Oh yeah – I have MS, that’s why…

Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do. ~Eric Hoffer

Is it just me, or do you ever find yourself wondering: “Why am I so tired?”

Sometimes, believe it or not, that is exactly what I find myself asking. “Why am I so tired?” “Why can’t I focus?” “Why am I having so much trouble thinking?” “Why can’t I remember things?”

Then I remember. “Oh, yeah – I have multiple sclerosis…that’s why.”

As many of my friends, family, and followers know – I like being active (mentally and physically). It is hard to hold me still, especially if I am passionate about something. I work full-time (and I am an A-type high achiever); I swim competitively; I do yoga regularly; I volunteer my time in various efforts; I take care of my family; I help out friends wherever I can.

So when I have days that I simply cannot think, or pain flares big-time, or I am so fatigued that I literally sleep for 20 hours in a row or more…it still stupidly surprises me. I actually ask myself “why?” Then remember – “Oh yeah – I have MS.”

My capacity for forgetting seems to be limitless!

Yes, I work full-time – but from home, as a result of an accommodation agreement with my managers. Yes, I volunteer – but in a capacity where I offer my time, and it is not physical and I can do it from home or face-face.  Yes I am very physically active – but in a self-regulated and methodical way, and because it is a management tool that helps reduce my pain, which in turns helps reduce the fatigue. In other words – I have MS, and my life and how I cope is directly affected by that fact.

Now I consider myself very lucky because I am abe to be so physically active, and the docs say my MS soes not seem to be taking me down a path where that would change anytime soon. (Cognitively however…that is a different story for another day…) The very fact that I am so physically active, and often more physically active than my “healthier” friends, is the very reason that sometimes I can find myself wondering WHY I am so exhausted or in such pain, or so mentally fogged. I mean, I “look good for being so sick”, as some people would say. (That phrase irritates so many of us…)

And the one thing I do know, and never forget, is that being physically active is good for ALL of us, MS or no MS. The more active I am, the more active I am able to remain. (Though there is a critical tipping point one must be aware of for maximum benefit.)

And yet -The more active, engaged, and passionate I am in my life, the more often I find myself “surprised” by being taken down by my MS at various points. You see, the more I do, the more I feel i can do and am able to do with ease. I will be trucking along at what I think is a fine speed, then WHAM – all of a suden I can barely think, speak, move or keep my eyes open, and my pain is high, and brain fog thickens. And I still ask myself “Why am I feeling like this?”

Oh yeah – I have MS. That’s why.

At those points, I basically have no choice but to let go, and do what I must : sleep and recover. (The latest episode had me sleeping almost 30 of 36 hours. Whoa.) But giving in to the body signals for sleep is a good thing, even though today’s society can often infer a stigma of “laziness” on it. You hear it in comments like “Lucky you – you got to sleep the day away!” It is really not such a lucky thing…it is a matter of sheer necessity. And that is OK.

‘Tis healthy to be sick sometimes. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Namaste.

Carolyne

The Summer of Challenges – Facing Fears and Pushing Boundaries

The scariest moment is always just before you start. ~ Stephen King

This spring and summer I will be facing some fears, adjusting to changes, and pushing my own limits. I decided it was time – because I was noticing that I was falling into a fear-based place that I was increasingly uncomfortable with.

The persistent one was about getting on a bicycle again for the first time in years. Not scary for most of us, right? For me – it came about due to my inability to drive anymore due to my seizures, and the docs’ recommendations to stay on quiet streets if I decide to get on a bike again. Not being able to drive any more has often left me feeling somewhat trapped – and that was exacerbated in recent weeks when our local transit service went on strike for a number of weeks. So, recently, when I reached a breaking point of “trapped-ness” I bought a bike  that I found on sale at a local store. I decided it only made sense to ride it back home, especially since I was contemplating joining an MS Bike team at work.

What a fiasco! I more or less walked my new pretty bike home with spurts of riding it…with periods of breathing that sounded like I was coughing up a cow!! Bikes have really changed since I was last on one, and just getting used to the gearing was a challenge. But I made it home…and promptly collapsed on the couch – marvelling that I had not killed myself! My butt was aching and sore – so apparently all those years of biking in high school and university didn’t “keep”! Go figure, eh? And muscles that I forgot I even had were screaming at me. But I loved the rush of success. I did it – maybe not stellarly – but I did it. And the success of it has stuck – so I committed to riding with the MS Bike tour team at work. (Oy – this should be too funny over the next weeks as I “train”…I’ll bring my camera!)

