Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Empowerment, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity

Lessons from the road Part 4: Pay Attention to Change

The drive across country took me three days. The driving time gives me a lot of time to think, listen to interviews on the radio, and take in the sights of the country. When traveling during the warmer months there is a lot of road construction underway. What comes with road construction? Detours!!!

At the end of 2013 I drove home (to Colorado) from the Pittsburgh area. I had been on I-80 just like last week and there was a detour in the Indiana/Illinois area. Unfortunately I-80 was closed and I had to take the detour on I-90 and rejoin I-80 down the road. As it would happen, I wasn’t paying attention and I missed the return to I-80. It took me over two hours on I-90 to find my way back to the correct road. I even asked a toll booth attendant how to get to I-80 and her directions took me in a complete circle ending up back at that same toll booth….Arghhhhhhh!!!!!!!

On this journey I knew that there was a detour and was acutely aware of the detour signs. Lo and behold, I found I-80 without any difficulties cutting two hours off my travel time. I had learned my lesson about paying attention to the smallest details when driving. The detour signs were small and hidden, and if I hadn’t been aware of my previous mistake I might still be driving around the Chicago area in a fugue.

The same is true in our lives. Life presents interruptions that cause distress. It’s up to us whether or not we learn from these detours. How many people do you know who have made the same wrong turn over and over again thinking they’ll get it right without changing their actions? It’s important to learn from our missteps. It’s important to be aware that change requires attention. It’s important to move cautiously through new territory or understand that there’s a huge potential that you’ll be lost taking your time and energy.

When we pay attention on any journey, whether it is on an interstate made of pavement or the interstate of your life, we reach our destination with less stress. We are available to notice the nuances that present themselves allowing us to make subtle shifts in our plans and giving us new opportunities to learn.

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Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity

Lessons From the Road Part 2: Learn to Handle Your Load

When you spend twenty-five hours on I-80 you have lots of time to think. I play games like checking out the license plates of the passing cars and making up stories about those traveling the never ending interstate. While on the road I also pay attention to billboards, flora and fauna, and the driving habits of others. On my way to New Jersey I noticed that the big eighteen-wheelers were having more trouble driving than I had previously experienced.

Following these big rigs I noticed (this time) that a higher proportion of them were having trouble staying in their lanes (not comforting for someone driving a Honda Element). I watched as many of these big rigs drifted into other lanes and the trailers seeming to have a mind of their own. It made me consider how experienced the drivers were and if they were taking all the road conditions into consideration as they made their way across the country.

It wasn’t a huge leap to begin thinking about how each of us is our own big rig driver covering many miles both figuratively and literally throughout our lives. There are times in our lives when we incur adverse conditions creating a heavier than usual load that we haven’t been trained to manage. It shouldn’t be a surprise that during those times we too seem to swerve across lanes in our lives.

When life presents itself with interruptions it is necessary to follow the road signs. You may have to make detours because your “normal” way of living life has new conditions that need your attention. It’s imperative that you learn how to navigate the interstate of your life with this new load. You may have to learn new skills to accommodate the changes. These life interruptions may ask you to take time to adjust to the new conditions requiring you to slow down, take notice, and make the necessary adjustments to stay on course.

As the driver of your life big rig you decide the load you take on, and decide where and when to off-load the cargo. Find ways to stabilize your rig! You can learn new life big rig skills by joining a support group, finding a coach to help you navigate the highways of life, or a spiritual director to help you avoid that big pothole life has placed before you. No matter what you choose, know that learning to handle the load will increase your sense of peace. It will give you the tools you need to overcome adversity!

Looking for education, support, and inspiration as you navigate life’s highway?  Visit

Want to explore creative ways of keeping yourself on the road of your health and healing journey?  Visit

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