Being still

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So it’s a sunny day in March. It’s the time of the Baha’i Fast – which I am doing spiritually this year (beautiful dawn prayers) as I don’t feel I can cope with it, while learning to accept Mum’s passing. I see this as a time of reflection and I am hoping I can get my teeth stuck into one or more of my writing projects. But I also feel a sense of drifting as I recover from the events of the past months and re-map my life now that Mum doesn’t play a physical part in it anymore.

The hardest thing for me is not being able to sit and talk things through with her. We spoke almost every day and she helped me gather my thoughts, listened to my frustrations, goals, hope, worries and excitement and assisted me in making steps forward. I am learning to do this more with Dad now. Dad is a great listener, very kind and gentle in his steps forward, he makes me realize in his responses that I can be kind to myself – that this is ok and I need to trust my abilities and ways of understanding my life. Of course Ramin is there for me in every aspect also. His support has been like a continuous bear hug of love.

Talking with my Mum was such a fluid form of communication where I often felt she understood me better than I understood myself. She still does…she’s not connected to her body anymore, but she hasn’t gone from me, from my Dad, my sister, my brother and all the family and all her friends. She’s still with us, just in a way that is now purely spiritual.

This word ‘still’ is resonating with me at the moment. She’s still here. Her soul is with me, still, always. I sit in stillness and stare out at the trees, that are still there, that are still. So, I wrote a poem on this….

Still

So I wait for you, still

caught in a tangle at the fence

look for your face, the way you walk

your red scarf muffling your neck

blond trails dancing in the breeze.

ggg

I wait for your bright smile

that complete sense of being seen and

loved by you

one of the select core

you always had time and attention for.

gig

A scrap of orange nail-varnish

still adorns the tip of my big toes

because you told me you liked it

you caught a glimpse while Dad helped you

from the bathroom to the bedroom.

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You liked my nails and my pink jumper

“I love that colour on you!’ you said,

and if I remove it, if I take the colour off

then I won’t see it anymore

I won’t have a tiny part of you

connected by a recent time and the memory

of your positive feedback on my choices

however small.

gig

Adrift, I’m floating aimlessly

I have to navigate using different strengths now

I do have goals and hopes, projects that interest me

But I don’t have you, in the same way

and everything has lost its edge

the meaning I could get lost in

as your encouragement was always there

and though still always here

I can’t yet see it, my map is blurry.

gig

So I wait for you,

sometimes blank and thoughtless

sometimes streaming tears that rise from my solar plexus

and travel through my blood through all veins and skin

often in remembrance of the daily love I always had

from before my birth to the night you died

and beyond, but in a different way

that is as yet, hidden from this waiting girl.

Cwmcarn Forest Drive with Rita and Viv

Mum, Dad and Ramin in Cwmcarn Forest Drive

My love of fashion and clothes (by Ramin)

Suited Ramin

I do like fashion very much. To the degree that I prepare my clothes the night before so that I know exactly what I’ll wear. Over the years I’ve become more relaxed with this. When I’m at home I surprise myself sometimes by having a second option which I can decide on, dependent on the day and weather.

My fashion necessity became a bit tainted when I got MS. Something that comes with MS is incontinence when means I have to always have a spare pair of trousers, pants and socks in my backpack in case of accidents. In the past I didn’t want to lose my dignity so I made sure that the clothes I wore and my spares were the same kind of colour and style so that no one would notice that I had changed my trousers. But now, after many years, I’ve accepted the fact that it’s too complicated to have ten pairs of the same kind of trousers or to speak with the voice of my uncle, ‘just wear jeans that you can wash!’.

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Also, since moving to Wales, my style has become on one hand relaxed, on the other bang on trend! I no longer wear suits as an every day occurrence, for example. My wife agreed with my uncle to dress down a bit, especially as we weren’t going to weddings every day! So I followed suit, buddum pishhhhhhh! So I now undergo more ‘smart-casual’ trend. I’m currently wearing mustard colour jeans-cut five pocket trousers, my brother-in-law’s black skater T-shirt and a Gap light grey jumper.

