1. Stop being in control: “... you need to let go of several beliefs, and the myth of control is the first one to go.” If you are anything like me, having confidence in your abilities was important. I was good at many things and trusted that I could learn what I did not know. As my disease progressed, however, the confidence in my body’s ability to hold me upright or perform certain normal tasks eroded. Too often my body has let me down. Since there is little I can do about it and because it is going to get worse, letting go (stop trying to be in control) becomes an important part of the acceptance process.
2. Spend more time in nature: “Open up your eyes to this world right now and stop spending so much time behind the screen of your computer or your smart phone.” This always works for me. I spend about two hours every day outdoors. Nature never seems boring. There is always something happening with birds, animals, insects as well as the flora. By just sitting, listening and watching another world unfold right in front of me helps to take my mind off most of the negativity associated with Kennedy’s Disease.
Miracles exist. They happen every day in our world. Just being an observer makes me a participant in these miracles. Just being an observer causes my mind to refocus itself on the beauty and magnificence of the world I live in.
3. Keep asking yourself, “What is the meaning of all this?”: The “why me” and “this can’t be happening to me” questions have to end at some point. By asking “what is the meaning of this” regularly, I am forced to come to terms with my inability to control many things in my life including some health issues. I did not cause this to happen. I am not to blame nor is anyone else. It just happened. Once I believe that, I need to ask some other personal questions:
- What can I learn from this situation?
- How can I make it better for everyone involved (family, friends, etc.)?
- How does this change me and my situation?
One more important pointBeing that we are learning to live with a progressive disorder, the “one and done” solution no longer applies.
Acceptance is an ongoing process. Accepting that we have the disease is one thing. However, learning to live with the disease as it progresses becomes a challenge. The steps above will help us “live” a life that is both loving and beneficial.