….your perspective?

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Lift up your eyes

Looking UP

“You may not control all of the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them” – Maya Angelou

I am fully recovered from my time with the Winchester 1200, the 91/30 Mosin Nagant amongst others and yes I am still dealing with the frosty displeasure of JOIV (for embarking on such activities, I understand and apologize) however I have and am fully committed to acknowledging that life is but a journey and today is the gift we will receive and so do what you have to do (the right things) because tomorrow you will have no regrets. Oh yeah, I do have to deal with the repercussions of subjecting this body to crossing the line that has all together become too close to me and yet I choose to go to bed each day, most times bruised and aching but nonetheless with a smile on my face.

I am still finding it extremely difficult to do an objective comparison between the health care I have received before now and the one I am receiving presently. Although the words – incurable, rare neurological disorder along side other big sounding no longer scary terms like ataxia etc, are still the same but they are delivered in such a beautiful and concerned manner that my convictions about never succumbing to whatever it is remains unmoved. I know countless many out there who either by ignorance or sheer helplessness have become victims and yet I am also acknowledging with thumbs up raised, those that have chosen to stay down in the trenches because whether the war is won or lost, you will always be a victor.

It is less than 72 hours since my last review with the wonderful medical team that I have been blessed with, and I know that whilst I may not know the length of time ahead, I am convinced that I am having and will have the best days of my life. That remains my choice and even as I battled to ease the usual anxiety that accompanies my every visit to the hospital or tried to explain to the harried nurse why she would never be able to take my blood pressure with the beautiful electronic sphygmomanometer, I steeled myself with the beautiful truths that I keep forever in my sights……surmised in the beautiful quote by Maya Angelou. Events are ceaseless and sometimes beyond our control but how these events play out is a thing that we definitely have control over.

One of the phrases/questions that has bemused me in the past days is ‘how are things looking?’ I love photography and one of the first lessons I learned was that whatever you can see in the lens is what gets captured in the picture and so when I lift up my eyes to the hills where my strength comes from (that is within my control, regardless of blepharospasm) then inadvertently everything around me has no other option but to look up. Now the picture of our lives is simply a reflection of what we have chosen to look at. Regardless of your physical and/or geographical location, perspective will always be defined by the choice you make with your eyes and your mind. Now correct me if I am wrong when I say those senses are still within your control, no matter how bad a condition you are in. I can recollect with clarity, the humorously creepy stuff we used to do whilst in high school – a friend of mine would tape his eyelids to his forehead in a bid to keep awake so as to study and would inevitably fall asleep with his eyes wide-open. Now that was a choice made!

And so even as I reminisce some of those days past gone, I realize that there were priceless lessons that have made me who I am today. Our purpose in life can only be attained when we refuse to be denigrated by whatever life throws at us because our choices, no matter how little they may be, will always count for something. Even if the FICO god has not heeded our supplications, there is One who is more than able to help us through whatever storm we are in but hold on a minute, we have to look up in earnest and in utter dependence on His ability to see us through and not just see us through but do so in such a manner that we emerge at the end (from the furnace/storm) with the best fragrance that cannot be fathomed by those who have given up on us and those who have made themselves silent spectators (#haters). 

“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying” – Martin Luther. For me, I have learned that no one else has plans that can completely encapsulate you, so why not make something out of what and where you are today. Not just for yourself (cos that would be selfish and small) but for the benefit of the one or two that will cross paths with you. Make each day a lesson, an example for others to follow in today’s world because even in the dungeons there is hope, if only you can but lift up your eyes and so I say that being of good cheer is a choice that you can make whether your cards are maxed out, your employer has done the unthinkable, your assets have undergone a name change and the bills are billowing all around you like a discomfiting dust storm. Remember that the night may be long and seemingly unending, but discover and nurture that which has been placed in you, hold onto it because surely the day will come and then if, and only if you have sown, wait because surely there must be a harvest. That too must come……

Remember “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” – MLK

עד שנפגש שוב בזמן שלו, לא דגל לבן הוא אי פעם הולך לתלות מהמשקוף שלי

Adios!

