For the last 18 months I’ve had what most people would call ‘breast cancer’, but which I would like to call a most amazing opportunity for learning and inner growth. I was diagnosed on 2nd January 2008, and since then I’ve been treating the cancer naturally, as I’m convinced that the approaches used by conventional medicine in the UK would be too strong for my body.
I wrote about this in one of our email newsletters a couple of weeks ago, so many of you know already, but now I feel ready to share it with all of you – on paper, in black and white. My dear friend and healer Mary Wainwright says that – in her observation – cancer is almost always associated with some form of denial, and it seems to thrive on concealment. What it does not thrive on, she says, is truth. Being truthful then, and letting the light shine into all our sore places, seems to be a crucial step for those of us on a journey of soul-healing, so I’m glad I’ve come at last to the point where I feel ready to be truthful with you – my friends – about what I’m going through.
I’ve learned such a lot on my healing journey, not just about health but about my own soul, and there is much I’m hoping to write about for you over the coming months. Yet – though I wish I could tell you – I still can’t say what the final outcome will be. Will I get completely well, as so many people do? Will I contain the cancer for many years using natural methods, and live until I’m eighty or so, as the mother of my next-door-neighbour did? Or will I die in the next few years? I don’t know, but two things I know for absolute certain are:
1. the ending of this story will be a happy one – a perfect one – and
2. the unfolding of the story is perfect, too.
And that brings me to the next wonderful insight that this healing journey has brought home to me more deeply than ever before: that in each and every moment, divine grace is sufficient for me. What do I mean? Well, let me tell you the whole story.
Accepting healing in Glastonbury
On 27th May, a lovely lady called Sophie Pullinger organised a special healing session for me at the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury. Friends came to give me healing, and many other friends, including lots of you and all the Cygnus staff, tuned in and sent healing energies too. To be so held and loved by so many beautiful friends – visible and invisible! – was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Before the healing began, I was asked to tell everyone how I was feeling and what was happening to me. I heard myself spilling out a catalogue of beliefs I felt were limiting me and a comprehensive list of blockages in my chakras. I also heard myself pronounce, unwittingly, the most limiting belief of all – that I thought I needed to clear all these limitations and blockages in order to be healed. In other words, it was as if I was saying I needed to deserve, to earn, the healing that was going to be given to me. Hmm.
Are we truly supposed to deserve unconditional love? To earn what is freely given? Actually, I don’t think so! Blockages are cleared. Limitations are removed. But fighting them only makes them stronger, and gives them a power they do not, by right, possess. No, these things melt away like snow in the sunshine when – in each moment – we simply step into the awareness of our true, divine Self, which was there waiting for us all along. For from that higher perspective it’s easy to recognise that – as the creations of illusion – our so-called limiting beliefs and blockages have no genuine reality, no power to hold us. We are free. And then our task, our healing work – or play if you prefer – becomes not ‘tilting at windmills’, but remembering to be who we truly are. And as we gently bring this awareness into our daily lives, the ability to relax in and enjoy our true nature bubbles up like a healing spring. But… as I say, I didn’t remember that at the time.
My worst fear
Anyway, early the next morning, I had a nightmare. In fact I think it was the worst nightmare I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something! I dreamt I was lying on a bed, trying to explain to the people around me that I was ill and needed their help. However, they didn’t understand me and just carried on as normal, not even listening to what I was saying. So I died. And then it got really scary, for I had to face my worst fear, which is not, as you might think, pain or death, but to be so lost in the labyrinth of my own illusions that I cannot be reached by the light of Truth and Love. So I wandered, in my after-death state, in a seemingly endless, grey labyrinth which I knew was created by my own mind, and in which no higher being, no angel of light, could reach me. I woke with my heart pounding and the worst sensation of fear I’ve ever felt in my life. I lay there and reflected on what it all meant.
Divine grace is sufficient
And then, magically, an amazing memory popped into my mind. It was of something that had happened during the healing the day before. Someone had sung into my right shoulder; it was a sound that seemed to come from before time began; it was a song that sang life into my cells; it was Quan Yin – goddess of compassion, hearer of cries – and she gave me love, freely. And somewhere, deep down, in the place beyond all thought, I heard. Heard and remembered: divine grace is sufficient for us, in each and every moment. We do not have to earn it. We cannot buy it. No one and no thing can keep it from us. It is simply there. For us. Always. And all we have to do is accept it.
With divine grace leading us by the hand, we can walk with confidence into the unknown. And whatever each moment looks like, however ugly or scary it may seem, we can trust that divine grace has hidden a beauty in it, a secret spot that will allow our hearts to sing, and our spirits to fly.
Healing for Cygnus too
Further healing insights were in store, too, when Geoff and I arrived home from Glastonbury to face the fact that Cygnus, like me, is manifesting a kind of illness. As you can imagine, Geoff and I not being able to work as much as we used to, combined of course with the economic conditions all of us have been facing recently, have made it rather difficult to make ends meet. Martyn, who now manages Cygnus, and Sarah, who now edits this magazine, have been doing the best they can, as indeed have all the Cygnus staff, but it has still been necessary for Geoff and me to borrow huge sums of money in order to ensure the survival of Cygnus as well as ourselves through this difficult time. Nevertheless, all of us at Cygnus are utterly determined that the challenges we’re facing – whatever they are – will only make us stronger, wiser, more loving, beautiful and resourceful.
