I recently had a medical appointment with my renowned retina specialist whose focus is rare retinal diseases. I knew I had a few changes in my vision, but, as my tests started to reveal some significant degeneration, I began to realize the day was not going to go quite as I had hoped. It turns out I may have some very serious health concerns to tend to as I move forward. Have you ever gotten a diagnosis, or list of possibilities, handed to you about how your life might ultimately be redirected? In-between testing, my doctor sent us to the cafeteria for a break, and while sitting there, I leaned over to my boyfriend and whispered in his ear, “no matter what he says, I’m leaving here the same person I was as I walked in here; with the same capabilities, and the same hopes and dreams.”
As my doctor told me my prognosis of potential outcomes, I felt myself wanting to shut-down, as it seemed too much to process in that moment, but I utilized my mindfulness practice to concentrate on my breathing and help me stay present to get through it. Even after sharing the news with loved ones over the next few days, I’m not sure I really integrated the ideas into my mind. They felt like words of a story, but not the story of my life. I have aspirations for my life, and these possibilities don’t quite fall in line with them. A few days later, I had an appointment with my regular optometrist, whom I only see for contact lenses, that is when it was confirmed, that what I had hoped was a faulty test at my specialist’s office, was not so. Reality started to get a bit heavier.
Nearly a week had passed, and I still hadn’t set up any of my needed testings to move forward with my possible diagnoses. In fact, it took helping another to recognize a very painful part of their life for me to be able to actually see my own. That is when I felt myself cry, and grieve what I had lost. Mind you, I grieved what I have literally lost. You see, my dreams and aspirations, they are still fully intact. My hopes for my life, they are still just as large. My trust in life, it’s still just as strong. My path to achieve them, well, that part may change. However, at this very moment, it hasn’t. This is what presence can do for your life. Presence can hold you in the truth and not the worry. I’m not worried, but rather I’m hopeful and optimistic. I don’t feel cheated, I feel chosen. I feel like who I am is about to become an even stronger version as I ask of myself to continue, no matter what, to pursue what I choose for my life.
You may be wondering, how does one get to this mindset? And, if I’m being honest, sometimes I wonder too. When I boil it all down for myself, what I come to is this – I trust in Life. And I purposely mean Life with a capital “L.” Some may call this God; others may say Universe; others still may use the word Oneness… These names, as I see it, are all pointers to the majesty of life that shows us all connected; all of the same cloth. I trust in that. I trust in myself, as well, that I can, whether I genuinely want to or not, weather any outcome and still feel that deeper love emanating in me – my vision doesn’t create that, nor can it challenge it. My vision may change this love, as it did when I first was diagnosed in 2013.
In 2013 I was just reawakening to life after a pretty dark period. I was still scared, still uncertain of people, and then my vision changed. Those changes forced me to reach out to others for help. Through those changes, I relearned how to trust, and for my safety, to be more fully present in life. You see, those changes that came with my vision changes, they reshaped my life. How has your health, or the health of a loved one, helped to reshape your life? Can you see the positives within the challenges? Can you see the triumph that rode shotgun to the fear?
Discovering who we are happens through life, not by side-stepping it, or by shying away from it, but through it. And, though it is not always a cake walk, but, let’s be honest, we all know that cake was not meant to be eaten every day. Life has genuine moments of pain, but it is up to us if we choose to suffer from that pain.