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Rise to the occasion

On the weekends the physiotherapist isn’t available. With a determined look on her face, Mary-Jo instructs me on helping her complete every arm and neck workout she has been prescribed. Even in a wheelchair her power is unstoppable.

Mary-Jo’s arms are in a state of complete heaviness. Watching her move them and lift them from the side of her wheelchair to the top of her chest, is reminiscent of watching the look on a body builders face when he’s lifting weights in competition. The determination, the will power and the inner strength that she has is incredible. That inner strength builds up inside of her and when she accomplishes her goals it shines through her and radiates confidence. She is getting so strong in her right arm. Her left side is far more paralyzed. But even the progress in her left side since the accident is remarkable. Still no feeling from her nipple area down, but at the moment the concentration is on her upper body. When we reach the top of that mountain then we will begin to climb the next. She is constantly smiling and she has never hinted towards giving up. When I am in her presence I feel, as though there are parts of her that are not made of this world. Although I am so in awe of how human she is. Only since the accident has this become more apparent to me. Throughout my years one of the things she has represented for me is somewhat godly, more than a role model, much like a super hero, or even a saint. I know that this above average level I have placed her on isn’t one that has been acknowledged just by myself. And as I watch her re-train her body to accomplish tasks such as lifting her arms it pushes her to a whole new level. She is human. We are all just humans. My mother has always told me one thing, which I will hold true for the rest of my life. Live your life to your full potential. When we live by this one solid moral we teach ourselves to honor our life to our best ability. We honor our needs. We honor the people who love us for who we are. We honor the people who challenge us because they teach us to stay in our truth. We honor our goals and we learn from our losses. We honor that life doesn’t always work out like the perfect picture that we have in our minds. When we are true to our potential we take the positive aspect of every situation. Because even the most frightening circumstances are only challenging us to be the best person we can be in that situation.

I hold my mom in the highest regard because she constantly lives her life doing her exact best. That is how she has climbed to the top of my world. I only encourage you all to be the truest essence in yourself. Because when you lose that essence, you lose touch with your honor. And giving yourself that respect is where its starts. The respect and love will that you have for yourself will permeate onto other people. And right now I see all of that love and respect coming back to Mary-Jo. You are all rising to your full potential by being the best you can be for her. She has gained this place in peoples lives and hearts by being in her essence. A quality, which shines forward even now, in the most challenging journey she has faced.

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.