Never Alone…..

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Never alone

“I feel too much. That’s what’s going on.’ ‘Do you think one can feel too much? Or just feel in the wrong ways?’ ‘My insides don’t match up with my outsides.’ ‘Do anyone’s insides and outsides match up?’ ‘I don’t know. I’m only me.’ ‘Maybe that’s what a person’s personality is: the difference between the inside and outside.’ ‘But it’s worse for me.’ ‘I wonder if everyone thinks it’s worse for him.’ ‘Probably. But it really is worse for me.”

― Jonathan Foer

I kinda said I was gonna allow myself properly reminisce, more appropriately marinate in the events of the past one year and start out with a stronger purpose. Give myself the personal experience of savouring the stillness of the calm after the storm but just when it seems like I can take no more, I am buffeted more strongly than ever by the complex nature of my situation. I have long learned the  difference between sleeping and resting, and even though I shut my eyes in sleep….rest is more elusive than ever, as my system deals with sensory overload in an attempt to reconcile my outside with my insides. Borrowing the words of my guardian angel ;mvo St El Gee, smiling in the face of pain, loneliness and sometimes abject frustration at my inability to do those things that I so eagerly want to do, is something that has become part of me. And though this walk is far from over, I tell myself that I can not have made it this far just by myself. I acknowledge that there is One who alone rules over my affairs and I choose to daily trust Him to do the reconciliation because I have long given up on my own ability to. I make that choice everyday.

I miss LBJ so much that our last conversation tore my heart to shreds, still I know that pain usually precedes pleasure and I remind myself with teary eyes that the pleasure will make the pains disappear…..someday. I feel the pain of a suffering world; the wife and mother/husband and father abandoned, the loneliness of the ailing and elderly, the emotional dearth of a loving but unloved partner, the hurt of a desperately cast aside sibling, the silence of words that need to be said but remain unsaid, the labours of so many unsung heroes, the brittle facade of so many around me and it just seems that I am so helpless to do all I wish I could do. I know that I don’t have as much to give in terms of materialistic possessions and the truth is that, what we need is much more than that, and so I give of myself over and over, confident in the knowledge that I am also giving to myself. Where has the love gone to? That is certainly more than I can deal with now, because I struggle to tell myself yet again ‘why are you so downcast, o my soul. Just put your hope in God….’

I beheld the arrival of this year, and like a child, I am absolutely fascinated by the beautifully wrapped gift of 2014 and with a resolute heart, I know that the gift inside is worth more than the wrapping and yet I choose to savour the entire package because it is those little moments that are ours to cherish for as long as our senses can function. I opened the door, with the swirl of the chill winter winds wrapping her beautiful fingers around me and there lay my beautifully wrapped gift. I stand alone, save for my staff of authority worn by the numerous times I have clenched her with fingers hurting as I laboured with each step – joints hurting, my back a mass of unceasing pain, over-riding the cry of my feet to take a rest….. I stand alone and yet I know that even in the darkness of the dawning day, I am not alone. How do I know that? I can not have made it this far all by myself, each phase accompanied by an angel sent on assignment just for me. I know that despite all the battle scars I bear, I am not yet a victim but truly more than a conqueror. I bear my gift even though my back screams out in pain, I know that I have received a gift and for that regardless of the pains and tumultuous feelings that assail me, I am thankful. Thankful that I have a gift, and not just any gift but one that I can and choose to share with as many as I come across.

There are more reasons to be thankful for, much more than the days of bleak darkness and frustration. I am thankful for the fact that through it all, He is orchestrating it all for my good and yes I really don’t feel like a super hero today, but I know that weeping might endure for a night but joy must surely come in the morning. Yet so many knots still unravelled and some unravelling, I can only appreciate the gift of the now because sufficient for each day is the evil thereof but in the end good always prevails. I choose to apply myself to giving to others because if you really want to do something with your life then there’s only one proven avenue – do something for another person without necessarily waiting for a payback. Pay it forward because we have all been recipients of more blessings than we can enumerate.

