Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking Back, Moving Forward

"Sometimes all you have to do is live long enough for things to get better."

This was the advice a colleague told me during a moment when I reached a low point in my life from which I felt emotionally devastated.  There were many people lending an ear to help me release the pressure that reduced me to an empty vessel.  But those words cut through my grief like a hot knife through butter.

He was so right.  In time I did bounce back from that difficult time and life went on as it should.  Days blurred into weeks and life took on familiar routines.  Without giving it much thought I tucked this useful "reframe" away in case I needed it again.

During the days and weeks  following my diagnosis and the devastation that was left in its wake I would tell myself to just live in this moment.  I would use skills that I taught others; familiar but a bit like trying on an outfit from a second hand store just like one you've previously owned.  The fabric feels familiar but it has taken a slightly different shape and you have to determine if you can "make it yours".

Reaching into my memory for those things that might help as I was dealing with changes that crossed physical, mental and emotional spectrum's I found I had much to draw upon.  "There is enough pain in life to live in the past or the future.  Just deal what is immediately before you."  These were things I had told my clients countless times and I was now telling myself to ease my heavy burden.  The bravery that my clients' faced their challenges was often reflected upon to buoy myself if my reserves were getting low.  The clients I worked with in an outpatient mental health program were 'ultimate warriors' who were living with severe chronic mental illness.

Living mindfully offered me freedom.  I found that when I focused my mind by observing my present environment it was a powerfully grounding experience.  I would allow my mind to drift off if other thoughts entered my mind, but always skillfully bring it back to the present moment and the task of being in observance of my surroundings.  When I finished  I always felt a little more able to deal with what was before me.  The exercise would take no more than a minute, and I could do it as often as I needed to renew my sense of strength, resilience and reserve to move forward.

As I reflect back now, I realize this was one of those times when "just living long enough" made something that seemed unbearable like living with a diagnosis of  MS better or at the least, bearable.

No matter how bad things are at any one moment, no moment lasts. good or bad, time moves on because it has to. And so do you.  Author Unknown


Nicole said...

Its a nice mantra.

Have Myelin? said...

I hope it's true. I sure need for it to be true.

Kim said...

Thanks Nicole, it has truely helped me a great deal.

Sherry I am sorry to hear you need such a mantra. I hope easier times find you soon.

leela said...

As you know, I'm a "mindfulness person" too. This is one of my favorite short poems on the subject:

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If useless things do not hang in your mind, any season is a good season for you.(Hui-k'ai)

Anonymous said...

hi to all kim-ontheway.blogspot.comers this is my frst post and thought i would say a big hello to yous -
thank yous speak soon
g moore

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou