Life's Unpredictable Journey
"Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; today is a present - a gift to be appreciated." – Unknown
We will stumble and fall
We would all probably agree that life's journey is unpredictable, as it winds and twists in all directions. Along the path of our journey, there are the many bumps, cracks and hurdles that we will encounter. And, there will be times when we stumble and fall. What's important is not that we fall. What's important is that we get up. Because with or without MS, life moves on. In a world with insufficient resolutions and/or remedies for the chronic disease of MS, it's easy to become derailed and overwhelmed by physical limitations, by pain, suffering anxiety or uncertainty. So - how do we handle what we face each and every day, within a lifetime? One of the challenging lessons I've learned is that not every health related debility is caused by MS; not every ordeal we experience is the result of MS. Even under difficult circumstances, I have learned that it should be our objective to move with the ebb and flow.
Being in the now
In a strange way you might say MS has been a life coach guiding me; presenting me with the gift of being in the now of life. We all spend much of our lives unconsciously absorbed in a past that's already gone; in a future that hasn't happened yet; out of touch with the present moment. I've learned it's time to respond to life as it fully unfolds, moment by moment. It is ironic that MS has been the catalyst that has presented me with a greater awareness of life; of life's purpose, life's meaning and life's opportunities. Some time ago I was introduced to the writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine (Emeritus) of the Stress Reduction Clinic & Center for Mindfulness at the University of Mass. Medical School. He noted that, "Mindful awareness is an invitation to wake up and experience the fullness of life; so that your pain, fear and stress doesn't wind up controlling you, or eroding the quality of life, or its creativity."
So from one MS combatant to another I'd like to share what I've discovered. And that is to focus on what I can do, as opposed to what I can't do - by being in the moment. My experience with MS has taught me to develop a mindful approach, enhancing my ability to concentrate on what is, instead of what isn't. Paradoxically I am stronger in heart, mind and spirit; and I've acquired the strength and buoyancy to move forward in spite of any obstacles or impairments. And while this body often feels broken, as a person I have become more resilient, balanced and more centered.
What defines me
It's a powerful lesson to understand that I am not defined by my MS. I would say that I am a woman who is involved; defined by vocation and avocation; by family and friends; by creativity and accomplishment; by my mindful awareness and compassion of everyone and everything that touches my life. And when I do trip and fall, I prompt myself to get up. Finally - I have learned that in my lifetime I can strive to fulfill dreams; that my being has meaning and purpose; that I have choice; and that I can make it my intention to be the best I can be within the confines of any physical constraints. And YES - I have MS.
Does listening to music help lower the severity of your stress or MS symptoms?