Sense of identity

Who am I?

 

My second relapse of MS clearly affected my cognitive abilities.

This time my memory was severely affected.

This left me unable to do my usual work. All my actuarial knowledge had been deleted from my memory!

This is when I knew that the life I knew had ended!

There was no more room for denial!

 

I had to stop working.

This was devastating to me for many many years!

I was really faced with what I was identifying myself with?

 

What we identify ourselves with consists of an endless list.

 

Who am I?

Am I my name?

Am I the daughter of this woman and this man?

Am I the friend of this person and that person?

Am I the wife of this man?

Am I a mother (ok that one does not apply to me: I don’t have kids)?

Am I my body?

Am I a woman?

Am I a Canadian or a Mauritanian?

Am I my thoughts and beliefs?

Am I the voice in my head?

Am I the emotion I am feeling right now?

Am I an emotion I memorized that is stored in my body?

Am I the story of my life?

Am I a disease or diagnosis?

And above all for me in this instance: am I my job?

Am I my title?

Am I my role?

Am I what I do?

Am I what I have?

Who am I beyond all those identities?

 

For many years I suffered from the loss of my identification with my job!

For so long I did not know who I was!

 

Through meditation, through education, through self-enquiry, self-reflection and self-study, I connected with the simple but profound joy of being!

 

I discovered that I did not need any identification to exist.

 

I AM.

 

Just BEING is enough. I exist. That in itself is the miracle!

I started to feel grateful for the miracle of being alive!

 

From this, anything can be added.

I discovered a whole new way of life.

I use to want to have, then do, to finally maybe be.

Now I am learning to BE first, then DO, finally HAVE, even GIVE.

 

Who are you? What do you identify yourself with? 💜

Perception

Reality just is.

Everything is neutral.

We assign meaning to events, situations, conditions and circumstances.

 

At first, when I was diagnosed with MS, I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. In fact, the worst thing that ever happened to me was not listening to my body, not listening to myself, not listening to life.

 

The worst thing that ever happened to me was clearly not listening to my intuition!!

Listen to your intuition!

 

Years later, I learned a lot.

I did a lot of work on myself to transform and change myself: to heal myself.

Then I thought this diagnosis was the best thing that happened to me because it healed me!

 

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change,” Dr Wayne Dyer teaches us.

 

Now I think MS is just something that happened.

Not the worst, not the best: just a thing part of my life journey.

 

Everything is neutral until we assign it meaning.

 

Perception is a mental and spiritual faculty we all possess.

It is our point of view.

 

We have the ability to give meaning to any situation.

We have the ability to choose our reaction to whatever comes our way.

 

Truth be told, our reaction to an event, situation, condition or circumstance is not even our own, even though we think it is.

It is based on our conditioning: our family, our culture, our society.

It is based on the way we learned to view life. It is based on our subconscious programming.

It is not really our point of view. It is the point of view shaped by the world around us.

 

From my experience, I have to admit now that in reality I do not know if something is good or bad from my limited human perspective. I am learning that it is so much more empowering to withhold judgment.

 

Not judging allows us to remain open so the good in any situation can reveal itself to us. Nothing is only good or only bad. We live in a world of duality. Everything comes with its opposite.

 

It is human to quickly judge.

It helps to move through a situation if we pause our internal judgment and get curious.

 

From the point of view of our soul, everything is neutral.

From spirit point of view, nothing is good or bad.

 

“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know”, Pema Chödrön teaches us.

Do you know you get to choose your perception? Do you know you have the power to perform miracles through the choice of your perception? 💜

Listen

Listening is the first step in healing and in life in general.

Noticing what we are noticing is the first step in awareness practice.

 

I did not know anything about listening before I was introduced to this practice by Marie Lise Labonté http://marieliselabonte.com/.

 

I did not know my body could speak!

I did not know my emotions could speak!

I did not know my intuition could speak!

https://mouninabounaaly.com/listen-to-your-intuition/

I did not know LIFE could speak!

I did not know LIFE was alive and so precisely intelligent and loving!

 

We can begin listening to what is very obvious like our body.

Listening, just like noticing, is a skill with a beginning but no end.

