Does your heart sink or stomach drop when you hear about someone’s journey with intense illness or personal loss?

When the folks in your life are having a hard time, do you get more involved or pull back?

What do you do with the very visceral vulnerability of being human and the incredible impermanence that it entails?

I ask these questions, not because there is a right or wrong way, but rather because it is something that we all have to face, both in ourselves and in the ones we love. Not one of us is immune to the realities of illness and loss, death and aging–as the saying goes, “none of us are getting out of this thing called life, alive.”

The vulnerability and messiness of these questions is why I am incredibly grateful to have a very special guest with us this week on the podcast.

Teri A. Dillion was given a terminal diagnosis with ALS at age 35, shortly after getting married to the love of her life. She was a successful and gifted psychotherapist, dedicated spiritual practitioner and engaged community member.

From the moment she received the diagnosis, her entire life changed and ever since she has been on a profound journey of awakening and healing.

In this week’s episode Teri and I cover:

  • Teri’s incredible book No Pressure, No Diamonds: Mining for Gifts in Illness and Loss and the profound wisdom she captures through her writing.
  • Which tools and resources have been most supportive for working with her psychological experience since her ALS diagnosis.
  • The insight she has gained about people through her journey of degenerative illness–how to best show up for others in times of crisis and also what not to do.
  • How she and her husband have navigated this unthinkable loss together.
  • The spiritual growth and insight that she has cultivated through the process and how she relates to meaning making in the face of such devastation.
  • The notion of forgiveness–toward self and other–what it is, what it isn’t and how we can get there.
  • The balance between being committed to life and also the need to surrender to the inevitable presence of death and how she is working with the mystery of death inside herself.
  • What Teri feels most proud of about how she has chosen to live her life, especially since the diagnosis.
  • The essential role of presence and moment-to-moment awareness no matter how difficult someone’s life circumstances may be.

And SO much more!

Teri is a courageous and inspiring woman, a dedicated disabilities advocate and wise beyond her years. How she has navigated this incredibly devastating and traumatic experience with so much resilience, thoughtfulness and contribution is astounding to me–and I know Teri’s story will profoundly touch and impact you.