I’m twisted to the side in my sleeping bag. It is early morning at a campsite near Coopers Rock, West Virginia. Birds are calling across the fields and between trees and I’m admiring the nylon fabric patterns and stitching of the tent. I’m with a group of friends to go climbing for the weekend.
Why am I contorting with pen in hand to write you? I’ve been trying my best to compose a piece on spirituality in Morgellons; it’s an important topic. I can’t possibly explain the significance my beliefs, my spirituality, and my faith played in my own recovery. I’ve made a couple of drafts on the topic, felt they were decent and then looked at them the next day and decided they weren’t quite right. Here’s another attempt (let’s hope I find the right words and don’t run out of scrap paper).
First let me confess. I’m not a saint…never have been, never will be. There were many times when I was suffering from Morgellons symptoms that I was convinced I was making payment for past sins. It’s possible. Looking back now though, I think it was a hurdle, a problem, a challenge to overcome—that’s all.
In a recent conversation about Morgellons with a friend, she said, “It seems very spiritual”.
My response was, “When you feel like your body has been taken over and you’re loosing your mind, what have you got left?—your spirit”. At least that’s how it was for me.
Maybe it is different for you. Maybe it is possible to find a way to health without building on your spirituality. Maybe.
The sensei for a karate class I took many years ago used to have us meditate forming a triangle with our thumbs and forefingers—the corners representing body, mind, and spirit—and constantly reminded us to “Bring your spirit to class!”. The triangle is the strongest form when creating architecture. A tripod is infinitely more stable than a bi-pod. The Celts, my ancestors, considered three a sacred number (and this transferred nicely when St. Patrick came along). In healing, consider the three. Body. Mind. Spirit.
My recovery relied greatly on skills I’d built over my years of attending twelve step meetings (Adult Children Of Alcoholics…as one friend put it, after finding out about my situation with Morgellons, “You’re a survivor and then a survivor again!”). Without going into what I believe or what I think you should believe (I’m not into proselytizing…and this may be the greater part of the reason I’ve had difficulty writing about this topic), I also follow the Quaker faith. Those pieces being presented, let me share what I think was useful in my coping and recovery.
1) Know what you believe- I think The Creator (God, The Light, Nature, Collective Conscience, The Force or whichever name you give your Higher Power) image for each of us is personal. Even those who label themselves atheist or agnostic carry some impression of a “Higher Power” (I had a saying from a high school teacher, and former army sergeant, coming back to me when I first suffered from Morgellons; he’d often say, “There’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole”. If Morgellons isn’t a foxhole, I don’t know what is!). The Morgellons Sufferers are of every shape, size and faith. Let your faith comfort you.
2) Build on your faith foundation- Prayer and meditation calmly connect us to our Higher Power. I am certain calming helps in healing. For some this connection is formal, such as going to church services, for some it is not (maybe just a walk in the park). You know what works for you—let it help you heal.
3) Expect miracles- Einstein once said, “There are two ways to live your life—one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Consideration of the interconnectedness of perception and miracles helped me. I suppose we all self-define miracles. Along my path to health, there were many miracles. Whatever you perceive as a miracle, acknowledge it as such…and give thanks.
4) Give thanks- I had to say it again. When I was deeply suffering, I found myself waking with exhaustion but started my day by mentally listing and giving thanks for the little things—the sunshine, the bird songs, the beauty of this world, and other things that came to mind. Simple pleasures of life became more meaningful. Three years later, I am more thankful of my life than ever! Life is a gift and the little things (bills, confrontations, and telemarketers for example) that used to consume me have little power.
There is something that needs to be said, but I’m not certain I can say it correctly. Faith, hope and love are every bit as important as any managing or healing protocol. The tides are turning with this condition. People are reclaiming their lives. I hope and pray the medical community will soon share answers and all of us will be on the path to wellness.
I’m off to spend some quality time with some big rocks. I’ve thought about some clever analogies of climbing and faith, but I suppose all of them go without saying. May your spirit grow along with your health! Peace, Joe