Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Can You Find Your Way Out of a Paper Bag?

I don’t know about you but I tend to be a bit direction challenged.  One of the things I loved about living on either coast was that I could always orient myself toward the water.  I live in Colorado and when I drive I always know the mountains are to the west.  I’ve been in San Antonio, TX since July for work and I have no natural direction markers.  There’s no water…no mountains…just road signs telling me if I’m going north, south, east, or west.  That’s why for many GPS has become their saving grace.  I personally haven’t taken the leap, I just rely on mapquest for directions and pray.

As you may have guess by now I’m not really talking about physical directions.  I’m not thinking about how you get from point A to point B in your car or on the bus.  I’m thinking more about your internal journey.  How do you find your way when you go deep within your heart and soul.  What are the mile markers that give you a sense of direction and distance you’ve traveled so far?  How can you find you way when you may be feeling lost and alone?

One of the outcomes for some following the diagnosis of a chronic or other life-altering illness is a new sense of direction.  You may have heard people discuss their diagnosis as a gift and with that gift came a new sense of inner direction.  Many people after a diagnosis change professions, develop new friendships or deepen current relationships.  Life becomes wondrous instead of something you simply have to get through.  There is a sense of curiosity that often comes with a diagnosis.  I’m not talking about the “why me” curiosity, but the curiosity of life. 

You develop an internal navigation system that is driven by curiosity, faith, and understanding.  Your understanding is of what makes you happy, what provides comfort, and what you need to accomplish while still on this earth.  When I discuss faith I’m not discussing religion, but the sense of possibility and wonder that comes with a new prescription lens on life.  This is the time when you may look at old hurts and release them from holding you down.  Each turn you take internally must be toward a sense of health and healing.  Each action needs to bring you closer to your core where life energy is stored.

If you’ve developed an internal navigation system, I’d love to hear how you did it and what the results have been!


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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