Archive for April 2009
I used to depend on vigorous exercise to keep my head together. Some of my peak moments have been during springboard diving and distance running. More than three months in a wheel chair and on crutches have challenged me (and my workout friends) but I’m trying to stay sane.
Things That Help
1. Swim. Water is a different world. It can separate me from my usual thoughts. Joseph Campbell says that water represents the unconscious. I’m including a little watercolor that I’m working on now and then. BTW, the koi is a symbol of endurance and in this illustration he wears a halo.
My training buddy, Rayo, inspired me to learn more about koi; after much thought and research she chose to tattoo a beautiful rendition of a koi fish on her shoulder.
2. Change my value of time. Almost every little thing takes longer to do, but I’m learning that’s ok. I hold still more. I look. I listen. I’m trying to take a long view.
3. Find new ways. There are more ways than one to do a lot of things. For example, I can ascend stairs on my knees, on crutches, on my rear, or on my husband’s back. Who would have imagined there were so many ways to take a step up.
And, when I just can’t do it on my own, I’ve found that most people are really nice and will help if I ask kindly. I’ve learned that many people don’t notice, don’t want to intrude, don’t want to take the time, don’t know how to help, but most that I’ve asked have seemed happy to offer a hand briefly.
4. Listen to other people’s stories. I was so surprised when I found out the guy ringing up my groceries spent months in the hospital and a year on crutches. The woman shopping with her teenage girls at St. Vinnie’s teased that she could open beer bottles in her armpits because of the strength and callouses she’d developed while on crutches. She has prosthetics below both knees. And the slow-walking woman at the pool spent two years and four months on crutches and did all her laundry in her basement throughout. I didn’t have to search to find these people, they saw my crutches, told their story of endurance, and offered hope.
5. Pay attention to my dream life. It’s both an escape and a teacher.
So much for my Top Ten. Five’s pretty good I guess. When I figure out a few more I’ll post.
I will participate in the game–it’s a wonderful, wonderful opera except that it hurts. Joseph Campbell
I Loaf You
One more healthy thought from my husband: distract your senses with his homemade bread.
All of life is a meditation, most of it unintentional. Joseph Campbell
A year ago, on such a morning, I would have run into the sunrise through Baraboo’s bluffs. Today I’m thrilled to be pushing my wheelchair instead of sitting in it.
Stress fractures in both tibias have prescribed change for me, so I sit more and move less. I’m trying to sort out my “personal myth” as Joseph Campbell calls it, trying to find growth. I can feel the outline of my story but can’t quite give it words.
If I were a poet I could describe the un-named thing that happens during a long run. Perhaps it’s akin to the experience of long injury: the paradox of being an animal moved by muscle and hormones plus that something else, that part that occasionally separates itself from this body.
I remember the thrill of hearing applause from the cranes as I pounded the road last spring. Today I’m looking forward to getting groceries next month without using the electric cart. Seems there are many sorts of ways to train.