Friday, June 8, 2012

"Anything Is Possible" ~ a look back...

I turned on the radio and heard the song "Anything Is Possible" by Jen Hannah....it was serendipitous.

...and as I listened to her message, I began reflecting on how far I have come since that Thursday night on June the 9th, 2011.... when I lay on the earth below a tree, instantly paralyzed from my waist down.

I remember it so vividly, the thoughts and emotions and mostly the intensity of both my love of life and my fear of the painful, unknown future.

As I move forward on this journey, I choose to continue growing and learning from this new path. I believe in myself like never before... I feel so driven to live a healthy, vibrant, and balanced life. I want to find harmony in all relationships and most importantly, I want to surrender to each moment's gift.

I hope whomever is reading this blog can learn to embrace themselves as I am now learning...but without having to endure such a traumatic experience. I see how pain and fear can lead us to our awakening...but my wish for you is that however life leads you...it cradles you gently.

I hope that this short video will connect with your heart- as it has been that kind of journey....

With love and gratitude,

Laurie Elizabeth

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What is the gift?


Most of my life, I have felt compelled (and obligated) to meet the wants, needs, and desires of others. I actually can’t think of too many relationships in my life where I have felt comfortable asking for my own wants, needs, and desires to be met by others. I used to think that being so giving was a way of being super loving and compassionate…it felt like the only way I could show someone else how much I cared. “Oh you can’t do it? Let me do it then….Is that what you want? OK. Sure…..No let me get that for you…No, I’m fine, I can do it myself….Well, whatever you want.” I didn't know how to connect in any other way...and making others feel good made me feel good about myself, plus I thought that it ensured their love for me, and that made me feel safe.

It's not my intention to say giving is the evil of all evils….it can be a beautiful part of connecting with others, and I feel that it is a way in which we show love through action. I guess I just didn’t ever think of receiving as an action as well. Being able to receive, ask for help, and listen instead of tell or teach or preach or blah blah blah, are all actions too. In some ways I feel ashamed that I didn’t realize this sooner…because of course now I am in a situation that requires me to sit still, observe more, receive more, and really listen and tune in to what my body’s needs are. I can choose to feel like a fool for how I have lived my life up to this point…for all of my fears…all those times I shyed away from people I loved and experiences that seemed to risky, the pains and hard times that I took on so that other people would feel more at ease…and so on. Or – I can choose to feel like life has given me a great gift.

I have said before that I believe that every wound comes to us bearing a gift. I have also expressed in the past year all of the many opportunities that have come through this challenge. So….it’s really my choice now. It’s a choice I am faced with every time I wake up and feel pain from my waist down, every time I bend forward and feel pins and rods in my spine pulling on my back muscles, and every time I think of my past and my previously desired future. Decision-making has never been an easy task for me because my choice was never centered or grounded in me…it was always dependent on someone else.

So what is the gift…

Well the gift in this wound can’t really be put into words. Maybe its humility, or compassion, maybe its truth…or self expression. Maybe it’s possibilities and self empowerment instead of control and force. Whatever label I choose to use, I know I have been taught many lessons and I am humbled to realize that every experience in my life has been a lesson…now- whether I learn it or not is the bigger question. Rather than life taking me away from, I have been brought closer to the people, experiences, work, and places that I needed, wanted, and desired in my life. What’s also humbling is that sometimes what I think I want/need/desire/ is not what is best for me.  I’ve often been upset - feeling like a failure, not good enough, or just plain ignorant because I was unable to achieve those "goals." I see that each time I felt that way, I created a little break in my heart…which turned into a giant hole...and I never allowed myself to grieve any of them. Sure- maybe the goals were not “right” for me, but it doesn’t take away that feeling of loss inside that I refused to acknowledge. Nope…it’s better to just get into something new and forget about the old…that should make it go away. Yeaa Right.

So for all of this, the good and the so called “bad”…I couldn’t be more grateful. I’m beginning to finally believe in my heart, instead of just in my mind, that all things are connected and serve a purpose. I try to practice daily… staying centered and grounded in my heart instead of my analytical mind (or you know, at least find a good balance between the two). I have always been a silent dreamer…content to stay safe in my imagination where l am so so free. I choose to embrace that part of me now rather than resent it…and I also choose to develop those parts of myself that have been waiting to be born.

I could also call this gift a re-birth. I remember thinking in the hospital last June that whenever that day came when I would be able to walk, dance, and feel again…it would be with a new body, mind, and spirit. Of course a year ago, I could never have imagined the work it would take to get to where I am now, but I see that imagination and time do not exist together. Time and space exist in the conscious mind…the mind that schedules my therapy appointments and skype dates and plans vacations or pays bills. My dreams and imagination exist in my subconscious mind…well if I stayed there I would be walking, dancing, and feeling the dirt under my toes right now. So I come back to the word balance because I know there is a way for me to use both parts of my mind as one unit…each serving a purpose to the greater whole of my consciousness…

“There's a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”  Leonard Cohen

I come back during this time of my life to all of those little heart breaks that never had the chance to be expressed. I have been given numerous opportunities to “start over” or “try again.” It’s empowering to know that I have the ability to choose now how my life continues from this point. It’s something I have pondered about for years… “what does conscious evolution look like?” I feel that it’s becoming awake and aware to the choices we make on a daily basis and on a micro scale… as individuals who serve a community by becoming self empowered to the gifts they carry within. I question, what would the world look like if everyone knew their gift and purpose..with clarity in their hearts and minds? It’s a vision I hold onto like a mama holds her baby…curious about the little spirit that exists behind those big, sparkling eyes.

I've come to see that we inevitably experience times when we feel the darkness of grief and sadness and pain. I know it’s bound to return as I cannot control the fate of my loved ones, my experiences, my work, or the places I live in. Nature is the one I can turn to when I think of the fear of loss…because when I observe Nature..it appears as though it lets go of everything without attachment. Leaves fall, water flows, landscapes erode, rocks break, rain falls, snakes and geckos shed their skin….and caterpillars turn into butterflies. It’s natural to transform…and I can choose to re-define my experience of loss and letting go as a transformation.

In Nature, we have much left to discover and explore. In Nature there is a balance that seems not to require a consciousness…it simply IS. I know that my body is natural and yearning to align with that source…so I believe in transformation. 


Namaste, Blessings, and Love.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Dark nights, Shame, and Perfection

"I believe that we are all mirrors of each other...and I am ready to take another look at myself...although this time I will pull my head out of the clouds and plant my feet in the ground. I believe that every wound has a lesson, a gift....even if it takes years to realize. Last night's mediation was and IS big for me....I'll be working on this one for the rest of my life because I don't think forgiveness is one of those quick fixes. You may be able to take a pill to hide your emotions so that you can avoid the forgiveness...but why not just begin the process....and free yourself from the resentment over that someone or situation from the past. Living with acceptance in my breath and forgiveness in my steps.....forgiving in every moment...staying open to possibilities...and accepting all of the mirrors that cross my path..."
- Laurie K., an excerpt from my blog written February 13th, 2011

Hm, it's funny when I look back to when I started this blog....I'm both inspired and disappointed by my own words. Inspired...because I am still today learning and by reading what I myself had written just a little over a year ago...I can remember and share with empathy for my "past" self that still exists in this moment now. Disappointed...because I know that every time I have admitted something on this blog, or exposed a new layer of vulnerability within me...I have this expectation that I am now free to move on and be done with whatever it is I have just admitted/expressed...I "thought" I was letting it go. Well, once again, I am humbled to say that even when I express those insights doesn't mean I have mastered my life. I am a human being just like you. Plain and simple.

