What is the Medicine in Illness?

No one would ever willingly choose to have chronic illness or pain in their bodies.  Chronic illness can derail the plans you have made for your life.  You may have to take time off of work, receive financial support from others, shift your relationships and your priorities, and pull back your energy from things that do not support your healing.  Having a chronic illness can bring you to evaluate what is most important to you.  No one would ever choose to be in pain, to have to undergo painful medical procedures, or side-effects of medications.

In some spiritual circles, there is a belief that we create our own reality.  That when something bad happens to us, we need to look at the part we played and recognize that on some level we caused it to happen.  I believe it is important to not go down the path of self-blame and feeling like we caused this bad thing to happen to us.  Chronic illness and pain are caused by multiple factors, many of which are out of our control.  Self-blame and self-judgment only perpetuate feeling at war with ourselves and our bodies, which can block our potential toward healing or wholeness.

However, from my own experience, I have found that there are gems of wisdom and growth hidden within the path of chronic illness that can be available to us.  Can chronic illness provide medicine for our healing?  The word "heal" comes from the root meaning "to make whole."  If we see the purpose of our lives is to become more fully who we are, more fully integrated into our wholeness, we can see any major challenging event such as chronic illness as potentially serving that purpose of guiding us to our wholeness.  

What does it mean to become more whole?  I believe it is connected to the ability to accept with kindness all parts of ourselves.  To listen to our inner truth.  To not push away the uncomfortable parts of ourselves, our "shadow" parts, to bring greater love and acceptance to our inner child, to the vulnerable, tender aspects of ourselves.  To give ourselves permission to feel the grief, sadness, or anger that might not have had a chance to be felt.  To integrate and make peace with traumatic experiences or painful childhood memories.  Having a therapist to help us integrate these parts of ourselves can be a very helpful support.

No one would ever choose to have a chronic illness or pain.  Yet, I have heard from clients that chronic illness was the best thing that ever happened to them.  It brought them to face facts that they were living the life they were told they should live, not the life that would bring them joy.  Perhaps they were in an unhealthy marriage, or working at a job that was harmful to their well-being.  Perhaps they always put others first, never saying "no," or taking time for self-care.  Perhaps they had never learned to have boundaries, a sponge for negative energy around them.  Chronic illness can be an opportunity to take time out of life; to evaluate what really matters to you, to re-imagine a new way of being. 

The journey toward wholeness and healing begins when you can turn toward your pain, listen to it, love it, be kind to it, speak to it with patience, and hear what it has to say.  The more we resist our pain, or make it wrong and bad, the more powerful it grows.  Likewise, breathing into and witnessing our pain can help it transform, soften, and become more manageable.

If you are ready to receive support on your healing journey, please contact me to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Wishing you peace,