A New Year. A new vision. Goals. Dreams. Desires.
When you’re living with a chronic illness though, this time of year is rough. It’s hard to have a future vision when you can barely get through the day-to-day. It feels useless to dream, to create goals, to desire more.
If you’re anything like I was a few years ago, your chronic illness has you stuck. It’s like freakin’ quicksand. You take a step into it and all of a sudden, you’re caught, unable to move forward, unsure of how to proceed.
The great irony of all of this is that: we must have goals, dreams, and desires in order to move forward.
So, how can you do this when you have a chronic illness? How in the hell can you plan for the future when you can’t even handle the present?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret this New Year’s, something that might shock you: You are right where you need to be. Right here, right now, in the muck and the mess and the pain. And you are capable of moving forward, stronger than ever. Yep! You might be shaking your head, but I can tell you for a fact that YOU ARE CAPABLE. I don’t care what your diagnosis is. I have done it myself, guided others, and seen it done by many. And sister, this world is just waiting for you to let your full greatness shine. That chronic illness is just hogging the spotlight that was really meant for YOU!
Here are some concrete ways you can move forward in 2016 to let that greatness shine:
- Get in touch with your desires. Forget the chronic illness for a second (say what?!). Seriously, if you could do anything and be anything, who and what would you be? Imagine yourself as a 6-year-old kid again – we truly believed we could have, be, or do anything! And even though that reality has changed with the diagnosis of your chronic illness, it’s the imagination, creation, and desire that creates magic in your life. So who are you gonna be when you grow up? Just because you have a chronic illness doesn’t mean you’re any less worthy of having dreams.
- Create a vision board based on those desires. Have you always thought you’d like to travel the world? Become a doctor? Find a cure for what ails you? Google image that vision, print it out (in color!!), and glue/pin that shit to a board that you will look at every day! Something powerful shifts inside of us when we surround ourselves with a vision of what we want, what we desire, what we dream about.
- Take baby steps toward your desires. You may not be able to make any huge changes in your life. (I mean seriously, when it’s hard to even stand up without passing out, it’s hard to go from zero to running a marathon.) BUT you can do the most important thing of all: taking tiny steps in the direction of your desires. Examples include: creating your vision board, journaling about your desires, ordering a new book on a subject you’d like to learn more about, calling a company that does what you want to do for more info, watching Youtube videos about your dream job, attending a new Meet Up to meet people who do what you love, taking an online class related to your goals, etc. Some of these things don’t even require you to leave your house and can be done at your own pace.
- Find gratitude. You will be hard pressed to bring more good into your life if you are not already grateful for your current blessings. And I can guarantee you that, regardless of how shitty things are right now, you can find at least ONE THING per day to be grateful for. Start a gratitude journal and write down even one tiny thing each day (mine started with “I’m grateful that I woke up this morning” and “I’m grateful that I am able to put my feet on the ground this morning”).
- Don’t compare yourself to others. We all have our issues, our darkness, our light, our dreams, our desires…and they are ALL different. When you feel like you are “falling behind” of your friends because of your pain and fatigue, it is SO easy to compare. Again, you are right where you need to be right now, and your experience with your chronic illness is likely to make you even stronger in the future. Just worry about your own things, your own desires, your own dreams.
- Lean on supportive community. Sometimes, it is hard for us to see our own strengths. We get SO stuck inside our heads that we cannot see the big picture. At my worst, I couldn’t find ANYTHING good about my situation. I thought my life was over. I basically threw my desires in the trash. Now, a few years later, I have created a 180 degree turn in my life. I love waking up in the morning, and I have so much fun (and yes, I still have pain and fatigue). But I couldn’t have gotten here without supportive community. People who got me and were willing to hold space for me and challenge me. If you need a community like that, come join us in our free, closed Facebook group for Chronic Illness Goddesses.
2016 is your year, darling, so let that greatness shine!