I say that because I have wanted to believe that I am "the best." It was something I heard a lot growing up in a society that pushes expectations on you, and I feel that it's been a high expectation that can never be reached through words and intellect. My last blog spoke of being enough. How can I possibly be the best if I'm not clear on what that means to me? Getting clear on what I truly want in my life has been a topic I've avoided for years. I'm truly gifted to be able to spread my interests into so many different areas. I'd be content in many professions as long as it allowed me to express creatively. Problem is....that's a hard job to get when you're not clear on your own sense of worthiness. Being "the best" and believing in myself mean the same thing to me now. I don't actually want to be the best at one particular thing. I just want to FEEL that no matter what task life brings to my table, I will FEEL that I am enough....that I am doing my best....and that I am worthy and deserving of whats true for me....whatever that ends up looking like!

I'm really good at imagining what I want it to look like, and not saying or doing anything about it. I am content to keep it a fantasy...because most of the time my imagination is far from what I actually end up getting. It's rough...I keep it all to my self...the hopes, the fears, the wishes, and the let downs, the grieving, the frustration and anger. It's tiring to keep my dreams a secret. It's sad to feel I am not worth getting what I really want. But I hid because the fear of being let down would be even more terrifying and humiliating if I were to tell others...so best to just keep quiet right? Eh. I'm feeling NO is what my Inner Wise Self would say. I'm thinking my heart wants me to speak...to trust it's yearnings...to be finally heard and vulnerable even though there is a risk involved. So, Inner Wise Self....how do I begin to trust you? I made a commitment way before I began writing this blog, to find purpose in my life...to evolve myself and finally feel empowered, feel truth, feel real, and feel love.

I've read about...and heard about whats called the Dark Night of the Soul. Those words really scared me...I remember thinking to myself, "but I don't think everyone needs to experience that in order to evolve! No way, not me...I'm gonna get there through rainbows and unicorns...no need for the dark and scary stuff. Besides - I don't think I would keep going, and I may not survive if I am faced with that darkness. Well...becoming paralyzed is certainly a dark shade of gray...but the pain and the waiting and the amount of unknowns has been a darker storm cloud...wait, where did my pie in the sky go!? At first I thought, no problem I can handle this....I will persevere and I will conquer and I will, I will, I will. As time passes, I have done a lot of so called "conquering" but the pain is still there and those unknowns have not gone away. It's been almost a year now, and I'm still struggling. In fact, the last few months have been the hardest, the most painful - to the point of absolute exhaustion. I needed an outlet....so I began to paint...the only colors I wanted to use were red and black...it wasn't pretty, it wasn't happy, and it certainly was not a rainbow or a unicorn. It soon became completely black...it looked like dried lava... hot coals...a fizzled fire. Yup, I felt as though I had finally come to my darkest hour...and I finally admitted it to myself. This is what it feels like in the Dark Night of the Soul.

With every day I am still just as committed as those winter days of 2011 when my worst pains and discomforts were sore muscles from yoga and a yearning for something more. I feel as though life presented me with an opportunity to slow down enough to finally address the core of those surface pains and complaints. It's like God wanted to turn up the volume so I would finally begin listening. I look back on my life and my experiences and see all the times I was hustling for others to approve of me, always thinking I had to be the best, the rule follower, the pretty girl, a great yogi, an awesome performer, a beautiful artist. All those unachievable attachments to the word "perfect." I didn't know then that my inner ego was pretending to be my inner self love voice...Now I see that all my life I have lived with the shame and grief that comes from never feeling allowed to be truly myself because what if that wasn't what other people wanted?

This journey is laden with layer upon layer of darkness. Yes of course it is. I see that every life on Earth knows that at some point in their life... what it feels like to make a mistake or appear imperfect. I see that its part of life that actually normal and human. Then why is it so hard to admit our flaws or let others know that its ok? Why do I shield, run away, or push back? Paralysis stems from fear...my fear is of being truly seen and not being accepted...meaning that I wasn't perfect.

Ok...so this was a very rough and touchy subject. I guess I've been wishing to expose the girl that hides behind the mask because I think she has a lot to say. Even if she isn't polite or beautiful or poetic or inspiring....she's real and deserving and she's worth my time. Learning how to love myself on the inside is, uh, well let's just say it's not like you can put make up and hairspray on your inner self...(eww hairspray..). I'm still full of fear...and shame lurks inside my heart. But like I have expressed before....I am committed to myself. I choose to continue the practice of self love, of worthiness and empowerment. I accept that it may take a lifetime. The darkness always gives way to the light again....I can trust in the cycle and claim my story.

I seek the truth within and I love and accept myself exactly the way I am. How can I feel worthy of someone else's love if I do not claim my own self worth? How will this statement finally rest peacefully inside my heart?

Here is by far the ugliest thing I have ever allowed myself to create that is a true expression of what it feels like to live with fear, shame, guilt, pain, more shame and more pain, imperfections, disabilites, and a whole lot of questions fogging up my once beautiful horizon.



After sitting with this image in my space for weeks (this was over a month ago), I decided to start making moves again. I wanted to allow myself to experience that darkness because I had never acknowledged it before. I didn't know that people could hurt on such a deep level because I had developed an awesome and automatic pain blocking system. Eventually I sought out help, which wasn't easy...it took many conversations with loved ones to coax me towards trying a new medication that would help ease nerve pain, depression, and anxiety. "What will everyone think of me then?"....ugh "enough already!"


 In the last month, I've felt my pain subside slightly and my mind and heart feel quiet. Not always peaceful but more contemplative and patient with the subtleties of life. I stopped trembling, and when I feel anxious I recognize it immediately. I'm focused on myself again and I'm enjoying learning new things. I covered my image with my niece who helped me crumple and rip origami paper....WOah woah woah...that was a hard thing to do for someone like me who is obsessed with folding perfectly cute paper cranes. I've also started gardening and it's fulfilling a dream I've had all my life....to be closer to nature.


I'm just beginning now to see how much fun being imperfect can be =)

I love you exactly the way that you are. You are worthy. You are deserving. Look at your reflection and find love there. Namaste ~

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Enough

So, when is Enough, ENOUGH already? I seem to be struggling with this word in all kinds of ways lately....

My nerve pain and overall bodily functions have been more challenging in the last few months. My emotions have gone all over the place. I've been supremely blissed out, extremely exhausted, and trembling with anxiety. I've felt myself want to run away from the things that bring me fear and challenge...but also those things that fulfill my dreams and bring me the help and joy I seek.

In some ways I feel "I've had enough!"... in others I feel "I'll never be (fill in the blank_____) enough".... or I burn with that question...."When is Enough, ENOUGH?!"

Learning to allow myself to experience these....experiences....has brought me into a strange and new territory....and any new territory is bound to bring up all those fun things like self doubt, fear,  anxiety/excitement, and a seemingly endless stream of question upon question upon beliefs.

This injury didn't just break my back. It broke my whole universe and everything, everyone, and even my environment. What's interesting to me is that I am finding this to be a commonality to others who have also sustained some kind of paralysis. It feels like this giant re-organization...a complete destruction....it's traumatic in so many ways and it's incredibly humbling. Yes, I'm comforted in knowing I have others I can turn to who understand what it feels like to have burning nerve pain in half of your body...what it feels like to stare at a set of stairs or enter a crowded room where all you see are butts and legs....or the loss of people you thought were your loved ones, who would always be there....and yet here I am. Here I am sitting in my chair with burning nerve pain, a backed up digestive system, and a tired heart.

