Happy Spring to all. My book – Spirituality of Illness: A Heart/Intuitive Centered Approach is getting closer to being published!! Here is a preview — The Preface – designed to introduce this new concept and talk about what I will be doing in the book.
Happy creating to all – Jody
PREFACE – HOW SPIRITUALITY & ILLNESS GO TOGETHER
The congregation’s coffee hour was held in a large space at the heart of the building. One side of the large space held the kitchen, where, this morning, like all Sunday mornings, the window sliding doors were pushed back and you could see the volunteers. Four women were tending the hot drinks and snacks, visiting with people as they came through the line. Art covered hallways wound away from the open space to other parts of the building. Christine and I stood near one of those hallways, waiting for her 10 year-old grandson. She and I were catching up on each other’s lives. I told her the title of my work in progress – this book – The Spirituality of Illness.
“Those two things don’t go together, “ she said.
“Which two things?”
“Spirituality and illness,” she said.
“Why not?” I asked.
“My mother had mental illness,” she said, her voice raising a pitch, “One of those things was here,” and she gestured to the right of her body, and, then, she gestured to the left of her body said, “And, one of them was here. They were not together.”
I didn’t know what to say to her. I understood why she felt that way. My mother suffered with mental illness. I know, as a child, one feels abandoned. Finding faith or sustenance in spirituality, or religion, isn’t likely for a child in pain. The arrival of Christine’s grandson ended our conversation. We focused on him. A few weeks later, we did finish. She apologized, feeling she had attacked me, but I hadn’t taken it that way, and told her it was a common feeling, not at all surprising. She understood what I meant after we told her what I will say in this book. Illness and spirituality are bound together, like the warp and woof of any fabric.
Intertwined cross fibers hold cloth together. One side of the fabric is exposed to the world, and the other side is not. The human self is similar – we have an outside and an inside. The outside is the seen part, and gives us definition, in our eyes and in the eyes of others. Our inside life is unseen, and there lives our spirituality. Both worlds require the individual to make choices. We are more familiar with developing our outer life – jobs, family, projects. The unseen inner life of spirituality is private. We might choose a religion or worldview to reflect our spirituality. We do not have to. Nature, compassion, or simple principles of kindness and honesty might define our spirituality. We might close the door to awareness, choosing numbness or uncaring deeds. In any case, mysteriously, whether we pay attention to it or not, our inner choices will define our outer lives. As we craft a living, find a place in society and strive to anchor ourselves with family & friends, our spirituality will interact with our feelings to set the rudder of our ship.
Illness indicates imbalance in the body. And, you may not agree with what I am about to say next, which is fine, we all have important points of view and the contrast with each other is valuable – our diversity is a great attribute of humanity. I am offering you my view. My belief is that illness is a message from your inner being of spirit, reflected through your physical body. It follows that you will find relief and increased wellness from illness (not necessarily cure, but not excluding cure) by being in alignment and communication with your inner being. The inner being will guide you to multiple harbors. There is no right way. The range goes from traditional medicine, holistic medicine, complementary medicine, to sometimes long walks in the country, humorous movies and wild activities. I call this territory the spirituality of illness and I have named a three stage rudder that defines the stages of the process of gaining relief from illness. I call the three stages: 1) cracking open, 2) accelerated learning, and 3) coming home. I will describe, tell stories and provide tools about each stage.
Choosing the heart-centered intuitive way is to guide your voyage with the most superior compass. As you travel through the feelings in your heart, intuition and body, you will chart a course that only can be found with your inner wisdom.
In light and love,
Madison, WI, 2018