Throughout my adult life, I developed several physical health challenges, and for 15 years I was also a full-time caregiver to my oldest son who had a life-threatening chronic condition that required around-the-clock monitoring. I became exhausted and bewildered.
I was first drawn to Unity almost 25 years ago because of cofounder Myrtle Fillmore’s healing story and the inclusiveness I felt at the first Unity church I attended. You might know that Unity evolved out of Myrtle’s healing journey. Myrtle spent years focused on praying affirmatively with the intention to heal her own physical ailments. She believed she could heal herself. And she did! The book Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters was my guidebook back then.
I had a very specific idea about what it meant to be healed and thought if I followed Myrtle’s path, then surely things would get better. But I often had this nagging voice in my head that said, It’s not like you can quit your job or ignore your responsibilities as caregiver to focus on healing. Who has hours a day for meditation like Myrtle did? I felt like an impostor because I believed the teachings but was not using them consistently in my own life.
I was looking for complete healing, all at once. As I read about the importance of sitting in silence and praying actively—knowing that Myrtle dedicated her life to prayer, inviting her body to heal, believing that she could heal—my biggest barrier was my own belief that I could not possibly devote enough time and energy to do that.
I eventually went to work at Unity World Headquarters (UWH), where I’ve now worked off and on for 15 years. When I returned to UWH three years ago, I physically felt tired and out of balance. My health issues had only compounded throughout the years, one issue piling on top of the next. I was more than a little overwhelmed so many years later. Upon my return to UWH, I set a quiet intention that I was coming back to heal myself once and for all.
I started doing tangible things I knew I had to do for physical healing. I found good doctors and worked with them diligently. I became connected to my body, paying attention to how foods, drinks, medicines, and supplements made me feel. I began moving more often. I started blessing my body more regularly and speaking positive statements to myself.
But that was just the beginning of the hard work. Through journaling, prayer, and meditation, I knew deep down that my physical conditions were related to unhealed parts of myself. I had deep trauma from my childhood and from the early years of my son’s diagnosis when he almost died. Other than start and stop therapy, I had never really dealt with my trauma in a meaningful way. I was finally ready to do the work.
I found a wonderful therapist who introduced me to tools and resources I knew nothing about. Bilateral stimulation music is something I now use every day to calm my mind, ease my racing thoughts, and help me settle into my own center. This helps me move more easily into meditation where I can let Spirit guide me.
Every day my healing journey is simply a step back to my own center. There is always one more opportunity to connect with my own spiritual nature, to let the Universe guide my steps, and to set a new healing intention.
She also recommended EMDR therapy, which uses bilateral stimulation to heal deeply embedded trauma. For more than a year, we’ve worked on childhood issues, trauma around my son almost dying, and the stress of raising him with a chronic medical condition. EMDR has been life-altering. Through the EMDR process, I’ve released pain I had been carrying with me for 20 to 50 years. I can genuinely say I’ve healed the most traumatic periods of my life. Releasing this trauma has freed me to more closely connect with what my physical body needs.
I’m learning that healing isn’t all at once. It comes in phases by taking one issue at a time, paying attention to my body, talking to my body, and listening. I no longer think I will be healed in a single jolt. For so long I thought healing had an end date. I will be healed! I now realize that healing is not a straight line and it’s never-ending. I am on a healing journey that will last a lifetime.
Listening to the Body
As I’ve listened to my body, I also discovered things like when my back hurts, what my body really needs is movement and stretching, not sitting or lying down. When I feel ashamed and frustrated for being overweight, I’m learning to go to the gym anyway. One or two sessions at the gym and I feel alive, stronger mentally and physically. I’m learning that my mind and body want to heal. It’s simply lack consciousness that tells me it’s too hard, I’m too fat, or there isn’t enough time. I can also see now that I didn’t have to dedicate hours and days to continuous meditation and prayer for the Unity teachings to guide me in healing. I simply had to make a little space for myself and for Spirit.
These past few years have been a lot of work. It took feeling like I was at my wit’s end before I made time for myself. If I could offer one glimmer of advice: Don’t wait. Find one thing to focus on that is simply for your own well-being, even if it is just for five minutes a day. Take that one step and do it for a whole year if you need to before you move on to another thing you want to focus on. But make yourself the priority at least a few minutes every single day. And believe that you can heal. Find some way to connect with your center, whatever that looks like for you: music, dance, yoga, writing, reading, meditation, prayer, talking with a friend, or a walk in the woods. The flow of Spirit is always available; we simply need to get out of our own way.
I now believe we are all here to heal ourselves in a thousand different ways, a thousand different times. This journey is mine. I claim it, and I know I don’t have to run from it anymore or ignore it because it seems too big and overwhelming. It never had to be the all-or-nothing thinking I had for so long. Every day my healing journey is simply a step back to my own center. There is always one more opportunity to connect with my own spiritual nature, to let the Universe guide my steps, and to set a new healing intention.