Learning to Accept with Grace

Well I haven’t posted in ages…Been a lot of challenges this year for me, so computer time plus writing time has felt limited. As many of you know, reflection, silence and rest have been the daily agenda this year, alongside my regular life/work happenings, as I have been struggling with my health in various ways.

On that note-today is World Arthritis Day, I just found this out! September is Arthritis awareness month but I didn’t know there was also a day dedicated to it too-that’s cool. As someone who lives with Ankylosing Spondylitis (spinal arthritis), it matters to me to take some action on a day like today, so I thought I would share a blog post as my action step.

What does this mean to me to take a step in this regard? To me it means I feel called to speak out and share a little bit about what it’s like to live with Arthritis, particularly because right now the disease is kicking my ass a little bit…so here it goes.

It’s like…

~A force that bowls through you that you have no control when or where it hits. When it does, BAM, you are toasted for a while and the road back requires soft slowness and doing waaaay less. This gearing down from life isn’t typically what one WANTS to do, alas, it is what is required for recovery.

~A heaviness that drops itself on your chest and makes you remember that deep breathing is a privilege of the healthy.

~A limp that slows you down, forcing a walk when you want to run, or a single step at a time when you want to leap.

~A depression that comes in the night, a feeling of loneliness inside the pain, where it seems abysmally dark and cold and endless.

~An isolation where you think you are the only one. Even if you know you aren’t, it just feels like you are on your own with it as it rips the layers of identity out of you.

Is it all bad?

Well of course not. This is me we are talking about ;D

The gifts of it include…

~A slow down that allows you to see who you really are, what you are made of, beyond the identities that busy you daily.

~A coming home to surrender and acceptance and what is everyday: A new set of skills that help with the rest of life beyond the flare up.

~A learning how to feel, albeit feeling pain is hard as hell. It rings true over and over that feeling leads to healing.

~An opening to different possibilities in life-different perspectives and a shit ton more compassion, both for self and other.

There are so many things I am learning from having AS and navigating the ups and downs of it. The amount of acceptance that is required to be with this condition so it doesn’t become me-so I don’t dissolve in it- while also maintaining a sense of hope that change is possible feels massive right now. So.much.surrender.required.

Meditation feels easy compared to this journey! The fact that I get to CHOOSE to meditate is the first way that it’s easier, because my condition is not a choice. I didn’t choose this, nor is it my fault, and yet, it’s in me. I am recognizing that the choice is in how I navigate it every single day, and how I treat myself along the way.

And so, I sit on my cushion a lot these days, to offer myself a reprieve, a place to practice receiving the moment and remembering the richness of life beyond the challenges of my body today. Maybe tomorrow it will be a hike or someday again a run in the woods, but for now, it’s a quiet sit in a sunbeam with my puppies nestled next to me. That is how I am healing.

In honour of #WorldArthritisDay, please take a moment and find gratitude for your healthy body and life. No matter what ails you, acknowledge the parts that feel whole and healthy inside (physical or beyond!), and the deeper knowing that you are enough just as you are-arthritic or not!

From my FierceHeart to yours~

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