Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness, Spirituality and Health


I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned my hobbies, but I started quilting in 1992 and have evolved my textile work to create one-of-a-kind art pieces.  Why bring up my hobby?  I bring it up because one of the things in history is the impact quilts had in directing slaves to freedom in the Underground Railroad.  History can teach us lots of lessons, but the one thing I take away from the use of quilts is the use of quilts for social, political, and humanistic purposes.  So the question I ask you is, “What’s the route for your own Underground Railroad” that will allow you to emerge to a place of health and healing.

We all have to navigate the turbulence that comes with a diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness.  What we learn from the quilts used as part of the Underground Railroad is that the unspoken can speak volumes.  It can be better than any GPS system created on the planet.  In fact, the path for your personal emergence is often unspoken.  It’s a journey within and that journey is sacred.  It gets you to go on a personal pilgrimage giving you the opportunity to explore your true self (as Thomas Merton would say).  When we are able to emerge to the place where our authentic self meets our core self then there is a blossoming of peace of mind, and inner harmony.

The journey to wellness is indeed your own personal Underground Railroad.  The one thing that’s different is that the path isn’t a secret although for many it is the road less traveled.  You have to want to emerge from the depths of shock and sadness following your diagnosis, but the freedom you experience when you reach your destination is undeniable.  It is the new life you hear many discuss when they come to terms with their illness and focus on healing (remember there is a difference between curing and healing).

What route will you take to freedom?  What is the first step you have to take to get the momentum going on this path?  What resources will you need to stay on track?  What do you believe your life will look like when you emerge…that’s the real question!


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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