I am on a Roll

Rod wedding pic.jpg

Spinal Cord Injury Day is celebrated on 5th September every year with the intention of increasing awareness amongst the general public. So this time I decided to do a little writing about my dear friend.

Just to celebrate and join the party.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) awarded me with a very visible disability. Yes, I can’t walk. I rely on a wheelchair to get around. That is kind of obvious, but there is much more than that.

Apart from being paralyzed from nipples down, I also lost control of my bladder and bowel, I have spasticity, sexual dysfunction, long-lasting chronic neuropathic pain, repeatedly fights against UTIs due the daily use of catheters, anxiety, depression and the list goes on and on...

Its sounds pretty shit doesn't it? 

Well, not really. Since SCI showed up in my life (without invitation), I become a much more optimistic person. I am patient, more flexible, more resilient, more aware (specially more aware of death, knowing that shit happens all the time, now I hardly ever take anything for granted), therefore more grateful, more strong, actually much stronger. 

I realized I can do a lot more and I can handle whatever life brings me. I can easily put a Leonard Cohen’s record on and patiently just deal with it. Whatever it might be. I have what it takes to go through any life situation I may encounter in the future.

I am a strong loving-life motherfucker.

Even if I don’t get to do all the stuff I use to do before I got hurt. I am fine with that. And that’s the thing. I am fine. With all the challenges and the setbacks, if you really put it on the 'balance', SCI gave me more than it took. Maybe I am being a bit too positive here but I like to think in that way.

I believe that after my long months of rehabilitation trying to fix my body, which unfortunately has no way to be fixed, not yet at least. I began to try to heal my mind. And it has been an incredible learning journey. SCI immensely contributed to the development of my emotional intelligence. 

I still have a lot to learn but I am on the way, I am a roll. 

I am learning to let my mind accept everything that comes, to rest myself in the uncertainty, no anticipating, no waiting, not expecting.  

I now know that life is, first and foremost, about being fulfilled in as many ways as possible, but mostly to love and to be loved. SCI has deepened my friendships and relationships. 

And because all of that folks, I should thank SCI. I should be grateful. I should celebrate. 

Thank you SCI. Thanks for making me a better man. 

Happy World SCI Day everyone.

With Love, Roddy Xx

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope into a better shape.
— Charles Dickens


Appreciation .jpg

• 1
Recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.

• 1.1Gratitude.

• 2
A full understanding of a situation.

Late 15th century: from French appréciation, from late Latin appretiatio(n-), from the verb appretiare set at a price, appraise

"We think too much about what goes wrong and not enough about what goes right in our lives. Of course, sometimes it makes sense to analyze bad events so that we can learn from them and avoid them in the future. However, people tend to spend more time thinking about what is bad in life than is helpful. Worse, this focus on negative events sets us up for anxiety and depression. One way to keep this from happening is to get better at thinking about and savoring what went well."

Grandpa was quite good at doing it, he was the appreciator master. Grandpa was a spiritual man. One of the first memories regarding meditation and appreciation came from him. I remember being around to spend our school holidays with him. We used to sit around the dinner table every Wednesday night and he used to thank everything and everyone that came or crossed our way that week. The old man used to remember every single moment, every single detail.  - thanks for the rain yesterday, thanks about the spaghetti we ate last Sunday, thanks for the water, thanks for this and thanks for that. We used to thank everything and meditate around the table.

It was beautiful.

Fast forwarding time, I jumped myself deeply into meditation when I started dealing with neuropathic pain, that can sometimes literally also be called pain in the ass! Neuro-pain is not fun and one of tools I use to deal with it is mindfulness meditation. I use an app called Headspace.  

Headspace has a series of guided meditation sessions and one of the pack is called appreciation. 

With so much going on in life, it is quite difficult sometimes to be present, to appreciate what is going on around us, what we already got. Very often we tend to look at the future thinking what might be or we look at the past thinking what could have been.

This quick exercise is designed to help us to really spend more time in the present. To cultivate a genuinely sense of gratitude for what we have got right now. 

Even if that's a pain the ass. 

As you go into this day, try to pause during the day for at least 10 or 20 seconds, get yourself comfortable, be aware of your breath and ask yourself; 

-Who or What do you appreciate most in your life have right now? 

While asking yourself that, even if you are not new to meditation, try to maintain a beginners mind, as you are doing it for the very first time and always ask the question as you never asked the question before, as you are asking another person, not knowing, expecting or anticipating what the answer would be. When you do the exercise this way it creates a spacious mind which appreciation can naturally arise. 

Take the time to notice when you do that how the moods shift, how it changes perhaps the busyness of the mind, how it perharps shift the attention or the focus on a particularly emotion or feeling. Being fully aware of how this feeling of appreciation can really allow us to be more present in the world, more connected with the people around us. 

Once you familiarize yourself with the physical senses and the feeling, try to be aware of how you feel and aware of that intention to carry the quality of appreciation with you into the day, to remind yourself periodically throughout the day, of what that feeling was like. 

Remind yourself that life is a gift. Life goes quick. Appreciate the moment . Appreciate what you already have.

Be well folks and keep your heads high. There is good in this world.

Roddy X

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
— ~ Frederick Keonig