“It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.” ~K.T. Jong
Life is a carousel of frenzied activity. Achievement is often perceived as a degree followed by a prestigious career. In the pursuit of material possessions, acquisition brings fulfillment. The American Dream has been defined for us – a brick ranch home nestled in a trendy suburb, marriage to an achiever, two children (a boy and a girl.), and the family pedigree dog–neutered. Living the hectic relay of adroitly switching the baton between achievement, fulfillment, and the American Dream, you earn the respect of your fellow man …success.
With the invasion of a chronic neurological illness, my perspectives on life: achievement, fulfillment, dreams, and success – were drastically altered. Illness has given me deeper insight.
Introspection revealed an identity-defining concept – doing. Doing, in guises as work, play, duty, or just walking, were a simplistic assumption with good health. Effort mainly required my time for doing. Often, time was lazily excused or selfishly hoarded. Only in the quiet torments of “I can’t anymore,” did I realize doing defined self worth — a convenient social mask concealing my inner identity from me.
Illness stripped me of the physical freedoms of can, will, able, walk — do. My body became a prison – my mind, a cruel jailer. Despair, fear, and loneliness became my cellmates. In the solitary confinement of my incarceration, the light of revelation filtered through the bars. Imprisoned in physical cannot do, I became reacquainted with a new concept – being.
Being can be a brutal reflection in the mirror of honest assessment. Self gets misplaced in the repetitious quest of daily doing. In the stillness of being, I could hear the faint whispering of a forgotten voice — my inner self. I discovered tattered remnants of me. Focus on doing had overshadowed who I was. Reassess, readjust, redo, and reaffirm have become life skills for continual personal renewal and growth.
My perspectives have changed. Life is recognizing all the miracles previously overlooked in daily frenzied ritual – a cool caressing breeze on my heated face (a kiss from God), radiance illuminating from the furrowed face of an elderly lady’s smile, an erratic fluttering dance of a single butterfly. Achievement is putting on my own shoes with pride and gratitude. Accomplishment is euphoric – the perseverance to keep trying. Fulfillment is falling deeply in love with life every morning.
The American Dream has become just that – a dream. My dreams are endless, personal, and fly on the wings of imagination. Success is living a full life, finding happiness while overcoming obstacles – in spite of. I do not see the glass as half empty or half full. I am blessed to have a glass. If my glass is full, it is time to empty it by giving. If my glass is empty, it is time to renew in the healing stillness of just being.
“Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.”
~Dr. Alexis Carrel~
© 2004 Debra A. Richardson