Perception

Once again the summer is visiting me, claiming its rightful place in nature’s world, and (of course) offering me the best of its heat and humidity. I can’t say thank you, because it’s exacerbating all of my debilitating symptoms; most notably my overwhelming fatigue. Since I have been living with MS for a very long time, it’s just another reminder that this disease presents me with a body that clearly says ‘immobile’, when I so desperately want it to be agile, limber, supple. Sometimes my thoughts go back in time, remembering with delight the years from my past, when I was able to dance in the sunlight. It was another world; spending fun time at the beach with kids, family and friends; where I savored the the pleasure of sun, sand and ocean; where I playfully and joyfully luxuriated in the multitude of summer activities; where summer nights under a moonlit sky was a great source of satisfaction. But – since life’s journey is very unpredictable, often taking unwanted turns, here I am overcome by disability and discomfort; living with a body divested of energy; often feeling physically and emotionally isolated.

MS has strengthened my core tenets

The other day, a very good friend asked: “Since you’ve patently spelled out that MS has been such a totally negative experience, can you in any way at all interpret what if anything is positive from your experience”? At first I was taken aback and put off by her question. But then I started thinking ‘out of the box’, grabbing onto her phrase ‘interpret anything positive’. And with a good deal of reflection and analysis, it came to me that of course – the surprising answer is yes! Dealing with MS has strengthened my core tenets; made me more mindfully aware of who I am and who I want to be. The ordeal of MS has taught me to accept; and has shown me how to adjust to and navigate the world I live in – in spite of. And surprise of surprises, the trauma of this crippling disease has made me more perceptive.

What do I perceive?

Perception: – and if that has become part of my equation, how do I perceive and what do I perceive? What is it that keeps me observant, informed, stable, in balance; always trying to move forward? And if asked – how would I define perception? Will the colors be brighter and the flavors more pronounced? Will I smell the flowers, experience magnificent rainbows or beautiful sunsets? And if I’m more perceptive, is it easier for me to make subtle distinctions? Am I becoming better at maintaining relationships and recognizing how others feel and why? Will I have in improved intuitive understanding of the world I live in? And will I develop acute insight, using all my senses to enhance my personal life; my professional life; my everyday life? Will I develop the foresight, sensitivity and understanding needed to make better decisions? Do I have the ability to read other people’s moods, and have I seen my face in the face of others, realizing we are more the same than we are different. Will it then be easier to maintain a calm, thoughtful perception that will keep me moving forward? Perceptive is what I want to be, and I’m hopeful that is now me.

With further reflection, it becomes apparent that unlike eye or hair color, perception is not determined at birth. It is something you acquire; something you foster. Understandably, in a lifetime, you travel a complicated road. Traveling that road, I followed a learning curve; where I discovered paths that have transformed my life in a most transcendent way. So, the answer to my friends question is ‘YES’. Living with MS has helped me to be more discerning, alert, sentient, compassionate, appreciative and attentive. I am better at perceiving my world; a world of many gifts; art, nature, music, literature, people, pets, sun, stars and sky; everyone and everything that touches my life. The big plus? I can be the best I can be, in spite of the parameters of any limitations or boundaries.

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