5 Simple Ways to Fall in Love with Life During Illness

Trauma is startling. It picks you up, shakes you senseless, and plops you down facing a completely different direction. Having recently hopped off of this merry-go-round, now it's up to you to figure out how the hell to reconnect with self and create a new normal.

The good news? There is a way to take all of this in stride and enjoy the journey.

If you're skeptical, keep reading. You are a force to be reckoned with, all it takes is tapping into your power source. Here are five ways you can fill your heart with joy even if life as you know it is over.

1. Remember
Surgery might leave you painfully bruised with deeper soreness than you have ever known. You may have cloudy medication brain. Instead of fixating on discomfort or how unfair your circumstance is, draw your attention inward beyond your physical body. Look past the tattered and torn tissues. 

You are a source of infinite love and power. Close your eyes and feel your heart radiate. Key into the sensation of warmth. Offer yourself everything that arises from your heart center. Love. Compassion. Kindness. Forgiveness. Accept nothing less.

2. Be a Container
When you can't participate in activities you love, it may seem like you have been robbed of your personal identity. It can feel like you are already dead. Whether you are sleeping 18 hours a day or running the Leadville Trail 100, you are you. Hold space through this grieving process. Where there are endings, there are also beginnings. It is all about how you choose to view the world. Take a step back and consider a new vantage point. Or advantage point? 

What if you could let go of your attachment to old hobbies that don't serve you now? If so, you could do something you've been longing to do for years. Pick up the paintbrush. Get those voice lessons. Jump out of a plane. If you have a list of wants that you can't do today, line it up for when the time comes. The world remains your oyster.

3. Relax
When you are tired, rest. When you want to watch another movie, go with it. Overdose on all the Netflix and jammy wearing you want. You've spent days, months, years of your life moving at a swift pace. Relish your time to relax. When company comes and your hair is a mess, unapologetically be where you are. If that's laid out on the couch with smelly armpits, so be it. You've earned it.

4. Celebrate
When you're sick and heart-heavy, there are a zillion reasons to take to the bottle to numb out. Or drown your sorrows in pints of ice cream? Here's an idea. Visit your triumphs. Sure you can incessantly go down the litany of things that scare you. When life-threatening illness comes at you, you can absolutely surrender to obsessive thinking about your limitations. No contest. 

Why not next time the wave of harsh reality rises, give it a smack down? Bring to light all of your accomplishments. There is nothing too small to celebrate. There are no rules on throwing parties. Poop for the first time at the hospital and now you get to go home? I recommend P-A-R-T-Y. If it's worth a mental "hell yes", it's celebration-worthy even if it's a party of one.

5. Let go
According to Bruce Davis, Ph.D., you have a startling 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day or between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute. You think a lot, which means your life will be incredibly changed for the better if you understand life is about choice.

There is an unshakable brilliance that develops from the willingness to draw in discomfort. A specific source of wisdom emerges when you don't resist pain. When you are truly present to your current situation, the chaos can slingshot you into a space of contentment. You can nestle into a place of peace even with the tornado that encircles you. All you have to do is let go.

Ego says, "Once everything falls into place, I'll feel peace."
Spirit says, "Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place."
-- Marianne Williamson

This was first posted on gatheryoga.com @gatheryogacollective. Post noted from huffingtonpost.com @huffingtonpost under contributor Caryn O'Hara.