My body may yet be a far way from being what it used to be, however I have fought and will still fight, no white flag is going to hang by my door for as long as there is still breath within me. With gritted teeth, I say ‘throw what you have at me, you elusive neurological disorder, I am still standing. And regardless of how many times I am thrown down, gut punched, desolate….I am still standing. You cannot and will not take this gift from me, it is mine and mine to share…’ and so even as I wipe the tears from my ears and pick myself up onto rubbery legs, I will still plod on. I may not have the fanciest or the sturdiest of steps but I choose to move forward because my victory resonates with each forward step. I have lost many just because they refused to cross the road but I have also found many. I am thankful for the opportunity of parting with a select few decades ago, just to truly experience the indescribable joy of meeting again. I am thankful for the nights of weeping because It made me more human than I thought was ever possible. I am thankful for being able to just listen to the hurts that many have harboured, unable to share because they felt nobody would understand…..I do!

With each moment of my life, I choose to share my gift irrespective of whether you choose to share yours with me and as each day winds to a close and I watch a new day dawn, I know that this is my path. Untrodden and surrounded by thorny bushes, I still glimpse the beauty of a rose here and there as I forge ahead and to you my very own saint, I will not give up because we need each other. “I dreamt we walked together along the shore. We made satisfying small talk and laughed. This morning I found sand in my shoe and a seashell in my pocket. Was I only dreaming?” – Maya Angelou

It takes nothing to dream but it takes grit and guts to wake up and live that dream. I am living mine……….with you.

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!

Stripped bare……

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Stripped n bare

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Admittedly, I have been yearning to get back to doing what I love best – this! however it has been a tumultuous period in the last two weeks and just when I desire to get back, something else comes up and yet still I strive to do my own little bit in the lives of the few people who I have been blessed to encounter. Now it feels like what has been dammed these past weeks just wants to gush out and that would inadvertently drown quite a few including myself and so I have to apply self-control or stand the risk of sounding like a blithering idiot. Like I have chosen to inculcate, each day is such an amazing experience whether I am down under, burdened by the travails of this medical challenge and besought by the emotional desolation that so doggedly accompanies this disorder or I am infused by the joys and beauty of life in every waking moment – I choose to make each day count because every day is a Present in itself and like a kid, I carefully unwrap it…….I cannot do otherwise anyway, being obsessively compulsive has its pros.

A few days ago, I travelled to beautiful South Yorkshire and even though travelling is wearisome and I have to make it as comfortable as possible, it is still a necessity. I actually fell in love with the region and above all I loved the fact that it was colder than London because I have learnt to accept that I am also a Super hero – Mr Exothermic, that is also one of the merits of this condition – accelerated metabolism enhanced by the regular tremors I experience, which translates to the need to be in a cooler atmosphere than most people would like. I was privileged to meet Ibrahim, Mark(s) and Hilary – sharing the stories of their own lives and the beautiful attitude they exuded even whilst doing their jobs. Such encounters make me realize that you can choose to continue to mourn what may have seemingly be lost or choose to celebrate that which you are blessed with finding each and every new day. Of course there were the ignorant ones who thought the shakes were quite amusing or those who seemed to be freaked out by my super hero outfit. All put together, it makes every day such a blessing because I know something that can never be taken away from me as long as I breathe – everything is working together for my good. Try as hard as you may, deride me, ignore me, withhold from me – I will still smile because you don’t and can never define me.

I am dedicating this piece to Carrie Ann who has finally bested dystonia and every illness, today she stands on the other side victorious and free of all disorders and disease and whilst her passing is painful but yet again it presents us with an opportunity to live our lives continually grateful that we were blessed to know her.

