Walking the Walk

fern (1)Adaptive Yoga class ended again in tears — they are not sad tears, per se, and there’s become a normalcy associated with them because when 20lbs of sand are sat on my tied thighs I will, for the first time since the week prior’s class, feel the ground.

Damn, that’s a pretty simple thing we all take for granted. A year or so ago my physical therapist asked about how lack of sensation affects my relationship to different environments when I can’t feel the ground on which I walk; I shrugged with reply, “I believe the ground is there.”

Duh, right?

It’s surprisingly troublesome to believe that when you only know you’re standing because you’re in pain, or because you haven’t fallen yet.

In last week’s class, we had a different instructor and she tried something new. Laying down, my wife put her feet against mine and pedaled gently. Going in, I thought nothing of it — the class has many students in wheelchairs, and while I’ll like every movement included, this seemed more geared for those who could no longer walk. Things began here uneventfully, but in a few seconds I tried to understand the foreign feeling of walking without painlessness.

www.marriedtothesea.comThen I started bawling because I realized that the possibility exists for others to stand and walk without their wounds. What’s wonderful about this happening in a yoga class is that the tears, no matter if they are sad, are wrapped in gratitude. Ultimately painful realizations like “This is what walking felt like when I was a child. I used to not have these injuries and now I’ll never know that sensation again in waking life” end in being grateful that — hey, look over here! — I just got to experience the thing for which I started immediate mourning. I could either mourn my way through it and spend the night maudlin for its fact, or I could snap my fingers, shake myself by the shoulders and yell “DON’T MISS THIS FEELING, DUMBASS.”

So I went with the feeling — examining as it continued. The quiet blubbering continued. I was so infinitely grateful for a new perspective on walking, and how interesting a human function it is.

where-are-our-flying-carsI am grateful that I no longer hide when I injure my body (shrugging off of 4′ drops onto cobblestone because I was fat and embarrassed… ah, college!) but commit to dealing with them openly and with ownership.

I am grateful to know that I have lived before without pain, and

I am grateful to better understand that pain today.

Have you met my fashionable cane? Her name is Aubrey Kanedinsky, for artists Aubrey Beardsley and Wassily Kandinsky.

Have you met my fashionable cane? Her name is Aubrey Kanedinsky, for artists Aubrey Beardsley and Wassily Kandinsky.

I am grateful for the Adaptive Yoga class — though yoga has significantly changed my life for the better, it’s tough for me to keep up in a regular class. Every week, someone can help me do the things with which I am often otherwise ashamed to ask for help — “ask for help, just tell these strangers about your invisible disability” seems like a tiresome order for all involved, y’know? Strangers think I’m just  a regular sassy young lady with a fashionable cane.

Oh yeah, and I’m grateful to be sassy. I can give you a list of references here to easily prove that.

Even better, let’s show some love to the internet at large — I’m grateful that I can keep a blog to catalog these things (because I will forget a lot if it) and now I can dust my hands and go about daily life. Those dirty dishes will appreciate my gratitude, and tonight’s pesto will taste better if I deign to make it with love (a critical ingredient).

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