When I was diagnosed with MS, it felt like my doctor handed me a new map with a new life direction. One I really didn't want to travel.
I'd be taking the scenic route, the long road, because MS itself doesn't actually kill you. Instead, it lets you ride slowly through life, stopping at all the "must see" spots like pain, fear, resentment, jealousy, depression, and anger along the way.
My vehicle, my body, was labeled as used. Past it's prime before my 21st birthday and the focus became less about upkeep and more about keeping up. Fueled on prescriptions, I was "reassured" that breakdowns were normal about 1-2 times a year.
Unfortunately, we never knew how long each stall would last.
For a few years, I traveled the path and hated the gray views. Sure, the breakdowns only came about once a year, but no one warned me about the daily struggles. A dysfunctional air conditioner, leaky gas tank, patched up tires, and a very testy battery - It felt like a hazard for me to be on the road at all!
One day, after a stall out turned accident left me on the side of the road, I took some time to breathe. My vehicle was done, burned out, and I was desperate for another path. I looked to my left and through the forest, I saw flowers. I got a little closer and noticed the flowers blooming along a paved walkway overlooking spectacular views of mountains that lined the ocean.
It'd been so long since I'd seen flowers on my route. It'd been so long since I saw beauty in life at all.
I dragged my vehicle to the new path and as I met people along the way, they all helped me put myself back together by using tools from the Earth. Sunshine, food, happiness, exercise, cannabis, meditation, journaling - I used anything they suggested and waited for results. Soon, my vehicle, my body, started working better.
The battery wasn't stalling, the air conditioner became dependable, and I no longer had to rely on roadside assistance - my battery was stronger than ever. I traveled the path slowly as everyone else ran by because I was grateful just to be on it at all. I wanted to experience every moment celebrating this new experience.
My doctors, friends, and the internet scoffed at my new map. They shoved their map in my face, to my great disdain, and insisted I go back.
But as time continued and they saw my adamant refusal (and my drastically improved vehicle), they started asking more questions. They were curious about my route and how I'd found myself there at all.
So I told them: "Don't get lost in the tunnels. It's too difficult to see your other options when you're only focused on one. If things aren't working, slow down and look around you. The answers to healing are everywhere. Just follow the flowers."
When my map wasn't working for me - mentally, physically, or emotionally, I found one that would. Find a route that works for you and it may take awhile to adjust, but once you do, all that's left is to enjoy the views.