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What Helps Me Live in the Now With Chronic Illness

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What have I learned about my living with chronic pain and fatigue? I learned that I have to take advantage of those small moments. I have to intentionally see the beauty before me and let that feeling soak in like lotion on dry skin, let it make my life supple again, even if it’s fleeting.

It’s those moments that sustain my heart and soul. I can not bask in the dreary “if only” state anymore. I enjoy and seek out the micro-moments. I take a picture in my mind of those moments, so I can recall them when my soul needs to be replenished.

Some days, my challenges take a quick vacation, and I get to go outside of my normally limited space. I get to actually take physical pictures that I can enjoy anytime. Today is one of those days. I chose to take advantage of the energy I have in my energy bank, and gently nourish my need to capture the flash of spirit.

Photo of page of book in front of campfire, water and trees

I could look back at how many times I took for granted the spunk I always had. I have learned there is nothing to gain by peeking through the tunnel of regrets. I only have now, and I don’t want to squander it.

My energy bank is positive today, and I know from experience that I had a brief reprieve from the challenges I face every day.

On my way home from an appointment, I contemplated what would give me the most “bang for my buck.” Remembering the entrance to view Mission Creek was close to the parking lot, I pulled in and sat in my car.

The scent of wild roses filled me with calm, and the view of the bushes filled with them made me smile.

After leaving my car parked, I slowly walked across a small bridge that went over a tiny creek. I enjoyed the babbling of the water as it made its way under the bridge. I could hear the big creek roaring just five meters away. I felt like I was being summoned by Mother Nature herself. As I made my way across the path, greeting strangers with a smile, I felt the gentle grip of the vital healing force and the power of nature call me.

Finally, there was the sight I was seeking — the rushing spring water. The force of nature flowing under the big bridge was so raw and robust, that my heart danced with amusement. The creek was flowing and cleansing the creek bed as it was washing away any feeling of discomfort I was having at that moment.

I leaned on the side of the bridge and observed the sky above me filled with the white specks of the flying cottonwood seeds. They floated with the wind, and I envisioned I was in the middle of a summer snowstorm. I made it across the big bridge to see a wee pond, with mallard ducks having conversations with each other. I observed the yellow and blue wildflowers as they sought the sunshine. I took in the fresh smell of the springtime air, and I captured some pictures on my phone.

My entire body felt as if it was vibrating with energy spent well. I could feel my heart topped up with nurturing peace. I could feel that this simple five minutes of observation and cataloging the moments would sustain me for a while.

This is one of the lessons I have learned. I really take the moments and try to keep the simple feeling of contentment close. I know that my physical challenges are waiting for me, but I will have memories of my epic 300-second adventure to bolster my spirit. It’s a good day.

Header image by Westend61 via Getty

Originally published: December 9, 2022
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