Category Archives: Making a Disability your Life’s Biggest Gift

blogs about Making a Disability your life’s biggest gift and how you can grow and thrive with a Disability. these are based in paart on Brendon Burchard’s book, “The Charge: “.

Reviving your dreams after disability

Disabilities put an end to your dreams. Wanting to revive them after a disability is natural. Dreams are what give us the energy to strive and overcome challenges. We don’t want to surrender that energy. If surrendered, we want to recover it again.

You should not revive your dreams after a disability

Your old dreams were for another you. Before your disability you had different abilities. You could do different things. They were made for a different person in a different situation. To try and live out those old dreams will make you face the new reality over and over again.

I used to enjoy driving. It gave me a sense of freedom and competence. I never worried about accidents or harming others. As my eyesight failed, I had several near misses. One day I miss-judged the response of the car I was driving and flipped it. We were safe but shaken. While I miss the freedom of getting behind the wheel and going places, I don’t miss the fear that came over time. I can now recall with joy the freedom and ignore the fear, as long as I don’t try to drive.

As you see the reality of a disability it often causes you pain and depression. Would it not be easier to start afresh and not face the constant reminder of your loss?

How did those dreams come about? Were they not the product of your parents and others asking you things and offering you options? They molded you and often projected their own dreams on to you. How often does a father project onto his son the frustrated ambitions of an athlete? Often these projections are more subtle but still result in an ill-fitting dream.

Did that dream cause you stress? Did you feel that you must live that life? A dream that does not fit you does not give you energy. You don’t wake up each morning looking forward to living out that dream. Each night as you try to settle down the tension between your day and your dream haunts you. The challenges of the day were challenges with no rewards for overcoming them. You survived another day, for what? If you got closer to that dream did you feel any happier?

Do those old dreams now excite you? A dream should give you energy, energy to attack and conquer the challenges of the day. You now must look at those dreams. You are not the person you used to be. You are now the one who must create the dream. No longer are your parents and other adults responsible for you. They may still give you input, but their life experiences are no longer the ones you face. They are no longer able to mentor you.

You should dream anew after a disability.

As you live into a new you, you must look anew at your life. What can you do now? What do others with your abilities do? Should you let their limited successes limit you? Blind men have climbed Mt. Everest and solo hiked the Appellation trail. What will be the dream that you will embrace?

I have put the responsibility of driving behind me. I can now talk with the driver and others without worrying about getting lost. When I do get lost, it does not matter. Someone else is driving and we can recover. I am not alone in being lost!

I have moved to a place where I can take busses. Busses give me freedom that I would not have if I had to depend upon others to drive me. I can use the time waiting for and riding on the bus to plan, think, and read audio books. It may not be the way most of my peers do things, but it serves me well and I don’t have to strain to see where I am going.

When you were young you saw stories of other’s exploits. Some excited you and some seemed silly. What exploits now excite you? What now seem silly? Are there new stories that interest you?

Share your dreams old and new.

Bring others into this conversation. Do you know someone who needs a new dream?

Next week I continue this series on how to put your life back together to achieve your new dreams. Sign up at the right to be notified of when it is posted. If you know others who might also want to join us on this journey, forward this blog’s link to them.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

 

Do “Shoulds” make you feel Guilty?

We should not feel guilty over our “Shoulds.” Yet, it is the “shoulds” we have that make us feel guilty. They are what convict us of our failures to live up to our expectations. This guilt makes us tense.

The “should” are the rules we have to live by. They help us decide how to live. Yet, how often do they make our lives’ miserable?

Why “Shoulds” make you feel guilty.

Actually the “Shoulds“ make us feel guilty only when we don’t follow them. I know I should get started on the blog early in the week so I can get it posted by Friday. Yet, I usually find a reason to put off starting the blog until about Wednesday. By that time I feel enough guilt to make it a top priority. This week I finally felt that this blog was more important than an optional breakfast with a group in which I am only marginally involved. If this gets posted by Friday morning the combination of “Shoulds” and resulting Guilt will have served me well.

Often the guilt overwhelms us. Then we get stopped or do a less than ideal job. Can we find a better way to get things done?

Where did the “Shoulds” come from in the first place?

The “Should” that I must start each week’s blog on Monday or Tuesday comes from my experience that I must process and rewrite it several times to get it to flow reasonably well and be free of major typos. I must get the ideas down and then let them sit for a while. When I come back I can see problems with the prior version.

A few weeks ago when I returned I decided that I needed to totally rewrite the blog. The final one got out a week late. The first version served to let me process the issue.

