I am a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter and so much more. I have a spinal cord injury, a lung disease and arthritis. I am not my body, I am not a disease. I am a whole person in which my body resides. It is a part of me, but not my total existence.
I decided a long time ago not to be defined by what my body presented to me. So many people, especially woman, focus so much time and energy on the outer shell. I want to be the best person I can be, in the body I have. I will never have a flat tummy, I wasn't made that way to start, but now that parts of it are paralyzed I can't even pretend and hold it in, I am five foot nothing, so who am I kidding. I wasn't meant to be a model. I am me, and happy to be given the life I have.
We can all make a decision to be grateful, satisfied and even happy with the bodies and lives we have been given. You never have to look too far to see somebody who would gladly trade places with you.
"I know it's not easy to focus on something else when your body aches. But it's important to try. Preoccupation with your ailment makes you a prisoner of your body because the body is then dictating your whole life; in turn, your whole life starts to revolve around injury, or dysfunction or deficiency." -Morrie Schwartz
I could not have said this better myself. Morrie Schwartz came to light in 1994 when a book he co-authored with Mitch Album, "Tuesday's With Morrie", which hit the New York Times best seller list and made the talk show circuit. The common sense guide to how to die, taught people a common sense way to live. Morrie was struck with ALS, and met with a previous college student every Tuesday to talk about life. Those visits turned into that best selling book, a movie and so much more.
It was relatable and relevant, and remains so today. Too much time is wasted on the unimportant things in life. Far more time could be spent cultivating relationships and deepening the ones we have. If the book were written today surely Morrie would have said, put down the damn phone and look at people!!
Many years ago I taught a Lifeskills program and one of the lessons I developed and implemented stays with me to this day. I had students rate their level of happiness, stress, and sense of fulfillment for that week. We then wrote their roles; mother, sister, wife, friend etc. In a circle we made a pie chart with each of those roles, the pie was the amount of time you felt you had spent in that role. The colour you chose showed whether that time was happy or not. In the end each student was asked to look at their charts compared to their overall feelings. It was easy to see why people felt happy or not by looking at their charts.
I don't physically do the charts anymore but I know in my mind and heart the pie chart is there. I need a slice of wife, mother, daughter, friend and sister daily to be my most contented self. If any of those slices are not baked to perfection I need to try again.
There are many ways to look at that exercise and we can put the parts of our lives in there as well. It can include family time, work, exercise, social time, etc. you get the picture. A balanced life is one in which are parts are working in harmony. They are not always equal but there is harmony.
At a time like mine right now, life's harmony gets a little off kilter. It's focus will not be so balanced and full. It will be all about the body and it's healing, but that's okay. It is something that I know will re-balance itself again, with the help of family and friends.
Remember life is about many slices of pie, so this weekend enjoy them all.