Amazingly, it is no news that we may be having the best winter since 1947 and honestly I look forward to it – weird or not! Every time I gaze out my window overlooking the front lawn, I am drawn to Miss Betula Lenta (the Cherry Birch tree) and as usual she stands stripped and bare as she is readied for the months in winter. To many, she has lost her beauty and appeal – gone are the chirping birds, gone are her beautiful leaves, gone are the exquisite buds…..however she still stands and teaches lessons that are priceless if only they can be grasped. If only we can but stop, dare to liberate our minds of all the meaningless junk that we have chosen to walk with and just learn, what a world of difference it will make to us as individuals and creatures of purpose. WHAT A CHANGE THAT WILL BE WHEN WE LEARN AND REALIZE THAT WE ARE FOR CREATED FOR PURPOSE!

How much I love these words ….“Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.” – Maya Angelou……because humanity is like the ocean and its beauty is not defined by the few dirty drops. Walk with the few that God raises up for you when you are in need, determine not to dwell on the many that avoid you or that ignore you or worse still, the many that utter loads of balderdash and do absolutely nothing. My life, stripped and bare it may seem now is just a phase that is a precursor to the beautiful seasons ahead, and guess what, I am better off each passing day. I choose to continue to give from what I have, and whilst I may not have by the standards of many but I am so enriched each day by countless blessings that I have become attuned to appreciate even as I stand bare and stripped. And I am grateful to be stripped of all what I do not need now for this season, because it is such an awesome time to really acknowledge what I freely receive – from the new friends that prop me up each day to the lives that I can associate with despite their pain and challenges. I am thankful to be stripped of what has so long burdened me so that I can receive anew what truly counts.

I have seen seasons, experienced the lows and the highs and I have come to acknowledge without an iota of doubt that life in essence is simply a journey and each of us has a choice to make regardless of the circumstances we seem to have been thrust into unwillingly and seemingly without preparation. To realize that when we are forsaken by many,  it is yet an opportunity to be accepted by others. To acknowledge that when we are deprived by those that we thought would stand by us, it is yet an opportunity to give of what we have to those who stand alone like us and be cherished by others. To acknowledge that when we are disappointed by many, it is yet an opportunity to be a source of encouragement to another – choosing not to focus on the bleakness but painfully lift our eyes beyond and grasp the beauty of what lies just ahead. Acknowledging that when we can no more do what we used to, it is yet an opportunity to reach deep and pull out the potentials that have hitherto lain dormant within us. I choose to make the most of what I am blessed with daily, taking the taunts and the indifference and turning it inside out to be a stronger and better individual because the journey is one of endurance, perseverance and unrelenting faith in a Father who is able to perfect that which He alone began.

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” – William Shakespeare

I am ready for the winter!

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Just do right….

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When you get, you give. When you learn, you teach!” – Annie Henderson

These simple words resonate through my entire being as I awakened to a new month, albeit a new day and I reminded myself that with each new day comes hope, help and loads of opportunities. Have you ever wondered why at certain times in your life, the things that usually go unnoticed suddenly assume an amazing degree of clarity? Or ever wondered what the entire purpose of being alive is? Or ever considered that niggling voice within you that insists you do what really do not feel like doing at certain moments? I believe that within each and every walking human, there is a purpose for being alive and whenever doubt assails you, be sure that you have acknowledged that purpose and are walking conscientiously by it. Hmmm! Pretty intense but that is the only way to be sure that your life counts for something.

It takes me 374 seconds to walk to the closest mail box and back, and yesterday just as I was struggling with getting my disobedient fingers to reach for my keys, I had the profound privilege of watching one of the most common wildlife events. I observed an orb-weaver spider diligently going about its interesting and intricate task of spinning its web. For many of us, it is an unknown fact that this seemingly simple task of spinning webs is not just a signature of most spiders but is an energy tasking one, usually requiring loads of protein. I really do not like spiders or crawly things but the beauty of the effort that went into the normal chore of most spiders was what interested me. And it made me realise that just like that spider, we all have been designed to excel in one thing and that is simply just doing right.

