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Home > Note from Tonya: Living Life with Renewed Energy

Note from Tonya: Living Life with Renewed Energy

by | Apr 4, 2023

Most of us; yes, most of us- operate daily with just a fraction of our possible energy level. For those living with ALS, and for some caregivers as well, this can absolutely be attributed to a lack of physical wellness,  However, there is something else at work here as well. We live at partial energy because we fail to consistently tap into our deepest sources of emotional renewal.

Scientists describe energy as the ability to do work. Insight shared by psychologists has noted that we focus on building happiness and energy when these are the results–not the causes–of lasting well-being. Sustained positivity and energy come from meaning-making: our ability to find purpose and value within our daily activities.

I want to be actress Helen Mirren when I grow up.  There are so many things I admire about her, and just a few weeks ago I read an article related to her having long hair at 77 years of age, and how that goes against the “norms” of our society. Her response, as of often does, caught my attention-

“Life doesn’t stop. And creativity doesn’t stop, and passion doesn’t stop, and energy doesn’t stop, unless you decide to stop it.”

In purpose, we find energy. In energy, we find creativity, productivity, and engagement. Meaning-making makes meaningful lives. We don’t have to push ourselves to get things done when purpose pulls us towards what we truly value.

Even if you’re not a college basketball fan, you might have heard the story of the San Diego State Aztecs and assistant basketball coach Mark Fisher.  If you haven’t, don’t worry-their story is featured below

San Diego State University assistant men’s basketball coach Mark Fisher became the first known person living with ALS to coach in a Final Four Championship Game. – in Houston, Texas, and at NRG Stadium.  There is that power of energy again, and in more ways than one!

Mark was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 and has been serving as an assistant coach for the Aztecs since 2001.

“The support for Mark throughout the San Diego and SDSU communities has been inspiring,” said Steve Becvar, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment at the ALS Association. “His annual ‘Aztecs Fighting ALS’ Walk team is one of the top supported teams. Mark is proving that you keep moving forward and live life to the fullest with ALS. And now he’s coaching a team making a historic run in the NCAA tournament.”

Steve Fisher, father of Mark and former head coach at SDSU and the University of Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to the 1998 National Championship shared that  “Living with ALS has its challenges but life is for living. He’s continued to coach, and we’re excited for all that he has accomplished.”

When we focus on tasks to be accomplished and routines to be checked off, we are not tapping into our full energy potential. Neither energy nor willpower are finite resources. When our willpower drives us to look at the bigger “purpose” picture, that is where we find that renewed energy-that “Infinite Game” mindset that Simon Sinek guides us to.

How are you tapping into your full energy potential? Email your stories to -I would love to hear them!

-Tonya Hitschmann- Managing Director, Care Services

How ALS Patients Can Help

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