Pagan with a disability
Several years ago I came upon the path of paganism. It appealed to me and now I consider myself a pagan. Not long after I decided I wanted to go “into the (pagan) teaching”, I became chronically ill. My illness comes with some disabilities, which changes my path unexpectedly.
Getting used to
Of course it took some time to get used to my new life with a chronic illness. My disabilities have a major impact on my daily life, which temporarily turned my life upside down. Now I have found a new balance, even though my life is now completely different than before.
After I got used to my new life a bit, I went to study yet with the teacher of my choice. I also run into my disabilities there, which means that my learning trajectory is different.
One of my disabilities is that my energy is very limited. My body recovers very slowly from exertion, even if it was very mild exertion. As a result, I regularly spend days in bed.
Because of this building a daily practice - something my teacher finds absolutely essential - is extra difficult. Because how could one meditate if one falls asleep on the spot? And how does one light a candle if one can't get out of bed? And how does one read the recommended literature if ones concentration is exhausted after three lines?
Another disability is that my head often doesn't work. This is called "brain fog". My mind can only hold attention for a very short time. I am also functionally dyslexic and often I can't find the right words. And the most frustrating part: I forget everything I don't write down.
Many people will recognise these experiences, because everyone has this from time to time. But I always have this and in bad periods it is even much worse. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” has gotten a new meaning for me.
This way I can spend a whole day doing my daily practice, because I am constantly distracted and (therefore) it disappears from my mind. If I'm too tired to be distracted at the end of the day, I also have no energy left. So it is postponed again for another day…
An advantage of my disabilities is that I am forced to think very carefully about my priorities. My daily dose of energy is this low, I can only do what is really important or necessary.
Further developing my paganism is one of these priorities. Knowing who I am and how I approach life has always been important to me, as has personal development. Living as a pagan is closely intertwined with that for me.
Another advantage of my disabilities is I have learned to be creative. I have had to come up with solutions for issues that used to be completely self-evident.
These obstacles and creativity provide me with a new life experience that I would not have had otherwise. Because of this, I often look at things differently today than before I got sick. I am no longer so easily put off by “problems”. Because now I can tap into a creativity that I never even suspected to exist before. :-)