#27 Living with Chronic Illness
Finding self-compassion and acceptance.
A gift to say thank you.
I would like to create a Guided Heartful Meditation as a big thank you to you for joining me in this community.
Please answer the questions in this pole so I can create something that will help you most.
And if you have any other thoughts write them in the comments below or reply to this email in confidence.
Dear Lovely You,
for the past three months I have been journaling most mornings before I get out of bed. This helps me to empty my head of all the crap and constant thoughts and worries that go on there and feel fresher when I satrt my day. I have journalled on and off for years but not in such a consistent way for a long time.
I was inspired recently by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Letters from Love where we ask the question each day: What would you have me know today?
Then free write the answer from a place of compassion. I thought it would be easy. I can write, I know how to write great letters (to others), I am kind and compassionate.
I was surprised then to find a lot of judgment and sternness in my first few attempts at writing to myself. Hmm… I thought, I am supposed to be writing from love and I sound like a strict old teacher I used to have as a child.
This week with the first of the ‘how to’ instructions we were encouraged to use endearments. I didn’t like the idea. It felt fake and a bit patronising to me. I thought I might not do it after all but something inside me pushed me on and I kept going. To my surprise this came out and it’s really quite cute.
Dear Sweet Pea,
you're trying too hard. You're trying too hard to get well, to be well to be something. You've worked so hard at being better and you're exhausted.
You're trying to understand things that aren't meant to be understood.
Flower you can relax and be yourself. If you need to rest - I still love you.
If you need to rest more, I love you then too.
If you need to take a break or a holiday, I love you.
If you never heal - I love you.
Sweety Poppit you don't have to work it out. I'm just waiting for you to unfold and lie down.
Every little beautiful cell in your body and all the elements within them shine from you.
They're singing to you and so grateful to be a part of you.
To be you.
You shine no matter what you do.
Stop trying so hard and lay your head on my gigantic shoulder and gaze at the beauty around you.
Darling One, move your body as you find your own inner music.
Your own rhythms.
I beat in your heart. I am your heart.
Dear Heart, life is a wondrous journey of ups and downs and plateaus.
You've ridden them all and strode off in many directions.
It's time to come back now.
To come back to you.
Little Pumpkin Face, you and you alone know, know know what's right for you.
The only thing you need is courage to stand by it.
I am right here within reach and with immense love to stride with you back into yourself.
Into your being.
Little steps Little Dancing Queen.
Little steps that have big impact.
This response is referring to my life with Chronic Health Issues.
I have been very resistant to writing about this. I am afraid it will be boring for you. I am afraid it will make me seem like a victim and like I am looking for sympathy or help which I am not. I am afraid there are too many people already talking about such things.
Chronic illness used to be something you only heard about occasionally but in the last 15 years or so it has increased massively. It’s something that I have been dealing with for 18 years or so. A few years before my brother and son died I had been feeling fatigue, nausea and depression. After what happened it triggered worsening digestive problems, inflammation, multiple food sensitivities, brain fog, connective tissue pain and in the last few years as I have begun to thaw, anxiety.
I have been around the personal development world for over twenty years and it changed my life and how I perceived the world and helped me in many many ways.
However, it can also be another big stick to beat ourselves up with. My tendency to beat myself up with initially unconscious thoughts has also been fed by personal development. The truth is, if I did get better, I wouldn’t need that any more. If I had full health and financial freedom then I wouldn’t need personal development which is a lifestyle choice so who would I be?
I love delving into the mind and how it works. I love understanding myself more. I love learning about and going on courses with like-minded people. They are my tribe. And I love trying out different things.
In spite of having a very healthy lifestyle, avoiding toxins and years of cognitive work, Meditation, Yoga, walking in nature, EFT Tapping, EMDR, NLP, Mindfulness, Cranial Osteopathy, Supplements, Cranio-Sacral work, Bowen, Healing, Nervous System Regulation work and more, the best I can do is manage it. Thankfully for the last few years I have remained pretty stable and homeopathy is giving me some autonomy in helping myself.
Do you struggle with Chronic Health Issues?
The cognitive work has helped me clear trauma, grief, better understand myself, shift limiting beliefs and connect more to the Core of who I am.
Whilst I won’t stop looking for solutions, I believe that the more I can be my True Self and honour my needs without having to justify them the more I will heal.
I don’t need reasons, excuses or justifications for doing or not doing something, not wanting to is good enough reason.
This is what it really means to have boundaries and it takes a lot of courage to apply that knowing and to be assertive and bold in informing our loved ones, without attachment to their responses which may not be what we want.
I have to ask myself the question then: what will it take to apply and embody this knowing?
A serious health diagnosis?
A terminal illness diagnosis and facing my own death?
Something else? Add your own…..
And it’s a particularly hard thing to do for those of us who have been carers all our lives because you feel like you’re letting people down, disappointing people, hurting people (which is a topic for a whole other letter).
Writing is helping me to dig back through the layers of what I know and go deeper. I spiral around the knowing but each time getting it on a deeper level.
And I thought, what if I never get better?
What if I never regain 100% health?
Do I even believe I deserve it?
And the thought that I might never be 100% healthy led me to my next question…
What qualities do I need to cultivate in myself if this never goes away and I never completely heal?
My immediate answers were:
Extreme self compassion
And of course, these are most likely the very same qualities I need to heal.
Health after all is not simply the absence of dis-ease.
And I wondered what you might say to these questions.
How do you identify yourself?
Who would you be without it?
What would you do without that identity?
I will pop my answers in the comments below.
And what I know is, I don’t need to be 100% healthy and I don’t need to have financial freedom in order to do those things.
So watch this space… :o)
From my True Self to Yours
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