The Message of Illness


 

 

      

      The Message of Illness

     → Empower Yourself

Illness as opportunity



"First there is a spark of an illness in the mind and later a flame will consume the body."


 "The road to health and healing is to recognize and do more of those things that bring us joy and deep fulfillment."

Illness can be understood as a message that something in life is not right and need adjusting. Illness themselves are often the result of ignoring the signals (symptoms) that our body send us.

With increased awareness of the connection between the mind and body, comes greater recognition of the impact that buried emotions and emotional trauma may have to our overall health and wellbeing. Our bodies were not meant to hold on to and suppress intense emotion,  so when we have unresolved feelings or negative experiences  this can create blockages in the body’s energy system (chakras), resulting in a weakened  immune system, and can eventually manifest  symptoms such as pain, or other physical symptoms,  as well as mood disorders, anxiety, and panic attacks.

 

Your personality traits affect your health because your personality traits dictate how you handle stress. If you are a “nice” person who doesn’t express anger or frustration appropriately, you could damage your health.

Some doctors call this the "cancer personality" because personality affects cancer cells. If you're too nice, you may be repressing negative emotions, which affects your heart health negatively.

Heart disease or even cancer can develop from a suppressed immune system, which can be caused by not making waves and being polite at all costs. So, certain personalities are more prone to certain diseases.


Through illness your body is giving you a message, telling you that something is out of balance. This is not a punishment for bad behaviour; rather it is nature's way of creating equilibrium. Your body is a source of  great wisdom. By listening and paying attention to it you have a chance to contribute to your own health, to participate with your body coming back to a state of wholeness and balance.  When you are ready, you can ask yourself " Why do I have this illness? How can I grow with this illness? It can be useful to explore these questions with a cancer mentor.

Link: Mentor support , Cancer patient support

You are in charge of your own respond to your illness, or your own attitudes and feelings, of the way how you treat yourself. However, you cannot determine the outcome of every circumstance, just as you do not make the sun rise or set. You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails. You are responsible for doing everything you can for your healing and for your peace of mind, but you still need medical treatment. The resolution and healing of your own inner being is within your control, and this in itself can contribute to your recovery from illness, like cancer. But if it does not, it is vital to remember that you are not guilty and not a failure.


       The Gift Of Symptoms


    


Symptoms are the perfect adaptation of our body to its environment. They are the language our body uses to communicate its needs. Although we are frequently taught to eliminate or suppress our aches and pains, all symptoms serve a purpose.

Symptoms can teach us to slow down, to stop a harmful behavior, to change our lifestyle, or to learn humility. We will always have them. Symptoms are the warning lights.

Symptom-free should not be anyone’s goal! It is more important to learn to embrace your symptoms and to listen to them. Hear what they are saying and change your lifestyle accordingly. Everyone has a weakness in their body and the weakest part of your body is your most powerful asset!  If the weakest part of your body starts to show symptoms, it is a sign to take time out from what you are doing before you damage anything else in your body. So instead of hating that bad knee, weak stomach or bad back, learn from it; nourish it; strengthen it; embrace it. It is what keeps the rest of you so healthy!

      

Learn to work with your symptom; do not disown what is part of you. Try to find out what you are gaining from the problem area. Are you gaining attention, time alone, love, a day off work, or justification for taking care of yourself?  When you realize what you are gaining find another way to give yourself what your symptom is giving you. Take a day off work when you are healthy, pamper yourself because you deserve it; eat healthy because you feel good. The more we do things because we love ourselves, the less we will have to do things to avoid pain.

Your difficulties can become stepping stones along the way rather stumbling blocks. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness and guilt that you are responsible for everything that is happening to you (which adds to your illness through negativity), you can see illness as an invitation and an opportunity for awakening. In this way, illness is seen as a great gift and your body as a wonderful source of information. It is there to help you, not to hinder you. Illness and it's symptoms are not your enemy.

      

Illness gives you the chance to look at your pattern of life, at what your real feelings are and what you want to do about them. Recognizing the meaning of your symptom is beginning of your journey, the first step toward understanding yourself more deeply. After that has to come the commitment to releasing the old and opening to the new.

