Thursday, April 17, 2014

Feeling Blessed - Reflections on Gratitude

One of the themes that was present in every Boston Marathon bombings survivors speech that I have heard during this past year is gratitude. Even in the most horrific of circumstances, survivors expressed gratitude for being alive.

I experienced the touch of grace at an early age experiencing a connection to a spiritual force greater than myself after contracting paralytic polio at the age of 5. Growing up in a home rife with violence, alcohol and drug addiction after contracting paralytic polio at age 5, took an incredible toll on me mind, body and Spirit that manifested as post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease 7 1/2 years ago.

At first it was a challenge to feel grace and gratitude in those early days of diagnosis when I faced a grim future and was so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. But once I got still poems poured out of me filled with gratitude and visualizing myself as healthy and whole despite all outward physical appearances.

And this past week as we marked the one year anniversary of the tragic events of last year's Boston Marathon, I had the following realization that I added in an Epilogue to my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility"

I realize that trauma does not get out of the body nor is post polio syndrome something that needs to be defined, refuted or overcome. My experiences are a part of the fabric of my life and of my form but they need not define me nor rule my life. I no longer have to suffer or struggle but can find peace and equanimity honoring all that went before. I live with a neuromuscular condition and have no idea what the future may hold for me.

I feel blessed and grateful for Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab. Last night I did a record four laps nonstop using a kickboard. I worked on balance, core strength and had an intense cardio workout. I celebrated and felt overwhelming gratitude for my strength. I know this is a lifelong journey. I am blessed and grateful to have access to phenomenal therapists at Spaulding, a wonderful massage therapist at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork and modalities that support wellness and healing mind, body and Spirit.

So I could easily say that life kinda dealt me a crummy hand when in fact I play it is as if it is a royal flush. What transforms a victim into a survivor is gratitude!

Is the glass half full or half empty? I'm just so blessed and grateful that I have a glass!

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