I am an athlete. I’ve competed in many sports in my life including swimming, soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse and my favorite past time – field hockey. So when I turned 30 and was living in San Francisco, I was determined to take on a new sport, a challenge, representing my “Saturn Return” – a milestone endeavor.
I grew up with dogs, labs and golden retrievers. My love affair with dogs started at birth, as I was born in October 1977 and my family purchased a beautiful Labrador Retriever puppy in September a month before I was born, named Joshua. Joshua was the smartest of animals, known best for his ability to sneak out of every door and unlatch every fence gate to run wild in various neighborhoods. He was my protector, and my best friend.
Traveling as a quad always brings adventures and funny stories. The logistics of packing “all the things”, establishing accessible accommodation and performing safe, extremely fast airport transfers are the undertakings for every safe and fun journey. My recent jaunt was five days to a fond city where I once lived, the city by the Bay – San Francisco, California.
During January and February every year, I spend my weekends at the movies in preparation for the Academy Awards. I always loved the movies as a child and have fond thoughts of attending the cinema with my older siblings, scarfing down popcorn loaded with gooey butter and getting sugary treats. The movies were the ultimate escape.
The ball has dropped in Times Square, beginning the new year with resolutions for a new start. With much of the country divided and the inauguration upon us, it is important to look within and identify personal wishes and dreams for a new year – aside from politics – that involve health, happiness, love, family, laughter, exploration, unity, peace and tranquility… the list goes on but the focus is on the positive. For the positive will allow love to overcome fear and hate.
Thanksgiving has come and gone…and Christmas is just around the corner. The air has a brisk, cold bite and the first snow has fallen; the holidays are suddenly upon us. Throngs of people are dashing through the stores rushing to perform holiday activities. As I watch and listen to all of the holiday banter, I think what it truly means to feel grateful and thankful for our lives, our families and friends, and the close ones that enrich our experiences.
What does one do on dark mornings when you resist getting out of bed due to pain, depression or the repetition of daily cares? Every day in the life of a quadriplegic is like Groundhog Day – a long and arduous process requiring enormous amounts of patience. I call in the light, the positive. And then, for my secret weapon against the negativity –I perform a sage clearing. This is what lights up my darkness.
November is a time for giving thanks and being grateful, especially since it is Caregiver Appreciation month. Caregivers not only keep us healthy and alive but also provide socialization, encouragement and overall camaraderie through the daily drums of life in a wheelchair. The amount of time I spend with my caregivers is more than any other time collectively with friends or family.
During yoga and meditation, we use the breath to bring awareness and mindfulness to our practice. We also use visualization focusing on a brilliant gold ball of light traveling up and down our spine with the expansion of the breath. Another important component of meditation is the internal awareness of the seven chakras in our spirit body that collaborate with the breath and visualization techniques.
My last blog introduced Ayurveda and focused on the importance of finding balance with yoga and meditation. For those that do not meditate, I thought it appropriate to expand on this particular topic to bring to light the significance of such practice, and more importantly teach how to sit in silence and go within.