Say bye to disabilities and limitations

wellness“Amma, you are perfectly fine. There is really no need to get a certificate saying you had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis..” said my daughter when a friend told me I should get a certificate that might give me some benefits like cheaper travel and so on.

Now, I really do not wish to trivialise what the government seeks to provide through what is termed a  “disability certificate”. This is necessary to access benefits afforded under the Persons with Disabilities Act (1995) in India. For, disability can be painful and burdensome for individuals and may present special challenges for individuals and their families.

Despite the advantages it affords, the act also presents a challenge for the disabled in another area of their health and rights – namely, the protection of their privacy. These privacy concerns arise because of the way the Act is implemented and what individuals must do in order to qualify for benefits under its provisions. Specifically, individuals seeking benefits must obtain a disability certificate from a specified government healthcare provider. The certificate itself needs to display a photograph (certified by due authority), as well as the name and address of the individual, which can increase the risk of confidentiality breach should the certificate be misplaced or stolen, or merely viewed by unauthorised persons. Further, the certificate details not only the diagnosis, but also the duration of illness and degree of disability.

Apart from the process, I feel there is a major impact on the psyche of the person himself/herself and their families. It would be better if all energies will diverted instead to combat the challenge of the illness or disability so that one forgets that there is a challenge. The more one forgets, the more the universe responds will options for complete wellness. In my case, I am complete fine now due to exploring what are called complementary therapies.

Complete wellness is of course doing all that one can without comparing oneself with others in all areas. That of course, requires a complete change of mindset which is of course a life long commitment that we all need to make to ourselves all the time.

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Playing our role in the drama of life

dramaoflifeWe often get along with a group of people who we find similar to us but often stay away from those who seem different. This is actually a very limited way of being. To expand our consciousness and way of being, we need to perceive others in a different way.

We could become the people and situations that can help you become clearly and strongly aware of our way of thinking. Usually we carefully protect ourselves from people we “just can’t stand”, we run the other way when life gives us a relationship that worries us.

This is actually a lesson that we need to learn and if we try and run away from it, we may see the lesson repeating in our lives again and again in a myriad ways. After all, life is indeed the greatest school of all and we need to work in this school diligently to learn and apply these lessons in all areas of life. In my case, I remember the time I used to run away from people who talked about ritualism, thinking is was at the lowest rung of spirituality. Now, this again is a judgement that no one has the right to make. When people get together be it for a ritual, for  a chant or for discussions of any kind, if they find it empowering, they are surely free to do so. Why should we judge the way anyone wishes to explore life?

Life is after all all always beautiful if we look at it with the perception of wishing to understand and not judge. It is only with seeking to understand that we shall see the different perceptions that everyone has. By understanding everyone’s perceptions, we shall indeed realise we all are players in the drama of the world. None of us is superior or inferior. We just are playing our role in the situation we are placed in. In that sense, we all are actors being directed by a supreme being who is pulling the threads. How we train our consciousness to play the role well, if of course entirely upto us.

Connect with understanding

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive,” says the Dalai Lama

connectwitheveryoneThis is indeed true for humanity and all human beings in general. The fact is all positive emotions are interlinked and hence when we connect, love increases and therefore our world seems a much better to live in. This is a fundamental truth of life itself.

We do need to know here what to take seriously and what not to. Most of the problems in life itself is because we do not work on understand all kinds of people in the world. The world does indeed consist of different types of people but it is entirely in our control to see how we handle each kind. This is indeed one of the primary tests of life. One of the stories that I still remember in this context is that of a heap of skulls.

A Sufi mystic was passing through a cemetery and he came upon a heap of skulls. Out of curiosity he took one skull. He had always been of the thought that all skulls are almost the same, but they were not the same. There were a few skulls whose ears were joined together; there was a passage. There were a few skulls whose ears were not joined together; there was a barrier between the two. There were a few skulls both of whose ears were joined to the heart but not joined together; there was a passage running to the heart. He was very surprised. He prayed and asked God, “What is the matter? What are you trying to reveal to me?” And it is said that he heard a voice. God said, “There are three types of people: one, who hear through one ear; it never reaches anywhere — in fact they don’t hear, just the sound vibrates and disappears. There is another type, who hear, but only momentarily — they hear through one ear, and through the other ear it is lost into the world again. There are a few souls, of course, who hear through the ears and it reaches to the heart.”

And God said, “I have brought you to this heap of skulls just to help you remember it when you are talking to people. Talk only to those who take whatsoever you say to their hearts — otherwise don’t waste your energy, and don’t waste your time. Your life is precious: you have a message to deliver.”

This tale shows us that though there are different kinds, we need to know how to handle each one of them. Essentially, it is our attitude we need to try to improve. After all, we all have messages to deliver and this is exactly what we need to focus on.

Cured or healed, does it matter what we call it?

As I work for Life Positive, a magazine that focuses on personal growth and have written a book, detailing my healing from multiple sclerosis, I am often asked whether I have healed or cured myself.

Here, all I would like to say that these are all just semantics. What matters is the fact that I have overcome what is considered a chronic condition and am leading an active, independent life.

projectmanagementspiritualLooking back, I think the primary reason for my recovery/ healing or whatever one may choose to call it was not just the technique of acupuncture that has been extremely beneficial to me, not yoga that has also been very helpful, the other techniques that I have attempted off and on but the unconditional love that I received from my loved ones at home, office and in fact, everyone around me. This resulted in me never feeling like a patient at any time. To me, MS was just something to be taken care of along with various other aspects in my life.