We can always refine these skills. We can always go deeper.

 

Before we can listen, we have to allow life to happen.

Allowing leads to listening.

Only when we allow whatever is happening to happen can we begin to listen.

 

To listen is to be humble. To listen is to give up our illusion of control and recognize we don’t control LIFE.

 

To listen is to love. To listen is to know and trust that whatever is happening is actually happening for our highest good.

 

We can begin, like I did, by listening to our body.

Our body is divinely intelligent.

Our body does not lie.

Its symptoms are not random.

They deliver a precise message.

 

We listen with total acceptance.

We listen with complete non judgment.

We listen with an open and receptive attitude.

We listen with the right hemisphere of our brain.

 

The right side of our brain in the YIN side of ourselves.

The YIN side of us listens.

The YANG side of us acts.

YIN and YANG form a complete whole.

We need both aspects in healing and in life in general.

 

I began studying awareness with Mary Morrissey http://www.marymorrissey.com/.

 

With our awareness, we can notice what we are noticing.

 

Can you notice your left hand?

Can you notice your right foot?

Can you notice the tip of your nose?

Can you notice the gentle breeze on your skin?

Can you notice the smell in the air around you?

Can you notice the sounds in your environment?

Can you notice the thoughts you are thinking right now?

 

Are you listening? Can you notice what you are noticing? 💜

Surrender 💜

There is an Infinite Loving Intelligence in charge of this Universe.

Every moment there is only Infinite Intelligence happening.

This life is perfect in all its perceived imperfection.

 

In 2010 I had my second relapse of MS.

I lost all sense of coordination and equilibrium.

I was alone in Dominican Republic for a course on the silence within.

The relapse was so severe that I felt I had no choice other than to SURRENDER TO LIFE!

This is the best thing that ever happened to me!!

This has been my greatest lesson!

I am not in charge of life. LIFE IS IN CHARGE!!

I began my journey of learning to SURRENDER more and more every day to LIFE.

I began discovering that there is an Infinite Loving Intelligence guiding and orchestrating this whole Universe!

 

I had studied surrender as part of the yogic philosophy.

I had learned surrender intellectually.

That time in Dominican Republic I experienced it first hand!

 

There was nothing I could do.

I had to accept life in all its drama.

That was the most humbling experience!

 

We are not in charge of the universe. We don’t make life happen. Life happens.

There is no arguing with life. She is always right!

 

I never wanted to surrender my ego like that.

I thought: I will make it happen! I thought: I will be in charge!

What an illusion! A very limiting one!

 

I had to let go of my will to make things any different than they already were.

I was invited to surrender.

 

I accepted to let go of control and let life take over.

 

I began the lifelong journey of learning to surrender to life.

I began learning that being a partner with life is much more powerful than my own limited will.

 

First we set an intention for what we want.

Then we work as best we can with the expectation of attaining our intention.

Finally we surrender the result. It will happen: probably not on our terms, but on life’s terms.

 

Surrendering is opening to the unknown.

Surrendering is letting go of ourselves and the way we think life should be.

Surrendering is very scary to the ego or the personality!

Surrendering is opening to the mystery of life.

Surrendering is relaxing in the moment and being open.

Surrendering in not resisting nor ignoring life: it is allowing it.

 

Are you aware there is an Infinite Loving Intelligence guiding and orchestrating this whole universe? Can you relax and trust in it? 💜

Change is life

Life is change. Change is life.

In fact, change is our nature.

 

We can look at nature for a model.

Nature changes every moment.

We and nature are the same.

 

Not only is change possible, change is inevitable.

Change is constant.

 

Change has been my greatest interest for as long as I can remember!

I have always been so curious about our potential for transformation!

 

Why? Obviously because I wanted to change so bad!

 

In my early teen years, I suffered from an obsessive compulsive behaviour with a fancy name: Trichotillomania. Simply put I had the compulsion of pulling my eyelashes and eyebrows! It made me feel so miserable!

I began very young to wonder about change!

 

I also started smoking tobacco and marijuana passionately in my teen years.

Some years later I wanted to quit.

I found that change was so difficult that it seemed impossible!