I'm preparing myself for a big change as I enter a new stage of therapy through the research at Kessler. I am still actively seeking ways to manage the pain, the depression, the anxiety, the digestive system. I am so passionate about being healthy and yet I still find myself fighting off those inner cravings that really come from a desire to finally be "enough." I think to myself, maybe if I were not in so much pain, I wouldn't need this or that....or maybe if I weren't so scared, maybe if I weren't so tired, sad, blah blah blah.

I'm not sure why I wanted to write tonight...it's been a while since the last post about the challenges I face as a paraplegic. It still baffles me sometimes...and I occasionally forget that when I go to open the car door, I can't just hop out.

I guess my intention now is..."I am enough." For now, it's an intention...and when I read it, speak it, think it, I feel the inner turmoil of "but.....!"


What a challenge it is....to be "broken"...to be "imperfect"....to be "vulnerable" ~ I want to be open to accepting that even though I am these things...I can learn and continue learning how to be more forgiving, more compassionate, and mostly more loving with myself. I've never wanted to be that kind of courageous...I always thought that strength meant being able to do everything on your own...not needing other people to help you.....nope Laurie....that's feeling like a very rough way to live.

I sing about community. I've drawn pictures of what my dream home would be...a community life with a community garden...where my children would be raised by a village, by a group of people who were conscious and open and healthy and evolving. It's beautiful and "perfect" in my fantasy world. And hey....ya never do know...I've been shown that no matter what...anything is possible. BUT, that doesn't mean that when things that don't come out exactly the way I imagined, they aren't "perfect"... because they are the reality.  I feel they are exactly as they are supposed to be and whether I label them as good or bad doesn't actually matter. I'm seeing it is all a perspective shift. I can choose. I can choose. I can chooose!


Rather than blaming my body for my pain, blaming my mind for my thoughts, or my heart for my emotions, I want to choose to be worthy and deserving....to be enough.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A PO-ed Para....




My top ten most annoying things about being paralyzed... that have nothing to do with walking:

1) never ending nerve pain- I feel as though I have been at battle, my whole lower body was blown up or nawed raw by a ferocious animal.

2) loss of bowel an bladder control- didn't I go through potty training to avoid these kinds of things? SUre...it's gotten more manageable but still.....Come Onnnnn. UGH.

3) loss of sexual function- though I keep being reminded that I can still bear children, and asked if I may be pregnant....I want to scream..."for real?! I'm so not even there! the idea is super challenging!...give me some time!"....geeeezzzz.....yea not exciting.

4) bumpy, crackly, uneven sidewalks or even better.... No sidewalks.... Sometimes I feel forgotten about and angry at the whole community for not thinking about how difficult this is. With every freakin bump, my feet fly off the foot plate and I have to pull them back in while trying to wheel. So. Annoying.

5) stores and restaurants without handicap access.... yea..like locating the bathroom up or downstairs or not having a ramp to get inside....also love when the curb doesn't have a cut out to get up on the sidewalk in front of a building....super fun. Coming down off curbs and wheeling full speed towards a curb to try jumping up? Terrifying.

6) people who ask me annoying questions like..."well, what the hell were you doing in a tree??" - if I had gotten in a car accident and suffered the same, would people be asking me what I was doing behind the wheel of a car? No. My answer is I was just living a moment of my life... And I happen to be in a tree at that moment.

7) kitchens- the sink, the cabinets, everything is so far away and having to adapt an entire kitchen means compromising with normal standing comfort and also takes muulahhh, moneyyy! I guess it doesn't help that I need assistance to get to the kitchen in my house since it's not on the ground level...

8) people who talk down to me- sometimes I struggle with feelings of inferiority and whether I am creating that feeling myself or actually being treated that way. I also struggle with whether I appreciate people who stoop down to talk to me eye to eye....the change of perspective has definitely altered my psyche.

9) Insurance companies, medical equipment companies, blah blah. I've spent hours and hours on the phone and going back and forth. Not my favorite. Super frustrating....though it's something I have gained a lot of empathy from....as well as developing my assertion. (did i say that right? hm..)

10) Loss of sensation. I feel more at a loss right now that I can't feel...more so than not walking. I want to know when my feet are on the floor....when a spider crawls up my ankle...when a child rests their hand on my knee or climbs on my lap...when the hot water touches my skin.... I miss feeling and this is a huge part of my grief. I cry more when I touch my own legs or look at my feet on the ground.

Yea....loss of movement and motor function sucks. Spinal Cord Injury is like losing a part of myself. I battle with what feels like a death sentence..."Your chances of recovery are slim" "You may never walk again"... I feel as though I've been told I'm half dead. It's incredibly strange, incredibly painful, and incredibly difficult in so many ways.

I wanted to write this blog because I am often found reading "top ten" lists that have to do with things that are healthy for you or things to avoid, so on and so forth. I figured, hey....lately life has presented many many challenges that make me pretty PO-ed!!! I find myself angry that people just don't understand...and I know that the truth is that they couldn't possibly understand....because they just don't know.

Well perhaps now you know a little bit more about life with SCI.....

From a Pissed Off Paraplegic =) hah. But seriously......

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Struggles, Cravings, and Premature Grievances

Today I had a rough day. I woke up after the strangest most vivid dream that weirded me out all morning....that ever happen to you? Yea...I bet it has.

Anyways. In occupational therapy today I transferred onto a mat on the floor and tried to bump myself up the stairs there. I can do this at my home..but in the therapy gym, it was so difficult. Then I couldn't get myself back into my chair from the floor (like I can at home). I was soooo exhausted and found that when I got in the car I just wanted to sleep or cry....both ended up happening.

It's been a while since I felt like I needed to hop back into my bed immediately after therapy. I noticed how much time I spend on "doing this and that" rather than respecting the calls of my body. After resting a bit and eating lunch in bed (thanks dad!), I found myself craving a mocha espresso....arrgg I wanted it so bad. Well, instead I started writing and drank Kombucha. Then I realized oh. I'm finally cycling again. After months and months of my body being out of whack hormonally, I hadn't experienced what some call PMS! Lol....being the "doll" I "am"...I spent many years telling others that I simply didn't get like that...No way No sir No mam...not me! "I don't get bitchy or cramps or tired." Well...laurie the times have changed. I now confess that maybe I just wasn't noticing my own behaviors....maybe it's that whole sub-conscious mind thing that I blogged about during my gratitudes...we simply don't recognize those sub conscious behaviors and patterns. We need mirrors.

So then I began journaling....I realized today that I am one of those people-and perhaps you can relate to this-who likes to create little outings and dates and experiences for my future. I choose the friends and family who I want to experience something with and then I imagine that we are there...in my mind we're there at the pool or the park or doing partner yoga together. So yea..I am really good at this and also really good at holding on to this imagined future reality with the hopes that it will manifest. But then life comes knocking on my door with the real picture...like OH that day won't work or that person won't be here... I realized that in my attachment to the future I am setting myself up for consistent and imminent loss. I begin grieving the experiences that have never manifested...that are a figment of my own imagination. How can I grieve something that doesn't even exist yet? I do this a lot. It sucks. ouch. Can you relate? I can't be alone in this...ughhh and doesn't it suck to be let down by your own expectations?

............hmm....so.

