Before my diagnosis, I took several weeks each year to roadtrip with my dog(s) around our state, see the beauty of the changing landscape and visit the ones I love along the way. That all disappeared when I got sick and it's one of the things I've morned the most as I watched the seasons change outside my window and felt the years moving by without me it seemed.
This summer, I promised myself "No More!" and started planning another trip across Oregon to see our biggest National Park, often called one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, alongside Mt. Everest, the Northern Lights, and the Great Barrier Reef. I knew I wouldn't be able to safely be the driver on this expedition and it might not be possible to take our dogs but I asked Nick to be my captain, my driver, and we agreed on my copilot, letting me pilot the plans and the voyage even if I couldn't actually steer or press the petals.
I've found in life that it's not always necessary to steer events in order to realize that you are still the captain. So often when things are out of our control physically, we begin to feel that our minds are of little use because they cannot steer our bodies to do what we wish. Not so. If you're feeling that today, let go. Say to yourself, I am strong. My strength comes from within and that is unshaken. I will take up the reigns of my own life and begin to live again.
We did go to Crater Lake, I did yoga against the wind, smiling into the swaying pines and watching the soft ripples across unbelievably blue waters. I smiled, I raised my arms to the air, to the wind, to the world, and this time I enjoyed the company of the person I've chosen to spend my life with. In the end, taking the trip in a different way turned out to be more rewarding than I ever could have hoped.
I'm glad that things haven't turned out exactly as I have planned. I mourned the loss of my old self, of the life I had imagined. I have completed that process or I am completing it. It feels good now. I feel good now, not always in my body but in my spirt, in my soul. And I want to stand as a beacon of hope for all those who are where I was a year ago, six months ago, even six weeks ago, and say, it doesn't just get better, it gets better than you even could have imagined.
Stay strong. Your hope is coming. Break down, your hope is coming. Just be here, keep surviving, keep living and hoping and praying and opening your heart and mind and spirit, your hope is coming. And you will raise your arms to the breeze, you will feel your strength over soft blue waters, you will look up at the pines and feel the presence of your loved ones and the presence of your own strong spirit, your own strong soul, and you will know greater strength in your body because your body and mind are one.
Lots of Love,