What moments in life have left you speechless, breathless, moved to tears, given you courage, lit your passion, soared your soul, or elicited beautiful intimacies that defy written word? My short list includes some sensual yet simple "first times" like standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, cradling the warmth of my firstborn, and most recently gazing upon a lovely painting. My belief is that everyone experiences these moments of grandeur but we aren't always cognizant of the magnitude that lies before us.
I confess to years of being too busy with life to savor many precious moments. To-do lists never ended and along with happiness life brought challenges. In 1998 the chronic illness of multiple sclerosis (MS) turned my world upside down. The early years with MS were consumed with problems walking, bathing, with depression and pain, and a lack of purpose in my life. Then, unexpectedly, MS took me down a new path that eventually led to great fulfillment. Multiple sclerosis became a blessing in my life.
No, I am not claiming a miracle, but I do believe beyond the pain of bad things in life we can often find good. I did. I am fortunate to be doing much better now and I travel extensively sharing my MS journey and teaching others about the disease.
My approach to life has changed drastically. I focus on setting daily goals, following my heart, and surrounding myself with things and people that bring me joy. I no longer question outrageous ideas but instead pay close attention to what makes my heart race. This simplistic approach has helped me stay focused in the moment, try new things, and celebrate life. A better balance of body, mind, and spirit seems to naturally align with my newfound approach to living life well. I strive to respect what supports the balance but it's not always easy. Helpful guidance is often found with people and circumstances put in my life who somehow dovetail into my new adventures. There are no coincidences in life, only synchronicity.
Synchronicity is ever present and I've learned to never ignore it. I ended up buying that beautiful painting I mentioned earlier. The abstract hangs in my living room and greets me daily upon arising. And of course I was not at all surprised to find the artist had appropriately named it "Pure Joy."
Peace and joy,
Mary Ellen Ziliak, RN, MSCS
"Pure Joy" painting, by Cynthia Watson, artist