Some personal thoughts at the beginning of a new year, and a poem

A new year is here and I feel very grateful to be alive. I am ‘walking’ hand in hand with January carrying optimism and hope, both vital for my well-being, and while I am not wishing away the days, I am very much looking forward to the springtime when I can once more greet the fresh air and spend precious time in its loving company.

I don’t make resolutions but I do take a look at certain aspects of my life and make a few adjustments here and there. MS obviously plays big role in this these days and I need to keep everything about it in perspective while firmly facing the truth of what it is.

Everyone with this condition lives with it on a very personal level and no two people are the same either symptom-wise or affected in the same way by the same symptoms others may experience. Hence I will stop reading ‘miracle’ stories of those who are leaping out of wheelchairs because of which MS friendly diet they have decided to follow. This only leads to frustration and hours of beating myself up for ‘failing’, as my particular condition progresses.

The disease of MS is not given the name ‘progressive’ as a flimsy decoration; it is what it says it is. However, I have spent many hours researching diet and it can and does definitely help, either by providing a much improved sense of well-being, mostly that of an increase in energy levels, either physical or mental and/or possibly slowing down progression, but the latter is, of course, not evidence based as yet. So I have embarked on a specific diet worked out by myself for myself that suits my needs and one that is working very well for me. Exercise is also essential and there again we can only do what is within our own physical capabilities, even if that means a few gentle stretches; it all helps.

My main and firm resolve for this year is to hand nothing over to others that I can still do for myself however difficult it may seem. But there is a fine line between stubbornness and determination; they are, I believe, on opposite sides of the same coin and I will try to recognise when I am in danger of flipping that coin to my detriment.

I wish you all a peaceful and content year ahead full of those two vitals of optimism and hope.

Below is a poem from my new book, Dancing in the Rain which hopefully will be available on Amazon soon. There is now just one formality which is taking longer than expected.

Be Awake

When you walk along the path
do not be unaware of how
your legs are moving,
how your hands are free to wave,
or oblivious to the tender
wilderness that bends and sways
but never breaks.
And don’t just hear, but listen
to the comforting call
of a collared dove as he
tips his hat to say hello
though some may say he only squawks.
And the wood pigeons too;
listen, hear how
their song is different from the dove.

I’m not saying stop being busy
because that’s on the to-do list of life.
All I’m saying is don’t be unaware,
don’t sleep through it all,
don’t miss anything.
Be awake.

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52 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lscotthoughts
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 16:44:55

    Oh, Chris, this is a wonderful start to the new year for all of us as we embark on the same path or a changed one. You are truly inspiring and your words resonate deeply with me, too, with what our family is experiencing. They resonate differently, but they do hit home…and your poem is lovely, also, and sends off quite a valuable lesson as each year seems to fly by more quickly (in my opinion). 🙂
    I wish your days to come to be filled with much strength, hope, optimism and achievement in all you do and aspire to do! Sending hugs, Lauren xo

    Reply

  2. Peter Wells aka Countingducks
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 16:49:21

    Lovely words in prose and poetry. You are so right, whatever your health situation, never let thoughts of your destination blind to the beauty evident during your journey. As always, you are an example to many of us

    Reply

  3. Bennison Books
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 17:09:03

    Here’s to 2015, Chris 🙂 xxx

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 05, 2015 @ 17:14:18

      Absolutely Deborah! I am beginning to get a little frustrated but I know the world has only just returned to work today so fingers crossed and maybe some chasing up to do! 😊 xxx

      Reply

  4. leamuse
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 17:13:34

    You really begin with a bang! You are so inspirational dealing with your own issues but also reaching out to any of life’s bangs and bruises. We all have or will have some rocks strewn on our path. We must choose how to deal with them and your courage inspires us. The cards are dealt in this life we don’t pick and choose and each time we take a moment to be fully aware, we are building up the reserve that may be what gets us through it with grace.

    Much love in the New Year and I can’t wait to see the new book! 🙂 xxx

    Reply

  5. journeyintopoetry
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 17:36:52

    Thank you Lauren. I’m pleased it resonated because although personal, I am always happy when my words reach out to others. You were very muchin my mind as I was writing this post.

