I have been reading Byron Katie’s book “Who Would You Be Without Your Story?” and one of the things she does is turn the statement around and ask for three examples of the gift in it. Now , I have titled this blog Gift of RA but I am not sure if in the year I have been writing it I have actually been giving any examples of the gifts in it. I realize I have always seen RA as a negative, something that has messed up my life and made it very painful, difficult and depressing. Since reading some of the book, I have to look back and see there have been gifts.
I have to admit, it has given me a place to hide so I have not been expected to work, to do things fully and made sure people don’t expect much from me. Then of course, I surprise them by exceeding expectations. Second, I have met and done a lot with the Connecticut chapter of the Arthritis Foundation as Speaker’s Bureau Coordinator and Self Help Course instructor and trainer of new instructors. As a result, I learned I enjoy speaking in front of people (always an agony before) and was on a cable tv show with doctors and health professionals where I held my own quite well. It also gave me an opportunity to help others, sometimes I knew at the time, most of the time I never knew. Third, I have always gotten positive feedback from people, how brave I am, how I do so much while dealing with RA – even had people tell me I am an inspiration and a hero to them. Very good to hear – yet my ego voice kept chiming in with all the negative so I was not able to fully appreciate the gifts. Too much of “If you really knew what was going inside, how much I whinge and feel sorry for myself” and all that; thank goodness I am listening to that less and less. I have spent too much time looking at the negative and feeling negative instead of focusing on what RA has brought me and what I have learned from it.
I will admit to being cranky the last couple of weeks because my hips, thighs and now the knees are really bothering me. I was doing fine and feeling pretty good, then it felt things were going downhill especially because my right leg now hurts at night and sleep is not as easy or restful. So I have focused on that and being upset because I was feeling good and now it is crappy again – in this situation it is hard to focus on the gifts and the advantages of all of this. Reading the book has made me more aware of what is going on inside me – sometimes it is the pits to be aware, easier to be unconscious about what is happening. It is uncomfortable to go below the surface and sometimes I don’t like it, but I know it is important and necessary. I have come to the point where I choose to know the truth about myself – uncomfortable or not. Before it was willing to know the truth, now I choose it.
If I think about not having RA, if by some miracle I was healed of RA, I wonder if I would actually believe it is true and also if it was down in the cellular level. Whose voice is that? So with something positive, the automatic response is negative. Then I would have to ask “Who would I be without RA?” – has that been my identity all these years? I am still working on that one. The other question that comes up is “Can I still do this blog and be authentic without RA?”. There is in me that childhood training of being completely honest – whether I want to or not – and I wonder what I could offer if I don’t have to deal with it any more. In the last Ike Pono weekend I was asked why I am still holding on to RA and when I understand that, will I be able to release the need for RA and it will be gone? What then? I would feel a fraud and that would be very difficult for me. Then I would have to ask myself ”Who and what would I be without RA?”.
Good Lord, where is this post going? I started out to talk about some of the gifts of RA and here I am at a completely different subject – I am tempted to erase it and go back to the original subject. If this isn’t helpful please let me know – I think my best course is to end this post and see where I am next time.