Birthday Wishes from a WheelChair
My daughter wrote me a touching note this morning and asked, “Are you ok celebrating your birthday from a wheelchair? I know you want to continue teaching yoga and you can…”
For friends who may not know, I had a fall from a scooter on a rainy night where I skid and fractured my right neck of femur. As I am trying to keep my hip and avoid a hip replacement, the healing process is going to take a bit of time. Three screws in the femur, monitoring blood flow to the leg, and osteoperosis make it a bit more complicated. Hence the wheelchair and walker. And patience.
The good news is that had I not fallen, I would not have known I had osteoperosis (rather young for that), but now I can rectify. I had a vitamin D deficiency (may be more common in Asians) and calcium deficiency, probably linked to Vitamin D.
All this to say, that I am paying more attention to the body and the mind. Being in a wheelchair is an interesting birthday gift.
I am sure my birthday message was this : SLOW DOWN.
When you sit in a wheel chair, you can’t help but notice how fast one’s mind works. As I would pass from room to room, I would see things that needed to get done. Normally, I would just do it myself. However, now I needed to ask for help. I noticed that there were far far too many demands on others and that I had best remain silent or everyone would be soon running away from me!
What was interesting is that the constant demands my mind put on itself, I would not allow it to do to others. Suddenly I realized something. Why do I let my mind constantly harrass me (do this, do that, now this, now learn that) ; a harm I would never allow to even a worst enemy?
And so now every day I get up and my one goal is to simply SLOW DOWN. Slow the mind down at any cost, by any method and for those who know me I am experimenting! And I think I am on to a few things. A few things that work.
For one simple starter, I redid first thing in the morning and last thing at night the 12 minute meditation “I am not my body, I am not my mind” that you can download in the meditation section (Isha app). This seems to set the day straight — especially if you are in a wheelchair and your mind remains just as demanding or more!
The other meditations I have begun have to do with being in tune or listening to the body — to the bones, to the tissues, to the fluids and to what it really means not to be one’s body or mind. This needs a few more months of experimentation before I share them as I like to test everything on myself first, but I am finding it rather fascinating.
Time spent walking bare foot outside on the grass with the walker (lucky me with palm trees around) is also special and makes me more in touch with nature and the earth something not always easy in a city. Something I am trying to get my kids to do.
All this to say that the universe gives us what we need. I needed to slow down and this broken hip is a good an occasion as any other.
So yes, it is a very very good birthday. Like many challenges in the past, I find that often what we think is the worst thing in our life, ends up being the best. I am learning rather quickly what I needed to learn and having a bit of fun in the process.
Naturally, I miss running to my favorite yoga studio in the sun and speaking with my Japanese and international friends there. Sometimes I just forget I am in a wheelchair and almost get up.
But good things come, to those who wait. Might as well wait gracefully. Might as well learn something about this body (nutrition, sunlight, water, exercise) and this mind (slow it down and make time stop).
Doing so will make each year a bit more joyful and isn’t that what every great birthday and every great year should be about?
So here is my birthday wish and promise to all of you: Let’s use this year to explore the body and mind. I will share with you some experiments in this blog. If you are at all curious, do join and be ready for quite an adventure.
BACK TO BASICS : SIGNUP ON THE BLOG TO FOLLOW AND FORWARD TO FRIENDS
The adventure starts when you sign up for the blog. Do it now as I may not be in a wheelchair for long and I tend to get into long stretches of not having time to write!
I will focus the next few entries on the following Back to Basics themes that can help anyone go beyond our best and get your body, mind and spirit tuned for a new start. Give me a little time (picture me in a wheel chair trying to slow down).
And yet, each theme in itself can be life changing and will be a little out of the usual. I will point to the best references or experts I have found for further experimentation.
Teaser: The first one is on sleep. From age five, I did something funny with my sleep that allowed me to remember short term anything I needed and creatively solve all sorts of problems (ask my friends from school). I just used the technique grossly to get good grades at school, little did I know its larger value or that it had an equivalent in yoga.
BACK TO BASICS
About the Author
Nathalie Ishizuka, a Franco-Japanese from New York, is Director of the Movement Beyond Our Best: Re-inventing Ourselves Silently. She is a meditation coach accompanying visionaries committed to changing themselves with tested techniques of meditation and one area of competence beyond a previous best.