Madison MacGregor
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My Big Secret

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My big secret was Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It is a genetic disorder, causing mucus build up in my lungs and pancreas, and a slew of other implications. I was born with it, it was not something I wanted, chose, or accepted. I would deny it at all costs.

CF was something I was ashamed of. I would either hide it or lie about it to keep me from feeling like I was different or not as capable. It was especially difficult for me to come to terms with my health condition when I was a teen, dancing competitively.

I wanted to be able to achieve the level of skill my classmates had, and I didn’t want anyone to deprive me or doubt me when given opportunities. I didn’t want to deal with CF, so I skipped it. I denied it. When I had to do my physiotherapy, I either didn’t do it, or I didn’t do it effectively. I developed a cough, that became an infection in my lungs, that if not treated, over time, would have meant I would not be able to breath.

 

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It’s surprising I was able to go as long as I did without doing my physiotherapy properly. I wound up in the hospital for two weeks at two points in my life. Once when I was 12 (pictured above) and another when I was 15 (pictured below).

When I was in hospital at 15 years of age, I was taking three different medications, hooked up to an I.V. two weeks before my nationals dance competition that took place in NYC. I had prepared for it all year. I would only be released from the hospital, and able to continue my treatment from home so I could return to dance rehearsals, if my lung function was up over 80%. I had a 69%, and four days to prove I was healthy enough to go home. I got my lung function up to 90%, with the help of a physiotherapist, my mom, my doctors and doing physiotherapy on my lungs three times a day (yay!).

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I had a PICC line inserted in my arm which allowed me to detach from my IV and practice my dancing. At that point in my life, dance was the only thing I could feel normal doing. No one saw me as the kid with CF, they just saw a dancer.

Now my two worlds were colliding. I couldn’t keep it a secret anymore when I showed up at dance with a PICC line in my arm. I had to face the truth: I was in desperate need of care, all because I hadn’t taken proper care of myself, and it was because I had Cystic Fibrosis, something I didn’t really want to face.

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I had to face the truth. It took me a long time to come to terms with it, but I realize now, looking back, that had I faced it sooner, I would have been much kinder to myself, healthier and I would have enjoyed a better quality of life and relationships. The truth pissed me off, but it also, ultimately, set me free.
Today I am healthy, I am managing my CF, and I see CF as an opportunity to show what is possible. I can contribute to the lives of Cystic Fibrosis patients, raise money and awareness to fund a cure – that we must find in my lifetime. I can play a meaningful role in helping to create change, raise awareness and funds, rather than be a victim to the truth. I’ve learned to break through, instead of break down, when faced with truth. That acceptance is only the first step towards change.
I know that from time to time, you are faced with challenges too. We all are, even though it feels like we are alone and the challenges we face aren’t always obvious on the outside.
I’ve learned to have empathy for challenges and the kindness that is possible when we open ourselves up and commit to breaking through them. I’m not above or below my health challenges, I am right in the middle of them. I am looking at them, eye-to-eye, finding peace for myself, my condition, and moving into grace and respect for all that it has contributed to making me who I am today, and for all that I have yet to impact and accomplish, despite it. There is too much life in you to allow ANY single challenge to stop you from living life to the full!
Cheering us all on!!
With love,
Madison xo

First Thought of 2018

92F949A7-C3F3-4A7F-A1ED-9F156D3ECD78.jpegIt impresses me that two things can exist at one time. Being totally different and totally similar. Esther Perel, a psychotherapist who explores freedom and security in relationships as well as love and desire, has inspired me. Not only has she introduced the philosophy of our quality of life being the quality of our relationships, but also she has created a new space for thinking differently.

Happy Thursday Thoughts and Happy New Year,

Madison x

 

 

Growing Up

Browsing through the archives, found this poem I wrote from 5 years ago about graduating middle school! :

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Art project from 2012

What I Wonder (poem):
We don’t know what the future will hold,
Will we be the same, or be more brave, or bold?
Will we be the same as we were before,
Or very different from ten years ago,
Some of us think we have it all figured out,
Planned to a tee, knowing it inside and out,
But these plans will eventually change,
Not one person will ever stay the same,
The memories and moments we carry with us through our lives,
Are the ones that change us forever through time,
We all are moving on, and forward and beyond,
We may not see each other ever again, now strangers but once good friends,
Names to faces, dates to ages,
We may be forgotten, but our memories won’t change,
Things we will carry with us for the rest of our days,
Where will we be, we don’t know
Good bye Bristol, we will miss you the most.
Happy #ThursdayThoughts,

Madison

Thankful Thoughts

Taking time to be grateful today.

Thank you for reading my content and for subscribing to this blog! I believe that I can use this platform to show how wonderful life can be when we take time to look and reflect on the moments that make up our lives. Thanksgiving… this weekend…this day, is a big moment. You are alive!

