Posts Tagged ‘support’

Gratitude for connections

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Every connection, every moment, every time we share a moment, anytime we are in the presence of another human being, it is a gift; whether we are aware of this or not it is a blessing to share these moments, it is a gift for both the giver and the receiver.

When someone gives of themselves and when someone is receiving, energy is exchanged and both parties benefit. Being aware of this is so important, being aware that we are being blessed with this gift, that someone else is allowing us their time, space and energy is equally as important, it is such an honor to be part of someone’s life, their time, their moments and their journey.

I recognize every beautiful spirit that has allowed me to share in these, ‘their’ moments, it is a gift and it is with absolute gratitude that say, I see you, I hear you, I appreciate you and I am so thankful for you.

Lisa Bachrach-Zeankowski

The Only Way Out, Is Through

 

It’s so easy to ask one’s self, why me?  1-make-stepping-stones-out-of-stumbling-blocks-rianna-stackhouse

When I hear that question, even if it’s inside my own head, my response is always the same, if not you, then who?

There are many times in our lives we might ask ourselves that question, usually it’s during a time when things are just not going ‘as planned’ or how we ‘expect’ them to go, but there is lesson one right, let go of expectations and plans. I believe that when those things happen that the Universe, God, Spirit or whatever we want to call it, has another plan for us and while we might see it as an obstacle or a stumbling block it really is the beginning of our growth and most times, in a major way. The change, transformation or shift, while not obvious at first becomes the beginning of a life changer and if we allow it, if we don’t resist it and we take what happens as part of our journey and learning experience, it will become our greatest lesson and even sometimes reveal to us our purpose.

Many of us have heard the quote “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.”

Life does throw us stumbling blocks and with each one we are given a choice, we are given the option to ask ourselves these questions, what is this here to teach me? What can I learn from this moment, from this bump in the road what is this here to show me? How can I allow myself to be utilized in a way that might help someone else? At least that is what I hear when I come upon the stumbling blocks in my path, which DO become my stepping stones through life.

When I was diagnosed some 11 years ago with MS, after a long time having been un-diagnosed and misdiagnosed, I could never have known then what looked like the biggest stumbling block would become, 17 years later from the onset, I can clearly see why I ‘stumbled’ into this disease, why I accepted this assignment of living with Multiple Sclerosis.

I say ‘accepted the assignment’ because I do believe we accept these things that come into our present lives, whether it be through Samskara (Sanskrit word meaning-impressions / lessons are the imprints left on the subconscious mind by experience in this or previous lives, which then color all of life, one’s nature, responses, states of mind, etc)…or it’s simply just what we are here to do, but have not yet learned or discovered why yet.

I could never have known 11 years ago, when I first began an online support group for those living or being diagnosed with MS, that would be the moment of discovering my passion which would lead to my purpose.

I began an online support group, to reach out as far as I could, simply to try to help anyone who might be going through the daunting process of getting diagnosed, my goal was to help guide them through the mundane process, hopefully saving them years of the same thing that I went through myself, not getting diagnosed and progressing in the disease. I met so many friends during those years that I ran that site online, many of whom are still friends with me today and for that I’m so grateful.

My journey of finding my passion and purpose didn’t stop there, I became a patient advocate speaking to others who have MS and how to live well with it and then eventually I began taking yoga, oh and that’s when the journey took a huge turn, I had NO clue what getting on my yoga mat for the first time some 9 years ago would bring to me.

It’s dawned on me that one can possibly see the yoga mat as a stumbling block, (something that one might think they can’t do) it’s not easy to  approach even the idea of yoga especially when living with an unpredictable disease such as MS, or any chronic illness or injury for that matter, it can seem intimidating at first, simply because we have yet to learn that it’s not about anyone else’s practice but our own, we haven’t learned yet what yoga really means and to then to be in a room with others who are already familiar with the practice can seem especially daunting.

Crazy things happen when one is either suggested to do yoga or we might entertain doing yoga, the ego kicks into high gear, it starts to speak up, that crazy voice inside our heads trying to convince us that this is silly, you can’t do this, or even better, what the heck is this going to do for you? Well what didn’t it do for me? My mat, which seemed like a stumbling block at first became my stepping stone. It became the place that I first sat still and discovered inner peace, where I discovered that I can actually be one with my mind, body and spirit and the MS that was so noisy, first became quiet, it’s where I found balance, yes, not physical balance right away, but emotional and spiritual balance and yes eventually some physical balance. It became that space that I couldn’t stop returning to because it felt so good, I didn’t know why and I didn’t need to know why. Being on my yoga mat was like a magic carpet and eventually that magic seeped into my life, off of the mat, into my home life, when I was driving, sitting in traffic, waiting on long lines and especially when I’d have a flare up, instead of focusing on the fear, I learned to go to my breath and focus there.