My love of clothes began when my Dad showed me how to knot a tie when I was 6 years old. My Dad was a textile engineer who has always loved the texture of materials, colours, different makes and styles. I remember him going shopping with me in HnM and he could tell the quality of the clothes by feeling the material and determining the weight with one hand, the procedures the clothes went through and the amount of dye. I felt I had a cool Dad. My Dad taught me a single Windsor knot. Later when I was 14 I got a book which had all sorts of tie knots in it, which I studied avidly with my friend Adrian.

These days I volunteer in an Oxfam Boutique in Cardiff. I’ve volunteered in many charity shops over the years as my energies have been limited because of the fatigue I feel from having MS. I’d love to earn work and earn money, but I feel good knowing I’m contributing to society right now.  I love volunteering in the Boutique because the clothes in the shop are of excellent quality and are of high-end fashion origin. They sell quite quickly and are an interesting mix, as are the people who work there!  Here are some photos of our Christmas party last year:

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One time a person donated 30 Georgio Armarni suits for men and women because an old couple had died and their family donated their clothes to us. We often have wedding dresses, fur coats, shirts, baby’s clothes, ball dresses, prom dresses that have only been worn once and lots of accessories. When people donate clothing they can claim tax back as well as helping Oxfam through Gift Aid. There is also a scheme where people who donate clothing bought from Marks and Spencers are given a £5 voucher which can be used to buy anything in M & S. This encourages people to donate to us an buy clothes from us.

As volunteers we have a mixture of old British grandmothers, refugees from all over the world, university students and language students. I get on particularly well with a Cardiff lady called Beryl who is in her mid-sixties and has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. There is a lady called Roma, from Hong-Kong who is warm hearted, hard working and up for a giggle. Zan, a lady who walks on two crutches and a pair of sunglasses and a fake-fur lines duffle coat is a good friend. My first words to her were, ‘Just popping in after clubbing?’ which made her smile. She is part of the ‘Alteration’ section and is really good at her job. I enjoy chatting with customers, advising them on what clothing suits them or what they could try on instead and steaming clothes when there’s not much to do on the shop floor.

Why not pop in sometime, have a browse and say hello?

Video

Helen Keller – a strengthened soul

‘Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.’ Helen Keller

I just had to share this video with you. I’ve never seen or heard Helen Keller before and was so moved when a friend shared this short video on Facebook. ‘The Miracle Worker‘ is an incredible film that depicts Helen Keller’s struggle for existence and the emergence from darkness through the loving, determined effort of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. We watched it twice on our Spiritual Cinema programme with friends and all cried and laughed together, feeling stronger and inspired to make our contribution in the world. Here is a short clip from ‘The Miracle Worker’, the moment when Helen suddenly understands Anne is teaching her:

I thoroughly recommend watching the whole movie, acted incredibly, and so very moving.

Now to see this footage of Helen as an older lady, smiling, loving, loved and strong despite her lack of sight or hearing – can you imagine living in darkness and silence? Ramin and I feel so inspired by her example and blessed to have the abilities we have.

Helen’s sadness that she never managed to develop natural speech is understandable, yet she did so much good with her limited speech, more than most people do who can speak as clear as bells. I feel it is not what you are given in this life that really matters, it’s how you make use of your talents in this world that is the most important. I wonder how many of us have no disabilities yet see no  spiritual light or hear no uplifting music in our lives? Let’s change that for ourselves and for those around us!

To give you a brief feel of the work Helen did, here is a short excerpt from an online biography of her life:

“After college, Keller set out to learn more about the world and how she could help improve the lives of others. News of her story spread beyond Massachusetts and New England. She became a well-known celebrity and lecturer by sharing her experiences with audiences, and working on behalf of others living with disabilities. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Keller tackled social and political issues, including women’s suffrage, pacifism and birth control. She testified before Congress, strongly advocating to improve the welfare of blind people. In 1915, along with renowned city planner George Kessler, she co-founded Helen Keller International to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition. In 1920, she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Helen once said,

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

One more thing, Helen also read something about the Baha’i Faith – thought we’d share this with you too:

‘The philosophy of Bahá’u’lláh deserves the best thought we can give it. I am returning the book so that other blind people who have more leisure than myself may be “shown a ray of Divinity” and their hearts be “bathed in an inundation of eternal love.”

