Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

What Ever Happened to MacGyver?

For those of us who are old enough the name MacGyver brings up crazy memories.  I always marvelled and then made fun of the fact that MacGyver could take a toilet paper tube, some toothpaste, and some dental floss and create a way to escape the most horrible situations.  I’m kidding on the combination of items, but you get the point.

It’s raining quite heavy in San Antonio thanks to a tropical storm and I’ve seen what people are using to keep themselves dry…quite creative.  Last week I used a trash bad, today I actually had an umbrella. 

There’s a woman on the bus who usually knits.  I asked her if she’s working on any projects and she proceeded to pull out numerous items all beautifully crafted.  She showed me her knitting needles and I asked if they were bamboo needles, and she replied, “No their wood, I made them out of wooden dowels.”  I looked at the end of the needles and the knob at the end she crafted out of fast drying clay.  Now that’s a MacGyver move if I ever saw one. 

Where am I going with all this?  Following the diagnosis of a chronic or other life-altering illness there are times when creativity and unconventionality are part of the journey to wellness.  It’s clear that many people create devices to assist them to open jars, move around the house, and keep themselves steady, but what are you willing to create to keep yourself feeling good emotionally and spiritually?

What can you take and turn into something new?  I was raised Jewish and the High Holy Days are upon us.  The synagogues have members pay for tickets to get into the services.  Since I wasn’t a member by the time non-members could buy tickets there weren’t any left. 

At the time I was a traditional quilter and I would spend hours at the quilt shop looking at fabric, patterns, and books.  I remember one Yom Kippur, unable to get into services I decided to spend a few hours at the quilt shop, by myself just sitting and contemplating the gifts I had in my life, what brought me joy and how I could utilize my divine gifts for serving the world.  That was my spiritual MacGyver moment.

I’ve found other instances in my life where I’ve had to re-purpose materials to provide comfort and solace when I haven’t been at my best.  I hope you can take a page out of MacGyver’s book and create amazing things for body, mind, and spirit to propel you forward on your journey to wellness.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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