I was sitting out on my lawn on this glorious August day and my eyes began to fill with tears. My thankful heart was overflowing with gratitude. Six years ago I was sitting on my front lawn wearing a short leg brace barely able to get up out of a lawn chair. I couldn't get off of a low toilet seat independently. I used a shower chair because I was too unsteady on my feet and fatigued to be able to take a shower on my own. I sat with pen in hand writing poetry, breathing as best I could at the time. I was beginning to feel better than when I had first presented to the Spaulding Rehab's International Center for Post Polio Syndrome. But the words of the team echoed in my ears. "If you follow all of our recommendations, the best you can hope for is to prevent a progression of the symptoms."
They meant well - really they did believing that there wasn't much to hope for as a polio survivor with post polio syndrome. But hope is a beautiful four letter word and while my body was ravaged with the residuals of trauma and paralytic polio, my heart as expressed through the divining rod of my pen expressed hope. Those early poems were all about visualizing health, wholeness, peace and joy. Gratitude was a constant theme throughout my poetry (and still is). I did not know what the future held for me. And the outcome did not matter. I was accepting everything as it was in the moment managing the physical discomfort with frequent naps, a lot of prayer and a heaping helping of hope for healing of my heart and Spirit which felt so beaten down by life's events.
I had read Bernie Siegel's book Love, Medicine and Miracles in the 80's. He told a story of Evy McDonald diagnosed with ALS. She was also a polio survivor. She decided that she wasn't going to die hating her body and so she sat naked in front of the mirror in her wheelchair, "feeling as though her body were a bowl of jello" and she began a daily practice of giving herself unconditional love. Today Evy is a minister in a church in upstate New York. The healing of her heart and Spirit brought about a physical change in her body.
Yet those two four letter words, hope and love, became a powerful force of healing in the work and in my life.
Freedom from the soon to be released A Celebration of Life. My books of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon.
Freedom from fear
fragile white wings
allows the gentle summer breeze
to carry her without a care
freedom from worry
am I good enough
did I do enough
freedom from guilt
bird song need never ask
how was that
freedom from applause and approval
trust in the beauty of your own heart song