After practicing for 4 years, the invite to participate in a teacher training was offered and after a lot of thought, and self doubt, (ego telling me that there was no way I could remember what was going to be taught), I took the training with absolutely NO intention of teaching…ah but the Universe knew better, there was a bigger plan, not only did I learn, was I able to retain the information taught to me, then I realized that I did want to teach, but not to the general public, there are plenty of awesome teachers out there who do that. I wanted to do something different, I have a gift of knowing what it’s like to live with MS, an invisible at most times, chronic illness and I knew what yoga can do to help those living with any disease or condition but especially MS and I wanted to bring yoga to those who are living with MS, gift it to them as it was gifted to me. Granted at the beginning I was afraid to actually teach (ego trying to convince me that I wasn’t good enough, sure enough, wouldn’t remember what I was taught, all self doubt),so I began a Free Yoga for MS Program with two amazing yoga studios who offered out their space and time to give free yoga to those living with MS, however I would only demo until eventually I was pretty much forced to get in front of the room and find my voice, it didn’t come easily but eventually it came. I began teaching and learning through my students as I taught and it was great!

Then as things would happen with a disease such as MS, I had a relapse, a stumbling block, the worst one ever and after being in the hospital and rehab coming home to limited PT, what brought me back was the same thing that taught me so much, my yoga practice, one pose every day until I built my strength up. It was as simple as sitting firmly in staff pose literally working to flex my feet and point my toes evenly up towards the ceiling, pressing my thighs into the ground and oh yes, grounding down through my sit bones while sitting up tall, holding myself up at the same time without losing my upright posture…staff pose (dandasana) soon became my greatest challenge, but with time I did it, then it was plank (top of a push up), holding it as long as I could, engaging every single muscle in my body, waking up all of my muscles that had become atrophied during the relapse. In time I came back and learned so much more about myself than I had known before, learned so much more that I could take back and share with people, the one major lesson is to never give up.

MS relapse’s ‘look’ like stumbling blocks, however they are stepping stones, they come into our lives for a reason, we can ask why me, why now but then the answer is, if not you, who and if not now when? Is there ever a good time? No there isn’t, but that’s the funny thing about life, we can’t ‘plan’ out every moment and yes life throws us stumbling blocks but these blocks are placed there for us to learn, to find out our strength and then to take what we learn and share it with others…

“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” Maya Angelou

I’ve since discovered my passion and my purpose, I love to learn and I love to share what I learn, I teach, I advocate, for myself and for others. I try my best to help those who are newly diagnosed. I get the absolute joy of sharing the practice of yoga with others living with MS or any chronic illness and I get the amazing gift of seeing the shift, changes and growth as their practice unfolds for them as it’s meant to.I have MS for a reason and it’s a good reason, if I didn’t have it, if I wasn’t ‘living’ it, I couldn’t understand and I couldn’t be of service in the same capacity that I am now. It’s been a gift, having MS, I’ve said that before however I clearly see it more than ever now.

When life throws me a stumbling block, I ask myself, what is this here to teach me? What can I learn from this moment, from this bump in the road?

I listen for the lesson, then I stare right at it and step on it and then over it …because, the only way out is through….

Namaste

Lisa Bachrach Zeankowski

 

Lifting the veil.. Satya speaking my authentic truth

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I’ve discovered there is a fine line between hope and denial. I’ve been living more in denial than I have ever realized and now hope is all I have left.

For years, maybe even longer than I realized, I’ve been the leader, the support group, as many say ‘an inspiration’. I’m seen as a strong woman and someone who can withstand anything. I strive to always ‘look’ good despite how I’m really feeling inside. I was asked recently to take a look at that, where is that coming from? What is it about me, that feels that I have to “appear” to be okay, when I’m really not okay? “Why or what is it about me that always has to do it right?”  The answer came to me quite easily,” “it seems to be what’s expected of me.”

Isn’t it sad? When I can be feeling as sick as the many other’s diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, feeling as if I’d like to stick my head in the ground, not get up and do my hair, put on my makeup and ‘appear” to be just fine, for fear of judgment from those who hold me to the highest of standards?

Who set those standards? Did I unintentionally set them when I spent the last 8 years fighting a disease the best that I knew how to by keeping a positive attitude, hiding behind the mask of what I was really feeling? By not allowing myself to be true and showing the anger that this disease makes me feel? Did I create this monster by allowing everyone that I care about to think that just because I look good, I must not really be feeling as badly inside because on the outside I appear to be okay?
I offer out so much of myself, somehow, somewhere in the shuffle I forgot to or missed the part where I’m supposed to say, “hey wait, I need help.”
I guess, I assumed that those closest to me, those within my MS world, those who love me, those who think that they know me, could look deeper than the surface and intuitively know that there is more going on than the pretty face that they see.

