I listen to the rattling of metal and the rubber tires cruising along the interstate at 70 mph. I am run down and tired after another long week of healing with Francis. It was extraordinary as usual and Francis was full of praise for my recovery. "Your absorbing tons of energy Colin!", he exclaimed with his infectious Scottish accent. "Just be patient Colin, you will walk again." The gleam in his eyes and the soft, confident tone in his voice brings me peace and I believe in what he says.
Suddenly I feel the awful feeling of my bladder shouting at me, as it contracts violently and chills run up and down my spine. My fingers tighten up in a vise grip and my back muscles fire with a strong spasm. I grow cold and hot at the same time and my vision grows slightly hazy. "Not again", I think. For moment I try and overcome it but it is no use. "Dad, time for another pitstop."
At that moment the frustration we were both feeling came to the surface. How many times must we come to see Francis? How long is this going to take? When is life going to be just a little bit easier? If only I can move my legs just a little bit, maybe my bladder would function better.
When I moved to Atlanta we all agreed that we would give it two years before making another major decision about the course of our lives. We have all maintained a great amount of faith, waking up each morning with diligence and determination to tackle another day. With trust in God’s protection, we pack our suitcases and make the 15 hour drive to Austin, Texas simply because we know it is what we are meant to do. But the months pass, and time seems to be slipping between our fingertips. The two-year mark is lingering in the back of my mind and even though it is still six months away I cannot help but notice how quickly a year and a half has gone by.
A couple days later, after the meltdown on the way home, I began to collect myself and remembered some key points Francis told me. I don’t always realize it at the time, but there is usually something Francis tells me which sticks and brings me comfort. This time I remember him saying, "Don’t ever give up. Persistence and determination are two of the best qualities one can possess." He also told me to wake up each day and focus on how much more I can feel. He told me to make it a goal each day to feel a little bit more. When I do this, I am actually able to tell that I do have more sensation and awareness of my body each day. He also told me to constantly move my legs and don’t stop even when I get tired. Remembering these pieces of advice, I doubled my efforts over the past two weeks. I’ve been coming home from therapy, resting a bit, then working out some more. In the past, I would never have the energy for this.
I bought my father a workout series over Christmas called P90X, maybe you have seen the infomercials. Even though I cannot physically accomplish the workouts, I do several of them sitting in my wheelchair. My favorite has been KenpoX, a form of karate. I punch, I block, I kick, all from my wheelchair. I watch their movements, and visualize myself doing it with perfect form. I can feel my core tightening up and my legs begin to burn. My heart rate increases, my breathing quickens, and I can literally feel my entire body attempting to come alive.
The entire series of workouts has been an inspiration to me. It is an intense boot camp style workout designed to get you in peak physical condition in 90 days. I envision myself reaching that strata of physical accomplishment because I cannot help but dream of accomplishing my goals with absolute perfection. I do not think it is a fault to dream big because I know I am an invincible spirit capable of creating magnificent things in my life. Why cut myself short? "Do your best and forget the rest", says Tony Horton, creator of P90x.
The frustration I am feeling has led me to reevaluate where I am and where I am going. I still have a great amount of faith that I will be walking again one day but I’m afraid that it may take a lot longer than I once thought. I have always envisioned a miraculous recovery occurring over these two years in Atlanta. I thought for sure I would at least be standing by now and yet the reality is, I have made very little functional improvement. Not to downplay the improvement I have made, because I have made some tremendous improvement, but my expectations are much higher.
It is hard to understand at times but I can’t help but notice the tremendous energy I feel flowing through my body. It’s as if an energetic imprint is being created throughout my aura, I am just waiting for the day it spreads into the physical body. I put a lot of pressure on myself at times wondering what I must do to speed up the process. My life has very little balance at the moment and I spend most of my time trying to recover on some level, whether it is working out, meditating on my recovery, or diving into my subconscious trying to let go of any hangups I may have.
More than anything right now, I feel a desire to completely let go and simply live in the moment. I wish to have complete faith in who I am, unafraid of whether or not I will do the right thing. Sometimes I look back on my life and I wonder how much was meant to be and how much was under my control? It is a question that I will never truly have the answer to. I constantly find myself pulled in two different directions, wanting to control my life and wanting to let go and surrender.
I am currently focusing and learning on how to drop into my heart space. I visualize my concentrated energy dropping away from my mind and into my heart. As I expand my lungs I feel my heart also expanding outwards into the universe. It is gradual at first and slowly expands to every bit of creation which is in existence. When I accomplish this task, I discover a wonderful forgiveness for myself and a love for who I am. As I forgive and have compassion for myself I suddenly feel a love and compassion for everyone else. I am no longer judging anyone or resenting others’ actions, because I cannot know another’s path and purpose. Who am I to judge?
It is not comforting to be pulled into different directions. I believe it is much more rewarding and of higher spiritual consciousness to simply let go, surrender, and love. For love is the basis of all creation and through complete surrender to love and service, I can have complete faith that my path will unfold as it is meant to. There is no need to analyze and think myself into oblivion, trying to understand what I must do. All I must do is fall into my heart, feel it expand throughout the universe and love. The task is not always easy and I repeatedly feel myself falling back into my mind, but I lovingly remind myself to go back to the heart.
Even though I have not achieved my goals at this point, looking back on this journey I can see such tremendous spiritual growth. This whole experience has been like a crash course on how to discover who I really am. At times I feel like I’ve made no progress at all spiritually, but deep inside I know that I have. It was a scary moment in my life when I peered into my subconscious and allowed myself to see all the demons which festered there. It continues to be scary but the dam has broken now and there is no stopping it. The more I let go, the more I forgive myself, the more I love…the more my heart expands and my spirit fulfills its purpose here on this planet.