Empowering others: sharing experiences, ideas; offering creative solutions to common challenges.


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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Attitude!

Let's talk about attitude! When I use that word, I'm referring specifically to how we carry ourselves... the image that we project, the message that our body language sends to others. As a little girl, I would often walk with my arms crossed in front of my body, my left hand holding my prosthesis at the elbow. To my parents, this gave the appearance that I was hiding my prosthesis or that I was ashamed of it. As I reflect about this now I know that it was less about hiding it.... I didn't have enough 'world experience' to be hiding it.... it was about balance and the integration of my lengthened prosthetic extremity with the rest of my body. If our trunk is the core, that is where we perceive stabilization; I remember that feeling of 'unbalance' and that by holding myself close to my core, I felt more stable, physically balanced.

So, what does that have to do with attitude? Well; I'm getting to that!!! I often refer to my parents as visionaries... When I was born, sans right forearm, they had a vision that I would be every bit as able and capable as the next person... or even more (yes, my parents expected personal excellence from each of us). There is a scripture that says... "without a vision, the city perishes"... so for success to occur, we must have a goal that we strive to achieve. There is no one way to achieve the goal, but many; and some of the ways are better than others. Throughout my childhood, my parents would work with me on my posture: not slumping forward, not leaning to one side, feet pointed forward, feet shoulder-width apart, head held high, looking forward not down; and eye contact. Did I mention the smile? All of these factors are beneficial for a growing musculoskeletal system, but are also vital to a developing body image... no matter what the age, no matter what the onset of limb loss. My parents were so focused on the vision that they had that they pursued and even created opportunities for me to achieve and to acquire the vision for myself.

How did they do this? BY EXAMPLING the attitude of meeting life and its 'situations' head-on with feet firmly planted, head held high and eyes focused. Yes, and with a smile! There was no problem, whether it was  learning to cut with scissors (only right-hand scissors were available in schools in the 1960's; I do not have a right hand and my parents had to find left-hand scissors... or even if they existed! Ha ha; there was no internet then to 'google' resources!); devising a method to hold a pick in order to play guitar (thanks Dad!); enrolling in a 'finishing' class during awkward adolescence  to pull it all together (thanks Mom for the "Sitting Beauty" program!) or recovering from rejection of others because I was 'different'... any disappointment was met with the same objective: overcoming the challenge. So, I've introduced to you the importance of a vision and the influence of a positive attitude.... stay tuned, next we'll talk about that smile.... oh, and lemons!!!!

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