Inspire * Commit * Doubt

As of late I have been receiving e-mails about how my story has inspired people to commit to a healthier life. In all honesty it feels great to receive these notes of commitment.  Please keep them coming.

People are running races, biking the trails, starting advocacy work, eating plant-based diets...and I love it, I love it, I love it. I know this sounds new-agey but I believe it is a manifestation of the intentions that I have placed. Never thought my thoughts could create...well they do. I learned this in many different avenues of my life.  Prayer, purpose and effort will carry you far…but do not forget the hard work: intentions love sweat.

Last year when I had my coming-out-of-the-closet experience (so to speak) of telling the world that I was and have been living with a chronic disease for the past six plus years, at no time did I think it would lead me to what is happening all around me today.

My not telling the world was a heavy burden on my heart for too long.  Not once did I want people to look at me as the sick kid, never did I want my clients knowing that I had a disease, never did I want my daughter to think of her Dad as sickly… Never did I want the world seeing me as those close few did.

During a conversation with a Zen Chaplin, in which he out right told me it is nothing special having a disease, an internal extraordinary shift happened inside me. I had to question hard what for so long I held onto as a belief that I was doing the right thing. Damn that was difficult to hear, but deep inside I knew he was right.

One of the great thing about having a disease is the specialness that comes along with it.  Yeah, your sick most of the time and ok, you have to deal with pain or disabilities but hey, it also comes with the get-out-of-jail-free card that you can use anytime you want.  And we/I used it, all too often. And sometimes, just sometimes, it feels really good knowing that you are holding on to that card.

Little did I know it was nothing special telling the world, he was right.  Nobody cared or at least that’s what I thought at the time.  Nobody cared about the disease, but they did care about me and how I decided to live with the preternatural monkey on my back.

Today I run, bike, eat a plant-based diet, volunteer at a hospice center, meditate and do yoga. I have a wife, a daughter and a photography business that I share with my wife (honestly she does the bulk of the work, I mainly carry heavy things and look good).  I feel happy with the life that I have built alongside my wife...but it is nothing special; it’s only life.

After writing the paragraph like the one above my ego self destructs then reincarnates right in front of me and then proceeds to slap me in the face, all the while calling me an ass that I just listed the random stuff that I am into...nothing special is right, jackass.

This past year I have been battling my ego and my purpose on the topic of “who am I?”...and nobody cares who I am...very existential of me.

Last August I published a blog post titled: “Living life with the heart of a servant and the strength of a fighter”. Inside that I post I wrote “I want to be the Lance Armstrong of MS/DD. I want to start telling the world about how to be healthy while having a disease without a cure. Armstrong did this with cancer and a bike. I want to do this with MS/DD, a camera, a pen and my feet.” Receiving the e-mails over this past year has made me feel great about what I wrote a year ago.  I also reflect on the fact that I can do none of this for anybody but myself. I will never, nor should I, strive to be Lance Armstrong

Lesson learned ~ Who am I? I am this moment.

I found my spirt after searching for the majority of my life...I can always remember searching for my spirit but I can not recall ever losing it in the first place.  It’s an odd thing seeking something that was never lost in the first place.  Despite that fact, we all seem to seek after the magical bugger that we collectively call “spirit”.

My spirit, my connectedness to my place in this universe, was aloof.  I was looking in all the wrong places. Hence, it was not a “point of enlightenment” or “dark night of the soul” that brought me to this realization...it was my elbows. Yes, my elbows. What an inconsequential body part. You can’t ever really even see them without having to twist and tort your body in an uncomfortable way, but nonetheless these nubs on the back of my arms would turn out to be the awakening that I have been seeking.  How could elbows hold the answers to life’s question, you ask?

Sitting on my meditation cushion in the act of meditating poorly (in all truth most meditators meditate poorly. It’s long, boring and uncomfortable but yet we do it because all the Sages, Prophets and Oprah tell us it’s good to do...and it is) and an unimportant insignificant thought popped into my mind: and awareness that my elbows are always there and ever-present in the moment and all I had to do was notice them.

There is no moment that is special.  My elbows and chronic disease has taught me that.  Spirit is nothing special; it is simply noticing the moment that you are in.

There it was. That item that I never lost...my spirit showing me its original face. I smile back and then my shadow, my spirit and me all go outside holding hands for a smoothie...spirits love smoothies.

Lessened learned ~ Give up on your beliefs and question everything.

Along with a diagnosis of a chronic disease comes a new set of beliefs.  I have no idea how we get this new set of beliefs but all that I know for sure is that it happens somewhere between the doctors’ waiting rooms, standing in line at the pharmacy and doing Google searches. We are magically anointed with a new set of beliefs.

Doubt your beliefs...a lot of bad things happen due to beliefs.  Most evil is done all over the world due to extreme and confident beliefs.  Bigotry, racism, holy wars, terrorism and anti-anything is all done because of our beliefs.  Your beliefs can keep you sick.  A chronic disease does not mean that you have to live with an illness 100% of the time,

Keep your faith but question your beliefs.

Have faith in that nagging calling deep in your gut. That mystical rascal is holding onto some truth that is a perfect fit for you “right now” and in “this moment”.  But don’t forget the belief in doubt. Doubt will tell you to get off your ass and do something...and doing something is much better than sitting down on your beliefs.

Inspire yourself, commit to this moment.

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