Last October I started a support group for people with Multiple Sclerosis.
This past year has helped me:
see the battles each one of us is fighting
to hear the wonderful stories
to receive the gifts others have to share
to be in complete awe the way love and compassion can just keep growing. and growing. and growing.
I started an MS Support group to fill a need I saw in the community. I visited a few helpful support groups and I needed something different. Something more. I wanted to leave uplifted, inspired and light. Discussing when one was diagnosed, the struggles, the medications, the doctors, the hard, left me feeling heavy, sad and dark. I needed to be around others who would uplift me, share their stories in a positive light and be open to many different modes of healing. I wanted to be taught how to see the silver lining, the sunshine in the rainclouds and the candle in the deep dark cave of multiple sclerosis. I decided to teach what I most needed to learn. I chose to lead and create my own community of like-minded people sharing the same disease. The name “Radiant Renegade” was whispered to me in a dream after I asked to be shown what my next best step needed to be.
Radiant-for the light always within us. Namaste, a word softly spoken at the end of yoga class, which means “the light within me recognizes and honors the light within you.” Like our breath, our spark may dim, but never dies. This light is in all of us. It is us.
Renegade-for the warrior soul I carry. The fighter within who will not be stuck in the corner, pinned down by the weight of a diagnosis with no cure, chronic and possibily debilitating. I choose to fight for my health, to speak up for my body and be my own advocate and healer. I want to be the person to lead others. Not as a Queen who sits on the sidelines shouting orders, but as a fellow warrior, fighting beside.
I wish for others to feel light and strength. Beauty and love. All available to each one of us. Even on the days when our legs feel like heavy concrete and our brain is caught in a cloud. We choose our attitude, each and every moment. Choose wisely. We choose to shine bright like a diamond and rise to meet our challenges with honor and grace. We are all fighting a battle. Our battles show up as scars on brains and spinal cords. White dots in a gray field (which is why I think the color for MS stuff should be gray with big white polka dots. Orange is so caution cone. Just sayin’). We fight our bodies to move, our brains to think and our dignity to be preserved. Some days we seem fine and other days we are not. Our immune systems fight the very body it is supposed to protect. We stand up to doctors, ignorance and the insurance companies. I choose to fight armed with knowledge, empowerement and encouragement. I stand up for health, dreams and hope. I desire to do the same for others.
A Radiant MS Renegade born and a movement begun!
I believe we are here on this planet as souls in human body form to learn gratitude, compassion and love. We are here to empower one another. To support each other. To offer a hand to pull someone out of a pity pit and give them a gentle push in a better direction. Encourage each other. Inspire others with our stories-the tragedy, the comedy, the romance and the drama. We gather to share ideas on how to care for the body as a whole system. The mind, body and soul need to be tended to. Filling our bodies with healthy food is just as important as feeding our minds with happier thoughts and surroundings ourselves with smiling people. I want to share information, knowledge and struggles. Tears have been shed at our group meetings, hearts have broken open and murmurs of ‘I have been there too’ are heard, and felt, all around. We have also laughed to snorting, interrupted one another in glee and teased like old friends. It’s amazing that having one thing in common-Multiple Sclerosis-is what brings us to the group but the uniqueness and stories of each individual in the group keeps us coming back. Community. Connection.
Please don’t think being a group leader is easy. I have been challenged, stretched, and bent. I have felt extremely uncomfortable and angry. Meetings don’t go as planned, places aren’t available to meet and people just don’t show up. Even the yuck can be seen as a learning experience. I have learned to breathe deeply in the space between someone’s action and my reaction. I have asked for help. I have saught advice. I have kept my hands and words to myself. I have grown in ways I needed. I have wanted to quit, cry, and rage against. But then, I remember who I am. A Radiant Renegade. I choose better the next time a tough situation arises. I grow. I breathe.
I live. I love. I am.
But mostly, I want to be lovely!
Won’t you join me?!
If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like moonbeams and you will always look lovely. –Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl photo credit–