Twenty years ago today, I was sitting in a hospital preparing for an operation that would finally fix a problem I'd lived with my entire childhood. From that day on, my body and life would forever be altered.
As I sat there about to receive an epidural that would paralyze me for days, I remember the look of sympathy (and pity) on the faces of the nurses and staff. They would tell me how courageous I was, but I didn't understand why. To me it was a solution: You don’t need courage when it’s the only way out!
As a young teen I came close to losing my leg to a bone tumor -- a rare condition known as Differentiated Adamantinoma. The pictures I share with you about this day do not inspire sadness in me. Neither does the foot-long metal rod attached to my bone, the 13 months on crutches, nor does the crescent moon scar that adorns my leg from knee to ankle.
As the beloved teacher Ram Dass shares in his book Be Here Now, “you identify the task and you BECOME the task”.
Involve your whole being and follow through.
On the contrary, when I see my battle wounds I remember that I was blessed and victorious. I'm reminded of the gift I received that day: someone else’s BONE. Another person's tibia was transplanted into me and is now very much my own.
My only regret was the amount of years I had minimized and doubted my pains. No one knew that, for years, every other step I took would send shockwaves through my body. No one knew that I couldn’t really sleep because it would wake me through the night.
No one knew I found relief in my prayer, deep breaths, and in Song (especially songs of prayer). And, because of all this, no one knows the absolute ELATION I feel when I dance.
When my feet stomp the ground or climb a waterfall, I feel the earth has legs and is mobile through my movement. I feel Joy at the capacity to stand tall in my mountain pose; joy breathes into my whole and perfect vessel on and off my mat.
Looking back I realize that the whole experience was the launching pad for my entire life. My nurse taught me to do Reiki on myself when I needed pain relief and wasn’t allowed any more pain killers. There are no coincidences. I started practicing Hatha Yoga within months of releasing my crutches. My music is infused with the acknowledgement of the healing potential it carries. I learned that my strongest prayer was thankfulness. And even though I’d wear it like a seasonal dress that would hang in my closet for periods of time in my life when I wanted to forget the lessons, eventually I got the message that If I lose my gratitude, I lose everything- a truth I now Know and carry in my Bones.
So my humble thoughts for you who've honored me by reading this far: Walk in gratitude my friends, whether you have one or two feet. Feel your toes in the sand and be happy you have them. Wiggle them when you are sad about something you don’t have, because most likely if you are reading this you probably HAVE everything…
Take care of your vessel. Cherish it and you will be cherished.
Please bless me with your thoughts, questions, or stories you feel called to share!
Paloma Devi www.palomadevi.com
Paloma, R.Y.T. (Hatha and Kundalini) is also certified in All Levels of Reiki, Harmonyum and Theta Healing. She teaches her own system of Vocal Liberation classes and workshops in Asheville, NC and internationally.