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Mar 22, 2008

My name is Donald Schwartz from Michigan. I would like to spread some spring cheer with the haiku I composed below and a picture I took a few years ago of what a Michigan spring melt can give rebirth to -- a good old Michigan vernal pond. This experience also helped me deal with writer's block.
Michigan weather creates many interesting phenomena, and on one such phenomenal day, not too long ago, created the perfect ice to send me sliding with the speed of Sammy Sosa sliding into home plate to break my foot into two places and rip my left ankle totally out of its socket. What a wonderful morning that was! And I am determined to turn this life setback into energy to move my life forward in a positive direction. I share my story with my community so we can encourage each other to smile in the face of trauma, and to raise the happiness and hopefulness level of the community however much I can. But more about that later, first let me finish telling you the tale of my own "perfect storm" of fate.

Once I overcame the shock of not being able to lift my left, of feeling pinned to the pavement with an invisible archival pin of a butterfly collector -- I looked up to the sky looking for an answer as to how I got into this situation. Up straight above me was the pattern of fish-scale shaped clouds indicating a cold front has just moved in. That was how the soft ice of earlier that morning had suddenly turned slick, clean, shinny and hard. The ice melt floating on top of the ice, froze within a couple of hours that March Tuesday, as if a Zomboni had driven all through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. As I examined the ice patch, I noticed a nice clear runway leading to a dry patch near my resting left boot, which must have caught the heel of my boot leading to the break of my foot which was now pointing out at a 90 degree angle. Soon after, two good Samaritans, came by to check on me. One of them informed my nearby workplace of what happened, which brought out my team leader out to keep me company till the ambulance came. The other good Samaritan called the ambulance for me, and waited till the EMTs came. The remaining good Samaritan happened to be a former EMT, so she took down a history, which she gave to the arriving ambulance crew to help expedite matters. Two policemen had also stopped by before the ambulance, which was fortunate since they helped the two EMTs, having to straddle the ice, to lift me safely onto the stretcher.

At the hospital I focused on keeping happy thoughts, on saying silently to myself that something profoundly good would come of this - that maybe there was a reason for crossing paths with the people I did; maybe my life needed a much needed contemplative slowdown.. This attitude has helped me tremendously. Before the staff members were about to set my foot, I asked everyone to pause for a moment, and that the nurse grab my backpack. I then dug out some cards to distribute to everyone which had wildflower seeds embedded in them. The nurse distributed them for me as I explained that the cards could be planted whole, and watered to give bloom to wildflowers. Each card could also have a message or prayer written on it to be symbolically be "bloomed" with their care. They really appreciated this and my gesture created a party-like atmosphere while setting my leg. I felt virtually no pain as my leg was being set.

Since I've been home, I've had a chance to meet the challenges of carrying out household tasks on one leg. It is great to feel such a renewed since of self-reliance. I have even been "growing" vitamins and proteins in my apartment by setting up a seed sprouting operation in my kitchenette in my "one-legged" state. I have also "cultivated" closer relations to certain people in my life and have had a chance to further develop my meditation and empowered-creative writing practice. I have been meditating on some "re-scripting" of traumatic childhood experiences, which has help me greatly to release feelings of guilt, resentment, and shame related to my youth. By re-scripting I mean taking myself back to traumatic childhood experiences in more empowered ways. You can check out my blog for more information.
If you would like to share one of your empowering stories, please post to my blog, so we can all lift our spirits.
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Posted: Saturday March 22, 2008, 11:12 am
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Donald Michael Schwartz
male, age 59, single
Ypsilanti, MI, USA
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