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Doubt your doubts

Posted Jan 25 2009 5:47pm
I remember that I used to have a yoga teacher who always encouraged his students to "Doubt your doubts." The teacher spoke about this primarily in relation to asana (the physical yoga) practice but always encouraged us to look beyond our mat to see how pushing through physical challenges in yoga could help us push through challenges in life. At this moment, as day-to-day life is slowly becoming less difficult and overwhelming for me, I find myself ready to confront some of my own doubts. Not only am I beginning to doubt my doubts, I am coming to note some of the positive changes that MS has brought to my life.

My doubts scare me. I fear for the future. For a while, this was paralyzing. I awoke every day with anxiety and questioned whether I could even make it through the day. It has taken me a long time to realize that getting through the day is not as a hard as I imagined. In fact, getting through the week is getting easier and I am no longer full of worry and dread. When I find myself swept up into a negative thought spiral, I force myself to quickly snap out of that frame of mind and when I cannot bear a train of thought, I have to let it go until I can.

We just decided to refinance our house. When we made the decision, my husband asked, "Are you sure about this considering your health concerns." I told him that I was and that I was ready to start living with the belief that I will be ok. I realized I would rather live with this trust than avoid living because of what might be. This is not to say that when I looked over the paperwork for our refinance that I was not again filled with fear. With the refinance, the term of our loan again becomes thirty years and the amount we will borrow is slightly larger than the original loan, the rate however is much lower and over the life of the loan, we will save substantially. Thirty years though, thirty years where I need to be healthy enough to pay my share. Thirty years where we both must be able to cover our share. Thirty years where I will have to probably work full-time at a demanding job. I think this and suddenly I am swept into current of despair. And yet, this is how almost everyone lives. No one, no matter what their health status, really lives in certainty. We cannot know what the future will hold so to let fear paralyze us is irrational. I see this now. I can no longer fear either my disease or my future. My husband and I must just take each day as it comes and trust that together we will sort things out.

I do not claim to suddenly be without fear. Honestly, I am full of it but I also see that I cannot let it keep me from doing things, making committments or planning for the future. I think that when the future starts to sweep me away, it is most important that I reground myself in the present and remind myself, "Today I am ok." It is also important to remember that I can restart my day at any time.

One of the greatest things I have learned from MS is how to live and appreciate one day at a time. I have learned to prioritize. I have learned to say "no." My passions have also shifted. I used to hinge most of my identity on my career and my accomplishments. I prioritized my job above all else. Now it seems important but primarily as a source of income and as a place to occupy some of my time and talents. Honestly, I could do without it completely. It is not that I have quit caring, it's just that I care way more about feeling healthy and spending time with my husband and my pets. I care more for accomplishing little things around my house than I do about accomplishing them in my career. I care a lot less about being recognized for what I do. I just want to do things well and then move on with the rest of my life. Today I am grateful that I have learned these things even if the learning was hard.
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