I am happy beyond belief and I thought I would cry at this moment, but I am in no circumstance to. Not knowing if I would be able to walk again, and now being able to run again is a huge success. It is like a blind person gaining x-ray vision along with their sight. I thought that if I’d ever be able to run again, I’d cry, but being on the treadmill with pain trickling down my nerves, and exhaustion exfoliating through my body, tearing up would be a whole new skill set to learn. Plus if I tried and lost focus, I could potentially fall and end up part of the machine. All the other hamsters would laugh at me, and I’d be known as the hamster that came close, but never made it.
I’ve finally hit a wall, and I don’t know if I should continue. I feel like I’ve been working so hard for almost two years, just to try become like a ‘normal’ person and it’s taking so long. This gradual time till now feels like everything’s been broken down into particles, and those particles into smaller pieces, each piece slowly floating in the still current of time. Time slowing down, feels great on a holiday or to just relax, but when I’m trying to heal, I want it to speed up so I can just get back to the basics. I’ve been trapped on Alcatraz and can’t wait for my life to begin. I feel a full stop has been put on my life and I’m caught on the sidelines.
For progress to be made there has to be struggle. I guess I must be making a lot of progress, because I’m struggling every day. Everyday is a new challenge and a day where I face my injury, stating it now that I won’t settle. I won’t quit. The morning shines bright and beckons for me to step up. Doing plus one and solid, I walk every morning to the hospital. I’ve got to warm up anyways, so here’s a place to start. Instantly I am in the zone, I am training round the clock. Straight from the get go, I am working on my balance and coordination every time I brush my teeth. If I’m brushing my teeth with my right hand, then I’m balancing with my left leg. After the top half, I move down to my bottom set of cavity free pearly whites, this time it’s left hand single right leg stance. We only get better by doing more, so I do more… and then some with everything I do, I close my eyes to game up and intensify my balance.
Buzz* buzz* buzz* silence. buzz* buzz* buzz*. This is not a bee. Unlike usual alarm clocks mine is silent. I wake up to waves of vibrations. Set on the corner of my bed, the episodes past through me with stimulating conviction. It is time to wake up. There was a time before this that I believed being awake during normal hours was not needed, but there is a time and place for everything. Now I am bringing myself to the next level.
Up on the hills and away from the bustling concrete jungle I prepared another hour of gruelling pain spreading rehabilitation with a smile. The lift doors opened and I walked through a set of doors greeted by a breeze of chilly air and the smell of exercise. To the right I landed at the gym and saw what appears to be my wizard friend. Just like all great wizards he has a white beard and a curious faint grin on his face, with a human touch of his shirt being tucked above waist height to a nice rounded belly.
Still living opposite times from the rest of the day dwellers, I woke up to a glimpse of light. Just enough to take in my daily double dosage of sunlight before the blanket of the night sky pulls over.
With the fading sun, I go off to take advantage of the final hour in the salon to raise my hair and lower my ears, because such services are not provided during the night. I then scurried off to grab my belongings and headed for the membership club to swim. For today my haircut pushed the time back, and I could not make the time allowance for swimming hours at my place.
After grabbing my belongings, I hopped into a taxi where my eyes met an unusual sight. The driver was an elder gentleman with rubber washing gloves on, with the fingertips cut out for his fingers to go through. I asked him in Cantonese, “ Did you injure your hand?” He replied with a shaky gentle voice, “ No, this is for convenience and support. Other driver’s won’t wear this because they think it looks ugly.” I responded, “ It’s not how it looks, but the practicality and effectiveness of it. You’re good with me.” He looked up at my reflection through the front mirror, “ And what’s wrong with you? Were you naughty?” glancing at my walking stick. I explained the situation that had occurred and my current circumstance. “ Oh my, that’s really serious isn’t it..” I replied, “ Yeah, I’m lucky to be moving around again. I’m happy to feed myself or be able to go to the bathroom. No more contact sports for me. My life has changed.” He responded, “ Life is like that, one event can change everything. You’re lucky you know…” I darted in, “ Yeah, I am…” He continued, “ If you were my age, you might not have healed. Good thing you’re young.” I knew that my previous physique and youth had contributed a lot with healing, and I would not have been so lucky without grace. I opened up, “ But I’m not fully healed yet. I’m at about 80% good and I do rehabilitation everyday so that I can come to this stage.” The elder gentleman replied, “ You’re walking pretty well.” My lips curved and I had a full smile on my face. I don’t know if he was able to notice through the shadows, but it meant a lot to think of everything and link it with this moment. The memories that flooded this moment added so much more than the power of the words alone. This next piece of information he said, took me aback, because it was so true, “ You cannot be afraid of pain. There will be suffering whether you like it or not, you just have to accept it.” This is true. In all hardship, nothing comes easy. If we just learn to accept it, go through it, and press on more than have the battle is won. He kept repeating the statement, “ You cannot be afraid of pain or suffering…”
The taxi turned a corner and we were there. I wanted to continue speaking to this gentleman, but we had come to the end of our journey. I said, “ Your words have touched my heart, please keep the change.” He turned around to me for the first time and said, “ Please don’t.” I interrupted, “ But I insist, because you understand.” He responded with a smile, “ Just give it to me next time when we meet. Good luck with your recovery. Accept pain and suffering, but don’t go overboard with training.” I exited the taxi and accepted as part of my process towards a full recovery. Until we meet again my friend, now it’s time for a swim.
