Bravery has become a central concept in my world. Before this accident, I don't remember waking up and needing to focus on cultivating bravery. I don't remember developing self-talk mantras aimed at helping me fearlessly face the day and tolerate pain. "I am brave." "I can do it." "It's only pain." "Whatever happens I can deal with it." Or when the physical therapy leaves me biting a towel, whimpering, and crying, my favorite is "I am brave and bendy." I say it over and over hoping the tight tendons in my knee will hear me. I am brave and bendy. I am brave and bendy.
Tsoknyi Rinpoche (above) has remarked many times that to be a good Buddhist practitioner we must have yak hearts. And it proves true for this rehab retreat. I must have a yak heart, no chicken hearts allowed.
The thing is...bravery works. Bravery becomes a special force, a magical power, a source of strength. In the morning, I start by saying "how does bravery feel in my body?". Then I let the feeling permeate my cells. I want to marinate in bravery before going to the PT clinic. Bravery is unique, it's a combination of openness, confidence, and willingness. Sometimes bravery cries. Sometimes bravery feels afraid. But it keeps on going. And not like a martyr. But like a warrior.
My rehab requires that I engage in painful activities, it requires that the physical therapist push me beyond my limits. I have to overcome feeling terrified to return to that clinic day after day. I have to learn to walk again. So bravery is essential. And I think I'll be a better person for it. I think intimacy with bravery opens my heart somehow. It makes me want to encourage everyone...Be brave! You can do it!
Where in our lives are we shying away from our greatness, from our strengths? Where do we need a little push? Where is fear getting the best of us? Can we be more brave? Can we be more bendy? How can we be more fearless, more flexible?
I encourage all of us to invite bravery into the day. Whatever we think we cannot face, we cannot change, we cannot surmount, I think with a yak heart...we can.
Thank you to everyone who has inquired about my healing journey...here are some brief updates:
I am still in Santa Barbara. I no longer wear a neck or leg brace! I use only one crutch. And I am slowly learning how to take baby steps on my own. My main focus is on gaining flexion in my knee. I am slowly learning to turn my head again. I appreciate your continued love and support. Thank you!