Make My Day

I have lived happily, independently, and triumphantly from my chariot (wheelchair) for thirty-six years now. I have worked as a speech and language pathologist with special children, dabbled in interior design, designed and built my wonderfully accessible home, hosted a multitude of international exchange students (You can read about them in the “Bless This Home” chapter of my book, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html.), counseled teens and young women in a life coach capacity (as well as boosting their self-confidence through make-over workshops), ran an antiques home gallery, and design(ed) jewelry.

When it comes to entertainment, beauty, and joy, I’m not a high-maintenance kind-of-girl. I am entertained by a good book, an old movie, or stimulating conversation. I find beauty in the simple things, like nature’s seasonal raiment, and sunshine. Living a blessed life brings me joy. But, I’m not going to lie: some days, it sucks living with a disability.

Routinely, the first delight of my day begins by feeding and loving on my 3 cats. Everyone is hungry, wants to play, be brushed, and have one-on-one time.

Once satisfied, the boys–Fred Astaire and Laptop–scamper onto the screened-in porch to relish nature’s activities. Before hitting the office to write and research, or whatever else is on the day’s agenda, I have my espresso and spend more time with Ciati, my only female feline.

Then, there are the occasional days that my body rebels from wrongly used and over-worked muscles. Because I overcompensate, I tend to tense the trapezius muscle in my upper back and my arm’s biceps brachii. This causes painful knots to develop in these muscles. It’s the biceps brachii I misuse to balance, transfer, dress, lift and pour, and type—not their normal uses. Once I realize my overuse, it takes a good three days to heal before I can painlessly use them again.

On such a day this week, a monstrous house spider (Sorry, God. I do not, not, NOT like spiders.) blatantly crept into my kitchen.

I’m OCD about spiders. I know that they are uninvited pests in everyone’s home. I’m fine if I don’t see one; out-of-sight, out-of-mind. But when I do see one, I don’t allow it out of my sight until I have read its rights…or, let me just say, “The last thing on its mind is reading material.”

With focused contempt, I scanned the room for a book or magazine to drop on it, which is exactly what I did. SPLAT!

Whether with a bow-and-arrow, shotgun, handgun, or horseshoes, I was an excellent shot. I may not manually hold any of the above anymore, but I can still  judge speed and distance.

It requires skill and strategy to heave the written word in such a way that it lands horizontally on a scurrying target. This takes the printing “press” to a whole ‘nother level. Don’t you agree?

Even though I wasn’t up to par, and that spider stealthily deliberated its exodus, I assuredly dared, with squinted eyes and a frown, “Make my day.”

It did!

I felt much better.

 

Where art Thou, Romeo?

Movies and romance novels propagate the fantastical delusion of the perfect other in our lives. Though it’s subliminal: “…below the threshold of consciousness.” (Merriam-Webster), these scripts imply that The One is out there waiting to meet all our emotional and physical needs, just like that. The infamous line in Jerry Maguire, “You complete me.” doesn’t help in refuting this romantic notion of effortlessly living happily ever after.

STOP! There is no such thing. Forget it! He/she doesn’t exist. Was there a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Two, Sleeping BeautyAfter Her Awakening, or Cinderella-My Family Will Come? No, deluded romantics, because after commitment comes reality.

Because God knows the cost of true love, I believe that the physiological and psychological effects of being in love are His whimsical whammy for procreation. (You know, the surges of serotonin in the gut, aka butterflies, and the mood enhancer, dopamine, messing with the brain’s reasoning abilities.) If it weren’t for these out-of-control emotions, how many of you would knowingly walk into the most difficult role of your life? He knew the strength of emotion, as well as the emotional strength, necessary to star in this role. He is the Epitome, Price, and Prize of commitment, of unconditional love.

Although I have yet to experience it, I believe in forever love.The many couples who remain married after decades of living this forever love say that they work at staying in love, day-in and day-out. The secret is that neither one falls out-of-love with the other at the same time.

PHOTO Heart REFLECTION SWANS LOVEA successful love story takes work and understanding. Getting to know anyone takes patience and time. It requires acceptance (of their preferences or prickly quirks), availability, kindness, selflessness, and persistence when things get painful.This is when most people throw up their hands and throw-in-the-towel on love. They choose to not deal with the conflict. What good story is without conflict? Besides, marriage isn’t a mindless emotional high. Who could sustain it?!

A committed marriage, or any committed relationship, is to selflessly support, help, and heal each other on the road to their (and your) personal wholeness. Let’s face it: the inevitable daily friction of rubbing shoulders, re-opens childhood wounds from early relationships; raw, unresolved emotions sting and irritate.

If you feel you are with The One, are you going to run away when things get tough and let another scab form over your unhealed wounds? Or, will you stay to apply (and receive) the healing salve of true, unconditional love—the ointment of your soul?

Extraverbalism

One intention for my blog articles is to stimulate thought; not just for the disabled, but for the able-bodied as well. Whether it tweaks a fundamental change in thinking, sparks a revelatory “aha moment,” or brings a view-enlarging paradigm shift, I want you, my readers, not only to be satisfied, but also to be challenged to be the best you.

Reading for information’s sake is a great learning tool, but self-examination and introspective questions result in self-enlightenment and personal growth.

Something Diane Sawyer said made me reconsider my equation for learning. If I’m not mistaken, it was a question asked of her by her father one afternoon after school. It was: “What questions did you ask today?” not, “What did you learn today?” though a good, necessary question.

We can deduce that that provocative question shifted her perspective, propelling her to become the renowned investigative correspondent/anchor she is today.

I was painfully shy in my younger years, and resembled the age-old adage, “Children should be seen, not heard.” It took years, and then some, to realize the self-centeredness of my shyness before I could perform as an extrovert. I had to learn how to carry-off the extrovert personality while having the temperament of an introvert. I learned how-to through required reading for a counseling course.

Most clients, and friends, come to therapy to “talk through” whatever they need help and resolution with. You want to draw them out with questions.

You also need to be a skilled listener; not only to what is said, but also to what isn’t said, in order to ask the poignant questions. I began using these methods with friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances to learn more about them, and to practice my extraverbalism.

Through inquiry, you can learn as well as teach. With the right line of questioning, a question can answer itself for the person being asked the question, an aha moment for them.

For instance: Someone has been burning your ears with insults, complaints, and criticism of a person they know. Ask: “Are you angry with so-in-so?”

In that instant, their ragings will boomerang back in their consciousness, registering their anger. Whether motivated by jealousy or envy, they’re mad about it.

You can also learn through intuitive translation.

Body language validates the truth, or exposes the untruth, of the spoken word. For example: Someone walks up to you, introduces themselves, shakes your hand with, “So nice to meet you.” then backs away.

I don’t think so! If they were glad to meet you, they would remain within a comfortable space to carry on a conversation. If not, they may have issues with their own personal space.

You might then ask, “Are you uncomfortable?” The question lets them know you see them and understand. Even if they deny it, the question will provoke thought.

The more questions I ask, the more interested I become. The more interested I become, the more I learn. Amidst the conversation, the other party becomes the center of attention and leaves thinking I was a great conversationalist.Truth be told, we like hearing ourselves talk.

The juxtaposition of becoming an inquiring extraverbalist while being an introvert did not belittle who I was. It was not a character compromise. It made me a better me.

What changes have been incubating in you?

Are you ready?

Do it!

Become the best you. No one else can. http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html.