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Yup I’m still counting. Month by month I keep checking in and assessing my experience to date.
A yoga philosophy teacher I have been studying with in France recently told me I would do well to forget about the date of October 22, 2015. It felt like he was suggesting that the time has come to stop looking backward at the fall and my subsequent healing process so I can start living more completely in the moment.
My first reaction is, uh no way. I love this monthly check-in. I love my identity of being on a healing journey. I am attached to my story of living into agency with full life capacity as I have, month by month, emerged from my state of paralysis. This story is my strongest anchor at the moment. It feels like this story of re-learning to walk, to travel the world while healing my wounds and processing my grief - this story is what holds me together. Without this story of 'overcoming paralysis' - who am I?
And this, I realize, is just what he means. It is time to start releasing this tightly held story, so that I can open up more to what is to come. What is it in me that is ready to emerge into this space that has been created by falling down the stairs and 'losing everything I knew'?
So that is where I am at 23 months. In love with my story of healing and at the same time starting to feel ready to let it go. I have spent the past 2 months in the south of France. I'll be writing more about the full experience soon. The short of it is that it has been as deep as it has been expansive. The theme of my time here resonates around deep contemplation on the meaning and nature of life, suffering and existence itself, In many ways I have been quieter than ever before, especially in this past few weeks. In other ways, my mind and energy have been more activated than it has been in a long while. I have taken rest from pushing myself physically, and in this space my mind and emotions are doing a great amount of internal exploration.
I am living alone in an apartment in a lovely small town in Provence called Mazan. I live inside of rampart stone walls that were built in the 1600's to protect the town. There is an old stone Catholic church with a bell tower just 200 hundred meters from my place. The bell rings every half hour between 7am and 10pm. When it rings it stirs my heart and reminds of time and space as imagined as it is real. I can feel the thousands of people who have heard this bell ring over thousands of years. As my Noon is marked on a given day, I realize it is the same Noon I felt the day before, it is the same Noon everyone who has ever heard the bell ring 12 times as felt. It is the same Noon, taking place on a different day, being felt by a different heart. Or is it?
Each time I step out of my apartment into the cobble stone streets, I am transported into a time before now. My imagination is set on fire by the old sturdiness of all of the structures around me, People have been living here for a very, very long time, and each step on the stone streets surrounded by stone homes and walls connects me to them. I guess they had the same full and hurting hearts that we have. They didn't have the internet or airplanes - but they had a day to get through, to live to its fullest, and they heard the bell ring at Noon just like I do.
Lizandra Vidal is a poet, writer, and wellness expert. In 2015 she suffered a spinal cord injury and this blog is a space where she shares the story of her experience.