When I was diagnosed with MS, I realized that I was more than simply out-of-balance in my life – I was also spiritually bankrupt. For years, I hadn’t been praying, attending services, reading spiritual materials, or any other kind of practice that had previously connected me to the Divine. During my childhood and early adulthood, my faith had always given me great substance, nourishment, joy and peace. It gave me the feeling that a great, guiding, loving force existed in the Universe which had my back.
But, somehow, with numerous international moves, career changes, academic institutions, marriages, and raising children, I had gradually lost my connection to God.
As I began to heal, I realized my life had become all about busyness. I was just busy (plus anxious, fearful, and sort of lost). My life had become all about running – running from morning until night, running on empty – and running away from myself. As long as I was busy, it seemed I was safe because that way I was “productive, useful, and worthy.”
After the diagnosis, which I perceived as a HUGE wake-up call, I rediscovered and recommitted to my health and to my spiritual journey. At that point, I stopped all my running. I was blessed that I could do this, but you can still get healthy and improve your life without quitting your job or resigning from all your volunteer jobs (unless you have a serious illness; and if that’s the case, I recommend you do stop everything else and get well again, whatever it takes).
I began to sit still, meditate, listen, pray, and breathe deeply and methodically. Through these daily practices, I found the strength and courage to stop running, slow down, and start spending quiet time with myself. As I did this, I began to see my illness as a path to healing and a path to God. I began to feel joyful and peaceful again, and returned to my happier self. From there, I was able to overcome my disease, and have lived symptom-free since; even beyond symptom-free – to being vibrantly healthy, happy and successful in my career.
Whether you’re currently in touch with this part of you or not, you have the ability to access it simply by being still, breathing and listening – even if it’s only for three minutes in the beginning. Once you begin to slow down, be still, and meditate or pray (and let go of all your worries, concerns and to-do lists for a moment), your connection to God- the source of all life and all creation – will grow; and you will find the peace, joy and love you seek.
How To Do It
1. Take a moment to reflect on who or what your personal higher power source is. (If you don’t have one, and label yourself as agnostic, atheist, or something else besides religious or spiritual, that is O.K. too).
2. If you do have one, consider if your current state of faith, trust and reliance on your higher power is a source of comfort, inspiration, and grounding for you, or maybe you are feeling somewhat or even totally disconnected.
3. Whether you’re comfortable with your relationship with your Higher Power or you’re feeling a little disconnected; or maybe even spiritually bankrupt and feel a desire to explore this relationship, here are some questions to write and answer in your journal:
I do not have a higher power. Check here if this is true. ___
I do have a higher power, and I call it ______ (God, Spirit, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, etc.)
I feel ________ about my current relationship with my higher power.
I would like to begin (or deepen) the following spiritual practice in my daily life: (i.e. meditate, pray, read spiritual materials, get out in Nature more, etc.) ________________.
Simple 3-Minute Meditation Exercise
- Get comfortable and close your eyes
- Notice your breath as you inhale and exhale for a few breaths
- Count to four as you inhale
- Count to four as you exhale
- Repeat 3 times
May you find peace, joy, meaning and purpose by slowing down more this week and connecting with the deeper part of you.