This excursion into how my “should” that, “I must get each week’s blog started early in the week”, came about serves to show us that “Should” are summaries of our experiences and desires. My goal is to publish a blog each Friday so you can ponder it over the weekend. This “should” is clearly evolving, but most of our “shoulds” are deeply engrained.

Where did most of our “Shoulds” come from?

Our “should” serve as rules to make our lives easier. Yet, they make us tense too. This tension arises when a desire to not follow the rule also exists. I would rather do other things than write another blog.

The blog rule exists because I wish to help you to get over things. The things I seek to help you with are such things as, “I should not feel pain.” I should not feel guilty that I am ill.” “I should not let my personal limitations prevent me from meeting my obligations to others….” These are all more important than just getting the blog written for a few readers.

So, what is making you feel Guilty?

Where did that “should” come from?

Does that “should” still serve you, how and how not?

Is there a “should” that will serve you better?

The “shoulds” that I suggested you ponder will not yield their answers easily. As you begin pondering “why I feel guilty that I am ill.”, many memories around illness will emerge. You had to learn when to stop and go to bed and when to push through a cold or other discomfort. What obligation did you miss by giving in to the cold? How well did you perform while pushing thru the cold? Do you recall any other options? Are there remedies you might try? Are there other ways to meet your obligations?

By pondering these and related questions, have you gotten to know who you are better? Can you accept yourself more? Will you be less tense next time?

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” (Chinese Proverb)

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

 

Want to Thrive with a Disability?

Thriving is what we all would like to do, but when you face a disability you worry about how you can just survive. But you should; not settle for survival! You are now freed from the binds that kept you from thriving before!

We can divide the ways people see their lives into three categories; trapped, tamed or thriving.

Have you been trapped in a life that did not serve you?

If you were trapped you probably knew it. Here are some ways you might have described your life, stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. All these similar feelings come from a mindset that does not let you be free. There were beliefs that held you back. They made you a prisoner in your own life. Now the musts, should and ought’s that governed your life can be put in their place. When one of these gilt-producing ideas comes into your mind, you can say, “the disability won’t let me…”

If you were lucky, you led a Tamed life.

A Tamed life is one where you find it easy to get along. You do what you must to get what you need. The shoulds, musts and ought’s get met without effort. You had a job, friends and family. If so, you are lucky friends and family are still there for you now that a disability dominates your life. True the disability has put its own set of demands upon you. They too are met with little effort.

When my eye sight got too bad for me to drive, friends and family stepped up and I could still get around. In fact a neighbor I barely knew offered me a ride to a community group we were both in. I still lived a tamed life.

But is a tamed life what we really want? Is it the life that will be best for all those around us? Tamed people are plane people. They don’t make waves or get tossed by them. Are they fun to be around? Do they make you a better person?

The Thriving life is one where we not only get our “needs” met but also our wants. Few of us really want for our basic needs of food, clothing shelter and friends. True, the food we could get in a soup kitchen is not what we are used to or want to resort to for support. It is there if we are willing to set aside the self-image and pride we have and get it. The same is true of shelter, clothes, family and friends. No matter whom I have met they have always had these available. Those who lived on the streets still had some sort of friends. I might not want them. Call me a snob, but then there are many people I would rather not have as friends.

When a disability strikes your old life gets destroyed. We will miss it, but once we realize that we can’t go back, what is there to do?

We must make a new life for ourselves. Few of us consciously created the life we lived. It resulted in many decisions that others made for us. We did not choose our parents. They chose the communities we lived in and the schools we attended. They shaped our attitudes and beliefs about how we should live and how the world would be. Now, much of that does not work! The disability prevents us from believing such things as, “if we are good only good things will happen to us.”

I lost my eyesight due to no fault of my own. I was diagnosed with the disease early on. I went to one of the world’s experts in that disease. I followed his orders. Yet my eyes got worse. I could see less and less until there were major things I could not see and do.

With the help of a coach I now know I have choices. These choices can change my life. I can take charge of my life and Thrive. So can you!

What dreams do you have? If you could be any animal, what would you be? Let’s talk about those dreams and our animal personas.

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Paralyzed by feelings of being Overwhelmed, Hopelessness and Uselessness (recognizing your Depression)

 Feeling Overwhelmed, Hopeless or Useless is common. When any of these feelings paralyze you then depression exists. Often such feelings bring us up short and keep us from focusing on the matters at hand.

As we sit down to begin a new week there are many things we will need to accomplish. Feeling overwhelmed can affect how we think about the number and complexity of the tasks life forces us to plan. What should I do first? Will I overlook something important?