 

Years later, after a diagnosis of MS, I kept pursuing my passion: yoga!

I found out that if you can breathe, you can practice yoga!

So happily I did both: breathe consciously and practice yoga 😊

 

Vigorous yang yoga was impossible physically for me at that time.

Yang is about becoming.

 

I was fortunate to discover the gentle practice of yin yoga.

Yin is about being.

 

There are 3 steps to practice yin yoga:

#1 Find your comfortable edge in the posture. This appropriate edge changes all the time! It is always new!

#2 Stay still and surrender.

#3 Stay there for a while: three to five minutes. This is the time to get to know your mind, to develop your focus, to awaken the observer in you!

 

I learned yin yoga during a week-long workshop with Sarah Powers http://sarahpowers.com/

 

I also did another yoga teacher training course: Mind and meditation, level 2 Kundalini yoga https://www.3ho.org/

 

All this training gave me evidence that I can in fact change!

All this training pointed me to the fact that change belongs to the realm of the mind!

If you can change your mind, you can change your life!

 

I used to think meditation was impossible for me.

Now I found that sitting still for short periods of time, watching my mind, was actually possible!

 

What a revelation to discover I could actually change!!

What a relief to discover that I am not fixed a certain way!!

I quit smoking and I stopped that compulsion!!

 

But we have free will. We can resist change.

By thinking the same thoughts over and over again we are sure not to change.

 

First we become aware of the stories we tell ourselves over and over again by awakening the observer in us.

Then we can start changing our self talk by choosing to tell ourselves what we do want.

 

When we choose our conscious thoughts, our subconscious mind will start believing what we tell it.

Our subconscious mind has no sense of humor: it must accept anything we tell it.

 

Do you believe you can change? 💜

Uncertainty versus Control

There is an important difference between uncertainty and control.

Uncertainty is life.

Uncertainty never ends.

Comfortable with uncertainty

The only thing we ever have any control of is our current thought, as Louise Hay says in her famous book You can heal your life”.

The only thing we can control is our inner state of being: our thoughts, which dictate our feelings.

The only thing we can control is ourselves.

We create our own inner weather, as Mary Morrissey says so beautifully.

We need to realize this.

We can create paradise in our mind. We can also create hell. We choose.

One summer, a few years ago, I was in my backyard in Montreal sunbathing.

One day I feel like my life is really a paradise.

The very next day I feel like my life is really a hell.

But nothing changed outside of me! Only my thoughts about my situation changed!

This drastic realization made me wonder about the power of my thoughts?!

We also have control of our reaction to whatever life brings to our doorstep, as Scientist Gregg Braden says so poetically.

We don’t create the weather. We don’t control life. Nothing is under control.

We certainly create our reaction to the weather and to life.

Gregg Braden teaches that the quantum field we live in is a mirror for what goes on inside us.

The quantum field is also the container in which reality unfolds.

It is also the bridge between you and me.

Our mind creates our body and our reality.

This is very hard to accept, especially when we hate what we unconsciously created!

We don’t want to hear we have anything to do with our disease and our life!

Our first reaction when we hear this is to feel guilty.

I certainty felt guilty for many years out of ignorance!

But I learned: “Knowledge is Power. A Lack of Knowledge is A Lack of Power”, as Dr. Bruce Lipton says.

We are not guilty nor victims. We are responsible co-creators.

If we move past this guilt, we can get to a place where we realize our responsibility. With responsibility comes great power!

This is huge. This changes everything!

We have the power to change from the inside out, as Dr. Joe Dispenza says, so that whatever we created, for instance MS, can be transformed into health!

This does not mean that we consciously create MS!

Not at all!! This is important!! We do not consciously create our disease!!

But we can take responsibility and create health!

This is when we remember to be kind and loving with ourselves.

We can be gentle with ourselves on the journey to change from the inside out.

We remember those wise words from Lao Tzu:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Do you know you can choose your thoughts? Do you know you are a powerful co-creator with life? 💜

Comfortable with uncertainty

Uncertainty is an ordinary fact of life.

Uncertainty is always present. Uncertainty never ends.

Only death is certain. Timing is uncertain.

