My Adventures in Healing

CFS/Fibro/POTS

My Adventures in Healing

Meet Yourself in the Wilderness

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.

2 Replies to “Meet Yourself in the Wilderness”

  • That paragraph about perfectionist women really hits home with me. As I’ve mentioned I suffered a serious physical debilitating injury when I was 19 but I pushed myself and learned how to deal with. I’m very much a perfectionist and, to make matters more complicated, I have OCD. I had my two children when I was fairly young and put them first in my life. I pushed myself when I worked and was told at one job that the office had never been as organized as it was when I was through. 🙂 But my health was always pushed to the back burner and the multiple conditions I live with hit me hard when they decided to make themselves known. Thanks to one doctor not listening and my putting myself last, I gained about 100 pounds before it became known that I had hypothyroidism. Due to my physical limits and medications that have weight gain as a side effect, I still haven’t gotten it all off.

    I love your travel altar and how you got the “come home”. I keep an altar in my home and it extends beyond the table itself.

    • Yep. This is a problem with women, we don’t take care of ourselves because we’re too busy worrying about everyone else. That’s got to stop if we’re going to survive.

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