Leaving MCSville: Using real life to retrain my brain
by Julie Genser
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” ― Tony Robbins
The time had come for me to leave. I moved to the chemically sensitive neighborhood in rural Snowflake, Arizona in June 2008 for a four month trial period and stayed almost five years. The community had provided solace and refuge for me when most other neighborhoods in the U.S. had been tortuous due to my severe chemical and electrical sensitivities. I found a low-EMF, chemical free warehouse-like home built for my sensitivities with high ceilings, a concrete floor, and foiled walls on 40 acres. The space was full of light and incredible rolling views, and its Williamsburg industrial loft aesthetic reminded me of my NYC roots. I felt like a very lucky girl.
But over time, as I slowly healed and my opportunities for life expanded ever so subtly, the chemical free open loft and all the restrictions that came with living in it felt more and more like a cage. This bird’s clipped wings had started to heal and I wanted desperately to fly again. The risk of staying had started to override any risk of leaving. It was time to fly.
I have nothing but gratitude for the brain retraining programs and EFT modalities I had been using for several years in order to heal my environmental intolerances. However, for me, the regimented repetitive nature of these programs began to feel like an obsession in themselves that felt unhealthy to me. I wanted to use real life to retrain my brain. I decided to go to Santa Fe to see if I wanted to move there. My four day trip was life changing.
I stayed at a place that was green-minded, but had WiFi, an active solar system, and a 24/7 fan on its compost toilet. All things that in the past caused unbearable neurological reactions for me. I figured I had done a lot of healing and it was time to reevaluate my triggers. Plus, I had no other options for chemical free overnight accommodation, and I needed to stay for several days if I had any hope of finding a place to move to. I had to take the chance if I truly wanted change in my life.
The first night I got no sleep. The EMFs turned off my sleep center completely. I was a zombie the next day. My instinct was to run. To return home so I wouldn’t have to drive the 6 hours on several days of no sleep. But I needed to stay in order to find a new home. My backup place to stay fell through. I decided to try another night. The second night, I didn’t sleep fully but must’ve dozed because I woke up refreshed, although I felt as though I was conscious all night. The third night, I slept 8 hours straight. This gradual progression over the first three nights was a big miracle breakthrough for me. Wow!!
What I learned on this trip: 1) My body had the ability to adjust to a new environment over time; 2) I could sleep with WiFi, a solar system, and other forms of high EMF radiation; 3) I had healed immensely in the years in Snowflake and no longer had severe neurological reactions to the old triggers; 4) When triggered, my brain still went right into catastrophic thinking and protection mode (e.g., still a lot of retraining work to be done!). Maybe the biggest lesson of all was how important it is to test your boundaries every now and then and reevaluate your limitations, to avoid over-protecting yourself and missing out on the richness of life unnecessarily.
That’s all I needed to know. When I returned home, I immediately gave my landlord 30 days notice and announced to my community I was having a moving sale (which I lovingly referred to as my “going-out-of-MCS-business sale”). I sold almost everything I had amassed in the prior years to help me cope with and manage “my illness” – my oxygen tank, my sauna, my metal shelving and furniture, my rebounder, and so much more. The decision to sell everything was solely based on not wanting to put a ton of stuff into storage, but it forced me to focus on and release all attachments to my protective gear (for example, acknowledging that I had not needed to use my oxygen tank in four years, so most likely I would be okay without it). I had a few freak-out moments but overall was able to stay in the light and the positive energy of my choices. I was choosing to live again. This was my rebirth. I finally had come to the point in my life where I truly felt like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon. It was my time to fly.
I am making a conscious choice to turn environmental illness inside out and to surround myself with only positive influences. It’s time to replace the old traumatic memories and experiences with positive, life-embracing ones. The environmental sponge that I am, I will set myself up for abundance and love, and soak up only positive rays of energy and light. My first stop is a beautiful gift to myself: a two week raw food prep class at the Tree of Life. I’ve been aching to do this class for many years. After that I will go back to my nomadic roots and travel around Arizona and New Mexico, spending time in various communities that appeal to me to see which is the best fit for a longer-term relocation. I am very much committed to living a non-toxic, chemical free lifestyle and taking all of my hard earned wisdom with me from my experience with environmental illness, but my emotional/spiritual bodies will be given top priority in the next few years since those are the parts of myself that were not attended to so well in years past. I will continue to share about my life decisions as my story unfolds. To be continued…