The Long Twisty Road to Recovery and Gratitude for What is

Posted by Candace Cable in Life After Paralysis on August 25, 2015 # Health

This is a little blog on simple gratitude. The gratitude I have for arriving at twelve weeks post fracture full of good results, even as I worried and fretted of all the mishaps and what might not be or be. But Good Golly Miss Molly, Gosh Dang my leg feels so good today! And for someone who can't feel the touch of a hand brush against the skin on my leg, this is truly saying something about how my mind can bend my perception to whatever direction I want it to go, consciously or unconsciously.

Consciously finding grace and gratitude is this place of so many shifting emotions of action, doubt, frustration, hope, depression, fear, change, sadness, shame, anger, confusion and accomplishment running around my brain and body, I became mentally exhausted and lost my way. Thankful that our lovely Julie, here at the Reeve Foundation, heard all of this emotion and more, she suggested that I seek out another path and I speak with another from our community Dr. Dan.

We spoke, he said that first you cry and I said didn't feel safe enough to cry, to let down my guard to weep. The gem that Dr. Dan is changed the subject and we talked of the simple, single moments of just being and gratitude for those moments. I felt incapable of seeing or feeling gratitude over my fear and sustaining grace under the pressure was beyond me.

Thinking back over the last twelve weeks there were maybe three moments that I became unconscious of where I was, I forgot I was house bound healing a broken leg. One such moment happened while I was reading, suddenly I was, I absolutely was, on the beach in Saint Malo France during World War Two. I felt my toes dig into the sand in attempt to hold my stance in place as the waves were pressing forward at my ankles. I could smell and taste the sea all around me and in that moment I forgot my leg was broken.

Most of the time I felt roped and tied like a calf at the rodeo, to my apartment by what I can only describe as a fear of hurting my body, becoming injured more than I was and the mental exhaustion of endlessly being “on point”, on the look-out for any perceived danger that I might miss something and suddenly I was spinning backwards, loosing hard gained ground on my recovery road. I couldn't even get out my front door wheeling face-forward; I had to back out to get over the threshold, because my front wheels would catch on the half-inch high doorsill. My life felt so hard, undoable.

Then someone said, maybe you need a new gratitude ritual. And then I looked around, I found this and everything began to change, as I practiced this daily, to hope and options for me. This from Jack Kornfield's book, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace.

Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how year after year you have cared for your own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:

With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects,

creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose

joyful exertion blesses my life every day.

With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand

generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.

I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.

Just as we are grateful for our blessings, so we can be grateful for the blessings of others.

Continue to breathe gently. Bring to mind someone you care about, someone it is easy to rejoice for. Picture them and feel the natural joy you have for their well-being, for their happiness and success. With each breath, offer them your grateful, heartfelt wishes:

May you be joyful.

May your happiness increase.

May you not be separated from great happiness.

May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.

Sense the sympathetic joy and caring in each phrase. When you feel some degree of natural gratitude for the happiness of this loved one, extend this practice to another person you care about.

Recite the same simple phrases that express your heart's intention.

Then gradually open the meditation to include neutral people, difficult people, and even enemies- until you extend sympathetic joy to all beings everywhere, young and old, near and far. END

Then in the eleventh week of healing this fractured leg, I sobbed, I cried hard, I woke up in the middle of the night, so afraid, so tired and I cried hard. Everything shifted, I gave up control and expectation. I felt for what is true for me and I felt just so well. This sounds so simple and so it must be.

Ahh, a big sigh of relief set in motion with continuous blasts of gratitude that this day has come. This day I got my long-leg cast taken off and a much lighter, just as long brace to wear continuing my Tibia Plateau fracture healing of complete restoration, back to solid bone. I can now bend my leg 90 degrees and sit in my own wheelchair. Oh, how I have missed thee.

Blessings to All, in joy, Candace

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