If you haven’t noticed, this week’s posts are the result of many weeks of introspection, analysis, and processing. It’s as if everything is suddenly coming together all at once. Amazing how that happens!
On May 7th, I read a post on Renee’s blog, Renee’s Reflections, about her struggle with surrendering and it has been haunting me ever since! [In a good way, Renee!] As a result I have had to confront the idea of surrendering with the new parameters of now being in Phase III. [To understand my take on Phase III, you might want to read my post, T he Rubber Band Theory ].
In college, I discovered…
that I could overcome one aspect of the memory problems associated with CFIDS if I designed an acronym that I could memorize cold. I did this over and over in school. In one class, we had pages of information to regurgitate for a communication class and I was able to do it by creating a story using acronyms that tied to paragraphs of information I needed in order to answer questions on the exam. It worked so well, I got a 100% on the exam! I recall my professor being quiet impressed and even told me I was the only student to score a 100% on that particular exam. [The funny thing is, I never told her how impressed I was with myself either! I was stunned at how well it had worked! ha ha!]
Anyway, I recently decided to employ that tool again in order to create an acronym that I could memorize that would help me navigate the many challenges of CFIDS. With those who suffer from CFIDS, one will not find us moving quickly very often. More often than not, we are moving at a slower pace than most of the world around us. I guess you could say we are ’strolling’ through life!
For that reason, I chose the word strolling as my acronym - S.T.R.O.L.L.I.N.G. In a nutshell, here is what it means:
Pretty straight forward really. S.T.R.O.L.L.I.N.G. simply reminds me to surrender, to teach, to release, to observe, to live, to learn, to instill, to negate and to give. If I forget one of the action words, I just have to recall the letter associated with it and I can usually recall it.
For me, each of these letters are not only tied to words, but each word holds a specific ‘tool’ . That way, if I am in a challenging situation, I can now just call up my acronym and determine which tool I need to employ. So, now for the purpose of each word.
Surrendering: Well, it means just that. I need to start letting go of – surrendering to God – the things I have no power to change. If I can’t change it, then why worry about it. All that does is negatively affect me.
Teaching: One of the greatest assets I have found through my blog and the reading and interacting of similar blogs, is the ability to teach. I don’t know that I, or any of those who blog about CFIDS/ME/FMS, think about our blogs or posts in that way, but in essence that is exactly what we are doing. I learn daily from people like Joleen, Renee, Kerry, Linda, Annie, Shelli, Jo, Sue, Laurel, upnorth, April, and so many more. Through our trials and tribulations, we all find ways to overcome. The reward is when we share it to help someone else. Love that!
Releasing: This is probably one of the most impacting tools I have learned during my journey with CFIDS, and to be quite blunt, with my life journey. Whatever it took, I did, in order to deal with my past. And unfortunately, my past had a lot in it. I was very wounded when it came to men. I had no coping skills to speak of. I was raped while stationed in the UK. I lost my grand-father on my 18th birthday. I went through two (2) divorces. My babysitter abused my daughter while I was stationed in Massachusetts. One of my husbands turned out to have inappropriate boundaries when it came to little girls. Sadly, that was just a few of the highlights! So many traumatic events that I had never taken the time to deal with. The evidence of running from my past was a person who was angry, scared, worried, sick, depressed, overly submissive, and on and on. The answer for me was to undergo counseling, submit to pastoral authority, go through a grieving workshop, and much more. But the end result, was I became free from the bondage of my past. It has been one of the greatest gifts I have been blessed with. No longer do I look into the rear view mirror because there is nothing there now. Now I can focus on today and tomorrow with out my past looking over my shoulder.
Observing: This one is probably self-explanatory if you have a chronic illness. Basically, I need to observe any boundaries such as energy, pain, and probably most importantly, relationships.
Living: Because my past no longer has the ability to haunt me, I can now live in the moment. I still have to work at it, because I tend to want to live in tomorrow. But living is about the moment. I need to ‘be’ in the moment in order to live in the moment. If I am focused on tomorrow or anything else for that matter, I then become distracted and am unable to just ‘be’.
Learning: This is one I am still working on daily. However, I have recently changed how I view this. Instead of learning how to say ‘no’, I am now trying to figure out what the boundaries need to be in order for me to say, ‘yes’. I think by doing this, it will make it easier to say ‘no’ when needed because I will have the criteria before me to guide me in what constitutes a ‘yes’ response. That will relieve a lot of guilt and stress for me.
Instilling: This one is about instilling worth in myself as well as instilling worth in others. I believe in my core that I have worth and so does each and every person. The challenge, for me, is finding ways to remind myself of that worth.
Negating: As someone with a melancholy temperament, my strengths are my ability to be critical, analytical, and find the negatives in any given situation. As you might imagine, these also become weaknesses when I don’t keep them under control. The best way I have found to negate the negatives in my life, is to step back and try to find the positive. Nine times out of ten, I can find a positive. For me, positivity creates energy while negativity tends to drain me of the little energy I have.
Giving: This one has become very important in my learning to live with CFIDS. I find the more I give thanks for, the more thankful I become. The more thankful I become, the more positive and hopeful I feel.
I guess you could say I now have mapped out my vision for living with CFIDS/FMS. This is now my blueprint for how I will choose to live my life. I may tweak it along the way, but at least now I know where I am going and how I am going to get there.