My body is changing, the disease has been changing, It’s an ongoing process, it never gets better, it has it’s moments where I seem okay, some days much better than others. I am grateful for so much, I’ve been practicing yoga, kept a mostly positive attitude, I eat healthy and if I hadn’t done all of that these past 8 years, I’m nearly sure this disease would have knocked me down by now. I will continue to do all of this, but now my options have changed, I have to go on medications that have their risks, may or may not work and there are parts inside of me that are breaking, that are not visible to others.
People seem surprised when I tell them that my disease has been getting worse, but here’s the thing,  I’ve been feeling it inside of me,  yet I sit in the silence of my pain for fear I might lose all that I’ve come to love because they might not be able to handle what is happening to me. In the back of my mind I wonder if I say too much will I spook them again? Where is the point where I’m allowed to talk about what is going on with me and the point of scaring someone? I’m scared, doesn’t that matter? Am I weak because I’m allowing myself to fear? Am I weak because I’m allowing myself to feel?

There is judgment everywhere, gosh I was even called out at my own doctors office. Someone saw me there with my cane, this person, not meaning to be hurtful, thought because they see me on facebook, through my pictures and because  I “appear” to be fine, gave me a look that was oh so obvious. this look was later confirmed when in a private message they wrote to me and asked why I was using a cane, they also stated how surprised they were to see me this way because they see how “good” I look on facebook, of course I understood where this came from but, this came from one of my own. Can anyone imagine how that must have felt to be called out by one of our own? I use my cane when I have to, unwilling participant in this disease I call it, but I have bad days just like many of us who have MS. I don’t like to use my supportive devices but do when I have to. Even my yoga mat is a supportive device, it’ keeps me quite grounded.

I’ve heard supportive things, “Lisa you are the strongest person I know, you’ll get through this”, Lisa, you inspire me and so many others, you’ll beat this” and while all of these things are wonderful to hear,and touch me deeply, the problem is the burden of it all. It’s like a double edged sword, in one way it helps me to come out of that dark place and picks me back up but in other ways it doesn’t allow me the support that I need, if I’m caring for everyone else, when do I get cared for?  How can I be this pillar of strength, this inspiration to so many, when I at this very moment can’t find that strength to inspire myself?

What I need is my community, my friends, those people that I love to hold me up and say to me, “what is it you need from me to help you through this, I’m here for you, what can I do for you? Sadly no one has said this to me, not one person and although this might sound like a pity party to some, this is me being my authentic self, speaking my truth.

I’ve done my part in all of this,and I’m proud of it.  I’ve done seva, I’ve been fighting this MonSter we call MS, I will continue to fight it the best way that I know how to, but even the strongest of people sometimes need to lean on someone. Sometimes we need to just look like shit because that is truly how we feel, it’s not because we want attention or feel that if we ‘look’ the part that then someone will notice how sick we really are, it’s simply because we don’t feel well.

How many of the normal people you know when they have a flu, get up, take a shower, put on makeup, do their hair just so that they look good despite of how they feel, so to impress those around them or so that no one will be able to see what they are trying to hide? I’m nearly sure no one does that, so why is it unacceptable for us? Why is it that when I feel so awful, that I can’t just lay in bed, not get up, not impress, not look good without feeling as if I’ll be judged for doing it, or fear that I’ll be looked at as if I’m letting myself go, when that’s not what I’m doing, it’s just that I feel awful and have no desire to ‘look the part”

The time has come for me to be truthful, to lift the veil, I am angry, I am hurting inside, I am in need of support. I don’t want or need pity, I don’t need someone feeling sorry for me, that’s not what I’m about, that’s not what any of us are about.  The way I hold someone else’s hand when they are in need, the way I intuitively know how to help, the way I can look inside and see what it is in someone’s heart that will help, that’s what I need. I don’t want to have to explain or whine about my problems, I just want to be understood. I can’t  necessarily control what is going on, I’m fighting it the best way that I know how to, but when I need to sleep, rest or take a break, just know why…don’t ask …maybe do something to make It easier …

Satya Truth will set you free…

Lisa Bachrach

Absolute Yoga Studio
Absolute Yoga Studio
Simplicity Yoga Studio

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Acupuncture and Massage Therapy with Michel A. Solounias, MS,L.A.c.,LMT
National MS Society Long Island Chapter
National Multiple=