It was a wonderful course; you felt truly inspired and you got a whole load of tools to use to transform your life. This was the start point of new hope; something to feed and nurture you and bring you the prosperous, joyous, loving lifestyle you so dearly want. Just the perfect thing for this strange time of re-entry into a so-called normal world.
That glorious feeling lasts for a day or two and then, for no reason that you can see, it all goes horribly wrong – from the kettle blowing up, through quarrelling with your best friend, making a mistake at work and being told off, suddenly slumping into depression for no logical cause—it could even go as far as your partner leaving you.
Life becomes frantic, horrible. You feel so much worse than before you tried to sort out your life. In the end you realise that the wonderful ‘new way’ was all an illusion and it was never going to get where you so much want to go. Unless of course you sign up for this other new and improved talk or seminar. Perhaps this one is the one you truly need?
So often, we become workshop addicts chopping and changing in search of our goals rather than giving what we have already learnt time to resolve itself into our life. Sometimes we give up altogether saying that nothing works for us; the workshop was just a waste of time
Of course, some workshops are a waste of time – but most are not. The secret is to realise that the awful reaction we sometimes get afterwards is actually a part of the process. It is called chemicalisation and the very fact that it is happening means that something negative is shifting and that good will follow.
Spiritual growth is rarely comfortable and never convenient. Remember those words – they are very, very important. They will stop you from giving up too early another time.
The Unity Church Minister and prosperity teacher, Dr Catherine Ponder, says that chemicalisation is a very positive sign, even though it may feel terrible at the time. She says: ‘a chemical change literally takes place in your thoughts and feelings, which is then reflected in your bodies and affairs. This “chemicalisation” healing process is actually a clash between the old way and new way of thinking—this sets up a chemical relation in the mind, body and affairs.’
Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life (Hay House), calls it the ‘turkey dish syndrome’ – a perfect description. Remember when you’ve been cooking Christmas lunch and the greasy turkey tin was just about to be washed? Before it went into the water, it looked fairly bad but cleanable.
Then, you start the cleaning; within seconds all the water is slimy, brown and disgusting and your hands are covered in grease. What seemed to be a fairly simple job is now revolting; you had no idea how much muck there was to be cleaned out.
The only answer is to keep cleaning and cleaning until, at last, the water runs clear. Often at the end of that little job, you’re exhausted.
That’s chemicalisation for you. No, it isn’t fun. You can help it along if it’s major stuff by seeing a counsellor, a homeopath or any number of other therapists but it’s realising that you are bringing old rubbish into consciousness that’s important. And as soon as you realise what it is – it begins to go away. Hooray!
Often chemicalisation occurs when you’ve taken time out for yourself – and it feels like you’re being punished for being selfish. You go out for the day and your daughter falls over and is sent home from school; or you come back to find that you left wet clothes in the washing machine and a colour has run.
While I was writing this article some soup I had simmering on the cooker overheated and burnt the saucepan. At least that made me laugh!
The difference between chemicalisation and resistance is that chemicalisation is bringing up all the old gunk for clearance whereas resistance uses the appearance of —or the threat of —the gunk as a reason for not going forwards.
A family crisis just as you’re planning to go to a workshop or retreat is a challenge to face up to chemicalisation. Giving in to the pressure to give up the new route is resistance. Yes, of course, if someone is genuinely ill or the crisis is life threatening then you need to attend to it but most family resistance to your growth is subconsciously intended—to try and stop you from growing which is seen, by the ego, as a threat. You might even leave so you must be stopped! And even if it is life threatening then if it happens more than once, there is still a pattern.
Children are quite capable of getting sick to stop Mummy or Daddy going away—and even more capable of throwing a tantrum. And if it happens more than once, that’s your clue that you have to plunge your hands into that water and stir up the dirt. Any time you give in, the other person learns that manipulation works— not a helpful lesson for anyone—and you never get to live your own life.
Sometimes chemicalisation is very tough. Three weeks after I took my healing training class, I went on holiday with my first boyfriend after the death of my first husband. It was meant to be a wonderful time—but he ended the relationship on the second day and I spent a week in paradise being utterly miserable.
Of course, in retrospect, I can see that he was the wrong man for me and that I’d been ignoring telltale signs for weeks. The commitment to the healing course had moved me on. It was just that my psyche wasn’t ready or willing to be moved on in that kind of way! At the time it was horrible and brought up all the grief over bereavement again at the same time as adding feelings of rejection.
What was that about? Part at least was about fears of living my own life and being thought ‘weird’ by investigating healing. I had chosen a boyfriend who wasn’t going to accept the path that I wanted to take and the two could not exist in harmony together. Scary? Absolutely. But certainly not a sign that the workshop hadn’t worked! Another part was to do with my happiness set point. My ego simply wasn’t ready to be happy in my private life and in my professional one. That had never happened before and it was too much for my psyche to cope with.
Having a cold can be chemicalisation, as can getting spots. If you’ve ever had homeopathy, you’ll know that it can make you feel worse for a few days after a treatment—by bringing out the root of the problem to be healed once and for all. Obviously, we have to keep an eye out that we’ve just got spots and not bubonic plague —but usually, chemicalisation is short-lived.
Do we have to go through it? No. If we can stay conscious and observe our reactions after some kind of life-changing event, then we can spot it and eliminate it with positive thought and simple taking-care-of-ourselves techniques like going for a walk or having a relaxing bath. It’s living unconsciously that hurts us and not realising that chemicalisation is a part of the process.
You’ll be on your way again as soon as you can quote this famous phrase from Catherine Ponder: ‘I can hardly wait to see the good that comes from this.’
I managed to say that when my second husband’s and my visa was denied when we had a business and a dog in America and were stranded in the UK. At the time it was terrifying and there seemed to be no way out.
And yet, within three days a dear friend had taken a flight to Montana to take care of the café for us while we tried to sort out the mess; within three weeks I had a visa organised for me by my former boss; within three months I had sold the café and was bringing my dog back to Europe. All of those things were technically impossible. Certainly to me, but not to God.
Don’t give up. Keep hoping and remember that a loving God would never hand you a story with an unhappy ending. But She would tell you to keep on reading through the scary parts.