Having lost the space I was practicing as an acupuncturist in, I find myself wondering who does that make me? Who am I if I am not an acupuncturist? Who can I be? Who do I want to be?
It wasn’t that these questions weren’t there before, but my employment offered a buffer. I could wrap myself in that identity when I had no other to share. While my loss comes from a work place issue, many people face this loss as an illness. The illness then takes over and leaves even the physical identity ravaged. After all, if we identify ourselves as someone who CAN do things and suddenly we CAN’T, what does that mean to our sense of self?
Meditation and working on knowing ourselves without labels or realizing that our abilities are only part of our self can help. However that is a long road with a great deal of work. Knowing that others walk these paths and do not even have to be sick can also help. Realizing you are not alone in your thoughts is a great comfort. Again, it does not give you a sense a of self but it allows you to know that you are not alone on the path, no matter how dark it seems.
Any time we loose something of value, whether it be our employment, our career, our health we have to learn to live a different life. It can feel like death but it can offer opportunities we never saw. This is not to say anything comes easy. The time is confusing and frustrating and down right scary. The more ready we are for the change, the easier it can be simply because we can embrace the change and go towards it rather than resisting it. It’s hard to be ready for the changes caused by illness though. And the changes to the self image are greater as well. Being kind and gentle with yourself as you walk this path is important.