Okay, sounds ridiculous right? That disability is an opportunity; that it provides opportunity to discover new and exciting things about life… yea, right. Just how does that happen when yesterday I could, today I can’t…
Opportunity. What does that really mean? What if we try to define what opportunity is and reflect on that as a possible step into it? Could that it be a step to setting course to a lot of other steps? Let’s see, shall we?
I pulled some definitions about opportunity from Webster’s online dictionary. Couldn’t find my hard copy… I found opportunity defined as: “a favorable combination of circumstances, time, and place”. My example: “this circumstance I am is a wonderful opportunity for me to finally develop and write my blog and share words of hope and insight of what I’ve learned from being introduced to disability”. Yep, an opportunity. What’s yours?
More on definition of Opportunity:
- a favorable juncture of circumstances – “the halt provided an opportunity for rest and reflection”
- a good chance for advancement or progress – “I think I see an opportunity to move away from the noise and into beautiful simple silence”
Definitions, what can they really mean to anyone in a situation where any semblance of opportunity seems to have disappeared? I’ll share a little something on that…
So, there I was, surrounding with a whole lot of noisy nothing… all I identified with as normal, what was me, what my environment held, how to get along with something, and that lovely ability to not have to pay attention to every flipping’ thing I attempted to do. Everything I once perceived as simple disappeared. So, how in the world could I find opportunity amongst all that? At first it was ridiculously elusive. I had to first recognize that opportunity existed at all. I had to search for that place of beginning where the juncture to pass myself the key to the opportunity door existed. I discovered an occasion to write my personal definition of opportunity, one that encapsulated my chance, opening, and room. I found a way in which I could knock on a door of opportunity that led to what I wanted to play with and progress into.
This process was really hard because it involved climbing over rocks, cliffs, and up to a seemingly unreachable top of a mountain of emotions. I found that the introduction to disability includes introductions to a whole bunch of feelings you never knew existed and certainly never felt before. What you do with that?
Opportunity one: Acknowledging those feelings, feel them, let them out. I discovered those hidden emotions, and labels, and that the naming and blaming them were coming from my very own self! I was giving them an ownership over me that I had defined! Every single one of them was micro-managing my compensation, my direction and yes, my opportunities.
But what about those emotions that hurt so bad that even the thought of them emerging splits your heart and mind into Humpty-Dumpty pieces? Those are the ones that feel like death. Truth is, they are death – the passing of what you used to be, used to know… used to, used to, used to…
Opportunity two: Bringing to proud recognition the things you used to do. Proudly announce to yourself all you have learned and earned and embraced it all in the strengths, assets, and the talents you have. Ignite your creative eye to look for those opportunities of going around, under, or over obstacles you find. Color and paint a customized map to the you that still exists. Design you own highways for that wonderful you to set off on a journey of endless opportunities with stops at villages, towns, and cities of possibility.
I recall how my first years after my induction into disability were wrapped around anger, extreme fear, surprise, shock, despair, grief, and countless other feelings. I spent days sobbing. There were days when I just sat, unable to move because I was held captive to my noisy thoughts. There were also days when I ignored my new skin and thought I could go about my business in spite of the fact that I could not stand up without falling, walk around in my own home, or do whatever I wanted. All this did was bring on new bruises and more tears and more noise.
Opportunity three: Recognizing your map is showing that you “ain’t in Kansas anymore”. Visualize yourself paving a journey to a brand new state of you through using those unique and customized tools you know you still have… those tools are YOU! Begin paving your journey by making a place for the steps. Use your emotional hammer and start pounding out the noisy feelings – just beat them up, pound them to a pulp and don’t hold back and then send them to a recycle bin. Your emotional hammer will pulverize feelings that trap in the noise – let yourself hear those emotions and get to work pounding them away from your noise locked door to opportunity.
It’s important to keep in mind that this stuff doesn’t happen in just one day – it actually becomes a daily task that, well, a task that sticks with you pretty much the rest of your life. However, the task becomes easier and easier and easier until it becomes a simple silence second nature and one of those things you just do without knowing you are doing it. Kind of like the way it was before the noise of disability. See, it can happen!
What’s your opportunity look like? Color it, paint it, make it your very own… I hope to see you soon in one of those cities of possibility.