Monday, September 22, 2014

"I am so totally gonna make you walk that plank again..." Finding My Strength - Feeling Courage

The team at AccesSportAmerica have a gift for helping me and all those whom they serve the opportunity to discover just what we are capable of doing. They find a way to help us discover our strength and build upon success, overcome our fears and climb to higher and higher ground in our rehabilitation journey.

As I turned the corner on my recumbent bike and stopped, losing momentum to navigate an uphill, Zoe gave me cues and waited to see if I had the strength to navigate the uphill on my own. I had to dig deep into my core and harness the power of my quad muscles. Tom waited and watched and said, "She's gonna need a push." I love how protective he is of me but as he said after yesterday's Set Sail event, "I'm not qualified to know when you need help and when I should stand back and let you try on your own." Zoe knew and she gave me the space to have the opportunity to succeed. When it was time to stand up from the low seat of the recumbent bike, Zoe and my instructor Mike, offered their hands so that I could harness my core and quad strength to stand while not worrying about losing my balance.

I was terrified to walk the plank to get to my seat in the canoe at yesterday's Set Sail event. With an outstretched hand and a hand lightly placed on my shoulder, I walked across the water on the plank to the other side of the canoe. When I got there I paused. How was I going to step down? I could feel how my neuromuscular system was trying to organize to find a way for me to safely step down. Matthew, the instructor could see my hesitation. Not only was there no judgment that I was just standing there but a joint effort in figuring out how I could safely step down into the canoe. As Matthew reviewed different options, he gave me his shoulder and said, "Here - lean on me and take a big step."

After Ross told me that he was so totally gonna make me walk that plank again as we pulled into the dock, I smiled inside at the challenge. Ross gave me his shoulder and a hand and gave me the opportunity to see what I could do at that moment. I took a big step and could feel my strength and my energy surge through me as I took a huge step onto the plank. I walked across letting go of his hand, taking Tom's hand and then triumphantly stepping onto the dock.

As I relived the moments from yesterday's Set Sail in my evening meditation, I felt a new feeling deep in my soul. Each step I took, each challenge I met, was a step away from the fear of paralytic polio and violence wondering can I trust my body? Can I figure out a way to do this? I was able to simultaneously accept my limits but not be limited by those limits. The boundaries keep expanding as I learn to trust in myself and the strength I have available to me. The years of fear, humiliation, shame and doubt melt away with a shoulder to lean on, a hand for support and an encouraging word all that help me to find my strength and feel the courage within.

The first 7 years of my healing odyssey are chronicled in Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility available on Amazon. I donate 50% of royalty payments to The One Fund Boston to help survivors and their families who were affected by the tragic events of 4/15/13.

I'm working on my 2nd book, "Journey Well," due out later this year:

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