“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes without words, and never stops at all”, Emily Dickinson
I have been reading the several contrary views on the issue of gratitude, that is, should a person feel gratitude for what is good in one’s life or does that turn into complacency? If I express gratitude for having an adequate income, for example, does that preclude me from understanding that being financially stable is everyone’s right and should be fought for just as the ‘occupiers’ are doing? So, in the list of my gratitudes I do not express gratitude that I have a home, supportive spouse and enough money to seek help while living with fibromyalgia. Instead I feel pain that fellow suffers are not given those same privileges. Yet, many researchers suggest that when one feels gratitude hope and a sense of well being should accompany that emotion. Still, I feel uncomfortable saying I am gratitude for what every human being should have access to…good medical care, healthy food, housing, clean water, and an income that sustains comfortable living. But, I do feel hopeful that the big 3 of fibromyalgia treatment: meditation, light exercise/movement and diet will change many people’s lives, so for that I am indeed grateful. Recognizing the past traumas that have led to our condition and finding ways to change our brain pathways and calm our overstimulated nervous system is part of this process that leads to hope for a better life.
I am not sure that I know all that hope encompasses…I do know that as I grow older the issues that we people with fibromyalgia deal with seem to have become more complex and I can easily begin to feel hopeless if I am not careful. So, I do feel hope as I approach a new year. The fMRI brain research has shown the impact meditation and light exercise have had on those with many conditions like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Brain imaging has become the most impressive way to determine how change can be brought about as we deal with pain and the brain. If we lose hope we will continue to try medication after medication, go from one health care professional to another and not realize that we are the person we have been looking for and that with diligence and discipline we can take charge of our own lives (and with very little expense!).