When a serious chronic illness or disability enters your biography, your reality stops being your reality. Much of what you carefully, possibly over many years, designed as the framework of your life, such as your professional training and position, family life and, yes, future hopes, comes crashing down and, with it, your sense of yourself.
‘Falling into nothingness’ heralds an ending. A relentless and unforgiving ending, without mercy.
Naturally, out of despair, fear and in an attempt at denial, you rush around, searching for ‘solutions’: medication, surgery, therapies, treatments – anything to stop the fall.
And indeed, you will be presented with certain options, each with a varying degree of promise. Some will alleviate your symptoms, others will delay the process and others still, will have no effect whatsoever.
Over time, however, the unacceptable truth has to be let in: you have a chronic condition, probably for the remainder of your life. Whatever kind of life that may be.
Right then, a future seems to no longer exist. Or, in any case, a future that you are not willing to live.
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Here begins the ultimate existential battle. Cast off, adrift on the dark waters, without beacon, without even knowing if another shore exists.
The difference between a happy ending and a sad ending is where you decide your story ends. You, as the author of your story, you can decide that it ends here. Or you can decide to take up your pen and begin writing words that did not exist before and create a new, unique story, in its essence and depth of realness as true and significant as the creations of the great composers and poets.
Jerry Sittser ‘A Grace Disguised’
When we refuse to be transformed by the death that happened, we bring upon ourselves a second death – the gradual destruction of the soul and the death of the spirit.
And here you encounter your threshold – the threshold that lies between life and death. A precarious point of choice.
But even then, when after much protest, anger, grief and hopelessness, a next day, a next month and a next year are considered optional, albeit tentatively, the initial attempts focus on recovering some semblance of what existed before: working part-time, domestic and environmental adaptations, letting go of some responsibilities whilst keeping others, maintaining a degree of function and independence by means of medication and therapies, and so on.
But these attempts, necessary as they are, cannot meet the deeper needs that have originated from the losses that have pushed you into an entirely alien experience of yourself and of life.
Then, when the quest for doing differently gets exhausted, the quest for being differently begins.
This is what real transformation is: becoming someone other. To choose how you will live with your fate. And this requires an inner shift first, before it can take on a shape externally.
Michael J. Fox
You will face this threshold again and again, because life will continue presenting new situations and events that require you to re-commit.
In your trials and struggles of bringing renewal in your changed life, the powerful courses and coach-facilitated programs designed by Heart and Soul Coaching offer the very support you need. With care and compassion, you are taken by the hand and led from a place of confusion, despair and grief to a re-appraisal and re-appreciation of yourself and of the life that lies ahead.
This support will enable you to write the next lines, the next chapters, of your story and in so doing, you, as the author, will regain authority over your life.
True: “This may not be the life you expected, certainly not the life you would have chosen, and yet it is yours. Not because you do not deserve any better, but because you are the only one in the world who can make something of it and, in so doing, realize your life’s purpose.”
(from the facilitated program: ‘Mental and Emotional Renewal in Chronic Illness’)