Namaste Well Wishers,
Today we have the pleasure of reading about an inspiring life story from Cindy Johns, a person who I have come to admire greatly in showing the outstanding side of humanity. Cindy is an artist who I met in cyberspace on Greeting Card Universe (GCU). Right away, I noticed this very positive, helpful lady with a sense of humor on the GCU Forum who opened up her store in April 2011.
About two months later Cindy was chosen to do a Design Spotlight for GCU where the artist chooses one of their cards to speak about with a back story to the card and something about themselves. The card is pictured here and shows a photo of a car traveling through a winding road with a rainbow ahead.
Please read on about this amazing woman, who somehow is able to keep a positive, humorous spin on life to overcome life’s challenges and keep an eye on the rainbows in her life. Happily, Cindy agreed to write a piece for the Well Wishers Group to give us an idea how she does it.
My 11/3/11 horoscope:
Just because your brilliance hasn’t had a chance to be on display lately doesn’t mean that you aren’t still as amazing as ever. Sometimes, the only positive reinforcement you’re going to get is the kind you give yourself, and this might be one of those times. It’s not that other people will be tearing you down, it’s just that no one will be building you up. But it’s time for you to learn how to be your own best friend, your own cheerleader. So keep shining — even if no one else notices.
This is actually my life in a nutshell. I learned early on—when I desperately wanted lots of friends, but could only manage to make a few—that I had to become my own best friend. These days I don’t particularly care to spend much time in the company of other people besides my family, because it has become a hassle for me to try to wrap my mind around having good manners and being courteous. And with my chemo-brain forgetfulness, I don’t even remember details about people that I learned from previous interactions with them. I’m actually much happier when I’m not obsessed with having people like me. 🙂
But I do enjoy my internet friends, in spite of my loner-like attitude. I have made one recently who is quite special to me and I feel a genuine kindred spirit to her. It is, of course, Sri Devi. I’ve been working on a business plan over the past few months, and she is one of the few people that I’ve talked with about it (via email). She is so incredibly supportive and she even went the extra mile and wrote a beautiful Letter of Endorsement on my behalf. She wrote it within a day of my asking, as did another wonderful new friend, named Candace!
I also want to mention something that convinces me that having Sri in my life is much more than an ordinary friendship. Part of the reason I feel such a bond with her is because her name, Jennifer Betty, is coincidentally the same name as my Mom (Betty) and my sister (Jennifer). Plus, Sri is a reflexologist, and my Dad, who was a Chiropractor (God rest his soul), developed a reflexology foot board many, many years ago.
I feel so many connections to Sri, and I will give her a lot of credit as my business plans develop, both for her wonderful letter as well as the spiritual boost she is giving me. Every time I think of Sri, I think of this beautiful, amazingly affirmative, genuinely kind-hearted and loving person that I admire the heck out of, and who has a very wonderful influence on me, across the miles, with her positive energy.
Sri asked me how I manage living with such monumental hurdles (polio, post-polio, cancer, arthritis, daily pain, etc.) and keep a positive attitude. One way I deal with my limitations is to try not to think about them very much. But that’s a double-edged sword, because if I don’t think about my limitations, then I lose focus and forget to do things that help me manage them, such as walking on the treadmill as often as I can, and taking my medications, and maintaining a healthy diet. When I forget to focus on those things, I find myself eating junk food, skipping the treadmill (which leads to more aches and pains), and running out of energy. So not focusing on my limitations comes back to haunt me, but focusing on them too much leaves me in a position of wallowing in self-pity. It’s a fine line to toe.
Actually, I’m being a little facetious. Humor is the real glue that holds me together. LOL. I crave it. I love when people make me laugh, but since I’m not very sociable anymore, I have to get my laughter from sit-coms and comics – The Big Bang Theory and Calvin and Hobbes being my favorites. My son is also good at making me laugh, but he recently moved away to a city that is about a 2-hour drive away, so he doesn’t make me laugh like he used to (what a turd!).
He’s also a great writer. I had hoped he would help me write a book about living with Polio for 50 years; and I wanted him to be the one to help me write it because I know he could make it a funny book, which is important to me. He might eventually help me write it, but it won’t be in time to hit the 50-year mark, because that milestone is now.
It was 50 years ago this month that I was afflicted with Polio. My father was a Chiropractor, and oftentimes Chiropractors tend to not put a lot of stock in vaccinations. So my brothers and I weren’t vaccinated when we were kids. My oldest brother caught polio in November of 1961, when he was 7, from a classmate of his who actually got it from the vaccination. I then caught it from my brother (I was two), and the rest is history. My other brother didn’t catch it at all–he was 4 at the time, and my sister wasn’t born until 1966.
Anyhow, in addition to being a Chiropractor, my Dad was very spiritual, kind, and loving. He tried for years to help me get rid of the limp. And later, when my leg stopped growing and I required a brace to walk, he built one for me. Alas, it was uncomfortable, so we ended up going to a regular brace-maker after that. Dad also invented a reflexology foot board with the hopes it would help cleanse the toxins out of my body and rid me of any unhealthy influences that remained from the polio. I’d say that didn’t really work for me, because the effects of polio are still with me today.
But Dad’s positive attitude and belief in goodness are also with me today, and that’s what really matters anyhow. From him I learned that it’s not really a big deal that I happen to have a lot of limitations and obstacles to deal with. It just proves to me that God knew I could handle them.
Furthermore, had I not been afflicted with Polio, my life would have been totally different than it is today, and to tell the truth, I have a pretty good life. I have two amazing adult children, a wonderful husband whom I’ve been married to for 27 years, and now an exquisite little kitten who brings joy to my every waking moment because she is so much fun and just as cute as can be. On top of that, as a card artist I get to create art every single day!
So really, who WOULDN’T want to be me? 🙂 My positive attitude is also leading me to build my own business, and there again, had I not been crippled, I don’t know if this is the road my life would have taken. But I’m sure glad that I’m here now. With the technology that we have in our lives today, almost everything is a joy to do.
So I really think I’m at a pretty terrific place with my life, and I just don’t know if I’d be here had I not been afflicted by Polio 50 years ago.
Thank you so much Cindy! Or as I like to say . . .
N ever Gives Up
Y ou’re My Hero!
A new category has been started in Cindy’s honor on the Well Wisher’s Blog for Inspiring Life Stories. Blessings always, all ways! I do look forward to many more stories to come.
Wishing Cindy well with every success for her business plan and getting the funding to update software and equipment, allowing her to continue creating and developing her art with greater ease. Hope Cindy will be back soon to give us an update on her business! And a future post about her book!
You can find out more about what Cindy is up to by clicking on this link: I Love Cuttables and Cindy Johns 365 Day Illustration Challenge