Something You Can Choose When You Have a Chronic Illness

You can choose how you feel about it. 


I don’t mean this in the “you always have a choice to be happy” way. I mean it’s you who gets to choose. Not your friends, not your doctor, not a meme on Facebook.

We’ve all seen them, memes proclaiming the wonders of feeling gratitude for everything and proclaiming the spiritual power of seeing everything as a blessing. I saw one the other day that asked “what if we were just grateful for everything?” I know my answer: then I would be repressing a lot of how I actually feel and I would not be able to access the love and support I need to grapple with those feelings!

What if your yoga practice, your meditation practice, or whatever spiritual practice you have made room for you to feel however you actually feel? I appreciate that when doing yoga I have space to feel the fear that my illness evokes. When I meditate I have space to grieve the many losses it means in my life– I miss travelling, oh God how I miss travelling, and I just can’t with my current breathing issues. This isn’t a gift for me, I’m actually just pretty sad about it. These complicated feeling that would not fit on a meme can be a dull hum in the background of my day. My spiritual practice affords room for me to have those feelings from an uncluttered space.

Are you in pain much of the time? Do you take regular trips to the hospital? It’s okay if you’re not grateful for that. You can still be grateful for other things. Do you have trouble having energy for basic things, like eating breakfast or taking a shower? It’s okay to not see it as a gift. You have enough you cannot control when you have a chronic illness, this is one choice that is yours. When I claim that you get to choose how you feel, I mean that in a way that is free of moral judgement. One choice is not more enlightened than another, sadness is not less valid than happiness. If you have a spiritual practice, it’s okay to give yourself permission to bring how you actually are on any given day.

I wish for love, healing, and compassion to surround you in whatever feelings need to arise–whether they involve anger at God, a sense of the earth “having your back,” or just a moment of stillness. 





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