When you think about illness  - or life - as being out of control or as an obstacle that you can not overcome then none of your physical energy will be directed toward healing as No Living message will be send to your body. When illness  or living is seen as a learning experience, an opportunity to deepen your relationship with yourself, then healing is possible.

       

The clearest way to see how the mind directly affects the body is through stress of all kind: coping with illness, the diagnosis of cancer, coping with housework, job and children, professional unhappiness, overworked, caring for a sick child or being a constant caregiver, rushing through the traffic in the morning, having a dispute with someone, relationship problems, financial difficulties, suppressed anger, repressed grief, etc..... When you cannot or do not express what is going on inside you, that feeling sinks deeper within you until it manifests through the physical body. 


      


Our basic personalities are rooted in the way we allow these emotions to flow through us, whether you express them or inhibit them. If we chronically "stuff" our emotions, it can lead to chronic health conditions, and emotional instability. It can also drain our mental power, tax our spiritual beings and can make as sick.

The Effects of Bottled up Emotions (Link: emotional health ) can cause physical discomfort  and ill health.

 

Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst with a particular interest in the relationship between emotions and the musculature, noted that blocked emotions could become trapped in our muscles. He noted that anger was frequently "trapped" in the muscles of the shoulders, grief in muscles surrounding the stomach and fear in the leg muscles. 

Reich contended that in almost all individuals, the flow and release of emotional energy are blocked by chronic muscle contractions in various areas of the body and by emotional attitudes adopted early in life. The "nice little girl" who never gets angry, and the "strong, brave boy" who never shows fear and sadness are but two examples of such attitudes that prevent the full and rational expressions of natural emotions.

Reich observed that defensive emotional attitudes are not just "in the mind" but are held in the body's muscles, and he called this the "muscular armor". He also found that inhibited feelings were accompanied by restrictions in respiration. These realizations let him to the groundbreaking conclusion that the successful treatment of emotional problems requires work on the body combined with verbal therapy.


Have you ever noticed that when you feel an emotion, that you can feel it in your body? Most often, when we feel anger, we feel a constriction in our chest,...if it gets really serious, we feel like we are going to "blow our top", or explode. On the other hand, if you feel Love, you may feel like you're walking on air, you feel light, like you want to laugh, and run, and skip, and twirl. You feel vibrant and radiant.


         


Imagine, that you are a house without or with a blocked chimney. You are under pressure and experience emotional turmoils  - but your chimney is blocked. What happens to all the pressure inside you? It has to come out somewhere else. It will find the weakest  spot of your body, your nervous system, your digestion, or your immune system. If your stress is not expressed it manifest in your body, you become ill, depressed, anxious, fearful, aggressive or withdrawn. Some of the physical symptoms that result from stress are high blood pressure, backache , heart problems,  susceptibility to catch colds and flu's, skin problems, irritable bowel syndrome, disturb sleep, muscle tension and ... cancer, to name a few.

        


How do you respond to your stresses?

(Stress and Cancer, Stress management:  stress and cancer


Symptoms are the body’s way of warning us, that all is not well and are attempting to restore balance. Homeopathy uses symptoms as helpful indicators, which can be used as guides to treating the individual and their “dis-ease”. Instead of merely removing the symptoms, it removes the central disturbance in the individual’s imbalance.

Example:  When your car’s engine light goes on, does it make sense to dis-connect the warning light so you can continue to drive without it’s distraction? Most of us would answer that question with a logical “NO”. The same logic should be used when addressing warning signs from your body. Most prescription drugs do nothing but dis-connect the warning light.

Your body will try to let you know there's an issue to be addressed. As a result, the signals tend to get louder and louder, and the condition worsens. Until you have no choice but to make a mental and emotional change in order to resolve the problem. Ailments tend to start out as minor discomforts. When ignored, these minor issues grow into more serious ailments.
       

 Symptom Pain

 The International Association of Pain has defined pain, "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage." In more esoteric terms, pain is a symptom of disharmony. Pain can be viewed as a series of sounds or vibrations that send messages to the brain indicating a disharmony in some part of the body. Think of this vibration as an alarm sounding to warn of a problem in the body. 
       

