“Sometimes the steepest, most challenging and most rewarding paths in life are not meant to be walked, but crawled.” ― Toni Sorenson
I’m currently learning how to walk again. Every day is completely different. Some days I’m in so much pain that I’m sick to my stomach and fight back tears all day. Then there are days where I think to myself, “Phew, finally, I’m getting there.” It changes by the hour, it depends on how long I’ve been sitting or sleeping, sometimes my leg gets so tight that it feels like it will pop, and other times my ankle just can’t take anymore. Then there is the good leg…which doesn’t always feel so good. It’s getting tired of being the strong one, holding this body up through the rehab and the weight gain. I can’t physically crawl, but this path has been slow (like a crawl) and challenging and, hopefully, the most rewarding.
What else can I do, other than put one foot in front of the other every day and learn how to walk again. I have to remind myself that we all have battles and that this one is mine. I have no choice but to overcome it and learn how to navigate my new normal and process all of the emotions, obstacles, battles, and lessons that come with it. But that also doesn’t mean I’m going to act like it’s been easy and that it’s always okay, because it’s not and it hasn’t been.
It’s a funny time to be going through this process. The last 6 months I feel like I haven’t just been learning how to physically walk again, I feel like I’m having to learn how to “walk” in so many other ways: How to navigate relationships; How to navigate my anxiety and depression; Learning how to “walk” steadfast in my beliefs and my morals while also being open to those of others. But, most of all, learning how to stay true to myself and sticking up for myself and what I believe in. Some days are more difficult to do that than others but we can’t be afraid to stand alone in beliefs that mean so much to us. That’s what Brene Brown has taught me. “Being ourselves means sometimes having to find the courage to stand alone.” This rehab process has been very lonely. Even when I’ve been surrounded by people and friends and loved ones, I’ve felt very alone in this battle and in my mind. Learning how to walk around ALONE like that, has taught me so much and made me more aware of the world around me.
I think all of us in this country need to learn how to “walk” again. I think we’ve lost our way and have forgotten that we all do just that..WALK! Whether it’s on two feet, or one, or on two wheels, we move FORWARD. That’s what we do every day. The clock and the calendar move FORWARD. We have a new opportunity everyday to learn from the day before and make progress, try to right our wrongs, to learn about others so that we can relate to their lives and their struggles, and to support one another. Ultimately, we are so much more alike than we are different. We all want the same things for ourselves and our families: love, belonging, safety, good health, success, and happiness. We are in this together. I truly believe in the butterfly effect. We may not see the effect that our words and actions have on others but they do have an effect. We are all breathing the same air and surviving off of the same land. Do we have different beliefs and views? Of course we do. Because we all have different lives and experiences. We were all born to different families with different paths, in different neighborhoods, in different conditions. Some of us were born with more opportunities and privileges than others. All of these things make us the individuals that we are. We can’t relate to someone if we don’t TRY! We have to LISTEN! I LOVE meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures and learning about their lives. At the end of those encounters, no matter where we have come from and what we have endured, we are all people. People that want to be loved, and happy, to feel accepted and equal.
I’m almost done reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness and I highly recommend it to everyone. That’s where her quote is from above. In this book she speaks to our current political landscape in this country and this really spoke to me: “Most of us are either making the choice to protect ourselves from conflict, discomfort, and vulnerability by staying quiet, or picking sides and in the process slowly and paradoxically adopting the behavior of the people we’re fighting. Either way, the choices we’re making to protect our beliefs and ourselves are leaving us disconnected, afraid, and lonely.” We have to connect! We can’t keep polarizing ourselves. Based on what?! In this process we are dehumanizing one another.
I often wonder, if there is a car accident or a shooting, and the person next to us needs help, are we going to ask them their religion or their political affiliation before we choose to help them? NO! Of course we aren’t. Because those things don’t really matter. What matters is taking care of each other. What matters is wanting our fellow humans on the earth to be safe, and feel loved, and wanting them to be successful and healthy and happy.
Learn how to walk ALONE, without having to fit in or be a part of a group. Learn how to think by yourself instead of getting sucked into group think. I promise, we think more alike on MOST things than we disagree, and if we would just stop and listen and discuss, rather than always be waiting to speak and argue, we could make some progress. Maybe it’s not a full walk, maybe it’s a crawl, but someone once said 😉 “Sometimes the steepest, most challenging and most rewarding paths in life are not meant to be walked, but crawled.” What an awesome reward it would be to be on the same page. We may not ever agree on EVERYTHING, or the details, but I think most of us can agree that we don’t want others to suffer or to feel less than or to feel unsafe.
I’m really just blabbering right now. I have so much to say and I don’t even know how to say it. All I know is that my heart hurts and it’s been wide open lately. Tears are coming more often than normal and I want so badly to make a difference in this world. Let’s do that together. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. I will end with quotes from Braving the Wilderness. I mean it, READ IT!
“When the culture of any organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of the individuals who serve that system or who are served by that system, you can be certain that the shame is systemic, the money is driving ethics, and the accountability is all but dead.”
“People often silence themselves, or “agree to disagree” without fully exploring the actual nature of the disagreement, for the sake of protecting a relationship and maintaining connection. But when we avoid certain conversations, and never fully learn how the other person feels about all of the issues, we sometimes end up making assumptions that not only perpetuate but deepen misunderstandings, and that can generate resentment.”
Lauren: So beautifully written. I know this journey has been a tough one for you and it’s been isolating and lonely. I wish I was there to hold your hand along the way. Thank you for sharing from the heart.