One of my roommates at Kessler came with both liver cancer and paralysis from her hips down which resulted from loss of blood to the spinal cord during a surgery for her cancer. (That surgery was actually the same day as my birthday...which I found interesting cuz I'm like that). She was and is an amazingly strong woman. A mother of three and just so alive and spirited and determined. She was thrilled to be my roommate because I was young unlike most of the other women...and she could tell I was an artist.

During our many weeks sharing the room, we laughed and helped each other learn to cry. We stayed up late drinking Cacao, dipping crackers and telling stories we would never tell our mothers....drawing late into the night in our beds with the curtains drawn, giggling because we couldn't wait to share them with one another in the morning. We grew to find more love in our lives and to be grateful for our meeting...for our stories that seemed so laughable now that our lives were full of hospitals, catheters, suppositories, nurses, aids, pills, more pills, therapy, wheelchairs, loud beeps, shots, yelling, and icky food. We read prayers and enjoyed the days when we could roll outside onto the patio for some fresh air. We even dreamt about one day visiting her beautiful country of Columbia where we would wear high heels and ride donkeys up the mountain to a village where beautiful purses were made.

She filled me with determination to move. There I was in sporty chair...barely able to bend over...unable to dress myself...transfer into my bed alone, catheter myself....let's face it..I was pretty needy at the time. I often stayed in bed for long periods of time. But then came Gloria. She had a giant chair with big foot rests, clunky handles, and big wheels. She charged around with power and did everything herself...she sponge bathed every morning and made herself look beautiful every day. She took me in like her best friend, like her daughter....she waxed my legs, painted my toes and fingers, and dressed me in her expensive designer clothes. She showed me that I had all of that too...I could still be sexy and be in a wheelchair. She wished for me to have a date...to be romanced...and giggled with me about boys. We had FUN in spite of our depressing situation. I started to try things that the nurses didn't want me to do on my own yet...and I DID. I DID start dressing myself...transferring into my bed alone. And by the time she was ready to go home..I was even showering in a shower chair instead of a stretcher. She was a model for me. I changed myself because she showed me strength. She didn't make me change....she simply showed me what was possible.

The point of this story is that recently, my beautiful roommate Gloria from Columbia has been told that her cancer is spreading to her lungs and body...that there is nothing more she can do. Told 2 years ago that she had 6 months to live...she has been a true fighter through it all. Her strength is unimaginable. When she told me that she felt her body weakening and how much she loved me after only knowing me a short time, I lost myself. I lost all of my dreams and I lost her before actually losing her. I grieved before the loss because so many of my hopes and dreams were destroyed in that moment. I thought about this today...It makes me feel so torn...dazed...and confused.

So what I am getting out of this?....that dreaming and imagination are there for me to play with...to enjoy...to use as tools to be and do and heal and transform.... But not for becoming attached to. Finding peace and happiness because I am attached to a belief that they are real or will become real is not true happiness. Like making a decision to walk and feeling like it's in my future...only to wake up every morning with the same nerve pain and paralysis. Being attached to what you want to happen creates an immediate let down...you're setting yourself up to lose. At least that's what I'm feeling right now today.

It's kind of like the controlling thing I was talking about....trying to change someone. In my mind I can create a beautiful picture of someone's potential...I can see this person being so much more than I see them being in reality~ so I start to love them because of my imagined perspective....not because of who they really are. Sure my perspective of their potential may be possible but if they are not living that expectation then how am I truly appreciating who they are? Yes. I'm admitting to this! It's prevented me from being authentic in relationships with family, friends, boyfriends....I want to make everyone their best self and yea that's "great" and all but it's not possible. We can't control other people. I can't get exactly what I want all the time ~ that's just not how life works. I must detach, let go, release!

So this is a big shift for me. Yes~ I love lifting others up to higher realities and to higher possibilities...Rise Up is a way of life for me right now....but it's MY life...not anyone else's. I can only control one thing....and that is my consciousness...my choices...my boundaries...my actions. I am only going to lift others as I continue to lift myself. OH How much this hurts my "gotta help gotta give" self....the one who finds compassion for everyone by lifting them to their highest in my mind rather than accepting what's being offered. hmm....

Hmmm....

Ok well last point is that I am recognizing the need to "know" pattern that I have always had. When did I step out of the creative energy of life? When did I step away from the pure joy of following sychronicity and signs? I am a channel for pure creative energy and I am able to allow myself to be guided as I become more conscious of these blocks and fears and obstacles that often bring me face to face with myself. It's time to get out of my own way. I've learned many things from Eastern philosophies in the past...about suffering and detachment...but sometimes the gifts are received from your own struggle. For that struggle I am grateful...back to the mountain....back to the essence to meditate.....

I miss nature....I really reallllllly do. I just want to walk in the grass...I actually want to be buried in the earth with my face sticking out haha...I want so badly to be back in the woods alone...to stumble upon the beauty of a random feather or acorn or snake skin or bear scratching mark on a tree trunk...I want to sit by water and write songs and cry to the trees and hug them as I used to...to see the tail of a fox...to get down real close to a little frog...to hold a flower and admire every little detail. It's been a long season for me....my winter has been happening since June when, at first, just 3 weeks inside seemed like forever....now my months have turned to eons of waiting and longing and missing.

I am grateful for the many gifts I am receiving. This journey is full of them...now if I can only detach from thinking I can "know" them all.

I let it be so ~ and so it is

Namaste and many many prayers for everyone to be free from fear ~ to have mental and physical happiness...and ease of well being.

Bless.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 21 ~ release, reclaim, discover


"Jungle Soul" by Laurie Kammer November 2011


21 days of Gratitude. Well, no joke, no lies, that was for SURE a commitment that both challenged and opened my beliefs, my choices, my intentions, my behaviors, my relationships and much more than I could possibly express in words. What a ride. I've enjoyed the process of recounting my days and sharing those moments here. Blogging is a funny thing..for me it is a practice in sharing and trusting and letting go of whether what I say is the right or wrong or good or bad. I admit it is a beautiful thing to feel I have connected or inspired or related in some way to another human. I feel strongly that it's really about trusting my self...because someone, somewhere is listening and actually needs to hear the words I am sharing.

so. here's my 5 for today.

1) I am grateful for self discovery. I am in my eleventh week of "The Artists Way"...I have had about 4 months of Art Therapy at home....and I am STILL feeling the ongoing resistance to seeing my own reflections. Discovering who you are means finding out things you often pass off as other peoples shit...or "they do that, not me?!"....or "I'm this way because of this person or that situation.....how can I possibly change that if I can't change them? If I can't change what happened?" ARghhh the strenuous work of self discovery....literally~ back-breaking work. But self discovery is an ongoing path...and I am now allowing myself to see the creative side to things. Today, my art therapist talked with me about seeing an opportunity to create rather than seeing in terms of good or bad. It's a difficult thing to shift from black or white thinking when that's the program you've been running for most of your life. Time for a new upload...download...upgrade....whatever ya want to call it. My self discovery is becoming a self blossoming...and ever unfolding journey for which I am grateful.

2) I am grateful for release. In my process today I went back to some very tough days when I was younger. I was able to release my grip on the baggage it carried by creating an art piece which showed me the gifts and the hurts. Once I was able to get a clear understanding of my past and how it is affecting my present...my therapist asked me to go over it in any way I wanted to release it. With release comes a feeling of weightlessness...and with that letting go I am transformed into movement. There are many ways to release...releasing the scar tissue in my back when my brother does his myofascial bodywork...releasing the tears and grief in my body when I am held by my sister...releasing a good belly laugh when my dad swears...(it cracks me up)...what's the use of holding on? Release and free myself...I can do this for me.