Tip: to get a handle on feeling overwhelm by your life tasks; list them in a word document. This will allow you to see all that you face. Then you can rearrange them. What are the components of each task? Are there subcomponents of different tasks that can be done together?

When I had to manage several patients in the hospital, I would keep a list. Then I would go to the various labs and x-ray and review all the studies of all the patients in one pass. Then when I went to each patient I did not have to run back to the lab many times. How might you resort and perform parts of the different tasks?

Hopelessness can really paralyze us. We feel there is no way to approach the problems we face. Frankly, some are truly beyond our control. The weather will be as it will be. We will have to adapt. Here in Minnesota, we expect snow all winter long. We buy cars and clothes in response to that fact. Soon, I will get out the long johns. They allow me to stand at the bus stop without freezing my legs off.

Tip: if you have made a list of the things facing you, now you can look for opportunities to address the underlying problems.

We can’t stop global warming, but we can travel with the least release of greenhouse gasses. In general ground transportation is better than air, and mass transit is better than solo. You have done something, even if it is not all that is needed to be done.

If you still feel overwhelmed by hopelessness then a mindset change may be in order. Ask yourself such questions as: Whose problem is it anyway? Will it really matter what I do? Then try to set it aside.

Years ago, I decided that in the case of nuclear war, I would enjoy the view from the roof. The chances of survival were small; I might as well experience the process and not hide.

Uselessness often confronts us. The major events swirling around us will happen with or without us. We are spectators or “collateral Damage) in the scheme of things. This is where the spiritual comes in.

Are you part of nature? If so, what does nature expect of you? The antelope grows big and strong only to become food for the lion. The lion will become food for the vulture. Our daily struggles prepare us for a role beyond ourselves. In the moment the struggle becomes primary, but in the overall scheme it serves only to prepare for another role. When the antelope loses its struggle with the lion, it assumes its’ ultimate role. How will your struggle today contribute to the world of tomorrow?

When these feelings of Overwhelm, Hopelessness and uselessness stop us for weeks, it is time to get outside help. You probably are clinically depressed and there are many things others can do to help you. You should usually feel like dancing, and not crying.

What ways have you found to dance in the face of overwhelm and hopelessness?

What resources do you have to dance? As All Ways, Seek Joy,7

You shouldn’t survive

Don’t survive, thrive!

Thriving is what we all want to do, so why don’t we focus our efforts on that instead of just surviving?

If you were thriving what would that feel like? How would thriving look?

When I think of thriving I find myself smiling. My mood is happy and full of energy. Things come to me easily and I can write this blog with ease. Even after the long winter and current hay fever season. I find it easy to do things. Several projects are in the works. I reach out to others readily and with excitement.

I no longer depend upon my wife to shop for me. I for weeks needed to

Shop for many things but found it so easy to put them off or forget them all together. Now feel free and go with ease and confidence. When I need help I ask for it. I usually get it with a smile and am grateful for all the help I get.

What can you do to Thrive, instead of Just Survive?

First thing I did was to realize that I had been struggling. February is usually my Low Month. It certainly was this year. I had let the cold weather that started in December get to me. I stayed in a lot and felt sad. Now I am forcing myself to get out and be with others.

Second thing I did was act. Once I was aware of my low mood, I took action. I made it a point to be in contact with others.  Two people with whom I Skype and I have started planning for a project. I have also gotten out to some meetings.

Thirdly, I let myself be accountable. By working together with other people I made myself accountable to them. I agreed to find the technology so we could do this online project. After several attempts, I now am able to do, record and edit interviews. They will   be podcasted shortly

Fourth, I believed that things would get better. Summer comes even to the frozen Midwest, and we could do this project.

Fifth, I found ways to laugh. I am often quick to see a pun. On a recent Sunday, Our Choir director put out some cards with some jokes on them. I could not help coming up with others.

Question: What is the difference between a Musician and Lock Smith?

Answer: their keys.

Question: where do musicians sit?

Answer: in musical chairs.

6. I allowed myself to dream m. I now aspire to do things. Recently I found a course to teach me how to blog on other sites. I am doing interviews for podcasts. They will appear in two forums, one for the blind community, and the other as stories of how disability changed people for the better. I will say more about that in the future.

This, my friends is the ABLE Coaching model (aspire, Believe, Laugh and love life, enjoy the journey). I will write more about ABLE Coaching in future blogs.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Author of the forthcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade (Thriving thru Disability): Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”

PS, as all ways feel free to share this blog. Comments are welcomed on the website or Facebook.

