Hey Chronic Warriors and Pain Warriors! I recently watched Disney’s ‘Clouds’ (as movies based around musicians always grab my attention). I knew the film would be profound, but it had a greater impact on me than I expected. The movie was filled with a plethora of valuable lessons; presenting themselves through challenging and inspirational moments. I’m going to share 5 life lessons that I believe can inspire us and be applied to our lives as chronic warriors.
‘Clouds’ tells the story of a talented teenager named Zach Sobiech – who pursued a career in music after being given months to live due to terminal osteosarcoma (a type of cancer within the bones).
If you haven’t watched the film yet and you don’t want the events of the film spoiled for you, then run – save yourself! Return to this post once you’ve watched the movie. If you’re not bothered by spoilers or don’t plan on watching the film, then carry on…
5 Life Lessons For Chronic Pain Warriors From ‘Clouds’
Another disclaimer; I am in no way comparing having a terminal illness to a chronic illness. I am sharing how this film can inspire us to live as best as we can – with whatever struggles we may face.
1) “You don’t have to find out that you’re dying, to start living”
This profound quote came from Zach Sobiech (the protagonist). It resonated with me.
It was evident in the film that Zach gained a lot of insight and revelation during his lifetime and that his experience with a terminal illness had contributed to that.
Sometimes our perspectives aren’t altered until we experience something that forces us to review our mortality; causing us to review our priorities and decide what really matters to us in life.
For example, people (especially in the western world) can often become bogged down with a routined lifestyle, but miss the opportunities to really live life and not just ‘exist’. It is very common that we don’t always remember that life is very fleeting – until we experience something that causes us to recognise that very fact. That can be the loss of a loved one, a near death experience, or even being told you have a limited time left.
We commonly take it for granted that tomorrow is a sure thing. But really, it isn’t.
2) Life isn’t always about finding a cure. Sometimes it’s about making the best of the time we’ve been given.
This thought hit me while I was watching the film. As chronic illness warriors, we experience so much pain, anger and frustration. This can place us in an overwhelming cycle of focusing all of our energy on finding a cure, with the hopes to get our former lives back (especially in the early days of having a chronic illness).
Have you experienced that phase in your journey as a Chronic Warrior? I definitely have!
Some people may find the healing, cure or lifestyle changes that enable them go into a remission from their conditions. I am a believer that many (I didn’t say all!) conditions can possibly be eliminated or lessened – via the right methods which take time, patience and trials to figure out.
Whereas Zach had no choice, other than to accept that he was going to die soon – he took the focus off of trying to find a way to extend his life & decided to make the most of whatever time he had left. The focus had shifted from quantity to quality.
I wonder if we should be doing this – but with a balance. Yes, we must spend time finding a means that will help us to improve our health as much as possible. But it’s also important that we don’t become consumed with hinging everything on finding a cure, that we neglect to enjoy life in the small pockets that we can.
We can be Chronic Warriors who still have a life of good quality! (I know, that statement sounds crazy, doesn’t it?!) But there have been times when I have had great experiences – even with daily migraine pains. Those experiences weren’t always extravagant – sometimes they were simply me enjoying the presence of friends & family. But those moments have been joyous and precious. We can find joy and peace in the little things that people take for granted or overlook."It's important that we don't become consumed with hinging everything on finding a cure, that we neglect to enjoy life in the small pockets that we can". – Tasha Marie – 5 Life Lessons From 'Clouds' For Chronic Warriors Click To Tweet
3) Just being yourself, is heroic enough. Not every hero wears a cape. Many live with chronic illnesses.
Everyone knew Zach’s condition, but he continued to be himself. No frills – just a regular, funny guy. A guy who loved to sing, write songs and play his guitar.
Yet…what Zach did was phenomenal. He recorded his music – which received attention from a music label. Zach became a signed songwriter. His music sold millions; charting number 1 on the iTunes chart (which was a BIG deal at the time!). Zach donated the proceeds from his sales to help other children with osteosarcoma.
Zach’s music & story touched millions of people. The mark that he left was significant enough for Disney to share it!
So as I mentioned, not all heroes wear capes. They are ordinary people who are brave, courageous and are facing their troubles the best way that they can.
So Chronic Warrior, know that you are probably inspiring more people than you realise; simply by facing your troubles(s) and being brave. You don’t have to be a superman or superwoman that’s on display. You just have to be you. Hold your focus, your passion and fight for what you believe in. Your presence can have an impact on people that stretches further than you can imagine!
4)Make your life mean something.
The film shows Zach having his moments of feeling defeated about life, as well as the encouragement he received from his teacher and mother to use his time for something great. To make his life meaningful.
There were two scenes where Zach’s teacher spoke of a quote from Mary Oliver – “What do you want to do with your one wild and precious life?”.
That resonated with Zach; challenging him to decide that he wanted his life to mean something.
Warriors – what do you want your life to mean? What do you want people to learn from you? What do you want others to be able to say about their experience of you? That is something that you get to determine and decide yourself.
Once you have decided what that is, stick to it and hold your focus to make that change and put it into action.
5) Go for whatever will bring you true joy and happiness!
Zach desired to make an album and made it happen. He recorded videos with his friend – which then garnered attention. I can imagine it was a difficult process, however it all came together.
The film also showed Zach and his family make an effort to do things that would bring joy to him like asking his crush out, going on vacation, renting a car that he always wanted to drive and creating a celebratory event just for Zach.
We all have dreams and goals, they may have changed for some of us. But remember, whatever you want to achieve – you can do it! Yes you have a chronic illness, that’s true. Yes you may have some limitations, but don’t let those limitations have you. Having limitations, doesn’t always render your dreams impossible. It might mean things may be more challenging, take a little longer or that you may have to take an alternative route to get to the destination. But you can still get there! I have previously written about this in my post ‘Hold On To Your Dreams’.
Invest your time and effort, however and whenever you can. Be patient, focused and determined. Your time will come Warriors.
Ultimately, go and get your life! Don’t let your sickness cause you to put yourself in a box and remain there. Stay with me as I elaborate on this a little more…
As chronic warriors, we are so used to being in pain all the time that sometimes we just expect it to ruin everything. We’ve seen our symptoms and pain flare up unpredictably and cause us to miss so many events and opportunities.
There were times I would be invited out or to try out new things and I would do a ‘risk assessment’ in my head about whether I would be able to attend. During a time of reflection a while ago, I realised that about myself and decided it was time to take back control of my life. So I actively tackled my mindset daily & attempted to try out new things; saying ‘yes’ more often. I actually started to enjoy life again because I was giving things a chance. Some days turned out to be amazing, others…no so much! But I have no regrets, because I found liberation in the changes that I made.
What have you being say ‘no’ to, that you could give a chance?
So to conclude…
I heavily encourage you to watch the film. It brought me through a myriad of emotions, but I am glad that I watched it. I truly took a lot of profound points from the film and it’s awesome to know that Zach’s legacy lives on. I for one am sure that want to I start living living more and continue to make beautiful moments in the midst of this madness we call life. The time is now. I’ll try to make the best of what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t have. Chronic warriors, go and get your best life.
Your life is yours for the taking – what do you want your life to mean and what do you want to achieve?
What life lessons have you learned Warriors? If you have watched the film before – what is your opinion of it? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!
Until next time Warriors,