Embracing the NOW

Written By: ingridricks - Nov• 11•13

Pam Marjie and MeI’ve been so focused on halting the progression of this disease and proving all those retinal specialists wrong that lately I’ve forgotten my most important life rule: to embrace the present and live fully in the Now.

I’ve gotten a few reminders along the way from people like Dr. Andy Rosenfarb, who sent me a note a month or so back reminding me to take everything in moderation—including moderation itself.  In other words, there’s nothing wrong with supplementing my eat-healthy regime with an occasional beer and tater tots smothered in cheddar cheese. (Yes. That’s what I devoured last night while playing a cutthroat game of Hearts with my husband and two daughters.)

 My most recent reminder came Friday night while I was at dinner with my friends Pam and Marjie. I started talking about my eye disease and the panic attacks I’ve had recently when I think about the possibility of losing my remaining eyesight to RP. I even started tearing up as I talked about my fear of living in darkness and becoming a burden to my family.

 Pam—my inspiration when it comes to carving your own life path and turning intentions into reality—wasn’t having any of it.

“There is this amazing book written by a wonderful friend I know,” she prodded. “It’s called Focus. You should read it.”

Focus, a memoir I published a year ago, is about my journey to date with RP and about how the disease has taught me to see what counts in life and embrace it to the fullest.

Marjie, an amazing high school English teacher I’ve been partnering with for the past two years, followed Pam’s words with her own tough love message.

“Why don’t you write down that tonight is the night you’ve realized your self-worth doesn’t depend on your eyesight?” she said.

Every once in a while I need a complete reboot, and their words have done that for me. So today I’m taking a look at this eye disease from a different perspective—I’m focusing on all the POSITIVES that have come into my life as a direct result of RP.

  • Because of my eye disease, my husband and I moved our family from a rural community to a city neighborhood we love where everything I need is easily accessible by foot or bus.
  • Because of my eye disease, my husband and I have redefined our relationship and have restructured our lives so that we can spend more time together and with our two daughters (Among other things, John walked away from a 45-minute commute and twelve hour days at a law firm and started a solo practice in our neighborhood within walking distance from our house.)
  • As a result of my eye disease, I found the courage to leave behind a lucrative marketing consulting business to pursue my long-time dream to write my coming-of-age memoir Hippie Boy and make a living as an author and essayist.
  • It’s thanks to my eye disease that I now spend part of my time partnering with Marjie, where we use Hippie Boy as a guide to help her students find their voice and power by writing and publishing their personal stories. This past Friday, I got the opportunity to watch twelve of her students perform three of those personal life stories (about gang life, child abuse and addiction) on stage at the Seattle Public Theater.

Now, this eye disease has given me another purpose: to pursue whole body health (physical, emotional, nutritional and spiritual) to empower all of us battling Retinitis Pigmentosa to take charge of our eye health.

I don’t know for sure where this quest will lead. But that’s where another of Pam’s wise sayings comes into play. “Concentrate on being open to an outcome rather than attached to an outcome,” she advised before parting ways.

I want my eyesight with every part of my being. But rather than worry about the unknown future, I’m back to embracing the present. I’m going to continue to do everything I can each day to help my eyesight and leave the rest to the Universe so I can spend my energy focusing on what counts: my family, my friends, my dreams, this moment.

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13 Comments

  1. Cyndi says:

    Love this post from you, Ingrid. Big virtual hugs.

  2. Laura Novak says:

    Always sending hugs and hope from here too. Much love and here’s to staying in the moment. XOL

  3. Holy cannoli, that’s a powerful post. I love this: “Concentrate on being open to an outcome rather than attached to an outcome.”

  4. Lori Irwin says:

    Terrific post, Ingrid! Wise words imparted to you by a “little kid who’s best friends with my sister.” I’m honored to call that “little kid,” a friend and thankful to her, for leading me to you.
    This post holds so much meaning for me, especially at this time of year. It’s a very emotional time as I easily could have died 30 years ago. One moment, in a car, on October 2, 1983, completely changed my life forever. I need to make the rest of ‘my moments’ count!!

    • ingridricks says:

      Lori – thanks so much for sharing this. I can imagine how emotional this time of year is It’s so true that we have to make the nows count. I’m sending a hug your way. And looking forward to meeting in person someday soon. xoxo – Ingrid

  5. Alysa S. says:

    I am so glad you have such supportive, positive, and wise friends. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Hang in there.

  6. Wow, Ingrid, that was worth sharing. All power to you. I’m off to tweet.

  7. Cindy Adkins says:

    Wow, Ingrid, this was exactly what I needed to read tonight! Again (to remind you) I don’t have RP but was recently diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. There are two kinds of MD (wet or dry.) I have the wet kind which is more severe and (usually) causes a more rapid loss of vision. I had a panic attack earlier this evening thinking the exact same thing as you – that I don’t want to lose my vision and become a burden to anyone (believe me, I know all about panic attacks and anxiety!) Anyway, I can’t thank you enough for posting this. It really, really helped me. Love, Cindy

    • ingridricks says:

      I know. It’s so hard some days..And it’s so helpful to have reminders that we are more than our eyesight…and that what counts is embracing the moment and focusing on what matters in life! Sending a hug your way.

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