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

Why Learning is so Important to Healing

I facilitate a dissertation support group call for those embarking on this exciting journey of academic exploration. I love the group experience because I get as much as I receive, and it keeps me in the loop with emerging thought leaders. I love hearing the topics the students are taking on for their monumental projects, and as each topic is revealed I become entranced by the concept of possibility.

Learning to me is all about possibility. It’s the one aspect of our lives that requires dedication and attention. Learning is a conscious process that serves not only our brains, but influences our lives in so many ways. The experience of learning provides solutions for the challenges that stand in our way. They are the clues we seek out when curiosity keeps tickling our brain. More importantly, learning helps us heal. It allows us to shake bad habits, establish new habits, and expands our thinking and our worldly experiences.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” The idea of “live as if you were to die tomorrow” has been prominent in our age of spiritual awakening. Tim McGraw’s song Live Like You Were Dying epitomized that notion. There have been books about “living in the now” and a host of movies emphasizing the same point. But what about “learning like we are going to live forever”?

Learning is what keeps us engaged. Researchers show that one of the ways to ward off Alzheimer’s disease is to keep learning new things. Learning a new language, learning to knit, learning to play an instrument creates new neural pathways. It allows us think different. It expands our repertoire of experience providing us with new stories to tell.

The “practice” of learning refreshes our soul. It challenges us and provides us with new opportunities for mastery.   Learning is the rich soil of possibility. It allows us to take on the role of student. A place where we are nurtured encouraged, and anything is possible. It calls us to participate fully, expend some energy, and make space for something new.

We can’t fix or fight every challenge presented to us, but we can learn how to cope. We can learn new ways of approaching these challenges lessening the burdens. We must learn to enrich the lives we’ve been given. Making the most we’ve been given is part of the rent we pay for living on this planet. Keep learning and tell me what you find!

Diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

Want to learn something new?  Expand your healing horizons through art?  Visit http://www.timetolivecreatively.com

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