South America was a key. Things changed during that trip. It was during that journey that we greatly expanded our limits on spending, and started to afford things simply by affording them, simply by saying yes. South America generally was more expensive than India and Southeast Asia and initially that was a bit of a shock, but we came to accept the reality of it fairly quickly. Besides where would we go? We weren’t about to fly back to India because it’s cheaper there. Then various adventure possibilities came to our attention that were significantly more expensive than we normally would have entertained. The two most striking examples were the three-day overland journey through Bolivia, and the eight-day cruise around the Galapagos Islands. We just kind of shrugged and paid what we needed to pay. There was no point in even thinking about the money because we knew we were going to do these tours anyway. In this way we challenged our beliefs about money, and our beliefs about deserving such a rich life.

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know something of our story: that three years ago we sold our car and home and its contents, and became nomads, travelling all over the world. The more we travelled the braver we got and the less concerned we became about simply doing whatever was offered, and we felt totally supported by The Mystery. We were fit and well, apart from occasional episodes of food poisoning and a few trips and falls along the way, and even then, we were always guided to good-quality medical care that was both timely and inexpensive.

One of the great metaphysical teachers of our time, Louise Hay says: “Guilt always seeks punishment and leads to pain.” It seems we have both been in quite a bit of pain for long time now. We’ve been trying to discover the deeper causes of all our illnesses and accidents. Looking at each other going What?! What?! Why is this happening? What is it really about? Suddenly the memory of Louise Hay’s teaching arose – that pain can signal some kind of self-punishment.

It seems that we have morphed into a life that is bigger and better than anything we ever thought or believed we deserved, or was possible, or could have imagined, and it appears that we reached the point when our old unconscious beliefs about our lack of worthiness kicked in, and kicked our legs out from under us. These underlying beliefs seemed to include: it can’t go on forever being this good, it’s too good to be true and I don’t deserve this, I’m not good enough. According to our unconscious belief systems and our unconscious perception of our place in the world, we got too big for our boots.

Too big for our boots. Such an apt expression. We have grown so very much through this nomadic journey. Our conscious perception of ourselves, our place in the world, what we can have, and what we can do and achieve is much expanded. Many fears, most fears, have subsided or disappeared. We are braver, and more trusting. We have grown. The boots of our old unconscious beliefs about worthiness are getting so tight, so small, that they have been preventing us from moving forward. The boots are so tight and so uncomfortable that the pain has radiated up the body – broken ankle, herniated disc, Alison with sore stiff hips, both of us with sore stiff necks, plus a few parasites and viruses to bring down the normal energy levels. We are too big now for these old boots. Time stop living the life of world nomads, or find bigger boots beliefs giving us the freedom to move forward without pain.

After some deep reflection we realized that the more or less continuous illnesses and injuries we’ve had over the past six months mirror back to us an unconscious need to punish ourselves for living a better life than we believed we deserved, and to stop us from continuing to lead this incredible life we’ve enjoyed for the past three years. The illnesses and injuries were both a way to punish ourselves, and a way to bring this extraordinary life to an end. Unconsciously we felt we had to bring an end to it because it was too much fun, too fabulous, and too far out of the box of our limiting beliefs.

We understand that this life is not for everyone, and that to some it might not be considered all that special, but for us it feels like a miracle: that our lives have come to this! We never could have imagined that it could be this good, this rich, this extraordinary. We have been gifted with an extraordinary life and have unconsciously felt guilty about having “more than we deserved”, and probably both believed that all we deserved, and that all we were allowed, was a life that was small and ordinary: a small rented apartment in the suburbs, an ordinary retirement, and a (hopefully) gracious decline into old age and death.

So now there’s room for true healing to take place: a healing both of the limiting beliefs, and of the bodies. How do we allow our life to be bigger? How do we move beyond the unconscious limiting beliefs? Any unconscious limiting beliefs. That’s what we’re looking at. If we don’t even believe we are worthy of this life, let alone a bigger life, if we don’t believe we deserve it, then we will continue to self-sabotage one way or another. The current way seems to have been through illness and injury. Since we recognized this we have both experienced improvement physically, though neither of us are as fit and healthy as we were before we went to South America.

With time we expect a complete recovery. The simple recognition of the underlying cause of our distress is a significant first step towards healing. We are both facing head-on the internal limitations and their accompanying painful emotions. It is so much more beneficial to connect with and then release the emotional pain of feeling unworthy, undeserving, and guilty of having more than we think we deserve, than to have it ever-present as physical pain. Slowly step-by-step we move through. If we don’t face, heal and evolve beyond these limiting beliefs all we can look forward to is more of the same. Our trust is such that by the time we are ready to leave for Australia and our next adventure, at the end of November, we expect to be fully recovered, both physically and emotionally, believing that we are worthy of the life we have, and the journeys and joys that await us in the future.


Postscript: Don has seen both a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. He doesn’t need surgery. His hip is now largely pain free though he is still quite limited in how much he can do. The prognosis is 80% healed in two months, and 100% in about four. Things are not nearly as bad as we first thought they were, and our belief in bodies being self-healing mechanisms is both fortified and challenged.

Photo of the day: On the back deck

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All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.