Keep it light — 10 steps to managing a health challenge

by Nicky Rolland — 

If safety, love and respect are important to you, make sure you choose a team that helps you feel safe, nurtured and honored.

If safety, love and respect are important to you, make sure you choose a team that helps you feel safe, nurtured and honored.

After the age of 40, we are often required to juggle many balls. We not only have to manage our own health, but the health of others as well — our children, spouse, parents or a combination thereof. So, chances are that at some point we will be dealing with ailing parents, sick children or our own health issues.

Many people believe that we each have the power to choose how we manage this challenge — we can follow a dark, scary path or we can follow a brighter and kinder path. Whether you are negotiating a health issue for yourself or for someone you love, these 10 steps can help light the way down the all-too-often frightening and dark alleys of illness.

1. Know who you are. You are not your illness or disease. You do not need to be identified by it. Understand that your disease may be your body’s way of telling you that something is out of balance.

Learning to become aware of your ego will help you understand who you truly are and put what matters into perspective, which will give you the resilience necessary to get well.

2. Listen to your body. Your body has a natural intelligence that is constantly communicating with you. Learning to decode the sometimes cryptic signs our body sends us requires careful observation and listening. It is never too late to learn to interpret and speak the language of your body.

3. Stay positive and watch the words you use. Use and listen to positive and empowering words. This will help you stay out of fear so you can tap into love. Love heals — fear does not.

Avoid war-like words and phrases often seen in the media — words that instill feelings of shame and guilt, connote pity or evoke drama and fearmongering. Instead, choose words and affirmations that convey love, trust, compassion, kindness, beauty and hope.

4. View your illness in a holistic way. Your body is like a machine, in that each organ and system influences the other and is a part of a whole. It helps to understand that when one organ is compromised, other organs will also be affected.

Taking a medication to treat one symptom can cause a chain reaction where new symptoms creep into the equation. It helps to view the body as a system of complex interconnections.

5. Choose a team to support you. Choose a team that mirrors your beliefs and values. Look at your advocates and notice how you feel. If safety, love and respect are important to you, make sure you choose a team that helps you feel safe, nurtured and honored. Do not be afraid to research alternatives and look outside of the box.

6. You are the CEO of your team. As CEO, you ask the questions, weigh opinions, analyze data gathered and basically run the show. Where your health and your body are concerned, assume others know less than you think and that you know more than you think. This is a time when accessing your inner wisdom and following your gut come into play.

7. Open your heart. Allow yourself to release pain, suffering and isolation from your heart. Start to feel your emotions, positive or negative, and allow them to run their course. This can be done quite easily — identify your emotions and become aware of them. Many of us are embarrassed by our emotions or feel they are a sign of weakness.

8. Surround yourself with beauty. Whether you are at home confined to bed rest, in a wellness center or in a hospital room, you can turn your space into a temple of healing and beauty. Bring in fresh flowers, conceal ugly machinery, clear up clutter and keep your space clean and well-ventilated.

You can even light a candle, burn some incense and play soothing music to create a Zen-like feeling around you. Never underestimate the importance of your surroundings and how they can inspire you back to health.

9. Be honest with yourself. Chances are your illness did not just appear overnight, out of nowhere. Your body constantly sends signals that you can choose to act on or ignore. Notice which thought patterns, recurring physical ailments and events in your life led you to where you are today.

10. Accept the possibility of death. Death of the physical vessel is a natural part of life. Death is as much a miracle as birth. Many of us have been programmed to fear death and to believe that if an illness does kill us, it is because we failed somehow.

Whether we learn these 10 lessons before we get sick and they help us manage our illness or we learn them as a result of it, I like to think that we can choose to learn the lessons we need to learn.

Yoga and meditation are great tools to help us access the wisdom of our body. So, light up the dark halls of illness and turn them into a source of power, inspiration, transformation and growth.

 

Nicky Rolland is a spiritual teacher and author of Stepping into Consciousness: A Guide to Living a Life of Meaning, Joy and Abundance. She completed her medicine wheel training and is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. nickyrolland.com or steppingintoconsciousness.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 6, December 2013/January 2014.

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