Bent not broken….

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Beauty of Nature

Today is my birthday! And in line with the actual definition of the word, I was born on a Wednesday and notwithstanding the fact that I was born preemie, I choose to celebrate my birthday every week. In my journey here on earth, I have learned that it  is usually those life-transforming events that shape our character and influence our decisions. And so with this intolerable dystonia, I have learned that more often than not, the frequent insouciance I encounter is a direct expression of ignorance; ignorance in terms of knowledge and ignorance in terms of life’s purpose, while the natural reaction to ignorance can be scathing and harsh, there is still a choice to be made – React or Respond.

Considering the timeline that I have as a result of dystonia, it still amuses me that we still associate pedigree to what can be almost valued as worthless. I had the privilege of speaking at a meeting on what dystonia is (surprisingly it is still relatively unknown even as we wind down another decade in the 21st century!) and what really reminded me of why sharing our experiences is such a distinct honor, was the rapt attention of my audience and the fact that a few would leave with the knowledge to live as humans. The ability to tell ourselves the truth is something that can be trifled with, ending in irreparable sorrow however life is a platform of learning nonetheless as is the case with every academic setting, there will always be the hecklers and those who choose to be distracted.

“Where are you from?” is usually a question imbedded within the first five statements uttered by people to me. My origins? That in itself is a topic for another post however I always strive to comment on the fact that I have been at both extremes – abundance and lack, have had the privilege of living and working in four different continents but despite what many would exclaim in terms of sentiments, the nature of our living is still a continuing study for me. I remember the disaster of a hurricane and the desolate pictures of the aftermath and it is almost mind boggling to reconcile the before and after however what conveys the most poignant message is not in the destruction to property but the resilience of victims. Resilience that even though life chucks boulders at us, and we are utterly astonished at how bent over we are, under the crushing weight of these boulders but yet we can spring upright with the passage of time if we choose.

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Bent but Unbroken

Hooke’s theory of elasticity does not apply to the human being because like the supple trunk of a young acacia tree, you can bend it till its topmost leaves share the same dirt as its roots however when you let it go, it springs back because its growth is upwards. I can be seen as reticent when there is the heated discourse of how well life has treated us and then the popular game of comparison commences because I know that it takes wisdom for one to acknowledge that life has its seasons and thus prepare for the changes that accompany such seasonal changes. Unfortunately, asking for a helping hand is still largely construed as an opportunity to re-emphasize current economic and financial comfort, however I have learned that the act of bending down to an upstretched arm is also a check on your suppleness.

Even as I watch the huge strides taken by humanity through technology, there is a huge dearth in terms of carrying along all those virtues that make us human. I am bent over but definitely not broken, and the hope of that realization powers me through some really bleak days. With the frenzy of today’s living, we are wont to satisfy ourselves with fleeting glimpses as we rush through life and thus erroneously capture postures wrongly, seeing bent as broken. Alas even the broken can be fixed but when our change-over terminal looms ahead but we cling so passionately to the comfort of the moving train, how then do we ever expect to progress in life. I realize that habits formed can be difficult to break but it is a task that can be made easier when we admit that we are all works in progress and life is a journey; because when we acknowledge that life is a journey then we can understand that journeys mean progression.

There is no standing still and yes the view from the mountain top is so exhilarating and usually lulls one into a false sense of security but remember life and progression go together. The choice to build our fortress on the mountain top simply reveals our lack of understanding because what happens when we must go down to the valley; do we choose to stagnate and decay on the mountain top dulled into a false sense of reality or do we fall over and stay down preferring instead to be content with the diminishing memories of the past even as the present ticks away. There is no joy in the house of sorrow however there is ample opportunity to learn and be schooled for the events of the future. Just as the sun arises each day so must it set so that life can continue, and no matter how long the daylight lasts, the night when there is little or no light must precede it.

Borrowing the words of Albert Einstein, ‘Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.’

פרידה עד שנפגשנו שוב בתזמון שלו, וייתכן שאהבתו של אלוהים להיות אמיתית לך!

Adios!

Letting go…..

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Back in the days as kids playing around and being fascinated with the beauty of nature and its many mysteries, I recall catching my first butterfly with its gaily coloured and delicate wings. Placing it in a ready matchbox, I dashed home to show my prize and heard one of the most profound statements and still today, a fundamental guideline for my life….“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
―Ann Landers.