Dream to hurt or hurt to dream?

What do dreams and pain have in common? We have all had nightmares that awakened us in fear and trembling. Those dreams have often contain frightening experiences remembered or imagined. But do painful experiences cause us to dream? No I don’t mean that your sleeping in some uncomfortable position. No, I don’t mean that stubbing your toe will make you dream.

When that stubbed toe hurts long enough we may wish for a day when it didn’t. What other pains to we have in our lives and how do they make us dream? People often ask me, “do you want your site back?” And the real answer is I’m not sure.

My limited eyesight reminds me daily that I am limited. It reminds me that I must depend on others. It reminds me how dependable others are. Recently I wrote about helping and being helped and how the two are hard to distinguish.

There was a time when I felt like I could do almost anything. Sometimes I still do. In reality I’ve always been limited. I was not the best athlete in school, yet I felt I could be a better athlete with practice. I found few opportunities to play sports. I realize that because I wore glasses and they would not stay in place there were many sports my eyesight limited me in.

What do I want out of my life? That has been a quest upon which I have spent several years. For a while I just let things happen, to see what would happen. I then asked what can I still do? In trying to read computer screens I realized I needed a screen reader. Going back to school taught me that I still love to learn and could do so. I learned I could still write and many people enjoy what I write. However all that is in the present.

Dreams are not just about the past but also the future. None of us know for certain what the future holds. If we have a dream we can shape our future. In college I decided to go to medical school. That dream has shaped much of my life and who I am. My strong grounding in science makes it challenging for me to accept alternative modes of healing. Yet, as I look around I see many people who have been helped by those modes. I am writing a series of blogs about those alternative healing modalities.

This blog is the first in a series looking at symptoms. Pain is the most common symptom that brings people to a doctor. Doctors spend much time and effort trying to treat pain, and have made great strides in the recent decades. Many people continue to have chronic pain and find Western medicine to be grossly inadequate. When Western medicine tries to evaluate these other means they usually find them ineffective. Yet, some people clearly benefit from them.

What is the benefit of pain? Pain is a strong motivator. If I am hurrying down the street about the only thing that will get me to stop is a stone in my shoe. Would I rather be taking a stone out of my shoe or getting to where I was in such a hurry to get?

But when we are in pain we have a new reality. That stone in my shoe meant I had to put something before my destination. When we become ill we have to set our dreams aside at least for a while. Over the last several years I have had the opportunity to evaluate my life. I realize I never had a clear dream for my life. I wish I had sat down with a life coach and considered the possibilities. Now that I suffer from poor vision I have the chance to dream of what my life can be. Part of that dream is to help others dream of their new lives.

How has pain made you dream? Is your life better because you hurt?

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

coach Dr. Dave

author of the forthcoming book, “recipes for lemonade(thriving through disability): Dave’s personal recipe “.

Www.enjoyhealthandlifecoaching.com

An Invitation to Journey Beyond Disability

An Invitation

I would like to invite you on a journey with me. For some of you this journey may be very difficult. For others who have taken it before it might seem easy. In many ways it is a journey we all must take at some point in our lives. This is a journey through disability into what can be joy filled abundance beyond.

I want you to join me on this journey because it will be richer for both of us. I have made this journey several times and thus can serve as our guide. Your input and experience as we go will be a great help to both of us. We will enjoy the journey more by inviting friends to join us, so share this if you wish.

We will start out as we all do naïvely and innocently. The path we take contains roadblocks. We will have to find a way around over under or through these roadblocks. These roadblocks can take many forms each of us will find it takes a different form. That is why your experience will help me understand more about how to bring more people upon this journey.

After we leave the space of innocence we will find our resources tested. For me this came in the form of the loss of eyesight. Others have found the barrier to be painful or fatiguing. I have been on the other side of these illnesses. I know people who can find joy filled abundance in the life beyond. The resources you find to get you into that joy filled abundance can help others. Before we finally arrive at the joy filled abundance we will also have to traverse a new beginning. As we journey through the barrier we will not be able to return to our innocence. Until we find that joy filled abundance each of us may wish to return to the place of innocence. I hope we can enjoy the journey as well as the destination itself.

Your comments as readers of this newsletter or blog will be invaluable. So that I may help others as they take this journey, I will be trying to keep a written record of our travels. I have created a website especially for this purpose. You may sign up for this journey by subscribing for this blog. I hope to see you there in the coming weeks.

Dave Moseman, M.D.