I was thinking lately about how my life has changed. I mean once you get past the obvious differences--health, transportation, finances--how it has been altered for the better. When you have days (occasionally weeks) where you can be basically non-funtional due to pain or exhaustion or both, you have plenty of time to think and be observant of change. And recently my "optimism" and "positive thinking" has been brought to my attention by several people--hehe! (Thank you all!)
Some of you may remember Karen--met her when I was at MSUM. Karen helped Leah and I with the Everything's Handmade craft business we tried a few years ago. Karen would bring our crafts to her work's annual craft fair they have before Christmas. Anyways, her boss was writing an article on chronic pain for their newsletter--it's a family health center--and Karen said she thought of me. She called and asked me if her boss could interview me--sure. We connected on the phone and chatted for quite a while. Was fun! People seem surprised at how happy I am, I guess. That I have such a "positive attitude".
Made me think about why--and how I feel now vs. when I had been so depressed about being forced to quit college, losing my apartment in Moorhead, and worried about where I was going to live. BUT--students and teachers back then still told me I was positive and always laughing. ?? (They should see me now! hehe!)
Granted, I am especially happy right now due to the fact that Dagan and Leah won't be tied for years to that dreadfully constructed house and I feel like a fountain of joy--but I have noticed that I have changed a lot these past few years from dealing with all the health issues. It was very hard at first to deal with losing my independence--to have my body take over and totally control my life--in major life's path ways and even in the smaller matters of daily living. I had to learn acceptance of this new, limited body--to see myself differently in the physical world, I guess. Wasn't quick or easy to change my self-image, but you can't fight it forever--hehe! Well, you can, but it makes life a pretty miserable trip.
I think a huge part of how I deal with life--good and bad--is that I really have always believed that everything happens for a reason--long before I had a broader view of what those reasons might be--hehe! When I was young I thought that I must have been a really bad and horrible person in past lives and I was just getting what I deserved--so I needed to learn how to go through all these things in my life as positively as I could. Basically, I still believe that is probably true--hehe! But I am not so hard on myself about the past lives. :)
I was much more black or white in my younger days. The older I get, the more I see grey, zebra stripes, and polka dots--hehe! I think I always thought there was positive and negative in everything--but I had to search harder for the positives and used to feel I was drowning in the negatives at times. The more I realized that happiness is a choice one makes, the easier traveling through life has become. I say traveling through because life itself never gets any easier--hehe! But it is not what happens to you in life--it is how you live through it, right?
As the years have gone by and the events have occured and the lessons were learned the hard and slow way--I have finally gained some perspective over time, I guess. Okay, I still believe that the good and bad--the black and white--the postive and negative--they are always there--all the time--in everything and everybody. The hardest thing for me to learn was that the "bad" (the negatives--the traumas--the pain--the sorrow--the failures--the horror) is also a gift--a blessing in disguise. Not just something to flee, to endure, to crawl away from, or try to rise above--but to embrace. In fact, most all the monumental, important lessons are learned because of those very negative things! Very likely couldn't be learned any other way. I feel like I have been learning this lesson my whole life. I have weak areas that I still panic over (like my "losing the roof over the head" fear), but I am sooo much better than I was. And (interesting to me) the less I have allowed that fear to control me, the longer I have stayed in one place and the quicker I find a new one when needed.
Funny--the more I am able to embrace my dark side, the lighter I become! :) The more I face my flaws, weaknesses, blame, participation, and responsibility in all aspects of my life--the more contented I become. It is all wrapped up in forgiveness--of myself and others. And the more I stop fighting against and judging the negatives in myself and others--the more I react with love and forgiveness--the freer I feel. This has been a long process--my own personal spiritual path. (I am 57 years old and I remember my first spiritual crisis was when I was five years old.) I have made more significant progress the past 15 years--especially these past few years as my health totally declined. So, probably the biggest spiritual gift I have been given recently has been all my physical limitations! (Before that--it was Dagan and all of his health issues. He has been a blessing in my life in so many ways I cannot count them all!) And it continues--into my next life--hehe!--till I get it right. :)
So--where was I going with all of this rambling? I was thinking how these past several days, when I have been in a basically non-functional stretch again, I have been feeling sooooo peaceful, contented, grateful, and blessed. This is a common occurance for me the past few years here in Fargo. :) Even tho I might not be able to "do" that much these days, I can just "be", you know? My life has taken on this kind of living meditation most of the time--like carrying a smile in my chest. True--it might be because I don't have to deal with the rest of humanity much--hehe! I only leave the apartment once or twice a month--can pick and choose my visitors--and the same with the people I chat with online or write letters to. :) I have always enjoyed my own company--luckily!! I can still enjoy my arts and crafts--reading--writing--well, here and there anyways--when my body allows it--hehe! :) I can still learn new things--connect with people--have people and a cat I love. I can slowly accomplish things--but even when I can't, I can always work on my soul. And what is more important than that? :)