On the opening evening of the Into Christ Consciousness conference, Julia MacDonald joined Philip Roderick (see feature following) to lead us into a place of emptiness. Paradoxically, she has found, it is through consciously embracing emptiness that she has found healing, or moved into a place of new creativity. Her story follows. You can see and hear her telling her story on this 10-minute Youtube link of her address to the conference. Or read her words below:
I have come to realise that all the important moments of shift in my life have been preceded by a period of emptiness. Most dramatic was the period just before my recovery from severe ME. I had been ill for 9 years, with all the accompaniments of severe illness and disability you might expect: blue badge, carers, commode etc. Towards the end of 2006 I descended inexplicably into a state where I could no longer feed myself or move unaided. All the things I had previously done to help myself be ‘a bit better’ no longer worked…and my body appeared to be shutting down. What could I do? Nothing active, that much I knew. So I decided to put myself into a state of meditation. Not a focused one, where I used my concentration to focus on a theme or image – that would have been impossible – but one involving absence. I shut down my body and mind, ceased thinking, and allowed any stray thought to pass swiftly by. I started with 30 mins 4 times a day. After a few days I realised it felt better to be in this state than not. So I spent 5 or 6 hours a day in this state of suspended animation. Carers would come in briefly and shovel pureed food into my mouth; they would leave and I would return to absence.
And then, after several weeks, I noticed a curious phenomenon. Although I was still not doing anything, my body was stabilising; if I did nothing, and remained in this state, then I was ok. It was as if all the writing on the page had been erased and I had the opportunity to re-write the book that had been ‘Julia’ up to this moment in time. From a point of emptiness I was able to begin to construct something new, something different, something better. And the re-making, the re-building was surprisingly swift.
Other moments of shift in my life have followed a similar, (though perhaps less dramatic!) pattern.
As we bring our attention to this important time preceding ‘Into Christ Consciousness’ I am aware that in order to make way for the new, we must begin by emptying out the old: old beliefs, assumptions, understandings. And as we empty ourselves of the old we prepare ourselves to receive the new.
Julia MacDonald is a teacher and NLP master, passionate about combining her cutting edge techniques for personal development with her spirituality to help herself and others further our pilgrimage towards wholeness. She was a Contributor at the Into Christ Consciousness Gathering. See her website: www.juliamacdonald.co.uk/.