by B. Grace Jones
Moving to Alaska began as a spectacular adventure. My life reached a peak I had never imagined possible. After my 40-hour work-weeks in Anchorage, I explored Alaska on weekends and holidays. I built a tight network of wonderful friends and was literally “On Top of the World.” Six years later my world came crashing down, dragging me into three years of total disability in the isolated, great white north. Ultimately, that led me to something even more spectacular.
For two decades I worked full time in Oklahoma by regularly pushing through waves of muscle pain, fatigue and a myriad of other symptoms. The only diagnosis was a heart condition, Mitral Valve Prolapse. Numerous medications were prescribed, and frequent physical therapy treatments.
I raised a family, divorced, and fell in love with Alaska during a vacation. Increasing job stress and burnout in my graphic design career signaled new physical symptoms layered on top of old. Seeking a less stressful job and disinterested in making a local career change, I packed and headed north. My 16-year-old daughter, Alain reluctantly joined me.
My new graphic design job in Anchorage was much less stressful than previous jobs and it went well for three years. I got updated medical tests that confirmed I had NO heart condition. Concerned about the toxins, side effects and expense of medications, I began to phase them out completely. My confidence in Western Medicine had diminished and I looked for other options. I used physical therapy and heat to manage pain. I exercised regularly, improved my diet and began to use essential oils. I sought ways to live a more holistic life by studying personal growth, spirituality and healing. I thought I was on the right path to gaining more health and independence.
Menopause signaled depression and insomnia which began to affect my work performance. Personnel changes at work created incomparable stress. I desperately wanted out, but was powerless to make a change. I had done my best to adapt, but I was compromising my personal values in the process. I wanted to change my career to the Healing Arts. I visited two career counselors, who advised against it and suggested finding a different job in graphic design. I was stuck trying to survive at work and make the best of a deteriorating situation.
A decade from retirement I knew I was not financially prepared, according to the standards of our society and my family. A driving fear began to rule my life. I kept my full time job and started a home-based business to create supplemental and future income. I rented the spare room, was a vendor at two fairs and took two trips outside Alaska, all within four months. It was a great recipe for stress overload.
During the second fair, I came down with a terrible sore throat and within a week was too ill to work. Completely baffled by waves of debilitating fatigue, I pleaded with God. “What is happening to me? What did I do wrong?” It simply came to me. “This is not all about you.” I knew then, whatever this experience was, somehow it would help me to help others.
Diagnosed with Mononucleosis, I did not recover within several months. After numerous tests and two medical consultations, the diagnosis was Chronic Mono and Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (FM/CFS). Western medicine had little to offer, but I was locked into that system by medical insurance. Payment for alternative therapies had to come from my disability benefits of 60% of my previous income. Even with that brutal scenario, I was determined to find a way to recover.
It felt like the worst flu I had ever had plus a 200 pound weight on my chest and a plethora of other symptoms swirling about. I could not read one paragraph without having to rest 20 minutes. Even listening to music would drain my energy. Bathing was an infrequent, elongated chore punctuated by rest periods. The hardest thing I ever had to learn was how to do nothing. It was mandatory that I find solace in stillness and silence as my muscle tone wasted away. The second hardest thing I had to learn was how to ask for help. I had to call on family and friends to grocery shop, clean house or give me rides. I was often too fatigued to answer the phone, but just hearing the message would lift my spirit. “Somebody cares.”
Repetitive relapse cycles had proven that any forward progression had to be made in micro-units. After six months I began to try the treadmill a friend had given me. The first day I walked for two minutes after which I had shin splints. When I could walk outside briefly, it was a tentative blend of toddler and elder. My brother, Gordon, reported that our 90-year-old mother could walk faster than me.
My body felt as if I was moving through wet concrete as I did my best to research alternative therapies. I could barely sit at the computer, but I sometimes pushed beyond what was safe to seek salvation from a living death. I learned Feldenkrais Functional Integration, bought an expensive CeraGem thermal acupressure massage bed and used specialized heat packs and cushions. I used more essential oils and nutritional supplements, made major diet changes and received Johrei, a Japanese spiritual healing energy practice. These methods offered minimal symptom management, but I was grateful for any relief I could get. My total disability had created an intense desire to find something to heal me, not just manage symptoms.
