Posted by: sistermom1 | October 9, 2010

On the Power of Reading

I have had the opportunity to do a lot more reading over the past few months.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, there are very few self-help books on the market that I have not read.  In the past, I have heard people disparage those who read these books regularly, as people who tend to look outside of themselves for answers to whatever challenges they are facing.  I disagree with this description.

I have learned through my Buddhist practice that all of the answers to the challenges that I face (physical, spiritual, and otherwise) reside inside of me.  It is up to me to unlock the treasure chest that is within my own life and access the power that is within.  Sometimes that comes through prayer, sometimes through conversation with my family or one of my sisterfriends, other times it comes through something I have seen or read. 

My diagnosis of MS, as much of a nightmare as it has been for me, has also become a pathway to my own deep, meaningful growth.  This growth is called many different things, including “a shift” (see my earlier blog entry), “human revolution” (www.sgi-usa.org),  or “a crucial moment”.  I am sure you can think of many other names.  What we call it is not as important as recognizing the importance of the lessons that we are in the midst of learning, and putting them into practice in our own lives immediately.

I am learning a lot these days.  The lessons that occur to me lately have been:

1. Because I am now home during the day, I am able to pay closer attention to my kids’ needs and their school experiences.   I remember how special it was for me to have my own mother greet me when I got home from school when I was growing up.  In the past few years, my work demands kept me out late and I often was unaware of their specific assignments/class parties/homework and their study needs (after all, homework is different than study!)

2. I am now able to host different SGI activities during the day, and to chant more every day due to my schedule flexibility.  This has made my buddhist practice a lot more serious, and I have been able to connect with more of the SGI members who happen to have non-traditional schedules, which has been a great opportunity for me to learn and grow.

3. The reading that I have been able to do has shown me more about how to create value through the difficulties that I am facing.  I am determined to keep focusing on creating something precious and valuable through the journey that I am experiencing.

4. Many of my relationships have deepened as a result of this experience.  I have written before about how some of my friends have reacted to my being diagnosed with MS.  So much of my daily life has been affected by my own reaction to my diagnosis.  It has been challenging to wrap my brain around how dramatically my life has changed, so I did not expect it to be easy for the people I consider to be my friends to do it.  Surprisingly, several people who I considered to be in an outer circle of friendship very quickly lept into my inner circle and currently reside there quite comfortably.  I appreciate them greatly, and feel a deep sense of gratitude for and to every one of them. 

On the other hand, several friends were overwhelmed by my diagnosis and have never seemed comfortable with the new style that I have been forced to develop.  There is a new “me” that is evolving through all of this.  I no longer waste time with fake behavior anymore.  I share exactly what I feel (with love and respect, but with more honesty than I used to).  I no longer do things just because someone thinks I should do them, or just to have “face time” with a person perceived as important by the masses, or just because I “should”.  I am trying harder to live true to myself – not in an egocentric way, but more according to my inner self — something I did not think much about before my diagnosis.

I continue to fight to see the positive and value-creative sides of this journey.  Writing this blog is one way for me to process this experience.  I appreciate you joining me on this journey, and do not take your attention for granted!

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