Spirituality: How has it helped you cope with illness?

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by Rafiki, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I thought I'd get the ball rolling here.

    We should probably let some others with interest in this know that we have a place to talk about this topic.


    Edited to fix that "has" finally :eek:)[This Message was Edited on 01/28/2009]
  2. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    And peace to you.

    I had to deal with great emotional pain, literally from birth, which caused a lifetime of surviving with PTSD. Then when I was 42 I got full-blown CFS.

    I grew very angry with my church, especially as a teen-ager. It was so horrifically painful to not have the extreme abuse in my family acknowledged, but have to go to Strawberry Festivals, expected to be always smiling.

    However, when I was 20, I came to the end of my rope. In total despair, I called out to God, and astonishingly felt his presence. It was at night, when I was walking around and around my neighborhood in the light of a strong, enormous moon. I will always remember the bluish-white light pouring down. And comfort, and the will to live came too.

    As for sickness, and pain, they have always been with me, and I know they have kept my life sharp, in the sense of needing God, calling out to him for help constantly. Really constantly.

    I think if I hadn't had so much pain, I would have been scampering around in other directions.

    I think for anyone who works on their spiritual lives, we have to have fortitude to continue, to go deeper.

    I also see a great beauty on all the boards here, so much compassion in people. People so eager to rush to someone's aid.

    And also how so many look for small beauties, and goodness in their daily lives. I do that too. And then I wonder, is it really small? Is it a small life?

    It seems to me that spiritual values can be just the opposite of the worlds. Monks and nuns close out much of the world to deepen their spiritual lives.

    "Worldly values" can be a constant feeling that no matter what you have, it's never enough.

    We are so slowed down by these DD's, that we are put in that position already. A close friend of mine calls my room, where I spend so much time in sickness, my achoress' cell.

    A very good thread, Rafiki.

    Oh yes, and I think you mentioned Pema Chodren in another post once. My husband and I got the book, and we both received so much from it! We love her - so incredibly wise. Does she ever write about having CFS?

    Blessings to you, and your daughters that you mentioned on the other thread.

  3. jole

    jole Member

    I went from a world of working 12-14 hours a day to make enough money to pay down debt...the only thing on my mind was to get out of debt as retirement approached!

    Then I got sick.....had to quit work and society. I withdrew into myself, lived with terrible frustration, pain, depression, cognitive difficulties, etc. And suddenly decided to work on ME, and what was missing in my life.

    I found my Lord back after abandoning Him for worldly things, and He has strengthened my spirit and understanding of HIS wants, not MY wants. The pain and emotional suffering is still here, but my soul is feeling more free, and I want to glorify Him even through my illness!

    The funny thing is, with us down to one income maker for the past 5 years, we are nearly completely out of debt.....how did that happen??? By His love!

    I know who I am now....not completely, I'm still learning, and as I do, I become closer to my Creator, Savior, and Holy Spirit...a most wonderful feeling.

    Thank you to all of you for helping me upon my newfound journey***Jole***
  4. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Great stories being told here. Windblade, Cate... so much to think about and all so beautifully said.

    I love discovering how different the path to compassion and peace can seem to be. Many paths all leading to the same place. Like many languages in which to say: love. The love is the same no matter the sound.

    Isn't it amazing how people open up their hearts to each other when they tell their stories? I think so. I think our stories may be the most important things we have to give.

    We can so easily come to think we suffer, alone, a unique kind of horror that is not acceptable to others. Then we find out we all share so many fears and we can stop judging ourselves when we realize we do not judge others who feel as we do. I find it very healing, personally. When I make mistakes, I like to know that I am not the first or the only or some other kind of unforgivable which isn't unforgivable at all.

    I'm a bit low on energy just now. Yes, I know, I feel a bit like I invited everyone to a party and then went to the movies! Really sorry! Unavoidable but temporary.

    Doesn't really matter though, the insights and experiences don't depend on me in any way.

    Peace, Love, Compassion, Mindfulness, Forgiveness...

    ETA: Oh, Hanginginthere! Hi! And, dear Jam, Jole, Rainbow, Tigress11 and CPB.

