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The Light

I only wish to convey the reality of every aspect. Not solely the ones that involve just the paralysis in her external limbs.

Amongst a world of dimly lit waiting rooms we find ourselves basing perceptions and information on what is held captive in hospital files. Spinal Cord Injury doesn¡¦t just include paralysis of the limbs; most recipients of this injury also lack the control of all other motor and organ functions below the level of injury. With nothing to hide, a very unglamorous part of this experience surfaces. Bowel function and Foley Catheters (urine drainage) are just as much a part of our day as an afternoon tea in the garden. This being said one can become so easily discouraged, with the lack of control, that in the past was almost subconscious. I bring this to your awareness not because I wish to spoil your appetite, but because the horizon is so broad as to all of the challenges and complications. I only wish to convey the reality of every aspect. Not solely the ones that involve just the paralysis in her external limbs. When I arrived at the hospital yesterday morning MJ was feeling a little discouraged and down. The inability to perform and control such a simple task as going to the bathroom wears on your dignity. Nevertheless we went about our day accomplishing banking, physio, pulleys, web logs, massages, a shower and visitors. Throughout the day the reality of the lack of control dissipates with the morning chill, and we move forward. Her smile brightens and she is constantly willing and eager to relish in gratitude.

As soon as we find the ability to over come our discouragement we open up a flood-way of motivation. By making that choice we focus on the positive. Honestly I have never met another soul who is a greater advocate for positive action then MJ. She has the most amazing talent of making the sun shine on the gloomiest of days. And when that sun isn’t willing to shine she rejoices in the fact that it’s raining. I put my hands together for her again and again because she has set an amazing example of how much your attitude, thoughts, and beliefs affect the quality of every moment in your life. She is living example that if we take the choice of positive action and gratitude, it leaves us limitless and free to accomplish whatever it is we set out to do.

Her physio is going well and today we had a meeting with her surgeon from VGH. He is very pleased with the amount of movement she is getting back in her arms and wrists. He is also extremely impressed with the amount of strength she has. Her spine was X-rayed and everything healed quite perfectly, she has full mobility in her neck. She has been spending all of her time in her manual wheelchair and she is becoming quite the all-star at getting around. We have been taking her out to lunch; it is so liberating to have her in the ¡§real world¡¨ again.

Somewhere in the dark there’s always a switch of light, it doesn’t always reside right beside the doorway. Sometimes we have to stumble and trip and find our way over to the switch. But it’s always there and its only up to you to turn it on.

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.