All challenges are character-building experiences. Accept that the process won’t be easy. There will be difficulties. These hurdles are there to help us learn and grow. Once we have accepted it in the right light, this power can be utilise to help us blossom.
How is your journey of acceptance unfolding?
I have activated my ultimate action plan. I’m still here, and I’m ready to heal some more. My previous efforts have been successful, but now I’m going to focus on a new level of healing and not let anything distract or stop me. I have moved into a place where I can focus on just getting better. Here, there is a pool, a gym, and a place to breathe, so I will perform my rehabilitation with laser point precession. Along the journey, I have also brought many books, and even textbooks to assist me. I am researching and implementing daily to improve on my programmes of recovery. All my effort will be into getting better. There will be no more distractions, negativity or hindrances that will shake this journey. Everything is done to a science and with full precision, I am going full throttle.
Now is the perfect moment for everyone to work towards their dreams.
I had to get strong enough to be able to live independently. My aim is not to run from the world, but take this time of peace to reflect. I will be forced to do everything on my own and it is a good thing. There can be no better way of learning or gaining something than by doing it myself. If I want to be able to do it, I have to try, try, try again, until I succeed. Now is my period to think over everything that is happening, has happened, and will potentially happen. I’m drawing plans for various aspects of my life to make sense of it all. Knowing honestly and purposefully what I’m doing for rehabilitation, what I’m doing in my life, what I’m fuelling my body with, what I’m fuelling my mind with, and what I will do to make a positive impact on the rest of my life.
The little things we do now may seem trivial at the present moment, but they may well influence events yet to unfold. It sows the seeds for the tree of potential. Everything happens in good time. I will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Only when I understand with clarity and am shone upon with insight, then will I know that success has been achieved. This would mean I have truly taken a new outlook on life and am prepared. This will be the final reassurance that means I am ready for the rest of my life and next chapter ahead of me.
The physical healing is not the only part, there is also an aspect of mental healing, and that aspect is so much harder. They are both strongly entwined with one another, which is a good thing, a great thing, once I learn to harness this great ability to coherent effectiveness.
So up on the mountains and away from distances, it is peaceful. It is just me, my beliefs, and my strive to succeed. I concentrate, I focus, and I work on getting better. I’m not saying everyone should go to such measures, but do what needs to be done. This is how I need to do it, and this is how I’m going to achieve it.
What is your unwavering action plan?
The other day I was carrying a bag with bops and bits plus my laptop. This is probably an unwise thing for me to do right now. I normally bring it out with me for a change of environment; to get a peace of mind and inspiration. However, recently on one of these excursions, I had an attacked of a sudden nerve pain that rendered me completely useless for a while.
The backpack was indeed too heavy for me this time, and the bouncing had taken its toll on my back as I walked. That intense nerve pain crippled me for a moment, barely allowing me to move. There was an automatic flow of tears down my face partially from the pain, and also because of the helplessness that I was facing. I had to head for home.
I was sitting and shaking, bracing on the painful ride home. Upon reaching home, I struggled to lay down flat on the much needed hard ground. The tears continued with the needle poking pain as I remained in that posture for a long while, until I was able to slowly move again. While my painful back was on the floor, I spend the whole time running through what I was planning to do once I passed this period, and what I was going to do to prevent this from occurring again.
Such moments like this are crossroads where I wondered if I should give up, because it hurts too much. I envision my life continuing in this state if I did not do anything more. What would it be like if I just gave up? I refused to think more. I wiped the tears and decided to change my thoughts. No, I will not and must not let this consume me. I will train even harder and become better because I must improve to be totally well. I have to do it for a better life. This painful experience will propel me to do the best that I can for myself.
