I wasn’t prepared for this…


Gems excerpted from a FB post by Jeff Foster that he wrote after having taken out time from teaching and writing while taking care of his health, dated 5 April 2021.


“It’s all in your head” – to be sick and to be believed

I know so many of you out there have struggled – or are currently struggling – with health conditions, both acute and chronic. […]

Sometimes what makes things so much worse, is the loneliness of illness. The sense of “missing out” on life, being disconnected from community. The sense that your body has somehow failed you, or that you did something wrong, or that you ‘deserve’ to be ill in some way. That you have failed in some way, as a human being, as a spiritual seeker, as a student, as a child of God.

The shame. The guilt. The sense of failure that’s tied up with the story of “being sick”. These things can be hard to bear, too.

On top of all this, we are called to deal with other people’s reactions, opinions, judgements and advice. Their empathy and understanding for us… or their lack of it. […]

A journey into profound uncertainty

It’s been humbling, the last few months. It truly has. I’ve been trying to navigate through the hundreds of perspectives people (all of them well-meaning, I believe) have been offering me.

Over the last months I’ve spoken to many doctors, healers, therapists and well-meaning others, and every single one of them seemed pretty certain about what is going on in my system! One healer told me that my body was experiencing the Fall of Atlantis (for the third time, no less), and that event would explain all my symptoms. One doctor told me that what I have is “unfortunately incurable” and I will be “very disabled” for the rest of my life. One therapist told me that the symptoms I’m experiencing are caused at the root by unresolved birth trauma, and once I have truly met my abandoned child, “all my symptoms will disappear”. One energy worker told me that I just needed to rest, and be still, and my symptoms would subside on their own. […]

I don’t have a fixed position about all this. There is no doubt that body and mind are intimately connected, and repressed emotion and unhealed trauma contribute, at least in part, to the disease process, through suppression of the immune system, in ways that modern science is only beginning to understand. There is no doubt that some people are helped by “Fall of Atlantis” healers. There is no doubt that for some people, symptoms subside after ingesting certain chemicals or plant substances, or doing certain healing and trauma work, or experiencing love or the placebo effect, or just resting and letting their body heal on its own, with no intervention at all.

But… there is also no doubt that what works for someone else may not work for you.

All I’m saying is, stay close to your discernment. This is what I’m learning. The path of healing is mysterious and may (or inevitably will) take you to places you never thought you would go. There is a deep knowing in you. Deep down, your body knows if someone is safe, your very nervous system knows if something they are saying is deeply true for you, or not. Your body knows whether this is your path or not. You are not necessarily “in resistance” if you say no. And you are not crazy for saying yes to a treatment option that feels right for you. […]

What illness teaches us

All of us will suffer ill-health at some point in our lives, perhaps become disabled, and all of us will die, at least in this form. This is a fact of life that we must never turn away from, if we are to be truly human, which is also truly Divine. If we turn from death, we turn from life. If we turn from suffering, we close our hearts and disconnect from the vastness and Mystery of the Universe.

Through contemplating death, the strangeness of our own mortality and the fragile mortality of those we love, we may realise the utter holiness and preciousness of this life. We may stop taking our days for granted. We may stop assuming that we are in control of everything. We may awaken to the sacredness of existence itself. […]

It strikes me that illness is a form of death. It’s not what comes before death. It is a death in itself, and preparation and practice for dying. It is the collapse of our dream of ‘perfect health’, our dream of tomorrow, such happy and care-free dreams! It is the disintegration of some hope of how our future was going to turn out – our plans, what we wanted, where we were going, what we would be capable of as we aged, how we were going to live. […]

I was not prepared for this: www.facebook.com

Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster is an author, poet and teacher. lifewithoutacentre.com

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