A New Chapter

When I woke up the next morning, something was undeniably different. I still felt sick and scared, but I didn’t feel alone anymore.

As relieving as this was, I still had my hesitations.

After my fallout with the church when I was twelve, I developed an aversion to anything even remotely religious. Even the mere mention of the G-word made me squirm. I had a vague sense of a higher power, but my defenses were so strong that I had a hard time feeling any sort of divine presence in my life.

It wasn’t until I reached the end of my rope that I realized how much I needed something bigger to lean on. More than anything, I longed for a kind of love and support that’s beyond anything in this world. I felt like I’d been given a taste of this the night before, and I was willing to do anything to feel more of it.

So, for the first time since I was a little kid, I set aside any lingering judgments, doubts, and resistance, and I tried talking to my “big loving friend” again. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but it was probably something like, “God? I could really use your help over here,” with all the awkward sincerity I could muster.

I didn’t hear a clear response, but it didn’t seem to matter. Even just asking for help made me feel lighter and softer.

I kept asking for guidance–anything that could help me feel better. Sometimes, I felt a sense of comfort and reassurance. And sometimes, I heard nothing but crickets. But each time I tried, I felt a little more open and hopeful.

And then one day, I got an answer where I least expected it.

Lighting the way

It had been right there in front of me all along, but I never noticed it before. It was a book called “Love, Medicine, and Miracles—Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon’s Experience with Exceptional Patients” by Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.

I usually shied away from reading because it took me forever to get through a book (in the rare event that I finished), but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to give this one a try. After all, I had plenty of extra time on my hands.

I propped myself up with pillows and began reading slowly and curiously.

Bernie (who prefers to go by his first name rather than “Dr. Siegel”) shared all sorts of things I’d never considered before. Like how repressed emotions and negative thoughts suppress our immunity and can lead to physical illness. And how we can heal our bodies by changing how we think and feel.

I’d heard plenty of doctors suggest my illness was all in my head, but this was different. It felt empowering and promising, and I wanted to hear more.

Bernie talked a lot about self-love, which he claimed was the most important factor in healing from any illness, along with having an unshakable will to live. He also described how our beliefs shape our reality and how we need to have hope and believe that we CAN be well, regardless of our diagnosis or statistics.

There was so much in this book that I needed to hear, but the part that stood out to me the most was about spirituality and healing.

Bernie described spirituality as having faith in the process of life. Not necessarily religion but rather the practice of finding peace and acceptance in an imperfect world. He explained how this peaceful state leads to hope, creativity, forgiveness, and unconditional love—all vital ingredients for health. He also described spirituality as having faith in ourselves, including our intuition. As Bernie put it…

“Within each of us is a spark–call it a divine spark if you will–but it is there and it can light the way to health.”

Up until recently, I’d been putting all of my faith in doctors to cure me. I never considered that I could play a role in my healing. But Bernie was right. I could feel something stirring deep inside of me, trying to get my attention. And this book felt like the confirmation that I needed to finally listen.

Tuning in

I was beginning to see illness in a whole new light. Maybe there was a reason I was sick–something to learn or even a hidden gift. I had no idea what it all meant, but I was so eager to learn more that I did something I never thought I’d do…

I joined the library.

I didn’t have the energy to browse bookshelves, so Mom helped me sign up for a “Books by Mail” program through the Maine State Library. This was pre-internet, so I chose my books from a paper catalog and then called in with my order.

The highlight of my life was “book day.” I counted the minutes until Mom got home from the post office–delivering my canvas bag full of new ideas and possibilities.

The Maine State Library mailed me some memorable books for old-time’s sake.

Those books opened up a whole new world for me.

I dipped my toe into various spiritual traditions as I set out to find my own path. I learned how to meditate and put my mind over my matter. And I muscle-tested, chakra-balanced, and questioned my reality—all without leaving my bed.

Each book gave me another clue and even more hope that I could be well.

As I read, I filled notebooks with quotes, dreams, and positive affirmations. Journaling not only gave me a safe place to express my thoughts and emotions, but it also helped me tap into my intuition and Divine guidance. Most importantly, I discovered a drive to live like never before, and I became committed to healing, no matter what I had to do.

But none of this would’ve been possible if it wasn’t for another life-changing discovery…

(or view full story here)

Know someone who’d like this post?

Share it the “old fashioned” way…

4 Responses

  1. Hi Sharon
    Sitting here next to a cozy wood stove. Really feeling this brave foray of yours into healing your body and soul that you chose and trusted at an amazingly young age. I’m smiling and feel peaceful. Your story helps me see the steps on my spiritual path more clearly. You were the student and the teacher. The trailblazer. With a little help from your friends. Listening to that which resonated in your spirit.
    Yes. This is a really good story to be shared for sure.
    Thank you,

    1. Your comment made my day, Joanne. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing your reflections. My favorite part of writing this story is hearing what it brings up for YOU! So please feel free to share anything you’d like anytime (and that goes for anyone else reading this too)! 🙏❤️

    1. Thank you so much, Love. I just listened to “Love, Medicine, and Miracles” on audiobook recently (which didn’t exist back then). Even though it was written in the 80’s, it’s still just as poignant and relevant today! I hope you like it as much as I do. ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey there.

This post is part of a series called “Peeling the Onion” about my adventures healing from life-threatening digestive issues.

To view the full story, click here.