Teri Goetz MS, LAC, ACC

Renaissance Woman

How a Health Crisis Becomes a Gift

Faced with a health challenge, you have two options: stay angry or grow.

Posted Apr 24, 2015

Teri Goetz
Source: Teri Goetz

Are you facing a roadblock in your life? A health crisis or health challenge? I know it can be infuriating, scary, or depressing at times. But let’s look at it from a different angle.

What if that roadblock is there to help you grow? Waxing philosophical here, I feel compelled to talk about the gifts to be found within our struggles. This outlook—that there are gifts buried inside challenges the way the amethyst hides inside a geode—can be applied to any roadblock in your life, but as a health care practitioner, I will write about health struggles here. From where I stand, it is nothing short of awe-inspiring the things my patients are willing to take on in order to grow. In order to get well.

I see patient after patient, each one struggling with feeling unwell. Some are quite sick. Many are scared. They remind me of myself when I first was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and the only response I heard from my physician was, “There’s nothing you can do about it.”  Well, I’m not the type of woman to take that lying down —so while I was scared, then angry, I finally went out and found solutions. That’s what my patients are doing, as well. By walking in my door, they are saying, “I want to grow. I want to do this differently.”  

They don’t want me to slap on another Band-Aid.

They want someone to listen to their story. They want encouragement. They are looking for someone to be there. They are ready for a little tough love (in the form of lifestyle or nutritional changes they need to make). They want guidance — but they also want empowerment. And they want resolution.

Some of them are angry that the medical system has failed them on some level, because there really are things you can do for chronic illness and autoimmune disease — or any personal roadblock. Maybe they just need to know where to start. Where to start? With acceptance that, whatever your roadblock, you are being presented with an opportunity to grow. I ask them, “Are you willing to accept that you can get well?”

Some of these patients are angry at their bodies for “betraying” them, that they were told it was “just stress,” or that they feel like victims. They have two options: to stay angry or to evolve as a person. When you grow, you learn something about yourself. You find qualities you didn’t know you possessed and strengths you never tapped before.

Sickness and other roadblocks give you the opportunity to do all of that — to dive deeply inside and find the fortitude to move beyond this block. The point is not to fight it, or tackle it, or chop it to bits. The point is to transcend it, by accepting it for the gifts it will give you, and then finding the added gumption to act. The advice to “do nothing” is not an option when you have found your inner strength.  

What could this gift be? It might be a wake-up call: to eat better, sleep more, connect with your loved ones, have that baby you were putting off, work fewer hours, take time to breathe, just BE. What if the gift is to truly enjoy your life on a daily basis (yes, it is more than possible). Your symptoms are really a conversation your body is having with you. When you don’t listen to the quieter, less intense symptoms (sort of like a toddler), they get louder until they become the scream you need to hear to wake up and change something. So you see, you and your body are equal participants in the process.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when facing a roadblock such as a health crisis:

  • What can I do to change this for the better?

  • How did I participate in the creation of this?

  • What can I learn from this experience?

  • How can this propel me forward, rather than set me back?

  • What part of me was I not listening to?

  • Where was I not BE-ing and instead so busy that I lost track of what’s important?

  • What IS important?

and most important of all:

  • Where is the opportunity for growth?

Remember, you are pure energy — and energy is either growing or declining. Choose growth and you’ll find out some amazing things about yourself, this life, this body that carries you around.

Whatever challenge you face, it is in your life for the expansion of your experience on this planet. Get creative with it.