    And I wish you the same for 2015!

    Love and hugs ❤️ Xx

    Reply

  6. Ina
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 18:14:35

    Wonderful to read this, Christine. And true, whatever you can do, you need to do yourself. It is keeping my husband going in spite of his stomach cancer, ( and me too, with my own health problems ) . Not sure it is optimism or just being practical and whi has money to get a housekeeper lol! 🙂 I hope this year will bring much positiveness into your life and love. So glad I found you some years ago! 🙂 Big hugs ❤ xxx

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 05, 2015 @ 18:28:14

      Thank you very much Ina! Yes I think being practical is definitely part of the equation too!

      And I am so glad we found each other too! It seems a long time ago. We are ‘old” friends now! Much love and big hugs 😊❤️ Xxx

      Reply

  7. Ina
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 18:15:16

    Whi = who !

    Reply

  8. Cynthia Jobin
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 18:41:43

    I like what you’ve said about the difference between stubbornness and determination, Christine, and it’s easy enough to flip onto the wrong side of that coin. What makes the difference is courage, I think….”you gotta have heart..” as the old song goes, and you have that in spades. And now, before I club you with a diamond metaphor as well, I will say I consider you among the real treasures of my blogging experience and thank you for all these good words–both prose and poetry. Much love… 🙂 ❤

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 07, 2015 @ 11:39:57

      Sometimes someone’s words give us a warm, happy feeling Cynthia, and yours have just done that to me, thank you! 😊And I agree about the courage thing, both in forging ahead and also having courage to say “I can’t do this, I need help”. There is much strength in acknowledging this I think, especially when one’s middle names are ‘fiercely independent’ 😄😄

      Reply

  9. Libby
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 20:14:44

    Some good advice for us all here Christine and a positive sart to the year. Knowing when to accept help is always difficult and sometimes we have to accept it in order to please the one who offers! It’s all a question of balance. A lovely piece of writing.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 07, 2015 @ 11:42:49

      Thank you Libby. You are so right about balance; this word rears its little head all the time. And of course we need to acknowledge how good it makes someone feel to think they are helping. I always get a nice warm feeling when I help others in some way.

      Reply

  10. Minuscule Moments
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 20:35:11

    Christine thank you for the gift of reminding me to be grateful for the little things. That poem is stunning, you really are an amazing writer/poet. I hope this day finds you happy and able to do as much as your body allows you to do. Go gently through January and onward my friend.

    Reply

  11. Polly
    Jan 06, 2015 @ 09:36:22

    A poignant, yet positive and inspiring poem and post – Happy New Year Christine 🙂

    Reply

  12. Jane Thorne
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 11:30:18

    Awareness on so many levels is key and Chris, my lovely friend, you have it. We ‘tweak’ as we go along and lovingly hold hands along the way. ❤ xXx

    Reply

  13. grammakrackers
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 22:35:45

    Ms. Christine, I love this whole post – and Ms. B. will be over soon to read it for herself and comment!
    xxoo from all us Krackers

    Reply

  14. Wendy L. Macdonald
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 03:07:05

    I love the call to stillness and presence in your poem, Christine. It’s good to be reminded that each person’s journey is individual.

    Blessings for 2015 ~ Wendy ❀

    Reply

  15. jafarley
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 00:46:20

    Lovely poem! Most of us today have lost the ability to be aware, We’re so preoccupied with our busyness that we miss the beauty around us.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 13:22:12

      Thank you jafarley for visiting and leaving this lovely comment. Being diagnosed with progressive MS three years ago was a horrible experience, but since then, life has taken twists and turns and I find myself on paths I may never have travelled. I no longer ‘sleep’ though my days; every moment contains hidden treasures 😊

      Reply

  16. harulawordsthatserve
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 18:19:52

    Hello Dearest Christine:-) What a warm, wise and inspiring post to start of the blogging year. Your poem is gorgeous, with your unique touch of humour and astute observation, and reminds me of a Rumi verse,
    “The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
    Don’t go back to sleep!
    You must ask for what you really want.
    Don’t go back to sleep!”
    Indeed hope and optimism are vital, and I hope they will travel at your side all through the year. Do let us know when the final formalities are…finalised! Can’t wait to see and read your new book:-) With all my love and blessings of joyful well-being for 2015, Harula xxx

