I took this photo because looking up from the perspective of my wheelchair and gazing at it for several minutes trying to frame the shot I was drawn to the strength, depth, character, inner light and welcoming branches reaching up into a brilliant blue, limitless sky. I wonder some days when I am out and about leaning heavily on my cane or sitting in my wheelchair, “What do people see when they look at me? Do they see me or a disability? Are they curious? Do they even notice my difference or do they just see a typical Mom out with her kids and husband enjoying the day?”
An important question for me to answer is this: “What do I see when I look at myself lately?”
All of the above. And that’s ok. I am different now. I am disabled and I am just a typical Mom, with two kids and a husband, two cats a dog and a rich inner life shining forth into the world in my unique creative way. While I have not led a workshop or taught a yoga class in over a year and I don't do as much collage work as I used to, I have discovered my writing voice, and a passion for photography. I have a couple of steady Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coaching clients and have had several opportunities to do one on one SoulCollage® Guidance over the phone. I have had to be creative about how I connect heart to heart with people, and it feels like it's working well. I have become connected to all of you around the world through blogging. What an amazing interactive creative medium this is along with being a truly loving spiritual community! As of today people from 70 different countries have viewed my blog. Many have left comments, offering me an opportunity to learn about your life in other lands when I visit your blogs. Heart to heart, we share so much common ground.
It is painful to feel that I am the deadwood some days. It is. I won’t deny that, I won’t pretend it isn’t true. I feel jealous when I see other people freely walking about knowing that I cannot walk to the end of my street alone without fearing that I will not be able to get back up the hill of our driveway to our house (something I can’t actually do yet without assistance)…that’s really frustrating! Not that I would ever wish someone else ill, it’s just I want to walk with ease too. But, but, but I do get out more and more these days. Insurmountable tasks eight months ago are possible. I am not the same as I was. I never will be. To expect that would mean that I have not accepted that (for now at least) I live with an incurable disease. It would mean that I don’t trust that in this moment, just as it is, contentment is possible.
I just received a wonderful book in the mail yesterday that I’d ordered from Amazon The Wisdom of Sam , by Dr. Dan Gottleib. (There you go, “reading a normal sized font in a book is something I could not do several months ago). The last couple of lines in the first chapter are already precious gems. In this chapter on forgiveness he writes, ”I believe forgiveness is a spiritual process which requires faith. Not necessarily faith in a higher power, but faith that broken hearts heal. Faith that we have all the resources to recover and be loving and compassionate once again. Faith in the knowledge that true healing is not about reclaiming yesterday but fully opening up to today.”
Let me repeat that last sentence, “Faith in the knowledge that true healing is not about reclaiming yesterday but fully opening up to today.”
*I think it is important for you to know that Dr. Dan cannot walk. He was in a horrific car accident that injured his spinal chord and has been quadripallegic for some 30 years. “Sam” is his grandson, a child with Autism. They both live with dignity and profound wisdom and inspire me tremendously. I highly recommend reading his books!
So while I'm supposed to be starting on Ampyra (a brand new medicine for treating mobility issues specifically for individuals with MS) soon and I'm really hoping I'll tolerate it well and be walking much better and for longer distances in the near future, I am grateful for today just as it is. I am content. I am grateful that I accomplish more mundane tasks within our home like laundry and preparing simple meals and that I can help Gordon by driving our girls the short distance to and from school when need be or I can make the trip to the post office. It was only a few months ago when I couldn’t get in and out of the tub alone and the staircase was like Mt. Everest! I am grateful for all the miraculous healing that has taken place in my body as the myelin partially regenerates around my nerves. I am grateful for the return of words and syntax, even though my accent is still subject to change in any given moment. I am grateful for the love and support of family and friends near and far. The love feels limitless…like the brilliant blue sky. I feel blessed to be dwelling right in the midst of it all, not up against it! I am grateful for the stillness of being deadwood some days so that I have the time and awareness to appreciate the blessings in my life.
I have been a keen observer of life for a long time, I’m an artist after all, but somehow in the past year, my curiosity and awe have deepened. I have MS, my "emes", this truth I live with to thank for that.
Ps. Deadwood isn't really dead...it's teeming with life...little critters, fungi & bacteria.