    Rainbow, do you have any good links re Native American Spirituality. I'd love to know more since I am living on the back of the turtle.

    [This Message was Edited on 01/17/2009]
  5. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Thank you so much for all of this!

    I got goose bumps a couple of times while reading your post on Native American Spirituality. I always take that as a good sign.

    Thank you much for the links and the direction and, perhaps most of all, for infusing your post with such wonderful energy that it gave me goose bumps!

    I can not yet say anything intelligent because I'm too busy getting goose bumps.

  6. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    I am really trying hard to grasp mindfulness yet I am finding so hard to truly accomplish. Any advice on how to block out all the intrusions in my mind so I can learn the art of meditation??

    Thanks so much!
  7. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Thank you so much for asking!

    I love to talk about Mindfulness and would like to start a new thread where we could discuss it.

    I'm kinda tearing through this right now and would like to be able to be a little more mindful when we discuss mindfulness :eek:)

    One thing - you don't have to block out all the intrusions. That's the beauty of it. The intrusions are exactly the stuff you need to work with. Think of them as the raw materials of your mindfulness. Welcome all those thoughts but do not grasp any of them or, when you realize you have grasped one, let it go.

    Sometimes we have a hot thought grasped tightly for a while before we even realize it. That's ok, when you become aware of it, mindful, gently let it go. It is the practice of letting them go and learning not to grasp them that is meditation, not simply makings one's mind go blank. They are referred to as "chattering monkeys." Everyone has their very own noisy monkeys because the brain is a thought generating organ. That's fine, that's what it does.

    You really don't want to "block" anything. Blocking takes struggle and you want to go with the flow. Everything that arises in your mind is fine, just fine... let it arise and float away and just rest in awareness of your breath. Sometimes the best mantra is: breathing in... breathing out... as it helps to connect one's awareness to the breath.

    So much happens in the gentle act of returning.

    I promise that a lively, even overactive, thought generator is an absolutely perfect thing to have if you wish to learn to meditate. I know, I had one! I was the one person in the world who would never, ever be able to meditate. In fact, meditation used to be my idea of torture. I'm smiling!

    So, I would really love to talk about this. Thank you, again, for asking about it.

    I promise to bring mindfulness to the task when I return! And, I'll bring some good stuff about mindfulness meditation.

    Peace out,

  8. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    In all our lives we will experience bad times, some times trauma and life becomes very hard. Pain can be a tough taskmaster. I had become permanently disabled, then had a terrible trauma, and was having such a terrible time digging out. I kept praying and the darkness kept getting worse. I then did something very stupid as I no longer cared about myself.

    I believe that God did an intervention. He knew I was at a fork in the road and he had to intervene to guide me in the right direction. Some people pray to win the lottery, to win that mansion and such and I always don't want to burden him with my wants and needs, so I always thank him for the blessings from him that I have and pray for his guidance and I pray for others.

    The day or two after I was stupid, someone came through my door with two beautiful cats!!!! They had been kept in cages 24/7 all their lives by a breeder, he was going out of business and needed good homes for them and heard I was so wonderful with animals and was giving them to me for free. God had such a plan for me and I was but a mere mortal and didn't know that God had it all in hand. He knew those cats needed to be rescued but he knew I needed to be rescued too and that the cats and I would rescue each other. That I wouldn't care for myself, BUT I would certainly provide care and love for them, and in turn care for myself so I could care for the cats. God had the plan and knew the relationship between me and the cats would grow to the point where I would train them, the cats would willingly learn and be able to become registered service animals. They even take turns going in my scooter basket when we go out. They attend meetings of local support groups, including the local disabled support group, and allow anyone to pet them and love them for as long as the person wants. The one cat was petted and loved for 20 minutes while she listened to a disabled woman talk about her problems after surgery.

    I say my prayers every morning (night is too rough with my back) and I thank God for these cats that are true blessings from Him and that these cats allow themselves to be shared with others.

    When I requested my housing to have service animals, the housing immediately got a lawyer to oppose it. I got HUD involved, my doctors were in full agreement with my service animal cats and I have letters to prove it, my cats are outstanding. The final is I was able to have my Service Animal Cats here, where I live had to pay fines and I was the first person ever where I live to have service animals and thus I broke the "no service animals" barrier that had been unjustly placed upon disabled people here where I live.

    My spirituality is now expressed in my life and in my help to others in the support groups. There is no woe over being disabled and I have been shown the path.
  9. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I'm just signing off here for today but I have to say...

    What a moving and inspirational story! Thank you so much for sharing.

    I know it is not easy to train a cat. Some might say, impossible. I guess nothing is impossible if you believe in miracles.

    peace to you and your Cat Doctors!
  10. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    Thanks Rafiki....You've already broken through one of my misconceptions! I will print this out and be looking for your new thread:)

  11. Doznclan3

    Doznclan3 New Member

    I feel that I've always been a spiritual person. I've been through a lot, maybe that's why. Are we not usually, or eventually humbled in our hard times throughout life? Yes, I've had my ups and downs in my sprituallity, but I've never forgotten that the Lord is always there, I just didn't do my part at times, serving him the way that I should have been. I've had people tell me that my life could be a soap opera??? Ha, well, maybe a good novel....nah! I have had a lot of miracles happen in my life though, and I am thinking that a lot of them happened during the time I took care of my son that was born with Spina Bifida. He is now living outside the home, and doing really well. He is also a very spiritual young man. He went through a lot of course, himself. By the time he was in hin mid 20's, he had had around 26 surgeries. So, he was humbled a bit himself. Now, he is serving in his area of living. :) He still has health issues come and go, but he keeps on going. I'd dare say that he is an example for our family. When I am having a hard day with my health, I think of others, having it harder. I think of my son, or someone else that has an illness that won't heal, and actually know the time remaining in this life time just isn't going to be that long. There is such a person living just down the street from us. She is so strong, giving what time she does have the best she has. And, of course, I think of Christ's journey here on earth. What a hard time it was for him, but what joy he brought to those around him, and then, the ultimate gift. I'm so grateful for that gift of the Atonement. For the love and compassion that he lets me feel during my discouraging times. For the inspiration and guidance he gives me. I love him so! He gets me through what I need to get through. Love to you all, Doznclan3
  12. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member

    By reinforcing my belief that that Someone out there listens.

    Ive had a childhood not many go through, an idyllic one upto the age of 7 with loving parents, a loving grandfather, stable secure home. And then it all changed. Poverty, seeing dad sell off moms silver which was actually her fathers, seeing him take to drink and become a full blown drunkard wherein he changed from gentle, diffident man to a violent monster who beat mom black and blue, seeing mum sell off all the house belongings to feed us, knowing dad was having a sordid affair with an underage housemaid, with whom we had to share him for 11 years. My 'school friends' mocking references to my 'stepmother'; and my raggedy clothes or lack of them...fishing a dead drunk dad out of the gutter in the main street, stomach queasy that a school friend would come along and see, seeing mum turn into a drunk to cope, and have affairs with dads friends in a tit for tat..aaaah..ands more poverty and despair..brothers running wild..taking up with prostitutes..a unsympathetic lady teacher telling me off for wearing unsuitable school clothes and having nits in my hair.and telling me 'this was no village school where i could come like this'..

    not a good recipe for turning out a happy well adjusted person.

    But i prayed. Oh boy, i prayed. At that age, what could else could i do? I prayed for financial stability. It pervaded my whole life, the lack of money even to buy a toothpaste..and my prayers were answered.

    Someone we knew, knew of a job in Nepal, (we were in India); and informed me..I had dropped out of college due to lack of funds and was teaching KG, I packed my bags and got interviewed and at 18 landed the job of secretary at this five star hotel. My mom and brothers followed me to nepal. We stayed in one room. Couple of months later, dad follows. he has left his mistress. Without money to keep her, she probably wanted nothing to do with him either.
    We struggled. Dad was still drinking but he painted a bit and helped out. With The marriage offers started coming in..here we have arranged marriages, and now i am married with two lovely kids. My brothers dont work. They cant get jobs. But my husband earns enough for me to be able to help them out, somewhat. They both used to drink. But are not drinking right now. They both live with their families in houses which my husband built.

