My illness this past fortnight, particularly painful and incapacitating, was probably the most transformative period I’ve had in all my creative years. I’ll tell you why, though I’m slightly nervous about the confessional aspects:

Firstly, I don’t approach being sick in the conventional way. Nor do I follow a ‘complimentary’ path. I’m hardcore listening-to-illness-as-a-means-of-spiritual-transformation type. I get that this riles people on many levels, from doctors to family, who see a symptom and want to jump on it, stamp it out like it’s a spark threatening to burn down the house.

For me, the aggressive approach resonates with many stances throughout modern cultures: ultimately, it’s knee-jerk intervention, from a place of fear. Interference is the presumed norm; getting in the way of natural processes and cycles – anything which can work itself out. We like to be busy, and to be seen to be useful: we value doing, and become uncomfortable with others who allow things to just be.


But here are 5 good reasons why I’d listen to a disease, rather than react to it:

  1. The reasons we’re ill are most often directly related to the path we’ve been on up until becoming so; they’re often many, always interconnected. We do great service to our lives, and to the lives and health of others, by looking inwards when we’re sick.
  2. Symptoms give us the space, the silence, the rest, which we need, even when our mind is jibing away about returning to work.
  3. Symptoms are the body’s means of expressing disharmony – they need to be allowed to be let out.
  4. If symptoms are halted or suppressed in any way, the underlying causes of those symptoms will be even more difficult to see.
  5. The underlying reasons will continue to be out of kilter, and will continue to develop symptoms, but are likely to create new symptoms on a deeper level, less visible to us.


The fact it’s considered normal to want to put a lid on our symptoms, and then get right back to what they interrupted us from doing, is a kind of psychosis. Or at best, it’s certainly not healthy; it suggests that we are tied into a kind of bondage, if we can’t take the time and space to attend to the spiritual, to our underlying well-being, when we’re ill.

But it can be frightening being ill and in pain; our stability and continuity is challenged – we don’t know for sure if it might spiral downwards into something more serious – everyone around us is baying about medicine: it’s best to just take the pill than to trust one’s body, of all things.

This is where it gets a bit back-to-front for me, because doctors and friends are there telling me to follow the ‘sensible’ route, and I’m there thinking ‘how do I explain that I don’t believe in their highly suspect reality?!’ The pharmaceutical industry is based on super-wobbly mythologies, and is intertwined with the über macho psyche of our whole cultural: destroy, before you are destroyed!

This paradigm only works because we’ve been temporarily lulled into believing that we’re better to trust someone else about our mind-body-spirit than ourselves: just look at schools, churches, governments. And so that becomes true for lots of people: they don’t have any access to their own healing power, their self-knowledge, they no longer see their own symptoms not as a means of learning. Pain is seen not as a signpost, but something either to be quickly snuffed out (beit by pill, booze or other numbing factor), or fetishised – shared and compared.


I’m here on this planet neither as a subscriber to pharmaceutical companies, nor to quell the fears of everyone who thinks we shouldn’t feel pain and have symptoms. I believe what I do, because of years of healing and listening, studying and deepening, of knowing myself, and knowing enough about how the mind-body-spirit functions (not to be arrogant, but) to trust in the power of my body to heal itself.

I’m here in this lifetime to grow spiritually, and to learn more about energy, consciousness, illumination. That’s why, coming out of a fortnight of physical overwhelm, I feel myself renewed deep inside; calm in my spirit and mind, healed emotionally, happy and free: I feel all my levels aligned, and aligned with my external life again.

I’ll be writing more about the subject of the pain body and transforming creatively, in the Live Like A Happy Artist book series.

Lots of love, Clare xx


PS! Get a window into my studio, book excerpts, insight, sharing, and very special patron boons which no-one else gets, right here. AND watch out for news of the INSIDER’S GUIDE TO GUARDIA – coming very sooon!

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