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

New Territory

In grammar school we learned all about explorers. These brave individuals circumnavigated the earth (once they realized it wasn’t flat) finding new lands. It didn’t matter why they were exploring, just the fact that they were risking their lives and the lives of their crews to find what may be possible. Obviously these individuals were vested in finding new lands for notoriety, money, or fame. Times have changed, but we have modern day explorers. Look at social media, technology, even space exploration, individuals and groups looking to go beyond what we believe is the end of the road.

Our lives are like undeveloped countries. We’d like to believe that we have mapped all aspects of our physical, emotional, and spiritual planes, but the truth is if we’re only using ten per cent of our brains, and our spirits have unlimited potential we have miles to go before we sleep (at least according to Robert Frost). So what lies in these unchartered territories?

If we knew there would be nothing to write about. The self-help book industry would collapse. Spiritual leaders like Echart Tolle and Depak Chopra would have to file bankruptcy. Fortunately for them, we still have places to explore deep within. We are human cartographers. Every experience we have allows us to add detail to our personal maps. It gives us insight into what makes us tick. It gives us leads to unlock our ultimate healing potential.

Like the explorers of the past these actions don’t come without risk. Your personal exploration requires training and/or preparation. It starts with a question or an experience. For many, this journey or pilgrimage begins with a stressor such as a death, divorce, or diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness. We find ourselves in a spiral and need to put on the brakes to stop the spinning. This is the beginning of your journey. Next is to think about what you’re hoping to achieve; are you looking for health and healing, love, or happiness? This is important because it allows you to narrow the immediate search or guides you to the path that will bring you answers.

In the beginning you may not have the resources to venture on such a journey. I encourage you to begin by consulting with a therapist, coach, or spiritual director. Read books, attend lectures, go on retreats with others who may be on a similar journey and develop a supportive community.

Setting out on this journey won’t necessarily bring you fame. It may not bring you riches in the form of money, but it can bring you peace! Coco Chanel used to say, “Some people are rich and some people have money.” Become rich! Start your journey and map your world. Become an explorer!

Facing adversity such as a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Hoping to find education, support, and inspiration?  Visit

Want to explore your creative side and how it helps 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.

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