I am blessed to have been physically challenged for the past three years. I am blessed to have had most of my abilities to function taken from me for a while. I am blessed to have had the life-force nearly abandon my body. I am recovering, now, and am once again blessed.
Illness that forces a physical challenge has a way of stripping away every shred of false-identity. It brings with it the opportunity to see “self” as it really is. And that is a good, grand thing. Love is the Answer, at http://dancewithtruth.wordpress.com/, spoke of her hearing impairment, and how it led her down a spiritual path, to an enhancement of her sixth sense. I understand that now.
In the beginning, there was frustration. There was “why me”? There was anger. There was denial, that sense that if I just bucked-up, I could make this go away. There was boredom. My sense of identity was gone, having been hidden from me for so many years with “busyness”, with my profession, with the roles I played in life. I felt like a child, being forced to allow others to do for me, all those things that once, I’d done, without effort, for myself. I felt vulnerable, where once I’d felt strong. And lastly there was constant pain, excruciating pain that never left my body, that invaded what sleep I could find, that forced me to pace all night long.
The realization that illness and physical challenge are blessings did not come at once. It was a process.
Frustration slowly forced me to find the truth of that ”what is ~ just is”. The “why me?” became “why not me?” The denial evolved to the realization that I must begin where I am, now. The boredom led to an over-whelming gratitude for the simple ability to breathe, the trust that my heart continued to beat, and it led to creation. The loss of my false identities led me to find who I really am, to discover that inter-connected self that is part of everything and everyone, allowed me to become the observer, to see more clearly. Once I stood naked, stripped of those false identities, I received perhaps the greatest blessing of all: the grace that comes with knowing that those who love me, love me for my true self, not for the roles I played. With that wondrous grace, I could allow those whom I loved to do for me without feeling vulnerable, because I understood those actions came from a place of unconditional love. And the pain? I discovered that there is a way to go “into” the pain, to allow it to co-exist, almost without resistance; it becomes a part of normal. Once the resistance dissolves, the pain becomes much more bearable.
Now, with recovery from most of those physical challenges, I am struck with a new truth: that joy and happiness and contentment are choices. They do not descent upon us from somewhere “out there”; they come from deep inside our true self. They are our natural state. We were born into this state, and it takes a great deal of effort to obliterate that glorious, natural state of joy, happiness, and contentment. We can live in grace, with the knowledge that we are blessed. We just have to make the choice to see life through that lens.
© Janet Mitchell, April 2012