Part of the intention of this blog is to support the ideas of my book, Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities. Firewalk is a self-help book using some of my personal experiences as someone who lives life with a disability.  My hope is to  help readers take some of the lessons I have learned through living with adversity and find some benefit to apply to their life.  I will occasionally “feature” a key concept from Firewalk in a post to give you a glimpse into the book.  And yes, let’s be honest….to entice you into buying the Firewalk when it is published!

As I write this and consider my topic of being grateful, I realize how much I desire for others with disabilities to experience what I have.  It may be selfish, arrogant, and even presumptuous to think that my life has been so great, others would want a taste of it.  Well let me clarify, I don’t want you to have my exact life experiences.  You may be bored with my life or at least say, “So what’s so great about this?”  My hope for people – especially those with disabilities – is they begin to experience and live the sense of being fully alive, believing life is this amazing journey of being who we are – disability and all – in the world.

Through many years of working on accepting my disability, focusing on my abilities, and going for what I wanted no matter how daunting the task, I have gotten to place in my life where nearly everyday I feel so fully alive, ready to soak in the experiences of what’s ahead.  Each morning I meditate as a way to connect to my spirituality and set my day off in the right direction.  Evening meditations don’t work for me as I fall asleep!  In my meditations I often get in tune with how I am feeling emotionally.  Sometimes I’m worried, other times peaceful, other times angry.  In the meditation I try to figure out why I feel a certain way and find some resolve, even if it’s the understanding I may be in a funky mood for the day.

Today I felt profoundly grateful. I’m grateful I was born into the life I have, CP and all.  I’m grateful my life has turned out the way it  has.  I’m grateful I feel I live life on my terms.  I’m grateful that many of dreams have come true.  I’m grateful for the health of my loved ones, particularly my parents who just celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.  As I sat in house that I love, I was so grateful for my husband, still sleeping upstairs, and that we married last year.  I could do a separate blog on all the things I am grateful for.

As I meditated on my personal gratitude, I was also aware of the pain I endured to get here and the doubt I had at times that my  pain would subside.  I also thought of the people I have worked with in my counseling practice who truly hate having a disability and the chronic sorrow it causes them.  My hope is to not take away the sorrow, but to transform it so that maybe, just maybe, a little bit of gratitude develops for people being exactly who they are.  Once this happens, the sense of being fully alive, going out in the world and saying, “Here I am!” blossoms like all those beautiful springtime flowers scattering Upstate New York this time of year.

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