Saturday, January 26, 2008

Embracing Life, Consenting to What Is

When I was on my journey of healing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and childhood sexual abuse, I believed in the mind/body/spirit connection. I saw CFS—and the abuse—as a giant wake up call to heal not only my body, but my life. As part of responding to that call and fully involving myself in my own healing, I witnessed as the old foundations of my life were stripped away. Because of the debilitating illness, I couldn’t work or participate in life activities as I had. So I slowed down, let myself freefall in the void, listened deeply to my own being. Even though I couldn’t do much in the outside world, I recreated myself as an explorer of my inner world—of consciousness and soul awareness, as an alchemist transmuting darkness into light.

The many lessons I learned while “being” helped me live as fully as possible—with or without the physical limitations of an illness. The most important of those lessons for me—and the most difficult was: To consent, to accept what is. The fear was that to say yes to all life, even illness or past abuse, was to resign myself to it, say it was okay it happened, or to diminish its magnitude. If I accepted it, I’d be giving up. But none of this was true. Instead, truly embracing even CFS meant that I accepted all of myself. Instead of fighting with symptoms, judging them, feeling like their victim, I learned to surrender. Rather than pushing away difficult feelings, I loved my vulnerable messy humanness. At the same time, I did everything I could to get over the illness.

Acceptance on this scale, I found, allowed me to choose life, to move with its flow, rather than to deny. The more I consented to what was, the better I felt, and the more things shifted on their own. New healing resources appeared. I felt more peaceful and had more insights about my next steps.

I saw that even my severely limited life, as a person dealing with CFS, was as valid and important as any part of my so-called “do-er,” productive life had been. I learned to trust in the ultimate goodness of life and the rightness of my own zig zag bumpy path.


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