It’s taken me a while to understand this, and still I resist occasionally, but I’ve come to believe that when illness or injury knocks me down for the count it means a time has come for me to listen. Listen to what? To the needs of not only my body, but of my mind and soul as well. Listen to that which has been trying to reach me; that which I have neglected, avoided, or ignored. When I am in a state of utter vulnerability, Spirit has my attention in a way like no other. It is in these powerless moments that I’d be wise to tune in and try to learn something, to grow toward wellness and an improved experience of life. Illness and injury are great opportunities to take an inventory of our lives and make adjustments where needed.
For example, I get migraines occasionally, and they are awful. They typically have stages like a tornado. First there is the migraine “watch” when conditions are right for one to occur. If I pay attention to the cues I can sometimes get ahead of it (with the decision to disappoint others and improve my self-care) to avoid it going full-blown. It’s hard to do this at times, to not try to push through, especially in a culture that does not support enough the use of sick days or the observance of some kind of Sabbath time. If the migraine reaches the “warning” stage, it means one has “hit the ground,” at which point I’m simply forced to surrender immediately because I can no longer function. It is then that I am at the mercy of my body’s path to healing. The migraine’s time frame will not consider any will of mine to override it. I simply must be.
Just being can be really difficult in a society that values doing to an unhealthy degree. Author Robert Holden calls this problem “Destination Addiction” (https://www.robertholden.com/…/what-is-destination-addicti…/), and he names the sad truth I see repeatedly in myself and others: “Our goal is not to enjoy the day, it is to get through the day.” And what does illness and injury have to stay about this? Not so fast. Rest or collapse. Find a healthier balance. There is a better way.
Healing is a patient process that holds tremendous intelligence. When we sit with the illness or injury and listen deeply to it’s lesson for us we can improve not only the present circumstances, but we can also make a path forward that offers a better quality of life over all. In our physically limiting times, let us not miss the compelling invitations from that aspect of ourselves which is beyond the physical. Let us uncover the opportunity to grow spiritually.
What have you learned, or what might you learn, from illness and injury? May you be inspired!