The gift of chronic illness
Illness as a way to get you out of your personal bubble
Most people’s biggest fear about chronic illness or pain is that its presence won’t allow them to live the life they want. In essence they will miss out, experience less joy and die without having lived, learned, contributed or shared what they wanted too. The first thing that I will say is that the last sentence that I wrote cannot possibly ever be true. To believe that it can be true is what actually creates suffering for you, not the pain/illness itself, which most people think is the cause of their suffering.
By your mere existence you are already complete. This may sound like new age nonsense to some people, but I invite you for just a few seconds to entertain it. How does it feel to you when you think about how much you still need to learn and achieve and how you might never get to do it? Feels like crap, right. Ok now how does it feel to know that you are already complete as you are right in this moment and as your life unfolds it does so in the perfect timing and rhythm? Feel more relaxed, easeful, and less like you’re in a pressure cooker that is about to fail or explode?
What is chronic illness trying to tell you? Long story short, to get out of your personal bubble that says that the limited perspective that you can see through your tiny little lens is the best perspective for the course of your life. It may be and it may not be. We can become very narrow minded in our thinking about what our life is supposed to look like and therefore try to control and negate other possibilities when they present themselves. The gift of illness is in its ability to course correct us so that we can learn something that is even more important for our growth and evolution then our personal will-determined path can see.
Living the gift of illness
Surrendering your mind’s limited perspective
When you surrender your minds idea of what your life should be or look like only then can you begin experiencing more of who and what you really are. True knowing and power comes only through surrender, not through force, efforting and control. Most people get this on some levels however still continue with the “force equals power and more of what I want” path. This is because we have been taught for thousands of years that we have relatively little power (conditioned powerlessness) and to make a difference we must do a lot of work. Surrender has not been seen as something that can accomplish anything and in fact has not really been in our vocabulary except under the category “what weak people do”. The way to true power has thus been associated in our mind with weakness, hence the reason we continue to fight, effort and will our way through life.
Surrender, humility, and not knowing are some of the “strongest” states of being. They open you to novelty and lift the veil of separation between your ordinary self (you in your personal little mind perspective bubble) and your extraordinary self (infinite, uncharted territory of being). When you believe you know who and what you are you limit yourself, your life, and become frozen in time in a concept of yourself instead of experiencing more of yourself and what you are.
Surrendering into something larger again is not weak, in fact, it is the opposite. Those brave enough to not know, not be convicted, and humble enough to be empty so that they can be taught, led, and guided will have access to new levels and ways of knowing. Chronic illness/pain has the capacity to break us down so that something else can get in. We are taught to fight and resist it and not let it take our life as we know it. I invite you to entertain the possibility that its very purpose is to take your life as you know it, and alchemize it so that you can know yourself beyond what you know now. Through surrender you become privy to the universe’s secret power and transcend your bubble of personal will, which allows you access into a larger collective of knowingness, expanded perspective and seeing the interconnectivity of all of life which you are part of, instead of as a separate being fighting a battle against illness.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado