Healing From Within – Surviving Major Life Challenges
In today’s episode of Healing from Within, your host Sheryl Glick welcomes guest Erica Tucci author of Radiant Survivor- How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer Abuse Addiction and other Life-Altering Experience. Erica Tucci was actively engaged as a corporate manager of a Fortune 500 company, a healing arts business owner and an author of three books. Unaware of any major health issue, one morning, much the same as any other morning, Erica suffered a major stroke that left her completely paralyzed on her right side. During a long recovery, Erica gained much wisdom about what is really important in life and now draws on her experiences through her healing process to use her story as an inspiration for others facing life challenges, which we all have whether big or small.
During the process of understanding what type of stroke Erica sustained, she learned a great deal about the statistics and logistics of the disease and shared these thoughts: There are two kinds of strokes. One is hemorrhagic a stroke where blood floods the brain often wiping out cognitive abilities and causing physical disabilities. An Ischemic a stroke is caused by a blood clot. Both types of strokes might cause paralysis of some sort. An Ischemic stroke might be rendered less severe if a certain injection is administered in time. Erica later found out that her stroke was caused by a hole in the heart, which over 25% of the population has but often goes undetected. There is a certain test known as the Trans-Esophageal Echocardiogram test, (TEE- pole), which with a transducer, inserted into the esophagus, sends out ultra sonic sound waves which can show the opening in the heart.
During Erica’s recovery process, she became aware of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, who also suffered from a stroke and paralysis. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard trained brain scientist, in her book My Stroke of Insight, describes how her stroke showed her the more we focus on any belief the more powerful the belief becomes. Dr. Taylor learned the left hemisphere thinks in patterned responses to incoming stimulation operating the right side or masculine aspect of a person. The right hemisphere is open to possibilities and imagination operating the left side or feminine aspect of functioning. As our left mind governs the right side of our body, the masculine side, it creates limiting beliefs through critical judgment and analysis. The right mind, which governs the left side or feminine side of the body, is where compassion, self love and creativity originate from. “[The] right mind is open to new possibilities and thinks out of the box. It is not limited to the rules and regulations established by [the] left mind that created that box… [It] brings new insights …” Dr. Taylor realized as a result from her stroke, paralyzing her right side and affecting the left hemisphere of her brain, that she needed now to access an entire new dimension or way to receive information, and became much more sensitive to her own sense of intuition and internal guidance system and was able to perceive life and her recovery in a much broader view or bigger picture of life in general. In other words, she was no longer so interested in a one way approach to any question or task. Utilizing the right hemisphere of her brain, which had not been damaged by the stroke, she was able to feel more compassion, self love and creativity, or access the feminine side of her nature which ultimately brought her great wisdom and showed her the possibilities for respecting the many ways we learn more about ourselves, our energy and how the brain functions.
Erica goes on to talk about the masculine vs. the feminine aspects of energy. Humans are a microcosm — Feminine at the center-the heart Intuition, and engaging the male energy, which functions to determine action and bring ideas into manifestation. For too long and over the course of history and religious structuring, the Feminine aspect has been denied and suppressed by the Masculine Principle. The Masculine Principle or Male Polarity has wished to dominate the Feminine Nature because they know full well the unbounded and unlimited creative power of the intuitive, compassionate, and love instincts afforded to females because they are working from the right side of the brain which accesses universal energy and a higher state of knowledge. As a result of not honoring the intuitive and unconscious knowing of all mysteries of life and buying into the masculine principle, on a global level, our world is on the brink of destruction due to the male driven economic corruption and warfare.
Paying attention to these statements just made, Erica began to realize her masculine side, or the right side of her body, was completely paralyzed by the stroke and she recognized that psychologically she was putting more of her masculine side and needs—her controlling and aggressive energies in play while suppressing much of her femininity. Her energies needed to be balanced and her masculine side had to be subdued. Another important aspect of her healing was surrendering or learning to let go and to trust in a higher divine force at work in her life. Erica describes the word “surrender” as the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life….to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation—surrendering also implies that we do not know everything and cannot see the future. Surrendering is also an invitation for finding unknown solutions, opportunities and synchronicity begin to emerge when our minds and hearts are opened to the forces and input in our environment and in a sense our way of inner knowing.
Erica mentions Carl Jung, father of modern day psychology, a near death survivor who said “Heaven is Masculine but Earth is Feminine. God has his throne in Heaven while wisdom has hers on the earth”. Therefore, as the feminine unconscious part of our psyche merges with the masculine it will be possible to finally have heaven on earth..balance and peace.
