VAD President Message

I love this time of year as I feel pulled in from the symbolic connection with nature. The rich profusion of colors and the abundance of harvest from the land in preparation for autumn all beckons me into a time of self-reflection. It reminds me of a quote from William Shakespeare, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Whether I am tending my garden or traveling down a road being lifted by the scenery of grain harvest or listening to the birds as they begin their journey south, I am always reminded to reflect on my life journey as the seasons change. This autumnal time I find full of many hidden blessings waiting for me to grasp while also preparing for winter. I have found that the cycles of nature offer many gifts of wisdom for me to reflect on. The cycle of our years can become annually enriched by the lessons of the fall, as students return to school and college, we reschedule our calendars with programs and activities ready for new beginnings and reflecting on the summer that comes to an end. Adjusting to the seasons of life with a disability can be a challenging transition, for not only those of us with a diagnosis, but for the whole family. So many of today’s population take their health for granted, until a pivot in their life journey occurs. Although we can’t go back in time as Michael J Fox from Back to the Future did, we can always choose to learn from the many bumps along the road.

Learning to cope with our disability challenges may impact our Mental Health, but it is always our choice to see our cup as half full vs half empty. Yet, when the rubber hits the road, you are still in control of your life and there are many ways to improve your independence, sense of empowerment, and outlook. No matter your disability, it CAN be possible to overcome the many hardships you face as you choose to enjoy a full and fulfilling life, one attainable step at a time.

While living with a disability isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Always remember you are not alone, many of us are further along the journey and have gained many tools and wisdom nuggets to share. At Voice of Albertans with Disabilities, we love to gather lessons learned and collaborate by sharing ways to not just survive but thrive. You Can, too.

It can be incredibly challenging to accept your disability. Please remember that refusing to accept the reality of your limitations keeps you stuck, preventing you from an attainable step forward. While grasping hold of new amazing opportunities to grow, make a choice to embrace your next life pivot. Trust that in time, your lows will become less intense, and you will begin to find your new normal, resetting your journey’s path. Be patient with yourself, every small step forward counts. Eventually, you’ll get there.

Yes, having a disability does change your life in big ways. So, remember to reach out for encouragement, emotional support and resources from VAD to help smooth each step you take.

Community connection can truly reduce the impact your limitation challenges may have on your life. Staying connected to others makes an amazing difference in your mood and outlook. We are all companions along this journey, our lives are not without hardships, but let’s work together to smooth out the bumps along our paths.
Choice is a powerful tool when pivoting from the Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT’s) that may arise. Challenge yourself to stamp out any dissatisfaction that might bubble up on blue days. Despite your best efforts sometimes our present challenges or the weight we feel being place upon us, may hold us back. But it doesn’t have to, the action of choice is powerful. What if we choose to see through cheerful visions of the blessings that come from the gift of a new day or start of a new season. The value of our future potential can never be measured. Choosing to embrace the tiny kindling of our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual gifts may ignite within us motivational flames. Imagine your most powerful desires or life dreams that you may have kept secret your whole life or may have shared them, you may have achieved some, yet others may seem unreachable. Take permission now to begin your own quest over the year that lies ahead. Allow this year to be the beginning of your own new path, leading you ultimately forward with an open heart. With insight into your own experience, allow the wisdom of the days and seasons to inform and guide your own year of discovery. May there be peace upon your path!