“In the great school of life, everything is our teacher.” – Mary-Jo Fetterly
One of my teachers would say, “Life is a journey and its way stations are levels of awareness”. I know this to be true. From early childhood trauma, adolescent anorexia, a rare genetic propensity for meningitis and a severe spinal cord injury, life has been a tough teacher for me in many ways.
On January 25, 2004, I had a skiing accident that crushed my C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae, leaving me paralyzed from the neck down. I was diagnosed with Quadriplegia-complete, a “worst-case diagnosis” predicted by doctors. My journey back to health while coping with my new situation defied odds – I’ve experienced a miraculous recovery due to hard work, faith, knowledge, insight, determination, Yoga and strong-willed optimism. I have transformed injury into inquiry; my passion is looking directly into “disability” to uncover the “ability”.
Through all that, I have learned (and continue to learn) that pain is the root of knowledge, but struggle is optional. For me, learning how to rise out of the victim towards a greater understanding of myself has become a pivotal perspective. This is a viewpoint I have been gifted through Yoga.
My process has led me to an ever-deepening appreciation for the essence of life, and strengthened my connection to life through the part of me that is greater than my physical and emotional challenges. One thing I know to be true is that we need to develop virtues, resilience and endurance in order to meet life’s challenges and become better by them.
The nurturing of body, mind and spirit becomes the essential pathway for healing and transformation of any type of obstacles along our way. Letting go, surrender and humility help us to discover that deep, abiding peace and love are truly our essential nature.
I believe we can guide each other home to that place, preserve nature and all life, and make our world better.
“No matter what obstacles or challenges we face, there is the capacity within each of us to transform.” – Mary-Jo Fetterly, 2004