I apologize I have been quiet on the blog for the last couple of months. It has been a very eventful couple of months — however, I am grateful and blessed. In the above graphics, the "wheelchair-bound" athlete inspires me! I am guessing this athlete believed, "This is not my story. I am not going to let life take control of me."
The Fact is the Wheel Chair. What do we make the "Wheel Chair" mean? Do we see that the wheel chair helps us, supports us or limits us? I believe the athlete in the photo was dreaming and exploring, "What becomes possible in a wheelchair?" There is a famous poem called "Welcome to Holland", written by Emily Perl Kingsley. It is a wonderful poem to help parents change their perspective on raising a child with a disability. When I first read the poem decades ago, I thought the words of the poem were applicable to all areas of our life. If you are not familiar with the poem, you could read it here. Here is a synopsis of the poem.
Ms. Kingsley is a parent of a child with Down Syndrome. In her poem, she writes:
"When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. But with all the planning, excitement, learning the Italian language and culture, somehow your plane lands in Holland. And there you must stay."
The poem continues and reminds us that it is not a horrible place, but it is just different. It is slower-paced than Italy. And if we spend our life "mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy", then we may never enjoy all the wonderful things about Holland. For many special needs families, they appreciate the perspective of this poem. But for many other families, they have mixed emotions about this poem. They wish they could live in "Holland"; a slower-paced lifestyle, not messy, stressful, constantly in the hospital, not dealing with behaviors, etc. Some families resent the poem or believe they have failed and that they "should" enjoy all the wonderful things happening in their "Holland" life. I know we all have different challenges and circumstances; ranging from difficult to heart-wrenching to extreme stress physically and mentally. I want to encourage you and give you hope. I want to encourage you to embrace yet not give up. "Experts" might give you a dismal diagnosis, prognosis, and labels, but I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. Embrace, but not settle. Keep going and growing, be open to seeing all the possibilities.
I know at different times of our lives, we deal with stressful situations. There are a various ways to cope and handle stress. Here are some of it below.
Ways to deal with stressful situations better
Gratitude is the energy of abundance and joy. Write down 10 things you are grateful for; from your past, present and future. It could be something simple, such as grateful for electricity, so that I may brew and enjoy a cup of coffee.
Or you can do a brain dump. Have lots of fearful or negative thoughts running around in your mind? Dump it all out on paper. Do these thoughts serve you? Are they 100% true?
The benefits of getting a full night of sleep are numerous; stress reduction, clear thinking, improves mood, increases productivity and more. Trouble falling asleep? Do a Brain Dump before sleep. Limit caffeine intake. Take quick power naps as needed.
Set yourself up for success by eating right. Fruits, veggies, a full meal — do everything you can do to keep your body properly nourished and healthy. Remember, a healthy stomach is a healthy mind!
Take a breather
If you find people you are with are making you feel stressed out, go outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. If time permits; you can take a walk, jog, or even hike! The point is to not act rashly and understand what the other person is trying to say. Take 5 deep cleansing breaths.
Listen to your body
This is very important. Learn to listen to your body when necessary (and also, learn to say no). If taking on additional responsibilities interferes with your health, family, or stress level, it is not worth it.
You got this!
Remember, embrace but do not settle, and keep moving forward. If you get stuck, that's okay. I am here to help; we are not meant to do life alone.