'just be'. I would then visualize my body strong, pure and healthy. It was amazing how quickly I received positive results. After only six weeks I was able to accept a social engagement without putting me back into the acute stages of my mono and after three months if someone in my office had a cold or flu I didn't catch it. I can't tell you how rewarding that was for me!
While I didn't feel that I had the time to meditate, I knew it was a matter of my health and strongly adhered to the practice. Knowing the consequences was a strong motivating factor. My husband, who was initially a skeptic, could see the positive results and became a believer. When he would see my energy flagging he would say, "Why don't you take some time and go upstairs to meditate. I think that would make you feel better". And of course, he was correct.
The wonderful thing is that I have adhered to the practice ever since. Each day I take some time to just be and receive all the powerful energy of the universe. It recharges me, calms me and reduces my anxiety. Meditation for your being is like a charger on your cell phone. Studies show that meditation increases alpha brain waves, which, incidentally, promote self-healing. Meditation was the tool that allowed me to really connect with my Feminine Energy at a time when I was completely out of balance.
If you are burning the candle at both ends it is a sign that you are exercising too much Masculine Energy and that can be personally destructive. Learn from me and bring some Feminine Energy into your life before you pay the heavy price and get sick. For me it was meditation, but it could be walking in nature, taking time for prayer or just opening your spirit to the beauty of what you see looking out the window. I encourage you to find a way to stop each day and reflect, be still and let the wonder of Feminine Energy come to you.