3) I am grateful for reclaiming. I have been focusing on those things (people, situations, etc) in which I need to release for a long time. I am now in the process of self discovery as I said above...really though when are we not discovering new things about ourselves?....anyway ~ As I connect with the power I have lost or given away, I am able to set a new intention to reclaim or begin fresh with what I wish to have, be, or do instead. Reclaiming makes my life more empowered and self driven. I admit that there are women I wish I could be rather than the woman I am. I admit that I have put myself last just to make other friends or family or boyfriends feel better about themselves. I admit to giving away my power on purpose because being powerless gave me access to attention that I wanted. Reclaiming is a scary process when it means now owning your power. Reclaiming is my gift to myself.

4) I am grateful for the gift of one single seed. Most of my artwork has revolved around growth...often looking like trees and flowers and plant life. I am amazed at how such huge beautiful beings can be created from one tiny little seed that is given water, sun, and dirt. My next venture is to begin planting my own seeds and turning it into a therapy for myself. I desire to feel the grass under my feet again...the sand between my toes...the waves washing up against my legs. Seeds are little miracles. We all began as a seed....in fact something I learned this morning is that the same cells that created our skin, also create our brains. The skin is our contact with the world and what we do to it sends information to our brains. This is why essential oils have such an affect on our bodies through the topical use, the smell, and even the ingestion of some. To me seeds are this mixture of complexity and simpleness...they make me feel connected to nature.

5) I am grateful for the unknown. Like I have said before...I just love "knowing"...I love planning something so that I KNOW what to expect. Life has given me a situation FULL of unknowns. I couldn't possibly tell you what I am going to be doing tomorrow....I can only guess. If I can continue to remind myself that even when I have a good idea of what is next to come...my experience can always change. Maybe I know I am going to have the same ginger tea tomorrow morning...I can expect it to taste the same way it did today....but perhaps I'll take the time to smell it before each sip ~ or press the warm cup into my heart ~ or spill it alllll over the place! Life brings us exactly what we bring to life. The unknown awakens me to be more conscious or else fall victim to my reactions...to my control dramas. So...here's to stepping boldly into my self. Who knows what is waiting for me...I'm ready to roll.

Here's tonights vegan vegetable quiche (alright i did put a little vegan and non-vegan cheese on at the end) made by Me! I actually had fun, and it tasted good too.






This night's blog was a hard one....I could feel the pressure to deliver some special speech or some awesome insight....but at the end of the day I am really more concerned about getting myself out of my chair and into my bed. And being honest! I have so loved being back on the bloggggg....but I'm taking a break! 21 days to create a new habit... What is next? who KNOWs... we'll see.

Keep on Risin Up every day. Stay Tuned ~ I'll be back.

Lots of love ~ Namaste

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 20 ~ Tis the gift to be true

1) I am grateful for the artist child in me. When I treat myself with love for the gifts I was born to give, I feel like a channel of creativity. Taking my artist child to the arts and crafts store was a super fun time and something I rarely allow. My creativity is worth the treats and the fun! Haha see she is a child!

2) I am grateful for those things I miss... Someone today who is also paralyzed asked me what I miss most .... I said hiking and dancing. I miss them so much that I feel even more grateful to have had the many many amazing experiences in my life. Without those good times I wouldnt miss them as I do now.

3) I am grateful for exercise. I read an amazing passage from "the Artists Way" speaking about how exercise is a way of seeing your process....it's realizing that you are stronger than you thought you were...it's getting out of your mind and into your body. I was never an "exerciser" unless it had to do with the arts. I have had to become someone entirely new through this process and I am so so surprised at the mountains I am climbing. I know that in this process I can only grow.

4) I am grateful for the turn of the season. I was nervous about winter and being in a wheelchair. I am glad it was mild! yet there is still a noticeable change in the air with spring arriving. I feel more expansive and things have taken a softer tone, a slower sweetness is brewing. At least for me, I am feeling a burden lift as the earth wakes up and starts to sing again.

5) I am grateful for gifts. I love giving gifts. This could be a whole blog about my journey of over giving and also of allowing gifts to come to me. Anyways, today I told a friend in therapy who I barely know that I loved her hair clip. She had been on her way out when she turned her chair around, rolled up to my walker, pulled the clip out of her hair and handed it to me. I was like really?? Why? And she said, "because you love it" and left. I realized that when I give I rarely let it be so spontaneous...as I said last night I am an obsessive planner and visionary. So gifts have to be well thought out in detail. This was a beautiful lesson. Grateful grateful grateful.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 19 ~ From Estrangement to Enthusiastic Communication

"Redbird" by Laurie Kammer January 2012

Ahhhh yes....chocolate brain. Here I am showing up for my blog with the lingering taste of dark chocolate in my mouth. mmmm yum

1) I am grateful for spontaneity. I am an obsessive planner. I love to organize, schedule, prep, visualize. Let's face it....I'm basically admitting to my control issues. BUT spontaneity happens and when it does....it reminds me that I'm not always in control...actually who knows how much I really end up controlling when the day is done. Today I was sprinkled with spontaneous moments and it made me feel excited...it gave me this adrenaline rush of pure be-ingness.


2) I am grateful for eavesdropping. I have gotten pretty angry at people when I feel like my conversations are being eavesdropped...but let's face it again...if you're human, you've done it! Anyways. I sat in Starbucks today and overheard/eavesdropped in on the convos around me. 2 statements really struck me...and I ended up using them as writing prompts in my journal for stream of consciousness. Both eavesdropped prompts led to paragraphs of self discovery. I felt kind of sneaky but again...this little adrenaline rush of "doing something I'm not supposed to do"...little did these people know that their chit chat was creating thoughtful responses in my journal.

3) I am grateful for communication. This morning a friend of mine reminded me about how much of a gift it is to be able to communicate with others. For some of my friends who have suffered higher level spinal cord injuries...they had months in which they could not speak or breath on their own because of a vent in their neck. This simple reminder to speak up when the spirit moves me rather than create excuses as to why it's not the right time, place, astrological line up....whatever. If you feel the inspiration to speak, then most likely its a sign and invitation to act on that impulse. I had so many wonderful conversations today...some of them were with people I had just met like the woman in the toy store who shared with me in our love of colored gel pens....or the woman outside of starbucks who was having a hard time putting her little dog into a backpack so she could grab a coffee inside...I held the bag open for her and we giggled...we shared a moment of our day and in an instant we became acquainted rather than estranged. I also met 3 of my neighbors this week....no I met 4! And you know what? They all were so open and kind and inviting...they were genuinely attentive and curious and offered their time and company whenever. Communication is a gift...this is a lesson I am still cultivating but today I felt outgoing and social...but I also felt clear within my own inner communication...with all those convo prompts popping up around me...


4) I am grateful for my wheelchair. Wowzah....Sometimes I do a morning meditation with Louise Hay. She leads me through my life and environment, blessing absolutely everything and everyone and all the situations I have lived and are yet to live. She gives us time to look around and bless the furniture and objects that are so crucial to our daily lives. I always say a little thank you to my wheelchair for holding me and moving me around in the world. Without it I'd be stuck in a bed all day or getting seriously jacked from dragging myself in an army crawl. But seriously...my body from the waist down has become super sensitive and fragile. I need a special cushion to prevent sores from having to sit all day. My circulation has slowed, my bones and muscles are atrophied...and I actually don't sweat from the point of injury down....I guess that's part of having a spinal cord injury. My wheelchair supports me for now in keeping me safe (as long as I dont fly myself off a curb or run into a wall of course) and mobile. I'm still in shock that this has become the way I move in the world...I'm still grieving...I feel disabled and the chair reminds me of that, especially every time we pull into the handicap spots. I never knew that symbol would become a reflection of me. For now, I feel grateful for this wheelchair for making me feel like I have an alternative to being stuck and stagnant...I can move ~ so lets keep rollin.