Erica describes a dream which she believes might have been the precursor to the hole in her heart which was the physical cause of her stroke. During her long and challenging healing process, Erica began to realize through a repetitive dream that a certain past life relationship relating to an unrequited lost love, pointed to her dying from a self-inflicted gunshot to the heart in a past life. It is possible that a loss of trust in that time and place challenged her relationships in this lifetime and Erica began to believe that perhaps soul mates come together again and again to interact. There is necessary karma or destiny together. Erica and Sheryl believe love is our deepest inner instinct and is the reality for eternal life. It is not our outer physicality that creates the situations we find ourselves in. When you are whole within yourself you are filled with pure love and your outer relationships and circumstances reflect this soul love.
In Radiant Survivor, Erica shares fourteen stories of recovery, transformation and hope. One of the stories was a about a young man named Deny who fought recurring bouts of cancer for 16 years. Deny began with a strong faith in a Creator and in his book Many Shades of Green: Running Towards the Finish Line One Cancer at A Time, Denny offers a quote “Survivors never complain or dwell on their current situation—instead they move forward with an ever present focus on the horizon. Part of the healing process included as I discovered accepting and loving myself including my cancer. It is part of me.”
Erica says that during her healing process “I had to let go and become more passive surrendering to Spirit—as I don’t have the last word—it won’t be by my timetable that I will find peace and healing.”
Erica, in her heightened spiritual development as a result of her stroke, came to believe we make a pact or contract with the Divine before incarnating as to what kind of life we will have—who our parents are—what life situations we will encounter—and these are the means to awaken our Divine potential or remembrance of Spirit. Sheryl believes we are therefore guided into certain relationships or develop an illness as our soul dictates among other challenges which are neither good nor bad but just experiences. Erica feels having her stroke showed her how resilient we can be and how we can move from a mind based ego consciousness to a heart based intuitiveness realizing FAITH can help us overcome anxiety fear pain all of which waste our energy and ability to self-heal.
Two quotes that Erica has offered in her book, among others, are; Carl Jung who said “Alcoholics are spiritual people searching for their spirituality using the wrong spirits.” Alcoholism like other addictions is just a way to push down or repress emotions and deep feelings…eating, shopping, relationships are all ways to avoid change and fully functioning in your own belief system…an escape or denial of what is really happening in order to keep the status quo. Elizabeth Kubler Ross MD author of On Death and Dying said, “People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within.”
Erica goes on to describe the 5 Stages to go through to recognize our Sacred Contract or Life Plan :
1. Contact (Dreams, coincidences, meditation, synchronicity)
2. Heeding the Call ( Take action, new values and beliefs and activities)
3. Renaming (Recognizing Inner forces-how you live, whom you love, why certain relationships have been necessary and why certain tasks are burdensome or destructive)
4. Assignments (taking personal responsible for choices in relationships, work opportunities, education, and all other aspects of our life)
5. Surrender (you learn to understand no one is in your life by accident)
Erica refers to author and spiritual teacher Caroline Myss who describes four archetypes in comparison to four legs of a table which help us balance all circumstances. The archetypes are; Child, Victim, Prostitute, Saboteur. Other archetypes that surface at various times in our life are The Matriarch -Mother, Patriarch- Father, Queen, King, Goddess, God, Warrior, Slave, Messenger, Rebel, Muse, Matryr, Hermit, Mystic, Visionary, healer…as you can see, the duality may be observed in every role we play and every situation we are confronted by. At times, everyone will play these roles as part of their learning to understand how others relate to them. By understanding the dual nature of light and dark, or the Shadow side of our psyche, our negative side and unpleasant characteristics, we will ultimately discover that limiting beliefs prevent us from fully realizing our potential and hopefully make necessary changes to create a better outcome.
During the time of Erica’s recovery, she came to realize that ever since she was young she lived in a cloud of anxiety—always fearful of not being able to live up to expectations of being perfect. To compensate for that, she tried to control all aspects of her life, relationships, what she did and how she did it instead of allowing for spontaneity and surprises. She based her success in life on her Outer Reality instead of what her heart said to her. Now, Erica lives in a heart centered reality based on trust and faith in a higher vision of life and Spirit and is actually grateful for an illness- a stroke that ultimately challenged her beliefs in herself and Universal Energy. Erica like Sheryl, practices Reiki and is grateful to share the peace and love of this discipline through teaching writing and practicing and being an example of this light and truth.
In transitioning to a heart based consciousness rather than living an ego based life style, one begins to know themselves. A heart based life style opens one up to the possibilities of enjoying life more, loving oneself just as they are and accepting others with their human frailties, insecurities and fears. Erica writes, “If you surrender that control and turn inward to accept yourself, the center of your true power with all its self-love and a level of security, you can free yourself from all Outer attachments and no longer accommodate the opinions of others—you can create an open space from which your divine power can radiate within, then beam its immense light outwardly into the world. You can begin to feel at peace with yourself as you are. When you are content– you begin to feel compassion for others.”
Erica and I would like you to begin your process of self-investigation change and transformation finding a new world of peace, calmness, health, and respect for all aspects of yourself, people and life.