Capabilities and Choices

Where does she get that energy and find her motivation?  How do you DO that???
Excellent query.  There are hundreds of thousands, of motivational speakers, teachers, gurus, and inspirational figures in the world, and many talk about the power of positive thought.  Some have taken serious ridicule over the years, from the secular to the religious ones, and everything in between, and it’s understandable considering the variety of individuals out there to be heard.  Not everyone comes across as believable, because not everyone knows how to stay connected to other people in a realistic sense.  So what does it take to keep your feet on the ground while letting your mind soar in the clouds?  Humility perhaps.  Some undefinable strength of character that reminds us that we are no better than the next person.  Empathy for pain and struggle.  Compassion.

Without experiencing genuine pain, you will never truly appreciate what it takes to recover from it.  I wouldn’t wish what I have experienced on others, except to say that it might give them a depth of understanding about life that they will forever lack without it.  Without darkness there is no definition for light.  Not long ago I found myself in what I could only define as an existential crisis, and it took me months to find my way clear of it.  When I did, it was like the dawn breaking gloriously, and for the first time in many years.  All I can say is that I feel alive.  It is possible to plod through life without that sense.  I have done it.

In all that I do to teach others what I have learned, it is merely a process of sharing my own experiences.  Some things have been tried and discarded.  Other things have been tested and held up, and so I kept them.  It is an ongoing process that will be a foundation in my life as long as I continue to breathe, because it has so far kept me breathing.  I do not chase down the unwilling and try to tell them what they should eat, or do, or how to proceed on their own path.  When someone comes to me and expresses an interest, asks me questions, I then take it as an open door through which I have been invited.  If you want to know what I think, I will tell you.  It might not always be what you want to hear.  I am not wired with the same deceptive filters that a lot of other people possess, and I don’t believe in telling someone what they want to hear just to placate a delicate ego.  If I do that, you will eventually find out, and then what will I be?  A liar.  With my friendship comes honesty.  It’s not always gentle, but it does always have your best interest at heart.

It is highly probable that the path that I am on will annoy a lot of people.  My expression of discovery, and desire to adventure in spite of my illness may make some people wonder if I am genuine or not, and it may make them think that I am presenting an image that could cast them in a negative light.  I have considered the scenario carefully, from observing people over the last year.  This is a risk I am willing to take, with the knowledge that I have close friends that “get” me, and support me, and have seen me at my worst.  If it prods anyone’s conscience about where they are at personally, that is between them and whatever higher power they look to (or don’t).  I am not about to say that every Lupus patient can take the strides that I am taking.  AGAIN… we have individual capabilities.  Look to your own for what you need.

I keep saying “capabilities” for a reason.  As a chronically ill patient, you hear the concepts of disability, limitation, debilitation, restriction, and loss over and over.  You hear the word “can’t” all the time, along with “don’t”, and a barrage of other very negative words that wear on your emotional health worse than anything the disease could ever do to your body.  That takes the worst toll on a person, and drags their physical health right down with their mind and emotions into the dirt.  This is not a new concept, and I have not discovered anything previously undiscussed in the world.  I am however going to refer to an interesting conversation that I had with a friend a long time ago about meditation and mantras, and how it relates to bodily processes and health.  Within it there is a truth to be considered about the tone of your thoughts.  It’s about directing your energy for what is needed.

We know our vocal cords activate and create sound when we speak.  That is a physical process involving breath and vibration, and a whole lot of other complex muscular interactions in the mouth and throat.  Did you know that breath is not the only thing that activates them?  Thought manifests force within the body, and when your mind is active, those cords do vibrate and do so with the same patterns as they would when you produce audible speech.  Consider how tired you feel after a day of fret and internal conversation, even if you are not speaking to anyone out loud.  You may even find that your voice is tight and distressed after not much auditory use, and we chalk it up to “stress” without ever understanding what the process is that causes it.  That tension, and activity, is manifesting physically.  If you tend to talk to yourself out loud – as I do at times – you are then putting out audible words that your ears hear.  If the sentiments being expressed are not of an upward and motivating nature, you are feeding your own brain auditory poisons in the form of demotivational messages.  This is why there are motivationalists that tell us to speak positive messages out loud to ourselves.  That’s physics, not hocus pocus.  It is the nature of the human body, brain, and the psyche that resides within it.  You can choose to feed it health, or feed it poison.