5) I am grateful for my enthusiasm. This morning as I was writing at Starbucks I noticed how quickly I become enthused over things...like a small child who's been told they are getting the dog or cat or toy or whatever it is they have been wanting forever. My eyes light up like I've finally hit my shovel against the top of a buried treasure chest. So many times today I felt my enthusiasm bubble and fill me with an energy I haven't felt in a while. It's like butterflies in your stomach when your high school crush calls you up. Enthusiasm reminds me of that spontaneity and pure joy that is reminiscent of being a child in a world that is yours for the "gifting"....it's yours for the "receiving." Children are naturally enthusiastic about helping others and sharing their gifts or creations. I met 2 girls today that live near my house...they are probably about 11 or 12 years old and they are friends through dance class. Oh how my eyes lit up when I began asking them about what kinds of dance they took...they were so full! They were so beautifully joyful about telling me that they did "lots!" of different kinds of dance. Enthusiasm feels like pure, authentic, joy of being. Yes~ being and being-ness are my new fav words for my authentic self power vocabulary. lol. Enthusiasm feels like a big huge smile that comes straight from the heart. there. enough said

Soooo off to bed before week 3! Week 3 of leg braces, wheel chair scares... I mean SKILLS..some art therapy...some b-day action in tha house too. OH and watch out foodie people...I am attempting to make a dinner this week....biG Deal haha. Might cry....or blame the onions.

Thank God for chocolate brain...I just rambled that off in no time.

Thought this photography was soooo beautiful (from a framing shop in Morristown)

This was the salad my dad brought me today...I'm beginning to wonder about his "plating" OCD. haha

LOVE and an enthusiastic NAMASTE

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 18 ~ Inventing

Today was one of those spontaneously fun and mellow days. Here's my feel good 5 for today...

1) I am grateful for the people you can trust with absolutely anything. I've tried and tried to hide myself from some people...I've tried and tried to put on the right disguise to please certain people....even to please my own high expectations. But there are some people you simply can't hide from. My sister (my bro's wife but she's my sisssta) is one of those people. She knows without me saying...she knows whats up behind my smiles and she's still there for me on days like today when I needed her to help me at the spa. I had a waxing appt. (ouch! but hey, there are advantages to being paralyzed and numbed) and I realized in there that there are very few people I trust to see me at my most vulnerable, essentially seeing me practically stripped of every cover up I try to hide myself with...in my purest most naked self (and I mean that on a multitude of levels). I'm grateful for her because she makes me feel as though I am accepted no matter what face I am showing the world.

2) I am grateful for my niece Neena. She has grown so much since I moved here in the beginning of 2010. I watched her play with friends from her school today. Diagnosed at the age of 2 with a rare genetic disorder and told she may never eat, walk, talk, or grow....I marvel at her accomplishments. She is so incredibly driven regardless of the nights when she wakes up choking because of her throat or reflux...regardless of being "different" or "disabled." Today 6 years old Neena didn't just nibble...she devoured veggie straws, dehydrated mango, raw chocolate....she not only walks, she dances and slides and climbs on the playground...then jumped on a trampoline! She swings and sings and laughs and just purely loves and enjoys life. She cuddles you and finds strangers to hug in the grocery store. She's my teacher, my hero, my inspiration. I absolutely adore and admire her essence and the beautiful gift of simply "being Neena" that she brings the world.

3) I am grateful for my life experience being Neena and Kai's nanny....today I was reminded of the last 2 years....learning how to care for my niece and nephew changed my whole life. I gained a family, a purpose, and a life experience that would open me up to the limitlessness of being a child again. Today on the playground I reminisced about swinging on the swings with them....hula hooping...running around...all that fun stuff that I can't do right now. Yes ~ I'd be completely lying if I said I wasn't sad about not being able to do that with them. Yes of course I miss being their nanny. Life is teaching me new lessons now...I am still their "Titi" and I can still be fun, nurturing, and there when they need me. Having that experience and being able to watch them grow makes me feel proud and just plain grateful for this journey. Check out the pics from the playground today down below!

4) I am grateful for easily accessible places. With trying to get out in public more and more...I am realizing all the obstructions and obstacles that come with maneuvering life in a wheelchair. For example the sidewalk to the spa was a hill and cobbestone...then the door was super heavy. It would have taken me like 10 minutes to get inside as opposed to about 2 for the walking person. Things like sidewalks are a big deal to me...every crack causes a bump that can knock my feet off the foot stand...every curb can send me flying out of my chair if I don't gauge the wheelie just right. There is so much left for me to conquer and adapt to in order to feel comfortable in the world. When I find places that have such amazing accessibility for wheelchairs...I feel so grateful...like someone out there was thinking about the minority population that needs those ramps and door opening buttons. Sometimes I get so upset...like seeing stairs in front of cute shops or restaurants...no ramp....or the fact that the train station less than a mile from my house is not a handicap stop. Its incredibly frustrating!

5) I am grateful for inventors. Invention is a cool word...just popped into my head as I was thinking about the new gadgets coming out on the market...including things like the ekso skeleton robotic legs that I was fortunate enough to trial this past fall at kessler. Check out the video here. Inventors are creators who are pushing the bottom line of what is possible. Without invention we would be stuck and life would start to taste like bland oatmeal. Inventions bring us newness and create a surge of excitement that life indeed continues. We all have the gift of inventor inside us.....I wonder what I will invent for myself? hmmmmm....












Lastly....I want to share a photo of the drawing I made while in my standing frame this afternoon. I haven't given it a title....but I feel the image speaks from my soul. It's about facing my fear...it's about what happened to me....it's about letting go/giving up and striving ahead/conquering challenge all at the same time. It's my gift and here it is to share with you now.


Night ~ Namaste and Blessings. Ommmmm shanti (as Kai was singing in the car ride home today, that little yogini)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 17 ~ for you

I would just love to be this little girl.....

Ok, I've noticed that my blogs are longer and longer...oh how I ramble on. Tonight I am challenging myself to 5 super simple things I am grateful for ...really because I need to catch up on some zzzzz's. Call me lazy ~ oh wellll.

1) I am grateful for self-care. If I don't take care of myself and ask for what I need, who will? Self-care helps me feel self-loved.

2) I am grateful for the droughts of life. In nature and in life there are times when the water just isn't there. It is in these times that we find clarity. Call it my vision quest....I feel the stillness of this season in my life.

3) I am grateful for touch. I have blogged about the benefit of a real hug...Everytime I experience the gentle touch from someone who loves me, I understand why we need this so badly. Being held, kissed, hugged, makes me feel real...my body thanks me for allowing touch instead of pushing it away. It reminds me that I am a physical being with the ability to sense the world.

4) I am grateful for my anxiety. Anxiety is one of those emotions that can be used as a powerful force to act. I feel pulled....it tugs on my sleeve and tells me...keep going, do something, slow down, draw, sing...whatever! Of course it's uncomfortable...it can make you want to throw up ~ which is why it's another one of those wake up calls.

5) I am grateful for you. Whoever you are...you're listening to me. I may not be that great at communicating but I am tryin. Honestly, it's people like you who are reading and sending me support with your thoughts and messages that motivate me to share more.

