Stealing the Healthy Moments ...

It is easy to forget what health felt like when one lives with a chronic physical illness. All too often what remains on one's mind is pain, suffering, difficulty, adjustment, frustration, anger, and sadness. There can be a lot of nostalgia as one recalls what s/he used to be able to do, and a longing for a return to those experiences. It is easy to live in the past--the what was, and to detest the present, while fearing the future. However, it is important to pay attention to those moments (sometimes big other times small) that even for just a minute are moments of health.

Stealing those healthy moments...what does that mean? It can mean many and different things between people and within a single person. Perhaps a person living with a chronic physical illness has also lived with a dream. What if that person lived out that dream despite his/her illness. Despite one's obstacles s/he published a work of art, or went on a long desired trip, or took a class. These events do not take away the reality of illness but they still occur despite the illness. They are moments of non-illness, of health, and of living.

Some people may not be able to partake in such events because of their illness. One may wonder how they can steal such healthy moments. For example, ten minutes of peace within a day filled with pain might be the healthy moment for a person. It can be so easy to say, "but the rest of the day is suffering so what is ten minutes", but this thought creates a situation where one cannot even enjoy the ten minutes of peace. Those ten minutes are even more precious and exuberant than they would be for a person who does not live with illness. These are ten minutes to bask in health for that period of time. Maybe for another person it is only one minute. The point is not how big the task accomplished is, or how long it lasts, but rather how much one can let him/herself be in that moment and feel health in that experience.

It is not easy to steal the healthy moments. It takes conscious effort to change one's mindset and to refocus one's awareness and attention; however, it is worth it. Take a little bit of time each day to work on this. Some days might be better than others. Some days it might be impossible to find any of these moments. Other days might be joyous. As always take one day at a time and do not be afraid to ask for help with this. Meditation and psychotherapy can help refocus your awareness and attention. I hope you steal some healthy moments.