4-2-14 Guest Blog by Kartar K:
Receiving life’s lessons can sometimes be joyous, and sometimes difficult.
Being recently diagnosed with ‘Arthritis of the Spine’ is a difficult experience, but here’s the thing-
even though I would really prefer to NOT have this condition, somehow I feel calm and confident (at least in this moment) that I am up to the challenge.
I put that down to an almost daily Kundalini Yoga practice, and meditation.
To wonderful, supportive friends. To my wonderful supportive 93-year old father.
And to my own inner resources and resilience, built up over 60 years of a challenging life.
My first lesson came quickly: Be careful who I share my diagnosis with.
One friend that I told (who is a very loving person – she didn’t intend anything bad)-
responded by telling me stories about her aunt who had arthritis and who was in terrible pain her whole life, her uncle who wound up in a wheel chair.
lol- definitely I do not need to hear that. So I called back everyone that I had told my diagnosis and said: ‘Please do not share my diagnosis with anyone. I will decide what I want to tell people.”
I think I’m going to tell people I have inflammation. Period. End of conversation.
When I say “arthritis of the spine” it sounds so major, and scary (including to me) and I hear people gasp…and that certainly doesn’t help me cope.
I need to concentrate on and enhance my relationships with positive people and seek out new friends who are. And by ‘positive’ I don’t mean the meaningless drivel of “everything that happens, happens for the best”. I mean people who say, ‘well, this is a new challenge’, or ‘here is a website about people who have healed from arthritis’, or ‘here is a diet which may be helpful’, or, ‘I support you in healing yourself completely’.
Second lesson: serious illness is very focusing.
Being focused on one thing can be liberating, even if that one thing is not something you would have chosen. I have a long list (like most of us) of important things that I can’t seem to get to – get a dental exam, fix the damage to my car, fix the TV, what to do about Windows XP?…etc etc. Since this diagnosis, I am totally focused on my health. Everything else falls way down on the list.
Finally, I am learning what we all must learn – I cannot always do what I want to do.
My world has become smaller overnight. I can’t go to New York because too much walking is involved. I can’t go to the class I was auditing at university because it is too far to walk from the parking place to the building. And I am a person who deliberately parks far away so I can get a walk in!
I can go to the park and sit in the sun and do sudoko with my friends, but I cannot walk, as we always do. I am exhausted; any small amount of moving about exhausts me.
I hope this is a temporary condition. I mean to do all in my power to make it a temporary condition. But I also know that not everything is in my control. Things happen. A friend was recently in a terrible auto accident, he is a long recovery, and I don’t know if he will ever be as he was before. So my lesson is – I am more in the present. I enjoy whatever movement I can make. Especially I enjoy the Spring which has finally arrived. (I am determined that my gardening will continue). And I am grateful for people like Guruatma and I am grateful for all of us, who are just doing the best we can.. day by day…
Thank you for sharing your experience and 3 lessons, Kartar. I join you in projecting for this challenge to be a temporary condition and I SEE YOU gardening and enjoying the Spring. “I feel better. I am better. And that is my base”
Perhaps you can acquire one of those little motorized chairs to help you around, so that you are able to go to your class, etc. I wonder if Medicaid and Medicare provide this type of assistive vehicle.
Your wisdom on how serious illness is very focusing runs parallel of one of my fav quotes:
“Just understand, everybody freaks out when they are rich and happy. Nobody freaks out when they are struggling, because struggling itself is a very unifying factor.” Yogi Bhajan
You also hit upon one of the Bullets in our Six Stages of Healing from the Inside Out Program:
All the people in my life evaluate and understand the circumstances I am challenged by from their own point of view.
It can become very challenging for the people around you to adjust and adapt to what is happening to you and what is happening to them because of your condition. The challenge is how to handle the doubts, questions and reactions of your family, friends, and sometimes even your doctors. There is a way to separate your experience from their experience, to respect what is inside you, while realizing that there is a limit to what those you come in contact with can understand.
Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here: http://yogic-tools.com/services/contact-us/.