Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The arc of physical therapy begins



While reserving the right to change my mind, retract whatever I say here or at least amend it, I think physical therapy requires an awareness of self at a different level than I have known.  I see the lifelong me growing smaller in the rear view mirror.  This is not to disparage how I am or have been, but to notice how much more there can be, in ways never imagined.

I am moved and inspired by stories of triumph over adversity and don't feel comfortable calling my challenged mobility adversity.  I thought I knew, thought I was capable of comprehending the enormity of spirit demanded of those who push beyond comfort, beyond what might have been limits.  I had no idea.

Yesterday, noting the abundance of books that live with us, the therapist spoke of Dr. Oliver Sacks' work, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.  What was most meaningful to her was not only the way in which Dr. Sacks shared his stories, but THAT he shared them, that he saw in each human drama information and expansion that would benefit and teach us all.  I first read the book years ago.  Here is some information from the official Oliver Sacks site:

Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat
Here Dr. Sacks recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders: people afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations; patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.

If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do.

Dr. Sacks on Hat:
“Short narratives, essays, parables about patients with a great range of neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions, written in a lighter, more informal style than I had ever used before. To my intense surprise (my publisher’s too!) this book hit some nerve in the reading public, and became an instant best-seller.”
The lesson, everywhere in everything and that is not an exaggeration, is always love, is always compassion.  We are given the most flamboyantly disguised opportunities to become altered, altered being a desirable state.  I have written three words, among tips and directions to help me remember how a particular exercise is supposed to look and feel, at the top of my work sheet.  To keep me in my body, on task and out of my weasel mind, they are EXTENSION, ENDURANCE and OPPORTUNITIES.  I guess there will be additional reports from the road.  xo

10 comments:

Angella said...

your final paragraphs always sear me with their burning truth. thank you for prying open my sight.

Claire Beynon said...

'The lesson, everywhere in everything and that is not an exaggeration, is always love, is always compassion. We are given the most flamboyantly disguised opportunities to become altered, altered being a desirable state. . . "

What an inspiration and guide you are, dear Marylinn. Blessings on your way. You are much loved xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - Thank you. Who could have ever known what a trip this would be. And always love like the sprig of parsley on the combo platter. Love to you. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Thank you for being here along the way. We hang on tight through the snowy, rocky passes and laugh with relief - and some wonder - when the road smooths out under a sunny sky. Thank you. And much love. xo

susan t. landry said...

i have been meaning to tell you for a while, marylinn, how much i admire and rely on you to be there, always you, that amazingly steady voice. every post is so centered, even as you often speak of events and feelings that are the very opposite of steady. how do you do that?

oliver sacks is one of the true giants of our times, walking quietly among us, his enormous compassion and curiosity rippling through us.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you so much for telling me. To be seen as steady, centered when I so often feel like the fraying cuff of the universe's last sock says that I am not entirely misinterpreting the notions that come to me. In the presence of our own pasts and the chorus of weasel voices, clarity can seem so unlikely. Your words shifted my focus from the connective tissue at my knees to wider themes and why I want to keep showing up here, even on days when I'm almost certain I've gotten it wrong. Oliver Sacks was a perfect launch pad. What a lovely, generous gift, Susan. xoxo

Penelope said...

Yes to every word here, comments included. Shall be watching for those flamboyantly disguised opportunities for alteration, and perhaps those disguised as old rags, as well. Thank you, Marylinn.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Penelope - Thank you for the pleasure of your company, too, along this ramble. Oh, those opportunities can get themselves up so their own twins wouldn't know them. I believe old rags might be a favorite. xo

Lisa H said...

..and even your commentors are wise and so well "spoken".
As you know, I come to you here or on the phone for wisdom, perspective, guidance and most importantly...a high dose of laughter. Yeah, I said it......

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Wonderful commentors, what a gift. And if we can't get goofy over the large things or the small, what are we to do with ALL THIS? I refuse to weave it into a bath mat. That leaves laughter. Thank you, my fine friend. xo