I take this opportunity to thank you for your kind thought of me, and for the inspiration which even the most cursory reading of Bahá’u’lláh’s life cannot fail to impart. What nobler theme than the “good of the world and the happiness of the nations” can occupy our lives? The message of universal peace will surely prevail. It is useless to combine or conspire against an idea which has in it potency to create a new earth and a new heaven and to quicken human beings with a holy passion of service. (In a personal letter written to an American Bahá’í after having read something from the Braille edition of “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era.”)’ Helen Keller (go here for the link, it’s on page 55)

 

helenkeller‘Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference
for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.’

Helen Keller 1880 – 1968

Swimming with an anchor

IMG_2465Ramin’s Dad, Riaz, lives in Monte Pego, Spain with his second wife. We’ve visited them a few times before and went again this year at the end of September. They live in a villa on the mountain, overlooking other hills dotted with white-walled and terracotta roofed villas with swimming pools, palm trees and swooping terraces. The sea is clear and blue in the distance, there are amazing mountains that look like painted perfection during sun-sets or misty mornings and the temperature was warm (27-30 degrees celsius) with blue, blue skies and a gentle breeze. They have a large swimming pool in the garden which I was itching to jump into as soon as we arrived! Ramin and I stood on the veranda and took in the sun, sea and mountains and smiled upon the blue rippled water of the pool in the garden below. Ramin reminded me  he wasn’t going to try swimming in the sea again, like last year, because he couldn’t trust the waves and was worried about losing his balance, but he would swim in the pool.

So on our first free afternoon, I enthusiastically suggested that we jump in the pool and……

Oh no…Ramin really didn’t want to. ‘Are you serious?’ he asked me. I was serious, but I also wanted to have fun!

His physiotherapist stressed the need for Ramin to regularly exercise and let’s be honest, any physical exercise beyond walking is not enjoyed by my dear one, so I kept going on about it (encouraging, persuading, stating logical arguments while continuing to smile (not easy)) until he finally verbally agreed. I was a bit pushy, this is true. The alternative is that I could be pushing Ramin around in wheelchair in a few years time if he doesn’t exercise!

After a painful transition from sun heat to water cold – it was actually hilarious as our various physical bits and bobs adjusted to the different temperature- on the first day we both swam four lengths and I even got him to smile a bit and dance with me in the water.

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Photos: Adjusting slowly to the temperature of the water – yes I know we should have jumped in! / My trying to gently persuade Ramin that swimming is good for us to do together

Yet every day (every day!) the pattern would go something like this; Ramin would firstly refuse to go swimming then would agree to swim after I reminded him of his physiotherapist’s advice, how if he wants to travel with me to China next year – or the year after – he will need to be physically fitter and other such reminders and then would take about 20 minutes to get undressed and meet me by the pool. Once outside, however hot the sun beamed down, he would feel the wind and refuse to get in the water. I’d get in, laughing at how cold the water did feel at first and showing him how once I was in it didn’t feel that cold and I could swim about just fine. Ramin would tentatively reach a toe into the water and then shrink back (hermit crab anyone?) again steadfastly refusing to allow any other part of his body to be exposed to the freezing cold water – yet staying where he was (he could have flounced off!) and fixing me sternly with a glare. When Ramin was finally in the water (a silent scream upon his face for a whole length) he would swim – confidently – for his agreed amount of lengths before immediately getting out and going into the house to have a warm shower. I would then swim until I felt tired and try to recover from the tension I had felt, yet not expressed, while working with my dear hubby.

On the third day I realised Ramin was not finding the process of getting into the water any easier and so remembering discussions about NLP (Neurolinguistic programming) with my good friends Tracey and Martin I had a go at working with a simplified version of a NLP technique called ‘anchoring’. It wasn’t to manipulate Ramin,  it was just to try out a way of assisting him to feel good about our experience of swimming rather than leaving him in a state of dread. An explanation of anchoring is as follows;

Anchors are naturally occurring. Things we see, hear, feel, taste and touch in our everyday lives spontaneously evoke memories, and often feelings as well. While some anchors are neutral – you see a blue car and it reminds you of one you used to own – many trigger some kind of emotional reaction… Many anchors originate in childhood. Often the original experience that created them has long since been forgotten, but the emotional response continues….

