Thank You, For Letting Me Be Myself

Have you asked yourself why you feel the need to control your child, your spouse, a sibling, a friend? There are many possibilities, but fear is the most probable. Usually, it has nothing to do with them; it’s all about you.

I can’t remember one scripture where Jesus said that one person has greater significance than another. I do recall Him warning, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.”

Fear is a dictator. It ruthlessly controls, with no checks and balances.

Control is a thief. It wants to dominate—to exercise oppressive restrictions over another’s freedom. It robs personal expression—the liberty to be one’s true self.

Let’s get free, and give others their freedom.

Remember: True Love gave free will.

Thank you, God, for lettin’ me be myself, again…and again, without condemnation. Just as I am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOa5UOHdwnc

P.S. This fourth verse of “Thank you” says it all:

Flamin’ eyes of people fear, burnin’ into you                                                                      Many men are missin’ much, hatin’ what they do                                                          Youth and truth are makin’ love, Dig it for a starter                                                          Dyin’ young is hard to take                                                                                                  Sellin’ out is harder.                                                                                                            – Sly & The Family Stone, “Thank you” (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

Winning, Warnings, and Wheelchairs

As with any of you living with a disability, my journey toward independence has been showered with ubiquitous “ups” and, at times, littered with dubious “downs.” One of the downers is shopping.

Just like the able-bodied, I use earth-friendly bags, paper bags and, less often, the plastic bag. Unlike an able-bodied person, I do the stack-on-my-lap, carry-with-my-teeth, and hang-around-my-neck tricks transporting my haul. In the “FYI” chapter of Views From My Chariot http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html , I proudly share some of my inventive uses of plastic grocery bags for you other chariot (wheelchair) riders…even catching chipmunks. Yes, it’s a fascinating read and an excellent gift!

But, here’s one proven not so ingenious use. DO NOT try this at home, at work, or anywhere else.

I wanted to check my mail. From the street, my driveway slopes down to my house. My mailbox is halfway down my driveway, equidistant from the street and my house. (The P.O. approved my putting it off the street since I’m disabled.)

The wind was whipping as it began to rain. Being a SCI quadriplegic, I don’t have the dexterity to hold an umbrella and wheel uphill, so I thought I’d use an opaque plastic bag over my head as a rain hat; you know, like the clear plastic ‘rain hats’ your grandmother used after leaving the beauty shop on rainy days. It would keep my hair dry, and I could safely see through it.

ill-boding bag

ill-boding bag

I put it over my head and face, its handles hanging down over my ears like earmuffs. To secure it, I held the handles with my teeth and began my grind up to the box. Of course, to prevent a runaway wheelchair from sabotaging my errand in the rain, I had to brake my chair at the mailbox.

Once all my mail and catalogs were safely balanced on my lap, I unlocked my brakes. Again, to prevent a “runaway wheelchair” from skidding off the back of my covered carport, I held them in tension against my wet tires; yet, speedily grinding downhill.

Instantly, the wind’s pressure swooshed the plastic bag airtight against my face. My hands otherwise occupied, I couldn’t remove it…and I couldn’t breathe!

Although I could clearly see my carport, it seemed an eternity away. With bulging eyes, I finally screeched to a frantic halt on its level pavement, snatched off the suffocation bag, and gratefully gasped in depleted air. Whew! I didn’t pass out!

Lesson learned: The “Warning: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children….” lacks clarity.

I still use the multi-purpose opaque plastic bags. But now, on rainy, windy days—not only as a creative solution, but also representative of my winning attitude, I stick my tongue out against the bag. This gives me an air pocket when it tries to suffocate me.

Is my disability the result of oxygen deprivation, you wonder? It’s up for debate.

 

 

“The Fifth Element”-Love’s Surrender, Will Power, and SCI

Today, I’m correlating the similarity of a fictitious character’s hesitation to change to those of us living with a disability, disease, or illness who do the same.

In “The Fifth Element,” a sci-fi movie set in the 23rd century, in order to defeat a great evil, there were four stones and a sarcophagus, containing a ‘fifth element,’ left for safe-keeping in an Egyptian temple. This fifth element was DNA representing the “Divine Light.” The stones represented the four elements—earth, wind, fire, and water.

The DNA is turned into the “state” lab where it is transformed into human form, Leeloo. She escapes, is rescued by Dallas, a former special forces Major who is now a taxicab driver. Soon, he presents her to a priest who recognizes her as earth’s savior. The battle to save earth ensues.

After battling the opposing evils to confiscate the stones, Dallas, Leeloo, and the priest return to the Egyptian temple to arrange the captured stones and release Leeloo’s ’Divine Light.’ When their efforts to unite the elements appear hopeless and Leeloo is slipping away from discouragement, a confession of love from Dallas causes Leeloo to surrender her love to him. As she yields, the power of ‘The Light’ melds with the other elements, explodes, and destroys the Great Evil.

Like-kind, how often do we, living with a disability, resist change, something new or unfamiliar, due to fear and discouragement? Whether it’s the uncertain territory of SCI or a life interruption that has overwhelmed you; being uprooted for a job promotion to face the unknown; a financial decision or business investment that could lead you into economic ruin; even the uncertainty of commitment to a new relationship. Fear can hold us back, blinding us to the light of opportunity, robbing us of purpose and fulfillment.

I try to stay positive and open-minded to change. “Flexibility” is my middle name. Both my books espouse the benefits of embracing change. But, I also have a “Someday” wish/fear. It’s an entrepreneurial venture that, ever so often, peaks its scary face into my consciousness.

I’m not inexperienced in business. I’ve been invested in several. But, this “wish/fear” is a larger-than-my-past-business-venture budgets. It’s a BIG BUT-get!

But, I will get it! The chapter, “Facing Fears,” in Views From My Chariot http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html is about facing three of my past fears, all ramifications of my SCI. I’m forthright about other fears and failures in HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html . I totally understand using denial and rationalizations to avoid the unpredictable. In time, after using these excuses over and over and over, they’re stretched so thinly that I can finally see through them to the ‘Divine light of possibility.’

Just as Leeloo’s surrender to Dallas’ love released the power to defeat The Great Evil, conquering “the great evil” of whatever fear (disability-related, or not) is causing you worry, anxiety, and trepidation will release your power, as well.