I’m finally coming to terms with what it means to be in for the long game.
This isn’t about what I can do this week that I couldn’t do last week, this is a life long project. I’m starting to realize I may not even be able to call it a project, it’s just what I do. Like this is what my life is about. Being present with my mind and body, learning to accept and love its limitations as I explore new ways to expand my capacity. Learning to watch the criticism, the judgement, the deep longing for it to be somehow different than it is. To recognize that if whatever I am bemoaning were ‘better’ there is a good chance I’d just bemoan something else.
So I may as well dig my heels in, give up on ‘bemoaning’ altogether and accept this as my lot in life,. I’m learning to enjoy it for what it is. With deep long restorative breaths as my most reliable companion.
And I ought not kid myself, it is f*cking amazing.
I mean, I’m a yoga teacher who got to be paralyzed and relearn how to use my body from the most very basic fundamentals of movement. I have deep-dived into the ocean of existence and I am living in a veritable treasure trove. The best yoga teacher training program anyone ever created. Listen, I’m not trying to suggest paralysis and a recovery from it as a desirable path to learning yoga, but I will says its damn effective.
It is honestly nothing short of amazing to revel in my current level of strength and coordination. My own jaw drops when I think about how far I have come in 31 months. I can clearly recall how I marveled at the level of motor skill complexity we take for granted in our daily routine. And I frequently catch myself now, doing a seemingly simple task, without too much thought, and recall how complex or impossible it was for me to do, not so long ago.
It can still be easy for me to focus on what I can’t do. I think this is true for many of us in all kinds of life situations. It wasn’t like that early in my healing process. There was some kind of magical switch in my brain for the first maybe year of this experience. I was just so flipping happy with every new motor skill that came on line. I had no concern for what I couldn’t do and I experienced unadulterated joy in what I could newly do.
I guess it was a gift of the traumatic experience of being paralyzed. I had all life expectations wiped away, and I became happy with whatever it was that I was offered. I was blessed to have very few ‘setbacks’ and to have all of the love and support I needed to keep stepping along a clear path toward healing.
At some point on the path, I guess the point when I ‘moved back to Pittsburgh’ to ‘try to build a normal life’ that things started going a bit awry. I started upping my expectation game. As I achieved a certain level of functioning, I suddenly had a huge focus on all that was so hard and clearly ‘not normal functioning’. I became disheartened and sad. It was also winter and cold and dark and gray.
So now it is warm and sticky. My body is strong and healthy. My mind is cheerful and full of hope.
I still type with two fingers. I can’t open the windows in my apartment because I am not strong enough. It’s hard to get dressed. It’s hard to walk. I am numb and tingly to the nth degree. I still cry at least once most days, and often more than once with deep sobs.
And all of this is just ok. In fact, I love it. It is my lot in life. I am strong and this is the long game.