Anchors, though, don’t have to be left to chance. You can set them – intentionally, systematically – in support of your desired outcome. If you want to be in a particular state or feel a specific emotion in a future context, you can create an anchor that achieves that..’ (p. 93, reference below)

I have a host of positive memories about swimming (anchors) from my childhood with all the years I’ve swam in the sea and in numerous indoor and outdoor pools, learning to swim with my Dad,  pretending to be a sea creature or a mermaid with my sister and whooshing down slides with my nieces and nephews. Ramin doesn’t have this though as since he’s had MS, positive memories of swimming have mainly been replaced by  negative memories of a lack of balance, slipping and cold water!

So half way through Ramin’s agreed lengths, I gave him a cuddle, told him how proud of him I was, took his hand and danced the tango (my version!) with him in the water. Flicking my fingers up out of the water, I demonstrated how many more lengths he had to go, which made us both laugh as the water spurted in all directions. I asked Ramin to remember this feeling of happy silliness in the water, creating an anchor to create an ‘effective and enduring association‘ (P. 95 ref below) with swimming, so that the experience could be far more enjoyable for him. The next few days did take  just the same amount of persuasion but Ramin managed to swim an extra length each day, we had a lot of fun dancing in the water and he reached seven lengths on the final day even though that day was windy and rather grey with just a touch of sun reaching through.

Once my task with Ramin was complete, it was important for me to forget about him for a little bit and just enjoy swimming outside, appreciating the beauty of the surroundings and floating in the sun dappled water, away from everyone and everything.

Afterwards Ramin told me that even though the water was apparently between 26-28 degrees celsius, it always felt like he was stepping into an ice-rink and it made his toes cramp. He had to swim through the cramp, trying to stretch out his feet while pushing through the breast stroke. He knew it was good for him to swim though, and because he wants to get fitter, decided to push through. He did admit that it was a bit fun too and I’m hoping the anchor we focused on will help him for the future. It’s a relief for me that Ramin was doing his own pushing too, as he’s rather a large man for me to push all by myself!

So, we did swim together and even though swimming in a public pool in our locality will not be as stimulating for me (and I really don’t like chlorine), it will be more comfortable for Ramin and we can build up a habit of going regularly, enabling both of us to get stronger. Now the hard task is moving from our warm home into the cold, wet Autumn air before we even get to the pool!

Funny that sometimes you need to swim with an anchor, eh?! Boom, Boom!

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Photo: Ramin and his Dad, Riaz (taken September 2012) in Denia, Spain.

Reference:  Teach yourself NLP, Steven Bavister and Amanda Vickers.

Toilets vs Aliens

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Ramin’s perspective:

Since I  joined the UK MS Society, I received two cards which I find really helpful and supportive. One states in four languages (English, French, Spanish and German) on the one side,

‘I have MS and would really appreciate your help. Please don’t worry, MS is not infectious’.

On the other side it states;

Because I have MS, I need to use the toilet urgently. Can you help? Thank you.

The second card states on one side;

 ‘I have Multiple Sclerosis. 

It is not infectious. 

I need assistance and would be grateful if you could help me.’ 

 and on the other (the first three are true for me);

 ‘I need to use the toilet urgently.

I have fatigue and need to sit down or rest.

I am unsteady on my feet.

I have difficulties with my speech.

I have difficulties with my eye sight.

I have limited movement in my limbs’

We shop in Sainsbury’s near our home, but I am more inclined to shop in Aldi because it’s cheaper, it reminds me of Germany (more or less the same lay-out)  and there are not so many options making everything easier to find, but the downfall is there’s no toilet. I always have to go to the toilet every 30 minutes and this makes me really sad. It feels like a shackle.

The cards from the MS Society help others to recognise my needs because its an official print by a society that everyone knows. They make me feel more secure about asking for the toilet, even if I don’t yet need to show them to anyone. I’ve used toilets in all sorts of places, for example; hair-dressers, pubs and shops where the toilet is usually only for the staff.

I was also given a special large key, which opens every disabled toilet all over the UK. I didn’t believe it at first, so I’ve tested this far and wide and it’s true! We got this key from a neighbour who’s husband is disabled. You can buy one from here: Radar key. 

So back to shopping. Fleur gives me a shopping list. The first thing I have to make sure of  (if I don’t know the shop very well) is to find out where the toilets are, go one time for luck, and then start shopping. I am quite tempted to always ask where things are, but these days I try to look myself and if it seems like there’s no possibility, I’ll ask. In our local supermarket is an assistant who knows the shop like the back of his hand. I found out the other day when I asked for help that he is partially deaf and it made me chuckle – there we were, two disabled people trying to get something done. I was impressed that he, with all the vigour and positivity, went for that job and is really good at it.

