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Reverend Bill MacDonald

After hearing the Reverend Bill MacDonald on YouTube and exchanging a few messages and phone calls with him, I felt compelled to travel from Isle of Tiree to London to participate in his self-healing workshop. Bill's jovial countenance and convivial story telling cloaks his true spiritual stature. At the age of eighteen, while on a surf trip to Hawaii, Bill was acknowledged as an avatar of one of the founding Kahunnas of the Hawaiian tradition. As a veteran of the Vietnam war, he's been investigated by the CIA after it became apparent that bullets seemingly passed through him. These stories are incidental to Bill, 'no big deal' as he would put it. His many and varied mystical experiences, his meditation practice and his own healing journey through heart attacks and cancer, have honed in him a childlike message that boils down to, Love Yourself, Love your Neighbour, Love your Enemy, Forgive, Express Gratitude and Offer Service. In answer to an essay-long question I posed after the workshop, he responded, don't overcomplicate things, go within. His healing technique – if it can be called something as grand as a 'technique' – is to rub the hands together so that you become aware of the energy field within them and then place them over the injured part and offer love, gratitude and apology to the body. So simple!

The simplicity deceives us, however, and makes us prone to dismiss it without truly trying it. When we attempt to offer a wounded or ailing body part our wholehearted love, we might stumble and discover that simple doesn't mean easy. We are so acclimated to self-blame, shame and recrimination that we can find it hard to access an unadulterated source of love for ourselves. This is something worth sitting with despite the acute discomfort because once we know love for ourselves, we are a beacon of love for others and this must surely be the heart of our purpose as human beings.

Framed in this way, the ill or injured body becomes our personal teacher and training arena. As we practice directing love to our own body and mind, we refine our expression and experience of love for ourselves. In this way we can discover gratitude for the body that doesn't seem to be working properly. I don't say this lightly. At the moment, I am struggling with the symptoms of Klippel Trenaunay, a rare syndrome affecting the left side of my body. Some days are filled with pain and even walking and sitting are challenging. One of my daughters has eczema covering her face and upper body causing her daily discomfort that's both physical and emotional. Another of my daughters is autistic and extremely dyslexic. She is often distressed that making friends or reading a simple sentence is so difficult. As a family, we are beginning to ask, what's the gift in this experience? There is a gentle balance in this question – it's important not to dismiss the suffering but to pass through it into the place of love. Love for the self, love for the body, love for the mind, love for the disease.

I encourage you to try it. Rub your hands together, notice the life force and place your hands on your own body. Send that body part love, forgiveness, apology and gratitude. What arises for you as you do this? Be gentle and patient. You deserve this kindness to yourself.

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