One theory is that Fibromyalgia is triggered by a trauma. I reviewed my life to determine the onset of symptoms and when they increased. I identified the possible traumas, but didn’t know what to do about it. My previous experience with traditional psychotherapy had not provided any effective solution. I had done much personal inventory in 12-step work, which enabled me to deal with much of it on a conscious level. I had done my best to own my part and clear away the wreckage of my past.
The first two years disabled, there was no possible way for me to travel in my condition. I longed to see my mother, who had ceased Alaska trips after age 90. I wanted to meet Kenji, my new grandson, when he came to America from Japan, with my son Josh, and wife, Naho. When I finally gained enough recovery to attempt it, I required wheel chair assistance, pillows, heat packs, blankets, essential oils and much meditation practice to survive it. During a four-hour airline delay, the heavy fatigue required I lie on the floor at the gate until we could board.
That two-week trip was entirely too much for me. I lost two months worth of gain in the process. I returned home to Alaska to discover the shock of financial devastation by the loss of disability insurance benefits with no prior notice. I had to make a desperate and heart-breaking decision to leave Alaska. The doctor had said Alaskan winters were too hard for people in my condition. Keeping my condo would be too much financial drain for only being there six months out of the year. I had to move before winter’s impending arrival in less than two months. I was powerless to do much of anything myself.
Thank God for Gordon; daughter Alain; friend Eden, the moving manager; cousin Janet, who flew to Alaska to sort and pack, and countless faithful fellowship friends. Again, I had to ask a lot of them to do really huge things. I could barely make decisions of what to keep and what give away. I was totally overwhelmed. I made a plane reservation and lots of lists with instructions. My previously perfect home was disintegrating into chaos beyond my control. That was my perception anyway. Upon entry to the central packing area, previously known as the living room, friend Twilah exclaimed “Oh! Everything is in Divine Order.” Alas, all I could do was walk away from the mess with no sense of emotional closure. My tears were abundant as my plane took off and I watched my Anchorage home disappear below me.
My dear mother had opened her heart and her home to me, but made it clear she wanted us to live independently. This was the home in Kansas where I grew up, and the first time I had spent any length of time there since Dad died. My grief was doubly magnified. I missed my Alaskan home and I missed my Dad in this home. Mom and I were just beginning to adjust when my oldest sister, Elinor, was dismissed from the hospital and needed to join us for a month. There we sat on Mom’s couch like two invalid bookends. I was not a happy camper. It was difficult for everyone, but we struggled through it with as much love and tolerance as possible.
The plan was to remodel the basement into an apartment for me, but I stayed with Mom upstairs until that could be managed. Bless Jamaica, my oldest daughter, who spent a week re-organizing and redecorating The Great Room in the basement (where I now sit writing my story). Finally, I had a space again that I felt was my own, even though I was still sleeping upstairs in the guest room. Gratefully the stairs are equipped with a chair lift.
I unpacked with indescribable difficulty, since any storage space for my things first had to be cleared of my parent’s decades of accumulation. It was months before I was able to resume my micro-units of attempt at recovery.
My dear friend in Oklahoma, Linda Esser, had called and told me about a powerful healing technique that she was practicing. She was sure it would help and said it had healed people from Fibromyalgia. I thought, “It might work for those who are still able to function, but she doesn’t know how sick I really am.” It sounded strange, but I did my best to search online for the demo videos to try it. I watched testimonials, but the fatigue would overcome me before I could find the “how to” videos. I was not able to travel by car to Oklahoma City for her to show me. The four-hour trip would have required three days of follow-up rest, each way, plus someone to drive me there.
I hoped to keep ties to Alaska. Gratefully I had arranged with my friend, Dale, to inhabit his duplex in Anchorage the next summer, while he worked in Denali Park. With minimal energy recoup I headed north. As usual, I made the trip in two segments with a one or two night layover in Denver allowing me to rest with family. My ability to be a passenger in a car required my seat to be reclined, my eyes closed, plus the radio and driver had to be silent. Even that was exhausting.
Once again in Anchorage, I unpacked and sorted my things left behind stored at Gordon’s. Then I resumed micro-unit attempts of recovery progress. I reported my return to Linda, who suggested I start making a list of my entire life’s hurts and traumas in order for her to teach me the healing technique. I slowly and reluctantly began to work on it.
