I have wanted to start this new blog for some time and things just kept happening that have had me put it off. I thought being in California with my sister, a writer, I might actually have time to spend writing with her…she on her many projects and me on me few. Finally, two days before I am to jet back to Georgia, here I am unveiling this blog.
As I have written in Shackled Spirit, my disability has taken me to the depths of despair and disappointment. My soul, my spirit, my faith was shattered and much of who I am and what I am has been rearranged. I have come to see my disability, my illness as a journey. A journey that needed to be undertaken so that I might emerge from it different, I would say “better” and that doesn’t seem right. Different will do. Different is a term I think I will be discussing a lot on this particular blog.
As I have started my daily spiritual practice again, I have found myself contemplating my living. I have great days. Days that are filled with productivity and writing, connecting with my sister and my Sarah, supporting my husband and my son and feeling like I am contributing to the world around me. On these days my pains and aches are real and I ignore them. They are less important to whatever is at hand. Oh, I am still unsteady on stairs. I am still worried about eating small meals all day and drinking more water than anybody I know. I even pass out still, sometimes to unconsciousness. I still worry about catching someone’s innocent cold that will give me pneumonia.
On those good days though, it matters so much less than on the bad days. I’ve had a bad day since I have been in California. I woke feeling off and it just continued until I got a migraine. I fell asleep sitting up in bed listening to my “night time music” while a thunder storm raged outside. Later my former training High Priest would ask if I called for his help during the time I was knocked unconscious by the migraine. I jokingly said, his help would explain how I ended up under the covers with my ear phones still in place. Even on this bad day, I knew how I had gotten there. Several days of ignoring my body, a time change and staying up late trying to soak up every moment of sisterly love available to me took a toll on a body used to easily finding rest and easily getting my attention.
That said, it is unfair to say I am terminally shackled. I am occasionally unshackled and undefined by being disabled. This is a hard concept to explain to those who aren’t experiencing a long term illness or who have never been disabled. The belief seems to be that if you are disabled you are languishing in pain and an inability to function. This isn’t true. Like everyone else, there are days when the shackles of disability seem to levitate from my wrists, the wind blows through my hair and my spirit is lifted from the pain chains.
It seemed unfair to continue to whine and moan and groan when in reality there are days that aren’t for whining or moaning. There are days that reveal the reasons for illness in my life. There are days that I live the entire day in joy and happiness surrounded by good friends or – this week – my sister and my extended family – or in Georgia by my son, husband and Alice, splendid days of warm sun and gentle breezes which strengthen my soul like no other drug could. Slipping down the slide of self pity simply lands me deeper entrenched in the very entanglements I am trying to avoid.
I firmly believe that these precious days of glorious self reliance, are predicated upon the days when I recognize, acknowledge and write about being weighed down by chains I cannot see and most others cannot relate to. I have come to believe that this condition is one that can be universal to any who suffer from disability or chronic illness.
To that end, I have set up this blog with a link to Shackled Spirit. Should you chance upon this blog and decided that today, today you are shackled or you are living with someone deeply entrenched in the twisted tangles only illness can create, click over to Unshackled Spirit. Read about what it is that has made for days that are gloriously free from the chains of disability. If you have stumbled upon this blog because you are feeling particularly industrious and looking for information on spirituality and disability, click over to Shackled Spirit. In your state of industriousness, read about what causes those bad days and how you might avoid them in the future.
This suggestion may seem counter intuitive; however, it is not. What better time to seek ways to stay unshackled than days when you already are? What better time to be inspired to become unshackled than the days your wrists are confined and your illness seems to be in control?
Disability and chronic illness is a journey that must start as all journey’s do, with a single step in the direction you wish to attain: wholeness. The journey itself will define what wholeness will come to mean to me – to you.