The Beauty of Illness

I know, all too well, how devastating illness can be. It takes your health. It takes your fun. It takes your freedom. Sometimes, it takes body parts. But it does something else.

It takes something that hasn’t been working in your life, and shines a big, bold spotlight on it. Illness comes to tell you that something isn’t working. It could be your job, it could be your marriage, it could be your thoughts.

We need to reframe our relationship with illness. It is not meant to ruin your life. It comes in to invite you to a new life. After illness knocks on your door, you’ve been invited to leave the old space behind.

This is really, really difficult for most people. Most of us don’t want to see illness in that light. We want to look at it as a byproduct of a faulty body. And yet, we are not just bodies. We are whole beings with minds, bodies and souls. And nothing happens in isolation of one another.

Rather, we each come here with a soul that has certain places it wants to go. It has certain experiences it wants to devour in order express consciousness on a deeper level.

And this is all agreed to ahead of time. Not only are these explorations agreed to before we even arrive in physical form, but they are indelibly imprinted upon on the soul. We couldn’t escape them if we tried.

Why don’t we reframe these experiences? Perhaps they were meant to wake us up to newer and fresher versions of ourselves.

The guy who has a heart attack, for example, needs to look at what is happening in his world. Heart attacks are often associated with deep unhappiness at work. So do you keep on plugging along? Do you continue to move unconsciously through your days? Or do you ask why? Why did this happen? What, in my world, is stopping me in my tracks?

In autoimmune disease, one that I am intimately familiar with, the body’s immune system betrays the host. So I’ve asked myself over and over again…how have I betrayed myself? Where have I left myself behind?

You could ask yourself (as I continue to ask myself)…how is this illness meant to serve me? As I’ve answered this question of my own journey with Crohn’s Disease over the past 37 years I’ve come to some undeniable conclusions.

I lost my voice somewhere along the way and have slowly recaptured and recovered it. I denied my own feelings in order to protect others’ feelings. I no longer deny my feelings. At one time, under extreme innocence, I betrayed myself for the fear of being left behind by those that I love. Now, my most basic faithfulness is to myself. To have it any other way is to deny my own needs and I simply won’t go there anymore.

I’m still learning. As my health peaks and valleys, I continue to unfold in awareness.

Do not let your illness be in vain. Let it whisper to you and inform you and be the brightest light in your world. That’s why it showed up in the first place.

Most of all, I feel it worth considering that nothing is outside of the will of God. Nothing that happens to us, for us or around us is random. It is all meant for our expansion.

Be prepared to walk in new shoes. The old ones no longer fit.  The new you beckons and will continue to beckon until you answer its call.  Might you have to leave old ways of being, eating, living, relating, moving and breathing behind?  Perhaps.

Most likely.

But what if this new version of you is healthier, wiser and more vibrant than you could ever have imagined?  You’ll never know until you meet your illness with curiosity and even appreciation.  It’s waiting.

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