You know, it’s funny – most people would not describe me as a person in any way fearful of speaking her mind. In fact, quite the opposite – I am considered, as someone at work once put it, a “calm, funny, and politely pushy woman”. I took that to mean an assertive woman who gets things done! 😉

As MS’ers, we each have to be our own advocates, and speak out about our health, speak about our needs, ask about options, and so on. We must find our voices when dealing with our situations – especially with the medical community. I am well known within my own circle as someone who speaks her mind, challenges doctors if I feel it is necessary, and is generally not afraid to openly discuss any aspect of health situations & improving health with people. OK – I am pretty much not afraid to discuss anything! 😉

That being said, I had another “a-ha” moment the other day when my sister and I were  discussing the peace of chanting in yoga. I had never felt comfortable doing any chanting – but I enjoy listening to others chant. And I only whispered “namaste” very quietly, feeling too shy to speak it loudly enough to be heard. Namaste means “the spirit in me honours the spirit in you”. So when my sis challenged me to speak my inner voice – voice the word Namaste with feeling…well, I froze. The very thought made me tense up. And it made me wonder – why? Why was I afraid to speak loudly enough to be heard?

I pondered this in the woods the other day. SuperMike and I drove down to the south shore, quietly enjoying the brilliant fall colours and each other’s company. At his camp, while he closed things up, I wandered around a bit, and smelled the crisp air, shuffled my feet in the wet leaves, and simply breathed. At one point, I closed my eyes and whispered “namaste” to the trees around me, reveling in the feeling of nature and the sound of the wind through the trees. Did I figure out why I was nervous about speaking out loudly? No. But it struck me – I had not been down in that area of the province in over two years – since shortly before my accident. Wow – had I ever missed it!

Well – I have begun saying “namaste” more loudly – loudly enough so that the people beside me can actually hear me. And you know what? It is actually a freeing & personally charging sensation! Who-da thunk something so simple could feel so empowering? And it is already translating into other aspects of my life – I found myself saying “No – I need my rest” to people at work requesting more of my time than I could afford to give; I found myself speaking up in situations where I had been taking a back-seat roll. I am the kind of person that will put herself last in efforts to make sure those around her are comfortable and happy. Finding my voice, for me, meant finding the voice that says “I need to take care of me, too – and that’s ok.” For me, I had to embrace that “namaste” means also to honour my own spirit… and follow whatever form that may take in the moment.

That’s exactly what we have to do with MS every day, too, isn’t it?

Namaste.

Carolyne

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