Posted by: sistermom1 | January 16, 2012

Getting started

This weekend I attended a meeting that was both inspiring and very encouraging. Not only were the speakers great, but many of the women I encountered before the meeting started were happy, positive and joyful.  I have not spoken to many of them since I began using a wheelchair. It is always a learning opportunity for me when I see people I knew before MS became a major part of my life, and this day was no exception.

“A” knew about my health challenge and tried to encourage me and make sure that I was moving forward in my life.  She spoke with deep emotion about seeing me in a wheelchair and how hard it was for her to see me like that after knowing me for such a long time. She shared strict encouragement about wanting to see me get out of the chair, and about me being able to fulfill my mission in my life. She was not solely focused on my walking per se, it was more about me being able to challenge my life and fulfill my mission as a totally enlightened person.   Did I truly believe that through my buddhist practice I can overcome anything — including MS?  Could I change this karma?   She truly believes that I can, but did I believe it?  This from a woman who has had a major health experience of her own. She overcame serious eye cancer using the wisdom brought to her through a strict and dynamic buddhist practice — I should be able to overcome MS the same way. She reminded me that I am a buddha beneath it all – at the core of my life.

I thought about it a lot, and her words meant a great deal to me.  I did feel inspired, and I also felt drained and listless when she left my presence.  I struggled to maintain my composure and my attitude.  Despite the deep meaning of her words, our encounter left me feeling weak and discouraged.

Happily, the meeting was great — inspiring and encouraging.  Out of over 100 attendees, I was able to ask a question and in the answer was reminded about the significance of my behavior as a human being.

At the same meeting, I encountered another friend who I have known for over 20 years.   “P” spoke warmly and gently with me about what she saw in my eyes and the positive and powerful energy she felt from my life — more than she saw the last time we were together several months ago.  (This was encouraging to her and to me.)  She was warm and encouraging and never seemed to be distracted by my wheelchair — it did not affect our dialogue. I left her feeling appreciated, and inspired to keep fighting.  A very different exchange from my earlier one with “A”.

This morning I watched Jill Bolte Taylor, the author of My Stroke of Insight.  Even after having a hemorraghic stroke affecting the entire left hemisphere of her brain leaving her without speech and without any memories of her prior life, she had the realization that she was perfect and whole just the way she was.  Her stroke and recuperation forced her to disconnect from her ego and re-start her life, irrespective of what other people had to say.  She learned so much from the experience, and her recovery, which took several years.  She spoke about the significance of our thoughts and how what you choose to think about determines much about your life.  Between the mental self-talk and the energy that people bring to us, it is important that we focus on the exchanges that nurture us and bring us good energy –not on the things that drain us and leave us weakened.

This was amazing timing — and as a result, I am choosing to focus on the exchange I had with “P”.  Dr. Bolte Taylor shared her belief that there are basically two kinds of people in the world — those who bring you energy and those who take it from you.  Hearing that helped me put the encounters from the day before into perspective, and keep moving forward. 

A question I am left with is “What if my mission — at least at this time — is to be inspiring and encouraging from a wheelchair?”  Of course, one of my goals is to walk again, along with that I now have the goal to be a whole, positive and inspiring person — regardless of my basic mode of transportation.  I am excited by this and am now moving into 2012 with a new energy and prayer.  Thank you “A” and “P” for these meaningful encounters!!!!

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