Injury and Illness: Friend or Foe?

Have you ever been sick or had an injury? If you are human and beyond the age of 2, I would think the answer to this question is “yes.” We tend to think that injuries and illnesses are the nemesis. We don’t appreciate them when either occurs in our lives. I know that I have considered both a disruption in my day-to-day life in the past. If you read my last e-newsletter, you know my thoughts on this. Yet, here is a question:  Nancy Kalina
Why do I consider injury and illness an opponent? Why do I think that it is my job to be at war with my own body? I would guess that my underlying thought is, “I am not good enough when I am ill or injured.” Harsh, but true. Recently, I have had plenty of time to probe into this concept as I have been battling with pain in my right leg and hip. Look! I even used the word battle in my last sentence. Fascinating!

We have all heard comments such as, “Joe is battling cancer; Susan has lost her battle against cancer; I have always struggled with my weight; let’s win the war on heart disease, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc.” The list goes on and on. Folks, we are constantly warring with our bodies. I have recently come to the awareness that this is not the healthiest or most joyful state to possess when interacting with our bodies. Let’s face it: When I am complaining about my hip that is degenerating from arthritis, I am allowing myself to feel like a victim. “Oh, poor me. This terrible thing has happened to me.” I must say that this does nothing for my mood or for the way I interact with others. Honestly, I think I become a far less enjoyable person to be around.

So, what if we took the concept of injury/illness and flipped it on its head? What if we turned to our injuries or illnesses and let them show us the way forward instead of allowing them to hold us back? What would that look like? What would it feel like? I am not sure. This is the world of the unknown for me. However, I am willing to challenge my thoughts and perceptions. Heck, I believe that there is a lesson in here. Now, realize that just because I would like to change my perception about my injury does not mean that I won’t backslide and get frustrated with my body regularly. Trust me. I have and will. It’s part of my process.

Where do I find myself these days? I have been thrown into Square One of the Change Cycle. The Change Cycle is Martha Beck’s description of what happens when there is life transformation. She believes change follows a cyclical course. We have all experienced the Change Cycle numerous times in our lives. We get thrown into the Change Cycle when we have an experience that puts us into a major life transition. “The change is so big, in fact, that it ends up redefining the way you see yourself” (M. Beck, Finding Your Own North Star, 2001). We experienced the Change Cycle when we graduated, when we moved out of our parents’ home, when we fell in love, broke a bone in our body or changed jobs. These are just a few examples of the experiences that can act as catalytic events.

Catalytic events fall into one of three categories: shock, opportunity and growth. Mine is the degeneration of my hip. The pain of my hip and leg has thrown me and my relationship with my body into Square One. Square One, the first phase of change, is appropriately named “Death and Rebirth.” As Beck describes, “Square One is a time of fundamental death and rebirth, the period during which you mourn your old life and begin to explore your new one.” Yes, this is where I am. I have grieved. I have cried as I have cancelled trips. I have mourned and will continue to mourn not participating in my own dance/life coach workshops as fully as I would like. No one ever said that going through Square One is fun. It’s not! It sucks, as a matter of fact. However, if you allow yourself to grieve and truly experience the loss in your life, you eventually gain the ability to begin seeing your life anew. Beck states, “When we understand the logic of the cycle, we cope better with change and adapt more effectively.”

Well, I am willing to give this method a try. Come join me as I travel through the Change Cycle with my body. I am going to let my body teach me the way forward as opposed to holding me back. Play along by asking yourself the following questions.

Have you ever battled with your body before? If so, what was the circumstance?

Did you listen to what your body had to say?

Remember three catalytic events in your life. Were they shocks, opportunities or growth?

Please share your experiences with me. I would love to hear them!

Sharing Corner

I recently made a video to share with people my Caring for the Caregiver workshop. My cohost, Darrelyn, and I believe that this is a really important workshop and is tremendously helpful. I would like to share my very first video experience with you. Please take seven minutes to watch the video!

If you are interested in participating in a workshop, go to my website to get the dates for the remainder of 2013. Also, if you would like to bring this workshop to your community, e-mail me at so we can begin a dialogue.

Finding Your Own North Star The fun things to come are just multiplying! The Finding Your Way in a Wild New World Book Adventure was such an amazing success that I will be hosting another book adventure. This time we will be reading Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. Click on the flyer to get more details!


As usual, the universe is aligned. The day after I wrote this e-newsletter, Ralph Marston sent me this incredible slideshow that is very congruent with my writing. I love that! Enjoy the slide show and begin to notice and learn your life lessons.


Until next time,

Safe Space Life Coaching

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