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Saturday, August 16, 2008

I can see clearly now

Yesterday was my first "official" day back to work. In the morning I went to my school district's welcome back rally. In the afternoon we had a staff lunch but I played hookey and went to sub for a vinyasa yoga class instead. I had to leave the rally a little early but right before I left, a speaker had just started to talk. She asked how many "year four teachers" were in the room and had them raise their hands. I am year five so I kept my hand down but then she asked about the significance of year four. The audience noticed it is the year that one becomes a "permanent" teacher in a district. I am actually going into my fourth year for this district so I too am now a permanent teacher. This could not have come at a better time.

The speaker mentioned that the year she became a permanent teacher that the song "I can see clearly now" came out. She said it really resonated for her at the time. At that point I had to leave the rally but I noticed that as I stepped out into the drizzle outside that I was singing that song.
"I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all the obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me down
It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright sunshiney day."

Even in the rain, I suddenly believed it. In the last two weeks I have overcome old, destructive habits twice. First, I drew my boundaries and resigned from my school's instructional leadership team. I did this to protect my health and sanity. I barely even thought twice about giving up this position of relative prestige in favor of afternoon naps and yoga classes. This was an enormous step for me. I am not even worried about explaining myself to colleagues.

Taking yesterday off to teach yoga was also a huge step. I tried to call in for the afternoon so that I did it by the book but the phone system wouldn't let me so I decided to work the time a day early. I worked the hours Thursday afternoon instead and then without guilt, I took Friday afternoon to teach yoga and relax. It felt awesome to put my needs over a phantom obligation with little meaning. For those who know me best, these were huge steps toward doing the things that were best for me.

I got some amazingly thoughtful comments on my last post. When I wrote it, this new clarity was emerging. Yesterday Blindbeard was writing about what she would do without fear and I found myself goading her on to just do as she wished. I think I am moving in that direction myself. I find that I am beginning to accept my disease and as I do so, I find that I am also accepting myself. For months I have been beating myself up. I have kept asking what I did to cause my disease and wondering why it ever hit me. Now I am beginning to accept the cliche "It is what it is."

Off and on throughout the summer I have been reading "Anatomy of the Spirit" by Carolyn Myss. At times she does make it sound like we cause our disease but at others she is far more pragmatic. She notes, "People rarely choose consciously to create an illness. Rather, illnesses develop as a consequence of behavioral patterns that we do not realize are biologically toxic until they have become so." She also states, "It sometimes takes a concentrated effort to shift your mind to allow yourself to heal." I can accept both of these claims.

I already know what behavior patterns contribute to my illness the most without being told by someone else. It is my type A behavior that gets me in trouble. It is taking on too much and never saying "no." It is also not taking time out for the things I enjoy or the relaxation that I need. I believe that it does take a "concentrated effort to shift the mind" but in this respect I was lucky to get diagnosed with MS quickly. Once I knew I had the disease, I was truly motivated to make the necessary lifestyle changes to keep my health and sanity. I feel that I am entering a time of greater balance than I have ever previously know. Only time will tell if I can maintain this course but at the moment, "I can see all the obstacles in my way" and I am ready to confront them.

11 comments:

pat said...

About eight years ago, I became an anosmiac(meaning complete loss or absense of smell)I can't begin to tell you what a loss it was.(no smell, no taste)Most people including myself had never heard of it, AND it was an invisible ailment, so of course wasn't recognized as "real".Over the course of three years I was told to"learn to live with it", and make my adjustments. I turned out to be one of the lucky few who regained my smell.(I was a viral case)So though I can't fully absorb your MS with intimacy,I have some knowledge of what your diagnosis must be like.Your blogs (and others I visit) are a remarkable response to all that befalls us.Your challenges seem to make you a warrior of sorts, rather than a victim.

Denver Refashionista said...

Warrior eh? I like that :)

pat said...

yes, warrior in the best sense of the word.A conquerer so to speak regarding certain fears I'm sure you have.I find your words are filled with a strength that glistens in it's efforts to find purpose. I almost feel like an intruder into the world you guys have, but something about your blog touched me. Hope you don't mind.I mentioned before I have a relative who blogs within your community, and quite by a stroke arrived at your blog. I also am a life student wandering about to learn (and I guess teach if I am able)I find the human condition a fascinating and eternal lesson.

Blinders Off said...

Nadja,

Learning how to say "NO" and not feeling GUILTY for saying NO helped me see clearly living with MS.

Jen said...

Hi Nadja---

I commend you on your ability to teach others. I substitute taught a couple of times, and I had to keep myself from just walking out of the classroom and getting into my car and zooooooming away! So having MS and teaching kids is a major achievement. That in itself is something to be proud of....

Jen

Denver Refashionista said...

Pat, I'm glad you are looking into my world. Although I have MS, it is a very small piece of who I am. I write more about my own quest for actualization and transformation than I do anything else. MS has been a powerful catalyst for change.

Denver Refashionista said...

Jen, I love teaching. That is actually a huge motivator for this blog. As I find my way down the pathes of life, growth and MS I love to share what I am going through in a candid, honest manner that I hope will also inspire and help others. Part of my "true self" that I have unearthed is the natural teacher inside of me.

pat said...

So I see!

Diane J Standiford said...

Congratulations! And I too love that song. Control your life. Go girl!

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks ladies

Bubbie said...

Great Post. Getting yourself as a priority and learning to say NO is a big step. MS taught me how to say NO.