Lyena's Journal

A friend just sent me an article from the Detroit Free Press about a new spinal cord injury recovery center opening in Detroit. It’s a center attached to a medical school and rehabilitation institute that’s dedicating itself to the birthing field of SCI recovery. They are focusing most specifically on screening SCI patients for possible inclusion in the surgical procedures being performed in Portugal and China, then offering cutting edge rehabilitation and follow-up post-surgery.

Commitment at this level to the possibility of SCI recovery from the US western medical establishment is completely unprecedented. And the news should make me very, very happy. But it doesn’t. I feel sick and sad and depressed.

I don’t think that my feelings are actually related to the opening of the center. It’s not like the Detroit center is causing me to feel badly. It just isn’t altering my previously established bad mood. What the hell is that about??

It drives me nuts that this isn’t helping me feel better. It drives me nuts that when someone presents something that offers real hope or new hope, I don’t feel hopeful. It’s like I’m invested in feeling badly, invested in my pain or in my grief.

Where it leads me is that my feelings aren’t actually related to the external circumstance of being paralyzed. It’s, of course, incredibly convenient to think that they are. It’s a pretty miserable circumstance, after all. But if that were the case, genuinely good news for the possibility of relieving that circumstance would make me feel better. Since it hasn’t, I have to wonder if paralysis is just a convenient excuse and my pain lives somewhere else.

There’ve been plenty of times when I thought something in my life was making me unhappy only to change that situation and discover that I’m still unhappy. There have also been plenty of times when a day of misery in a bad situation is followed by a day of joy IN THE SAME BAD SITUATION. Seems kinda’ obvious that my emotional life has, at least to some degree, it’s own barometer.

So, great. Where does that leave me now?

I guess it leaves me doing what I’m always doing, trying to make space for everything that’s true. The Detroit center is a huge leap in SCI recovery if for no other reason than it adds the energy of the western seal of legitimacy to the burgeoning reality of recovery so many of us have been working to create. Whether or not it means full recovery for those who are injured, the fact that it exists will help more and more people believe in the possibilities and that’s good for all of us touched by SCI. I am thrilled and excited by this new development.


I feel like shit today. My life has been turned upside-down and I’m bitter and angry. I’m grossly aware of my vulnerability. I ache with everything I have to feel my lover’s touch. And I’m sick to death of the daily effort of managing my body and its near-constant and complex needs.

Boy, given a choice, I’d definitely go for "thrilled and excited."

Whether my harder feelings are attached to my circumstance or to something else perhaps hiding behind that circumstance might not matter. Maybe what’s important is that they’re fluid. Just writing this little rant has cheered me considerably and I’m now wanting to spread the news about Detroit. That’s a big leap from an hour ago when I was having trouble caring about Detroit and felt totally married to my pain and grief. I’m also aware that I have a bit more choice available to me now. I can turn my attention, if I want, to that which is thrilling and exciting.

Whether or not I do and "Why on Earth wouldn't I?" are questions that I'm going to leave, for the moment, unanswered. Strangely, they don't seem to matter right now. Right now, I'm more interested in the spaciousness I feel, the sense of breadth in my heart, with nothing nudging anything else out, and no perspective or feeling more valuable than the next. Honestly, sometimes I'm more complicated than I can stand but it’s also a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL day and I think that's all I'm going to say. Thanks for listening.

Lyena | 14:56