Understand the language of your body

 There are many ways to explore the language of the body. Only when they are all put together will you start to get the bigger picture.

An important clue in investigating symptoms is the specific function of the part that is not well, for the underlying psychological or emotional issues usually relate to the purpose or function of the part affected. Try exploring the part of the body you are concerned about and all the different uses it has:


The Mind - Body Effect

If someone is ill with asthma, irritable bowl syndrome, headaches or stomach ulcer, their symptoms may flare up when they feel anxious, insecure or unhappy, but quietening down when feeling relaxed, secure and happy. In this situation the state of mind has a strong effect on the body.


The Body - Mind Effect

If someone is depressed starts to take regular exercise, they will get more benefit then through taken anti- depressant medicines. In this situation the body is having a strong effect on the mind.


Environmental Effect on the Mind, Body and Spirit      

If someone is depressed by their environment of work they do, they become easily dispirit and depressed. This may result in resorting to drugs or alcohol to lift their spirit, which in turn make them ill and further depressed. In this situation it can be seen that the environment is affecting the mind, body and spirit.

Other Environmental issue, like chemical pollution in the air, in our crops or animals should always be considered in every case of illness or disease. However you can introduce some limits on the amount of toxins you consume , through the food you eat and your lifestyle. You can care for yourself, you are not helpless. Your attitude is important, you have to want to make a difference and the best place you can start is with yourself and in your own home.


Your Body Speaks Your Mind  

For example, unexpressed grief tends to affect the throat and the lungs, anger affect the liver and gut, bitterness the pancreas (all the sweetness of life is gone), disappointment the kidneys and guilt the nervous system. Woody Allen ones said: "I'm not getting angry, I'm growing tumors". These are broad generalisations, but it is surprising, in practice, hoe often these general rules are true.


The Mind - Body Effect

If someone is ill with asthma, irritable bowl syndrome, headaches or stomach ulcer, their symptoms may flare up when they feel anxious, insecure or unhappy, but quietening down when feeling relaxed, secure and happy. In this situation the state of mind has a strong effect on the body.


The Body - Mind Effect

If someone is depressed starts to take regular exercise, they will get more benefit then through taken anti- depressant medicines. In this situation the body is having a strong effect on the mind.

We all hold a different story in our body. Just as we all have our own unique fingerprints or voice, so each body has its own unique expression. Your body does know what is going on and you can learn how to listen and to interpret what it is telling you, without judging, criticizing yourself or feeling guilty. Bringing awareness to the interaction between your mind, emotions and body and behaviour can open the door to whatever needs to be healed. Your body knows your moods, whether you are feeling upbeat and glad to be alive, hopeful or depressed sad and lonely. So, talking and listening to your body is not as crazy as it sounds.

 

THE PICTURE OF HEALTH -

A Wellness Inventory

Click here for a quick tour to find out about the areas of your health which are strong and which may need to get some extra help. of your health

Picture of Health


   

You can also dialogue or have a two way conversation with your body.  


After a deep relaxation or meditation, set out two chairs or two cushions on the floor. Let one seat represent your wise, adult self while the other represents the illness. 
You may want to put your hands on the area that is hurting. Focus on the pain or conflict and explore in and around it. If you can , also take your mind to the part of the body involved.  Then hold a question in your mind such as, " What is this illness or difficulty trying to tell me"? or, "What does this part of me need"?

It may takes a while before there is a response, but just stay quiet and focused. Try not to "think" a reply, but allow any feelings, images or responses to arise spontaneously. Do not reject anything, even if you don't understand it.

In this process you will be physically moving back and forth between the two seats. You begin with a few minutes of silence to prepare your adult self to be completely focused on the process.


Each time you ask a question, you move to the other seat to respond as the illness. It is important to actually move in order for the process to work. When you ask the questions, do so with an objective, casual attitude....  

       

           

         Questions you might would like to ask:        

  • What is the function of this part of your body? Write down all the things this part does, what it enables you to do, what it represents to you in your life. What words describe this function?

  • What is the nature of your difficulty? Is is sore,       is it hot, stiff, aching?

