It isn't until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are - not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within - that you can begin to take control.
One of the very first feelings for me when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis was that my life and my body had been taken out of my control. Being both a workaholic and somewhat of a control freak- it shook me to my foundation. Of course, that they immediately throw the worse case scenario at you ("if we don't treat this agressively you will be in a wheelchair by the time you are 45") doesn't help in the slightest when you are trying to come to grips with this- or any- diagnosis.
It took me a long time to wrap my head around the possibilities and even longer to realize that I could still have control but another kind of control. I just needed to shift my focus. I made a lot of significant changes which I have discussed in this space quite a few times (so I won't bore you with them again) but one of the best thing I did was to take a deep breath and begin searching for peace within.
Now- I am not- by any stretch of the imagination-what one would call traditionally religious. I have looked into many, many different paths. I have found good things with the majority of them- and things that I just cannot come to grips with within each of them. What I concluded was that though I do believe in a higher power, traditional religions don't really fit. I have found that for me, I am very comfortable sitting in my father's church and listening to him give his sermon, but in my heart I don't need to be in a church to find peace. I find it just as stirring in my soul to sit on a porch, with a cup of coffee and listen to the wind rustle the leaves in the trees. I have found peace in a quiet room, with music low and candles flickering. I have found that if I take a few minutes to just breathe and concentrate on just that, the world seems to slow down enough to really relax. All of these things and many others that I found can be just as spiritual for me as anything formal.
Finding peace within myself and within my life has allowed me to rethink my approach to my illness and my pain. It's funny how when you let go of many of the things you thought were SO important, when you let go of who you *think* you are, when you reshuffle your priorities and learn to be grateful for your life so much more comes to you. But it all starts with that spiritual quest. It can be as simple as reaffirming the faith you have lived your whole life, or a long quest to find where your faith lives or somewhere in between. The only way to do this is to look into your head and look into your heart and see where they connect.
Peace and love to all on this beautiful Saturday!