Our world is chaotic right now. I literally have to disengage from social media and periodically turn off the news just to rejuvenate my spirit and find some peace. It is difficult to remain positive in a pessimistic society. We are divided by politics and spiritual beliefs. We are surrounded by violence and hatred. These social ills are affecting our bodies, minds, and spirits.
We are worried about healthcare and how new laws may reduce our care and quality of life. I have always had a pre-existing illness, yet I am still a person. I am not just a statistic like the data reports. Neither are you. We have a life, a name, and we matter.
Many have lost so much already. Physically, financially, and spiritually, MS and chronic illness have depleted them. I often wonder how we can thrive in this current atmosphere, when many of us are just simply trying to survive. It can be disheartening.
The skepticism and the current climate are affecting me. I feel as though I am experiencing a lessened state of wellness, and it is time for me to take a step back. The notion of stepping back is what led me to write this week’s column.
At times, we have to retreat to a place of peace and quiet. The location may be different for everyone, but the goal is identical. The place of peace is where we go to disconnect from the noise for a while. That place where we think about what’s really important as we connect with and redirect our spirits. Here, we remember that regardless of what is going on around us, we have to withstand adversity and remain true to who we are. We are reminded of our purpose.
I was always told of the importance of my voice and the power of my reach. I was taught to speak up for myself and others, and to challenge injustice. Writing and advocacy are so important to me for those reasons. Writing from my personal experiences takes much thought, reflection, vulnerability and strength. My benevolent work has led me to define my purpose and it is allowing me to live my passion.
For me, this is the bigger picture. I realize that it is futile to participate in any situation that is not conducive to my peace and wellness. I cannot allow the noise to block the voice of my intuition and intention. My quiet place redirects me to this realization. I ingest bits and pieces of the serenity prayer, recharge, and try to do what I can to change the current condition.
As people with MS and chronic illness, we must maintain our state of mind. In times of doubt, dissension and turmoil, we are mandated to live our truth. It is easy to succumb to conflict. I have concluded that any attempt to compromise my inherent self is a tariff that is too expensive to pay. Years of doubt and insecurity have led me to an empowered, purposed, empathetic and unapologetic existence.
I know that life is worth fighting for. I recognize that my voice and my writing may encourage someone else. I am obedient to the fact that I have to live, give and share, regardless of what is occurring in the world. I am certain that words, followed by actions, effect change.
When I avow that I am an MS warrior and a heart survivor, I do so with pride, knowing all of the obstacles I had to withstand to arrive here.
MS and chronic illness teaches us that we must focus on today, nourish our minds, and fully embrace all that we are. The most valuable lesson learned from a peaceful state is that no one and nothing can stand in the way of our purpose.
My hope is that you face adversity with your head up, keep an open heart, retreat when you must, and live your best life. Times change. People and their opinions change. Character remains and purpose perseveres.
“Take time to be quiet.” ― Zig Ziglar
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