Thoughts on Sickness and Healing, Part 2

Thoughts on Sickness and Healing, Part 2
Illness may offer us unexpected opportunities for finding peace within.
Dr. Trish

In Part 1, I shared some thoughts on sickness and on healing: thoughts of my own and thoughts of others that have inspired mine. As I reflected: lovely, prosaic and poetic as these notions are, they may feel difficult to apply given the practical realities of our daily lives.

Here, in Part 2, I'll offer suggestions on how to experiment with these: on ways to be with sickness, and on ways to find healing; all paths to finding your way home.

First, experiment with being in the moment. Yes, more words. Easy to read, perhaps hard to practice. Experiment with this notion. Be in this very moment as you read these words. Not in the next moment, not in the past moment. Not in your thoughts of the future, worries, or reflections on the past. Just be here now, in this moment.

Breathe. Being with the breath can be the easiest way to experience being in the moment. For more details, see my article series: “The Omnipotent Power of Breath.”1

Experiment with meditation. Anyone can meditate. It’s not about not having thoughts or quieting the monkey mind. It’s just another experience of being in the moment. Take a class. Try guided meditation. Here’s a link to a few:

Try journaling. This can be a helpful way to slow down and be present with what’s going on for you. Write off the top of your head whatever you are thinking and feeling. Then try writing about your dreams and desires. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t let any circumstances of your present life inhibit you: finances, relationships, health concerns, work, geography. Write in the present tense as if you have these dreams and desires now.

Cultivate self-love. Love, accept, cherish yourself unconditionally. All of you. Especially what you may not like about yourself. Your fears, your insecurities, your anxieties, your upsets. Accept and cherish them all. Be gentle with yourself, as you would with a child or a beloved pet.

Then, be even more gentle with yourself. Delete the “shoulds” from your vocabulary.  

Feed your inner child. Dialogue with a picture of yourself as a young child, real or imagined. Ask the little one what he or she is needing. Try to give yourself some of that.  

And, speaking of children, take time to watch them play. Feel their spontaneity, their lack of self-consciousness. Breathe some of that in. Experiment with being a little childlike, a little bit, every day.

Experiment with faith. Experiment with surrendering. If you’re a non-believer, then pretend. Pretend that you are not in charge. Experiment with surrendering to something greater than yourself, even if it’s just the weather.  

And, consider that this very moment, whatever is going on for you, is perfect, no matter what. No matter what is your mental/emotional/physical state. Don’t try to change it, resist it, make it go away or make something come to you.   

If you are dealing with feelings that are difficult, find some practical suggestions in my series “Emotions and Your Health.”2  If you are suffering acutely, physically and/or emotionally, seek the support and guidance of practitioners/resources with whom you feel comfortable.

And if my suggestions feel challenging, or even unreasonable, suspend your disbelief. Start with a couple of inhalations and exhalations, with your eyes closed, devices off, in a place where you can just be, and be quiet.

Being still, being here now.

This can be a way to finding your path home, a path home to wholeness.


Patricia Muehsam, MD is the Founder of Transformational Medicine, a wholistic, individualized approach to healing, wellness and living. Her work draws from traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, the medical therapeutic applications of yoga, as well as the spiritual themes of these, and other mindbody practices. Based in New York city, she offers workshops, teleseminars, writings, health consultations and mindbody healing sessions, and continuing education for physicians and medical students.
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