The Cook Awakening

Mentioning the Unmentionable

August 10, 2011
Posted in: Living with Health Challenges

Living with chronic health challenges is a tricky thing.

Just that statement reveals part of how I work with it. It would be so easy to just say, “I’m sick.” But “being sick” conjures up images of taking to bed, withdrawing from life. There’s a mind state that goes along with that picture that I don’t care to live with. I have children who need me, a husband who likes my company, a business that requires my full engagement, a spiritual and social community – all of whom I love.

I don’t have time to be sick. Being sick is an energy and time suck.

But the reality of having health challenges is that they have requirements. Health care visits, self education, special foods that almost invariably need to be cooked from scratch, extra rest, learning to live with discomfort and uncertainty. It is virtually impossible to live a life of convenience with health challenges.

For me, giving up is not an option. I know and love people who have chosen that route, whose lives have gradually become smaller and smaller, defined by anxiety and a diagnosis.

It’s a double edged sword sometimes, this choice I’ve made. Often when people hear about my health, they’re surprised. “I had no idea!” I’m glad. That’s been my goal. But, it has also been hard to ask for help when I’ve needed it, or meet the hint of judgement when I don’t attend every event I’m invited to, or indulge in foods that make me feel bad, because most people don’t know I have these particular limitations.

I’ve lived with various diagnoses for a number of years, consciously performing that balancing act of staying engaged with life on life’s terms, while not denying reality. Now, I find myself in an interesting state. I’m afraid to say something.

I have practiced radical surrender, the kind of surrender that leads to vibrant life, to freedom. The kind of surrender that broadens the horizon rather than narrowing it. That keeps me moving forward with curiosity and my feet firmly planted on the earth. My commitment to living with what IS has deepened in a way I could never have imagined.

And now I’m nervous.

When I finally became willing to fundamentally change my diet a few years ago, I experienced a lessening of symptoms. It was nearly immediate (after about a week of feeling like I’d been run over by a truck – healing crises can be that way). There have been incremental improvements over time, and set backs. All to be expected, all grist for the mill of radical surrender. My mantra has been “I can do this. I can live with this.

Everything is perfect.” You know, the kind of “perfect” that doesn’t depend on physical comfort.

It’s taking me a while to write the statement that makes me nervous. I’ve said it to a few people privately, testing the waters, trying it on to see how it fits me. If I can really wear it with confidence, like a fancy dress at a potluck. I’ve read about things like it, but haven’t really dared to think about it for me – have felt the thought rock my hard won equilibrium.

Here’s the thing – I’m feeling better. Maybe I should shout that.


My days of fatigue and brain fog are fewer. My times of body aches are shorter. I still lose words when I’m talking, but if I wait, they surface from wherever they have fled. My digestion is more predictable. When I hit a bump, I recover more quickly.

Why is this a scary thing to say?

Radical surrender requires a commitment to remaining in the present moment. When the future looks bleak, being here now is challenging, but fairly attractive. If tomorrow might look like a good time, maybe even better than today… my mind wants to jump right there. Leaving the present moment behind in a flash.

And, what if it doesn’t last? I’ll be disappointed. To say the least. I REALLY like feeling better.

Can I radically surrender to feeling better without getting too attached to it?

I feel better.

If you live with chronic health challenges, I hope this helps you to know that it’s possible to heal. It may take time, investigation, and willingness to accept change in your life, but it’s possible. Not certain.

Nothing is certain.

That’s another radical surrender topic. Or maybe it’s the same one, at a deeper level.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 at 5:23 am and is filed under Living with Health Challenges. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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