My True Desires

I keep hearing about the natural state of being that we as humans have inside of us.  It is our true nature and is filled with joy, peace, and stillness, but I can’t help but wonder that if this state is our true nature than why is it so hard to find?  What has happened during the course of human evolution that has made almost every human being stray from their true nature and become the total opposite?  Where did this desire to suffer come from?  Why is it so much easier to find sadness then it is to find happiness? 

I didn’t mean to jump in with so many questions.  It’s just that in my life right now my strongest impulses and instincts are not actions which direct me towards peace and happiness and I know this, but these instincts seem so powerful that they are most times incredibly hard not to follow.  Most days I have a strong desire to be a hermit and shut myself up in my room completely isolated from an existence which I can grasp solidly.  Sitting in my room I view reality outside the borders, through the Internet and TV both of which not only give you just a glimmer of what’s real but distort it so that true perception can never be reached. 

For most of this past weekend I was settled within an overall feeling of sadness.  I know I’m going against everything I preach here but I felt sad because I’m sick of my situation in life, I don’t know where I’m going and I can’t help but wonder where I would have been.  I don’t ever contemplate suicide nor will I ever do such an awful thing but I have to admit that when I think about if death were to take me what a peaceful feeling that would be.  My spirit would rise back to the home from which it came and I would no longer have to experience the suffering and hardships that I go through.  I would no longer have to fight to find a peaceful presence within but through death it would be found with natural ease.  I’m not sure if these thoughts of death are unhealthy or just a sign of my mild depression as I look for some escape from the sadness, wondering how to make it go away.

My cycle of emotions continue to be never ending.  My emotions are constantly on a roller coaster ride leaving me at peace during one moment and then angry and bitter the next.  This roller coaster ride does not take place over several days but can have me on a wild ride within a two-hour period.  The first half of this past Friday I remember feeling extremely at peace.  I was not joyful or happy but I was content within whatever emotion I had.  It was just there existing along with my spirit, my being.  Suddenly it was gone and I was angry and confused.  I tried to just let the feeling be there, be one with the cycle of emotions and not fight it but it was too strong.  I found myself giving into mindless distractions so I could simply forget about the feeling and shove it inside of me. 

The next day was rainy and dreary so that I didn’t even want to open my blinds.  I knew I needed to break out from the safety of my home but it seemed my strongest desire was to shut the door to my room, turn up the heat and sit in front of my TV.  I knew I needed to do something so I could feel like I accomplished something with my day so I got my dad to help me do some exercises on my bed.  Meanwhile my brother-in-law called the house wondering if we wanted to go see the “Chronicles of Narnia” that night.  I had been wanting to see the movie but the thought of leaving the house seemed like a monumental task.  Even though my apparent desire seemed to be isolation I knew that this couldn’t be what my inner being truly wanted so I agreed to the adventure of going to the movies.  I got back into my chair and then for reasons I won’t go into, the plan of going to the movies fell through.  The cycle of emotions were at play once again and I suddenly felt a strong urge to leave the confines of my house. 

I remembered that a “Sublime” cover band was playing that night, a show that had previously sparked my interest.  I began to scan my brain over the list of my few local friends and I remembered my friend Rob who had just moved into the area and actually now lives a couple miles down the road.  With a simple phone call I actually had plans on a Saturday night to go out and have fun like a 22-year-old should.

As I awaited the arrival of my friend Rob along with my friend Mary Catherine, I could feel myself dreading leaving the house.  Excuses begin repeating in my head most of which involved the fact that I was cold and tired but then I realized that I’m always cold and tired.  I began the self talk method in which I exuberantly told myself, “Tonight’s going to be great!  I’m going to be warm, energetic and have an awesome time!”  I’m finding that it works in many cases especially if you’re energizing yourself for something that you should already be excited about anyways.