Faithfully seeking a way to completely heal, I studied spiritual and healing masters. I listened to audio books as I continued my massage bed treatments and essential oils. I practiced many types of meditation, but still struggled with practical application of concepts. Desperately, I inquired of God, “What would I do if there were an earthquake, if I had no electricity for the massage bed and my supplements fell into a crevasse? How would I manage to survive?” I knew there must be a way to be healthy without the aid of equipment or consumable products, and I was determined to find it.
After two years and ten months I had slowly regained limited energy when I realized I was spiraling down into relapse again. My pain and fatigue increased and my digestive system was tolerating less food. I cried out in desperation to God. “Where is my teacher? This student is ready.” I knew if the student is truly ready, the teacher has already appeared, so I began to inventory my recent life to discern who it might be.
I called Linda, who had recently completed certification as a practitioner of the healing protocol she had suggested. It’s called Faster EFT, Emotionally Focused Transformations, developed by Robert G. Smith. I didn’t have my list complete yet, so I called to ask if she knew anything about fasting. She immediately began teaching me Faster EFT over the phone. I was still skeptical, but desperate enough to try it. During the first phone session half my pain vanished and the release of fatigue was dramatically significant.
When Faster EFT worked immediately, I was gratefully amazed and had an immediate, synchronous revelation. “This will work on anything, if I use it. This will be the healing wave that carries me out of the sea of disability. I will do this as my new career in healing arts.” Enthusiastically I practiced the techniques daily. I visited Robert’s YouTube channel to study and practice more. Linda continued phone sessions for several weeks to address and release the emotional charge of past traumas. I purchased Faster EFT training DVDs to learn and heal more.
Within ten days of daily practice, I was able to grocery shop without the motor cart, stand in line without extreme fatigue or pain, and sleep without a pill. I noted in my journal: “As I walked outside, I could feel the big difference in my muscles . . . so much more relaxed and fluid, kind of like pudding. My jaws were not in spasm, but relaxed and springy . . . I have not had any flicker of depression, nor felt lonely . . . I even did some bending and reaching . . . some of my leg aches are now the good kind, from rebuilding muscle. I am really getting my life back and way better than before. This is stellar spectacular!”
My healing progressed daily as I practiced Faster EFT. In six weeks, at the suggestion of both Linda and Robert, I began to share the skills with others and help them change their lives. I was impressed that every one I worked with experienced a positive effect on some level. It didn’t take their belief, only willingness. It’s just a simple system that works if you use it.
Physical strength and stamina increased with regularity as I practiced healing daily. After four months I left Alaska and returned to Kansas for winter. I supervised the completion of the basement apartment remodel and again had a place to call my home. Two months later I began driving weekly to Oklahoma City to take the Faster EFT practitioner course. Classes met every Monday and Tuesday evening for six months. At first I paced myself slowly, making it a three-to-four day trip. By the end of the course I was able to make it an overnight trip.
Today I am highly energetic and building my business as a Faster EFT practitioner. When symptoms arise I use the techniques to heal every area of my life. Faster EFT enables my conscious and unconscious mind to communicate with each other and my body. It releases stress, clears away the negative emotional charge of past traumas, changes unconscious automatic behaviors and replaces them with a deep inner peace and joy. These skills enable me to change my perception of my past and the world around me. I experience the freedom to change how I feel. This enables me to be free from pain and fatigue — free to live longer, be happier, feel more love and make more money. Faster EFT gives me the power to control my thoughts and emotions. Any time, any place, I can effectively use these simple skills to practice the spiritual concepts that were previously beyond my reach. I continue to heal my life and teach others how to heal their lives. Thank God it’s not all about me.
When I returned to Alaska the second summer, one year after I began daily practice of Faster EFT, my M.D. was very impressed with my recovery progress. After examining me, he stated, “Well, you can’t argue with success!”
In 2008, Grace created Denali Dragonfly Options, a worldwide healing arts practice, where she is primarily a Faster EFT Practitioner and Life Skills Coach. She presents seminars and does private client sessions over the phone, Skype (internet) and in person. She is also writing two books, one is her story, the other about how Robert Smith developed Faster EFT, with the techniques. Grace is her own best testimony to the power of practicing daily Faster EFT.
© B. Grace Jones 2010
NOTE: A short version of this story in September 2010 in a book of womens personal stories. For more information on the book, join the “Speaking Your Truth” FaceBook Fan Page.