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This blog is another opportunity to feel grateful. Thank you, dear Universe, you continue to bless me with recovery and health.
A story that my father recently recalled to my memory involves a penguin and an eagle.
The penguin would watch the eagle soar overhead and wish that its flippers would allow it the same degree of flight. Meanwhile, the eagle used to see the penguin move effortlessly through the water. The eagle wondered if its wings would allow it that agility of movement.
If only they could understand and accept their realities and contexts! Our human lives are likewise. They are filled with many instances wherein we, however, compare ourselves to others. We hardly have any understanding of each other’s circumstances.
Each of us may have experienced several crises in our lives, about which others may have little or no clue, let alone understanding.
Speaking for myself, right when I might have expected to be in the proverbial pink of health. I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Isaacs’ Syndrome. Isaacs’ is a neuromuscular health condition that stems from muscle hyperactivity. My lift post-diagnosis underwent a drastic change. In the process, I also discovered that I had Lyme disease. Lyme is a bacterial illness that gets transmitted through ticks. I was also accompanied by Glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye-related disease that damages the optic nerves. And Membranous Glomerulonephritis is a progressive kidney disease.
As you might surmise, these diagnoses altered the course of my life irrevocably. Suddenly there was a lot to deal with. Dealing with chronic symptoms changed me in so many ways. They alter your thoughts.
Sitting on my bed, packets of pills stacked up nearby, every day now revolved around managing my chronic symptoms. Despite the support of my Neurologist, I struggled to see a way forward. Though my medicines helped me function to an extent, I am worried and running out of options in the long term. No option or solution keeps me stable for long.
It felt like I lost myself.
Being entirely human myself, I found myself thinking of my life up to that moment. I struggled to come to terms with my present. It seemed to belong to an entirely different existence compared to my past.
From having a passion for running to traveling to becoming bedridden for two years. I was forced to quit working. I was catching up more often with doctors than with friends, following a strict diet and medication regimen. I couldn’t even imagine my future any longer, let alone plan it. Any comparison with my peers’ lives and lifestyles was no longer meaningful and only resulted in frustration.
Even so, I had a tough time bringing myself to accept that my life had taken a huge diversion. I had gone into uncharted waters and would need to find my Ikigai all over again. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Ikigai refers to a sense of purpose that makes one’s life content. I wasn’t content merely with accepting my situation and was zealous about my recovery. Although these changes can be hard to accept, over time they become things one comes to terms with.
Over time I did learn acceptance as a way of acknowledging. However, accepting the things I used to do with ease and now difficult isn’t easy!!
I had to work through my body’s inabilities and overcome them to define and find success for myself. I found a champion for myself in the protagonist of the 2006 film, The Pursuit of Happyness. Christopher goes from being on the verge of poverty and homelessness to becoming a millionaire. He inspires others with his transformation. In the film, one conversation suffices to lock in the trajectory of Gardner’s life. Whereas my life would be shaped by the many interactions and disagreements within my own body.
My journey became about understanding my limitations. It was all about rediscovering myself without giving in to despair and defeat. Simultaneously, finding the fortitude to unravel the layers of mystery surrounding my conditions without fear of what I might discover.
I had to reconfigure the programming of my life, and I had to tune out a lot of the chatter inside my head to do so. I wasn’t undertaking some overlong joyride but was doing something purposeful. Again, and again, I had to make room for newer perceptions.
Further accept things the way they were, without losing the zest to recover.
Along the way, I learned to deal better with the uncertainties thrown up by life. I am grateful and appreciate the resulting changes in my attitude. I took what life gave me with the same zeal. I had for recovery, and through this art of acceptance found what can only be called inner peace.
The following introspection helped:
- What is my relationship with the present circumstance?
- What are steps I could take to center myself in these tough situations?
- What are some of the portions of life, I need to accept?
- What are certain changes that might be possible, if I accept things as they are now?
The art of acceptance worked for me actively. It made me immune to the peer pressure exerted by society and other such bullets in the form of life scenarios that I had to dodge.
I may no longer have the same ambitions as I did in the past, nor are my targets the same. But I do hope that my years of darkness have made me wiser about myself and my life. I wish this wisdom may yet prove useful. As the idiom goes, only a golden vessel can contain the milk of a lioness. Likewise, I believe that God chooses special individuals to withstand crises in inspirational ways.
The art of acceptance is the first step to changing oneself. Accepting who we are, how we feel, and what we think about the current situation impacts recovery. It shows us our mirror and creates stability.
My experience has taught me that acceptance does not always signal defeat. It impacts our emotions positively. It is the pathway where a difference can arrive.
The views expressed above in this article are the author’s own and do not represent any kind of medical advice.