Have you been dealt a shitty hand? Have you been in the depths of crap where you think there is no way out? Have you gone through something so life-shattering you think the world has literally ended? Have you seen the face of hell?
If your answer is yes to any of these, then smile because you’ve been given an incredible gift. You have been given the chance to grow, shift and ignite your life. Yes, life would have been pretty damn great if that thing hadn’t happened, but guess what, it did and it’s because you were destined for something better. At this point, you should stop reading or listening right now and say out loud, “Thank you. Thank you for whatever is in store. Thank you for the opportunity to grow. Thank you for trusting me with something so special that my life can absolutely ignite and transform into something I would have never planned, imagined or even asked for. Thank you for what is to come”.
Now, the next step, look that shit in the face and say, “I accept you. I accept this burden. I accept the fact my life will no longer look like what I thought it would.” It may take days, months or even years for you to complete that one phrase as you admit you accept what has happened. Resistance is natural. Resistance is part of the strength training as you prepare. Resistance is part of the growth and the story. That’s why they are called resistance bands in strength training. The resistance is what builds, tones and strengthens the muscles.
There will be lessons through triumphs and failures as you resist and slowly move towards acceptance. I want you to know it is totally natural and it is ok. What is not ok, is to sink in the process. Keep going, keep holding onto whatever spark you can find. If it is the potential you see in yourself, the way you feel when you accomplish anything big or small, or if it is simply because you can’t stand the thought of waking up twenty years later being in the same place. Hold onto that, because that little spark can grow. I promise.
I knew there was a spark in me. I just really didn’t want to let go of the expectation I held so dearly of what I thought and wanted my life to look like. I saw a quote today, “You can’t get to the other side of the ocean without losing sight of the shore”. Well you cannot use your crap as a means to a better life unless you let go of your resistance to accepting your path. I believe there is a lot out of our control as to where our lives are destined to go - which is painful to say considering I’m such a control freak. We each have something brewing inside of us that has the potential to ignite. I also believe deep down, buried under the fear, limiting beliefs and resistance based on our should’s, is that path. Some of us will nurture it and some will smother it. Some will find it, and subsequently find themselves in the process, and some will deny its existence.
Which are you? For me, the thought of being weak, sad, and frail in twenty years was where my resistance laid. I couldn’t imagine being in the pick up line for Charlie at school with my wheelchair in the backseat. I couldn’t imagine giving Charlie a hug at his wedding and he had to bend down to hug his mother in a wheelchair. I felt I had to be standing, walking and whole. For me, I equated being a capable, strong parent with using my whole body to be wholly there for him.
Then that expectation was literally swept out from under me. I was taken out at the waist, never to return to a traditionally whole body. What I didn’t realize was if that wasn’t taken away from me, I would not have been forced to look inward and utilize the motherly instincts inside of me - which I might add I didn’t necessarily believe existed.
Once I began redefining what a capable, strong parent was, and that I could still wholly be there for Charlie regardless of an incomplete body, my acceptance began to also be defined. I thought of the man, husband and father Charlie would become as a result of the compassion, strength and resilience he would acquire from growing up with a mother who defied the odds, all while changing her own perspective on what it means to have a disability in the first place. I thought of the way he will go through life always seeing the person first, and their limits second. I thought of the way disability will be a part of our life, giving us an excuse to slow down and enjoy the journey.
I think of Charlie and his life, and I prepare myself emotionally for the day he will struggle and I will resist making it easier for him. I prepare myself for hardships he will have to accept and overcome over the course of his life. I wonder how great it will be - both in size and in awesomeness for him to grow into his path and potential. I know what has happened to my mind, body and soul as a result of the resistance training I will be forever going through.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. I know I’ve mentioned this quote before but it itches at me constantly. I find myself stopping and thinking, “How else can I see this situation?”
My heart is not perfect. I’m far from perfect. I know I never will be, however it's through my imperfections where I find fulfillment - if I choose to.