Remix to Transition

“Now, usually I don’t do this but uh… go ‘head and break ’em off with a little preview of the remix…”

R. Kelly would be proud. Juuuust kidding.

Transition. It can be difficult and emotionally taxing. You know what I am talking about. We have all transitioned at one point or another in our lives; college, new relationships, jobs or traumatic life events. The change can be miniscule or drastic, sometimes eliciting an emotional response and other times, not so much.

What is also true about these moments in life is that they are opportunities for personal growth. This time around, it’s as though I’ve been peering through a fogged up window and am just now using my hand to rub the pane clean, gaining new visibility.

At my last appointment with my surgeon he put everything into perspective for me. Yes, this whole situation has been hard. Really, really unexpected and HARD. Hearing him describe how severe my spinal injury was, the moment I lost all motor function on the table, being carried into the OR… Those words were a blow to my heart. I’ve had nightmares about what life could have been like if I didn’t seek help when I did.

But you know what? I’m here AND I am standing up on my own two legs; an ability that I was nearly robbed of. Two words: permanent paralysis. Yes, paralyzed. Me. Spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair. It was almost a reality. Almost. We hear and speak to the fragility of life so often and yet true meaning doesn’t really take shape until something ‘happens.’

The transition that I know now is shifting from a life I knew to one of recovery and healing. It’s a little remix to ones that I’ve personally experienced in the past being so emergent, serious and completely out of my control.

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After that last Florida back in June, and my insurance company ever so graciously cutting my physical therapy off at 30 days, I made the decision to come and spend my healing time in between ‘tune-ups’ up at the lake here in Maine. This whole healing process has been anything but easy. Antagonizingly, painfully slow would be a touch more accurate. Without physical therapy everyday, it is a struggle to escape the hurt and stay motivated to write and continue my exercises and yoga practice on my own.

In an effort to help the healing process and keep my discomfort to a minimum, I scheduled a massage at a little wellness center in town. Typically, I like to know who will be ‘working’ on me as I find it important to connect with people – especially someone who will be dealing with the fragile situation I have going on. But desperate times call for desperate measures so I blindly made an appointment for a 60 minute massage.

Needless to say, it was exactly what I needed.

Alison was not just a massage therapist willing to take on one beautiful hot mess of a woman, she knew body energetics and I could tell the minute she put her hands on me. Divine intervention.

This week, I had my third visit with Alison. I went in without expectations and with an open mind and heart. We agreed on doing a polarity and massage session combined to help clear my chakras and flush negative energy out of my body – I was curious.

There were moments during that hour that I felt intense ache, especially in my right leg and lower back and then it dissipated. I allowed myself to be completely receptive to anything and everything that could possibly happen while I was on the table.

After it was over, she came back into the room and explained that certain things came up for her during the session that she would like to share with me. Mind you, the only part of my life that she really knows about is my yoga background and my most recent surgery. That’s it. And not in great detail, either.

The first thing she said to me was that right now, at this time in my life, I feel stuck.

Ummm, yes ma’am. That is an understatement.

I’m 30 years old, not working, still recovering from back surgery, which, if I hadn’t had it I would have been paralyzed for the rest of my life, the path I saw myself going down is no more at this moment and will have to look very different from what I have dreamt now that I can no longer physically practice yoga how I could a year ago. I feel disconnected from a place that I have called home for almost 13 years – partly due to the fact that this major life event and the majority of my recovery took place in Florida with my support system I have been blessed with down there. So, yes, I feel at a complete loss in certain areas of my life. A reminded me that this was an unexpected turn of events and they do happen.

Resisting everything isn’t helping. This includes swallowing emotions and putting on a brave face. Guilty as charged. I have been good at this since I was really little. At this point in our conversation, tears were falling from my eyes.

Dually noted and I swear I am doing the best that I can.