This has made me feel that it one can indeed heal from anything if one’s relationships are robust and we keep watering them with our doses of love.

Taking the discussion further using today’s semantics, healing is not just about physical healing but about emotional healing too. It is being proven now by everyone even in the medical fraternity that not being emotionally content and stress free can lead to all kinds of issues in one’s life.

So, what is the solution? Like many truths of life, it is extremely simple to say but  very difficult to apply in one’s life completely. To begin with, it would help if apart from love, we are grateful for all that we have in our lives.

We all do have things to be worried about and also things to be grateful for. Let us focus on the latter. Instead of making our lives full of worries, let us instead focus on all that we need to be grateful for. Fortunately, our emotions and therefore, our lives, are very much in our control. We would only need to work on them to lead a complete life, whatever the situation we find ourselves may be. This, I understand, is not very easy but if we must try to do this for our own wellness.

With this focus, worry and its cousins like self-pity and depression will soon vanish from our lives.

 

Spiritual wellness

spiritualwellnessThe first thing that I had to overcome when I got diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) was thinking about what is going to happen next. Would I become a vegetable? Would I have a premature death? Will I be able to see, hear, speak, walk? What would happen to my family, especially my children?

Today, after nearly ten years, I am completely fine, physically, mentally and yes, spiritually. I definitely wish to promote spiritual wellness to everyone now.

What is spiritual wellness? When spirituality itself is misused and misinterpreted, naturally spiritual wellness itself is bound to also be misunderstood, misused or misinterpreted.

I consider spiritual wellness to be working on all aspects of our personality. Through my association with Life Positive, I have actually come across many such success stories who have worked on spiritual wellness and now, I have also become one such story.

I do not wish to make the simple statement that we attract illness. The fact is, like life, illness or wellness happens because there are some lessons that we still need to learn.

How do we learn these lessons? This can be done only by walking in the right direction. What is the right direction? The first step is being clear that we shall indeed improve and of course, we shall.  Call it faith, belief, affirmation, the power of positive thought or anything that conveys the same message. It is a fact that the body responds to the mind and the mind to the soul. Fortunately, these are very much in our control.

We also live in a world where there is a lot of mixed up priorities. Data is given more importance than feelings. What can go wrong is given more importance that what can go right.

This is why I wish to share my story and let people know I have overcome a so-called chronic ailment primarily by working on my spirit, mind and body, in that order. If I can do this, others can too.

If you wish to  seek some guidance here, I request you to send a request on jamuna.rangachari@gmail.com

 

Life with MS : Turning Points

Most of my turning points have come from reading. The article “Karma and Grace” that Suma Varughese, the editor of Life Positive, had written a few years back, was something that was a tonic for me. I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis then and had developed a disease that was even worse, “self-pity”.

turningp

Suma brings out how while one may need to face one’s karma, one is always cushioned by God’s grace with strength to handle it. This article made me “turn around” and focus on God’s grace that was giving me many things to be grateful for.  I had a wonderful family, friends and a dream career that made me focus on personal growth.

Like most of us with multiple sclerosis, the primary issue I had at that stage was that of mobility.

It was then that I read  “Tough Times Don’t Last But Tough People Do” by Robert Schuller. The book talks about how one should never give up on life and do one’s best in all areas, whatever one’s challenges might be. An episode the author mentioned in the book seemed almost as if it was written for me. The author’s  daughter, Carol Schuller, had met with a motor  cycle accident and his father, though a pastor, did not know what to say to her, when she said, “I know why it has happened , father. God wants to use me to help others who have been hurt.”

I told myself that I needed to make myself strong emotionally and spiritually not just for myself but also to show others with multiple sclerosis or other ailments to focus on what they can do and not on what they cannot do.

With this acceptance, I found that there was practically nothing that I could not do.

Soon, complimentary therapies restored me to complete physical fitness too. Perhaps, I needed to go through this journey to make me stronger emotionally and spiritually.

Playing a good game with MS in the cycle of life

We all know that there are several layers in life, just like a multi layered pudding.

When one is diagnosed with an ailment like MS, since there is a lot of uncertainty even among the doctors, it is important that we understand all the layers completely.

lawofattraction

First, there is the physical layer, the body that responds to exercise, diet and a regular pattern of life. When there is a lack of balance or sickness, this layer responds to medicines, natural or otherwise. Even when one returns to wellness, one needs to continue to nurture it with a balanced lifestyle.

The next layer that is even more powerful than the first layer is the layer of the mind. Today, even all doctors agree that this is an extremely important layer that determines how a person responds or does not respond even to medicines and sometimes, surgery. In fact, some diseases are even termed psycho-somatic because of a pattern of negative thinking that makes it impossible to get better. The layer of the mind, if attuned to always thinking that one can do anything in life, does indeed make this happen.

The layer above both of these is the spiritual layer or the karmic layer. One can call it acceptance of the cards that life has dealt us or acceptance of one’s karma.   The fact is even here, one needs to believe that this can indeed change.

The karmic cycle is in fact, dynamic and never static. Things do change with positive thought, affirmations and positive action.

By attuning all these layers and not neglecting any of them, one can indeed lead a life that is wholesome and complete. In other words, whatever the circumstances, miracles do indeed happen if one believes in them.

In sum, whatever ‘cards’ one is dealt with, one can either improve on them or go down further. This indeed is the cycle of life.

Let us learn to play a good game in this cycle of life, despite MS and never give up our power in our life.

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