“I suppose there’s no good answer to that, Ryan. I wish there was. But if you take the wrong, path, something deep inside you will feel twisted. There are times when that will be the only way to know the right from the wrong.” – Inara Scott

Whenever I do get out, after loads of rest because of the energy sapping tremors associated with myoclonus, I am confronted with a myriad of responses from individuals – ranging from those who are freaked out and are frightened that it might be contagious to those who think it is a thing of amusement, barely concealing their smirks. Those who like Rose, have an understanding of the unique disorders of the human body and are eager to know more, and there are those who are unable to appreciate the fact that this is not something one would choose even in a totally inebriated state. There are those who flaunt the present wellness of their bodies and those who are unknowingly destroying themselves. However, the unifying factor amongst all these categories of humans is that we are all humans and so like Maya Angelou, I teach myself to recite this phrase ‘I am human and therefore nothing human should be alien to me’, that way I can deal with the barely concealed acts of insensitivity when I do encounter them.

I have actually embraced the Redcord therapy sessions (will put up pictures someday) because it is something new and even as Igor reiterates ‘you are a unique patient with a unique challenge’, I brace myself to continue to strive to do the one thing that comes easiest to a human, regardless of skin colour,  origins,  idiosyncrasies, or denials  – just doing right, (of-course in the effort lies victory). Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we have all been designed to do right and although we all daily wage battles within ourselves to stray from that divinely assigned task, that is our task – to just do right and regardless of how much pain I am in or how discomfited I may be – I want to do right, I choose to do right. It is so difficult wearing my own shoes and heck, some days just getting out of bed is so herculean but I have and am committed to that task because that is how I can improve myself. It is only when we acknowledge that we get, that the need to give can be properly birthed. I am given daily and so I choose to do right by giving as much as I get, being careful to sieve out the anguish of being ‘unique’ and give of the good I receive daily.

“If you are at a point in your life where you are not sure what you need to do, which path to take, or whether you are doing the right thing. That is probably because your inner being is wanting you to delve deep within yourself and find what you truly want from your life, Your spirit is trying to guide you towards your life’s path. Please take a moment to think what you really want to do that you haven’t done so far, and what would make you happy. That’s probably the answer to your confusion. All your answers are within yourself’ – A. E. Moss 

Now I am at a point in my life where I am sure of what I need to do because I know that happiness is a choice you have to make and for me, despite the loneliness of my sojourn or the looming clouds above, I am not giving in. I will continue to do right even if it means I get to stand alone. I will persist in doing right even when the stuttering wants to obfuscate the very words I want to say. I will persist in doing right even when it makes me different because I know that is what I was made to do and as each day draws to a close and I sit in watch as the new day dawns because I am unable to sleep, I know that I am further strengthened by the very One who is my designer and my Companion. When I realise with every passing moment that my life is but a journey, then I know that as I plod along, I can only but leave behind me legacies by the very actions of my hands and not so much by the words of my mouth. I can only do right by doing it, not saying it and pray someday that just one person will catch the vision and walk with it. That I dare to say is a life fulfilled.

What we can do, we must do: we must use what we are given, and we must use it the best we can, however much or little help we have for the task. What you have been given is a hard thing–a very hard thing… But my darling, what if there were no one who could do the difficult things?”  – Robin McKinley

It is indeed a new month and I always say it is better late than never. You can never go wrong when you simply just do right and so as I enthusiastically embrace the month with hope and determination, I know that within me lies the strength to not just triumph over this disorder but to also do right. As each of us, in his/her own little place begin to just do right, what an overwhelming tide of events we can cause to pervade our broken world. All it takes is to simply acknowledge that with the dawning of each new day, just like we welcome the breeze on our faces and bask in the warmth of the sun, so also we must acknowledge the good we receive and freely give just as we receive. Just do right, persist in it and behold the awesomeness of fulfilling your purpose daily.

Remember what a miserable tale ours would be if we choose to just exist rather than live purposefully. Just do right!

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!