Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wacky, Wonderous, Whatever Wednesday

Over the past few months I have been working with our local amputee support group. Last month was our first meeting of the year and we had a darn good turn out. This month not so much, one brave beautiful man showed up. The following is the reason why only one showed up but the following is also my wacky idea, goal, mission, (deep sigh here) silly planning of which, regardless of what anyone may think, I will not give up on.

For weeks I promoted this month’s support group activity; bowling. Yes, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to gather together as fellow amputees and do something a little different, something, which I thought many in our group might contemplate attempting. And why not? It would be a stretch, we’d have to figure things out, we’d be a group who could laugh with and at each other because we have this commonality.

Sadly, when I spoke to everyone (in our group that is) most thought ‘they’d be busy with other things’ or, and I respect the honesty, said, “I can’t do that.” CAN’T is such a foul four letter word, isn’t it.

So Monday, this beautiful brave double amputee, one above the knee and one below, arrived in his prosthetics with is cane and bowled with me. I was in my chair, well a few times I thought the ball was going to roll me out of it, but I stayed in my chair and, even though he and I used the bumpers, we bowled; there was no ‘can’t’ about it, we bowled.

Were we great bowlers? Nope, but even when I had legs, real ones, I wasn’t a great bowler. Did we have a blast? Absolutely. Did others get a kick out of us? Yup. We all laughed, relaxed, and simply had fun. And I know beyond any shadow of doubt, if the others in our group would have shown up, they’d simply have done the same; laughed, relaxed, had fun.

We bowled with my leg maker, one of the guys I work with who happens to be a phenomenal 300 kind of bowler, and cute Kendra who heads up the amputee support group. They have all their body parts so they didn’t get the bumpers.

 Anyway, as we were bowling I kept thinking about why do really good bowlers, like Mr. Phenomenal 300 Score Bowler get handicaps? Because they’re so darn good, there has to be a handicap given to make the playing field or the bowling alley more competitive. Am I right here in my thinking? So, for wheelchair girls like me, or toddlers on new prosthetics like me, or those on old prosthetics, or anyone with any ‘handicap’ even if it’s not like mine, let me ask you, “How do you choose to be identified with the word HANDICAP?” I say you are so darn good!

Now here’s my mission, my goal, my idea, as wacky as it may sound ~ I believe there needs to be a new paradigm for age, beauty, and ability. And if that means I have to keep begging folks to come out and do something a little outside their comfort zone,  or committing to a mini tri this autumn, or going to elementary classes and reading Dolphin’s Tail; well...wacky, wondrous, whatever… so it shall be!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Thought It Was Simply Weed Pulling

A late winter snow followed by early spring 70 degree temperatures causes buds and bulbs and weeds to pop. Maybe it was that, weeds popping up which lured me out to the gardens early Friday morning. For days I intended to begin tiding up the gardens out front as they are areas I see with each coming and going. For whatever reason though I plopped out of my chair into the strawberry patch which, being on the north side of the house and behind the mulcher, is a spot I must wander out to see. Settling down where I didn’t intend should have been a clue I wasn’t simply going to be pulling weeds.
Oh it had been such a long time since I sat with Mother Earth but it only took a few minutes for me to be drawn into a meditative communion with her. I began pulling out the ground cover of fresh weeds, the 5 foot dried up stocks of deceased wild sunflowers, but it’s when I got to the wild mullein which had set up residence in the strawberry patch last summer that Mother began sharing her wisdom.
Strawberry leaves have begun to emerge from the core of their decay. The tendrils which had extended out last season are dry and brittle, no new life at the ends. But at mullein, even with dry, brittle tendrils, there is new strawberry plant life.

I had to explore mullein’s space. She had new beautiful leaves sprouting from her center. Her older leaves remained vibrant through Old Man Winter’s harsh cold temperatures, his pounding sleet, bitter winds, and frosty snows. In fact, enduring such, her thick, velvety, layered leaves reached out wide around her. Gently I lifted up her leaves. I brushed through them.
Unlike the ground surrounding her which was dry, cracked, and hard, beneath her the ground was moist, pliable, even somewhat warm. There I found deaths debris. Some of her blackened, withered leaves gave way, others were merging back into Mother Earth, while a few remained, tightly clinging to her.  I found a decaying mouse who must have sought shelter under her warm inviting blanket. I wonder if she made an effort to save him and if her heart broke when the tiny creature succumb to Winter’s doing.

I couldn’t bring myself to pull her out, remove her from the place she chose to set up home. So there she remains, in the center of my strawberry patch. She offers herself, welcoming, expanding, giving. Sitting next to Mullein, the sun in position, I look down and notice our shadows had merged. Together we were one, stretched out across Mother Earth being warmly kissed by Sun.
When I signed up for Jane Cunningham’s course, Facing the Minotaur, ( I didn’t fully understand that which we would be embarking on. I wasn’t sure I understood shadow and darkness beyond the literal sense. Not sure how to expose and greet mine. My life has been about overcoming the dark, scary parts. Through Mullein, Mother, Sun, Jane and our circle of sisters, I think I’m learning at a deeper, richer level that it is the merging, the coming together and the giving into, the need for balance of light and dark, and without death there is no life. The greeting of my shadows with a desire to know them, to hear their message, and receive their gifts, to experience living with my shadow self as a benevolent friend….

Events in my life are quickly occurring, stirring, requiring me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, out of the known light and into a dark unknown. Will I awaken to it? Am I ready to journey farther into the labyrinth of life? Will I panic, flee from the shadows which follow and those which lurk deeper in? Will I summons the courage to face Minotaur?....
I ventured out to strawberry patch. Today the Maiden of Spring is blowing a cold north wind. What does Mullein do? She simply dances with Spring. I notice the light shining into Mulleins velvet, sage colored leaves exposing her veins. She is alive at many levels. I turn to wheel back in and notice her shadow. It too is dancing with Spring; her shadow is simply dancing with her.