Life pilgrimage. What does “hitting the wall” mean?

Writing about ” hitting the wall” in my recovery from a stroke made me think about it at other times of my life. In a strange way, it is almost every time I have done something for the first time. It doesn’t happen straight away – it is usually when I don’t expect it. I have been reading Satish Kumar’s book “No Destination” and he talks about when we journey as pilgrims we go with a sense of the sacred without making demands and we expect a certain amount of inconvenience and hardship.

It has made me realise that my life is a series of pilgrimages and eventually morphing into one big pilgrimage of gratitude and respect for the world I live in. So that means that “inconvenience and hardship” are there for me to overcome and become compassionate, understanding, stronger and loving. So I hit walls… Of course I do and will. Sometimes I come to a wall and it takes me a while to realise I can turn left or right and see where that leads me. At other times I notice there is a half hidden door in the wall which opens with a bit of effort. Sometimes I can see that it is actually possible to climb the wall with care as rushing at it is not a smart move I have discovered.

One of the best ways is to find somewhere to sit quietly and meditate upon the situation. Very often I then discover I have made the wall myself through fear, assumptions/expectations and misunderstanding timing – followed by an understanding of lack of preparation and maybe not trying to do things alone! Oh that pride and “I should be able to do this”! I think I have finally learned that my ego has no place here. I hope I have. Although I might want to give up, I never do because in my heart I know I am growing until I pass on to another dimension..

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved watching the sky and this morning was no exception and it is continuously changing which is what makes it fascinating to me. What appear to be inconveniences and hardships can often turn around. The Aboriginal people also taught me that where there is a poison there is an antidote, I have to notice it.

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Having a stroke, blog 3

Gosh I have just realised that I haven’t written anything since mid-July. This might have something to do  with the fact that, about a month ago, I hit a wall with my recovery from a stroke. ‘Hitting a wall’ emotionally is a strange feeling – a mixture of fear and wanting to hide. For about  3 or 4 days I tried to push the feelings away, but unsuccessfully. The fear was mainly about saying out loud that I felt I was going backwards in my physical recovery and that, that would continue.

Luckily I had an appointment with my doctor and was able to tell her how I felt. She explained that my body and my brain were trying to figure things out, which was causing some confusion physically. A few days later I was teaching someone to deepen their meditation practice, and during the course of these couple of days, she told me to get in touch with the lady who has always looked after any back problems I have had in the past. She has been able to use Cranio-Sacral techniques. During the first session she said ‘Oh, your right brain is angry with your left brain.’ This made total sense to me, as my left brain was being quite philosophical about the situation, and my right brain was frustrated and felt frightened because the way that I use my creativity had been hampered by the diminished dexterity of my right hand. It had felt as if the two sides of my brain were speaking to each other.

This is a classical example of living in the solution not the problem. Although my right hand is still wonky and slightly unreliable, at least I understand what is happening to me. Lots of my symptoms are hidden from other people, and I had got to the stage where, if one more person said ‘you are doing really well’ I would have decked them! Needless to say I got to the doctor just in time.

Although I see an NHS doctor, I do pay for the Cranio-Sacral treatments that I have, and I am very aware that not everyone can do that. What I have been given are very simple exercises, for instance; touching my nose with my left and right index fingers with my arms stretched out on either side, lifting one leg up and touching it with the opposite hand. It may be a question of asking your doctor or NHS Physio for these kind of exercises. I have subsequently found out that the symptoms I am experiencing don’t happen until about 6 months or later.

One of the interesting things is I have never been able to write with my left hand, and by accident discovered that I can. However, what I am now doing is still practicing slowly with my right hand, so that I don’t ignore the slow progress I am making with my right hand, but progress it is.

Whenever I feel discouraged I think of the 2 young women; Emma and Rebecca, who saved my life in February, and I keep trying. Their part of the story is for another blog.

Highlights of my overall improvement have been; going to Legoland with my grandchildren, and subsequently taking them to the Fakenham fair – all on my own. There are 3 of them here and the youngest is 2. More outings of this kind tell me that I am definitely getting stronger.