Imagine having no title. No career and no education. No hobbies to fill up your time. No social life. Just you. Stripped naked of all that we see around us in today’s society.
Can you imagine that?
I’m one of those who doesn’t have to imagine because this is my life. Amongst many others around the world, I’m one of those who live a life with chronic illness. When chronic illness entered my life at first, I saw myself being broken into pieces. Layer after layer was peeled away from my being. Soon all that was left was my soul; my core.
In today’s society we learn to reach outwards for fulfillment. Have you ever noticed that? From childhood and our adult life, we’re being told that we will reach a state of happiness when we just get that one thing. Something that we currently don’t have. It might be everything from: toys, makeup, clothes, foods, alcohol, sex and so on. We’re trying to fill a void and “fix” whatever hurts inside us. Maybe that longing for a new car is actually a cry for love, or maybe that new lipstick is a way to cover up for the lack of self-esteem.
When you’re chronic sick there’s no way you can go about your life as you used to. Not only is your life turned upside down, but it’s also completely changed. A lot of us are forced to spend time in bed without social interaction or being able to leave our beds for weeks, months and years. So where do WE find this fulfillment? When we can no longer escape the pain or fill that void with materialistic things?
I think the first step towards understanding this gift you’ve actually been given in this moment, is to first of all acknowledge all the pain. We get a unique (yet painful, I know) opportunity to face whatever needs to be healed and sit with it. If you’ve ever tried both of these techniques, you might have already figured out that the material patch you put on your pain is nothing more than a cover up. The pain is still there, and it will come back. However, if you allow whatever stuff that’s putting you in pain to just be, you’ll soon see that there’s a reason why our emotions and feelings are screaming at us: they need to be felt. So, in the moment you start to feel your emotions, let them flow through you. You will soon be releasing them and making room for new things.
Once we stop running from our emotions, but rather accept them and allow them to be present, we are already making a shift.
Still we might look for and reach for materialistic things to make us feel good because we were never taught how to do that without any tools. On the other hand, a lot of us these kinds of materialistic tools might actually work. But, it’s important to observe yourself as to why they work.
How come one person can put on lipstick and carry on with his or her life without even noticing a difference? While others might take on that lipstick and feel a goddess rise within, confidence blooming and self-love bubbling over? It’s a shift within.
You see, at the end of the day, there’s no thing or person who can make you feel loved. There’s no thing or person who can stitch you back together or heal your emotions.
You don’t need that. What you’re longing for is already within. If you just close your eyes and turn inwards, you’ve discovered the well of unconditional love. It’s always been right there— inside of you.
I’ve been bedridden for more than 4 years now, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to escape my reality. In fact, just yesterday I realized I was doing it again by scrolling through social medias trying to distract myself from my own pain. I think it’s only natural and humans try to always do so. Yet the minute we stop that and choose to come back to our present selves and turn inwards, we are making miraculous shifts within ourselves. For some it might be difficult and take a lot of practice to reach that inner spark. For others, it comes naturally. But this is from where you feel compassion. Not only for others, but also for yourself. This is from where unconditional love rises, creativity unfolds and endless strength roars. There’s a reason why chronic illness patients are also known as warriors. We have that light within us, eager to keep fighting. The life spark.
When I first started to meditate, I needed tools to tune into myself. With my mind racing with fear, pain, trauma and what not, I had to work hard to reach through all of that mental chatter to reach my own spark. So, I turned to guided meditations (there’s many of them on YouTube! Just look up guided meditation in the search field), oracle cards, crystals and what not. For some it’s easier to go into meditation by focusing on an oracle card or tuning into the energy of a crystal. There are many tools out there to guide you inwards. Personally, I think just the choice itself is all you need.
Whether or not you choose to toss away all your crystals and oracle cards or not: you are capable of reaching that inner state, that well of unconditional love. And you deserve to!
To feed your body love and light is the point and process of this whole imagery of chronic illness. I am on the way of doing just that in abundance.
Merete K. Graham is a Norwegian girl in her mid twenties, battling severe chronic illness. For the past 4 years she has been bedridden and unable to leave her apartment. During this time her passion for speaking up and spreading knowledge about chronic illness grew and thrived. She’s a big believer of authenticity and honesty, as an antithesis to today’s sometimes superficial society.