Monday, October 17, 2011

Obstacles As Opportunity

‎"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.


  1. Thank you Cynthia - for your honesty and your positive attitude. I truly understand what you are saying. While I have had additional challenges yet crossing my path, I so fully agree with what you have said. Thanks again for your honesty and clarity with this sharing. Thank you. And angels be with you.

  2. Hi Cynthia,
    Very eloquently put and all incredibly true especially for those of us with extra challenges. I will visit often my new friend...
    Beth P

  3. It is so comforting to hear someone else talk about the thoughts, fears, and things that restrict my growth - makes me feel "normal" LOL. You say it with so much strength and courage it keeps me going. I'm praying for more healing and better days for you - I know they are coming ;-) hugs.

  4. Cynthia this is a truly introspective, yet inspiring post for others. Your courage and your determination shine through and by writing all of this in a post, you are truly touching and inspiring others and teaching them how to deal with change that comes with illness.
    I hope that soon this phase will be over and a new phase allowing maximum creativity will begin for you.
    I am sending you huge Hugs my friend
    June xxx

  5. "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."
    I've learned to love *ME* but there are days I really don't 'like' the *me* that comes with chronic illness and disability. I have to remember daily the *ME* is bigger then the *me*.
    Thank-You for sharing your lovingly written words on this topic... (((gentle hugs)))
    This too may not pass, but it will change and I will change with it. :O)

  6. Thanks Wendy! I believe that Angels have been with me my entire life, both the corporeal and incorporeal ;)
    I'd love to follow your blogs, but didn't see any way to do so. Do you have a Facebook page?

  7. Beth, it's so nice to see you here! I look forward to journeying with you - both here and on your new blog ;)

  8. Thanks Linda! I used to watch the Garfield cartoon with my mom and there was a bit of a whacky character named 'Neurmal'. I've always laughingly said "I'm not normal - I'm neurmal!" Lol!

  9. Hi Cynthia, Popping by as promised. This post is wonderfully inspiring. I too suffer with long term health problems and each day has its challenges but you are right - these obstacles should be seen as opportunities and I shall try to remember your words when I have a bad day.
    I have loved visiting and browsing you posts and shall come by again.
    Take care

  10. What an inspiring post. Art and community can truly change our attitudes and our lives.

  11. Cynthia...
    I feel like I have worked a lifetime to prove that my disabilities do not define who I am.
    Great post...TY


Thank you for leaving your comments; I read and appreciate them all! Cynthia