The experience reminded me of a lesson I learned long ago: Feel the fear, and do it anyway!

So I am committing myself to a number of fundraising challenges this spring and summer, including the MS walk and MS Bike tour, as well as a couple of others (like the Blue Nose Walk/Run with the team at All Yoga .)

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”T.S. Eliot

Namaste

Carolyne

The Trials and Tribulations of Getting Diagnosed!

“Worry never robs tomorrow of it’s sorrow. It only saps today of it’s joy.” -Leo Buscaglia

Navigating the medical system while getting diagnosed with anything can be an interesting journey into the trials and tribulations of worry, anxiety, fear, confusion, and uncertainty. Even when you get a diagnosis, you sometimes get un-diagnosed then re-diagnosed when you see new specialists! For some wild examples, see my previous blogs about being undiagnosed by a different neurologist then re-diagnosed…then again this year…my MS diagnosis was questioned by a new specialist, and re-confirmed by my regular neurologist.

You see…I have MS – no, now it’s a brain tumour. No, wait – Now it’s MS. No, wait – now it’s possibly MS and more, maybe still a brain tumour, maybe a genetic tumour disorder. No, wait – Now it’s MS and a seizure disorder…but it’s complicated.

Frankly, I feel blessed that I have a scientific side to me that allows me to question doctors and medical specialists with no fear, no apprehension, and all the confidence of a know-it-all science geek. Geeks rock, eh! A lot of that confidence I have learned through some pretty hard knocks over time, and some very real frustrations, but that is part of this journey we call life.

Recently, I had the dubious pleasure of undergoing a sleep study to determine if I am having nocturnal seizures. Quite the experience to be hooked up to electrodes and straps and clips, then “tucked” into bed as you are plugged into the wall. Then a quick “nighty-night” and the door is closed, leaving you staring in the dark at a little red light – the camera that is watching you. (I swear, if anything weird turns up on You Tube…)

Will that help further my diagnosis? Well…maybe. Maybe not. Right now, my epilepsy neurologists think I might not have MS due to my atypical brain scan, but that I do have a seizure disorder and maybe something else that looks like MS. Meanwhile, my MS neurologists say “P-ffft” to that…that I do indeed have MS as confirmed by the spinal tap results, symptoms, and brain scan. (A possibly quick way to let the docs settle the academic question of MS or not MS would be to let them biopsy my lesion…but, I think a needle in the brain is a bit of overkill for academic reasons, don’t you?)

I don’t care whatcha call it – just let me get on with my life, eh? I’m busy living here!

You see – that is often the hardest part of waiting for a diagnosis: getting on with your life. I have learned over the years to just let the medical teams battle it out on their own while I get on with the business of living my life. Whether you are awaiting a diagnosis for something small or big – the wait can be very difficult.

How to get through the long Diagnosis:

1. Know that no one is better qualified to know about you than you.

2. Gather your own information. Read. Surf the ‘Net. Knowledge gives us a sense of personal control – if nothing else that helps you manage your reactions.

3. Practice patience. There will be set backs, successes, frustrations, little glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel.

Yes – doctors know alot of stuff. But doctors are only human – and they are just as prone to human foibles as the rest of us, including making mistakes or incorrect assumptions.  Nobody knows you better than you do. Keep that always at the top of your mind. Be willing to ask the uncomfortable questions, both of your medical team and yourself. The answers may surprise you.

“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” ~Unknown

Namaste

Carolyne

How to Seek Clarity to calm the Confusion

“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” ~Unknown

When was is managing a chronic illness, sometimes the confusion is overwhelming. The antidote is clarity.

I love this picture of my old pup, Nickster. When I look at it, I see my doggy companion of over 12 years, reveling in the calm and clarity open before him. In his wake, the ripples and chaos of churning water are left behind as he continues to move forward through clear waters.

I absolutely love clear calm waters. Most people would agree that calm clear waters can translate to calm, clear minds as we sit and absorb the peace surrounding them.

Turbulent waters have a beauty all their own – but sometimes it is harder to appreciate the beauty. Sometimes fear can spike, if waters are too turbulent, and you are not sure about what may be coming at you, or if you can withstand the strength of the turbulence. If you focus on the fear, you will only be able to see the churning waters…but if you step back, and focus on one aspect at a time…the waters become clear again in areas – despite the strong forces that may be churning them.

