I was invited to be a guest poster on the blog “Catskill Cottage Seed“.  This came out of a post that Richard, the blog author, wrote about embracing limitors.  I had submitted a comment which developed into the following post on his blog.

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Guest Post

by Rachel Z. Cornell of The ProNagger

(Rachel is a legally blind blogger, speaker and author of upcoming books The ProNagger’s Non-Traditional Gimp Guide: You don’t have to be disabled to have Crippled Thinking. You can follow her on twitter @ProNagger. Her comments on our post Embracing Limitors developed into the following:)

Maybe it would be helpful to think of parameters in terms of a piano for example. A piano has 88 keys, but this number didn’t seem to limit Mozart. There’s only a measley 26 characters in the English language and yet Shakespeare seemed to do just fine expressing himself with such limitations.

I think our struggle comes from 1) something being  taken away from us and 2) wanting what we don’t have .  This is nearly the same issue but let me take them on one at a time.

When something’s taken away:
If I told you that the alphabet has too many characters and I’m going to need to take the E and the G from you, what would you do?  Well you would struggle to write for a while.  Look at that sentence I just wrote without it’s E and G.  Wll you would strul to writ for a whil. Hmmm, I’ll need to figure out how to write this without any E and G’s.  What might I write? “Words will form with difficulty for a bit” That was hard.  You try it.  So just think how it might be like to be the guy with two legs all his life and boom, now he has one? It will be hard for a while.  He will need to create a new way of moving his body.  This is working with the parameters you have in any given moment and make something amazing with what you have.

I do not consider my eye sight a limitation.  It’s frustrating at times, but you know, fussing with that sentence above was frustrating too.  Without the nature of my eye sight the trajectory of my life would not have gone in the direction it has.  I would not be writing the book  I’m working on if I had 20/20 sight.

So what about wanting what we don’t have?

My husband often says “our greatest disappointment comes when we compare ourselves to others.”  It’s smart, but I wish he wouldn’t say it when I’m whining about something I wish I had.

It’s not unreasonable to want something.  I want to drive.  I also want to remain alive, so I don’t drive.  It’s reasonable to grieve something. “I want to walk with both my legs”, from the person who’s lost one of them. This is not the same as saying I want the latest iPhone. I can want to drive myself to meet a friend for coffee, but for me to hang out at home wanting something that’s not going to happen is messed up.  I have to get clear about the more important want and go figure out how to do it with what tools I have available to me.

Have you had to find a new way to do something in your life?

Oh and one more thing…I am not big on the idea of “picking up the pieces.”  If things are in pieces, things have changed forever.  I’m big on evaluating the situation and working with the parameters as they present themsleves in a given moment.