  • What is the tissue structure involved? Is it hard, soft or hard. Does this tells you something about yourself? is it a core issue, a mental or emotional issue?

  • Which side of the body is involved? What does        this side mean to you? What words describe this side?  Is your problem more to do with issues at home or in work?

  • Ask your body what needs to be healed and how you can help. What does it need you to do? Is it physical or emotional healing or a change in your life what is needed?

  • Each time an answer comes, be sure to thank the illness for speaking to you and helping you understand it. Always end the dialogue in the         adult seat....

When you are finished , write down whatever happened so you can remember it and come back to it throughout your day.


When a feeling is locked away inside, it can easily stay in your body, untouched and unacknowledged. When something is written down, it no longer needs to be held inside - it has been seen and heard - and so leaves room for the next thought or word to come. So one way to deepen your process of inquiry is by writing down everything you can about your illness or difficulties. Symptoms can be subtle, elusive and indefinable, but words you use to describe them can give vital clues to the deeper issues.

See: Healing through writing

        


 Timing of your illness


In the case of cancer it can be useful for you to look back about two to four years of your life before you became aware of your illness. Tumors usually take this time to grow to the size where they start to show symptoms.

What was going on with your life at that point? Think about of any factor in your life what may could have had a contribution to breaking down your immune system and undermined your resistance to illness? Perhaps you had suffered some periods of intensive stress, shock or trauma, e.g. a loss of a loved one or difficult separation before the onset of your illness.

Even with its pain and disability, an illness - like any crisis - can enrich our lives. We may be forced to reevaluate what is really important, shift priorities and move in exciting new directions that we might never have seen before. Any serious illness or chronic illness may close some doors and open new ones.

       


Benefits of illness

It can be useful if you explore  the possible benefits your illness might offer to you. Please note that there is no blame on you that you are ill. Nobody plans to get purposefully ill or plans an accident. And while being ill is unpleasant and sometimes painful, illness is not always an entire negative experience.

  • Illness gives you a chance to let go of those things that are trivial and unnecessary. No longer do you take everything     for granted, life becomes very precious because you become aware of immortality. If you can enter into this state then illness will open your heart, connecting you with your true priorities.

  • Illness allows you to do things you would otherwise have denied yourself, such as painting or writing. It provides          space to reflect, to reassess, in a way that may not have         been possible previously. It gives you the chance to know yourself.

  • Some people have said that it is only through illness that         they have managed to get out of the overwhelming responsibilities that have taken on or to get out of a                stressful life situation.

  • Illness can give you permission to avoid a difficult situation sometimes seem to much and to stressful to deal with.

  • Illness can give you a way out of the demands of others or your own high expectations when you have pushed you to hard.

  •  Sometimes it is the only way people can get the attention       and love they need. Illness, like cancer, demands your            energy firmly on yourself. 

  • Are there any benefits you gain from your illness or difficulties? Does it make you feel special? Does it make          you feel loved and cred for? Does it make you feel guilty? What effect is it having on your relationships? Is it getting       you out of something? Or is it the best that have happened     to you?

  • Can you imagine yourself being well again? Be honest -        would you accept the healing - the cure? If you would be absolutely well, right now what effect would it have on the rest of your life?

  • What are the benefits does your illness gives you?

  • What has stopped you from getting your needs fulfilled         before you got ill?

  • How can you meet your needs without getting ill?
        
 
You might would like to answer these questions:
  • Who (what person) or what experience made me feel generous, magnanimous, expansive, so far?

  • Did I experience any "ah-ha" moments, insights and breakthroughs in the last 3 months?

  • Where have I found the joy in my life so far this year?

  • Who or what made me laugh out loud?

  • What happened that gave me a sense of relief and peace?

  • Who helped me along my way and have I said thank you?

  • Who or what caused me to feel a sense of accomplishment?

  • Did you take even one step forward towards your dream or goal and if so, what was that step or steps?

  • If you could do it over, these past 3 months, what one thing would you have done differently?
  • Did you take some time to celebrate your victories along the way       
 
To do this work you might would like to use the help of a Health Creation Mentor or councellor.  Mentoring
 

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