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.


Not Resolutions

More reading,
less face-booking,
an addictive pastime;
one hour is too much,
ten are not enough.

Face to face contact,
(I miss that),
except with doctors
who can provide no answers,
hand me an invite to the
next party in six months;
I know they do their best.

Exercise; this will involve
the bottom stair and me in
a few casual calf stretches,
unless the cat happens to
be resting there, then I will
leave it until tomorrow.

I will be kinder to myself,
let my dog make better use
of the stick I often hold to
beat myself up;
practice self-compassion,
maybe a little Mudita,
wandering in and out of my
Buddhist inspired lifestyle
depending upon current
level of acceptance.

These are not resolutions;
I’ve tried before and
they don’t work.
These are goals or aims,
a less challenging image,
one of sauntering sideways
rather than forward,
but a shift nonetheless
and better than standing still.

Wendy L. Macdonald

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