Whew – I seem to be on a water metaphorical streak, eh? I wonder where the heck it is taking us?

How to Find Clarity when you feel lost in Confusion:

1. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes.

Clarity comes in many forms – but one of the most powerful methods of gaining clarity when managing a chronic illness is through knowledge. The internet can be an amazing reference source for gaining new insights, new coping tools, a-ha moments…all with the goal to bring some clarity to a state of confusion or chaos.

2. Practice Non-Attachment in the confusion.

Sometimes we can be too wrapped up in something, and not see the forest for the trees. At times like that, it is often best to take a step back, breathe, rub your eyes (figuratively or in reality) and then take a fresh look. Coming at something from a different angle might help you see things you missed before. Observe without judgement.

3. When in doubt, ask. Don’t assume.

It always amazes me when I am talking to people how many times I hear “Oh – I was too nervous to ask about that. I did not want to bother Mr. X about it” or “I didn’t want to look stupid, so I didn’t ask” or some such thing. Ask, people, ask!!! If you have questions or concerns – you are the only person who can voice them. Ask! Seek the clarification directly. (Remember that other old saying – Don’t assume. It makes an ASS out of U and ME.)

Clear as mud yet?

“The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” -Pema Chodron

Namaste

Carolyne

Finding your Balance between a Rock & a Hard Place

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” -Pema Chodron

(Can you believe I held that Crane pose for 4 seconds before falling? Yipee-yahoo! Balance achieved – of a sort…)

I recently found myself struggling to find my balance regarding a number of things, from being shockingly emotionally shut down completely by someone on one end, to struggling to make sense of rapidly changing circumstances in someone’s life and its ripple effects on mine on the other end. In the middle, there was and is all the daily balance struggles to deal with – health, children, work. Whew! Frankly – balancing in Crane Pose on a rock in the middle of a cold Rocky Mountain lake seems simple by comparison, sometimes!

In order to find my personal balance again, I have been focusing on becoming un-invested while remaining fully engaged. Basically – I am focusing on taking my ego out of the equation, and being present, truly present, in whatever moment I find myself. I am finding this to be more of a struggle than I anticipated because my ego is more active and insistent than I realized! For instance, giving advice should have an intent of aid, with no intent of receiving gratitude nor accolades in return. That’s where the ego comes in, because if you find yourself getting frustrated with the advice receiver, then your intention is not true and you are allowing your own ego to get invested in that person’s journey. Another example: if someone shuts you down completely from discussing a topic through deep emotion, it is usually their issue and not a reflection on you, so focusing on keeping emotionally engaged while keeping your ego out so it doesn’t get un-necessarily bruised is the balance needed. So I am focusing on listening more, reflecting more, and taking in more information…and speaking less while keeping my inner witness calmly in the forefront, keeping my own personal ego needs in perspective. Takes a bit of fine-tuning, lemme tell ya!

Since my double seizure episode in the Spring of this past year, I have been really struggling to re-define my balance, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I have had emotional ups and downs due to drug reations, illness, and MS symptom flares…and my motivation has been really flagging.  On the physical side, things keep changing with MS symptom flares, drug reactions and interactions, wacky peri-menopausal symptoms and plain old lack of personal motivation and engagement. It is starting to piss me off, because I have not quite found my personal balance again yet. But, with persistent forward movement, no matter how slow, I will rediscover my new balance…whatever it may be. (The type-A in me wants to snap my fingers and “Make it so, Number One”…but reality is never that quick and easy.)

Funnily enough, this fine balancing act is almost visibly personified as my oldest son and I re-define our relationship now that he has moved on from high school to university and is a young adult. He still needs his Mom’s love and advice…but he doesn’t need me to hold his hand anymore. Jeez – he finally becomes really fun to hang out with, and he’d prefer to hang with friends and get out and enjoy his new life than hang around with his ol’ Mom all the time! Go figure, eh?! (The balance? He has been successfully raised to responsible adulthood!)

Generally, when I start to get frustrated at my own lack of forward motion, it spurs me on to new heights…so here we go! Motivational Boot camp, anyone? Anyone?

