"Just because the road ahead is long, is no reason to slow down. Just because there's much work to be done, is no reason to get discouraged. It's a reason to get started, to grow, to find new ways, to reach within you and discover strength, commitment, determination, discipline. Right now you may be at the beginning of the journey. What a great place to be! Just imagine all the things you’ll learn, all the people you’ll meet, the experiences you’ll have. Be thankful that the road is long and challenging, because that's where you’ll find the best that life has to offer!" — Ralph Marston
Living with chronic illness, at least for me, means that every change or altered circumstance requires an adjustment that can alter routines that I depend on in order to function well. And those adjustments take time; they take a commitment to work it through, to find ways to incorporate the changes into a new routine that doesn’t take away from hard won progress.
I’m in the midst of that process now and, sometimes, I simply resent the time and energy it takes. Why? Because it doesn’t leave me enough to do the things I truly love – to make art, to create in some way, to produce something positive or interact with things outside of myself.
But change is the only constant in life and how we deal with change defines our journey. I allow myself some momentary angst, frustration or even self pity – almost always with a set limit, and always knowing that it’s an act of release that allows me to move into a greater energy of determination and discovery.
And so I make the effort to stay connected, even if the effort is necessarily small. I continue to read, to learn, to explore even when I’m not currently capable of applying those things in concrete ways. I’m in a place right now where I can be inspired, but don’t have the focus or the energy to actively follow that inspiration. I’m not making art; not art journaling; not creating with my hands; so for now, I keep track of those inspirations and note them down so that I can return to them later. To not be accepting of where I am would only delay the changes that I need to make.
I choose instead to see my current obstacles as opportunities to find new ways of moving forward; new ways of living my life in the best way possible. I am more than my illness, more than my disabilities, more than any obstacle that life could provide.
Every chance to rework the way I live my life is also a chance to be more authentically me; to be more present and more alive. I haven’t yet gotten to the place where I can say that I’ve befriended my illness or my disabilities, but I AM learning to befriend myself, with all of my quirks and challenges. It’s a progression, an inherent part of growth. I can’t help but feel that the point at which I am able to embrace even what I may now see and experience as negatives will be the point when I truly transcend them.
For now, I’m grateful to the people and the community that I’ve gathered around me. For your generosity of spirit and abundance of creativity, for your patience and understanding, and for the inspiration that fuels my days.