Meet Yourself in the Wilderness
January 28, 2019
“Your time in the wilderness is designed to propel you toward your destiny.” -Sarah Ban Breathnach, Something More
None of us chose to get lost in this isolating, lonely, frightening land called chronic illness. But here we are, feeling like we’ll never find our way back home. No matter how good our support system is, no matter how many loved ones we have in our corner, it is up to us to heal ourselves. We are alone in finding our way out of the darkness, alone in controlling our destiny. And that’s okay.
Being forced to turn our attention from the all-consuming, demanding, moving-at-the-speed-of-light outside world to our rich inner world is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s the only way we can truly get to know ourselves, and how can we heal ourselves if we don’t know what we need? Not being able to participate in life means we get to tend to our own soul, figure out what it truly desires, what it has been desperately whispering to us while we were focused on everything else.
Nervous system dysfunction is most prominent in the perfectionist, Type A personalities. Especially in Type A women, because we tend to put others before ourselves, not paying attention to our own needs until we are forced to by illness or accident. We see illness as an inconvenience, an unfair derailment of our lives and maybe even a punishment if we blame ourselves (which we most likely do).
But, what if, instead, we viewed our illness as a chance to learn?
A chance to learn how to really take care of ourselves. To figure out how to love and cherish ourselves. To go inward and decide if we’re on the right path in our career, relationships and spiritual practice or if we need to change course and grow in a different direction. All of these things are not only necessary for healing, but also for living a fulfilling, joyous life. How wonderful we get the time and space to figure this out.
In my second year of illness, I went to a meditation workshop where we made our own travel alters. We closed our eyes and stayed silent, until we heard a word or phrase that resonated with us, and used that for the theme of our alters. Mine was “come home.” I finally understand.
I no longer look at my time in the wild thicket of illness as being lost, because it has brought me home to myself.