“If you lose today, win tomorrow. In this never-ending spirit of challenge is the heart of a victor.” -Daisaku Ikeda

Namaste

Carolyne

Laughter through Tears

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” -Swedish Proverb

Image from http://valentineswallpapers.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html Have you ever noticed that sometimes you can laugh so hard that you eyes tear up? Have you ever noticed that the reverse is also true – that when you are deepest in grief and tears, you will find yourself laughing and smiling and the most absurd things?

My oldest son and I recently shared a moment of poignant vulnerability and laughter through tears of sadness and loss. We recently had to say our final goodbyes to our kitty of almost 13 years – and it was simply awful. This cat had been my son’s study buddy, confidant, watch-cat, and all-round companion since my son picked him out of the litter at the age of 5 when the kitten was 5 days old.  My son and I held each other as our companion passed, crying in each others arms, reminiscing about what a wonderful pet our kitty had been, and laughing over his junk food habit and other little quirks. Saying goodby was painful – but sharing the vulnerability and laughter through tears with my young adult son was precious. I feel genuinely blessed to have such a close and wonderful relationship with both my sons that we can cry and laugh together, openly and with mutual compassion and respect.

Laughter through loss and grief is a coping mechanism – one that can help us through some of the most trying and difficult times, be it death, divorce, job loss or chronic illness. Stages of grief are well known to most by now, as outlined anywhere if you google it. But little is mentioned about laughter during periods of grief. Often, people feel guilty if they feel any joy or laughter when they “should” be feeling sad.

Bah-humbug, I say to that. I will give you a personal example of how laughter helps us work through our grief.

When my mother passed away a number of years ago, my cousins flew in to be with me and help me make arrangements for the funeral. They stayed with me while my aunt stayed with my father. My cousins were always a riot to be with – and their ability to make me laugh was priceless. When I was sleepless, we would lie in our beds and they would tell me jokes and stories about our childhood, featuring my mom, and made me laugh so hard through my tears that my stomach hurt.

When we came back from the funeral, the director handed me my Mother’s ashes in an urn, which was placed in a canvas beach bag emblazoned with the funeral home’s name and logo. We silently got into my car, as I gingerly placed the bag holding my mother’s urn on the floor behind my seat. As I started the car, I began to giggle uncontrollably at an absurd thought that popped into my head. I shared this thought with my cousins, and within seconds, the three of us were gut-laughing through tears of grief…and it lasted for a full 30 minutes where we could barely breathe from the laughter. The absurd thought? I had turned to them and said “Next time I come visit you, we can go to the beach and I’ll make sure to bring this great canvas beach bag they gave us – so we can remember the good times we had, eh? Good times, good times!” Morbid? Definitely! But the absurdity of the situation struck us…and the gut-busting laughter helped reduce the intensity of the deep grief we were feeling at Mom’s loss. I don’t have the bag anymore, but to this day, I look at canvas bags with a bittersweet memory and pang. I remember my mother and my cousins fondly, and feel warmth and love – no more grief.

Embrace your grief. Embrace your joy. Embrace the laughter you find within both and in the zone in-between. Accept the laughter through your tears…there is a reason for such a priceless balance.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Namaste.

Carolyne

Transition & Change – Tips to see the beauty of it!!

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau

Birth. Growth. Life change. Personal transformation. Future possibilities. Opportunity. All of this comes with transition & change of some sort; trials and tribulations; joys and sorrows.

This month, I pondered on the graduation of my oldest child from high school, and the bittersweet emotion of seeing him transition from the young strong-willed boy he was into the wonderful compassionate successful young man I always hoped he become. I have been looking around me and pondering how life transitions and change can buoy us up, bring us down, invigorate us or paralyze us. In a very strange way, my own MS and seizure illness has provided my sons with a back-handed gift in their current lifetime – an opportunity to deal with crisis, constant change, and the ability to recognize the importance of family and what priorities truly are in life.

There are so many of us that look back at our past and lament on the “good times gone by”, unable to focus on the present moment for whatever reason. I had a friend in his mid-50′s who used to always say “Back in high schoool, I was a real jock…so I have always been into fitness.” Meanwhile, he lived with a weight problem and a significant cardiac problem…not willing to face that that those days in high school when he was a jock are long gone. He needed to look at where he was in the moment…and where he was heading in the future. His high school jock status was not helping his current weight and cardiac issue. But he could not see it – he could not face that he had changed with time. My response? “That was then. This is now! Who are you NOW?”

Embracing change is a skill that needs developing and daily practice.

