Sunday, February 5, 2012

Secrets Revealed

         I was on the blog site yesterday and I noticed an interesting trend; in 2009 I posted 128 blogs, in 2010 there were 75, and in 2011 only 24. This has prompted me to share something with you all. My friends and family are already aware of the situation…. now it is time to come out to the rest of the world. I have a neuro-muscular disorder which has left me functionally blind. It is called Benign Essential Blepharospasm… it began in 2005 and has been getting progressively worse over time. As the difficulty seeing / writing gradually increased… you will notice the blogs were reducing in their frequency and improving in content over the past few years.  It is not that I have become less opinionated, but takes me about 4 hrs to write a 500 word blog (used to only take an hour) so if I’m going to put in that kind of time I should actually say something meaningful.
         So, what is the something meaningful I want to share with you today? I guess it is just that “shit happens” it happens to everyone; BEB just happens to be my shit. Suffering (or Challenges) are a very necessary part of being human. These experiences are the source of our spiritual growth.  These are the experiences which grow our capacity for empathy and compassion and make us better people.
         Although suffering is an immutable reality of the human condition … we should never bring it on ourselves or hold onto it longer than absolutely necessary. What do I mean by that?  If you stay with an abusive partner, you are creating your own suffering. If you are taking responsibility or guilt for the actions of your adult children, you are creating your own suffering.  Basically wallowing in negative emotions about things over which you have ZERO control is creating your own suffering. It is no different than doing physical activities that you know will cause pain and damage to your body. It is like that prayer says Accept the things you cannot change…Change the things you can…. and have the wisdom to Know the Difference. To begin with the obvious, you can’t control other people, you can only control how you respond to, or interact with them. You can’t usually control getting sick but you can react quickly to get appropriate treatment. You can’t control the other drivers on the road, but you can control whether or not you go through the windshield if you get into a crash. 
          Using my own situation as an example of Shit Happening, (as my granny would say). Upon getting my diagnosis I proceeded by finding all the available information to determine what is and is not within my control. Blepharospasm is incurable and will become progressively worse over time; I can’t do much about that. BEB is a rare disorder affecting 1/20,000 people, this means no one is actually working on a cure; if a cure is found it will likely be an incidental result of someone researching Parkinson’s.  What can I do? The short answer is ADAPT. There are treatments which reduce the effects of BEB and I am already waiting on a call from the specialist to get those started. CNIB has hooked me up with a white cane which has made venturing outside much safer. There are tools which will make life easier and if I can afford to at some point, I will add some of them into my world. These include special extra dark glasses that run sixty bucks a pair and some Dragon Naturally Speaking software which is a couple of hundred dollars; it doesn’t seem like much unless you don’t have it, so that step will have to wait for now. Till then I intend keep painting, writing and doing pottery as much as I can… maybe someday I’ll have to give these things up but that isn’t today.  
          “ADAPT”, is the key to surviving any crisis. We must take the lessons life hands us, learn from them and always keep moving forward. It is only in the uphill climb that our muscles grow stronger. Always be grateful for what is working and good in your life…you don’t have to look too far to find someone who is worse off then you (again thank my granny for that pearl of wisdom).
Have a joyous day my friends.