Choosing to shift our perception during crisis is half the battle, so if we find ourself in a place of wanting change, but still feeling clueless how to go about it, I’ve got some insights I invite you to consider.

Healing is a long-term commitment we are making with ourself, and any relationship has its growing pains when tested. And to say that living with chronic pain & illness is a test is a gross understatement. So we can’t exactly expect ourselves to magically morph into shiny happy people if we’re currently in a place of suffering.

Just as pain in the body signals to us that we may not be in 100% working order, emotional pain calls attention to our awareness that the choices and beliefs we hold may not necessarily be working for us either.

This means, we have to get super honest with ourselves about the role we play in the pain.

Caution-this may hurt a little; It involves a fair amount of grieving and some bruising of the ego will likely occur.

What are we grieving? The loss of our own expectations.

If we want to reach a place of peace within ourselves and we feel lost, perhaps it’s because we are attached to an idea of ourselves that isn’t true or in alignment with what we really believe. Sometimes we behave a certain way to gain approval from others and we can get caught in the image we’re projecting. So, we must learn to let go of all that we thought we were or who anyone wanted us to be, in order to fully become who we are in this very moment.

Disease, trauma, crises, and any other kind of pain can bring us to this place of loss. And we’ve got to face that loss head on in order to recognize it as an opportunity to reunite with ourselves at the core of our being.

For me, this meant detoxifying my life on all levels.

I honestly thought I’d done this already, especially with my background as a psychotherapist, who had the support of many gifted healers throughout my life, but I, too, had a ton of grieving left to do. Emotional wounds can settle deep into places that our egos cleverly hide, and it’s our job to gently peel back the layers to uncover what these wounds can teach us.

This is an ongoing process of self-reflection that requires us to step back from the noise around us so we can hear what’s true. Then we must be willing to not only ask ourselves the tough questions, but deal with the potential discomfort in the answer(s).

Examples of these questions are:

Did I make any choices that caused any of the pain I am experiencing right now?

If so, was I acting with the best knowledge I had at the time? Whether the answer to that question is yes or no, have I learned from that decision?

And lastly, have I forgiven myself for the decision?

For me, this meant facing the facts that while I never chose to get sick, I certainly didn’t help matters by operating from a place of fear most of my life. This fear lead me not only to unhealthy people, but also to certain doctors and procedures that were not only traumatic, but downright harmful to my body. I had to get very honest with myself that these were my decisions at that time, and I was doing the very best I could with the knowledge I had. Most importantly, I had to forgive myself for those choices that did not end up how I expected.

And as the amazing Caroline Myss says, “Healing is a journey of forgiveness. That forgiveness is simply giving up the illusion that things could’ve or should’ve been otherwise. It’s no more than that.”

Finally, I received that message, and the lessons I still continue to learn.

Instead of wishing for that illusion of the “perfect” life without pain, let’s slip into the one we’ve got an learn from it.

FJamie2-87Jamie Rautenberg is a holistic life coach & Licensed Clinical Social Worker. After a lifetime of medical misdiagnoses, she discovered that she was living with late-stage neurological Lyme Disease in March 2013. While receiving intense daily IV infusions, Jamie reframed her healing experience by creating, a wellness blog where people can learn how to reclaim their lives through chronic illness & pain. Her passion is to empower others wherever they may be along their path through virtual private coaching sessions.