Meryl Cook’s Healing Balm

Positive, calming and practical tools to deal with a calamitous event

Having recently been diagnosed with a devastating illness, for me reading Meryl Cook’s book, One Loop at a Time was like a healing balm. It doesn’t fix my problem, but it adds to my kit of positive, calming and practical tools to deal with a calamitous event.

After Cook was diagnosed with breast cancer, it set her back, and she had to reassess who she was and who she was going to be going forward. Like Cook, I came to realize that my diagnosis was a gift in disguise because it is a clarion call to self-care. Up until that point, Cook hadn’t really listened to the messages her body was giving her to take better care of herself, which was ironic because she had been in the healing profession for many years at that time.

Cook admits to being frightened when she was forced to slow down because of the cancer. But she saw the unfolding events of her life in a positive light. “To be expected,” Cook says, “I had some fears going into surgery [but] I didn’t realize that one of the surprises would be the joy I feel, the permission I can give myself to heal and to find new ways of being. It has been such a gift. In a way the surgery felt like I was getting rid of old, unhelpful parts of myself, making room for new cells and new ways of being, showing me how much I am loved. I’m so thankful.”

They say that if you don’t have your health, you have nothing. Surprisingly, it can be when our health is threatened that we find we have a lot more than we realized. That’s what Cook’s little book brings home so succinctly.

On her road to healing, Cook scaled back on work and she eventually stopped working altogether while she concentrated on herself and her individual healing process, a process that involved hooking a series of rugs. Eventually, these mats and her journals became the basis for her book, One Loop at a Time.

“These mats follow my path from health wake up call to wellness,” explains Cook. “I invite you to share in my story as I hooked and wrote my way to recovery and beyond. I hope you will enjoy my journey and be inspired to express your own healing journey in a creative way.”

Cook has now reinvented herself as a creativity and healing-mats instructor and speaker. Her aim is to help others play with colour, fibre and writing as they journey towards their own healing.

Another woman, a medical doctor who has made extraordinary strides in dialling back the effects of her multiple sclerosis, Dr Terry Wahls, is of the opinion that “the public will soon be far ahead of the medical community when it comes to understanding the power [we have] to reclaim and maintain health.” That power is ably demonstrated in Cook’s book and the more we hear these stories from each other the more we can help each other reclaim our health on many levels.

One Loop at a Time
Meryl Cook
Full Circle Publishing

Written By

Elizabeth Johnston’s video poem, Keepsake, was shortlisted in two film festival competitions, and her poetry has also appeared in the anthology, A Room at the Heart of Things. She received a Canada Council grant to write her non-fiction book, No Small Potatoes, and currently teaches at Concordia University.

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