I can walk again. Babies do not struggle; walking evolves naturally. The infirm, the crippled, the diseased, the handicapped, we know differently. To overcome the inherent problems of inability, disability, and chronic pain is actually insurmountable sometimes, despite all cures proffered, despite the pronouncements of miracles that enliven our way. Yet after 10 plus years of being dependent on a power-chair (since my degenerative spine does not allow for me to self-propel,) I'd had enough. So, like anyone training for a marathon, I added a pace or two more a day, and eventually my three paces reached ten, and twenty, and I could make the elevator from my apartment door, and then I could walk from the car to the home, and then I walked with my cane perhaps 50 feet, and now I can do 20 minutes or even more, unsupported. Yes, carefully, but I can walk again!
Yes, there's a price to pay. Yet no matter who we are or what we do, we pay in some way or other for our achievements. We watch our diets. We are abstemious. We practice. We practice yet more. We budget time. We self-discipline. We read and learn and get 'personal trainers' and buy better instruments and get new shoes and expensive equipment and we do things to get more-better in a kazillion ways. And barring injury, we get fitter and fitter and keep healthy, despite our aging (quite naturally). Despite our slowing down, quite naturally. Despite the inability quite often of oneself (or of others) to keep up with a natural pace. Yes, most things are natural, until we are unusually taxed. We walk, we talk, we play. And then comes the Marathon, the Big Event speech, the Tournament, and we needs get fitter and healthy for it. Yes, there's a price to pay. Most of that price is very personal, quite different for each of us. There is little equity in life. We each pay our own price.
Ten years in a power chair takes its toll. It stops the lungs from exercising fully. Stops the muscles from working well. Stops the inner organs from functioning well. Stops the brain from being fed by exercise. Add to that the necessary blood thinners and the heart regulators and the pain tablets and one is a recipe for disaster. Like the event, just over a year and half ago, when my wife and I spent the night in the Emergency where I was diagnosed with multiple embolisms. It became a fulcrum for me. I decided that 'movement', despite pain, was worth more than the stasis by which I was protecting myself. Yes, someone shaking my hand as opposed to giving it a gentle squeeze hurts, to this day, but my vertebrae just had to absorb some of the impact of walking or I was beyond a recipe for disaster; I was an empty platter ready for the dishwasher!
So I began with steps. And three led to four. And four to ten. Last January I weaned myself off of the pain drugs, from three per meal to two, to one per meal, to just one a day now (to help me sleep.) Then too, I've some thirty or so books on neuro-plasticity and brain power and will power and self-power and the power of prayer and the power of friends and family and support and self-care and good nutrition and prayer by itself (see below). All culminate with the single directive: Up to You! One more step! One more crunch, one more curl, one more mile. Decide! Will power is commitment. Do it! Will power, within reason, is mind-over-matter! Yes? Yes!
We each have our own marathons. Some are emotional. Some are psychological. Some are physical. All are demanding. We sweat and groan and ache and feel as though we will break. We can cry with the unfairness of it all. Others actually say it’s our karma! Some have little clue of the endurance it takes to be in the race, this human race. They walk or even run, most fortunately. But most of us are dragging behind us or carrying our very own ball and chain; we bring along our history, our genetic makeup, our family constellations, and beyond all things else, ourselves. Individually! Yes, that I can walk a bit is one thing, my thing. It is not yours.
You too have your own journey, difficult as it is. This essay serves as encouragement; period.
On my bookshelves: