Week 7, Day 4 – The Body

The choices for today were:

1.                  Using streaming, write down how your sexual partner[s] might want you to be different. What would this have to do with accepting your humanity?

2.                  Last night I saw the movie The Buena Vista Social Club, the documentary of Cuban musicians, many in their nineties. As they played the music they loved since childhood, I could see a face of spirit coming through their bodies as music. Have you had experiences where in an art form you felt your body become more alive? Were you dancing, singing, making art? How does that affect your body sensations and sense of spirituality? write about that.

3.                  Pick a photo of yourself that you particularly like or dislike. What do you remember about the state of your physical body? What does the picture show?

I am not sure that my wife would want me to be different sexually. I do think, however, that she wishes that my body was healthier then it has been for the last several years. I had problems with my knees when we first me and had trouble doing stairs, however, with additional injuries to my back and knees, doing stairs are now not possible and the last time I attempted to come down a single stair I could have easily fallen, and in fact almost did, even though I was using my walker. I think that is frustrating for both of us. People often say well I just have one-step or three steps, but for me that might as well be a mountain and sometimes it is so frustrating because I feel as if people do not understand. Could I go up and down the steps without falling, I have been advised otherwise. It is hard when people tell me I won’t let you fall, I promise. It is not that I do not trust them, I do. I honestly do not think they would wish for me to fall, but I also know that no one can prevent me from falling. Because of my not being able to get into many places, many people have stopped inviting my wife as well. That bothers me. She says she is fine with it, but sometimes I feel as if she also has to pay a cost for my changing abilities and that is not fair.

The other thing that has come to frustrate me is that because of where we live, my Para transit services have been limited on weekends and holidays. It is not that I do not have services, I do, however, I cannot make reservations until the day before and by that time I can rarely, if ever get one. On top of which we have to pay an additional $12 round trip for these services. Both of these issues came about because of some institutional changes with the Rochester Area Transit Association. So being able to go out on the weekends when many things are going on is usually limited and often times not affordable. 

I am not mad at my body for being in the condition it is. Much of what is going on in my body I am responsible for. I made some choices in my life that have led to me being in the condition I am and I am responsible for making new choices in my life to allow my body to be as healthy as it can be.

Understanding what it takes to live in chronic pain has given me a new understanding of humanity and how so many others in the world are living. But you keep going and you do not give up. I have learned to be creative in how I interact with people and how we create opportunities for us to engage socially with others. We host many things here at our home, which is accessible, so friends of all abilities are welcome and able to get in and out of our home.

Acquiring my disabilities has affected every aspect of my life. Even my teaching has been affected, as I am now able to talk about accessibility issues from a personal as well as theoretical perspective. I also find other students with disabilities seeking me out because I am the only faculty person who visibly has a disability.

It has also become an important part of my ministry. There are days that people I have never met before will just come up and start talking to me because we are both using a wheelchair. Doing so has allowed me to connect with them in a way that I might not have had the opportunity to if I were not using my wheelchair.

While there are certainly aspects of my physical wellness that I miss, like driving and being able to just get in the car and go where I wanted when I wanted, there have been so many valuable lessons about life that I have learned in the last few years. While I lost some independence along the way, I think I have also become more loving and compassionate. While I am aware that others perceptions of me have changed, I also know these beliefs are about them and not me. So in some respects it has given me a clearer sense of who I am and who I am not. I am not my body. I am me. my body may contain those organs, but it does not define me.

Do I move as well as I did 10 years ago, no. on the other hand, either does my wife. It is all part of the aging process.

I have noticed however, that my body still responds to so many things in the world. I still can feel the music; sometimes I am looking at a picture and am just swept away. There are some images in music videos, which just speak to me and transport me somewhere I have not been before. there is a music video by Enigma for the song Return to Innocence and at the end of the video is this segment where images of the world keep getting peeled back revealing earlier and earlier images of the planet pre globalization, pre industrialization, pre global warming, etc. it is a reminder of what we as human beings have done to the planet we were left to be stewards of.

Native American music and African music makes my whole body respond and I find myself rocking and chanting and drumming, whether it is on me, my desk or on my drum. There are those things that touch my spirit and transport me to a space where I am no longer in my body, a place where I am dancing and swirling and being lifted in the air.

Then I come back to earth and remember that I am a spiritual being who is having a human experience.