In these days of darkness and uncertainty, we want a hero to swoop in and save us. But what if the hero you've been waiting for is you?
I remember the moment I decided to take suicide off the table.
The moment I decided to live.
Until then, desperation had enveloped me like a suffocating blanket. For not weeks, not months, but years, I lay in bed like a useless corpse due to a mysterious chronic illness, with no idea of when—or if—I'd get better.
I couldn’t walk more than a few feet. I couldn't stand long enough to put food on a plate. I couldn’t even wash my own hair.
As if this weren't enough, I also suffered with a searing chronic pain so brutal, it felt like my body had actually been set on fire, my flesh even hot to the touch. This was a pain like none other. A pain that made most of my past experiences of (considerable) physical pain feel like a paper-cut.
Day in and day out, I writhed in this burning pain that rudely awakened me before sunrise each morning and refused to abate until I passed out by the grace of sheer exhaustion. And for the icing on this shit cake, I couldn’t take drugs to numb me, not so much as a Tylenol, because of my extreme sensitivities to medication.
"It was a searing, chronic pain so brutal, it felt like my body had actually been set on fire."
As my spirit strained against my body's powerlessness, my mind followed a short second behind it.
Having already endured a lifetime of suffering before this latest calamity, I couldn't take anymore. I couldn't take living without freedom and independence. I couldn't take living with so much hardship, anxiety and uncertainty. I was ready to tell God—or whoever was up there—that he/she/they could shove it.
I was done.
But through the grace of several gifted teachers and ultimately a butt-load of inner healing work, I took the first step to reconnect with my power. With the strength in me—the inner life force—that illness and pain could never disable. With the eternality in me that not even almighty Death could destroy. With the wisdom in me that knew I was here for a purpose beyond myself. It was like the great spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says: "Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
And it all began with a simple choice, really.
The choice to dig even deeper than I thought I could. The choice to believe that I actually had the power—despite all outward appearances—to create a better me and a brighter future, even if I had no freakin' idea how. It was a choice I’d have to consciously make, again and again. But as I did, I began to take back my life.
Eventually embarking on a more formal quest for understanding, I intensively studied Eastern and Western spiritual teachings as well as the science behind them... I mentored under several respected teachers and gurus... I tried almost every healing modality under the sun... And, as aforementioned but it bears repeating, I did a butt-load of inner healing work.
It wasn't quick or easy, but in the end—much as my ego is wrestling with my fingers not to type this right now—all the pain was worth it. Because it wasn't in vain. Because though my suffering was great, it was in service of something far greater. As the Sufi master and poet Rumi so poignantly wrote: "The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Indeed, that Light is what allowed me to shine, and, in so doing, to remind you of this same Light within yourself.
"Though my suffering was great, it was in service of something far greater."
My journey was indeed a (super)hero’s journey, but of course I'm far from alone. So many others have overcome unthinkable adversity after digging deep to discover their own inner power, even when they felt they had nothing left or when the circumstances seemed insurmountable. Which is why when I work with people today, I can confidently say that you really can be your own superhero.
So in trying times like these, whether you're struggling to keep your health, keep a roof over your head or keep your sanity, don't forget: There is a power, a wisdom and a calm within you that no outside circumstance can touch. If you still don't believe me, take it from a more distinguished source. As the Winnie the Pooh books wisely counsel: "You are braver than you believe [and] stronger than you seem."
And, if I might add: You're worth it.
© Lisa Berzack, 2020.
Lisa Berzack is an inspirational writer, speaker and teacher devoted to helping people (including herself) find inner healing and live a more empowered, awakened life. She is also the author of a forthcoming self-help memoir. To read more of Lisa's work, see her upcoming events or work with her privately, visit www.PainIntoPower.com.