Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The hardest question


Photo courtesy of thehoneybunny

Last night I found my wife's chocolate stash and decided to help myself to a piece. I knew it wasn't good for me, but after thinking about it for a moment I took a piece anyway. As if to prove a point, I got an instant headache.

What struck me was the thought process: I know this is bad for me and I'm going to do it anyway. I've written before about the urge to self-destruction, but this was a totally different energy. I wasn't doing something unconsciously or without realizing it was bad for me, I was choosing it intentionally. Why would I do that?

It led me to the hardest question: do I want to be sick? Is there some benefit to myself that makes me choose to be sick?

My daughter looked up at me the other day (when she was home sick from Kindergarten) and said: "Being sick is fun, I get to stay home with mommy and daddy, draw all day, and play on the computer." I stared at her for a moment before I said anything. I started looking back at my life and remembering the many times when I had the same reaction. Now I have to start looking at my life now and seeing if I am having that same reaction.

And then I have to ask myself the hardest question of all: do I enjoy being sick? And if the answer is "yes" than I know what my next stage of spiritual growth has to be.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Surrender and Progress


Picture by Aaron Askanase

I was recently contacted by someone who was newly diagnosed with MS. Her main question to me was if her anger at the diagnosis would pass. I reassured her that it would, but let her know that we all have to find our own peace with the condition.

It got me thinking in two directions. The first is that I firmly believe that anger is best dealt with by dealing with fear. Fear causes the fight or flight reaction and the extra energy easily turns into anger. A new diagnosis is very scary. It puts the future into very uncertain terms, some of which can be very debilitating. My advice as a healer is always to look at what scares someone about the potential futures and spend time with the fear.

My second reaction was realizing that I'm not sure that I went through a long period of anger about the diagnosis. I was 26 when I got diagnosed and really had no understanding of MS at all. I didn't even know I should be scared of it, so I just rolled with it. I had no idea how it might effect my life, so wasn't sure how to react to it. There are times that I get angry about it, but they pass relatively quickly.

I was talking to my wife about this, and she was remembering her anger at blowing out her knees while training for a marathon years ago. She was so angry that she was not going to be able to run the marathon, and angry that she couldn't really walk for about three months.  My wife is a very goal oriented person with a high drive to succeed. I'm not. When the MS limits me, I just find something else to do. When she gets stymied, the energy just builds up until she finds another way to succeed or she gets really angry.

For me, having MS meant that because of the heat, I couldn't go to the rain forest in Peru on my honeymoon (something I'd always wanted to do). I thought it would have been amazing to go, but we just found other places to go, no big deal. For a very goal oriented person, I would think that would have been very frustrating.

It's hard for me to determine when I started to be this way, but my life is a careful balance of surrender and progress. I work very hard on myself to heal and to be a good healer, but when things change for me then I surrender to the change and adjust. I have an innate faith in God, but I don't know if that is a result of the MS or if it was just accentuated by it. I learned very early on that there were things in this world that were more powerful than I was, and that I just needed to surrender to those things. The difficulty is knowing which things should be struggled against, and which things should be accepted.

I think it's like a stream coming towards me. If I fight it, it builds up and overwhelms me (and even a small stream can do this if allowed to). If I completely surrender, then I get washed away. But if I accept the force coming towards me and change with it's influence, then I can stand in the stream and maintain myself.

I think the anger about MS is that resistance to the change. MS is so much bigger than we are, but we have so much influence over how it effects us and how we react to it. Dealing with the anger is a question of learning to live with those changes, and learning to be at peace with the uncertainty MS brings.

I'd like to hear from you about how you've dealt with your anger, and what you've found most effective.