Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

One Decision Away

We all remember one moment, one decision, that drove the direction of the rest of our lives. In some cases, we count ourselves lucky. In other cases, we rue the moment. We’re reluctant to believe a single choice can be irreversible, but it often is. And then what?

Kelsey Peterson was a 27-year-old trained in dance and yoga anticipating a career in the arts when she drank too much at a party one night, dived off the boat into Lake Superior to cool off, hit her head, and paralyzed herself. She lost control of 75% of her body. She and Daniel Klein created the documentary MOVE ME (shown on PBS) to recount her story of what came next.

If we make one terrible mistake, the first reaction is usually to deny its seriousness. “It’ll be okay.” She was so sure she’d be able to walk again. She was wrong. Her father blamed her for ruining his hopes for her. She blamed herself. Our country is in a similar position. When we elected an egotistical unethical millionaire (billionaire, if you ask him) to be president, our country took a violent right turn and then mostly regretted it. No matter what we do next, we’re facing change—not exactly the change anyone wanted to see. Our national dream of unity in diversity seems distant, because it’s not a goal for everyone. Many believe divisions should be reinforced and defended. Others sense a massive global shift to higher awareness no one can describe with certainty.

Kelsey Peterson discovered that her best course was to strain against the limitations of her broken body while still expanding her art. With trepidation, she’s applied to be included in a clinical trial of a surgical intervention that might increase her physical options (including sexual function)…or go terribly awry. She and others of varied abilities created and perform “A Cripple’s Dance”—an expression of their current reality in movement and song. She’s working as a professional dancer and storyteller—currently delving into profound realities she might not have been able to comprehend before. She can open conceptual doors for others similarly modified as well as for those who have no idea what a severe alteration to the body can mean day by day. She opens conceptual doors for all of us who face unexpected, dramatic change (and doesn’t that include EVERYONE at one time or other?).

Whether or not we see our world as having triumphed or fallen down, we must now rise up as best we can. Instead of obsessing over what we can no longer do, we need to see what wisdom we’ve gained. What can we be or do with that? How should we transform our ideals and plans to fit new options? Now that we’re off the couch and out of the house, what might we challenge ourselves to accomplish next?

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