Acceptance and Perspective

Life is all about how we choose to interpret our circumstances and to view our reality. In essence, life is all about perspective.

In my life for example, I could choose to hold the perspective that life is unfair because I have been diagnosed with ALS at such a young age. I could choose to see that I was dealt a bad hand, that I am being punished, and a wide variety of other interpretations that do not serve me. And while in truth I sometimes do feel this way, I have found that such perspectives dampen my enjoyment and appreciation for life so I choose to hold other perspectives instead.

 

On my best days I actually find a way to be grateful for the opportunity of living with ALS as crazy as that may sound. From the perspective of gratitude I am able to see that this experience has been a catalyst for me to learn and grow unlike anything I could have imagined earlier in life and has taught me to love and appreciate my body in an entirely new way. Living with ALS is also giving me a newfound appreciation for life and all of its gifts. But perhaps most importantly, this experience is changing me into a far better version of myself. I am lighter and brighter than I can ever remember being, and I am excited by the possibility to be of service to others in whatever way I am able.

Holding a perspective like gratitude doesn't mean that I don't have bad days. ALS is one of the most difficult experiences that I can imagine going through and frankly, it's an absolutely shitty thing to experience sometimes. I've learned that it's never good to sugarcoat or suppress what I'm feeling or to try to convince myself that everything is sunshine and rainbows when it so obviously isn't. It's okay to have a bad day or week and be pissed off at the world every once in a while. I have learned that it just doesn't feel good to stay that way.

Saying Yes To Life

Holding a positive perspective and embracing the journey isn't about saying yes to ALS, but saying yes to life. It doesn’t mean we are giving up or letting ALS win. It doesn’t mean we aren’t striving to be healthier or live the best life possible. It simply means that we are accepting life as it is in this very moment. Doing this is always empowering and allows us to pull energy away from anger, sadness, and resistance. We can then use that energy to do things that make us feel good, and that's what life is really about isn't it?

 

No matter who you are or what you are going through, all that anyone can ask of life is to enjoy the ride. In life no one knows how long they will be here and ALS has taught me that nothing is guaranteed. If we spend all of our time dwelling on how unfortunate our circumstances are then we will miss out on all of the good happening around and within us every day.

 

When you are going through such a difficult challenge as ALS I understand just how hard it can be to be positive. I understand firsthand that the experience of ALS can be extremely heavy, and fear and worry can be powerful forces when we allow ourselves to be swept up by them. We will have good days and bad days and that's okay.

Even on bad days I have found that if I can maintain the perspective that life is good and that I am learning and growing not only spite of this challenge but because of it, I am able to weather this storm with more strength and grace. This helps me to pull myself out of feeling like a victim and more fully into being in active and willing participant in life. This is what makes me feel good so this is the way I choose to live and experience the world as often as I am able.

Hi! My name is Ryan Farnsworth. I’m a writer and poet, inspirational speaker, and person living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS.) I was diagnosed with this neurodegenerative disease in 2015 and since that time I have been on quite the journey.

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© 2017 Ryan Farnsworth

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