Posted by: sistermom1 | September 29, 2009

An answer to my question!

I have asked in past entries what “winning” would look like in my current situation.

After all, in the past two years my MS has progressed to the point that I am unable to walk, drive or even stand unassisted for any length of time.  I must use an electric scooter whenever I go out.  I have had to install a chair lift in my home to make this place that I have managed and lived in for 14 years more accessible.  I cannot work or earn money on my own.  I often cannot make it to the bathroom in time to keep from peeing on myself,  and my 10 year-old daughter often must accompany me to public bathrooms to insure that I can relieve myself comfortably.

My question: what will it look like for me to win in this situation?

I did not have to wait long before the universe sent me an answer to my question.  I stumbled upon it in a book of encouragement from my mentor in life, Daisaku Ikeda…

“Winning in life is not a matter of form or appearances. It has nothing to do with vanity. Victory in life hinges on whether one has truly fought, whether one has truly advanced.”

I was so encouraged.

Have I truly fought?  Am I truly advancing?   These are the questions that I now ask myself about how I am dealing with my health challenges.  There are days that I feel like I am moving forward – that my life condition is strong and that I am not suffering despite the challenges I face every day.  Many of my friends refer to this as “positive thinking”, but it is so much more than that. 

This process reflects more than a simple change in my attitude or perspective or viewing life through rose-colored glasses.  This has required a fundamental shift in the way I live every day.  In my Buddhist practice, this is referred to as “Human Revolution”. (From the sgi-usa website)  “Human revolution’ refers to the change that we bring about in the way we view life, society and the world. A fundamental change occurs in the way one has led his or her life up until that point. The ‘human revolution’ of an individual becomes apparent when he or she establishes an unwavering and absolute conviction in the eternity of life. Rather than focusing on short-term goals which apply only to one’s present lifetime, this conviction becomes the basis for the pursuit of loftier goals and greater good, in contrast to one’s previous satisfaction with the accomplishment of lesser goals and good.”

Although I do have a long pathway in front of me, I am confident that I have already made a lot of progress.  This illness has presented me with several opportunities to grow and to develop not only my patience and compassion(with myself and others), but also my humility and my definitions of personal and professional success.  Lots has changed for me – including my parenting style and the way I interact with my friends and extended family.  Much of this would never have occurred without my being forced to examine and change the way I move through the world.  The positive reinforcement that I have gotten from my husband and kids these past few weeks has been proof of my beginning to really change and become a more caring, thoughtful and encouraging parent and friend.  I would not have learned many of these lessons without the challenges that MS has presented for me – this I do know.

I look forward to learning more – about myself and everyone around me – and am even learning to appreciate the challenges that I face each day!

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