One thing we really have no power over is what life throws at you, what we can do is choose how to react or respond to those situations and therein lies the distinguishing factor between the great and the ordinary. The other day, we gathered as a church to celebrate life without limits, without the boundaries of human limitations and frailties and the overwhelming knowledge that we are all uniquely created with gifts to share and purposes to be met. And even as the warm rays of the sun brightened the park, it was a joy to behold life and celebrate it, regardless of my neck brace, disc doctor and my able staff of authority. It was indeed an opportunity to choose yet again to redefine who I am and what I can do with the very lives I encounter.

Just like the mystery of nature, so also is the mystery of the human body or more precisely the human brain, and even as I still recall my last consult with my neurologist – I still acknowledge that there will always be certain aspects that will defy our grasp regardless of how much we want to reach out and comprehend. As I mull over our discussion, she was honest enough to point out the fact that Movement Disorders are still unexplainable, kudos to her because I really did lay into her because it does get infuriating when the so-called experts cannot even admit that life is a constant learning curve. You can never know everything about something so it is best to learn something about everything and don’t stop there, implement the knowledge you have obtained and move on and learn some more.

For many of us, we are constantly assuaged with the desire to keep holding on to that elusive fantasy and just when we think we have gotten it, it hits us in our guts that strength is really defined by the act of letting go. Someone said ‘ Maturity is being able to say no’ which to me is another form of letting go and whilst we rush around with our many aspirations and dreams, let us remember this – the real strength of character is not defined by what we can grab but what we can let go. Admittedly, it can be painful at times but I dare you to compare your situation before and after you truly let go. I have chosen to let go of so many things and some have shred my heart asunder whilst others have been a walk in the park, however I can say that I am better off for we were born with nothing and depart with nothing someday we will.

My dear friend EE finally achieved closure the other day when she ran into her ex-husband after so many years, and because she had painfully let go, she was able to walk to him head-up, eyes a-twinkle and say hi. Now as she regaled me with that chance encounter, I could hear the triumph in her voice because that was a won battle even with the scars that serve as reminders, letting go had given her that edge she thought was unreachable. Today, she is an example to many out there who think that letting go is an act of cowardice, and even as she prepares to renew her vows again – a distinct persona she truly has become. It is such a privilege to have encountered you. I could go on and on with tales of ordinary individuals who have made that choice to let go and inevitably the end is always the same – triumph, victory, unimagined self-development and add flair and finesse to that picture.

I have an appointment tomorrow with a specialist pain physiotherapist (and of course there is a lot of trepidation and apprehension), yet another doctor again but one with such a scary title and still I choose to let go of my fears and accept the fact that I will always emerge on top regardless of whatever comes my way. I have let go of my privacy and chosen to share my story with as many as would give it a read because in the end, we are remembered for what we gave and not so much as what we received. Change is said to be the only permanent thing in life and the question is why then are we so terrified of change? “We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
― C. Joybell C.

Walking this journey, most times alone, has been such an exhilarating adventure because it has made me realise that there are people out there who believe they have everything when in retrospect they have got nothing. John Ruskin aptly puts it thus ‘A man wrapped up in himself really makes a small package’ and I dare to add that letting go is the surest way to be as expansive as you were made to be. Look deep into yourself and ask yourself this question, what am I keeping so hard that it is causing me pain? Why am I choosing to  endure this anguish just to present a facade which is a front hiding the real you? Where can I truly give off myself to allow change take its course and re-emerge like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes of its cremation? There is more blessing in giving than in receiving – those few words surmise one of the greatest principles in life and remember that one man gave his life that we may be who we were really meant to be. What an amazing example to emulate!

It is almost midday and I have to start preparing to go meet my spine popping Russian as described by my lil brother, I have to let go of the confines of my room to enjoy the warm weather and some pain as usual but I am glad for this day. And irrespective of how many let downs I may have (especially from those closest to me), I am thankful for the ups too from the elite chosen few and look forward in faith to being who I was made to be – a blessing to as many as I can reach even if it is just a friendly hello or a warm smile. I want to leave you with these words of C. Joybell

“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.”

Truth remains that when you let go, you let God and what an amazing return you are sure to get.

Also remember………………we were made to live for His pleasure and not just exist.

 פרידהעדשנפגששובחבריםיקרים ….

Adios!