While I was in the hospital after the accident, I remember lying in bed often feeling helpless, alone, and scared. Tubes and other lines and drains were coming out of different places all over my body…my nose, back, arms, and stomach. I hurt all over and was very uncomfortable… mostly because no matter how I situated myself…there was always something in the way.
One day the anxiety of what had just happened in my life began to affect me both mentally and physically. My body and legs shook uncontrollably and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t stop. My sweet social worker, Leslie, saw my discomfort and helpless state and did one of the only things she could think of to help me…she read to me.
She told me to close my eyes and try to focus and meditate on what she read( the very best I could). It was one of the hardest things I had to do while I was in the hospital. My body wanted to keep shaking, but with my eyes closed, I focused on every word she read, determined to will my body to listen. She read about the importance of “home.”
“Imagine walking through the front door of your home,” she began “you notice the smells and the wonderful feeling being “home” brings you.” Shortly after she began reading, I noticed my legs slowly stop shaking and my body begin to relax. As I pictured my “home” I felt a sense of comfort and security. I thought of my sweet husband and daughter who had returned to their heavenly home and I felt a sense of overwhelming peace that everything would be alright. I thought of Kaya and how I needed to be strong for her so I could return “home” with her. She became my focus and determination.
With my eyes still closed and after about five minutes, Leslie finished reading. She gently squeezed my now still foot, then quietly left my room and closed the door behind her. I lay there alone and still for several minutes until finally I drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
I struggled with my shaking body on and off while in the hospital, but I discovered if I focused hard enough I could eventually will my body to stop. Sometimes it took a lot of effort, but with time I could overcome it. On several different occasions Leslie would read to me and help me meditate. That always seemed to help.
The last day I was in the hospital Leslie came into my room to say goodbye and give me a gift. She looked at me with a hopeful smile and said, “Alyssa you are such a strong woman,” she continued, “you’ve shown me that with determination and willpower, you can do anything. I know you’ve just experienced one of life’s most difficult trials. And once you leave the hospital, life will become even harder and so I brought you these to help remind you of your potential and self-worth.” She held up a strand of brown wooden beads. “These are self-affirmation beads,” she said, “Anytime you are feeling helpless and lost you hold the beads in your hand and you tell yourself all the things you are.”
“For example,” she said, “I hold a bead in between my thumb and finger and think, “I’m strong, I’m capable, I’m beautiful, and kind,” with each bead I name a positive characteristic of myself until I’ve gone through the whole strand of beads.”
That night after being discharged from the hospital and lying in bed at my parent’s home, I had a hard time falling to sleep. The next day was going to be hard and my mind kept thinking about the difficulties ahead, but I held those beads in my hand and started naming off the positive blessings in my life. “I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I’m healthy, I’m beautiful and kind…” As I started thinking of my personal blessings the horizon of life became brighter and I felt encouraged and empowered.
I cherish those small brown beads. They stand as a constant reminder of my many blessings. When I feel small and insignificant, I’m reminded of just how important and wonderful I am. I am a daughter of God. I’m a divine spirit and individual. And so are you! I’m going to encourage each of you to find a strand of beads or make a strand of self-affirmation beads. Put them on your wrist and when you feel inadequate or small…hold them in your hand and count your blessings…you will find that you aren’t so inadequate…you are divine.