Friday, August 13, 2010

Indomitable Judy.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." -Mohandas Gandhi 

My little blades, what follows is an email I received from an ex-boyfriend's mom named Judy. She is a lovely woman with whom I have stayed in touch. She has MS, but the truth is... nothing actually "has" her. She is a spirited and ever-grateful woman who "has" the world. Read on and be inspired...

Love... Always...  

Subject: gratitude

Dear Kieren,

Your poetic and beautiful words are very inspirational. You are so wise, deep and a thoughtful person who is very thought provoking. I too, had an experience worth noting. On July 21 I went to Rancho los Amigos Rehabilitation Center in Downey, California. I went there because I had a physical therapy appointment. This year I decided to look at all my resources in regard to my wellness. Therefore, I was not going to be stopped by the distance or the time it took me to get to this location.

While we have all heard of Disneyland, this center is  wheelchair land. There are so many young people in wheelchairs as well people of all ages. This was the second appointment I had with the physical therapist. She reevaluated me and it seemed that she felt that I would not benefit from rehab with her. While the institution is fantastic, I need a physical therapist who is very creative and thinks out of the box. While some people would be depressed or daunted by her comments I was not.

I had a long wait for my next appointment at the center. That appointment had to do with a new way for me to paint, because as you know I am an artist. After my physical therapy I went to a room to get my lunch pass. By happenstance or serendipity, fortuitously I met a man in a wheelchair who was in the room. He heard that I was going to observe the painting class. He showed me his work, which he does on the computer, using Photoshop. He was a graphic artist before he was disabled. He actually paints on his computer with the Photoshop program. In this program, he mixes his colors  and proceeds to paint a picture. He gets his inspirations because he uses a tripod, which he wedges in between his legs,and then he pushes a button on his wheelchair arm in order to take a photograph. Great idea! I can do that! Then he makes a copy of this work and blows it up to any size he desires. If I had come into the room five minutes earlier or five minutes later I would never have met this man. He is actually going to be a part of "My Big Plan." It was a  meant to be moment. I didn't know it and he didn't know it, but we were destined to meet each other.

At three o'clock in the afternoon I went into the art room. The room was filled with many young people, all in wheelchairs. The artist that I was wanting to meet is a man named John, who is a mouth-stick artist. There are only 50 artists in the United States that use this form of painting. He is part of an organization called the Mouth-Stick Artist Association. The artists that are accepted to this organization are given a monthly stipend  and the organization sells their work. They connect these artists to companies who either hire  them or have them give demonstrations to their employees. Last month, John was flown to Atlanta, Georgia to give a demonstration to the employees at Coca-Cola. What is so wonderful for me, is that he is able to paint any size canvas that he chooses. That is good news for me. I don't like to be restricted from anything because I have a disability (multiple sclerosis). I want to paint large paintings. His work is often 5' x 4' or 5' x 5'.   He was teaching the students how to paint. There was one artist who was using the mouth-stick technique. 

John was kind enough to invite me to his home so that I could observe how he works. I'm definitely going to take him up on his generous offer.
When I came home, (after spending 12 hours out of the house) I was filled with emotion and joy!  I was given an opportunity. I was given a gift from the universe, God, the Spirit above, or maybe my mother. Somebody was looking out for me. I was filled with gratitude and I was very humbled by my experience and my day. I know that we all have to to pay attention in life or we can miss the signposts and directions that come our way. I pay attention. I get it!

So my work is cut out for me. With patience (which I certainly have gotten as a result of my multiple sclerosis) I will move forward with my plan or some divine plan, if you will.

When somebody looks at me and see that my legs don't work and that my arms are very tight and constricted, they might not imagine that I am a happy person.  I had a wonderful childhood, I love my friends and family and I too, adored my parents. I'm grateful to be alive. I love people. I love the blue skies, clouds and all the colors in this magnificent world. I pay attention. And I'm happy!  

Love always,

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