Being fabulous after 40 often means that we are asked to juggle many balls. We are asked to, not only manage our 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, a health condition ourself.
Many believe, as I most certainly do, 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. So, whether you are negotiating a health issue for yourself or for someone you love, it is my hope that these 10 steps to managing a health challenge will help light up the, all too often, frightening and dark halls 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 with help you understand who you truly are and put what matters into perspective to give you the resilience you need to get well again.
2) Listen to your body
Your body has a natural intelligence that is constantly communicating with you. Learning to decode the, often cryptic, signs our body sends us requires careful observation and learning. It is never too late to learn to read 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, words that connote pity or that evoke drama and fear mongering.
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 a system where each organ and system influences the other and is a part of a whole. It helps to understand that when one organ is removed, another organ will have to do its job. Taking a medication to treat one symptom will cause a chain reaction where new symptoms creep into the equation. It helps to see 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 team 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. Don't be afraid to look at alternatives and look outside the box.
6) You are the CEO of your team
As CEO, you ask the questions, you weigh opinions shared, you analyze data gathered, and you basically run the show. Where your health and your body are concerned, assume others know less than you think and you know more than you think. This is where 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 and allow them to run their course. This can be done quite easily by identifying your emotions and being aware of them as they arise. Many of us are embarrassed by our emotions or feel emotions are a mark of weakness.
8) Surround yourself in 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, tidy away ugly machinery, clear up clutter, keep your space clean and well ventilated. You can even light a candle, some incense and play soothing music to create a zen-like feeling around you. Never underestimate the importance of your surroundings and how they will inspire you back to health.
9) Be honest with yourself
Chances are your illness didn`t just appear overnight, out of nowhere. Our body is constantly sending us signals that we can choose to ignore or take action on. Notice what thought patterns, recurring physical ailments and events in your life lead 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 is. Many of us have learned to fear death and to feel that if an illness does kill us, it is because we failed somehow.
Whether we learn these lessons before we get sick and they help us manage our illness or we learn them as a result of our illness, I like to think that we 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 your illness into a source of power, inspiration, transformation and growth.
Nicky Rolland is a spiritual teacher and author. She just released Stepping into Consciousness: A Guide to Living a Life of Meaning, Joy and, Abundance. Nicky holds a Bachelor in Commerce from Concordia University. She completed her medicine wheel training with the Four Winds Society before becoming a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. For more information about Nicky, her teachings, and the on line tools she offers in spiritual healing, growth and transformation please visit her website www.nickyrolland.com
She just released her first book: Stepping Into Consciousness: A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance". She has also just launched a new radio show on BTR entitled "On Line with Nicky Rolland" and is in the process of creating an online school on her www.nickyrolland.com website.