Many of us, and I am no exception, get so caught up in the perpetual swirl of life’s struggles that we forget to relax, breathe, keep things simple. We forget to live.
Whatever the struggles we each face, either by choice or by unavoidable circumstance, none deserve so much sway over our lives that we lose sight of what is truly wonderful about life, and what wonder is there for us to experience, even with the struggles.
As an advocate, primarily in the arena of brain injury, there is so much dysfunction and bigotry to address I can, and at times have, found myself doing little else, save for reading: a habit that has sustained me through the darkest times, that’s for sure. I live in state with a department of health packed with people who, with some very real exceptions, couldn’t care less about those who live with a brain injury. I live in a state with a brain injury council, called the Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council, that has pretty much failed to live up to its stated purpose from day one. I live in a state with a brain injury association that, on the one hand is a remarkable and desperately needed educational presence on brain injury, and, on the other hand, claims to be an advocacy agency when it is not.
In short, the issues with all of the above could consume anyone whose instinct is to promote equal rights.
It is clear to me that being consumed by any one thing, even when honorable, is not healthy, and, in the long run, makes one less effective when it comes to this one thing in the first place.
When you think about it, what is advocacy for equal rights actually about? It’s about the right of every individual to be who they really are in life, safely, equally. In life means the ability to live life. To fall in love and walk down the street holding hands with the person you love. It means being able to go out for coffee or a meal or read a book. It means being able to watch movies, birds, people, sunsets, sunrises, thunderstorms, snowfalls, oceans, rivers, streams. It means being able to listen to music, laughter, wind, thunder, conversation, and so on. It means experiencing life, which none of us can do as well as we have a right to do if we are consumed by any one thing.
Keeping it simple so much means staying in the moment you’re in. As a friend of mine recently gone from this life said to me: “Remember, Peter, the moment you’re in is the only place you have to be.”