After foot surgery three weeks ago, I have practically lived in a wheelchair. I made some interesting observations about how life is a like a wheelchair.
1. If one keeps the wheelchair’s wheels lined up properly, one will stay on the path and reach their destination. If one front wheel gets turned around the wrong way, one could end up off the sidewalk and into the dirt or grass. (Or in my case, end up repeatedly bumping into cabinets, walls and doorways.)
Getting into the grass or dirt means a much more difficult task of extricating oneself and one’s wheelchair. Just like in life, one may get off the path they have chosen or wanted and find themselves stuck in unpleasant situations. They must exert more effort to get back on the sidewalk or ask for assistance.
2 . If one uses one leg or one arm to push the chair forward, either by pulling through doorways or halls; or by using the inner wheel on the chair’s big wheel designed for hands, (See picture below) one will go in circles. There has to be balanced forces on both sides, with all four wheels lined up properly to make the chair go straight.
Just as in life one needs to balance one’s life between work, play, family, spirituality, and learning. To focus on just one or two of these pursuits and neglect the others, will make for a less than productive and happy life. These pursuits are vital to balancing one’s motivations to accomplishing life goals.
3. A wheelchair can be made to turn 360 degrees by using one hand to stop or slow the wheel on one side, while pushing the opposite wheel with the other hand.
When one finds themselves going in circles in life, one needs to look at how much time and energy is being spent in each task of their life and create a balance of time and effort to maintain a straight path again.
On the other hand, doing a 360 degrees turn around may also be necessary to view one’s life from a different perspective and to contemplate alternate, more productive directions or goals.
Often there are obstacles in one’s life plan which may require a 360 degree turn around to get around an obstacle. By doing this one’s body or spirit may be made stronger for having traveled further through different circumstances than was expected..
4.On each wheelchair there is a brake on both sides of the seat. There are times when one needs the wheelchair to be secure while one is transferring to or from the wheelchair. If the brakes are not on on both wheels the chair may turn on its axis and leave one on the floor.
In life one needs to put on the brakes, stop what they are doing and take a moment to consider their life, situation; take deep breaths, meditate or just be thankful. Participating in these activities may refresh one when they feel overwhelmed, tired or sluggish mentally or emotionally or even physically. We live fast paced lives. Take a moment to slow down and stop for awhile.
5. While in a wheelchair there are times when one needs help. Unless a motorized wheelchair is used, a steep hill, a narrow passage, a rocky, rough surface may be very difficult to maneuver. Being too proud to accept help which was carefully and respectfully offered will not get one through those situations.
It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help when one has accurately assessed the path ahead. It is a sign of wisdom and strength to ask for help when it is truly needed. It shows that one is not too proud to admit that there are times in life when one simply cannot accomplish their goals by themselves.
By asking for help one may also allow someone else to feel helpful and good about themselves. It is a joy to help another who is strong, wise and unafraid of judgment.
(Personally I have felt nothing but love and compassion from everyone from family, to friends, to neighbors, to strangers when I asked for help.)
6. Wheelchairs are designed to be moving. Sitting in a wheelchair for long periods of time is not healthy. One needs to change their position, placement in their home, or seat every now and then. Change in position is good for the body. It helps promote circulation, prevents blood clots, and is good for the brain and soul to move about.
Just as in life sensory stimulation and position changes are a vital part of mental health. To sit in one room all day doing only one thing may lead to a sense of boredom, depression, uselessness or helplessness. So it is good for one to move about, go places when possible and don’t let one’s home become a prison. Use that wheelchair to move about and continue to experience life through every sense, when possible.
Remember, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” Be creative