Living The Journey: Using The Journey Method to Heal Your Life and Set Yourself Free

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Simon and Schuster, Aug 21, 2012 - Health & Fitness - 288 pages
In this compilation of inspiring stories, edited by renowned healing expert Brandon Bays, practitioners of The Journey method share their powerful experiences with natural healing.


The Journey inspired people worldwide to follow Brandon Bays’s teachings in an effort to achieve healthful, more fulfilling lives. In 1992, Bays was diagnosed with a basketball-sized tumor in her uterus and refused surgery. Catapulted into a remarkable, soul-searching, and ultimately freeing healing journey, six and a half weeks later, she was pronounced completely tumor free. The Journey outlined practical steps for ordinary people to take toward a path of healing.

Now, Living The Journey is an opportunity for those seeking wellness to learn from the many people who have successfully integrated The Journey into their lives. Sixteen contributors tell remarkable stories of profound healing–– of overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder and depression; ridding the body of cancer and chronic pain; clearing addictions; and transforming devastating grief into peace, all through the measured steps of The Journey Method.

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One Crumb at a Timeby Debbie Clarke
The Good Little Girlby Patricia Kendall
Back Issuesby Jared and Ilene Beal
Bye Bye Loveby Jasmine Iwaszkiewicz
An End to Warby Joseph Doyle
Partnership in Truthby Lumananda and Bodhi Brouillette
The Coping Gameby Bet DieningWeatherston
From Train Wreck to Truthby Lori Beaty
Am a Rockby Cynde Sawyer
Cowgirls Questby Robyn Johnston
On the Wings ofa Prayerby Kimberly and 11
The Decisionby Susan DAgostino
An Invitation from Brandon
The Living The Journey Process Instructions
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Living The Journey


One Crumb at a Time

by Debbie Clarke

Change . . . it''s something that can occur in the blink of an eye, or it can be something that happens so slowly that it''s not until you wake up one day and ask, "How did I get here?" that you even notice the change. This can be either change for the better or for the worse, on the scale of, How''s your life working for you?

My experience of change has been the slow, subtle type. It wasn''t until my life had tipped to a very low point that I woke up and began to realize that I couldn''t continue on the path I was on. Even my awakening to the fact of how bad I felt was slow. It was as if I couldn''t have tolerated noticing it all at once, so I become aware of each aspect, one little bit at a time.

Let me describe what my life was like back in October 2006. I was a month away from turning forty-six years old, and I was in a longtime relationship with my spouse, Dan. We had just celebrated twenty-four years of being together, and our relationship had grown unhappy and unhealthy in many ways. In my eyes, at that time, it was all because of Dan. I blamed Dan''s discontent, his choices, his moods and unhappiness as being the cause of our problems and ultimately my own unhappiness. I felt so sad most of the time, as well as alone, isolated, stressed, frustrated, hopeless and unloved; the list was endless.

To make matters worse, I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis nineteen years earlier. This disease had, at times rapidly and more often slowly and insidiously, accelerated to the point that eventually I was no longer able to work. Despite the evidence that something was very wrong, though, I had lived in denial from the time I had first gotten sick.

My jaw was the first area to be affected. Within two months I couldn''t open my mouth more than enough to fit my baby finger between my top and bottom teeth. I would force myself to go to work every day, and I remember that, while sitting at my desk, it would take me the entire morning to eat a muffin, one crumb at a time.

Surgery repaired my jaw somewhat, but then the disease began in earnest as one joint at a time began to inflame and swell. Soon my breastbone was swollen and protruding, and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest at all times. If I coughed or sneezed, the pain was unbelievable, almost as if someone had ripped me wide open. My shoulders were painful, and I couldn''t reach over my head. In order to get myself out of bed in the morning, I would grab the front of my own pajamas and pull myself up. To wash my hair in the shower, I would need to bend forward and bring my head down to where I could reach my hair. Both of my knees ached, and I limped; my neck barely turned, and each movement of my head was agonizing. My low back was stiff and very painful. There were almost no spots on my body that didn''t hurt. Each morning it was only after hours of struggle and incredible pain that I would be ready to start the trip to work via public transit.

I read an article once by a woman suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, and she said that her life was about planning. She had to preplan every step she took and every moment of her day. I had been doing exactly that, and such was the depth of my denial that I had not even been aware of it! I would plan ahead what hand I would hold on with when I boarded a bus, and make sure not to carry anything and always to have a hand free. I would pray that there would be a seat available, and one that I could get in and out of easily and not make a spectacle of myself.