Over the years, life changes. Our bodies change. (Oh Lordy, do our bodies change!!! If only we knew at age 25 what we know as we near age 50!! I mean, c’mon – wrinkles, acne AND a mustache for women in menopause???WTF??) We change emotionally and mentally too – our perspectives change, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. Theoretically, we have learned from our lifetime of experiences and gotten wiser. (Well – the jury is still out on that one for some of us!) Those of us who deal with chronic illnesses such as MS face change on a daily, even hourly basis.

Tips to Embrace the beauty and Opportunity within Change and Transition:

1. Choose to see yourself fully in the present moment.

Look at yourself – really look at yourself. Open your eyes and heart, and see that you already have everything you need to be happy, loved, and fulfilled – no matter what is going on around you. Love and accept completely everything that you are. You are beautiful – no matter your age, weight, hair colour, or skin colour. Believe it, and most importantly, remind yourself often.

2. Choose to see new opportunities within change.

Open your mind and embrace the present moment, and look at whether it contains an obstacle or an opportunity in your perspective. Look beyond any obstacle you perceive, and find the opportunity on the other side. It may simply be an opportunity to learn something from a mistake – but recognize it as such! Be bold, be courageous, and make decisions that help you learn. Start as soon as possible to embrace any necessary changes – take the initiative where you can. It is your life, your responsibility, your power.

3. Choose to see that you have the power to manage how change affects you.

We’re often faced with personal change due to circumstances outside of our control, such as health issues, divorce, death, job loss and so on. Even though you may not be in control of what’s going on around you, you do have control over your reaction to any situation.  We are each responsible for our own actions and reactions, regardless of how other people may act or what is going on around us. Face each situation with your calm inner witness. Never accept another person’s reality as your own. Always believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.  Embrace the power of personal control in the face of change and transition. That personal power is the key tool to help you through it.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” -Honore de Balzac

Namaste.

Carolyne

Remember: Lift and Separate, with a smile!!!

“Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health.” -Proverb

In my efforts to maintain personal balance and manage my health, I am always on the lookout for new ways to develop more self-awareness, physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. Recently, I began taking an Iyengar yoga class as yoga therapy, supplementing my regular yoga practice as well as my chiropractic visits. (Since my car accident in 2008, spinal alignment has been wonky at best!) What an interesting experience!

The Iyengar practice is much more focused on correct body alignment in the poses. Our instructor is a man who has no qualms about calling a spade, a spade…and if you are not in proper alignment, he will help you get there so you can feel the difference and be able to get there yourself over time with practice. In a recent class, I learned a whole new way to feel Downward Facing Dog pose. Did I ever!

Basically, it began with understanding that the hips, legs, and ankles need to move in a certain way to do the pose correctly for the body. Getting into the pose, my instructor pointed out where I was having problems finding the correct alignment, but I just could not grasp what he was trying to get me to do. So, he and a fellow yogi assisted me in the pose, taking two straps and placing them into my hip creases around my thighs while I was in the downdog pose, then lifting up and out, ensuring the correct torque of the hips, legs, and ankles, and the lift and separation of the buttocks. He noted that it was very important in the pose to enable the release of the anal pucker.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that it is very difficult for me to not make a wise crack when the opportunity presents itself. And the opportunity surrounding the words “anal pucker”? OMG!!! So there I was, feeling “lifted and separated”, extremely grateful that I was not “gassy” that day, and hoping like hell that I could keep my calm because I was close to collapsing in gales of laughter! (Those of you who are old enough will remember the old Cross your heart bra commercials that talked about how the bra “lifted and separated” the “Girls” for a sleek look – that phrase has a whole new meaning to me now!)

That laughter bubbling up inside me was just as, if not more, therapeutic to me than the actual yoga session itself!The pose was good, and it is helping me with my awareness and alignment – but I get into the pose now with a bigger smile on my face, remembering the humour of the situation each time.

Laughter and cheerfulness are the base platform of who I am, how I cope with life in general, and how I react to the world at large. Yes, there are hard times, and there is sorrow in the world. But I choose not to dwell there. Looking around, there is so much to smile at, laugh at, or find hysterically funny. And every time we do that, we heal ourselves just a little bit more.

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” -Irish Proverb

So – didja hear the one about the horse that walked into a bar?…

Namaste – and keep seeking the laughter all around us!

