Sunday, February 5, 2012

What Sanity Looks Like

Photo Credit: Flickr


I seem to have entered a new phase in my relationship with my chronic illness.

For the four or more years that I have been continually battling bad health, I have maintained an attitude of hopeful expectation. I have been looking for solutions and expecting my illnesses to be resolved and for my normal life to resume. And, in fact, one by one, many conditions have been brought under control. My asthma is now almost asymptomatic, my allergies well-managed and my migraines improved. But one condition after another has just popped up in the same way that carnival moles emerge suddenly demanding to be whacked before disappearing and reappearing again. The result is that for all my efforts, I am now as sick as I have ever been.

I am tired–tired of dragging my sick body around and making it act like a healthy body, and more than that–I am tired of the cognitive dissonance.

My "faith in ambiguity", the heart of my spiritual practice is about asking the hard questions, facing the facts and charting a path based on Reality and Choice. I have lately realized, with a mixture of horror and the relief that comes with distinguishing a problem, that I have been at the effect of my illnesses and the circumstances surrounding them. I have a commitment to be the author of my life, and I haven't felt that way of late.

So, I have had to ask myself–given the inescapable reality of my being chronically ill and needing more rest, more care and more help than I have ever wanted to admit that I would–what would I now choose for my life?

The labor of relinquishing this notion of who I was going to be, and what I thought I was going to have was painful. But in the moment of really letting go of my insistence on being a healthy person with all the things a healthy person can have, I felt free again. The unmet expectations of my former self burned up like ashes in a bonfire, simply and cleanly. Life became something I could invent again.

I am not saying maybe doctors won't find a way to fix me up, or that my body won't mend itself, my fibromyalgia won't become tolerable to me, or that my my attitude won't change. I'm not saying I am not keeping my doctor's appointments, or that I am not going to work tomorrow.

I am saying that right now, in this moment, sanity for me looks like letting go. Once, when I was seventeen, I first admitted that I was powerless over my alcoholism and powerless over my bulimia and the world changed on its axis and became a new place. Now I must admit that I am powerless over my health and my life has become unmanageable.

Every time before that I have ever had the faith to let go and fall into the arms of the Universe, something has caught me.

Let it be something beautiful.

11 comments:

  1. And to this end I shall be praying. You need the security of faith and it appears you have it.
    Excellent post.

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    1. Please stop by my site for your award!!!!

      http://jo-mywanderingmind.blogspot.com

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    2. Thanks! My first award ever. Blushing. :)

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  2. I admire your courage. It takes a lot to keep fighting, and maybe even more to let go. I wish you luck with your recovery.

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    1. Thanks. By the way, I enjoyed looking at your blog and sent a link to my mom who is also a blogger. She is looking for bloggers older (than me, I guess) to check out. I enjoyed your piece on Running Out of Somedays.

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  3. I pray that something good will catch you!

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    1. Thanks. It will. I'm already excited.

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  4. It is not giving up to "let go"--it is saving your energy for the things you can control. A healthy and wise choice.

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    1. Thanks much! Somehow I just went from feeling completely harried and torn to bits to feeling at peace with everything...and nothing changed. I love that.

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  5. This was a wonderful post. I enjoyed visiting your blog.

    Yes, "accepting the things we cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference" can take us places we didn't think we could go.

    Hope and pray for your health to improve. Nothing is impossible!

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    1. Thanks, and it really is totally possible that my health will improve. I'm just ready to stop living like a kid looking out the window and waiting to see if the next car will be my deadbeat dad. I want to focus on what's inside the house with me for awhile. I've always said that "I'm a courage to change the things you can" kind of a girl. I guess Life has had something to teach me. :)I appreciate your kind words.

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