As I write this now, I''m still amazed that even with all the pain and suffering that I endured, not calling attention to myself was foremost in my mind. I have to laugh, because the visual I have of a female version of the Tin Man of Oz making her way through her day and not calling attention to herself is so ridiculous. The good news is that most people around me were so "asleep" in their lives that they didn''t notice me in mine.

Even when I did stop working, only my closest friends were even aware that there was anything wrong with me. People who worked beside me every day had no idea. I was the master of disguise. I kept a smile on my face and hid my pain, because that is what I believed I was supposed to do.

I was the consummate people pleaser and had to give 150 percent at work and be the best social worker ever. At home all I wanted was for Dan to be happy, because I believed if he was happy, then I would be. I ignored and denied my pain in an attempt to keep everyone else happy.

My family lived about four hours away, and I traveled there as much as I could, because I needed to be close to them and please them, too. I always felt split: there was my family and my life in my hometown, and there was Dan and my life in Toronto. Whenever I was with my family, I felt I should be with Dan, and when I was with Dan, I felt that my family needed me. I remember a toy called Stretch Armstrong that my nephew Keith had back in the ''90s. The toy was made of a soft rubber; you could pull Stretch''s arms, and they would extend to abnormal lengths. I see my face on the Stretch Armstrong toy, being pulled until my arms can stretch from Toronto to the Ottawa Valley. There is sadness here as I realize what I expected from my body, and yet I can laugh because it really is a funny visual.

It''s all so obvious to me now that the outer struggles were being reflected in my body. Playing these games and using these strategies to fulfill myself--and looking outside of myself to others to give me value and meaning--was causing my joints and my body to be in a metaphorical tug-of-war that week by week, month by month was becoming physical. However, at that time I was so busy planning my every movement and just getting through my day that I couldn''t see the big picture. I was like a workhorse wearing blinders and plodding along through what felt like wet concrete. I felt as if I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. Every step and movement was a struggle.

I continued like this for thirteen years, until I needed to have a second surgery on my shoulder as well as surgery on both my knees. The doctor told me that they could do a few more surgeries and then they would need to start replacing my joints; but if the artificial joints wore out, there was nothing that could be done. It was all very difficult because I was so young. Usually people are getting joints replaced in their senior years, and I was only in my forties. The cold, hard truth finally hit me: my body was deteriorating, and I only had the one body. I had better wake up.

With a heavy heart and incredible fear I agreed to leave work. I will never forget the day that I read the doctor''s report that my rheumatologist had completed in order for me to receive long-term disability benefits from my employer. I opened the envelope that he had given me and read "Permanently Disabled." I felt like someone had pulled the bottom out of my world.

At the time, I was sitting waiting to have my blood tests done, and as much as I wanted to sob like a baby, I felt I had to hold it together, just as I had always done. The technician called me in, and I stuffed that sadness down inside me and smiled brightly. When I got home, I cried to Dan, at first, but whenever I cried, it seemed to physically hurt him, so eventually I held it in.

My family was the same. I didn''t want to worry them, and if I cried, they appeared to be so uncomfortable with my sadness. The worst thing for me is to see someone else uncomfortable. It was less painful to hold it inside than to risk making them feel uncomfortable.

I realize now that there was a deeper deterrent: I feared that if I dared allow that sadness, it would be like the Hoover Dam letting loose, and the tears would never stop. All I wanted was for people to be happy and have fun around me, and there''s nothing that stops a party like someone crying an ocean of tears on you. I''m having another visual of the doll I used to have, one that you filled with water and it would cry and wet in the diaper. I see myself with my tear ducts releasing a never-ending stream of tears. That could get messy!

So at the age of forty I found myself unable to work, trapped in a body that the doctors predicted with certainty would slowly and steadily deteriorate. I was taking forty pills a week to manage my arthritis and the related conditions, such as stomach problems from the heavy-duty anti-inflammatory medication. At least once a week I would vomit in the middle of the night. One medication had the possible side effect of damaging my stomach lining and causing ulcers. Another medication could cause liver damage, and yet another could cause irreversible eye problems and loss of vision. The double-edged sword was that if I didn''t take medication, I could not get out of bed. If I forgot to take my medication in the morning, then by noon I would start to feel my whole body becoming even more stiff and painful, and it would remind me to quickly take my pills. I cannot even fathom what my life would have been like without that medication.

I had always struggled with who I was, and when I worked, at least I knew myself as a social worker and had a purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Now who was I, with no career and no purpose? I felt worthless, weak and so afraid.

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