Goooooodnight. Namaste and much love

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 16 ~ self work and self play!

So yesterday was such an interesting day for me. I tried new things and I shared my fears. Today I began my day with so many questions. I am eager to learn through my journey about the life I can live, about the people around me, about the purpose of suffering. As I said in yesterday's blog....I am so grateful for the journey. Here's my 5 today.

1) I am grateful for my journal. My journal is the friend inside me that always has her ears wide open. She doesn't speak back or judge the words that fill her body. She holds my grief, pain, anger and frustration. She celebrates my AHA moments with me and she even gets down on her knees and prays as though her life depended on it. I've never filled 4 journals in 3 months before....I must have a lot to say? My journal is a place I can go to feel safe, validated, and HONEST! Here's a pic of all my journals...



This next one is my new Peacock Journal and it is fresh and ready to start for tomorrow....my fifth journal in three months...crazytown. I have to say, the Peacock is such a strikingly beautiful male bird...like the ultimate dude...so elegant and refined, just not your average "male"...but I guess that's what makes birds so cool to me...how come the dudes get to be so pretty?! yea yea yea...whatever.


2) I am grateful for Therapy. I mean therapy as a very broad term. Before my injury I was studying psychology with the intention of becoming a mental health counselor with some kind of specialization in the creative arts. I had never thought about seeing an actual psychologist for my own therapy....that would mean I needed to admit I had something wrong, right? Well, from where I sit right now...I look back at myself and I say no Laurie, you're wrong. Therapy is a gift you can give to yourself. It doesn't mean that anything is wrong or right with you. Therapy is a whole universe in itself...there are tons of different styles to choose from. You can create a therapy that caters to what you need most in the moment. Maybe its a therapeutic bodywork, maybe its re-training a bad habit like biting your nails...maybe it is something serious from your past that you need help letting go of. Art, Music, Dance, Drama......maybe you need a cat or a dog to play with! My point is that my whole perspective on what it means to seek out therapy has completely changed as a result of my injury. Without the help of physical, occupational, art, essential oils, acupuncture/energy....all these types of therapies are serving me so much. I confess that yes it took admitting that I needed help...that something was "wrong"....but I see that it's so not necessary to be hurt and in pain as a requirement for counsel. Therapy makes me feel guided, respected, humbled, and received.

3) I am grateful for play. Playing with my niece today, I was overwhelmed by how joyful it is to forget about my adult mind and step back into the realm of possibility. Neena marched while I sang and spontaneously created songs, conversations between toys, etc. We can hang out together for a good 10 minutes just enjoying the twangy, boiinggy sounds that came from hitting my metal water bottle with her toys. The best part about playing with Neena is that we can have fun and not say anything at all. We just hit that bottle, looked at each other, and giggled like little friends. Play reminds me that life is what we make of it. Play makes me feel Joy and it brings me back to the simpleness of life.

4) I am grateful for destruction. This morning I wrote about becoming a tornado and a tsunami. I was reminded of last years chaos when the tsunami hit and completely changed the world. Every time something catastrophic happens on Earth, it affects us as a whole being. It is a moment when we unite and re-evaluate what is happening, why it happened...and we ask ourselves.."what if that were me? my family? my home?" The forces of destruction are a crucial part of life. They knock down the structures that aren't strong enough to withstand the force. I think of the goddess Kali...she dances the dance of destruction and creation...it is a beautifully organized part of the life process.....destruction makes me more aware of the journey I am on. Destruction is a wake up call.

5) I am grateful for boundaries. Did I already write about this? I feel like I wanted to but now I can't remember. Boundaries have been a huge part of my journey. I never wanted to admit that I needed boundaries...in fact I had no clue what that even meant before I was paralyzed. I thought that I could keep letting people in to see all of me...to take whatever they needed and to just plain live in my space all they wanted. Well, after my wake up call from Kali, I was shown a multitude of reasons why boundaries create empowered women, stronger relationships....and leaders out of victims. I admit that I am still learning to trust my boundaries....to create them when I need to. Sometimes I let things get overwhelming before I lose it and realize I am trying to run away rather than claim my personal space. Anyways....I am learning to trust that I can not only fear dishonesty, I can fear dis-empowerment.

Ok ya'llll ~ another day in this life. I sooo wanted to blog about the amazing spelt flour burger rolls and grass fed beef burgers my dad made, so instead i'll just give the visual because it was soo freakin amazing I captured my every bite with so much love and gratitude for this night's family dinner.

My dad made these rolls from scratch....."hiiigh vibe" sprouted organic spelt flour. So Soooo tasty...seriously not a noticable wheat or grainy flavor..just soft, fresh, and amazing.


His burgers had some yummy spices, garlic, mushrooms, and HEY you could even add some finely chopped sauteed kale in to give it a nice green hit.

I am having a seriously sensual moment right now.....

Raw artisan cheeses and roasted garlic...a little honey mustard
I don't want this night to end.
But it had tooo!=)


Namaste! Blessings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 15 ~ My journey to fear



Today I had a conversation which questioned if gratitude can be found in the things in life that are not so positive. Sometimes my boat gets rocked by a really great question. I am beginning to understand how true expression in relationships comes with all the stuff that I previously spoke of as the subconscious mind; the behaviors that others notice about me and yet I never catch on my own. This is the gift of a true relationship! Someone who cares and who will stand by you no matter what you look like, say, or do. I need a mirror every now and then. Someone who is devoted to supporting my growth asked me some wonderful questions today.

I have a very hard time with this. I confess...I really care about what others think about me. I confess....I am terrified of being judged as unkind, stupid, unsuccessful, ugly, as boring or a total drag....I mean...who wants to be labeled with any of that crap? Ohhh the journey of life...

I have always been a girl who can create quickly...I've always been on the move...thinking I knew where I was headed...thinking I had all the answers...thinking I was never going to fall. Little did I know, with all that running around, that I was running away from people I loved and I was running away from myself. I know I would still be running if I hadn't fallen. I have always thought that life would just suddenly get better...my needs would always be met and somehow~someway~my happily ever after would come.

No one in their right mind asks for a traumatic injury like becoming a paraplegic...just like no parent wishes for their child to be born with a disability. We would be crazy to go around asking God for a miserable, painful, and just plain difficult life. But somehow, underneath all the makeup, the cute outfits, the fun parties, and wonderful silverware and leather couches....I feel most people want...and yearn for more.

I am asking God for a journey, not for answers. I have been asking day and night for years to the people around me and to the universe for healing, for purpose, for love, for fulfillment and whatever enlightenment was to come and find me. It is all inside me now...unfolding as it is meant to...and I believe this journey has always been unfolding. Now I feel it is screaming at me..."WAKE UP!"

I have never experienced the kind of pain and suffering I am now experiencing through this spinal cord injury. I honestly thought that I was going to be one of those people who never fell, never messed up. I was going to be the girl who saved the world one day. I was going to be that girl everyone loved.

The truth? ..that girl is afraid...and I am still that girl

Instead of writing 5 things I am grateful for because they have made me a better person and made me stronger, etc...I am going to write 5 FEARS I am grateful for. I can't honestly say that these fears have changed my life...I don't know when or how I will get over these fears. I know that everyday I still see that girl inside me...she's curled up and crying with a stone wall to protect her. She's been living in my heart for a long time...I recently discovered her whimpers. Why am I grateful for her? I am grateful for her because she is a part of me, and this is her honesty.
From the girl inside the stone wall...
Art therapy has helped me to discover myself ~ Laurie Kammer Feb 2012

1) I fear of pain....behind this wall I can assure that no one will hurt me

2) I fear expressing my anger... I give up speaking my truth...because I don't want to hurt others.