We arrived at Amos’ at Southend to find a long line had stretched out alongside the building.  As I rolled across the busy street to get in line I got the normal stares of curiosity and wonder.  I sat in line with my two companions and to calm my nerves tapped into the state of being around me and the peaceful presence of the moment.  I do this mostly by focusing on my breathing, being aware of all that is happening around me, and also being aware of the fact that each person in that moment has a spirit which is simply a different manifestation of the same spirit within myself.  It can be a both peaceful and alarming feeling because suddenly you become the observer viewing the moment with a clarity that most don’t bother to notice.  Most everyone around you is wrapped up in their own world, their own mind, while you yourself are aware of the fact that everything is interconnected and one in the same.  I’m still not used to this awareness when I’m able to reach it and it sometimes leaves me feeling a bit isolated and alone, which is rather ironic because what I’m being aware of is the fact that there is no such thing as being alone.

Once inside we found a spot amidst the crowd where hopefully I would get a good view of the stage while seated in my high-rise power chair.  A “Rage against the Machine” cover band was playing first which I was both excited and nervous about because there was a high potential for things getting a bit rough on the floor.  “Rage against the Machine” is an awesome band which is known for the building up of potential energy in a song and then letting loose an explosion of that energy which leads to mosh pits spontaneously combusting like hand grenades.  The band hit the stage with an impressive replication of the real thing hitting each sound to a T, including vocals, which is not easy.  Some happy violence came about right in front of me several times but Rob was a good bodyguard.

The second band was just as good as the first except covering “Sublime” involves much more happiness rather than anger.  The ultimate party band.  The energy was magnificent as the whole place sang along and danced to the reggae, punk style music.  As more and more alcohol was consumed, more and more people began stumbling around in my vicinity.  Me sitting in a chair amongst the crowd gives the illusion to the untrained eye that there is an open area in front of me.  This creates a high traffic area of people going back and forth from the bar.  I need to create some sort of guard around my feet for concerts because people are constantly tripping over them.  Most apologize and some don’t even notice.  I’m always hoping that some cute girls will fall into my lap but no such luck.  I should probably not use my seat elevator if I really want such an occurrence to happen.

For me to fully enjoy such an outing I must have the correct perception of the experience.  It’s hard not to think about how I would be experiencing the moment if it were not for being confined to a wheelchair.  I would have a good healthy buzz going, probably right next to the stage dancing my ass off and singing at the top of my lungs.  To enjoy the moment as it exists however, I can not constantly think about how I would be having fun but must simply enjoy myself however I can.  Dance however I can dance and sing however loud I can.  I chose not to drink that night which ended up being a good decision.  When I drink I seem to get very cold and tired.  Also when I go out on such occasions, coming home always leaves me with a sting of bitterness and anger.  The reality of my home life dissipates while I’m out and coming home is always a strong blow.  By not drinking I think I stayed more connected to reality and had fun with an awareness of the life I live rather than having fun because I forgot about it.  Not drinking also allowed me to not be worried about my bladder becoming too full.

I can confidently say I had a good time on Saturday night but I can also confidently say that I would have had a much better time if I were able-bodied.  This of course is no reason to not push myself to go out and have fun as if this had never happened to me.  While I was out jamming to the tunes I easily recognized the sadness I felt watching people knock back cold ones with no worries, dancing with the full rhythm of their bodies, and enjoying life with all its blessings.  But even though I recognized the pain I also fully realized how much more fun I was having at that moment than if I had been sitting at home viewing reality from my bedroom.  Because in that moment I was in the middle of it all, experiencing life firsthand and facing the task of finding the joy beneath my hardships.  It’s not as easily accessible, but it’s there and it wants to be experienced even when my strong desires seem to want pain.  I don’t know where exactly the desire to suffer comes from but I must continue to push past this faulty desire and look deeper than the surface and discover my true desires filled with joy and being.

