Loving Autoimmune Disease

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Do you remember what your first thoughts were when you were diagnosed with your autoimmune disease? It may have been disbelief, anger, relief, fear, grief…all normal reactions. And then the dust may have settled, and a few weeks later  you started to feel a bigger perspective emerging about how to best approach your illness long-term. Treatment options, how to manage your family life, stress reduction, how to talk about it with people outside your family, changing your diet. Maybe those things came up for you? But one thing that may have stood out is your relationship to your illness. What is your relationship to your illness today? Is it a hostile one? Or a power struggle? You may want to be stronger, tougher, smarter than your disease. One might say; “I don’t want to be sick, so I will do all I can do to not be sick.” Supplements, diet, direction, tests, interpretation, advocates. We do do, do, do, to get out of the illness. The perfect metaphor we may create is “I am going to beat this disease.” Rarely when working with clients do I hear “I am going to love this disease.” So I invite your for a moment to consider the loving. Is loving a disease that could disrupt us, cripple us,  putting us too close to the idea that disease may have more power than us? Draw too much attention to being “in” a disease state? Or  am I not going to love a disease because my disease is “ruining” my life, so why would I love something that can ruin my life or kill me? For a moment, consider allowing the idea that a disease could be the one way ticket, the fastest route possible, to the magic treasure box of the deepest love and acceptance we have ever known inside ourselves. Instead of putting on boxing gloves to ready for a fight, I wonder what might happen if you look inward and love yourself in the midst of this illness from a place of acceptance.

What if this place, right here, was just the right place to be. What if you really did not get dealt a bad hand? What if the current state of illness was just the right place to be? The sadness was just the right place to be. We look nowhere else except at this moment, right here and now with illness or suffering and say “Ok this is hard. I am struggling. But I am accepting that I am struggling. I am accepting this path right at this moment and have the capacity to love it too.” Could that change the cellular response? Could acceptance and love towards a moment we are in have profound effects on our biology? I think it can. I know that our society tells us we have to fight, be strong, overcome. We are a nation of fighters. But, what if we became a nation of people who love? Love our illnesses, shortcomings, mess-ups, wrong turns? And anything, no matter what it was, (hurricanes, disease, poverty, injustice) became nothing more than a reflection to ourselves to love more. This is my work, this business of loving. As I look at the polar ice caps melting, I struggle with this. As I see people I love grieving, I struggle with this. As I deal with my fatigue, I struggle with this. It is a minute to minute decision to stay in the loving. But I keep going back to it.  I have decided to keep my heart open to changing my history from survival, to loving. And in that, I feel the capacity of the frequency of love to change genetics and history.

So I say yes. And I invite you to say yes with me.  I say that we could spend a day or even a few minutes immersed in complete acceptance about where we are at and our life circumstances. And if we did, our adrenal glands might stop working so hard and our cortisol levels could shift for the better. And our antibodies may lower. Or our blood pressure may go down. Our neurotransmitters may come into a more balanced state. I truly believe it could. We all have our lives as the context to do this work. For some it is autoimmune disease. For others it is cancer, death, grief, bankruptcy, or losing a job. All of these things get our attention in some way or another. Life calls us to attention.

I am suggesting that within our capacity for loving, our biology can shift in a single moment by a single loving thought. It could. Love can do that. Love can move us out of a situation quicker than any other action. In a single moment we can become the authors of our own history. By changing our relationship to our circumstances, we can change our circumstances. Loving can do this. Loving can be the way. xo

21 Comments

  1. Avatar Sophie McCallister November 16, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much for posting this. I just stumbled upon your website and found this article. I have been struggling with seeing the “purpose” of my recently diagnosed autoimmune disease and this article filled me with so much hope and consolation. Thanks for sharing! Your writing is beautiful and touching.

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