Perhaps I made peace with my life because I have much experience with loss, how to accept it and move forward. Or maybe it happened because I had no choice. It likely is because it is my true nature and to live I the present I had to make peace. What struck me was that perhaps some people haven’t had this experience and by sharing it with others it may help someone in need. Let us explore making peace during difficult times.
How does one begin the process of making peace ? It is a simple easy answer. You must want it. And if you do want it, you will begin accepting whatever it is in your life that you must in order to move forwards. For me I had to accept that I was living with disability. Once I identified what that looked and felt like in my life I began the process of making peace. However, you must want the peace to accept the resistance in ones life. Peace must prevail over my disability. Once I learned how to keep the peace in my body I was able to live by stop, rest and pace principles in order to keep my peace.
For a person living with with multiple chronic illnesses and disability learning how to keep the peace isn’t easy. It has taken four long years of trial and error, modifications and setbacks to learn how to keep my peace. There is an element of sacrifice involved, there will be much you must sacrifice in order to find your peace. Things you would never have thought of living without.
For me, I live and isolated housebound life. This has become mandatory to prevent setbacks, I am unable to go out for an appointment without suffering a setback. I have left my home for health related 5 appointments in the last 3 years, the last being in February 2020. Some days I go without a shower in order to be able to paint in my studio and keep my peace. Did you ever think you could live without showering, washing your hair and shaving every day ? I didn’t, but I had to learn to accept it in order to keep my peace. Showering takes an extraordinary amount of energy for a person with M.E., and is often the days main event. That is right a shower is the big excitement for the whole day, the remainder spent resting and restoring energy used in showering. This took me four years of small successes to get myself to this point of abilities. Some things I could say here would shock you but I will keep them to my full time caregiver and myself.
The reason I sacrifice a shower to paint is simple. Painting gives me peace, in mind and body. I can simply spend a few minutes not feeling pain and that is way more beneficial than a shower. Painting gives me happiness, the colours in my palette thrill my senses. Painting fills my heart with love as it is my calling, something I must do. There is much I sacrifice in my life with chronic illness and disability to paint. This is part of how I made peace, learning just how important paint and brushes are to my everyday.
Many of of the strategies one uses are invisible to others such is invisible disability. Others won’t see your gains, this is not a outward validating process. You must make peace with this. You may be able to walk the stairs for the first time without your heart rate maxing out. You may find you can peacefully walk a loop around a small area at a slow steady pace. You may find that while doing a simple stretch something loosens. You may find that after several years you loose clothes to reduce pain finally are simply too big. Make peace with your small successes, celebrate them and keep moving forward.
Now I can ask myself daily in my body check in ‘What do I need to do today to keep my peace? This has been pivotal in my healing and recovery. What my painting has given back to me has been monumental. I am grateful I was able to accept my disability with ease and that it has allowed me to find peace in my life. May you find peace, love and happiness in your days.