When shopping It’s difficult for me to locate where certain products are. Something that doesn’t help is when the stock has moved. I have a theory that this occurence happens fortnightly BY ALIENS just to test my patience and other human virtues that they want to learn about more. Every time Fleur asks me to go shopping by myself my heart drops because it’s a challenge for me. But I’m willing to go because this is a way to meet people as I’m a very chatty person and love to be with others. I go there, I buy things, some of them are wrong, I return them, I sometimes still get the wrong things and my argument is, ‘because it was cheaper!’ Back home, Fleur smiles at me, gives me a kiss on the cheek and pats my arm saying ‘It’s alright love. You got most things I asked for!’.

Which way – this way, that way?

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Ramin and I tend to either decide on something immediately or take quite a while to make a decision. There’s not really an in-between.  My mind is thinking of that moment as well as later that day, the next day, appointments that are coming up in the next week and often what’s coming up in the following month.  Ramin tends to live in the moment so completely that he can find it challenging to think beyond what is happening right now. This could just be our personalities, but it could also be that MS is intervening, yet again invisibly but very much there.

My Mum made a good observation the other day, she noticed that Ramin tends to wait for me to ask him to do something, or asks where we are going and when. I’m the one who carries around the week’s schedule in my head and he is happy to rely on my memory for the organization of his week, of our week. In itself it’s not too bad as our lives are not particularly complicated, but it does mean that he isn’t engaging his own memory, is reliant on me and floats from one event to the other without much reflection. How wonderful to trust someone so much! Ah, but this has to change. Yes I am Ramin’s carer, but in this role as well as helping him with the every day things that would be too hard for him, I also want to assist him to progress in his life, not to keep him reliant on me for every little thing, all the time, everywhere. Mum suggested that we write the events of the week down in a little book – not a diary (He has one of those already and either never remembers to look in it or there’s too much space in-between events) – but a little book so that when he’s not sure about the week’s plans, he can look in the book and remind himself without always asking me – crossing off events when they’re complete. I love this idea!

The Oxford Dictionary definition of independence (as it relates to a person) is: ‘adjective: ‘free from outside control’…’capable of thinking or acting for oneself’…’not influenced by others’…’not depending on something else for strength or effectiveness’.

If the opposite of the definition of independence is true for him then he would be controlled by me, I would think for him, I would  influence him and he would depend on me for strength or effectiveness. At the moment, to some degree, all those things  are true – he kind of likes it that way to be honest as it removes responsibility from his actions – and he knows I have a clear head and can make good decisions. Also in marriage being interdependent is healthy and good! When I go to the dentist I totally rely on his calm strength to be able to face the scary-ness!

However a marriage is a union of two people, through which they both grow and learn together. As his wife I  want him to be someone I can rely on. I want to have a great life together! I want him to fly. I want to fly with him! If one person is making all the decisions and the other is relying on that person and not thinking for themselves, then how can either of them grow? How can I grow as a wife if my husband just agrees with my ideas of where to go, what to do, what to eat, what to buy, how to serve, who to visit and so on? It’s like being alone with a lovely pet dog who loves you and follows you around and is sad when you leave. Sorry, but this is true! How can Ramin grow as a husband if he doesn’t think about his life, ponder on his actions, reflect on  his love for me and ways to grow together or even just think for himself about his diet, exercise, friends, service, prayers and so on without my prompting? In fact it’s not only the marriage that suffers if one person isn’t independent, but that person’s whole life! I don’t want Ramin to become me, for Pete’s sake!

Ramin is a wonderful man with an excellent University degree in film (Aberystwyth), strong personal opinions (when he feels he wants to express them), a fantastic personality full of joy, calm and love for people and someone who needs to have the space and encouragement to just be himself. MS took all his abilities away for many years and I feel he lost a sense of trust in his mind and his body in that time. Now, with almost all his abilities functioning really well, he needs to discover his self-trust again and not let those years of illness rob him of a meaningful and independent life. You see how  you can choose to let MS have a huge, looming role in your life, or how it can be pushed away and play no part?

