Don’t Tell Me I Can’t

The diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis was bestowed upon me three years ago. I felt horrified and confused and desperate. I also felt alone; it was my problem, not a commonly experienced natural disaster. And everyone knows “there is no cure for MS.” For weeks I was frantic.

But I don’t like being told, “You can’t heal.” I looked deep inside and I promised myself, “I will walk well again. I don’t know how, but I trust that I will be guided.” I committed more deeply to my spiritual path than I ever had. Healing from a non-physical source offered my only hope.

I wrote in my journal. When I sat down, I didn’t know what I would write but, always, words spilled from my pen. I didn’t recognize these as “my own” thoughts but simply as words and thoughts moving through me. I respected the evolving activity of my inner world by assuming the stance of detached Observer. After thirty minutes of observing and recording, I rose, feeling cleansed and clearer.

I meditated twice daily. I watched old emotional wounds and mistaken beliefs resolve. I plugged into a flow my intellect couldn’t access and I allowed myself to be carried. I noticed events in my outer world which reflected my unspoken thoughts and wishes. Delight dotted my days. I felt lighter and, uncharacteristically, joyful.

Finally, I welcomed my diagnosis as an opportunity to form new habits.

Now I practice complete self-acceptance. I don’t need to impress anyone nor do I feel offended by another’s disregard. I practice gratitude for whatever exists, regardless of my feelings. I don’t say, “I don’t like what happened.” I simply say “Thank you.” Being grateful for whatever is releases tension and hugely reduces stress. Really, what is a problem? I don’t get upset by what I can’t control and, usually, not by what I can, either.

I practice forgiveness—for myself and for everyone else. I want to release burdens. I commit to being my own best friend, always on my own side. I expect gifts and I practice receiving my good. The more I practice, the more I receive.

And, most importantly, I practice surrender. I live close to my core, I see myself healed, and I trust a Wisdom greater than my mind’s.

My walking continues to improve. I’ve learned that my intellect with its best judgment can’t carry me to health. I know that at my center I am anchored in a reality incomprehensible to my mind, a reality that knows only health. Manifestations of physical health follow from my practices of good mental and spiritual health. Never do I disparage myself or anyone else. I don’t doubt that my good comes to me. I appreciate today and myself and whatever happens.

Receiving an unwanted diagnosis has helped me see more of reality than I had known previously. I feel more alive and more anchored in my experience. What a gift the diagnosis of MS has been.


Ruth Cherry, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her specialty is integrating psychological and spiritual dynamics. Her latest books are Open Your Heart, Accepting Unconditional Love, and Living in the Flow: Practicing Vibrational Alignment. Her website is www.meditationintro.com.