Illness as Teacher and Healer. Meet Kat Duff

There is always a teaching to be found in illness. It doesn’t mean that teaching is the purpose of illness – who knows what the purpose of illness is – or that sick people are more in need of that advice. It is just an inevitable outcome of the profound transformations that comes with the territory. In the terrible clarity of the nearness of death, ignorance – as it exists in ourselves and in our world – is stripped away if only for a moment, and our lives condense, collapse and re-coalesce, requiring changes. We are responsible to those changes. We are not responsible for our illnesses, we are responsible to them – to what they offer and require of all of us, sick and well alike.                             Kat Duff, The Dark Heart of Healing   (used by permission of Sounds True, Inc)

There are great lessons to be learned in life. At least, that’s my take. Life seems to be a journey with interesting stories, adventures, teachings, opportunities for growth. When terminal illness overtook me, I wondered – as we all do, I suspect – why this happened to me. I have written about this several times in different posts and from different perspectives. Truly if this doesn’t interest you, you won’t hurt my feelings by moving on. But if you are intrigued, I would recommend Kat Duff’s book, The Alchemy of Illness.

Imagine that your illness may also heal you. Certainly pancreatic cancer (or whatever you may be facing) is not going to heal your body. Quite the opposite. But it may push you into facing things you have avoided, making amends where they need to be made, changing your outlook and your attitude. Nothing quite holds your feet to the fire like this diagnosis. There is a lot of talk and belief around that you cause your own illness and if you can change what you did wrong, then you will be healed. I’m not denying the possibility – I think it’s true on many levels. But don’t let anyone make you feel guilty that you caused your own illness or that you can “uncause” it. I suspect that many of these causes lie deep in the sub or unconscious and changing these directly is difficult and takes years of practice. Disease happens to us all, it is part of living this life on this planet. There are people who have cured their own cancer by doing emotional and spiritual work (see the Louise Hay CD in Resources. Recently I heard Wayne Dyer speak and he believes he cured his illness). But please – be gentle on yourself. Loving who you are is much more important for you right now. I don’t think it’s ever been said any better than in Kat’s writing.  I found her tapes and book so healing that I listened to the them over and over and reread the book twice; they lifted me up and offered healing, at least for my mind and heart. I hope that some of the information and reflection I offer on this site will help you come to that point of knowing what your illness requires of you. And I hope that on many different levels, you will be healed, even if, at the end of the day, your cancer is not. In this world, the surety of healing illness is never given to us.


I searched long and hard to find something accessible from Kat Duff on the internet. All I found is this long audio interview (two parts) with her from YouTube.  Unfortunately her tapes are very hard to get so this is as close as I can get you to hearing her. These are not videos, just audio…



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