During the “days of awe” in 2017, someone in my spiritual community reminded me of a story that happened 10 years ago. I was assisting someone who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. As part of my expertise as a physical therapist, I had extensive experience in supporting people with neurological conditions.
Susan called me because she was so afraid of falling and not being able to get off of the floor by herself. She lived alone, and had already fallen once. Although she was able to get up by herself, it was difficult. That challenging experience sparked her fear. My experience as a physical therapist told me she had the physical capacity to get on and off the floor. She just needed to learn that for herself, and have confidence.
So, during my visit to her home, I invited her to get on the floor so that we could practice. As soon as we got down on the floor I could see she was feeling tense and worried that she couldn’t get up. I knew that her current thoughts of fear and the resulting tension made getting up even more difficult. So, in a calm and peaceful voice, I began talking with her and teaching her techniques to make it easier to get off the floor.
All of a sudden, she stood up and walked over to the back door to let her dog in the house. I asked Susan, “What happened?” She responded, “Nothing happened, I just let the dog in the house.” Chuckling, I asked, “How did you get off the floor?” “What do you mean? I just got up.” All of us in the room laughed. Her thoughts of fear and worry seemed to disappear when she just engaged in action and responded to her dog! Her love and care for her dog replaced her fearful thoughts. So, then she learned some helpful techniques to make it easier to get off the floor, even when she wasn’t going to let her dog in or out of the house!