Have you ever wondered why “aum”?  This is just a little tidbit I learned about that mantra.  When breath is allowed to gently flow out and create this vibration, this sound, it stops the chatter from thought.  Firstly, you are clearing your mind of conversation, and secondly you are directing those cords to a specific, consistent, and simple pattern.  With that release of breath, you are also (if done correctly) releasing tension from all of your muscles and letting go of the stress that most of us carry around in a physical form.  It serves a genuine purpose that contributes to physical healing, as well as allowing your mental processes to settle and balance.  It’s still science.  😉  I say that for the more skeptical readers.

Thought manifests physical action.  If that is true for the vocal cords, and for the various muscles in our bodies, then it stands to reason that it is true for our level of function in general.  You don’t even have to have a specific “religious” or spiritual belief system to follow this concept.  The people that do best in rehabilitation from injuries and illness are the ones that have fixed their minds on a goal, and have latched on to a purpose ferociously.  They have a desire that they wish to see manifested.  Without that, you are aimless and easy to discourage.  At some point I had to find that myself, or I would not be walking today.  The people that I have known and observed that have made the most astounding recoveries are the ones that have loftier than usual goals.  It isn’t just “I want out of this wheelchair” or bed, or off the floor.  It is I want up BECAUSE I want to go THERE.  In my case I was staring out at the sky and the mountains and I had to flip a switch from being angry that I couldn’t go there, to being angry at being told that it was no longer possible.  I had to decide that it was my choice where to draw the limit line, and moreover that I didn’t even want one anymore.

To refer back to the artist on Catalina Island that my mother visits with when she is there.. “What’s stopping you?” should be the one all-encompassing question you ask when you hit a perceived limitation.  Are you willing to adapt and find another way to reach that goal?  How badly do you want it?  I wanted off of the floor bad enough to fight through detoxing myself from pain medication, and put myself through physical therapy (more than once), and keep struggling to find ways to be on my feet again.  As slow and seemingly pointless as the exercises felt, I kept doing them.  I also eventually tackled my unconcerned physicians with new ideas and demanded tests for answers.  I had to be my own advocate, and that is an enormous job when you are in mind-paralyzing agony.  If you are not willing to fight for yourself, no one else can do it for you.  We can cheer you on, hold your hand, encourage and commiserate, but at the end of the day, it’s all you baby.  Make a decision.

What could you accomplish with the intent to visualize a goal?  We are taught to suppress imagination, because we are often told that things are not possible.  It is an easy poison to swallow, and I assure you it is deadly.  My present motivation, energy, and fire is coming from that visualization.  I see myself back on the trails.  I see myself one day on the top of Half Dome.  I can feel the tears of joy waiting in my eyes that I know it will create when I get there, because for me it is already very real.  There is a lot of ground to cover between now and then, and every step of it is just a part of that process.  I am already on that trail.  Start to see yourself where you want to be.  Let it become real for you.  Instead of opposition and struggling with difficulty, and fighting with limitations, fight FOR something.  In that there is power.


(Monk meditation chant – you might find it relaxing if you’re into it.)


One thought on “Capabilities and Choices

  1. Your so right about “visualizing” what you want-can you see yourself doing it? It starts a force towards a goal. We’ve all done it-we all do it everyday with small things-so why not with big stuff like a career or an important personal goal?

    When I was dx’d with SLE in March 2010 I had no idea what lupus was. I was covered in hives and bleeding rashes, sores, had malaise, low grade fevers, felt “not well”. Found to be anemic and with stage 3b CKD I asked the rheumatologist what to expect with thing called “LUPUS”. He said one thing. His hope for me is that my kidneys bounce back and I have no further serious organ damage from it.

    I realized that there were no limitations-noone said I can’t do this or that anymore. No doctor never told me my diabetes would stop me from doing anything, or my neuropathies, or any other conditions I’ve been treated for. I can’t eat sugar, have to watch carbs and salt, take 27 pills a day for conditions, test my glucose at least once a day, and stay out of the sun. I’ve opted for procedures like radiofrequency ablations, cortisone shots, surgeries, have had PT, wear orthotics, special shoes, titanium umbrellas and UV protective clothing, manage my pain with medication that gives me quality of life. It’s all do-able. No different than someone I work when I can which is a fraction of what I used to do. I still cook and care for my family, and they take care of me when I’m sick. No different than anyone else.

    Your not a victim if you don’t see yourself as a victim. There’s that “visualization” you were talking about again, lol. While I have a long way to go-I’m still here, still wake up with desires, joys and things to do. I’m still ME. No lupus, no diabetes, no plantar fasciitis, trigeminal neuralgia, hypertension, etc has changed what I care about and what I do. It’s there-and we all live together in this body and for the most part get along pretty darn well.

    So glad to know you and get to hang out on your journey- “Make it SO T”, “Make it SO”. 🙂 JJ

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