Beautiful green fir tree branches close up. Christmas and winter concept. Soft focus, macro.

Today many of us that have lived the disability journey, myself included, have gained a variety of tools, knowledge and wisdom over the years. Imagine if when you were first diagnosed or when you were a young child developing with limitations or challenges if you were provided a toolbox of encouragement, insights and wisdom from those who experienced this journey before you. Many of our paths through life may have been bumpy, yet it has been through these challenges we grow and develop gifts and unique personality traits. Each lesson we learn may be providing a refinement we may not be aware of until years later as we get to an age when we reflect on our cup as half full rather than half empty.

Being that it is February 1st, “Ground Hog Day” when the shadow may provide insight into our journey of seasonal change, as we enter a longer winter period or the transition into warming spring development. Either way, I love to utilize this time to reflect on the meaning of my life and where I am today on my journey. Throughout our lives we are provided with so many opportunities to grow and gain wisdom especially when our unique journey involves living with
disabilities. But what do we do with this wisdom gained? Who do we pass this gift on to?

Working over the years in Geriatrics and Palliative care, I often was witness to a vast amount of wisdom that unfortunately was not always passed on. This is one of the reasons I love the idea of a “VIDUI”. A “VIDUI” is a way to pass on the wisdom you have gained, the meaning you saw in your journey through accomplishments and losses, Hope, blessings, dreams for your family and community, self reflected forgiveness, lessons gained from the experience of your core relationships, a legacy of wisdom you pass along. When it comes to the later seasons of our life, many of us may have prepared “WILLs” or “Living Wills” as a plan of the distribution of our assets, special gifts or the details of what we wish for our care journey to aid those making decisions on our behalf when we are unable to. Yet, one thing that is often missed is that of a “VIDUI”.

What if we chose to share the amazing lessons, we have all gained along our unique journey living with challenges and disabilities to the future generations. Imagine the wisdom toolbox we could all create together to soften the journey for others. Today as I take time to reflect, I also ask you all to do the same. Choose to focus your thoughts on the blessings you have gained. I invite you all to send in wisdom nuggets from your journey so we here at Voice of Albertans
with Disabilities can share with everyone in the future newsletters. Some days we just need to hear a piece of wisdom with a warm fuzzy message that puts a spark back in us all. Let’s create an Abilities Toolbox for everyone to share.

No matter if the groundhogs shadow is seen or not this year, our season will change, spring will be around the corner with new life to display all around us. Let’s rise out of our winter hibernation renewed and ready to be open to the wisdom this new year will bring to us all.

Katrina Breau
VAD President