Carolyne

Life is what we make of it…

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London

So – who are you when nobody is watching? Are you the same person? Are you authentic? Are you living your life, or just existing?

Recently, I was walking to yoga, and I walked briskly past the local Walmart on my way to the studio, listening to my music, and simply enjoying the feel of the muscles in my legs working, the breeze ruffling through my hair, and the simplicity of just being alive. I found myself smiling genuinely and feeling completely content, comfortable, sure about who I am and knowing that despite my health problems life is pretty good. I found myself thinking back to a year ago, when I could not even walk past that same Walmart to get to the yoga studio, because I was so bent over in pain, hanging on for dear life to my cane – with a painful smile plastered to my face, existing.

I can definitely say that I feel that I am living my life now – not just existing. And it feels good, free, authentic.

One year – two very different end points, from existing to living, thanks to the life transforming power of adopting a yoga practice and accompanying lifestyle. (I know, I know – obnoxious yogi on the loose again, you’re thinking, eh?) Yoga was, and is, my tool to living my life fully, deeply. It has brought me a sense of personal control and a regained sense of independence and deep self-awareness (among so many other benefits). I recently discovered Iyengar Yoga as a therapeutic tool, and it is teaching me gobs about body alignment and how to break out of bad alignment habits we have that we are not even aware of. More information and a tool to use as I manage my health and live my life to the fullest that I can.

Life is what we make of it – from the struggles to the successes; from finding the courage inside to face a fear, to dealing with it; from closing yourself off from people and possibilities, to opening your heart to new possibilities, new passions, new opportunities. Sometimes we get there on our own, sometimes we have help along the way. Life may be long or short,  intense or tragic, sad or happy, or a mix-mash of everything at various times.

No matter what – life is what WE make of it. The key is finding the tools to help you live, rather than simply exist.

“The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them …” – Michel de Montaigne

Namaste

Carolyne

Recognizing the Opportunities around You

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” -Charles R. Swindoll

Sometimes as we move along our individual journeys, we can fall into a pattern of non-seeing as we trudge along familiar paths, awareness unfocused on anything in particular. Sometimes it literally takes a fork in the road to make us aware of the pathway we are following at any particular time. That’s usually the time that we tune in to what’s going on around us, and face the fork in the road. Sometimes, it’s easy to decide which fork we will follow next…sometimes it’s not so easy. The key is to recognize that the fork in the road is an opportunity – no matter what it looks like.

An opportunity – what does it look like? Most people see opportunity as only good things that are presented to them. But opportunity can come in many forms – and not all of them are fun nor pretty. Some are big, some are small. Some are good, some are not so great. For example, divorce is a type of fork in the road – a path that was being followed changes via a decision made by one or two people. The opportunity? Depending on your situation, many – but the primary and most common opportunity is personal growth, learning about who you are through the process. Emotional pain, while it sucks and is no fun at all, can be a catalyst to discovering things about yourself, about your limits, your needs, your values, your morals…about you. That’s one hell of an opportunity!

Personal growth is an opportunity that presents itself in any situation – it’s all about perspective. Perspective can change the lens of life. For example – take my new situation of being newly “fascinating and complicated” with questions regarding my actual diagnosis. I could put on a lens of negativity, and see this as the worst thing that could happen: why me; why now; my life is over as I know it; I am a victim, and will always be unhealthy. Or, conversely, I can look at the situation through a more positively focused lens, and see this as an opportunity: thank goodness we found it now if it IS genetic so I can prepare my kids; what an interesting opportunity to learn more about what the heck is going on in my body; thank goodness we are focusing on stopping the seizures; imagine all the people I can share this information with so that we can all learn together.

Even simply writing the negative focus makes me feel emotionally heavy, down, depressed. But I feel much lighter, and more hopeful, and more in personal control, with the positive focus. Now some of you may say – so what? You are still in the same situation, so what’s the point?

The point is that life throws us many curve balls all the time, and if you don’t have the right lens on, you won’t see them coming at you, and you’ll miss the chance to catch the opportunities and get whacked upside the head instead! Seeing opportunity where others might see negative change or challenge allows us to cope in better ways, seeing more clearly things in ways that can help us rather than hinder us. So – keep aware on your own journey – and look for the opportunities that are all around you, be they big or tiny. They are there in every aspect of our lives.

(Do ya think I can fit any more random visual analogies in this article? LOL!)

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” -Rodin

Namaste
Carolyne