So therefore sometimes our decisions are quick and easy – either when we both agree straightway to do something (eat pizza, go for a walk, watch this movie, ring his Dad) or take a lot of time and space when it’s clear to me that I need to step back and let Ramin find his voice. Yes I can get frustrated and in my head my voice is saying ‘hurry up!!!’ but expressing this just kills any chance Ramin had to think and use his voice. For example, it took us two weeks to decide that we wouldn’t continue the fertility treatment and would start the adoption process. He wanted me to make the decision and I refused to do so by myself. I waited until he had really thought about it. We also consulted with our family members and prayed a lot.

Perhaps I need to employ this method more in our lives, not just about the big decisions but also about what to do and where to go – to give him a real sense of us deciding together. Man, I’m going to need some patience from the Divine! So maybe that’s my disability right there, I’ve learned to be the strong one and now I need to learn to step back. You can see this in the way we walk down the street, I’m always walking ahead while he follows behind. I then stop and wait, realising I’m walking too fast. Then we walk together, holding hands, making eye contact while I pull back my desire to strive ahead faster and he pulls back his desire to follow and not think much.

Perhaps he’s my hermit crab and I’m the shell he hides away in. He’s protected by his trust in me, his love for me and a regular routine – and when he feels safe, and the way is clear he’s able to pop his head out of the shell and feel the waters ahead with tentative thought tentacles – and that’s when I need to sit quiet and let him take us both forward, knowing it’s the experience of moving forward that’s important, not really if we’re going this way or that way.

The invisible lodger

 

Haifa

Haifa

Ramin and I have been married eleven years this July. Three months into our marriage (back in 2003), he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Yet even though he has the physical symptoms, we both feel this illness is ours. The impact any  such serious condition has upon a married couple is huge, as it can make or break your relationship, it can wear you down to day-in-day-out bitterness or it can create a dynamic where you learn to live within your resources and support each other differently from how you imagined.  Not having the life you thought you’d have, you learn what ‘being in love’ is really about and create a different kind of life. You learn to love through patience, thinking of the needs of the other person, making sure your needs are met while not exhausting the other, being considerate and kind, trying to be loving rather than right (not always successfully!). Love in our marriage isn’t shown through hard toil in a job in the city, where the pay-cheque buys a house, car and nice clothes. It isn’t shown through fancy jewellery or expensive holidays. Love is usually just a cup of tea and a cuddle, chatting about the day, planning a few fun things to do in the week (including where the toilets are), working together to assist my parents, making sure food is served on time and reading together. Multiple Sclerosis lives with us like an exhausting, needy, invisible lodger, yet it also  – in another reality – does not exist and we often have to overcome the inertia of our own personalities that have been somewhat changed and warped through living with the lodger. Ramin is tired from dealing with this, but also tired from the illness itself and also sometimes just tired. Ramin is often full of energy, full of beans, focused on a purpose and determined to achieve it. Not for long, maybe, but the energy is there. It’s like a laptop battery that needs constant recharging – it can do the job, but please let it be plugged into the mains for a few hours to recover, then all is well again. I get tired easily, need to sleep well and have time to myself to recover from putting out energy in the day. I don’t have the actual illness, but it has an impact on me – in more ways than I like to even admit to myself. So as well as MS, Ramin and I have Multiple Stories to tell. His MS is different from every other person we have met with the same condition because his treatment is different and because we are Baha’is. We have stories about his MS to share with you, we have stories about other people’s response to his MS, stories about courage through disability and the ongoing story of becoming parents – who knows how that one is going to end! I didn’t feel the need to blog about any of this before now. Hopefully this will help others or just be another perspective on life in the beginning of the 21st Century. I couldn’t find much on the net about MS and fertility or adoption, so this is another voice that we hope will support other souls out there who are faced with the same issues. So stay with us for the journey if you like, as we walk through a different country, hand-in-hand, without passports and a physical landscape but with a definite culture and a need for others (as well as ourselves) to learn to treat those with disabilities as equal citizens capable of giving so damn much, but maybe in a different way from the materialistic trend of the Western society we live in. Perhaps being disabled actually enables spiritual qualities to shine greater. (I also blog about music and singing under the name ‘Creative Voice‘ and you can visit my website by clicking here)