Reflecting today on what I have been given, one thing jumps out. My mom has worked so hard to provide the lifestyle she wanted to live for her children, her family and her own soul.  My mom’s story is below:

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“One of my dear friends sent me a copy of this picture with the quote below, to inspire me while I was still working at my full time job, hustling my side-gig evenings and weekends to gain back TIME FREEDOM in my life!!! “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

I printed a small version of this, with the quote, that I hung in my office beside my computer. I looked at his face and read that quote EVERY SINGLE DAY. I stayed hungry and motivated by the LIFE I was determined to create for myself, my family and as many awesome people as I could support as possible-who were looking to create change too…to “stop wasting their time living someone else’s life!” No coincidence that THE DAY I randomly see this giant sized picture hanging in a hotel on my way to visit a friend – I happen to be wearing the classic Steve Jobs attire – black turtleneck. An inspiration, even after he is gone!!! I meet so many people who want MORE for themselves but they’re so STUCK in their own FEAR! Letting the ‘noise of others’ opinions drown out their own inner voice.’ It actually breaks my heart – because time IS limited and we need more people who have the courage to follow their heart and intuition. So grateful I followed mine-even when it arrived in a very different package than I thought-it has lead me to the life I dreamed of. I am committed to supporting as many people as I possibly can in this lifetime to help live their version of life by design! Because every minute of the hustle and pushing through the fear to live a life of PROGRESS on your terms is BEYOND worth it!!!” – Kim MacGregor

I am grateful for my mother’s example. Thankful for what she has given me and our entire family.

Happy Thanks-Giving!

Thankful for you!

Madison

 

Be Yourself

DirectionHealthInspiration / Nov 17, 2017 / 0 Comments

When I was in kindergarten, there were two things I loved most:

  1. Dinosaurs
  2. Matilda (the 1996 fantasy/comedy) 

I liked to dress like Matilda, who wore a ribbon in her hair, a dress and socks with buckled up shoes. At the end of a class I was approached by a fellow classmate who said to me, “You think you are so cool! With that ribbon in your hair, and that dress on!” Her tiny finger pointed at me and laughed. I was so embarrassed. The next day I showed up with jeans and a t-shirt.

What would’ve happened if I had decided to wear that dress and ribbon anyway. Regardless of what anyone thought?

Happy #FridayThoughts,

Madison

 

 

 

Keep Your Head Up!

Centered. Open. Aware. Connected. And able to Hold whatever is there…

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Madison aged 14 in this picture

That is the meditation I listen to one or more times a week. It helps me stay present and more importantly, deal with anxiety. When I started high school, as a young fourteen year old, bright eyed and excited to start my education, I noticed that often students looked down. Either on our phones or avoiding interaction.

Now, as an “adult” (weird…) I see that we avoid interaction or look at our phones just as much as we did in high school. As the meditation says, to stay open and aware is a gift. To actually notice if someone got a new hair-do, or that they are a kind person is incredible.

Connecting with another person puts you in a vulnerable place. Making conversation can be painful, but it is far less painful than the regret of not speaking up. Who knows what you will learn or discover? When I am talking to someone, I am now trying to be mindful of what I can give or contribute to the conversation.  Then it becomes about what we can give. 

As an 18 year old, I am learning this. That giving is important. That if we are anxious, thinking about what we can give can make us realize what we have. That we have worth, value and so much more to offer another person than we may think- the most simplest (and scariest) to offer a friend, family member or co-worker is love and connection: an open mind, to be centered open aware connected and able to hold whatever is there.

Happy #ThursdayThoughts,

Madison

 

 

Thursday Thoughts

“Run your own race.”

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Madison aged 10 with her 5th Grade 1st Place Cross-Country Ribbon

 

This past (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend my sisters and I decided to go for a run (something we never do). I tied up my shoes, walked out the door, and found myself exhausted at the first thirty seconds (of what would be 10 minutes) of running. Elle, my younger sister, was ahead of Ava, my other sister. (Ava and Elle are twins). I was running and felt tired. “Why am I so tired?” I asked myself privately…. aside from the fact that I was running, something else was weighing me down. “Alright Mads, pace yourself, take your time,” I said, as Elle got further and further ahead of me.

I was comparing this run to my cross-country running experiences from grade five to grade eight. I had trained multiple times a week and was winning 1st, 2nd and even 13th place at school events. “Why am I so slow?” I thought again. Then, as I turned a corner on our street, the phrase “Run your own race” popped into my mind.

I stopped focusing on Elle and instead on the finish line ahead. This time, when Elle passed me, I stayed my course. I focused on the stop sign ahead. I ran harder than ever and almost caught up to Elle.

Beating Elle wasn’t my goal anymore, it was to now run my own race.

Happy #ThursdayThoughts,

Madison x