Posted by: sistermom1 | February 1, 2013

Negotiating My Changing Roles

I recently joined a few sisterfriends for drinks — something that I used to do regularly before MS became a constant companion. I had a great time –a lot of fun reconnecting with these wonderful women. I am blessed to have them in my life. It had been way too long since I had been able to join them. It was a really different experience for me this time. I had to schedule a ride there via Metro Access rather than riding with a friend. I could not be as flexible/unscripted as I had been in the past as Metro Access requires a specific pick-up time. I had to leave early. It was a larger group and I have difficulty hearing in large excited groups. Because I am still getting comfortable navigating with ramps and wheelchairs, I don’t often join these friends for drinks/entertainment at each others homes, so I missed much of the inside jokes and past references.

Now, none of this is their fault or even something that they should even worry about. To be honest, I am learning to navigate the changing role that my current health challenges are requiring of me. I am learning to be ok with my need to be different in my roles as a friend, mother, wife, daughter, parent, sibling. Giving myself permission to perform these roles differently — in a way that honors the present moment — is my current challenge.

One of my favorite writers, Eckhart Tolle has written about roles.
“When you don’t play roles, it means there is no self (ego) in what you do. There is no secondary agenda, protection or strengthening of your self. As a result, your actions have far greater power. You are totally focused on the situation. You become one with it. You don’t try to be anybody in particular. You are most powerful, most effective, when you are completely yourself… Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or role, but as a field of conscious Presence.”
The pathway has diverged — the paths that once felt in synch and parallel are no longer parallel — but were they ever? Yes, they were always unique. Reminds me of a poem that I learned in grade school by Robert Louis Stevenson…

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This poem has a very different meaning to me these days, as my current pathway is much different than I ever expected. I am finding myself on the road less travelled, which has absolutely made all the difference!



  1. Someone I admire just mentioned to me that I don’t post about things such as your outing with friends much or ever maybe. I guess I’ve dropped out of that seen.

  2. Nicole, I have found that in the past, much of what I blogged about had condensed to a very small range. I blamed that on my physical challenges — being wheelchair-bound had really limited my life, mostly because I allowed it to do that. Now that I have commited to deepening and broadening my life regardless of where and how I sit, (along with my Buddhist practice, the book You Are Not Your Illness had much to do with that realization) much has opened up to me — including riding to girls’ night out on Metro Access, and ordering a portable ramp so I can get to some other people’s houses (where I can fit in the bathroom or wear a diaper and plan for a short stay!) Good luck to you Nicole — we do need to see you out and about (and I do hope that you enjoyed the Super Bowl — but please remember to pace yourself!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: