Home
What is ALS?
A Brief History
Thoughts on Life
Digital Paintings
Media
Home Automation/AAC
Travel Tips
Stress Reduction
Contact Jen

 

On June 26, 2012, Mike's journey with ALS came to an end. It is our wish that you find hope and inspiration in these pages, his thoughts and artwork.

We were inspired by his words and thoughts,
so the site will remain intact, as he wrote it.


Please use this site to help explain ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease or MND).  I hope by browsing these pages, those affected by this disease will realize that it does not have to be a purely negative experience.  I will also use this space to share that which overflows my cup in the form of digital paintings and spiritual/philosophical thoughts.  For those not touched by ALS, I hope this website inspires you to live life with a purpose.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, you can send them from the Contact Mike & Jen Bougher page.

News

  Article in the The Insider Newsletter entitled Enjoying the Ride

 abstract painting screensaver now available for free download.

 

 

Although at 45 years old, I am paralyzed from the neck down and unable to smile, breathe without a ventilator, or speak after being afflicted with ALS, please don’t feel sorry for me.  I am happier, and more fulfilled than I have ever been. Let me try to give you a glimpse into my experience so far. 

When I was of an impressionable age, a wise man taught me the phrase “The world is a smorgasbord, but most suckers are starving to death”.   This concept became ingrained in me, and I live it every day.  I have traveled far, had many diverse adventures, and look back with few regrets.

One day, many years ago, it occurred to me that an ALS diagnosis was not the end of my life. I realized that if I got a feeding tube and a ventilator, I could live a lot longer, but quality of life would be an issue. I must surrender to that which I had no control (my body's deterioration) and begin to build on that which still had great growth potential (my mind and spirituality). I could spiral downward into misery, or use my circumstances as a catalyst for mental and spiritual expansion. I had a choice! The elation that paradigm shift brought, became the spark that would inspire a profound transformation.

 As my body has weakened to the point of being simply a support system for my brain, I have become more in tune with my true essence, the world has more meaning, and my appetite for and ability to comprehend new knowledge has grown.  Recently I have developed a passion for digital painting; and have been exploring Astrophysics, Quantum Mechanics, World History, Classical Music from the baroque period, the nature of human consciousness, Physical Anthropology of the Americas, the cultures, music, plights and spirituality of various Native American Nations, and Asian music, religions and philosophy.  In the U.S., the blind and disabled library provides a large selection of books on tape via U.S. mail.

I have always been a traveler, and always will be.  Because it is now more difficult to travel to distant places, I have begun a journey inward.  I am on a quest to move toward the full potential of human consciousness, and achieve a higher awareness of the universe around me (see recommended reading).  This pursuit has been just as fruitful and fulfilling as any trip to a foreign culture.  The souvenirs I bring back are extremely precious, and useful as tools to become a more positive force in this world.

 I believe I owe the pleasure that life brings me to living in the present, mindfulness meditation, my solid upbringing, the "Law of Attraction",  and the elegant partnership I share with my nurturing wife Jen.  It is a beautiful gift to live on this hospitable planet, during this era of rapid scientific discovery.  A time when more and more minds are opening to the interdependent reality of our world.  We should all cherish every moment.

If you were recently diagnosed with ALS, understand that it is not necessarily the horrible experience that most say it is.  From your unique perspective, you may have the ability to see the full beauty and diversity of this life.  You have a choice.

When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways - either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. 

-Dalai Lama

                            

         

 

Home What is ALS? A Brief History Thoughts on Life Digital Paintings Media Home Automation/AAC Travel Tips Stress Reduction Contact Jen