I met the beautiful Lee Gefen many years ago when she first arrived to Australia; she instantly struck me as someone with a deep longing for truth and an inner strength that was unstoppable.
I have been watching her journey through cancer for 4 years now and I draw inspiration from her path. She never gives up and always meets you with a smile. She is humble and patient and always has time. She is a real Yogi and has managed to turn what most people see as a ‘nightmare’ into a soul searching journey filled with moments of deep realised truth.
This post is second part to my last post ( a few months ago, yes I know its been awhile )
I'm honoured to share with you a glimpse of her story:
4 Years ago, at 32, I got a life changing diagnosis; a large tumour inside the spinal cord high up in the neck. An incurable, life threatening condition.
A major surgery to try and remove the tumour wasn't successful and I was left with chronic, debilitating nerve pain and disability.I made a decision at the time, which I reaffirm more and more over the years, that instead of living whatever time I have left on this earth as a ׳poor me', 'life isn't fair' victim, I use this dis-ease as an opportunity, an invitation to go within, to grow and evolve on a spiritual level.
It has enabled me to connect to Source (or Spirit, God, or whatever name you feel comfortable with) in a very profound and direct way and for me; this is the true meaning of life changing.
Having an incurable dis-ease and constant pain keeps forcing me to come to terms with living with a lot of unknown; and at the very core of the unknown is death and dying. I choose to go there, to this somewhat of a taboo area that as a society, we push aside, we prefer not to think about it until it happens and when it inevitably does, so many of us are caught off guard and feel unprepared.
Having gone through losses in my life, especially the loss of my parents at a young age, I chose otherwise. I looked death in the eye and I still do till this day.
The more I surrender control without giving up hope (a very delicate place of being), the more I know, in my bones, that death is not the end, but a transition, an evolution.
The more the fear of dying loses its grip on me, the better my living becomes.
“Every illness requires a death, while every healing contains one.” (Writer unknown)
I have embraced many healing modalities over these last 4 years, each has been helpful in its own way, all have allowed me to get closer to myself; guided imagery, meditation, biological decoding, shiatsu and shamanic healing really stand out.
Adopting a vegan, whole foods and plant based diet with an emphasis on raw greens and vegetables supports my body's innate ability to heal, repair and cope with the havoc that chronic pain creates in the body.
Restorative, gentle yoga has been a major help in the first couple of years post surgery. It enabled my body to remember the natural flow of movement that has been impaired by the nerve damage. I'd be lying down, using my breath and imagine I am doing certain movements. It always brought me back to my centre, to a place of gratitude and acceptance.
Recently, I went through the most challenging period so far. I was bedridden for a couple of weeks in constant, relentless pain that escalated each day, until I couldn't cope anymore and I ended up in hospital. It was the lowest, darkest point in my journey. I felt the life force energy being sucked out of me, as the intense pain saw me squirming, crying, begging and almost wanting out.
Each wave of pain would drown me to an underworld of illness; an eerie, quiet, dream-like place where words cease to exist; a place of strange visitations and unexpected transformations.
For the first time, I succumbed to taking strong pain medication, which scared me the most. It was a big step for me.
Once more, I was called to let go of control even more, to surrender and to trust. My biggest gift was the love and care around me.
I am very blessed to have the most beautiful, supportive partner, David and such close friends and family, even though some of them live in Israel. This time, their love really lifted us up.
Chronic pain has a tendency to make you feel isolated and alone so we've embraced these offers of care wholeheartedly and it made us feel held.
Can deepest heart's wishes fulfil themselves?
It was also at this time, that my closest friend, Shelly, who I grew up with like a sister in a small community (Kibbutz) in Israel, decided to leave her family, her kids and work and come to Australia to be with me for a couple of weeks.
It was a selfless (or self-full!) act of love; something I only dared dream about.
A few days after she arrived, our mutual friend, Tahl joined us for the weekend. We spent magical days together, countless hours chatting, laughing, crying, being like the little girls that we once were and at the same time the women that we are now.
I saw myself re-emerging, metamorphosed, the life force energy was flowing through me once again. 3 women, different lives, different pains, challenges and stories but one path we all share.
We felt a strong connection to our hearts; open, raw, full of gratitude.
It has been said that love is the best medicine.
I wish all those who are in pain to find peace in their hearts, comfort in their bodies and be open to walk the courageous path called life.
You can connect further with beautiful Lee on FB HERE.