On arriving home from Glastonbury, however, I felt it was time to face the question: Why, if I create my own experiences, have I manifested a situation in which both Cygnus and myself are ill at the same time? Well, the simple answer is obvious isn’t it? IT’S TIME TO CHANGE!! This is a gift. Open it!
From mother to grandmother
What sort of change though? Well, one day when Martyn and I were reflecting on that question, I suddenly saw the answer in the form of an image. I saw a grandmother – not a weak, tired, undervalued old woman past her best, but a nut-brown, rosy cheeked, laughing eyed, strong and wise lady. A lady in whom the child, the maiden, the mother and the crone were all in perfect balance. That’s what needs to change, I realised. I need to stop being the Cygnus mother, and become the Cygnus grandmother! The message of this situation is that I am free, now, to leave behind me situations in which others are dependent on me, in which I sacrifice my own needs for their sake, and in which the apparent need to control people and outcomes so often arises. I let go. I am free to play, to receive as I have given, and to rejoice that those I have nurtured are now mature enough to carry their lives forward independently of me – and that includes Cygnus. From now on, I wish to serve you and Cygnus as a grandmother serves: helping and guiding if I am asked, but not with the whole burden of help and guidance resting on my shoulders; writing and giving freely, rather than as one compelled.
In practice, we do not yet know exactly how all that will work out (maybe you have some ideas that would help us here?). But we are sure that things will unfold smoothly, and everything that is needed will appear in the right place at the right time, now that we have said an inward ‘yes’ to this change. For the time being, Geoff and I, Sarah, Martyn and the whole Cygnus team have agreed to ‘play’ at our new roles, to act as if the new, independent Cygnus and all that is needed to make that happen had already materialised. And that feels very healing – for all of us.
From caterpillar to butterfly
Our vision is, as we wrote in our recent email newsletter, that Cygnus will be born anew as a result of this change. We see it being reborn as a co-creation of all of us, and by ‘all’ we mean not just the Cygnus team, but every one of you. And then Cygnus will be represented by a new symbol. No longer will it be a swan standing with wings raised to protect its young. It will be a swan in full flight.
That is why we are asking you to help us, in the ways we’ve listed on this page. The Piscean age, in which sacrifice was the order of the day, is over. It is time to become true Aquarians, to share, to co-create, and to understand the deeper meanings of the injunction to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.
Perhaps there are other ways, too, in which you can help co-create Cygnus? We would love to hear about your ideas. A weight that seems very heavy when carried by one or two individuals can become as light as a feather when shared among a group.
Bless you, dear friends, and if you, like us, are in a narrow place at the moment, please know that it is but the atrium of a new life. The fire that sears us is the fire of transformation. The caterpillar will become a butterfly!
With much love and appreciation,
Ann, Geoff and the Cygnus Team
“Whatever each moment looks like, however ugly or scary it may seem, we can trust that divine grace has hidden a beauty in it, a secret spot that will allow our hearts to sing, and our spirits to fly.”
What we need from you
Lots of you have told us how very much you value Cygnus and how you would not like to see it vanish beneath the waves. This is what gives us the courage to ask you to help us through the narrow space we are in at the moment, so that Cygnus can spread its wings, and really fly as a co-creation of us all. Below is a list of ideas about how you can help. Many of them have been suggested by Cygnus members, and we would love it if you suggested even more.
1. Help us make contact with others who are interested in what Cygnus has to offer. This is so important to us at the moment, especially because, while Ann has been ill, Geoff has not been able to do what he is supremely good at, namely finding new ways of making Cygnus known to people, and the effects of this are now being felt by all of us. If each of you found just one person who is interested in Cygnus, our situation would be very much eased, and if each of you found ten others, Cygnus would really be soaring! Some ideas about how you can do this are listed below. We’re sure you can think of more!
2. Ask for more copies of the Cygnus Review to give to your friends
3. If you are a therapist, run courses or own a shop, b&b, hotel or holiday cottage, request extra copies of the Cygnus Review to have on display
4. If you are attending a workshop or course, request some extra copies of the Cygnus Review to share with the people you meet there
5. If you have a newsletter or blog, or you participate in chat forums, you could mention Cygnus in them
6. If you are on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or some other social network, you could recommend Cygnus to the other members of your network
7. If you have a website, add a link to Cygnus
2. Buy at least one book from us this month. To give our income a chance to catch up with our expenditure, nearly all the titles we’ve included in this month’s Cygnus Review are from our existing stock. To give you the maximum amount of choice, we’ve fitted in as many as possible, and don’t forget you are welcome to order from previous issues of the Cygnus Review. We actually stock more than 1000 titles (see our website), and offer CDs, DVDs , gifts and bee products as well as books.
3. Become a Cygnus Supporter. This only costs £10 per year, and it helps us enormously, so in return we give you FREE POSTAGE ON ALL ORDERS to your home address if you live in the UK, and reduced postage overseas. We also give you three 10% off vouchers.
4. Send us your ideas about how Cygnus could improve. The more the merrier
5. Place an advert on our Noticeboard, or in our email newsletters, or on our website (please contact Derek Hollington on 01558 825500 for details).
6. Explore every corner of our website – in addition to our range of books, CDs and DVDs, all of which are carefully chosen because they offer vision, inspiration, and healing, there are hundreds of inspirational features and letters for you to read, making it a really special resource for you to recommend to your friends.
And whatever you choose to do to help, please know how very, very grateful we are.