Life is not more uncertain after a diagnosis of MS.

Such a circumstance can make us more aware of the uncertainty of life.

My life always seemed so certain!

But from birth onward there is really nothing certain about it!

I never knew! I had never been aware of this fact!

I had been living on autopilot before this diagnosis of MS!

When I was young I decided that my life was going to be very predictable!

I will be in control. I will control every aspect of it.

The first thing I began studying after I was diagnosed with MS is uncertainty.

When you receive such a diagnosis, uncertainty becomes very scary!

What is going to happen?

Most of us live in an illusion of security, of predictability, of control, of certainty.

We drown in our external life just to make sure we don’t get in touch with our inner life.

I began realizing the illusion I was living in: the illusion of control!

We resist this basic truth that life is uncertain.

We deny it with every fiber of our being.

We distract ourselves not to face this basic fact of life.

We spend a lot of energy trying to avoid uncertainty.

We work too much. We eat too much. We shop too much. We drink too much.

We use legal or illegal drugs. We gamble.

We are addicted to the people and places around us.

We do anything not to relate to life directly!

I understand! I was just like that!

I used to do most of these things so I would not feel being alive.

All these activities are not the problem.

They can become a problem when they keep us from relating to life directly.

I was blessed to come across one amazing book:

Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion by Pema Chödrön.

It is a jewel, a true gift! I recommend it to anyone!

This book is about meditation and Buddhist wisdom presented in such a gentle way!

We get comfortable with uncertainty by getting curious about ourselves and about life!

We get comfortable with uncertainty by realizing life is uncertain for everyone!

With this book I began learning what uncertainty really is.

Uncertainty is life.

Life is like nature! We all know the weather is uncertain!

I began to relax with things as they are.

It is very calming for the nervous system to learn to relax in the midst of uncertainty.

All we can do is learn to get comfortable with uncertainty.

We must find comfort in the uncertainty of reality said Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoché.

Can you observe that uncertainty is an ordinary fact of life? 💜

Heart-Brain Coherence

We can purposefully connect with our intuition.

Practicing heart-brain coherence allows us to do so.

Heart-brain coherence is deep intuition on demand!

It is said that the longest journey we will ever take is from our head to our heart!

I began that journey! I was all in my head! I thought my heart was my greatest weakness. I am learning to tap into my greatest power: my heart!

There is actually a little brain in the heart! The heart possesses its own intrinsic nervous system, containing over 40 000 sensory neurons. The magnetic field emitted from our heart is stronger than the one from our head!

Our brain and our heart are constantly communicating with each other. This is a two-way communication: through the vagus nerve and through the spinal cord. We can learn to make them work together by harmonizing them.

There are three steps required to practice heart-brain coherence:

#1 Move our attention from our head to our heart!

To make sure we really move our awareness to our heart and not just think about it, we physically touch our heart center. We can do that by:

  • putting the palm of our hand on our heart, or
  • putting our hands together in prayer pose with our thumbs touching our chest, or
  • putting a finger on our chest.

This turns our attention inward.

#2 Practice slow deep rhythmic breathing through our heart area by:

  • inhaling for the count of 5;
  • exhaling for the count of 5.

This tells our body we are safe. It activates our parasympathetic nervous system and awakens the healing life-giving chemistry for more than 13 000 bio-chemicals of our immune system, our cardiovascular system and our anti-aging hormones.

#3 Generate a feeling of care, appreciation, gratitude or compassion for anything or anyone.

Once we establish this harmonized connection between our heart and our brain, now is the time to ask a question to the wisdom of your heart and to access our deepest truth.

First we listen to the answer. The answer could be a sensation in our body or words we hear or whatever else for you. I get a voice inside, or shivers in my body.

Then we honour this wisdom by following it.

We can practice anytime: morning, night, before an important conversation, when we want to show some love to our body, and more. Practicing for only 3 minutes produces benefits that can last for up to six hours!

Heart-brain coherence not only allows us to tune into our intuitionIt also allows us to tap into our creativity and our resilience to change. It also enables us to access our subconscious mind.

