I saw the title of a book recently and while I don’t remember the exact title, it was something about finding or searching for serenity in an age of anxiety. I liked the words and what the words made me think of. Is that not something we are all doing: looking for a little serenity, a little peace? How would you describe a peaceful setting? Would it be a quiet, sandy beach, with gentle waves meandering slowly across the shore? Perhaps a verdant meadow with long grasses swaying in the breeze is more to your taste? Each of us has a special private place in our mind. It may not even be conscious. It is a special place where we feel safe and at peace. The trick is accessing that private oasis when we need to. We do live in a stressful world. There is war, disease, fear. We work hard and play hard. There never seems to be enough time in a 24 hour cycle to do everything we need to or want to. We complain and we get up each morning and try to do it all again. To ensure optimal health there are professionals who are advocating rest and relaxation. New ideas? NO! Our mothers would caution us as children not to overdo it. Now we are so hung up in obtaining ‘things’ that we lose sight of what is important: relationships. We need to have a strong relationship with our family, our friends, and even ourselves. Even more so if you are dealing with something as life altering as a serious disease.
Let’s put things into perspective. Am I always happy? Not by a long shot. Do I always do what I should? Really, you have to ask? Of course not! Do I sometimes have popcorn for dinner or ice cream for breakfast? Well, yes. Occasionally I even skip my exercises even though I know for certain that they make me stronger. Why? Well for one thing I’m human with all the idiosyncrasies and frailties inherent in our genes. For another I would never claim to be perfect. I sometimes get angry and snap at people. I’m fallible. I make mistakes that hopefully I can learn from. So you see I am not so different from you, at least on one level. I do have this itty, bitty incurable disease, but we all need a little spice in our lives. It’s a challenge. Really.
It is quite natural to have a certain amount of fear in your life. Actually it is quite beneficial, even necessary. Fear can keep us from doing really stupid things, like stepping over a cliff edge or driving our car into a ravine. We know what will happen if we do and that is frightening. There is a negative side to fear. It can cripple us from living our lives as fully as we should. How many people have not spoken to someone that they are attracted to because of fear of rejection? How many people are absolutely paralyzed by the fear of speaking in public? How many people are terrified to show their work be it paintings or poetry because they are afraid others will find it less than stellar?
For those of us who are dealing with an incurable disease there is another kind of fear, the fear of the unknown. You know what the books say your disease can do, and it can do it to you. Yes that is frightening. Yes that kind of fear can paralyze a person. And yes there is a way around it. I believe that the mind is an incredible tool at our disposal. Well, use that tool. Tell yourself a hundred times a day “I feel better and better in every way!”. You can convince yourself if you believe. Can you cure your disease? Probably not, but stranger things have happened. What will happen is that you will start out by forcibly holding your head up and talking yourself into believing and one day you will find that you do truly believe. For truly blessed are those who can believe. Proof is a wondrous thing but proof is often open to interpretation.
You are probably afraid you will have to give up work. That might happen. You are probably afraid you will end up in a wheelchair. That could happen. You are probably afraid . . . . well it doesn’t matter. You are the only one who knows what frightens you the most. It could happen. It might happen. These are possibilities only, not probabilities. Remember that. As for certainties . . . it is certain you will need to sleep, and to eat, and to . . . well, you get the picture. Why worry about things you have little control over and that may never happen. You know what makes you feel better and what makes you feel worse. You have some control, use it. Don’t spend the next fifty years moaning about ‘what if’s and ‘could have’s. You have a life now, enjoy it.
Face your fears. Easier said than done but I challenge you to take your fear out for a run. If you are afraid to speak to that special someone, then write yourself a little speech, memorize it and then stand in front of this person that frightens you and say the words. If you are afraid to stand up in public then find someplace where you can do just that, speak. There is nothing more liberating than conquering a fear. Be well. Be happy. Be fearless!
Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!
Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .