Let’s get this ball rollin’

Sorry I have not been blogging lately.  For some reason my motivation to blog has been on the decline recently.  I’m in the middle of searching for a passion in my life, and I would think writing could be a strong passion of mine but a lot of times it just isn’t there.  Instead laziness overcomes passion.  When I think about it there are a great many other things which I should be able to find passion for as well but once again laziness and procrastination prevail.  I really don’t think I’m alone in this feeling, at least I hope I’m not.  It is my thinking that it is not really laziness but the strong overpowering desire to find temporary pleasures rather than long-lasting ones.  The long-lasting pleasures will almost always involve a nitty-gritty aspect to it, so that for a brief period you are doing something that you really don’t want to do.  But then you get past the want for whatever temporary pleasure you are seeking and instead discover a much more fulfilling pleasure in the completion of something that actually took a little bit of work.

Anyways, for the most part I have been relaxing in a stress free phase in my life and anticipating upcoming events being Beyond Therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, and my second trip to San Diego to spend some more time at Project Walk.  I had planned on seeking out some physical trainers to help me begin a Project Walk style rehab program for myself here in Charlotte, but it all kind fell through.  I thought I had a lead for a while to get some professional help, but urinary infections got in the away, and a lack of communication on whether or not what I needed could be done slowed the process down.  Now I am at the point where my Atlanta and San Diego trips are so close that the idea of trying to train somebody to do the type of workouts I need, seems rather pointless.

Even though I have not had professional therapy I feel like I’ve done a lot on my own.  The main thing I’ve done off of Project Walk’s recommendation is trying to slowly transfer my main method of transportation from the power chair over to the manual chair.  Until recently I never spent more than two to three hours in my manual chair at a time.  It has always been used as a workout tool rather than a method to get around on a daily basis.  My lack of independence while in the manual chair has pushed me away from long-term use, whereas in the power chair I have much more independence.  However, I’ve really been pushing myself to get used to being in the manual chair and going about normal activities such as being on the computer, using the phone, and eating my meals.  It has been a tremendous task trying to do these things while dealing with balance issues, an inability to use my wrist splints, and struggling with blood pressure issues.  But I’m finding the more I push myself the easier it is getting.  I also realize that it is my goal to become as strong as possible and to gain as much recovery as possible and being in the manual chair is the optimal way to achieve this goal.  Unlike in the power chair, I am constantly having to use my trunk muscles to balance, my upper body is being pushed to its limits, and I’m forced to face various issues such as spasms and blood pressure.  Concerning my spasms I’m finding that being in the manual chair actually reduces my spasms because half of my body is being forced to work rather than stiffening up in the full support of my power chair.  It’s almost as if my spasms are telling me to get up and get to work.

I still feel I’m no where near being in the manual chair full-time.  I’ve quickly discovered that it is possible to overdo it as physical exhaustion has been reached to the point of feeling ill.  But I’m slowly working towards the goal and I’m feeling confident.  It may just be my imagination but I swear my abs have gotten tighter since arriving home and my arms continue to feel strong. Next week I’m looking into getting a power assist manual chair which will allow me to work all those muscles without constantly pushing myself to the max.

A couple road trips have taken place in my life recently, one being a day trip to Raleigh and another one being a long weekend trip to Cleveland, Ohio.  My dad and I headed off to Raleigh one morning to visit a woman named Mother Meera who is currently on a American tour visiting various cities across the nation.  It’s hard for me to explain who Mother Meera is and what she represents, because I really don’t have a firm grasp on the concept myself or more so what I believe her to be.  She claims to be an Avatar, which is a Hindu term for the Divine or God, reincarnated on Earth.  Her presence here on this plane of existence would be comparable to Jesus.

Even the idea of such a being is completely outrageous to many people, especially people under control of the Western mindset.  Not until the last couple of years did I ever consider that Divine beings existed in this day in age.  In my search for faith I always asked myself the question of, “If people like Moses and Jesus appeared centuries ago, then why are there not people of the same sort in existence now?”

I expected that if people of this magnitude existed then their names and faces would be plastered all over the TV screen.  Everyone would know about them and people would be running to their feet for blessings.  These people are usually unheard of however, because the thought of their existence is whimsically pushed aside.  Even when Jesus was alive no one believed him when he said to be the son of God and I don’t believe he lived a life necessarily trying to spread his name across the globe.  He simply lived a peaceful life, spread his message to those who would listen, and touched the lives of those he came across.

Mother Meera writes no books, does no interviews, and asks for no money.  She lives in a small town in Germany and spreads Divine light to all those who wish to receive it.  My dad and I sat in the dead silence of the Hindu temple hall as one by one people went before Mother Meera and kneeled at her feet.  With her eyes closed she placed her hands on each person’s head, removed them and then looked into their eyes for several seconds.  Her eyes would close and then the next person would approach.  She never spoke and only twice can I remember her actions deviating from the 2 and 1/2 hour process, once being her lifting her hand to brush back her hair.

It is said that you are more affected by her touch and gaze the more open you are to the Divine.  I had to wait until everyone had gone to approach Mother Meera, so I tried to spend the time opening myself and relaxing with joy and love.  I spent a lot of time observing the people around me and trying to sense the Divine presence in each of them.  As my turn grew closer I began to get nervous but remained as relaxed as possible with my emotions.  When my time came, I was brought to the rear of the stage and appeared from behind the curtain.  The sounds of my wheelchair echoed through the hall as I approached her.  I made a wide turn towards the front of the stage so I could be facing her and slowly crept forward so as not to run into her which would be an utter disaster.  My plan was to lay forward onto my lap but was nervous about it because many times my spasms kick in and I pop right back up.  I had been practicing going down to my elbows to eliminate spasms but still be comfortable so I could embrace her energy.  Well, I went down to my elbows and she placed her hands on my head but I could slowly feel myself giving way, not being able to fully hold myself in position.  I struggled to keep myself up right and I could feel the weight of my head in her hands.  Because of this uncomfortable position I was completely unable to embrace whatever it was I was feeling from her touch.  She released her hands and I rose to my full upright position and looked into her eyes.  I was shocked and stunned as I peered into her hazel green eyes which seemed to sparkle with light.  Unable to look away even if I wanted to I could feel her staring into my soul as I myself looked within a spirit which could not be comprehended but contained a deep vastness of Divinity.

After what seemed like forever, but was actually just a few seconds, she closed her eyes and I backed away and exited the stage.  At the time I did not feel much of anything.  I was not yet able to comprehend the experience or feel the effects of what I had just seen as I looked into her eyes.  I don’t think it truly hit me until I was sitting in the van on the way home and felt an overwhelming sense of peace and love.  Then a very interesting thing happened.  As I rose my voice to speak over the loud rattling of the ramp beside me, I suddenly felt a deep vibration in my throat and a strong deep voice resonated from  my lips.  The entire trip to Raleigh I felt as if I was yelling so that my dad could hear me, but in an instant I was speaking in a normal tone and felt no stress in my throat muscles.  The newfound strength in my speaking voice has lasted but it is not quite as powerful as when the discovery was first made.  I was so excited when my new deep voice was first realized that I belted out the Star Spangled Banner in a strong baritone and hit every note.

Over the next week or so after visiting Mother Meera, I could not get the image of her eyes out of my head.  More and more I seemed to sense the Divine power which she possesses and I further realized what a blessing it was for me to be able to be in her presence.  She is not a healer but is here on this earth to spread joy and light to others, so that they can spread it to the people they come in contact with and so on.  She doesn’t necessarily grant you what you ask for but provides you with what you need for spiritual growth.  I’ve yet to fully realize what she will provide for me.

Another realization I came to after my visit with Mother Meera could quite possibly be a revelation on the key to life.  I believe the key to life could be to spread joy and love to all those you come in contact with.  To let the Divine light shine through you so that all who may be around you feed off of your energy and raise their own energy level to that of positive vibrations, which will then be passed on from one person to the next.  This simple act of human kindness I believe may be the best way an individual can work towards a goal of peace and harmony in this world.  We were meant to live in this world to let our Divine light shine so that we may liberate others.

My second road trip was not quite as spiritual but very positive and fulfilling nonetheless.  My cousin on my Dad’s side of the family has gotten married recently and was holding a wedding reception.  Much of my extended family would be there and I was excited to see all of them as they are a very rambunctious and fun-loving bunch.  The energy when we all get together is always very high and full of love and laughter.

On the way there we stopped in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where my sister and brother-in-law now live.  They have a very nice apartment in the valley of Virginia overlooking the mountain ranges in the distance.  It was a little depressing as we went through the mountains as I was reminded of my old college days but it was a good feeling of remembrance.  It was very comforting being in their home and our family got along well during the short visit, laughing and joking around nonchalantly with little seriousness.  Honestly it doesn’t happen very often so it’s very nice when it does.  It was also very good to see them and to see that they were happy with their move and adjusting nicely to their new surroundings.

The next morning we packed up the van and headed off to Cleveland.  The day before as we were leaving Charlotte the sun had started to come out and we drove straight into a thunderstorm.  Once again leaving Harrisonburg, the sun was peeking through the clouds and we drove right into more rain.  It is completely against my nature to run away from the sun so it had me kind of off-balance.  We trudged on, and I was getting some good experience under my belt in being on the road.  If my dad and I were going to drive out to San Diego, this was a good test to see if we could handle it.

The drive to Cleveland was no problem, doing my intermittent caths in the van at rest areas along the way.  Cleveland was cold and windy so I didn’t like that much, but it was very heartwarming when I immediately saw all my uncles, aunts, and cousins.  I managed to squeeze myself and my power chair in a tiny elevator shaft to make it up to my cousin’s apartment.  I felt very welcome and comfortable as people talked to me and expressed their graciousness of my presence.  It felt good to have people understand how hard it is for me to travel but I’m thinking the more traveling I do the easier it is going to get.

So far staying in hotels has proven to have its difficulties but I feel like my stay in Cleveland went rather well concerning this aspect.  Having my own shower chair there was a blessing because in San Diego the rental chair was a nightmare.  My chair fit just right in the shower and the shower head was actually more soothing than the one I have at home.  My morning routines all went very smoothly and the only problems I had at night was trying to fall asleep over my dad’s snoring.

Our second day in Cleveland was very busy, attending a party gathering at my cousin’s house and then a wedding reception at a nature museum that night.  I saw many relatives who have not seen me since the accident, so it was great to clear the air with them and comfort them with my presence.  For many people who have known me in the past they don’t really quite come to grips with what has happened to me until they see me in person.  Once they see that I’m doing OK and realize I’m still very easy to talk to, it’s almost as if they can take a sigh relief and take some weight off of their shoulders.

It was very tough me to stay energized because the weather was rather chilly and not getting cold was very difficult.  When I get cold I generally start to feel physically sick.  My legs become ice cold and once that happens it is almost impossible to reverse the effect.  Then my energy plummets so that all I want to do is sit with my face in my hands.  I fought through it of course, and discovered at the reception that drinking some hot caffeinated tea really helped boost my energy and warm me up.

It was sad leaving the next day as I felt I didn’t get the chance to catch up with my relatives nearly as much as I wanted to.  I noticed that not only were relatives more comfortable around me but I felt more comfortable around them as well.  I feel I am  much more accepting of my injury at this stage of the journey more so than before.  I don’t me feel nearly as detached from life as I once did.  Pre-injury, post-injury and the present moment are finally blending together into some sort of overall picture.  It almost feels like reality.

The drive home from Cleveland was the real test.  It took about 10 hours to get home and was by no means completely comfortable but we made it, proving to ourselves that trip across the country is definitely possible.

On September 17th my dad and I are headed to Atlanta so I can spend a week with the Beyond Therapy program.  Less than a week after our return we are beginning to track across the country to San Diego.  At the moment I’m not quite sure how involved my mom will be.  My insurance is through her job so it’s kind of complicated.  I think she’s going to continue to work as we drive and meet us out there at some point.  While she’s earning the big bucks my dad and I will be stopping in Texas to visit a spiritual healer I’ve been in contact with and spending a week with him doing healing sessions.  My uncle will then meet us in Austin to help us drive to Carlsbad so I can begin my two-month recovery training at Project Walk.  I will be working out four days a week for three hours at a time. 

I’m very excited about all the upcoming adventures.  The last time I went to California I had many mixed emotions not knowing if I really wanted to leave Charlotte.  I now feel as if I’m completely ready for all the possibilities that these adventures hold for me and I am ready to put forth the maximum effort emotionally, mentally, and physically.

I’m very, very close to having a recovery fund set up.  It actually already is set up but I cannot give the details quite yet.  Hopefully by the beginning of next week whoever feels compelled to do so can make tax-deductible donations which will go towards expenses that will help facilitate my physical recovery.  It’s time this ball started rolling.

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5 Responses to Let’s get this ball rollin’

  1. Lessie says:

    Exciting trip! Can\’t wait to hear about Atlanta and future adventures in San Diego!

  2. Ready to fly? says:

    For someone worried about procrastination, you sure don\’t sit still for long.
    Thanks for including us in your journeys. I read them, engaged and enrapt, feeling through the details and impressions you provide that I am participating myself. You could write a fascinating spiritual travelogue someday, like Colin in Tibet. I\’d snap it up.
    Godspeed on your exciting adventures just ahead. Be strong and steadfast. You will be in my prayers.

  3. Patricia says:

    Colin!! I\’m so thrilled for you as Abe mentioned it doesn\’t seem as if you are procrastinating!! YOu are moving all about! Sounds like many things are going on and exciting ones!! I love the feeling of travel and am so glad that you are getting to do so with relative comfort. Meeting people and seeing things I think expands the heart and perceptions. I have recently had the pleasure from photography to meet Patch Adams – there was a movie made about his life with his character played by Robin Williams -I\’m not sure how many are familiar with it. Anyway, he too had this miraculous sense of love and joy and the combination of both was this beautiful amazingness.  in a short time he brought so much joy through his ability to truly be compassionate. A compassion that runs deeply for all whom he comes across. I\’m learning more and more that yes, while silly things like movie celebrities and odd gossip hit so much of our media, it would make much more sense to celebrate a teacher or people who are in touch with so many things that shed light and beauty in this world. I do like the idea of your sharing your expereinces in writing as Abe mentioned. You have shared so much here already and it is so wonderful. I remember, and always will, the fact that you were the one to remind me that I was not alone during my recovery – that the divine was always with me. That was a huge thing for me to learn and you did it in a moment. It was life changing for the best really and has made me much more joyful and giving. You have the gift of being able to open eyes and hearts to many things in this world. While I will always wish and pray for the things that you want such as being able to walk again, when I think of you I don\’t think of the things that you have trouble with or what has changed for you due to your injury, instead I see your amazing heart and compassion and an incredible person with a gift for educating others on your beautiful discoveries and insights. Dream big, I believe in you, patti ps I look forward to hearing about your travels!

  4. Unknown says:

    Hey Colin – TexasGirlJen here
    Good luck on your journey – you sound ready. I wish you the best.
    Stay safe and be well. I can\’t wait to hear all about it.
    Take care.

  5. BP says:

    Motivation for writing is always difficult to garner for those of us that face other adversities. That includes all of those individuals out there dealing with some sort of problem.
    I agree wholeheartedly that procrastination and laziness do not apply when it comes to your endeavor to become his independent and fully rehabilitated as possible. I wish you the best of luck in finding your passion in life and seeking out your spiritual fulfillment.
    On a completely separate note, your therapists were correct in encouraging you to use your manual chair as much as possible. I believe you are using the proper amount of restraint. I\’ve thought through and actually continue to struggle with problems with blood pressure and strength in my speaking voice. I have found the more I sit up and work on my computer using voice the more strength I am able to gather and use in other ways. I had several friends with whom I rehabilitated that were forced to use the manual wheelchair exclusively. While I do not necessarily agree with this approach, I do however see the benefits that it has brought to many people. Once again, good luck and may you continue to find the strength necessary to achieve all of your desires.

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