Finding your Power through Chronic Illness & Pain

Updated: Apr 19

This is for the warrior hearts who may be more fragile in physical form, but whose spirits are robust. Sometimes despite the pain, sometimes because of it. For anyone dealing with an ongoing, chronic illness, but are determined for it not to define the quality of their life.

Lagertha - Vikings

A part of my life that I have kept very private is this.

I have held tightly onto a belief that no one genuinely cares or understands, so what's the point of putting myself in a vulnerable position by exposing my weaknesses? When someone has not experienced high levels of pain, it is rare for them to have sincere compassion, because there is no reference point. And lack of sincere compassion usually leaves space for shallow judgement, criticism, or worse, pity.

But I have realised that on the contrary to what the dysfunctional aspect of my mind would like to believe, the chronic physical pain I have endured over the best part of my young adult life, has not made me weak at all.

It has made me resilient.

Every time I have gone down in flames, by a wave of illness that is debilitating, I have risen stronger, wiser, and more rejoicing and grateful for every millisecond of existence.

This is the gift of pain.

We burn, and we rise. We burn, and we rise.

And for all that has been gained at the expense of it - in spirit, personal transformation, inner strength, and self and health awareness, I would not sacrifice.

It pushes me inwards, into deep reflection. It forces me to confront everything that I might otherwise put attention on that is not of service to me or anyone around me, and tune my attention finely into what is

And I have learnt that going inwards, and finding clarity of mind and heart can make most pain bearable - or at least raise your pain threshold high enough to still be productive and live a life brimming with love, passion and creativity.

These kind of hardships can beat us down, and turn us sour at the 'unfairness' of the world.

It is not unfair to me. Not at all.

To me, it would be more terrible to go through life without these opportunities to be carved by circumstances into a warrior of the heart, a warrior of truth, and develop this deep and eternal gratitude and love for simply being ALIVE.

These opportunities to surrender, and dissolve so completely into something far vaster and more divine than what is comprehendible from the limited perception of our minds, are invaluable.

To let go of the illusion of control, and rejoice in the profound perfection of life unfolding in all its mystery.

I acknowledge how genuinely hard it is to endure immense pain, especially when it is constant. Pain is pain. That is why the only way I have survived without accumulating bitterness has been through letting go, at least of any negative thought patterns that contribute to mental suffering.

The physical is enough.

In complete let go and surrender of Self to God, I have found immense peace. Love. Joy. The kind that is not reliant on anything external.

I have been given this gift to drop back, all the way back to source, and bath there. And I have discovered that unconditional love is the source of all things living and breathing here.

See, chasing physical gain, recognition, and material things, all lead to dead ends, disappointment, or rewards that are only fleeting. And when we have no reason to back out of this cycle of pleasure induced suffering, we can get lost there, distracted by 'the world of ten thousand things' as Lao Zu called it, and forget that all the fulfilment we seek is already within us. Everything else is play.

I truly believe that we, as people living with disabilities, diseases or chronic illnesses, are blessed to be forced into states of dormancy, of deep rest, where we simply cannot chase anything at all but the eternal love that lies inside.

We have been given the gift of knowing what true struggle is and what is not. Our tolerance rises, and we spend less energy on petty things. Do not let your mind take hold of your story and become a victim of it. Own it and let it empower you.

Still shot from 'The Resilience of a Woman in Pain' - A short film about a young woman suffering from chronic illness

I have genuinely considered that some nights when I drift to sleep - in so much pain I can barely sleep - that I mightn't wake up. Not as a result of a dramatic mind, but true concern that my body may be shutting down.

Facing the reality of mortality is transformative.

We become survivors, no longer drifting through life flippantly, obsessing over minuscule details that have no real merit to the bigger picture.

We become determined to LIVE every moment.

To Live Well. Live Full. And Live Free.

Presence. Aliveness. Health. Vitality. Energy flowing in its natural course through the body. - It all gets acknowledged for the miracle that it is.

Even for those in perfect health, this life is a miracle. Every cell, organ and neurone in our bodies functioning in balance and harmony, every breath, even the oxygen in the air, all working in unison to keep our bodies and our brains functioning.

Our systems are so complex, so fragile. One simple imbalance can lead to disease. We are not invincible. But it often takes some kind of adversity for us to truly understand just how precious our time here is. And how little control we really have over anything.

But lack of control does not mean give up.

It only means give up on everything that is not aligned with your most honest path of heart. Give up on everything that feels dead in your life, and spend your precious recourses on what is fulfilling and kind to both yourself, your loved ones, and the earth.

At some point, on our journey of maturing and evolving, we get struck by the truth that the way of nature is ruthless. It is not just or fair. And we as humans are only organisms within the epic mechanism that is the natural world. We are not favoured because we have taken on the human form, and we will not be coddled.

And that is ok.

There is exquisite beauty in that. If we just learn to surrender to reality. Acknowledge it for what it is, instead of dreaming it is something we can manipulate to meet our desires.

Surrender to the epic power that may not favouring our ego's, but is absolutely carrying us, in arms that favour Love over all else.

The ruthlessness of the natural world reminds me of the fine balance we are asked to walk if we are to live free, inspirited, vibrant lives of heart from the vessels we have been given.

And what I have learned is this;

We mustn't be victims of our pain, nor attempt to ignore its existence.

We must be gentle, soft and kind on ourselves and our body, and love it even when it is weak, but never become weak in mind and spirit.

We must acknowledge how brutally hard it is sometimes, and how much the constant pain can stimulate high amounts of stress in our bodies, but not add to the stress by painting negative stories of despair over top of it all.

We must allow ourselves to feel the despair, feel it fully, then let it go.

Always, always let it go.

For we must also embrace every moment of health and felling of vitality. And celebrate our body for all it can do, while forgiving it for what it might momentarily or permanently not.

It's a fine line we walk. A fine line we walk.

Love Sita