M.U.L.T.I.P.L.E.S.C.L.E.R.O.S.I.S. - A Creative Exercise in Gratitude
Thanksgiving is a good time to contemplate important things in life. This year, in preparation, I took a moment to free-associate words that relate to the many blessings I have. To make it more interesting, I chose words that begin with the letters M-U-L-T-I-P-L-E-S-C-L-E-R-O-S-I-S. This was fun exercise and I hope that you might create a similar free-associative piece and share it in the comments section below.
M - Motivation
Motivation is often at the heart of what we do each daily. How often do you say you feel motivated to do something, or not motivated at all? Motivation goes beyond desire and extends to action. I hope that by sharing a bit of our experiences, we help to motivate each other to live better lives with MS. I know that your comments help to motivate me to continue advocating for patients near and far.
U - Understanding
I am blessed that I have a husband who understands and appreciates the roller coaster which is living with unpredictable disease(s). When I don’t feel well, I know that I won’t be judged for not rising to an occasion. Even when he may not understand every detail, he expresses sincere love and support which are priceless.
L - Love
What can I say? Love is vital to life. To give love and to receive love. To be surrounded by love. To know that you are loved. Such a basic need which I wish for each of us during the holidays and year round.
T - Trust
Trust is a tricky thing. Sometimes when I have doubts, I must remind myself to have faith and trust that things will indeed be okay.
I - Inspiration
My students inspire me each week. Several of my students continue with lessons for many years and we develop close relationships. It is bittersweet when they must continue out into the world upon graduation. But I am truly inspired each time a student demonstrates a maturity and passion beyond their years and am glad that he/she is able to make music their own.
P - Playfulness
Smile, laugh, have fun, play. I enjoy shutting down the computer on occasion and spending time playing and interacting with our kitties. In fact, one of our cats is the most playing-est kitty I’ve ever had. He is so much fun and brings an enormous amount of love and joy to our home.
L - Laughter
Use those muscles involved in laughing! Not only is it good for the respiratory system, it is beneficial for the facial muscles. A really good laugh induces relaxation...well, after you’ve stopped ‘crying’ because you were laughing so hard. LOL.
E - Empowerment
Take charge of your health. Take charge of your happiness. Be in the driver’s seat and forge your own path. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. That’s part of being a leader as well.
S - Stretch
Each morning before leaving the bed, take a moment to stretch. Wiggle the toes, straighten the legs, rotate the ankles. Reach wide with the arms (but be sure not to smack your bedmate in the face). Yawn and be ready to greet the day.
C - Clean House
Um, I have to admit I do not have a clean house. I am a lousy housekeeper. But I have faith that it is possible to conquering the clutter if done in very small steps. Perhaps this list should also be a ‘wish list’ of sorts.
L - Lose Weight
In 2010, I was documenting my weight every week and lost 40 pounds in one year which was awesome! Since then I’ve gained about half of that back. I’ve recently started tracking food and exercise once more and have seen 6 pounds slowly fall away. Slow and steady is the road to success. I’m not waiting until New Year’s to get started on this resolution. Thanksgiving seems an even more appropriate time to appreciate this and other things I commit to doing for myself.
E - Exercise
With some serious issues with osteoarthritis this summer and fall, I have realized that I must do what I have the power to do to help improve my physical health. Since September, I’ve gone from barely being able to pedal on the exercise bike for 3 minutes straight, to having ridden on the bike for a total of 4 hours this past week. It was hard at first, but persistent and patience is paying off. I have finally found the motivation to exercise on a daily basis. For that I am truly thankful.
R - Relaxation
On the opposite end of the spectrum from exercise is rest and relaxation. Both are vital to living a healthy life. Take time for yourself and recharge your batteries. And know that it is absolutely okay to take naps when you need to. (Lisa, hear that? Yes, I’m talking to you, dear brain, the one that helps me make decisions.)
O - Om
Going along with relaxation, yoga and meditation are important for physical and mental wellbeing. This serves as a good reminder that I should carve out a space at home to return to my yoga practice.
S - Smile
It’s good for the soul. Practice smiling this Thanksgiving and everyday. You’re life will be better for it.
I - Introspect
To accompany all the om-ing, smiling, exercising, relaxing, cleaning, stretching, laughing, trusting, motivating, and loving you may do each and every day, spend some time in reflection. Be introspective and find the joy within so that you can see and enjoy the beauty throughout the world.
S - Share
Share the joy and beauty of your world with others. This is one of the most important things one can do on Thanksgiving and every day.
Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of myself with you today and always.
Do you live with any comorbidities aside from MS?