Saturday, January 10, 2015

MS Isn't A Battle To Me, It's Living

It’s interesting to me to see how often people describe people with chronic illnesses as struggling and battling the disease. They may be, but sometimes I think it's an assumption.  It’s not how I approach it. MS is like a family member or friend, my body buddy, that challenges me but isn’t fighting me. My approach is to coax the best out of myself and do what I can to keep the disease in check.  I’m not winning or losing, I’m living with it.

“When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness.”
- Pema Chödrön, "The Fundamental Ambiguity of Being Human"

I’m not suffering. I’m living and enjoying life. I experience health issues that affect my energy and mobility among other things. Sometimes it’s a challenge, and that’s just the nature of life.  We have tools in our life toolbox to deal with people, situations, and the body's aging process. Sometimes the tool I usually use doesn’t work in a new situation.  The challenge is then to learn a new tool, change my situation, or look at it differently to make peace with reality.

Choices I make have consequences in every aspect of my life.  Other people my age may be able to push themselves harder or longer, but learning to pause helps me get more out of life and experience fewer consequences that could lead to disease progression. I'm pushing and accepting limits to improve my quality of life. I expect to keep experiencing new symptoms and challenges, and my approach is to keep doing what I'm doing.

Here's to embracing the groundlessness of our situations, relaxing into them, and thriving!