Three Ways to Help You Find Meaning While Living with MS

I count my blessings every day because I know that counting them will help me get through the day. No matter what MS throws my way it cannot change what I hold dear in my heart. My thoughts and spirit are my own and won’t be altered by any damage to my myelin.

It’s been a rocky road in our house this year; not only with my own endless list of maladies but also with surprising ailments that have happened to those I love. We’ve been busy battling storms together, trying to find answers to stay as healthy and happy as possible. So far so good but the battles are far from over.

I try to find comfort by searching for any life lessons as I’m being dragged from battle to battle. Sometimes the lessons are harder to find, and when that happens I dig deep into my meditation practice or daily walk trying to quiet my mind enough to hear a reason as to why something is happening. If I’m lucky a path will open up toward a new road of knowledge.

I’m the kind of girl who needs to make sense, any sense, of why something is happening. Sometimes there are no answers and, as in MS, there are no reasons or cures. Sometimes things simply ARE. Yet I still try to find snippets of golden answers and when I do I tuck them away in my heart. Those lessons are what help me stay sane and balanced.

To me life must have some meaning, good, bad and everything in between, and so I continue to search until I find what I am looking for.

Here’s what I know so far:

Count Your Lucky Stars: Tomorrow is uncertain, today is here and now. Your lucky stars can be tiny or tremendous, but they are there. The touch of a caring hand, the sound of a soothing voice from a loved one, the gentle guidance of someone who truly cares. These are the things in life that matter. Lean on them and appreciate how they comfort you. Remember how they make you feel. Let them leave a long impression on your heart.

Always Do Your Best: With MS our “best” is different for everyone. It can mean our best physically, emotionally or spiritually, and will mean different things to different people. It may not be the same from day to day. Keeping our eye on the prize of remaining positive while in the midst of MS storms is vital to staying as healthy as possible.

One of my favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I find its wisdom to be timeless. Reading it over and over again provides me with a kind of safe place to land, a place where I know my spirits will soar and I will lifted out of the doldrums.

“Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Take Time To Feel: I used to brush my feelings under the rug, never sharing how I was feeling because I didn’t want to be judged or lectured. I kept my thoughts to myself and ultimately that was the wrong thing to do. Sometimes I wouldn’t even admit how I was feeling to myself. I was an actor in a play, making pretend that everything was fine. I didn’t want to be sick and I didn’t want others to view me that way either.

But with age comes wisdom, and also more symptoms. I started to realize that bottling my feelings up was not serving any purpose other than to create anxiety, a bad stomach and headaches. So I decided to not only reach out to loved ones but to also take time for myself. Writing is cathartic for me, but so is meditation and daily walks in nature. Giving myself time to think added a new dimension to this midlife girl: a better frame of mind. I found that this tiny addition in my life has made me stronger, enabling me to face Life with more resilience and fortitude.

We’ll probably never know why things happen to us. One book that’s helped me in the past is When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. Rabbi Kushner shares his wisdom about doubts and fears and addresses life’s most difficult questions. I highly recommend it to everyone no matter what your religion is. Published twenty years ago this book is still relevant today.

I wish you peace in your soul and a healthy mind and spirit. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

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