Since my accident there has always been a presence of sadness in my life.  I think it would be abnormal for there not to be.  My sadness has always seemed to exist within a level of contentment for the most part.  Before the accident I laughed a great deal more and the best days of my life seemed to be appearing over and over again, but in the background of those good times there was a lot of junk and baggage in my head.  People always saw me as one of the happiest and most positive people around but on the inside I was attached to insignificant reasons of suffering.  I brooded and dwelled over the most trivial circumstances and I would hate to admit openly the things I thought were so important.  Despite my present sadness my mind is much clearer than it used to be and my attachment to form has diminished a great deal.  I hardly ever find myself in tears because I don’t usually fight my sadness because I have really no objection to it existing.  It has every right to exist.  I do hope that one day the sadness disappears but for now I shall let it be.  “There will be an answer, let it be, let it be. 

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10 Responses to My True Desires

  1. Patricia says:

    Colin – you shine – you absolutely shine. Sometimes I wonder if feeling uncomfortable or suffering as you put it is something akin to growing pains. I don\’t know if anywhere in the history of man that didn\’t find parts of life that were quzzical or upsetting. Maybe Adam or Eve, or if you believe in the whole development from tadpole to man, maybe the tadpole. I think our brain\’s have so many chemicals, options and things to think about that emotions are one of those things that will range. i think finding and knowing that the inner most part of ourselves knows light is the part that keeps us strong and open and sweetly vulnerable and loving and so many good things that don\’t have words. I know what you mean too about the observer mode – the removed feeling it can sometimes give – but there is also magic in it. An awareness that captures things through sight and learns – I see it when I am tapped into that feeling and photographing – it is much different than when I am not tapped in – I notice much more in the first state, things that I would normally not see. Remember once you asked me if I did not get sort of addicted to the sadness. Remember not to always. Your question made me aware of the easy tendency – there are times when sadness just is – but by reminding myself of your question to me on some days, I find renewed strength – you already knew this though and I\’m so glad that you went to the show! I find drinking counter-productive as well. For one its a depressant – oddly enough. For me it isn\’t really an option with my injury, I find that I actually get to enjoy the night much more though when I remember it! And should the right girl end up in your lap as you wish – you will be able to remember that as well! imagine forgetting that phone number! Darn!I would like to thank you for the song that is now stuck in my head! I will walk around singing "Let it be"!!! I actually love that song and it is soothing as well so for today I won\’t try to think up another song for you to get stuck in your head… i got some doozies that have made my friends call me in the middle of the night screaming after I got it stuck in their head for a good 24 hours. It is a shame that there isn\’t a song that will remind me to shower and eat right and remember my bra! Find that song and I\’ll pay ya!! Actually I like "let it be" a lot – thanks – shine on and dream big – it is gonna be a great day! – patti

  2. Unknown says:

    Colin,You simply amaze me with how in touch you are with your feelings and how well you express them in your writing. I\’m so glad that you were able to get out and experience your own reality first hand. Hint: next time you see a girl that looks "lap worthy", move your chair forward a bit, just enough to get her off balance and "viola" you\’ve got yourself a date. It sure beats a lap dance. I, too, enjoy being able to have control over my thoughts and body by not drinking myself into oblivion. I enjoy an alcoholic beverage every once in a while, but it\’s usually a one drink minimum for me or else I\’m too tired to do anything but think about bed. Not too exciting if you ask me. I truly hope that you can keep convincing yourself to go out and have more real life experiences, as it will increase your chances of getting a "lap dance" of your own. But seriously, I hope you can break out from the depression and the roller coaster, been there. Not fun. I, too, will be thinking "Let it Be, Let it Be" today. Love that song.Hope you have a great day!roxanne