    My married life presented me with new challenges. Inlaws who viewed me a threat to their sons affections and who ran the house like dictators and i was the serf. Lasted 9 years throughout which i prayed. Husband moved me out into a house of our own. Now i am free.
    Free from poverty. Free from toxic people. Free to do as i want. A lovely garden. Pets.

    Life is good. I have to admit that. I am more blessed than most. Yes, i have struggled with chronic genetic depression..but got an understanding husband. I have loving relations with most of my inlaws. And friends from my school days. I struggle with CFS but have house help. And at this moment, am on upswing with neither depression nor CFS troubling me too much.Oh the challenges continue. Especially with brothers. But i have the strength to cope now. And support.

    I feel i am blessed. I attribute it to prayer. And the strength i have recieved from somewhere to not go under when things seemed to hard to bear. This is how my spirituality has helped me, and turned my life around.

    God Bless
  13. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I remember from before, but thank you so much for sharing here. Your experience so brings out your spirituality and through it, it molded you into that most wonderful person you are today that I am so grateful and thankful to know. Peace and love.
  14. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member

    Thank you. And you know youre not too bad yourself. Your own strength is admirable. I hope your little friend gets better soon. I wish I was there so i could have done something. I dont know what, but well, just be there, if nothing else.

    God Bless
  15. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    strength and kindness here.

    Thank you!
  16. appleville

    appleville New Member

    I agree with you, by praying for others we are being selfless. The only thing that I might pray for myself would be a good night's sleep and when I do, I get it.

    I was driving home the other day from the grocery store and the sun was setting and came through the clouds in the shape of a perfect cross.

    Also, one night as I went to bed, my husband was still upstairs watching TV, I heard a choir singing "God Will Take Care of You". That night I slept solid.

    In Christ's Love, Kathy
  17. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    your life's story is very moving and that you shared is inspiring. I need to open my own childhood horror story but yet I can't seem to let it surface.

    I'm not sure what I wanted to say hear my mind is a whirlwind....but I do know that I thank you for sharing and inspiring us all.

    With Love,
  18. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator


    I have always thought that since Jesus suffered so much for us, and I learned that we should accept the cards we are dealt, that I should try not to complain, and accept my illness.

    That helped me cope alot, plus the fact that I was funtional and not disabled like some people.

    Recently, since getting an Igenex western blot and realizing that I have lyme disease...after 21 years of FM...I really think that God had a plan for me.

    I believe that I was supposed to suffer for all those years so that I can now use my experience to help others. If I recover, and I believe that I will, I plan to educate the health care providers and the public in my community about recognizing, diagnosing and treating lyme.
  19. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member

    I think i started making improvements when i stopped hiding and started sharing about my depression and the challenges i went through. I was such a withdrawn frightened child except when i was with my close circle of class friends. I stuttered and would break out into a sweat if i had to say somethng in a crowd even if they were just other little girls like me.

    And when working and the depressive epispodes got so bad, it was very tough trying to put on a normal front and especially when i couldnt bear to accept offers to stay overnight for a girls night in at a friends. No one understood depression. My friend still doesnt understand. And it was the reason for some nonspeaking sprees my friend and i went on during those days. I didnt look ill. But i was ill. I wanted to die. Not party.

    Nowadays even tho i dont go tomtomming my disorder to everyone, i dont hide it. Some people understand or have heard of it. Those who dont. Well, they dont.

    I have come a long way, from the shy withdrawn child, now my friend calls me over especially to make conversations if she is having a party because she knows i will keep the talk going. Now that is progress from the stutterer of childhood days! I am grateful always at whatever progress i have achieved.

    I hope you will one day be able to completely conquer the demons of your past and throw off the shackes they have tried to bind you with. It is so nice to see you reaching out, exploring, searching for answers...didnt even the Bible say something like, "seek and you shall find"?

    God Bless

    God Bless