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April 22. 2000

How I landed Here
(After the Fall)
Gary Schooley


It was a beautiful late September afternoon in North Eastern Washington State. It was 1979. I had just fallen about forty feet, hitting my back on the iron railing of the 'man basket' that fell with me when the cable it was attached to broke. I never lost consciousness, there was no pain at all; my body and mind were in shock. I knew immediately that I was paralyzed from the waist down.

Laying on my back, looking up through the green Tamarack and Fir trees at blue sky and white clouds, I knew that my life was going to be different. I was a leg man. I danced, hiked, did yoga, rode a bicycle, was just getting into snowshoing--my whole life was set up around walking. At that moment I turned off a switch in my mind, a switch that shut out all thoughts that did not relate to physical survival--my only concern was getting to a hospital before the pain kicked in, or maybe internal bleeding was my concern. I did not want to die. 

A lot of confusion, one ambulance, one airplane, one helicopter, two operations, and three months in the hospital later; I was out in the world again on my own. (Not quite on my own.) It was then that I turned the switch back on; my new life had begun.

There were angels there to help me through this time of transition. They had bones, flesh and blood, hearts and concern; they were human beings that loved and cared for me. They were the reason that I survived, not just physically, but emotionally intact. 


Dream Walking

I had a dream recently. My body was walking. These dreams have occurred before; usually the legs are weak, and walking is precarious. Last night was different in that my legs were much stronger. In these dreams, sometimes my mind 'knows' that I 'cannot' walk, but I walk anyway. I say that my mind knows, because in the dreams I am in a wheelchair, yet get up and walk. In other dreams however, my 'mind' doesn't know that I cannot walk, in those dreams I am walking not knowing that I cannot. In the dream last night, my mind knew that I could not walk, but it also knew that I could walk. So, it seems that the mind was communicating with the muscles and nerves in my legs telling them what to do, how to act! Are you still with me?

At the bottom of a flight of stairs that I had to get up to the top of- because that's where life was happening- I got up out of the chair and proceeded to drag it up behind me. All the while thinking that I could walk, yet surprised that I was. I woke up with these thoughts in my mind. Before trying to move my legs, I reflected on the dream. For about 30 seconds after waking--before trying to move--I believed that I could walk. That was an exciting moment.


Life is, uh, a random happening? Or is it? How does one look at something like this happening to ones own self? Think about that. What do you think you would do? How would you handle a situation such as suddenly finding yourself paralyzed from the waist down? So much of our time is spent dealing with a physical body that aches, pains, cramps and burns. Then on top of that, having to carry around some 50 pounds of legs......Other things too. Like how the mind gets confused, and thinks like a walking person. Perhaps never accepting that the body can not walk. My mind never stopped walking. This can be awkward. When a lot of time is spent struggling with the pain, and struggling with these kinds of thoughts, very little else gets done, time is wasted. There is a lot to do during this lifetime, and wasting time is wasting life.

Life is suffering and a struggle too. Life is so much and too much at the same time. Life is temporary; passing so quickly. Life is intense yeah? But it is also a playground; sometimes. Look at life as you would an easel; paint your picture now or leave before knowing who you are! Suck it up, suck up the mana, absorb life's goodness, appreciate the wonder and beauty of the creation and feel the experience of living!


Taking Care of the Body

I have been a vegetarian for some twenty eight years. I am not a fanatic about it though. I do just about anything occasionally, and have a relationship with this body that wants the feeling of a clean engine, in tune, running smoothly. The four years before the accident that left my body paralyzed, I did yoga on a daily basis. Good physical fitness and good eating habits, it is these two aspects that I attribute to how well my body got through two major operations, six and twelve hours long. So now, some 20 years later................Occasionally I find that my mind is even more shaky than usual. Depression looms just under the surface. I have to keep active and stay away from heavy thoughts; not easy. I watch myself get low-down. Is this any different than any of us?

I try to keep my mind focused on the present moment. I maintain a positive attitude most of the time. Things are what they are. Accept reality and go on.

I am very fortunate to live near the ocean. For three years, this body that I have been using for the trip on earth, has been getting into the ocean three days a week, and to the local pool twice a week, for thirty minute swims. This is what saves me! Without it...I just don't know. The ocean is The Great Healer. I am very thankful living so close to this friend. Of all the health professionals that I have connected with over the years, none have been as good to me or have done as much for me as the ocean has. The ocean asks nothing of us, yet gives so much.


Revo/Evo-lution

We are in a high time now. Take a look! Get into the vast changes going on in all aspects of our lives. From the fast developing technologies that are assisting our evolution as we move into the next century to the disappearance of the Third World and emergence of The New World Chaos. We are gaining access to such vast stores of information that even with the slightest desire, we will get smarter! I am excited about these times, about the new discoveries, about our own Revolution/Evolution. So, Whether walking or Wheeling, lets get it on! Our Future awaits.

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