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

Stop the World….

Often we hear the saying, “Stop the World I want to get off”. These are the words of a very stressed person. We’ve come to believe that if we can get off of life’s merry-go-round things will be easier. We’ve been conditioned to believe that by disengagement our problems will ride into the sunset. We believe we’ve been relieved of the stress and strain that comes with facing adversity. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

The main freeway where I live parallels the light rail tracks. I was driving and looked over and saw the side of the light rail car. It said, “Stop the world I want to get on”. I realize that they are referring to using mass transit in hopes of decongesting the roads and minimizing the impact of car exhaust into the environment. For me, it was like a light bulb going off in my head. They had the right idea and I’m not only talking about mass transit.

Why do we want to stop the world and get off? Too many of us sit on the sidelines to begin with and getting off only separates us more. It’s like when we were in school and if you didn’t know the answer or hadn’t done the work you try and vanish into the walls hoping not to get picked on. It’s the same with life, if we haven’t done the work we hope we won’t be asked to step up and act.

The problem is that when life throws you a curve ball you can’t afford to be disconnected. You don’t have the luxury of disengagement from body, mind, or spirit. It’s the time when you have to engage. I know that sounds easier than when you put it in action, but maybe that’s the bigger challenge than the adversity you’re facing.

Facing adversity such as a chronic or life-threatening illness is the time when you have to become more deeply engaged in your life. It’s time to turn off autopilot and take the controls. It requires that you dive deep and find what you’re passionate about and invoke its energy as part of your health and healing journey.

We’re always going to be challenged with adverse situations. How we handle it, the tools we accumulate to ease our pain, and connecting with our true selves as well as others is paramount to the healing process.

Last night I was watching So You Think You Can Dance. The show is just beginning and is in the audition phase of the competition. This young woman told her back-story that amazed the judges and the audience. She’s eighteen years old and has been dancing since she was three. Two years ago she stopped dancing because she went into treatment for an eating disorder. (Eating disorder programs don’t allow participants to exercise, at least at the beginning) Six months ago this young woman started dancing again.

When the judges spoke with her, guest judge Christina Applegate said to her, “I see where you were broken. I could see it in your choreography and it’s okay because look at where you are today!” She was telling this beautiful young dancer that it’s because she “stopped the world and got on” that she is healing. She made a conscious choice to engage on the deepest levels. She was brave enough to tell her story giving those watching a beacon of hope.

We can’t afford to stop the world and get off. We have to stay engaged during our toughest moments because adversity requires us to pool all our resources as we embark on the healing journey!

Facing adversity and looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit

Want to explore how Art impacts Healing?  Visit


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s