I am more than MS but some days, my disease is all I can see. Last week I had one of those days. If only I had a dollar for every time I stumbled and fell that day… Ugh.
I don’t often think of myself as disabled. In fact, like I mention in Stumble to Rise, I’m really good at dealing with daily challenges and now firmly believe that’s my superpower! Instead of making me DIS-abled, I’m the exact opposite. I’m highly ABLED! But sometimes, I doubt myself.
Completing the simplest task was challenging to say the least. I was frustrated and yes, I felt a little sorry for myself.
I considered giving in for the day, donning my favorite stretchy lounge pants and curling up in my recliner. We all have that chair, those pants. Ahhh–It was very tempting. But then I remembered the Epictetus quote at the bottom of my email signature. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Okay, I might have vegged and texted my sister for a few minutes. Getting some sympathy from her felt good. Once I cried at my own little pity party, I made a decision.
On one of his dynamic and informative YouTube videos, I recently heard Neurologist, Aaron Boster, state that if exercise was a pill, we MS warriors should take one every single day. I normally exercise five days a week but that day I wasn’t feeling up to it.
A theme of my book is that we all face obstacles. I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in that struggle. So our mission becomes all about making adjustments when our planned path is full of potholes. Hopping on the elliptical or lifting weights felt out of reach so I knew it was up to me to recalculate and find a new way.
Since I was finding myself on the floor several times anyway, I opted to stay there for a while. MS may have literally knocked me down but I went with it! It felt good to be on the floor with a purpose. I was moving, stretching and breathing guided by a wonderful online Yogi with a very soothing French accent. Since I couldn’t beat the floor, I decided to join it.
When I was done, I hit my red EASY button. In my book, I refer to how wonderful it feels after workouts to hit that button. Here’s an excerpt: “After each workout session, my legs usually feel like mush as I fall to the ground celebrating that I’m done. My greatest satisfaction is getting back on my feet and hitting my big red “Easy” button that announces in a deep voice, “That was easy.” I suppose that’s my way of thumbing my nose at MS and saying, “I am not lying down and letting you have your way with me! I’ll show you who’s boss!” I relish the satisfaction it gives me, and I end up feeling empowered and confident even on less than ideal days.”
Post-yoga, I felt great. Dr. Boster is right. Taking my exercise “pill” yesterday felt especially rewarding. I didn’t succumb to my disease when it tried to keep me down. No, MS didn’t hold me back after all.
Are you facing something that attempts to stop you in your tracks? It’s OK to have a short pity party. But since life sometimes attempts to knock us down, we must recalculate, adjust, and move forward with a smile.
Let’s navigate our winding, pothole-ridden lives together — stumbling, getting up, recalculating and smiling as we go.
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