Can simply living with a disability be a spiritual practice? Although I have talked about having CP generally, I have yet to explain how my CP impacts my physical abilities. Due to my CP, I have always had to tap into a high level concentration to complete any task requiring muscle coordination. You may be thinking, “Doesn’t every physical task require some level of muscle coordination?” In one word… Yes. I use a motorized wheelchair, have less control of my hands and arms and work hard to speak clearly.
Like many with disabilities, I have adapted my lifestyle to fit my abilities. In the words of one of my favorite comics, “When life gives you a wheelchair, make lemonade… You know what I mean!” I love to ski, windsurf and ride horses. I have traveled internationally and have a wonderful community of family and friends. Some say I have accomplished these things despite my CP. Over time, I have become comfortable telling these people that I have accomplished these things, in part, because of the lessons and worldview my CP has given me.
However, recently, I have come to have a more expansive understanding of my CP. Yes, I have learned lessons as a result of having CP, but now I am beginning to understand my CP to be my greatest spiritual practice. When this thought first crossed my mind, I was both startled and liberated. The disability advocate in me was confused and resistant to this concept; but, in the midst of that confusion and resistance, I was curious.