"[GV] gives power and strength when physically I am ill and spent” Arlene
“GV was a fantastic resource for me to use during labour” Val
Many with physical health problems have claimed physical as well as psychological benefits (eg see Munyard et al 2002; Cloverleaf et al 2002; Rakusen 2000).
Conditions where physical benefits have been claimed by participants include the following –
“When I come to the GV group my back pain disappears. Nothing else cures it!” Dan
Writing after a GV day, Dan continued, “I have been able to swim, pain free, three times this week. This is incredible, as I have been unable to swim for months because of my back pain. Thanks!” After another day, he wrote, “I felt I had been opened inside and given a generous oiling all over.”
Dan had long-standing severe back pain for many years, and said he had ‘tried everything’ – allopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, etc etc. Despite being told that the pain relief was not being given to him, but that it was something he was doing, and that he could develop awareness of what it was, so that he could do it without the facilitation of the teacher (JR), he tended to laugh disbelievingly. He steadfastly resisted choosing to learn to do it for himself, knowing full well the absurdity of his apparent choice.
Jill herself developed GV whilst living with Post-viral fatigue syndrome, a form of M.E. Her book offers insight into how she has used song – often in silence when lying in bed – whilst living with disability. One of the many people who has learnt to do this too is Becca –
"Living with chronic illness is s***. Living with chronic illness with GV in my life is a lot less s***. At times it can even be fun and enjoyable. Long periods of being confined to bed can be difficult to endure, but lying in bed with a song in my heart can be a complete delight and I can’t wait to do it again. It can bring me deep peace and I can even feel grateful for the enforced rest. GV helps me manage the M.E., and gives me ways to deal with stress and overcome the worry and resentment arising from it, that in turn would make my condition worse. It helps me feel part of the human race and that I have something to give, even though I am so ill and disabled at times.”
At the end of a GV event, Andi found it remarkable that her ability to walk and stand had improved. She believed that something about her engagement in the GV Process had helped her.
Other severe pain or incapacity
Barbara, who has severe, long-standing osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, reported an extraordinary development after exploring GV at home with one particular song –
“The constant pain eased! This is the first time I’ve had [relief] like this. Gardening, I’ve been surprised how less bad my back’s been. And I’m standing taller because I’m less hunched up with pain, and it’s since my experience with this song! It means I keep hitting my head on the kitchen cupboards – the first time ever (I’ve had them 15 years!)” Arlene, whose pain and overall health challenges are constant and severely debilitating, wrote one day –
“I sang, and meditated, my way out of a thicket of intense chronic pain for the past 2 months (sometimes I can hardly walk now – despite treatments and self-help). The experience of transcending, if for a while, all this excruciating and boring CRAP rekindles a flicker and also of hope. Without that there’s nothing much to work with. Big thank you … and deep peace.
Two years later she wrote –
"I was so close to despair (awful bus journey, so much pain, so much noise). I couldn’t bear it. Then ‘May the Doors of my House’ appeared [Song No. 16 in the book. Thank God for GV!”
Meanwhile, after engaging with a GV recording during one of our remote learning events, Audrey remarked,
”When I started to sing, it made me cry. Tears of joy and recognition – as if I'd found a way. Joy at singing with someone else. Joy at singing wholeheartedly. It's resonating in my whole body – my feet are vibrating. It's a release of creativity – this is wonderful for me because I'm so limited by physical weakness in using my arms – I can’t do things like drawing, painting, or writing. I get really irritated. Today I feel I've really worked. I've really enjoyed it."
Jeannie, who had an incurable, life-threatening auto-immune liver disease took powerful medicatio,n to keep her liver function under control. She lived on a constant tightrope between the dangers of the disease and the dangers of the drug. She also had a background of abuse, and recognised that she abused herself by “not giving myself time to do things I know will help me, and trying to do too much”. And while she recognised she had the power to affect how she felt – eg through meditation, dancing, singing – she wasn't doing any of this, and was feeling very low. She joined a short GV course, only managing two sessions in person because of her illness. However, she managed daily ‘homework’, sometimes involving GV recordings, and used the opportunities available for occasional facilitation from Jill . During the course she reported being "more energised, empowered and joyful – all unusual”. After the course she decided to continue with her daily GV practice at home, knowing that she could build on what she had gained. “I don’t intend to stop, because I enjoy the experience”, she said.
Two months later, Jeannie reports –
“A lot of negative feelings have been transformed ... My emotions are more stable, my self-respect has improved, I value myself more and I feel more confident in general ” “This course has helped me cope better with [my] illness ... If I feel depressed, I soon feel better [with GV].”
Eight months later, Jeannie is still using GV, and is dancing and meditating again –
"Now I’m stronger, happier, more peaceful, have more energy, and get more out of life. GV has certainly helped me a lot”. Jeannie’s story is described more fully in Jill's article in the journal Positive Health.
Denise is convinced that being able to halve her blood pressure tablets is connected with using GV in her daily life –
“There must be a connection with GV, since a lot of my b/p has been through stress, and I’ve been using GV to alleviate this.”
All those quoted above, and many others, had learnt how to 'unlock the power of song' through a short course. Our book is designed to help others learn to do this too – providing step-by-step guidance, and much more besides.
See also Handling disability at home and at work, Impact on daily life