Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Language of Illness

It is interesting when we look at the language we use to refer to illness. We "fight" a cold or flu, we "battle" with cancer. We "fight" heart disease. All this sounds like there is this enemy we do battle with, rather than our own body we are working with.

I work with my body to strengthen it and provide it more of what it needs. I pay attention to what I eat and drink and how and how much I exercise. When I do not pay attention to these things, my body gives me reminders. When I allow myself to become too stressed, my body gives me reminders to change my ways. I have come to embrace having a cold or flu as a few days to rest and rebuild and take time out of my regular schedule. Illness is not my enemy, it is part of the cycle of life, and it serves a useful purpose.

I am not just referring to colds and flu. I was born with a condition that required much surgery to correct. I had a heart attack 8 years ago, and at that time discovered I also had diabetes. It is something I have to live with every day. I had to make some adjustments to keep going. I am having to make more adjustments now. The principle of working with our bodies is true for these big things too.

I do not discount serious illnesses and cannot explain why some people who apparently live a healthy lifestyle would also get a stroke or heart attack or other disease. That is a mystery.

I remember Wayne Dyer talking about his own reaction to his own heart attack. "I remember thinking the sudden onset of the pain and the inability to get up off my bed. I remember thinking I am Wayne Dyer, Mr. Positive Thinking. I jog every day, I eat healthy, I love and take good care of my wife and kids, and I don't smoke or drink. Why am I getting a heart attack?"

I do feel that there are lessons about living that come with all illness. We may not always know what that is until much later, or maybe never. Still, we have to work with what we've got.

We have to work with our bodies. They are always in communication with us, but are we listening? Sometimes they have to derail our plans and activities in order to communicate something important to our minds and spirits. Notice the language we use to refer to our own bodies. It is telling us something.

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