Hello there fellow life form! I am Alex and I welcome you to my blog, The Quest For Enlightenment!

Why start The Quest For Enlightenment you ask?

After being married to my college sweetheart Maia for only five months (and before we could save up enough for a honeymoon), I was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. I lost almost everything–my job, my ability to walk and care for myself without assistance, the beautiful brown skin complexion I loved best about myself, the yoga body I had worked so hard for, and all hope I had been carrying that my symptoms would just clear up tomorrow. I was faced with a tumor, diabetes, osteroporosis, chronic weakness, and the reality of life with a rare illness.

Despite surgery, a year after my official diagnosis I am still struggling with Cushings and am undergoing tests to see if my Cushings has come back. Yesterday my insurance was taken away and so was any hope of medical assistance. The only medical care available to me now is whatever my partner and I can provide for ourselves.

However, this is not a gloomy blog! This is the ongoing story of Alex and Maia’s quest for joy! I’m starting this blog as part of a project to begin a life centered around joy as part of my self-care for my Cushings disease.

I have spent my whole life living by the established rules of my family, culture, and society. I have done the “culturally right thing” and always listened to “common sense” and lived life as a socially and legally good person. I was careful, safe, prudent, frugal, and patient. I waited indefinitely for my turn to be seen, to be heard, and for my dreams. I followed the rules and adjusted my own views and aspirations to fit those I thought I was supposed to have.

I never asked “what do I want?” or “what do I like? what do I dislike?” or “what makes me happy?” or “what do I alone as an individual believe and think is right, regardless of culture or law or common sense?” or “what do I want to be true?”

Worst of all, I let myself believe what other people told me rather than listening to my own heart and conscience.

I listened to all the people who told me I was fat when I was 120lbs and beautiful. Because I listened to them, I lost my chance to enjoy my life in that young and healthy body. I lost my chance to dress with joy and celebrate my fashion style and body for that person I was before Cushings.

I listened to all the people who told me not to bulk up at the gym because it wasn’t right for girls, or to quit my workout practice early because they didn’t want to keep going, or to quit sports because I wasn’t as good as the other kids, or not to do unladylike sports. I lost my chance to push myself as a young female athlete. I lost my chance to do high school or college sports. I lost hundreds of races and games because I listened to “common sense” and “society” and just didn’t enter.

I listened to all the people who told me that being a musician, writer, hero, or philosopher doesn’t make money. I pursued these “pie-in-the-sky” dreams as hobbies in my spare time, when I wasn’t working hard at becoming a perfectly moderate middle class millennial.

It is a shame that we so often need our lives destroyed and nearly taken from us to wake us up to the reality.

What reality?

The reality that everything is a choice, from what we believe to what we think to what we do. Who we are and what we do is up to us, and the world is what we make it.

Outside of that, there is nothing.

Despite being an undergraduate philosophy major and lover of the Existentialists, I had forgotten this fundamental truth.

We are radically free.

So given that. each of us is radically free to construct whatever world we wish, to be whomever we want to be, to do nothing but what we want, what do I want?

I asked myself this, as I sat trying to process the letter in front of me, the letter telling me I no longer had access to insurance, that I could no longer afford medications, physical therapy, doctors visits, tests, or the further surgery I might need. “What do I want?”

“To live each moment in the truth that the current moment is all I have. To live the each moment with joy. To seek enlightenment in the culmination of many moments of joy.”

That is what I told myself in answer. Thus it is how I will now strive to live. To live each moment in joy, seeking enlightenment, increasing my capacity for compassion and empathy, and increase joy as much as I can.

What brings me the most joy?

Writing brings me joy, so I started this blog as part of my new joy motivated life.

I feel joy when I am with Maia, so I decided to make this blog with Maia.

I feel joy when I listen to or create music, especially when I play the ukulele or when I play with Maia. I feel joy when I read a good book or article, and also when I sew or do cosplay.

I will share the things that bring me joy here–my writing, my music, posts by Maia, whatever brings me joy at the moment.

If you have made it to the end of this post, congratulations! Now open whatever you use to write on your device and write down the following questions:

  1. What do I want?
  2. What do I like? What makes me happy?
  3. What do I dislike? Do I have any obligations or duties that I dislike? Why do I dislike that obligation or duty?
  4. What do I alone as an individual believe and think is right, regardless of culture or law or common sense?
  5. What do I want to be true about myself? What do I want to be true about the world?

Answer these questions to start your own #QuestForEnlightenment.

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