On a recent walk in the forest, I did a life review of sorts, looking at the trajectory from last year’s summer to this summer. While I felt blessed that my right arm was in a great state of health, I recalled how last year was not so good: A random fall severely fractured my arm’s humeral head—which led to a painful, yet ultimately fulfilling journey of healing. From that fracture came the initial discovery that I had severe osteoporosis, which led to the subsequent finding a cause, and healing the bone brittleness and other long-term symptoms via removal of 2 parathyroid gland tumors. I am thankful to be clear of injuries and clear of mind right now.

As I walked up and down the hilly trails, I gave thanks to my trusty walking stick. Ever since the fracture, I do not enter the forest without it…no more falls for me! On that hike, I counted 3 opportunities to trip over roots, or have my foot slip on a fir cone or a round rock. My trusty stick helped me right myself—pre-fall. So, I nicknamed it my Spirit Stick, in honor of Great Spirit’s role in keeping me safe from major trips and falls.

And even in times of big falls, Great Spirit helps to set me aright and get me back on the road again. I mean, we all are going to fall once in awhile, yes? But my trusty spirit stick catches me in a potential fall, in order to make sure I stay on the path, and pay attention to what I am doing a little bit more. Awareness: it’s key to injury prevention and also key to what to do when injury happens.

The other day, I checked my PO box after leading a Zumba Gold (low impact) fitness class at a local gym. I ran into a favorite Zumba Gold student there, now donning a walking cane—the kind with four toed “feet.” I had noticed her slowing movements during class, and wondered what might be happening with her body—I monitor just about everyone in the class because I care about them a lot.

“Are you doing Ok? You still enjoying the class?” I asked as I briefly glanced at her walking stick. “Oh, sure. I have spondylosis though, so I have to use this at times…..” Her voice trailed off. I gave her a little hug and reiterated how much I loved having her in class. To which she replied:

“I love dancing. I love being in your class. Just because I use this stick while not in class, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy life.”
And that was that.

Her walking stick was her Spirit stick—to be used and trusted when needed. Increasingly, this seventy something year old uses it more and more. But isn’t that what Great Spirit promises us? That when we need a lift, or some help, or a reminder of our vulnerability AND our strength, Spirit says: “Lean on me a little. I’m here for you.”

Blessings of support when you need it,

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