"Life is a journey, not a destination."
I write often about my life’s journey. In an earlier article, I used the analogy that the journey is like crossing a stream on stepping-stones. Each stone is a life experience that prepares us for the next one. Before we can fully step onto the next stone, we have to be willing to remove our foot from the previous one (our past beliefs, fears and anger).
It is possible to become so involved in the current stepping-stone (life experience) that it becomes nearly impossible to move forward. We have finally accepted “what is,” so we take a deep breath and say, “I can handle this.” Then, we cling to the moment refusing to let go. This usually happens for one of two reasons: fear or contentment. Today I will focus on fear.
Fear wears many masks. For example, something devastating happens in our lives and we just cannot move on. In fact, we would do anything to go back to the moment just before the crisis. It could be the loss of a loved one, a catastrophe, or a serious disease, or in my case Kennedy’s Disease. Whatever the reason, we find it difficult, if not impossible to move beyond it. Paralysis sets in and over time, wallowing in "what was" and "what if" and “why me” thoughts incapacitates any rational thinking.
I was living in the "contentment" mode for several years in my twenties. It took the realization that I had Kennedy's Disease to shake me to the foundation of my soul. It challenged most everything that I felt was sacred. The word entitlement perfectly describes my thoughts at the time.
My current journey over the last forty years is one filled with many challenges and even more unknowns. While going through something like this, acceptance does not come easy because it is difficult to look beyond the immediate fear, helplessness, confusion and pain.
Yet, once we can see beyond the moment, we tend to come out of these experiences stronger and more appreciative of what we have. We become more aware of the good that does surround our lives. We see and experience life a little differently because we are different. We are a survivor. And, with that realization, we take the next step and find life does go on.
Acceptance is a difficult pill to swallow. By breaking it into smaller pieces, however, it is easier to take. We learn from each experience. These small moments in time are like stepping-stones across a wide stream. Each one builds confidence and makes us more willing and less fearful to take another step.
Have I swallowed the entire pill and totally accepted my situation? Not even close. For I am continually being challenged. Nevertheless, I am progressing. Today, I am far more appreciative and understanding because life is still good and I know I can live with this disease.
In addition, I found buried within this pill called "acceptance" something called "gratitude."