3) I fear imperfection...if I am not perfect I will not succeed

4) I fear judgement....what if others judge me and decide they don't like who I am?

5) I fear falling....if I fall, I fail...and no one likes people who fail

It's hard to read these feelings...and I had to dig to find them. If you're reading my blog, you've witnessed part of my journey, my good times, my struggles, my prayers. This is a place where I share, and behind my sharing, I definitely still have fear. Being honest is still scary...sometimes I need those people in my life that give me a good smack in the butt to push me through or get me to tell the truth.

So today's blog was dedicated to that fear....and I am most grateful for the people in my life who love me enough to call out "bullshit." Those who love me enough to tell me why they disagree. In my Laurie fantasy world I never fail, I never fall, and everyone loves each other. I can't tell you how hard it is to be in my shoes right now...how it feels to sit in a wheelchair with nerve pain all over...afraid of all my imperfections, un-gracefulness, all those flaws that have come to my awareness. To stand for only an hour a day and not know where my feet are below me without looking for them. Because only I can experience my life. Only I can find the answers. I'm glad that I asked though....because I am grateful for the journey.

Today my journey showed me my fears. In both physical therapy and occupational therapy I admitted to my fear of falling and failure...it didn't come from this injury. It was there before and the action required now is to pick it up, own it, and keep going. I dove forward today off the mat table and onto the floor mat...terrified of falling...terrified of hurting myself...terrified of not looking perfect and graceful. I own it. It's there, it's always been there and now I am learning that it is simply a part of my journey.

Maybe it's being grateful for hardship simply because it is what it is...because it is real and it is my experience right now. I will always be good at using my imagination. I am a creative genius and turning things into positive experiences is not something I have to try to do. But learning to give a clear and honest picture of the whole person I am is something I am trying now, and it's hard!

I trust that I can learn to fear dishonesty instead of fearing honesty.

With love and gratitude for all of you who are on this journey with me, Namaste.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 14 ~ Creative Visions and Blessings

Tonight I am sharing prayers, meditations, quotes, mantras, intentions..... Here's 5 from today that I am grateful for because they make me feel creative, alive, and aligned with a greater and mysterious energy. I am also including pictures from my creative process working on my art therapy piece today...my artwork is my vision and my gift...and my visions are my prayers and intentions. My Blessings.

1)From the book "Prayers for Healing - 365 Blessings, Poems, and Meditations from Around the World" (It's long but I feel it is so worth sharing the entire Navaho Chant with you...)

House made of dawn. House made of evening light. House made of the dark cloud. House made of the male rain. House made of dark mist. House made of female rain. House made of pollen. House made of grasshoppers. Dark cloud is at the door. The trail out of it is dark cloud. The zigzag lightning stands high upon it. An offering I make. Restore my feet for me. Restore my legs for me. Restore my body for me. Restore my mind for me. Restore my voice for me. This very day take out your spell for me. Happily I recover. Happily my interior becomes cool. Happily I go forth. My interior feeling cool, may I walk. No longer sore, may I walk. Impervious to pain, may I walk. With lively feelings may I walk. As it used to be long ago, may I walk. Happily may I walk. Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk. Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk. Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk. Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk. Happily may I walk. Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk. May it be beautiful before me. May it be beautiful behind me. May it be beautiful below me. May it be beautiful above me. May it be beautiful all around me. In beauty it is finished. In beauty it is finished. -Navaho Chant

2) This one is from Iyanla Vanzant's daily emails...

I will not die an
unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

-fully alive - dawna markova

3) "My Body is the Garden of my Soul......of my Soul" - Deepak Chopra

4) "A garden is not a Darwinian world....A garden is a community of cooperation. All the plants and all the organisms that constitute a garden by definition are working in harmony with each other" - Bruce Lipton



5) "You've got to paint a picture, and then walk into it." - Tera Warner

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 13 ~ Breathe it in

"Flower Hoop" by Laurie Kammer summer 2009

1) I am grateful for my physical therapy session today. I got into the walker for the first time with the new leg braces. I hop both feet together and then right and left steps... Def not your average step, with knees and ankles locked, but a step nonetheless. I had a different therapist...she pushed me harder and got me to move quicker than I thought I could...helped me stop looking down at my feet and stop hesitating before moving the walker out in front of me. Today's session makes me feel stronger, more confident, and super excited to get my walker ordered so I can start hoppin around this house.

2) I am grateful for my conscious mind. This morning I listened to most of a free talk with Bruce Lipton, author of "Spontaneous Evolution" and learned that science has discovered some interesting stuff about our conscious and sub-conscious minds. We know now that our conscious mind is responsible for our creativity...it's not time bound...it can travel anywhere to make plans, remember facts....it makes decisions...it is our true self because it is our aware and "present" mind. Our subconscious mind is our programming...it's the tape recorder that plays over and over in response to certain tasks. It's how we walk without really having to think about it...drive, chew....they are programs and they are our habitual self. I learned that most people only operate in their conscious mind 5%....giving 95% to our subconscious mind. Woah...becoming more conscious in our everyday affairs will help us to be our true selves...rather than reacting all the time based on old programs..most of which we learned before the age of 6 when we had no choice but to download all the information given to us from parents, environments, cultures, etc. I love this information..."Knowledge is power.....but instead turning it to- SELF knowledge is Self Empowerment." The choices we make after age 6 become our conscious programming or UN-programming. Becoming a conscious creator of the life you want. Love this stuff....practicing consciousness in my life makes me feel expansive and infinite.

3) I am grateful for the ability to let go. Today I decided to go through a bunch of boxes of old clothes I had gone through after coming home from rehabilitation. My dad had labeled these boxes..."Laurie's clothes...not for now..." Meaning...hoping I could wear them if I walk again. I went through and decided to give away almost everything and then some....because yes- I want to walk again...but I don't want to walk the way I used to...I am letting go of that life. This injury forced me to come face to face with the me I was living and the me I want to create. They are very different women...and I know that letting go is the only way to make room for newness. I still don't know what clothes to buy and feel very challenged being in a wheel chair and trying to feel pretty, sexy, fashionable, expressive, you know~ tryin to look like me! But how can I do that if I'm not quite sure what that looks like? I trust that by letting go, the answers will come. So today was yet another step in the right direction. Letting go makes me feel nervous but also a sense of openness for what is yet to come.

4) I am grateful for real food! Yes MORE about food. This morning I saw an advertisement for the new loco dorito taco bell crap and was like ewwwwww I totally would have loved that when I was younger and now I can't even look at it. It's NOT food. I think its funny that I saw that this morning and then enjoyed some wholesome vegetarian tacos with my family tonight. We havent had veggie tacos in forever....the table was beautiful. Bowls of scallions, cilantro, raw cheeses, carrots, fresh guacamole, refried beans, and a veggie sautee of yellow and green squash, onions, mushrooms, and some chicken too from last night. I didnt have the corn tortilla but wrapped it all up in a big piece of romaine lettuce. No picture though it certainly deserved one. I continue to be grateful for the choices my family makes in how we feed our bodies and the children. I feel so lucky.

5) Keeping this one simple...I am grateful for sunny days. Today was gorgeous...I love closing my eyes and breathing in the sun on a very spring like day. This makes me feel refreshed, renewed, reenergized, just lovely. ahhhhh

namaste everyone. Cheers to conscious creativity and breathing in the free, abundant source of energy from our sun