Dealing with Harsh Reality

© 2000 Michele Toomey, PhD


October 31, 2000

To hear that memory eclipses and memory loss will always be part of your life, is, indeed, a harsh reality. As long as there is the slightest chance that you will get better, there is a hope that your memory will improve. Where is the hope if you accept the fact of permanent loss and regular memory eclipses? Certainly, it is not in full recovery and certainly it is not in pretending. But just as certainly, it is in your own integrity to deal creatively and honestly with your reality. Yes, the one certainty you have, is that you are committed to do the psychological work it takes to reconcile the paradox of accepting your limitations since this disease, and stretching your limits to their maximum capacity. Your commitment to maximizing your potential is your greatest certainty and your greatest gift.

Let's look at what that actually means...commitment to maximizing your potential. It certainly means making a leap of faith. Potential is such a nebulous concept. Who's to say where the line is marked "maximum." Where is "trying too hard?" Where is "wishful thinking?" Where is the potential to go beyond "limited expectations that inhibit?" Where is the proof, the certainty? Who knows? How do you know? How can you be sure you're not trying too hard and reaping too little? Yielding too soon and losing what could be? Again, the nagging doubt of uncertainty. Where is the limit to your capacity?

Probably as nebulous as your potential to maximize it. Thus, the leap of faith. You must leap into the mist of uncertainty with the certainty you are safe and certain in yourself. You can be certain:

  1. That you will be committed to having the fullest life governed by integrity that you possibly can.
  2. That you will never pretend to yourself that you are better or worse than you are aware of at the time.
  3. That you will try to do your utmost to be connected to yourself and listen to yourself and respond to yourself.
  4. That you will marvel at the intimacy and well-being this orientation brings.
Your leap of faith is inward where there is the certainty of your commitment to integrity. It is not outward into the abyss of uncertainty.

The gift of the spirit to a damaged body is the gift of commitment, integrity, intimacy, love, caring, respect, courage, fairness, and lest we forget, of hope and inspiration. We cannot face the harsh reality of life, even without brain damage, if we don't value the gift of the spirit when it has integrity. And we can't even access this gift without a leap of faith, inward.

So, dear Marlene, the harsh reality of permanent memory loss and memory lapses is transformed into hope, by a leap of faith into the awesome reality of the soul's power to illuminate.

"We are carrying you within us.
You are never out of sight.
We all treasure this reversal
That turned darkness into light."

"Everything is inside out
The magic's in our eyes.
We live each day with wonder.
We live in awed surprise."

"So we travel with you always
Looking in, instead of out.
Holding hands and touching spirits.
Knowing, really knowing
What life is all about."

Michele Toomey, from "Her Tears"

The body is damaged, the spirit is not. The spirit must envelop the body, radiating through it, relaxing it, and inspiring you to transform your loud body into a receptacle of essential truth.

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