  3. Tricia says:

    I mean this only in the best way possible – I have been captivated by your blog for a few months now I guess. I believe that you have the best self – reported information about someone learning to live with spinal cord injury. It does seem however that you spend a lot of time convincing yourself “how” you should feel. I am not saying in anyway shape or form that your feelings are not valid – they are. Depression and anxiety are part of some people’s lives – but too many people treat them like a dirty little secret verses a natural state of being. Living by the moment means feeling every emotion and taking for what it is. You said in your blog that Sublimes lyrics where happy – which is true, most of ska sound makes use of up beat island rhythms. But listen to the words of the songs – the rhythm is not really one of being happy but one of acceptance. The members of Sublime where poor heroin addicts just trying to make it by – but some how they sounded happy? Even when they sang out the LA Riots (April 29, 1992). I guess my point is we can’t change our feelings, and we shouldn’t. The more we look for inner peace the harder it is to find. Have you ever really looked forward to something for so long – then when it happened you were disappointed? It’s the same concept in the Sublime songs – they worked with what they had (expect Brad – he over dosed). Once you work thru your depression and sadness you will find peace with in yourself. In time your reason to laugh again will come to you. Sorry for the book or if this is just really a huge annoyance to you…. Best wishes… Tricia

  4. Patricia says:

    stopping by to tell you hello back – how\’s it going? How you feeling any better? I think I am catching a cold. Actually I feel crappy from trying to stop drinking soda, I know this seems ridiculous! I drink an insane amount of soda though – can\’t even share how much. Anyway, when probably about three years out from my injury they were finally hoping to put me on Ritalin, I hated it- well apparently I self -medicate I was told instead by drinking so much caffeine – because believe it or not Ritalin is practically like speed. Whatever. Super I think what they heck did they want me on anything speedy for – my mind races in several unconstructive directions normally at once! I have no idea though since it helps ADD so whatever. BUt the soda totally worked fabulous at giving me some extra energy to fight the fatigue and such. But it is so bad for me so I\’m quitting. It isn\’t as easy as I thought it would be. -patti 🙂

  5. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin,You have good taste in music. I saw Rage at Lollapalooza back in 1993. Although they didnt perform…they did a protest against the PMRC (parental music resource center) so they stood naked on stage for about 10 minutes with duct tape over their mouths. That was it. No music…just naked dudes. They were arrested once they left the stage. Anyway, Im glad you had a good time and could relax a little bit. You deserve it!Take care!Shannon

  6. Hope says:

    I am just stopping in to say I love your blog.Lots of inspiration here and straight talk..Although I am not in your situation I have had a head injury and other issues ..that make me wonder daily about some of the same issues…and life in general..Hang in there ..I think things get better …if not different and that helps..Hugs Hope.

  7. Anita says:

    Hey!It\’s Ok to have some blues this time of a year.As long as it does not affect you in such ways that you will not want to leave the house at all.I hope that you will feel better soon… and how is the weather in the great place where you live?I lied to you about the spring…The ground got covered in snow, and I think that winter will be here for at least 5 more weeks.Hugs and prayers,anita

  8. Patricia says:

    HOW BIZARRE!  I like the old way – they didn\’t change your profile yet! I had to redo mine and plus I have no idea what I made public and what I didn\’t – 🙂 How ya doin? Hope well. patti

  9. Christian says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I became a paraplegic in 2002. After pt at two rehab centers, I decided to go to Johns Hopkins Kennedy Kreiger Institute in Baltimore. The staff has been great and I am trying Dr. John McDonald\’s (Christopher Reeves physcian) theory of FES Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike. I am only 3 weeks into the program, but several people I have met have seen improvements. I am not a liberty to disclose their names for confidentialality reasons, but it is a program you may want to check into as well. At least check to see if Project Walk
    and Beyond Therapy use the FES Bike.

  10. brian says:

    You look like an adventurous sort !!  I am ashamed to admit I have not read much of your experience yet, just got home from work on the midnight shift and discovered the link via MSN.  I have to let you know about the sit-ski program out this way in Colorado.  It is an adaptive program for skiing the mountains out here with a guide (instructor) and a teathered sit ski aparatus.  I taught for a few years on and off in a volunteer capacity at Winter Park, CO and it is so awesome and inspiring to see folks like yourself out doing, going and pushing for the adventures and experience I take for granted.  God Bless and keep my email handy!!  I\’ll save your info.  I\’m not real computer oriented and I\’ve never responded to a blogg before.  I can get you any info on this when you are ready to come skiing and we have snow once again.  A-Basin just shut down this past weekend !!

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