Friday, April 16, 2010

Week 3 of the Wheelchair



I've been using a wheelchair for the past 3 weeks after fracturing 4 metatarsal bones in my left foot. I was trying to collapse a cardboard box but it slipped out from under my foot and I fell, landing with my weight on my left foot. Being in a body requires mindfulness and even then, one may still suffer an accident. One great thing about it is how marvelous the staff at Ashland Community Hospital's emergency room is. I've gone there twice in the past few years and both times it was a friendly, even uplifting experience.

People suggest that it is instructive to navigate in a wheelchair as an educational process in order to understand the experience of the disabled. Yes it is educational. First it is much harder to do anything, from getting something from the cupboard to getting out of the house and into a car.

When your eyes are at the height of everyone else's waist or chest, you remember how big everybody seemed when you were a kid. In a crowded place, I noticed a natural wish to protect myself from the quick movements of others. You feel more vulnerable, in other words. Sometimes people look at you as if you are defective or should be avoided. (Since I am quite aware of these "mostly unconscious" attitudes in regard to being older, this was one more layer to assimilate in terms of prejudice and avoidance.)

In spite of the various difficulties, I have been enjoying this period of time. Maybe day after day of spring rain has helped in this regard. Well it's raining again, I say to myself, settling in for another day in the house.

I finished some rewrites on A New Wrinkle and am pleased with them. I am surveying what I need to do in order to get it produced locally and elsewhere. I am planning several events that involve reading the play or performing excerpts from it. I am reviewing my overall vision for Sage's Play, which includes seminars, lectures, performances, community forums and a book on aging, which I am starting to write.

There are moments when my overall vision seems rather BIG. I now remind myself that I have had little signs posted in my office for months THINK BIG. I want to free myself up in that way since I have often confined myself to small thinking in the past. I want to THINK BIG and be relaxed and easy about having a BIG vision. What's the BIG DEAL? Big or small, you still have to do one thing and another, look for ways to synthesize, expect miracles and enjoy the ride.

I am enjoying the ride which right now involves a wheelchair.

My 69th birthday is about to arrive at the end of the month, so in the Sailing Toward 70 cruise, I am coming closer! Birthdays tend to get me reflecting on my life. I am remembering how my dear astrologer friend Kate Maloney said to me in a reading many years ago, "Doesn't it all seem of a piece?" She was speaking of the pattern of my life. I was ashamed to admit to her that no it did not seem all of a piece. It seemed disparate, fragmented, and the themes were hard for me to see and understand. Now finally it does seem all of a piece, the whole journey thus far with all of its variety, tributaries, cul de sacs, bogs, peaks, enchantments and epiphanies. I notice that my awareness of not only my life but of the culture and era becomes more panoramic with time. Many decades of life can do this it seems.

No guarantees or certainty about anything. Here one minute, gone the next. Learning to relax with that. Meanwhile, beautiful bird songs outside my window and the promise of some sunny interludes today. Hope you are enjoying the ride too.

Photo credit-- www.crinklecrankle.com

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