A lesson in gratitude and courage

Photo Credit: Ben White — Unsplash

Today has been a day of much walking (13.7km or 17,778 steps, according to my phone), and my legs have been complaining for the latter half of that, particularly with the cold February rain aiming at my face. This thought, of my poor tired legs, hit me a bit too much on my walk home.

Just as I was nearly home, about to round the last corner to my front door, I met Janet, a neighbor of mine I’d not met before. Janet was stuck, tiptoed, legs shaking, just 4 feet from her front door.

She literally could not move, and looked quite distressed. I offered to help, escorting her slowly into her flat. I learned that she has Parkinson’s disease yet lives alone, on the third floor of a Victorian conversion, with no family nearby. Read that last line again please.

I also learned that today she had been to Chelsea, on her own, from Kilburn: a 10 minute walk to the station, plus two different trains with an interchange in central London, plus walking at the other end, and a return trip. This, and she gets 4 feet from her front door and can’t move.

Stop and think for a minute about the sheer human courage this woman has to muster up, the fear that she must overcome, each and every time she steps out the front door knowing full well this disease can stop her in her tracks anytime, any place.

Well done Janet, I salute you.

Me, with my youth, balance, fully functioning legs, moaning to myself just minutes earlier from my achy legs.

I am humbled and reminded of the importance of gratitude for the things that I all too often take for granted.

Parkinson’s, or any of a long long list of other awful diseases or life circumstances can hit any one of us at any time. It could happen tomorrow, or never. Either way, each day that it does not is something special.

Nothing is guaranteed. Every day that we wake up breathing, healthy and free of illness, able go about whatever it is that we choose to do with our time is a gift.

P.S.
My two missions in life are to to help others see the value of a simple yoga practice and how integrating adventure sports activities to hack flow can help them outperform.

More on yoga: Crisp Yoga

More on flow: Adventure, Flow, Create