I met Juliana about a year ago at a Kabbalah connection. Instantly I fell in love with her energy - she has a serene, gentle loveliness that made me warm to her instantly. She is 51 and from Romania, a very sweet voice and a way of saying things that cannot help but make you smile.
At the time, I was still wrapped up in my head with the whole job situation - flip-flopping between new ideas and fear, confidence and crushing self-defeat. So, no change there then. She was easy to talk to and I opened up a little.
After sharing my woes, Juliana then said very peacefully "I have cancer at the moment. I am about to start a fast for six weeks." She had already had one round of chemo, but the cancer had started to spread from her breast, and under her own thorough investigation, she had found a holistic fast that she could follow.
A couple of months later, I met Juliana again. She told me that the fast had been a success and that the scan results were very good. And so still she continued to heal.
And for a while my thoughts were not on Juliana at all. Then three months ago, I noticed her name creeping to the top of the healing board, and I started to worry.
After a month of wishing to be able to see her again, she arrived for Saturday shabbat. Immediately I went to ask how she was and her eyes clouded up with tears.
"I am in pain." she said "The cancer has now spread to my liver and my lungs and my bones. It is everywhere. There is a lot of pain"
I didn't know what to say. What can you say? I said I was very sorry to hear that she was sick, and moved to sit next to her during the shabbat. Towards the end of the shabbat she leaned over and said "You have to understand, the only reason why I am crying is because of the energy here - it brings out my emotions. It is good to be here. I know that despite the pain, I am healing. I know that the doctor's do not believe I will survive, but I know I will get better"
Her courage and conviction was astonishing. The following week she was at shabbat, still in enormous pain, still smiling. "I went to the hospital the other day because I was so sick" she smiled "The nurses said to me 'You have to stop laughing so much, otherwise the doctors will not believe there is anything wrong with you'"
How she could continue to laugh was beyond me. How little my troubles seemed by comparison.
Two weeks ago, an email was sent from the centre to ask that Juliana be included in our prayers as she was facing "severe health challenges". It also said 'if anyone wants to go and visit or give her a call, contact us so that we can arrange'.
And I didn't. Not immediately. Why? I was afraid of what I might find. I was afraid that she was going to die. I was afraid of not knowing what to say. Of not being any use. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.
And then my sister told me of the experience she'd had when she lost her first son, how many people kept their distance because they simply didn't know what to say and were afraid of saying something totally appalling (foot in mouth syndrome), and she said "Just be there. Nothing else matters. It doesn't matter what you say. Just go and visit her"
So I did. And none of my fears were realised.
Juliana had spent a week in bed, in so much pain the she was literally unable to move. So she looked forward to the day when she would be able to get out of bed. And after a week, she could. Two days before I arrived, she only had the strength to sit in her garden for one minute. And on the day I visited we sat in the garden for 6 hours.
Juliana's philosophy is very simple. Live every moment in Joy. Have peace within yourself at every moment and dismiss every negative thought. When you are having a really bad day or a really bad moment, change it as soon as you can to doing something that you love, to bring about that feeling of joy.
She advised me not to even bother applying for any jobs or contacting any agencies unless I was in a state of joy. And if I couldn't find that state of joy, then I should find something to do that helped me to find it, without any guilt. She told me to spend two or three hours taking action, and then to go out and connect with joy, and share - to generate the right vibration to attract what is already mine.
She explained her own view on the Law of Attraction.
"Imagine," she said "you have two children. One comes up to you in a temper tantrum, wailing and crying and tugging at your clothes - 'I WANT A SWEET!! GIVE ME A SWEET!! PLEASE I WANT A SWEET NOW! I NEED A SWEET!!'. And the second child comes up to you with a look of joy on their face "Please may I have a sweet? I would so love to have a sweet! I look forward to having a sweet! Thank you!" Which one are you going to give the sweet to? The first child you would probably want to beat with a stick (haven't we all 'wanted' to do that at some point? Please note: I am not condoning the beating of small children with sticks) but the second one you would take delight in giving them a sweet because they asked so nicely. This is the way that God sees our requests.
"The second thing is, that you have to know that God already has the sweet for you"
I went to visit Juliana for a second time yesterday, and once again left feeling that she had given me more that I could possibly have given her. She is still absolutely certain that she is healing. She is still talking about three years from now, five years from now, ten years from now. She is still astounding the doctors. When her son took her to visit last week, they were astonished that she was walking. The doctor said to her son "Your mother is very, very sick. But she seems to be doing some really weird things which are making her really well".
I know that I am going to be friends with her for a very long time to come.
Life is a game. It operates on two levels - the physical world that we can see, and the metaphysical world that we cannot. The physical world feels real, but it is illusion - everything depends on how you look at it, everything depends on choosing how you want to see it. Every choice is free will.
Or as Juliana reminds herself with every challenge "This is not the truth. This is just what I believe"
So, the agency wouldn't put me forward for the job that I would have to commit to for 3 months. A bad thing, right? I only want to work. I am prepared to do anything. Maybe the girls at the agency were intimidated by me. Or maybe they didn't like my £5 Primark patent plastic shoes. Or maybe all of the agencies are conspiring against me to find work. Or maybe "God" is punishing me for being so negative for so long.
Or maybe, just maybe, something better is coming.
And I look forward with Joy, to that. I'll keep you posted.