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MISSION POSSIBLE

Since my last weblog of October 11 one very major event besides the American election has taken place. This event more than likely would not have had the same impact if I had not suffered a spinal cord injury this past year, similar to Christopher Reeves. In fact, one vertebral level of difference between us is huge in its implications and impact, and that is perhaps why I feel so compelled to acknowledge and describe the effect his passing has had on me.

Learning to live with and despite of a spinal cord injury is perhaps one of the most challenging journeys a human may take. Every aspect of it is an adjustment to an altered state, which, depending on the level of the lesion may be from moderately paralyzed to totally dependent. Think of an infant with constant nerve pain, threats of pressure sores and no feeling, except of the mental capacity which then also has to deal with, cognizance of all the rest. After experiencing this myself first hand for the past 10 months I was deeply touched and disturbed by Christopher’s death. I was also however, all the more encouraged and inspired as I put together the picture of his life and his incredible courage over the past nine years to do what he has done – despite (and I mean this) all odds. What an utterly amazing and powerful feat, one we could all look to with awe and respect. For a man who had to give up every ounce of independence and mobility to rise above his own pain, sorrow, and daunting physical challenges to lead the world in Spinal Cord Research we all ought to bow in gratitude and bewilderment. His service and vision are beacons in a time filled with self loathing and despair, where our only acts of courage are derived from the need to rise above our pettiness.

Since my last weblog of October 11 one very major event besides the American election has taken place. This event more than likely would not have had the same impact if I had not suffered a spinal cord injury this past year, similar to Christopher Reeves. In fact, one vertebral level of difference between us is huge in its implications and impact, and that is perhaps why I feel so compelled to acknowledge and describe the effect his passing has had on me.

Learning to live with and despite of a spinal cord injury is perhaps one of the most challenging journeys a human may take. Every aspect of it is an adjustment to an altered state, which, depending on the level of the lesion may be from moderately paralyzed to totally dependent. Think of an infant with constant nerve pain, threats of pressure sores and no feeling, except of the mental capacity which then also has to deal with, cognizance of all the rest. After experiencing this myself first hand for the past 10 months I was deeply touched and disturbed by Christopher’s death. I was also however, all the more encouraged and inspired as I put together the picture of his life and his incredible courage over the past nine years to do what he has done – despite (and I mean this) all odds. What an utterly amazing and powerful feat, one we could all look to with awe and respect. For a man who had to give up every ounce of independence and mobility to rise above his own pain, sorrow, and daunting physical challenges to lead the world in Spinal Cord Research we all ought to bow in gratitude and bewilderment. His service and vision are beacons in a time filled with self loathing and despair, where our only acts of courage are derived from the need to rise above our pettiness.

Please don’t think that this is a put down to those who have not, or are not dealing with similar challenges, in fact we all have appropriate challenges just by being here. Moreover consider this an invitation to count your blessings, and to practice random acts of kindness and great acts of courage. That is what is needed now more than ever. Like Christopher Reeves’ family who held together through the tough times and rose above to inspire and support millions of others with hope and substance we need to hold each other and to support one another through these times. If I could highlight one aspect of this experience overall as the greatest teaching at this point, I would have to say, the awareness of what takes me out of the moment which is usually some sort of self pity or doubt, or desire to be or have anything other than what is. This very dangerous place always destroys the ability to love in the moment and to rise above “myself” to Higher Self. When I look at a man like Chris Reeves and his family I see an example of what we are all being called to do at this time, keep the faith – anything is possible.
I would like to close with a piece by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and send out a deeply sincere and heartfelt thank you to my family, friends and boyfriend who have held my fragile being in their tender hearts for the duration. You are my heroes, I can’t do it without you. We can’t do it without eachother.

We Were Made for These Times
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times.

I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered.
They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. Ours
is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the
latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired
to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday
people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking.

Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by
bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most
particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes.
For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just
waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see
one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in
the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully
provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of
humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on
the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in
this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and
rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to
withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance,
regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much
is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that.

There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is
outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is
spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we
can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls
who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they
appear.

Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to
a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in
grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of
stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any
small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some
portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.

It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical
mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is
an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.

We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and
peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the
first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a
stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like
gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares,
builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire.

To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce
and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and
greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are
fully lit and willing to show it.

If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things
you can do. There will always be times when you feel discouraged.

I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for
it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is
that there can be no
despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent
you here.

The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the
words and deeds of the One who brought us here.

In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship
is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not
what great ships are built for. This comes with much love and a prayer that
you remember who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful
Earth.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

Published by Mary-Jo

I am passionate about diversity, inclusion, sustainability and community. Having raised my children in a small B.C. town as a single parent, I relied on the community, my resourcefulness and the land to sustain us. We developed a market farm,built a cafe and catering business that utilized the produce, local farmers and families to thrive. As a Waldorf school parent I became experienced in biodiversity, edible landscapes and community engagement. I gained substantial skills in leadership, facilitation, project management, communication through teaching yoga and running various business's. My role as a facilitator and trainer to individuals seeking to become a yoga teacher- whom never thought that they could stand in front of a room and speak in public, gave me insight into human nature and coaching. In addition to designing and building businesses - cafés, yoga studios and national training programs, I am a student of Social Development & Social Psychology and understand the complexity and importance of social engagement. I can handle with grace most any situation, having encountered a disability later in life. Consequent to becoming disabled and through advocacy and providing peer support I have trained and acquired extensive exposure and understanding of UN principles on disability, The Human Rights objectives, theories and principles of Universal Design and the various challenges and obstacles for those affected and the relationship to various stakeholders. After 30 years of teaching yoga, my spinal cord injury and subsequent sabbatical has allowed for the integration of my yoga and more in-depth study of the Healing Arts. I have had the fortune of working with some of the best in the field of rehabilitation, Somatic Experiencing and manual therapy including Emilie Conrad, Mark Finch, Judy Russel, Rod Stryker, Carolyn Myss, Ana Forest, & Tim Miller, Susan Harper, Mariah Moser, Herta Buller and Nature.