Let me preface this by saying that I know I am never alone. Alison also told me that intense feelings of loneliness surfaced. Yup. I’ve been up at the lake, spending a lot of time by myself. Most definitely feeling isolated and again, disconnected. The life I once knew is no more and is continuously changing before my eyes. Change, you really know how to keep a woman on her toes.

Hummingbirds and ladybugs. The animals that she said were present. This immediately sparked my interest because I have always been told that butterflies are a spirit animal of sorts. All of which have wings and represent transition and transformation. And since being up here in Maine, I have seen tons of ladybugs. One afternoon, I was sitting out on the dock reading and when I looked up from my book, a little ladybug was floating in the water, clearly struggling. Feeling led to make a rescue, I jumped in off the dock. And when I say jump, I mean more like fall – it wasn’t graceful, trust me. I got the little bug back to shore where it dried it’s wings and flew off.

Ladybug coincidence? Apparently ‘ladybug people’ have past lives. Oh like the amazing life I was leading until I landed myself in emergency surgery to make me into a human lightning rod!? Their small size symbolizing a gentle, loving nature. Little legs, big heart. Anyone? They also radiate an energy of being harmless indicating how to stop harming ourselves. Negativity, self sabotage… yes, I am guilty of that. Though small, the ladybug is fearless. Fear being unable to coexist with joy, in the moment, the little bug brings promise, getting us back in touch with the joy of living. Go with the flow, trust the Universe and turn to love.

Then Alison looked at me, and said, “writing.” That was something big that surfaced. Well isn’t that interesting? Currently editing my book, blogging and using writing as an outlet. H o l y S h i t.

She said that I was born to connect with people and teach – not necessarily in a classroom setting. Yoga? Only time will tell. Hah! There’s that word again: time. All of this information was happily overwhelming and unbelievably validating. In the moment, my feelings endorsed by her interpretation, I felt lighter.

And then she said something that really hit home. A male presence showed up. I took ‘presence’ to mean someone in my life now or someone on the other side, if you will. This man thinks I am hilarious. And I had to smirk at this. He admires what a smart-ass, sassy spitfire I have been, even when I was a little girl.

At this point I was crying. So much relief and validation packed into an hour with a woman whom I have so much respect and admiration for.

Well, my friends don’t call me Sassy for nothing. Very few people in Charleston call me Kristen anymore. This could not be further than the truth. At the time, one person immediately popped into my head: my maternal grandfather. He died before I was born. But when I was little I used to say that he followed me around. Especially at night. On my way upstairs to my room, I would throw all the lights on, race up the stairs on all fours, turn the upstairs lights on, bank the corner and run down the hallways to my room – feeling a presence the entire way. {And then listening to my dad yell about my necessity of lighting the whole house up like a fucking Christmas tree. Cue the eyeroll. Oh dad.} Seriously, could Grampie Chandler be who she was talking about?

When I got home that afternoon, I was reeling with thought provoking excitement. And then someone else popped into my mind. I don’t have a whole lot of male presence in my life. And I have been blessed with a few really good guy friends. It dawned on me, what about Taylor? The once Charleston based international yogi who, upon walking into my home studio in Charleston when he began teaching there, I looked at him and thought to myself, “we are going to be really good friends.” And we are. He is one of my best friends. And we LOVE to laugh – so I think he finds me funny? And in this rather difficult and transitional period in my life, despite his international travels and how busy he is, we have kept in touch. He listens, he makes me laugh and has always pushed me to be the best version of myself in the short time I have known him, despite how hard on myself or down I get.

This presence who adores my sassy-ness… maybe it’s a combined past and present male presence?

Since then, I have made a point to do my best and approach each day with a lighter, more positive and grateful attitude. It’s nothing new and I’m not perfect – I need a reminder every once in a while. This happened to be a really big one.

And that’s what it’s all about, the approach. Light in my eyes. Hope. Love. How I choose to arrive every new day of this remix to transition.

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How are you choosing to arrive?

Love.

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