I learned this way of practicing with Gregg Braden, a pioneer in bridging science and spirituality, on his blog:

http://www.greggbraden.com/resilience-from-the-heart/

and on his interview on the Hay House World Summit 2017:

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com

This scientific institute helps us all reconnect with our heart

https://www.heartmath.org/

Are you connected to your deepest truth? 💜

Follow your intuition!

It is essential we listen to our intuition. But to listen is not enough.

Listen to your intuition!

We need to follow our intuition.

To follow our intuition is no easy step. It certainly was not for me!!

It takes tremendous courage to follow our intuition.

It is a challenge to go against our own reason and against other people’s opinion.

I had to educate myself to learn the value of following my intuition.

It sure spoke to me, through my body, through a voice inside, through my environment.

I am learning to listen to life speaking to me.

I am learning to listen to me.

Our intuition could be the opposite of what our rational mind would think.

Our intuition could also be the opposite of what our conditioning would think: our family, our culture, our society.

It can be really scary to step into the unknown!

It can generate a lot of fear to step out of conformity!

It can lead you to the road less travelled!

But there is nothing more rewarding than to listen to us and to life!

Our intuition is life speaking to us!

The more we trust and follow our intuition, the stronger this connection becomes.

The more we are open to receiving its message, the more we will receive them.

The more interested we are, the more it will be available for us.

This wisdom is irrational!

It does not come from our intellect.

Our intellect cannot understand infinite intelligence.

Intuition is beyond logic, as Osho said!

We should not analyze it.

We should not argue with it.

We should not fight it.

We should just follow our inner knowing!

Getting to know our mind is important to develop this connection.

Developing a quiet mind through meditation helps.

Being in a relaxed state of body and mind also helps.

But regardless if we practice meditation or relaxation, this information will find its way to our awareness.

It just helps and strengthens this connection if we meditate or take time to relax. It makes the information come in a gentler way!

We need every information available, especially when it comes to healing!

We need our reason from the left side of our brain.

We need our intuition from the right side of our brain.

Do you value your reason? Do you value your intuition?

Do you honour both aspects of yourself? 💜

Listen to your intuition!

Intuition is a mental and spiritual faculty we all possess.

It is our inner guidance system.

It is our connection to our soul. Our soul connects us to infinite intelligence.

First it is essential we recognize this precious gift we all have.

We learn to listen to the messages we get.

This inner guidance can come in many different forms:

  • It comes often as a little voice inside: the voice of our heart coming from the right side of our brain;
  • It can come as an image;
  • It can come as a physical sensation in our body;
  • It can come in a dream;
  • It can come as a synchronicity;
  • We can practice heart-brain coherence to activate it;
  • We can use oracles, like the tarot, to access this guidance;
  • We can also use signs in nature or the world around us to tap into it.

I had no idea whatsoever I had such a faculty!

I was in the prison of my rational mind, my left brain.

Nothing outside this prison existed for me.

The first time I heard my intuition was when the whole left side of my body paralyzed! This is when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Sadly I did not know that my body could speak to me so I tried to ignore it!

The second time my intuition spoke to me was a little after my body yelled.

I was in a support group for people diagnosed with MS and I heard myself say:

“This diagnosis could be a wake up call to help us find the treasure inside!”

Sadly I was not open to any irrational messages so I did not listen to me!

The third time my intuition tried to get my attention was through a neighbour at work in the same period of my life. She told me her minister had healed himself of MS. She even sent me an audio of him sharing his experience.

Sadly nothing outside the prison of my rational mind existed for me so I ignored this message too!

This inner guidance is always loving.

It is for our greater good and the greater good of all.

We need to recognize this wisdom available for us! We need to listen!

In her book “Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself”, Dr. Lissa Rankin calls our intuition our Inner Pilot Light!

In her book “Uncharted: The Journey Through Uncertainty to Infinite Possibility”, Colette Baron Reid calls our intuition our FIRST sense!

Two beautiful and empowering books I recommend!

Much gratitude for the teachings of Marie Lise Labonté and Mary Morrissey to help me recognize and understand this gift I have!

Do you know you have access to a wisdom far greater than your own limited logic?

Are you willing to listen to the wisdom of your intuition? 💜