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 10, 2015 @ 11:24:42

      Thank you so much Harula for this warm, thoughtful response to my post/poem. I must say I am getting a little impatient with the tax office who are the culprits in holding up the book! But I am trying not to let it get to me and reminding myself that good things are worth waiting for! 😊

      Love hugs and blessings for 2015 xxx

      Reply

  17. Betty Hayes Albright
    Jan 11, 2015 @ 22:15:41

    Christine, this is such an inspiring post, with the added bonus your very wise poem. Being in the moment, mindfulness, an expanded consciousness of every “small” thing – this is living to the very depths of our souls. It too often takes a health crisis to make us realize and understand the need for this. I can well relate, and resonate with every word and I know this comes from a powerful place within you – your very essence.

    Key phrase of the prose that really hit home: “But there is a fine line between stubbornness and determination; they are, I believe, on opposite sides of the same coin and I will try to recognise when I am in danger of flipping that coin to my detriment.” You seem to be living true to yourself on every level and your words give us all perspective, encouragement and inspiration, no matter what health issue we’re dealing with. Ah, if only everyone understood! Thankfully most of our real friends and family members do.

    Thank you for posting this!

    Much love to you,

    Betty xxoo

    Reply

  18. journeyintopoetry
    Jan 12, 2015 @ 17:36:46

    Thank you Betty. It does seem strange that sometimes it takes adversity before we ‘wake up’. I would have argued that I was always ‘awKe’ but it’s not true. Now I know how much I missed before. It just seems to come naturally when illness hits doesn’t it. Suddenly we appreciate life on a whole different level.

    Much love to you too xx

    Reply

  19. bardessdmdenton
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 00:52:51

    It is easy to say someone has courage, but it doesn’t happen by magic, instead with constant attention to all aspects of oneself: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This is even harder when the physical usefulness of our bodies is diminished and offers pain and frustration and more and more reliance on others. Evolution is always the key, throughout the progression of life, which is bound to ask for adaptation on many levels. All that you write and are and offer so generously and compassionately to others, that comes from your beautiful awareness of what is so fine about life as much as what is so difficult, make you inspirational. Love you always, my dear friend, and send blessings and hugs. XO ❤

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 13, 2015 @ 10:22:29

      Diane, this is such a beautiful and thoughtful comment I have read it several times. Thank you for reminding me that I actually do mostly see what is so fine about life as much as what is difficult. It has made me realise that with work on my part, I have actually managed to achieve some balance. For the first year after my diagnosis, I lived very much in the problem/illness and now that seems to have switched, if not all the time (we all have bad days), to living in the solution which is.to be simply in the moment and taking time to reflect/meditate on all that is good in life. And there is so much! Thank you for an important reminder. I love you too and send love and hugs back to you ❤️ Xxx

      Reply

  20. kathryningrid
    Jan 16, 2015 @ 03:30:47

    My sweet, this is superb. I am going to try to be especially awake this year, both because I think I really need to and because you have inspired me. 😀 Thank you for the beautiful reminder, and for the leadership on a good path for 2015. May it be a magnificent year for you! ❤
    Kathryn

    Reply

  21. SuzyHazelwood
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 01:29:28

    That is such an elegant poem Christine, and I love the message that comes with it too. 🙂 Reminding everyone to be awake is one of my favourite subjects – so many are not in so many ways, and I include myself in that. I catch myself sometimes, just not being as aware as I could be. It’s funny how, I always seem aware of most illusions, but can get a bit lax in the everyday minute detail. Things I should be more aware of feeling grateful for or just the fact that I generally have what I need. My health could be a lot better, but I keep going and I have legs I can walk on, and it’s those kind of things I can just not be aware of – not to forget birds singing in the trees, small things of nature. The older I get the more aware I am of those small things I took for granted. Perhaps it takes forty years or more to realise the importance of those small things?! 🙂

    I agree with you about not comparing yourself with others who have the same illness as yourself, everyone is so individual. Developing a diet personally tailored for you is very wise and what everyone should do. My Mother had to do that because of rheumatoid arthritis. It was easy for her to buy into the belief that if a diet had helped one person with the same illness then it could help her. She did find benefits to most suggested diets, but ultimately had to develop her own. And there were times when she appeared to be hardly touched by arthritis and other time (long months) when she’d be confined to bed it was so bad. My closest friend I’ve known for over twenty years has arthritis now and also finds certain foods are best avoided, a lot of them are the same ones my Mother needed to avoid. It’s like watching my Mother all over again!

