Should the canary heal?

When people are considering doing the Gupta Programme to heal from multiple chemical sensitivity, sometimes they wonder if their role instead is to serve like the canary in the coal mine, giving the signal of toxins in the environment?

That was a question I had needed to answer for myself, and it came in layers. Early in my healing process, the idea came to me to be a different kind of bird, that sings as the Voice of the Earth, giving a message about cleaning up the air. I had the idea that speaking with words would free my body from speaking through reacting, and I certainly made a great deal of progress, and became much less reactive.

Yet there were some more layers that needed to be addressed. A practitioner I was working with to help me detoxify my body liked the idea of the Voice of the Earth, and began calling her other patients with MCS Voices of the Earth. I felt somehow uneasy with this, but wasn’t clear on what it was.

As I was healing, I gradually became part of the wider world again, as a practitioner myself, and in circles dedicated to progressive health and spirituality, or the arts. When I attended an Intenders Circle facilitated by Tony Burroughs, a person who was healthy spoke an intention for clean water and air. I then understood that by allowing the identification of Voice of the Earth to be attached to chemical sensitivities, it was only partly changing that particular role, rather than celebrating that all can speak for the earth. And I was then able to release the burden connected to my body carrying a signal.

It was an important aspect of allowing myself to heal fully when I later found the Gupta Programme. In reflecting on this realization, I notice that it happened in a group.

In many groups of people living with MCS, the idea of serving as canaries is very important. And for me, it had served great value, by giving meaning to the suffering, and for illness serving as an initiation into being a messenger. I now encourage people to take the next step: to be a messenger for a healthy way of life, without the burden of illness.

It’s a lot more fun, being that messenger! I feel so thankful to really enjoy my life, go anywhere I desire, eat anything I like, and have adventures.

As a healthy person, I can contribute more to the shift to a healthier planet as well. Recently I chose to move to the small town of Ajo, Arizona, and it is no big deal that I ride my bike and walk here. But when I still lived in Tucson, people with MCS were astounded that I not only lived in central Tucson, but rode my bike in traffic and walked for errands. I also take public transportation, while still making less frequent use of a personal vehicle.

Because I am not reactive, I can also buy more from thrift stores, reducing my carbon footprint, since even producing new organics has an impact. When I buy new, I still choose to buy organic clothing, and to make conscious choices of appliances, electronics, and other items.

Similarly with food, when I was still in Tucson, I chose to take part in buying produce from Market on the Move, produce that would have gone to waste, while still buying organic from stores and farmers’ markets. I had the energy to garden as well.

Becoming healthy has also given me the freedom to live in an apartment again, further reducing my individual carbon footprint. While the person who bought my house in Tucson was happy to have rooftop solar and rainwater harvesting, all things that I could afford to do because I was healthy enough to be earning sufficient money to invest in those.

This has all been a big transition. I think one crucial factor in my success was that I did not keep all my identity wrapped up in being the canary or later a Voice of the Earth; I gradually built connections based on shared values and interests rather than illness—I kept many friendships and also made new connections with people who ate healthy, liked to be outdoors, and many of whom shared work in the healing or fine arts. Others were women business owners. Some were neighbors.

Few of these new friends understand my whole journey; they cannot fully validate my experience. And that is why it is so important to me as a Gupta Programme coach, to offer group coaching, where people have peers on the journey of retraining their brains and getter better.

When people are retraining their brains, they may also need a break from hearing a lot about toxins, and for that reason, be less connected to some friends living with MCS. That had been my experience, and then it was such a joy to find that some other activists for access for people with MCS have also recovered through brain retraining. These are friends of mine going back many years, some all the way back to 1990, when I started speaking up about access for people with MCS. So I have a long-time peer group again myself, people who have been on the whole journey. And I’m happy to be helping more people come over and join us in this adventure!

To see the schedule of group coaching events, please see:

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