Enjoying the sunshine
By Gopa Roy
When Gopa Roy asserted her right to be treated with respect, she recovered from a longstanding allergy to the sun
It began one summer morning, about two decades ago, while I was sitting at the window seat of a bus on my way to college. I felt the sun warming me and suddenly there was a prickling sensation at a spot on my neck. Later in the evening, the spot began to itch and tiny rashes appeared, but they subsided in a couple of days. At the time, I did not connect the rashes to the prickling I had felt in the morning. When the rashes began appearing now and then in the neck region, I realised that it was due to the extremely hot sun, and I began to protect my neck. The rashes remained confined to some spots on the neck, and did not appear in any other part of my body. My father advised me to avoid eating junk food, and bought me liver tonics since allergies, he said, are caused by liver dysfunction. But the roadside pani puris were just too tempting!
After a few years, I got married. Soon after the ceremony, similar rashes began to appear all over my hands whenever they were exposed to strong sunshine. My entire neck region was now affected. The sensitivity gradually moved up to my arms as well. I had no option but to keep my arms and neck covered while going out during the day, especially in summer. This state of affairs continued for many years.
Gradually I moved on to the spiritual path and became interested in holistic healing. My understanding of health and healing magnified, and I started using self-healing techniques. I explored metaphysical causes for allergies, but the rashes just wouldn’t budge. It looked like I would have to live with sun allergy for the rest of my life! The only saving grace was that it had not spread to any new area of my body.
Then about two years ago, one evening I had an argument with my husband regarding a situation involving my in-laws. In the past, I had usually given in to social norms and not asserted myself enough. Even though I did not really like doing something, I’d do it to please others. However, on this occasion, I found the strength to make my wishes clear, and my unwillingness to be taken for granted, to be disrespected as a person. The fight left me emotionally drained, but inwardly strong. Then from somewhere within me there was a sudden burst of happy awareness that “tomorrow when I go out in the sun I will be absolutely fine”.
My faith was borne out when I ventured into the sun uncovered, and has been sustained till date. The rashes have indeed deserted me! From where did my inner knowing come? Perhaps my spiritual practices had strengthened my intuition enough to grant me that awareness.
Grateful for the miracle, I began to understand that the accumulation of fears, the failure to assert my will, and be true to myself, had manifested on the physical plane in the form of allergic reaction to sunrays. The sun is connected to the solar plexus, the seat of personal power and will. In fact, my father was not off the mark when he suggested that I take care of the liver. After all, the liver is governed by the solar plexus, and is likely to be affected by the mental and emotional issues that are related to this chakra.
In retrospect, I discovered that the reason for my rashes to increase so dramatically within a few days of my wedding was a ritual performed at my in-laws house, where I was asked to wipe my husband’s feet with my hair. I did not want to do it. Every cell in my body rebelled inwardly against this degrading and demeaning act. I felt very strongly about such things and believed in walking my talk, but in this instance, I surrendered. I was not concerned for myself but I knew that as a new bride if I created a scene during the wedding itself, my parents and family would be maligned and shamed.
And so I kept quiet. Social conditioning prevailed over integrity of the self. But there was no escape from the inner shame of not living up to my ideals, of betraying myself. No wonder the rashes increased! The ritual itself is not taken seriously, and is a relic of earlier times. Another person might have treated it as an inconsequential incident and laughed it off, but for me it was an important issue and I reacted very strongly on the inner plane though outwardly I expressed nothing.
Off and on, over the years, there have been times when I failed to act according to my inner prompting, and went along with others. The universe challenged me to grow for many years through repeated situations that asked me to lose my fears and assert myself, but I remained oblivious. It was only when I fearlessly faced a showdown, and stuck to my guns that the accumulated negativities dissolved and dispersed. Increasing self-understanding and a shift on the inner plane, dissolved the blocks of fear I harboured. I discovered a new sense of strength and power when I let go of the apprehensions that used to hold me back. A moment of quantum shift in awareness and action led to my inner and consequently outer healing. Miraculous healing is indeed possible when we take responsibility for our own healing by acting in accordance with the truth of our own nature and dancing to the tune of our Higher Selves. I know now that nothing can keep me from enjoying the sunshine except myself !