Spring is around the corner. It’s true as Buddhist philosopher Nichiren Daishonin writes: “winter always turns to spring.” It’s been a crazy winter for everyone and yet we endure and stay focused on literally sunnier days.
Knowing this fact to be true the looming question remains when the news is not good, what the heck do, we do now? We all know that maintaining a positive attitude is paramount. It also takes effort and is often easier said than done.
Keeping it real, have you ever felt so hopeless or frustrated the idea of moving forward seems, well, useless?
Where is the line between victim mentality and being a realist? It is often a very slim tightrope. This became ever apparent at a recent visit to my orthopedic surgeon while I was in New York City. As we all know by now my right leg was crushed by a bus and has been rebuilt with the heroic effort of some remarkable surgeons.
May 1 will be the thirteenth anniversary of my accident. Truth be told, issues around my leg and my mobility are still a full-time job.
Yes, we move on past trauma.
I have done it and I am sure you have as well. We choose to accept our situation and figure out new ways to be productive, happy, work, move, etc. This is all true. It’s a choice not to be overtaken by life’s dramatic and challenging experiences.
So, what happens when the news continues to be harsh? I made the appointment because I knew things with my knee joint were shifting most likely in the wrong direction. I have been recently reminded everything we have done until this point is limb-saving surgery and that for all intents and purposes, we are still managing a limb-saving situation.
The surgical options are limited and risky at best. I am grateful to have the best medical team in the world as well as a naturopathic team to support my total wellness. As a lifelong dancer, I am, as my doctor reiterated, committed and diligent about daily rehabilitation and managing pain without pills. I never miss a workout; my diabetes is well managed, and my weight is optimal. Let’s be clear. This all takes tremendous WORK. There is a huge time, energy, financial and physical investment. As I continue to state, our wellness is our choice. Daily I choose to do everything I can to stay mobile and strong.
With all this, when the news came down that my knee joint was literally sliding in the wrong direction my heart sank. I made jokes because that’s what I do but inside I was ready to say F~~k it.
I also felt I couldn’t say anything to anyone out of fear of complaining which we know creates no value and zaps our energy. The good news is my first thought was not to eat a cheesecake and go to bed. The negativity did come flooding in because I am a human being. The self-talk was not all full of hope or how I can transform the situation. It sounded more like giving up, pure exhaustion and true frustration and fear. I was viewing the glass as totally empty and thought why do I bother if we are still talking about amputation and more difficult and risky surgery. I admit it, I thought ‘why me.’
The point here is that if you are facing or have faced seemingly impassible situations and this is your response it’s O.K. We are all human. It happens.
The question is what do we do with those thoughts and reactions? It’s been over a week, and I am still processing the news, but I chose to keep moving ahead and manage the tasks at hand. Taking action on any level is an antidote to anxiety. This can be as simple as doing the laundry and making the bed. What tasks will make us feel better? The first order of business is still to feel better. While we may not be back to a place of hope, we can be more comfortable and then explore options. If you need to cry, then cry. Pretending the situation is all hunky-dory when it’s not realistic either. It’s always about the middle way.
What has come to mind is to go back to the basics. For me it’s chanting and staying committed to my spiritual practice, stepping back, and letting myself rest if I am tired. Sometimes determining victory, step one in my book ‘Dance Because You Can,’ is harder than it seems. If like me, you’re not there yet, it’s also O.K.
Keep it simple and be sure to calculate the daily wins. It’s in these moments when we feel the lowest, we create the biggest outcomes.
Staying in the moment is a huge coping mechanism. For today I am not in a burn-intensive care unit, I can walk even if it’s increasingly uncomfortable. I do have choices and an amazing team of people around me, what a gift. Future casting in a worst-case scenario is simply not a good use of time or energy.
What keeps you going when the news isn’t good? We all continue to manage a heavy moment in time and self-care is more important than ever. Literal and figurative baby steps yield huge results. Stay away from the news. Redirect the energy to people and situations where you feel heard and supported. Most importantly, keep moving forward. I am reminding myself daily not only that this too shall pass but that I have gotten this far and so have you.
As always, you are WINNING!