When faced with illness, good things can come out of it.
Really? Yes, really.
Illness drives fear into the strongest of us and we want to push it away as fast as possible. There are physical, emotional and spiritual parts that all say, “What the hell is going on? How am I going to deal with this? I don’t want to deal with this.”
We also have other resources that we can find within us. A creative part of ourselves, that revisits and re-evaluates parts of, or all of our life, and we can decide to break out of the norm. We can recreate ourselves. We can use our pain and suffering for transformation.
We may find that we can take risks that we never would have before. We can start expressing ourselves in new ways, maybe because there is an urgency around life or death—so we act with more purpose.
Here is how I sometimes work with illness: I let it take me down completely, feel it fully, and start my way back up from the bottom. I journal what my body would say, I give it a voice. All parts of ourselves need to be heard and if they aren’t being heard, illness will wake us up to that fact.
Another way I work with illness is asking the simple question, “What do I need?” I usually get an answer quickly. I might hear, “You need to stop,” or “You don’t feel valued,”—what are we going to do with that feeling?
I see this as a gift, and a way to handle difficult situations with illness. I write poetry, you might draw or paint. I am also starting some three-dimensional art work that came from a dream.
Depending on your level of illness, see if you can do something creative. If bed bound, dream new dreams. If in pain, go into the pain and ask what it wants to say. Journal it. Creativity isn’t just creating art. It can be thinking in a new way. Don’t push your illness away like it doesn’t exist. It exists because you need to pay attention to something. Rest, feel, acknowledge everything you are going through. Give yourself the gift of time to see what’s up. Self-validate.
Being creative and inventive can excite you and infuse you with energy and that energy can help heal you. See illness as a mystery unfolding. Something to be curious about.
Why is being creative healing? It draws (pun intended) different parts of yourself out of your ordinary way of being and thinking. Since I have been an artist my whole life, for me it is like coming home to the best of me. It gives me joy! Joy is a healing energy. Shifting to a higher energy vibration enables us to heal. Acknowledging and allowing the flow of energy in the body is healing.
Instead of throwing the illness out with the bath water. See what it might offer you. It just may offer you art, a new view on life or a desire to change things up for the better.
I have included one of my poems around the latest illness I have encountered. It is on what illness can do for you and how it can makes me feel.
Whatever your circumstances, take a chance, take a risk and see illness in a new way.
Illness and what it can do for us:
There is nothing like illness to:
Bring you back into your body
To Humble you again
To Find what you are made of
To show you what your essence is
To fill you with love and compassion, even when you thought you had it and were expressing that in your life.
To bring you back to what matters
To show you what you no longer need to do or invest in
To let go of people, jobs, places and things
To show you who your real friends are
To hold onto what is truly dear to you
To teach you a deeper level of gratitude
To show you the deepest tenderest places within yourself
Illness is a unique teacher to each person.
These are some of the lessons I am learning this round.
Author: Navya La Shay
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Radhika Ravindran/Pixoto