Photography by Ningren

What I Have Learned from Chronic Illness

The opportunity to learn presents itself more often than most of us recognize. We ignore or do not hear the knock on the door to our hearts and minds. We become outraged or sickened when engaging with or reacting to someone whose behavior strikes fear in us. We allow our attention to divert to the trivial when facing something that makes us uneasy. Yet everyone and everything we encounter is a mirror, a reflection of ourselves.

I have been off line for most of the past six weeks, coping with a flareup of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue. When homebound and at times bedridden, it is a challenge to feel connected to the outside world and not slip into depression. I constantly have to remind myself that I am not alone. My shaman teacher told me this early on:

The first lesson of power is that we are alone.
The last lesson of power is that we are one.

Photography by Ningren
Image courtesy of Ningren

Recognizing and engaging with the numerous mirrors always before us requires mindful awareness. Any emotion that disrupts inner peace and union with The Divine provides an opportunity to grow. This could be a personal encounter, a memory, a TV program, a disquieting sound or smell, a visual image…

While in the throes of pain and fatigue, it can be difficult to focus one’s intention. Yet the most exacting circumstances offer the most potential for growth. Remaining aware of this, I have learned many things from chronic illness.

Growth occurs in stages. When we find ourselves in a recurrent situation and feeling frustrated/angry/disgusted, it is important to remember that we merely are peeling away another layer of the onion, the façade we believe to be our true nature. But we must not stop at this realization. We must dive deep and search for the cause, knowing full well we might encounter more illusions along the way. However, with each diving and resurfacing, we discover a piece of the Self we are dying to know. And yes, we are dying. We are shedding the relative–the illusion–and being reborn, moving closer to the absolute.

We move in and out of emotion until we reach enlightenment. Life as we know it is an illusion. We come into this earthwalk to learn and grow. To do so, we must forget who we are; otherwise, we might abandon our mission. Emotion aids us in the process of remembering, and focusing our intention helps us avert the stranglehold of chaotic emotion.

Photography by Ningren
Image courtesy of Ningren

Use what life throws at us to our advantage. A basic principle of the martial arts is using an attacker’s energy against them. This employs the element of surprise and might prevent a fatal encounter. We can use the same principle in our daily lives.

Thoughts and feelings are energy, and all matter converts to energy. I see energy as less daunting than the immensity of matter. It is much easier to manipulate energy than it is to move a boulder. It is much easier to envision energy being repelled than to imagine stopping an oncoming train.

Before leaving the house or driving the car, I close my eyes, envision an unbreakable pink/green (pink for love, green for health) bubble around myself, and say the following:

I place a circle of Divine Love and Protection around me.
Angels, guard me. Grandmothers, keep me safe.

I then visualize all harmful energy being deflected by my enduring bubble of protection.

We find our true friends when at our worst. While in the midst of suffering, reaching out to others can be difficult. Pain–physical, mental, emotional–might preclude picking up the phone or logging on to social networks. It is important to let friends know we are having difficulty. Everyone needs to be needed, and this provides them an opportunity to meet that need. Those who check in periodically to see how we are, regardless of timespan, are our true friends. They console by offering support and letting us know we are not alone.

I am so grateful for all of my friends, for all of you. May you live long and walk in beauty. I will leave you with this beautiful song by Emmylou Harris.

The Pearl


Until the next time, my friends . . . Namaste  

 ©Tina Frisco 2018

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