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My Indestructible Self

When I look in the mirror I try not to see my body. I try to see the reflection of my true, essential self; my indestructible soul. After all, we are not our bodies. Bodies are just an illusion. Spirit, which connects all things, is who we really are.

My trial-by-fire experiences have bolstered these beliefs and provided many opportunities for practice. A deadly childhood disease destroyed my liver by age forty-two, but not before I had a meaningful career in biology, athletic hobbies, and lots of jungle travel.

After my miraculous liver transplant, I spent six months enduring life-threatening complications, and another six months regaining fitness. Finally, I was able to go back to work and start my wonderful new life-my second life. Then, after eight years, I was disabled by lupus and had to retire.

Clearly, I am not my body because, at times, prednisone and the slide toward death before transplant, caused temporary changes in my weight, shape, and hair. During end-stage liver disease and periods of high fever, I could not think straight. So, I am not my intellect.

While on high doses of prednisone, I became weepy and irritable, proving that I am not even my personality. I learned I am not my achievements, because tremendous fatigue now prevents me from working.

I once had to be still for forty-five minutes in the cramped tunnel of an MRI machine, despite fever and tremendous neck pain. Loud, metallic knocking and buzzing sounds whorled around my head. I decided to meditate and just observe the pain and discomfort without judgment. The noise became a prayer going in a peaceful Buddhist temple. Wonder of wonders! It worked. The pain was nearly gone when the procedure was over.

Knowing that I am not a body, gives me great comfort. I am not my illnesses. I am not my pain. I am free and I am safe, because my spirit cannot possibly be sick or even die. Whether my body lives or dies, I will be at peace. My indestructible self is eternally safe in the everlasting arms of God.

Written By:

Marjorie Elaine Willis

First published in Write Around Portland, Fall 2015/Volume 17/ #3

Permission to reprint granted.

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Marjorie Willis, your article was so inspiring. It feels like this experience with liver disease has strengthened your awareness of who you really are. We don't know who or what will come to offer to teach us. You have taken a horrific event and used it masterfully! thanks for sharing your journey with us. -Parris

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