Sickness happens when we are out of alignment with purpose, which empowers us to heal ourselves
I can vividly remember the day I first got ‘sick’. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been sick before with a cold or ear infection. Many kids get that. But this time was different. This time, it didn’t just go away.
I was in the car with my dad heading over to a friend’s house to play. I was eleven and a half years old. When I got out of the car I started to feel funny. By the time I had gotten to the house, my dad was concerned, but dropped me off anyways. About half an hour later, I was curled up in a ball on the couch, nearly doubled over in pain.
The pain didn’t go away for years.
We had no idea where it came from. At the time, a chronic disease diagnosis felt like something completely out of left field, so I did my best to cope and accept that it as just part of my life.
But as I grew up, I learned something big: When I wasn’t being me, I would suffer.
When I went in a life direction that felt like “me” — my symptoms would naturally subside. But when I was swimming upstream, trying to make something happen or shoving myself into a box too small for me — my symptoms would reappear with a vengeance.
This realization caused me to make big changes in my life, like leaving a secure and high-paying job to travel the world and take a leap of faith in starting my own business. Changes like approaching my romantic partnership from a more authentic place. Changes like bumbling through choices everyday that led me to be more myself.
I started to listen to what called to me.
A “Calling” is a strong urge toward a particular vocation or way of life. It’s that thing that keeps knocking on your door, and no matter what you do, you just can’t shake it. At first it may be a faint sound, like a train in the distance. But eventually it will rumble through the tracks of your life, with no way to ignore it.
As I following my Calling, I learned something even bigger: This hasn’t happened to just me.
As I started working with empaths and change leaders making a difference and living their purpose, I was met with a repeated pattern that many of them were experiencing illness and feeling like they needed to hide it to boot.
It turns out that over 70% of the clients I was working with up until that time had some ongoing health issue – from chronic fatigue syndrome to clinical depression to multiple sclerosis to cancer. The correlations I was seeing in my own life and theirs were too strong to ignore. Every single one of us had felt not only misaligned in our life, but also that we have something big to share with the world.
Further research revealed a phenomenon called “Shaman Sickness”— a mysterious onset of dis-ease with symptoms that come from seemingly nowhere and don’t go away…until one steps into the role of the shaman — aka, the sick one becomes the healer.
I define healer much more broadly than our standard definition: Healer (n): someone who brings the world into greater wholeness and harmony.
Anyone can be a healer, but a true healer chooses that path. Traits of healers include:
- Having gone through some intense trials in their life (loss of parent/loved one; disease; trauma)
- Feeling a connection with nature and valueing it’s importance
- Possessing a strong desire to help others and the planet
- Tending to have intuitive, empathic, and creative proclivities
- Wanting to be part of something bigger
The suffering the healer experiences is part of what prepares them to align with their purpose and heal the world.
The connection between healing and a bigger purpose is not new. We’ve heard stories of people like Anita Moorjani, who had a near-death experience with cancer and now spreads the message of love instead of fear. Or Martha Beck, who found that her fibromyalgia subsided the more she worked and lived what she loved. Or Amy Scher, who was led her into energy medicine after recovering from the Lyme disease that decimated her body.
Sickness happens when we are out of alignment with our purpose… and the most fundamental building block of our purpose is being who we really are.
For me, the illness I experienced was an indicator of being off track with who I was. It goaded me to look inward at the deeper story I was living that perpetuated my illness. I can now say that for something that caused me so much suffering, I am grateful for it, because it led me to my calling and life’s work: to heal on purpose.
Our suffering is not in vain — it is merely a signal that we are meant to move in a different direction, one that brings us home to ourselves. It’s time to be ourselves and no longer hide from the world. It’s time to understand that our purpose will not only lead us home, and it will heal us in the process.
For more information, visit Healing Healers on my blog, and the Heal You Project
You may also enjoy reading Healing vs. Cured | Living With Illness, by Sharon Coyle-Saeed