Jenny Rush is a sufferer who has learned to live with chronic illness in Lyme disease. Read on to enjoy a truly inspiration story, along with some wonderful guidance for living with chronic illness.
Dealing with Chronic Illness – Be Still and Let Go
For a couple of years, dealing with chronic illness looked like surviving it, dealing with it, resisting it, being afraid of it, hating it, and being completely at the effect of it. My thoughts, feelings, and actions were all determined by having Chronic Lyme Disease.
As I entered into the last year of being sick, I took a different approach. I began a journey inward to determine what lessons there were for me to learn as a result of being ill. I’m not sure why it took me so long to choose this approach since my life philosophy included a perspective that in all our challenges lie extraordinary opportunities to uncover things about ourselves, and to learn and grow as a result of the challenges.
And so I faltered miserably through January of 2011, resisting the look inward and spending most of my time living in fear of dying. For most of January I went to bed each night feeling so ill that I wasn’t convinced I’d wake up the next morning. My cognitive abilities were severely challenged, my body felt broken, but I kept pushing as hard as I could to research and understand different protocols to fix my body and I continued to try to ‘get stuff done’.
One afternoon, in a fit of profound exhaustion I collapsed back onto the couch, and I did the wisest thing I’d done to date. I gave myself permission to stop everything. I stopped trying to use my brain, I stopped trying to do things that required physical effort, and I accepted myself just as I was. I surrendered to my illness, to my inability to function normally on any level, and I lay staring at the ceiling in total stillness. I lay in a quiet state of being.
The first part of the experience of being was relief, not a small experience of relief, but an overwhelming, extraordinary sense of relief. I was immediately aware of how much energy I had been expending on resistance up until that moment.
What followed next surprised me even more. I was aware of a deep, peacefulness. Staying in this state of surrender and being-ness continued to reveal wonders. I was completely at peace with death. It was like a profound moment of forgiveness in which every past moment of failure no longer occurred as a failure, but rather as moments of humanity. There was no pressure to live longer to fix anything or make up for past failures.
In letting go of my attention to thoughts, I became the consciousness that is my essence, and I realized the oneness that we all are, the richness that life is (just as it is), and the profound love we truly are…and I was completely content and fulfilled. This was very surprising to me because I still felt very physically ill. I realized that who I am was not, and never had been broken, and that my expression of whole and completeness was simply blocked. My primary work became to distinguish my blockages, my secondary work was to nourish and nurture my physicality back into a state of wellness.
While the year that followed was by no means a graceful expression, I was aware that a state of grace was always within reach. My focus sometimes lingered on my physical struggles and ailments, and I learned a lot of interesting and useful things. But it was without any question that during the times I aligned with the essence of my source, my true Self, that my body and all its parts were automatically pulled slowly into vibrational alignment with that.
It was a roller coaster year in which I used the illness to distinguish thought patterns and long held beliefs that had lain hidden from my conscious mind. I noticed how I’d spent my life identifying with my achievements and the various roles I’d played in life. I noticed that I was secretly enjoying resting because in the past I had always needed to justify resting with being sick. I noticed that I had a deeply held belief that I didn’t matter and that I’d spent my entire life unconsciously trying to prove my worth by over-achieving and putting my needs after the needs of other people. I noticed that while I thought my great genetics allowed me to participate in high level sport without much rest or nourishing nutrition, I was living irresponsibly and not honoring or being grateful for a body that I was using relentlessly to prove my worth. It was a year full of “Aha!!” moments.
By the following year, in January 2012, I quite suddenly felt completely well. It wasn’t just physical wellness, it was a profound sense of well being. My self-limiting beliefs were no longer running my life. To perceive life newly from a place of ‘knowing’ whole and completeness, to noticing thoughts and opinions as just that and not truths, left me without the need to be loved by another in order to experience love, without the need to be praised for an accomplishment in order to feel worthy. It was so liberating and joyful.
How does all this support others who are dealing with being chronically ill? It is simply an invitation to use the challenges of life as a tool to uncover the essence of your true Self. We always have a choice as to how we respond to life. I invite anyone dealing with a chronic condition to use the condition rather than be used by it. It is not an easy path to travel, there can be much heart ache along the way, and it is humbling beyond words, but it provides the opportunity for healing at the deepest level, beneath and beyond physical healing, providing an energetic expression that is vast and loving. It is an opportunity to stop resisting and go with the flow of life, just as it is. In this you will discover that you already are more than you could ever imagine, that you are wondrous, worthy and precious. Only you can realize this for yourself… just be still and let go.
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).