Stay connected to life despite daily pain
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I was reading the Milestones section in a recent issue ofTimemagazine a few days ago and came across an obituary of a 97-year-young woman who began blogging when she was a mere 95 years young. I don’t want you to get the impression I sit around reading the obits every day, although I do get a certain sense of relief that I’m not in them. This particular woman, a lovely and vivacious Spaniard named Maria Amelia Lopez reached 1.5 million people with her blog. She exclaimed it “wakes up the brain.” She chatted with her readers about her family, her grand-children, her great-grandchildren and other factors in her life. She chatted and shared her personal history and the history of Spain. She demonstrated to the world that interacting with others was a wholesome and healthy activity. She proved to the world what many of us have or are currently learning: it’s never too late to enjoy life no matter what your circumstances.
In the Alzheimer's Nun Study, in which 678 American nuns, all members of the Sisters of Notre Dame are being studied, they have discovered those nuns who are involved with the written world, journaling, etc. have a lower incidence of developing Alzheimer's disease. Are there, perhaps, key ingredients and a lesson for all of us to learn?
Those of us who live with daily pain often have a tendency to “hole up.” It’s an understandable response considering we usually feel lousy. Try as we do, we are still limited by the degree of pain, our energy level due to sometimes chronic fatigue and it’s often accompanying depression. If I could flash a red light at this point, I would. “Holing up” and disconnecting from the rest of the world is the worst thing we can do. Healing and coping comes from life. Life surrounds us in the form of other people, our animals and all living things; plants, trees, wind and rain as well as sunshine. Is wind, rain and sunshine a living thing? Just stand outside for a few minutes, then you tell me.
I don’t have anything against hiding out and staying down for awhile. It’s a must sometimes for healing, reflection and growth but the danger comes when it becomes a way of life. You should see the corner by the side of my bed. Since I write most of my blogs sitting on or lying in bed, my reference books are piled up here, along with current catalogues, books I’m reading, etc. Who says birds are the only creatures that nest? There are times when one has to leave the nest, just like fledglings learning to flap their wings. Remember, they may be awkward at first and need to learn to fly. If we don’t go out the door of our homes, pick up the phone or go online, we are cutting ourselves off from life. You can’t fly far from your bed but if you must be there for a limited time, fly online or by reaching out to others. Find your own form of flight and feel the wind in your face as well as beneath your wings. I know, sounds like an old song but truth is truth.
There are hundreds of times when it is a chore and just the effort of getting ready to go out can set you back for awhile, but life beckons. Life dangles it’s baubles in front of us like tinkling wind chimes or neighborhood children. “Come out and play, because life awaits.” Planning ahead makes it doable. Keeping it simple makes it actionable. Making it a short trip to the store, etc. can be handled. Whatever it takes to climb out of that hole, we have to find the courage to do it. There is no life down in the deep dark hole of pain and despair. Life beckons. Again, life beckons. Reach out and let it heal you.
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