Whether it’s quitting smoking (I’m close to two months now smoke-free!!!) or beating the odds while in remission from cancer (some may know to whom I’m referring with that one ), whatever your dream may be, read on…
Realizing Your Dream
~ Saralee Perel ~
Recently, for the first time in 5 years I simply went out back, put my cane down, and started walking. I made it 42 yards.
Today I walked 5 miles.
My medical team had said this would be impossible. My brain could no longer send the signals for walking because those nerves in my spinal cord had been destroyed. Though certainly unintentional, my doctors did take something very important away from me: hope.
A while back, a psychologist pal of mine urged me to try to help myself. I was angry. I said, "They’re four of Boston’s leading neurologists. They all said I’d never get any better."
"They could have all been wrong."
"They said there’s nothing I can do! No rehabilitation. No physical therapy. I’m not putting any effort into trying to walk and then be miserable when I fail."
"Trying is never failure."
I’d get steaming mad at people like her. What did they know? They came out in droves. I heard various things I should try: a soy-based diet, massage, Yoga, acupuncture, positive thinking. All of these well-meaning non-experts believed that traditional medical doctors do not know everything about human potential.
However, there was a common denominator in my friends’ advice. And that was the word, "Try."
What made me finally try? The answer is simpler than I’d have ever imagined. That day I tried walking on my own, I had simply said to myself, "Why not?"
When I walk I have a Frankenstein- style gait. I get embarrassed so I explain. I met a gal who said, "Stop excusing yourself. Walk proud!" She’s just one of the many who’ve taught me that if I open my heart to acceptance, the world is filled with support teams.
I’ve also resolved to open my obstinate mind and really listen to others, experts or not. This not only fosters my own sometimes-frail belief in my abilities; it fosters faith in miracles.
One morning my husband, Bob, said there was a huge present for me in our driveway. He had researched "bicycles for disabled people." It was a 300 pound cycle for two. The seats were side by side. He could pedal while I sat by him and enjoyed the outdoors again.
Um… did I mention it came assembled with a set of pedals for me too?
Now, hundreds of miles later, after exhaustive hours of pedaling along beautiful bike trails, I only wish that we owned stock in Ben-Gay.
Bob needs a tube a day to keep up with me.
Last week he repeated, "There’s a huge present in our driveway." He led me outside. "Voila!" he said. "Oh no," I moaned. Bob dubbed it "The One-Woman Dynamo Power Bike."
"Sweetheart? You know I can’t bike on my own."
He laughed sweetly. "I know. And you can’t walk either. Then why does the pedometer I bought you have 74 miles on it?"
And so, I made a now often repeated declaration that I am praying others will say to themselves as well. "Yes. I can."
Think I love my bike? You bet. Think I love Bob? Of course. Think I love life again after cloistering myself in a self imposed no-can-do closet? Goodness! You have to ask?
How do we find hope when hope seems impossible? Do we simply believe in our hearts, our minds and our very souls that we can beat the odds?
Christopher Reeve said, "When we have hope, we discover powers within ourselves we may have never known. Once we choose hope, everything is possible."
His immutable words still ring in my heart and I so hope they will in everyone else’s:"And you don’t have to be a ‘Superman’ to do it."