I went to a dharma talk last Thursday with yoga guru Amrit Desai. I was intrigued because he is one of the living legends of the yoga world and I was curious to see him in person.
While he made several good points, I thought his best one was regarding reality. He basically said that we create our reality, therefore our reactions to situations and people are really just our own ego-responses created by our personal perceptions. This is not a new or novel idea but being reminded of this point of view was good for me. I was again reminded that I really create most of my own suffering. Of course knowing this is the case and doing something about it, are different things entirely (LOL).
Work is really cramping my style. Or is it? I guess the answer must just lie in my reality. I keep thinking, "My boss hates me." Or does he? I keep wondering, "How much longer can I do this? Can I afford to quit anytime in the next eon?" Then I close my eyes, breathe and think, "I am not my job. This is only part of my life." Sometimes after a dark night of the soul, so to speak, I feel great, sometimes almost stupidly happy... I use my yoga and meditation to bring me back from the dark places, the negativity, the unproductive thoughts. I have adopted my grandmother (and Scarlett O'Hara's) attitude, "Why think about it today? I'll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day." I am hoping this keeps working because I have yet to adjust my reality to believe that my boss does not hate me or that my job is the most negative force in my existence.
Anyway... I may spend 40 or so hours a week at work and another 3 or 4 commuting but I am determined not to let it ruin my life. I am determined to think about it as little as possible when I am not there. I try to stay present but it is my looming vacation that helps me keep my sanity.
How does any of this relate to "Living! with MS?" Well maybe it does and maybe it doesn't but I imagine that our mind creates many of the conditions for our illness. While we cannot prevent all things with an unpredicatble disease like MS, we can control our reactions and our "realities." My reality can be, "I have MS and that limits what I can do" or it can be, "I have MS, so what?" Maybe I will slow down, rest more, be more mindful, think through the things I committ to doing but otherwise, nothing changes. My reality can be, "I have a migraine, might as well cancel all my plans," or it can be, "I have a migraine, I need to chill, and then also consider food or a nap depending on the situation." So I can block off my whole night to be laid up in pain or I can work with the pain and see if I can help it pass by relaxing and taking care of myself for a few hours. We cannot fully control our MS but we can control our realities as we cope with it.
Today I am grateful for the chance to shape my own reality even when it is a challenge.