No-Thing-ness

Being somebody or something is very important in our culture, some times to the point of being all consuming. It is a major paradigm. A person’s worth in society is determined by what they have accomplished. While there is value and joy that comes from accomplishment, I want to suggest a different paradigm for living. I advocate that we start out with the acknowledgement that at our core, we are no-thing. As Satre stated, “Existence precedes essence.” What this means is that the central focus of our lives is our existence. That as human beings, we exist. Everything else derives from this fact. Thus ultimately at my core, I am all process, I am a stream of consciousness, I am not a thing. From this place of no-thing-ness, I discover and define my unique existential identity. What is powerful about this paradigm is that I am the subject of my life. The internal, essential self is all that exists and thus is all that matters.

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The Narrative

Who we are is the story we tell ourselves. When we look back over our life events we paint those events into the context of the story we believe we are living and the character that we think we are. When a traumatic event happens to us, we can choose to recount those events within the context of the Story of the Survior or we can recount those same events within the context of the Story of the Victim. The events haven’t changed, but the story has and because that story has changed, the way that we view ourselves also changes.

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Personal Revolution

Many of say that we wish the world was a better place, that we were better people or that we had a better life. But the truth is that we have the power to do all of those things simply by choosing how we live our lives every day. By focusing on the choices we make, we take all the power into ourselves which unto itself is a radically different way to engage with the world. What holds us back is the sense of safety and security that “sameness” offers. But this is an illusion.

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Coping with Chronic Illness

I have recently been more open about my diagnosis of EDS and have been talking about it with more people. Not that I was ever trying to hide it, but I personally have been more educated on it and am learning more all the time. This makes it much easier to have those conversations. One question that I have been getting frequently is some variation on “How do you cope with the losses that your chronic illness brings?” I find this to be a surprising and strange question. I’ve also struggled to answer it. But here goes!

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