On the next day, I made my way to the pool. I felt like taking a break. Every ounce in me wanted to have that rest because I felt a little sick, tired and tender. My body just felt lazy, and all excuses are definitely a good enough excuse to take a big rest from the daily grind.
Once I got started on the swim, the first 10, 20, 30 laps were the easy part and then it was all a mind game. Now, I get to find out what I am really made out of. I went through the motions one stroke at a time. As I pulled through the water inching forward on every stroke, I was also thinking to myself if I could really complete this session.
I guess as long as I gave all that I had, it would be enough. I went through the motions. Then, a cramp started up in the foot of my right leg. I hesitated for a second while swimming… the cramp spread, but I decided to push on. The leg now had a sympathetic companion as I started to have a cramp in my other leg! Most people would think this is dangerous and I would too if I had been using my whole body to swim, but since I have been training with only my upper body, it did not affect me that much. I just kept swimming, concentrating on each lap. Voila! By the end of my swim the cramps sorted itself out. It subsided. The good upside to training with only my upper body is that cramps in the lower extremities do not affect my ability to perform.
Though my body wanted an excuse to rest or to give up, my brain just refused to give in. No matter how I feel, I must move forward to always do the best that my body allows, or to face the consequences of my behaviour. This way I had no other choice, but out of necessity to keep progressing and be proactive.
So, I will continue rehabilitation everyday. If I had not worked on my health every single day since my injury, I would not have recovered to be where I am today.
It is easy to take a break with an excuse and to quit just for today, but that would open a gate to a disaster of procrastination. If I quit today, it becomes easier to quit tomorrow, and if I quit tomorrow, it because even easier to quit the next day. Excuse after excuse, long and behold, before I know it I would not be improving any more, and this is not what I want. Therefore, if I want something, I got to make it happen. I need to help myself by being consistent with my plan. I need to work diligently on my plan, time and time again; until it becomes a habit and that habit becomes an automatic part of me. I will become what I want to become, as planned.
I have come a long way with recuperation, and I still have a long way to go. My persistence and consistency of an exercise plan initially started with tremendous, tear dropping pain, snail slow movements and great endurance. However, I can gently pat myself on my back now to reinforce all the hard work and dedication on myself, but I rather just smile. Doing everything I could in my power enabling myself to be what I am today physically and mentally is a reward in itself.
We have to stay on our daily grind and do everything in our power to get what we want for our own benefit. It is a long way to get there but if we take it a step at a time, we will be there in no time.
What practices are you doing in your daily grind to encourage success?
All is a matter of perspective. As I was going about my rainy drizzly day, I realise my slacking off yesterday was much noticeable today. My lack of eating and sleep was really felt this training session. It is never a good thing to go to bed hungry, if you are going to train the next day. I barely had enough energy to muscle my way through the swim and had to use a lot of mind power to push myself through the session. We must remember that eating and resting is also part of our training, so we need to incorporate discipline for eating and resting too.
This bad day was beating down on me with the pain as I struggled to pull myself through the exercise, but I continued repeating my mantra. If we repeat something enough times, believe in it, and work on it, it has to come true. It just has to for me…
Emotions and time is all relative, so how I am feeling is only a charge of chemical reactions at this state. When I was aware of that, I felt more in control and better.
After swimming, I collected myself and started thinking over my training program, and within the same minute I was brimming with a huge smile. I was so happy! To be honest, I have been out of practice for mathematics for a long time, so what I thought was … one kilometre actually turned out to be two! This whole time I had been swimming over two kilometres and did not even realised that I actually doubled my goal! No wonder I was twice as tired than I had expected. It was like when I used to lift weights and thought I was weak, then found out I had been lifting in kilograms and not pounds. It was then that I realised that I was actually strong. The joy of receiving good news always comes paired with open arms. I learnt from my mistake and started fuelling up after the swim.
My oblivious mind was so focused on pushing forward, that I missed out a detail in reviewing my plan to see where I was. It is important to keep a record and think through of the path that we are going on is in the right direction, and that we are doing the right procedures. Since my concentration was so focused on moving forward, I did not realised I had actually accomplished my goal. It was also a blessing in disguise! On the other hand, if I had found out sooner, I might not have pushed so hard. It totally was an unsung blessing.
Aim far and keep pushing, because we ourselves don’t even know the capacity of our potential until we’re there. Once there, keep going, because only good stuff can come from such perseverance.
As a side note, when pushing so hard to accomplish our goals, we must take time to review our progress. Who knows, you might discover other joys along the way. When reviewing, we might even tweak it to gain the most out of it. Not knowing the end, but having short goals, and striving to always be the best, we can be pushed further than we know it.
What discovery have you made from self-reflection?