    I hope this year has some great things for you Christine. And of course you have that book coming out soon! I hope it’s a great success. You’ve come such a long way from your beginnings of poetry – that’s got to be something worth celebrating!! 😀

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 19, 2015 @ 13:05:26

      Thank you Suzy, for such a thoughtful, conprehensive comment. It does seem strange how long it takes for us to ‘be awake’ to everything around us. We are far too busy when we are young simply coping with our ego I think! And it seems to take age or adversity to set us free from all that. I’m not knocking it though, it’s part of growing and developing. I’m just grateful I have been given a chance to ‘wake up’ enough to enjoy the things missed in youth.

      Regarding the diet, my food needs to be anti-inflammatory and before I had this condition I had no idea such inflammatory food existed! I therefore now avoid dairy and gluten, and I drink a freshly made green vegetable juice most days, very difficult at first but two years into it Im coping fine. It won’t cure me but I feel better and that’s what matters. Like I said, it may slow progression, so I owe it to myself to give my body the best chance.

      😄 xxx

      Reply

      • SuzyHazelwood
        Jan 19, 2015 @ 14:32:00

        That sounds like a very similar diet my Mum had for arthritis, it is very different to what we are used to. Changes like that are always hard at first. I cut out milk about a year ago in tea, because too much dairy seemed to be causing me to pick up a lot of colds. It has helped a lot, but it was hard at first. Most people look at me in horror when I say I have no sugar or milk in tea. But that’s actually how tea was meant to be taken, it was just a case of getting a really nice light tasting quality tea and within a couple of weeks it was normal. We just don’t like change, we like our comforts – like babies! 🙂

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 19, 2015 @ 15:24:17

      You are so right! We are always resistant to change!! 😄

      A funny story – not long ago when the family were over from Ireland we went out
      for a meal and a pizza place was chosen as we were sure the children would all eat this. You should have seen the waiter’s face when I ordered mine! I don’t like olives and so I said can I have a gluten free base please, no cheese and no olives but I love mushrooms so extra mushrooms please. He smiled and said shall I just bring you a plateful of mushrooms?! 😄 xx

      Reply

      • SuzyHazelwood
        Jan 19, 2015 @ 20:04:30

        Haha – well, at least he was adaptable!! 😀 In the 80’s I had a lot of food allergies and it was very difficult going out for a meal, I know the feeling, but in those days I never thought of asking if I could have a meal without certain foods on the plate, I just avoided what I needed to avoid. I was sure they would have thought me deranged if I had asked. I used to get some funny looks off people when I said I couldn’t eat wheat or sugar. I did recover from most of those food problems, but I was like that for about 6 years. At least there is more education on food intolerances these days, and most people seem to be avoiding one food or another for various reasons. I’m sure waiting staff are used to being asked for exclusions. How times have changed- and what a relief!! 😀

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 19, 2015 @ 20:12:28

      I think if I went into Biddy’s Tearoom I would ‘cheat’ just for one day!! 😄 xx

      Reply

  22. Norma (Through My Eyes)
    Feb 10, 2015 @ 12:42:06

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…elegant and encouraging. Reminds us to be aware and grateful. Hugs xxx

    Reply

  23. roweeee
    Feb 12, 2015 @ 11:14:46

    Reblogged this on beyondtheflow and commented:
    I would like to share this very inspirational post from Chris, who is living with MS. I relate to so much of what she writes as I live with dermatomyositis, an auto-immune where my muscles attack themselves. It includes a very motivating poem which is a wake-up call to us all xx Rowena

    Reply

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