August 22, 2016 0 By muckfestms

Guest blogger, Olivea Wooden Virta (Liv), is a 26 years old living with MS. Liv was diagnosed at an early age and participates in MuckFest MS New Jersey to get mucky and stomp MS in the mud! 

After validation comes empowerment. When you’ve been clear with yourself about your challenges, and more importantly your gifts, it’s time to do something with those gifts.

I once read that there is a theory of businesses management called “Empowerment.” It states that if employees are given access to ample information, resources and given some authority, they become more productive and have more opportunities for success. While I do not suggest running your life like a business, I do like applying this concept in my own life. Finding the tools to help you succeed are key as you can’t do anything alone. I have loved spending the last couple weeks with Puck. Not only has he reminded me to stop and smell the flowers, he has been pushing me to show the world what I can do. With his constant cheering in my ear, I have taken advantage of all the resources and information that are at my disposal. And I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the moment I opened myself up, amazing opportunities for success came my way.

8:30 AM- Puck and I take the dogs outside to play. The spring time sunshine and fresh air is a great way to start the day.

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9:45 AM- What better example of national and individual empowerment than voting? After months of nightly binges of election coverage, Puck and I feel very empowered getting out to vote. Just before he slipped it in the voting machine, I could see Puck had scribbled the phrase, “Stop calling it a Lame Duck session” on his ballot.

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12:00 PM- Puck and I are so excited that spring is finally here. Just like a solar panel we are gaining energy from the sun. The warmth and sunshine gives us an opportunity to go outside and do a little gardening and a bit of handiwork/wingwork.

3:00 PM- I don’t see how this day could get any better. I received a letter in the mail saying that I have been awarded a scholarship from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society so that I can continue to pursue my Master’s. Sometimes I’m scared that MS will limit my options in life, so it’s great to know that whenever I feel scared, that the NMSS has my back. This is why I run MuckFest® MS. I am so thankful to all the people who work for, volunteer and donate to the society. Their support has empowered me to live my best life, and to be able to make my life’s actions count for others with MS as well. When you give to the National MS Society, your donation has positive ripple effect that can touch the entire MS community. I run MuckFest MS not just because it’s an awesome excuse to have some fun, but because I know in my heart that it’s important. I’ve often said how difficult MS can be but, it’s so much easier knowing that the National MS Society wants to help empower me… and you.

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7:00 PM- Having a special celebratory dinner tonight with Puck and friends, so naturally it’s sushi. While normally I would head to our regular place and pick up a couple of rolls, we decided to challenge ourselves and make it by hand. While it may not have been the most beautiful sushi in the world, (In Puck’s defense, it’s hard to roll when you have wings.) it certainly was delicious. Puck helped himself to more than a couple of bites.

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10:00 PM- We all know sleep is important and since I am training, I’ve tried to get back on a better sleep schedule, so I’m heading to bed. The ripple effect continues as I drift off to sleep, the joy of the today’s empowerment is making me excited about the potential empowerment that tomorrow holds.

Empowerment is not just about showing the world what you can do, it’s also about asking the world for help. When you surround yourself with information and resources suddenly opportunities start opening up to you. Validation is mostly internal, it needs to come from deep inside yourself, but empowerment is when what’s inside of you comes out and is strengthened by what’s around it. I can think of no greater way to strengthen what’s inside of me then MuckFest MS. While the feeling of crossing the finish line is certainly wonderful, the most empowering thing about MuckFest MS is that you are instantly surrounded by a supportive group of friends. At each MuckFest MS, a community is built, one that works hard not to just recognize and validate each person with MS, but works tirelessly to give them the opportunity to prove to the world and to themselves how powerful they truly are. Puck is a wonderful symbol of empowerment, he stands for not just the silly fun you will have running in the mud, he represents all the people who work for support or are in any way a part of the National MS Society. Just like Puck, they want to help you to live your best life.

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I am thrilled to be part of the MuckFest MS community, and I can’t wait for you to be a part of it too. As we all know, the best lives include a bit of mud so, come get dirty with me.

-Love Liv and Puck