07262017Headline:

Sailing the Sea of Chronic Illness

By KM Huber

If you live with a feline, you are constantly reminded how integral sleep is to life. It is the way sentient beings unplug and get rewired as feline EmmaRose demonstrates in this image.

It is her daily way to unplug regularly. I, however, am a slow learner, which may be why I have another constant teacher just as dedicated. It is autoimmune disease, lupus in particular and in a lesser role, Sjogren’s syndrome.

It is my journey, my sea to sail.

Not too long ago, I tried not to unplug, not to come to shore, ever if possible. I believed I could bully my way through any tempest—I was that kind of sailor–but that is not the law of the sea nor is it true self care. It is dangerous sailing, selfish and thoughtless.

Self care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship

of the only gift I have,

the gift I was put on earth to offer others.

Parker Palmer

Good stewardship requires a daily course adjustment in how to offer my gift, how to avoid dualistic thinking. Dualism exacts quite a price for in choosing one way, another way is excluded. Better to steer between the two for balance. They are within the same sea, co-existing with one another.

I was reminded of the inherent imbalance in dualistic thinking as I came across a lively Facebook group discussion on healthcare, specifically alternative versus traditional medicine. Here, healthcare is a civil war with both groups firmly entrenched in their respective camps.

There is no one and only one way to health for everyone but for each of us there is a way to our best health. It may be a balance of both camps or it may lie more within traditional rather than alternative medicine or vice versa.

But without the benefit of learning what each camp offers, there is no balanced approach to one’s best health. In balance is wholeness and without it, our essence is diminished.

I do not haunt these discussion boards as I once did but I am reminded of my own imbalance in my approach to my best health. I am fortunate in having experienced the benefits of both camps but I do not know that I have expressed that.

And while my preference for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remains the course I steer, it is not without the benefits of traditional medicine. For traditional medicine continues to teach me about the western perspective on autoimmune disease. In turn, that perspective broadens my TCM options.

Wholehearted living is not a onetime choice.

It is a process. In fact, I believe it

is the journey of a lifetime.

Brene Brown

Good stewardship just may the journey of a lifetime, easy to drift off course or become becalmed. And then, there are the storms of life, much like the one I am in now, tossed about, swamped from time to time, but not run aground or sunk.

Some who read my articles know chronic illness. We sail a similar sea as we chart our course anew for storm or to catch the wind for full sail. When we dock for a rest, we learn from our days at sea. We share our catch.

We know what we offer is the best we have to give in that moment, and that it only lasts a short time. We also know the impermanence of the sea requires we open our sails to the wind when and as it is given. When it is denied, we rest with a steady hand on the tiller.

Till we meet again.

******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2015 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

 


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