A Miracle in Thought

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In this issue's column I would like to share with you the strongest, most positive example of positive thinking that I have ever seen-- the story of a woman, whose obstacles would make almost anyone give up and submit to life's difficulties.
Before Brenda Cole was accidentally shot in the neck in 1982, she was a very active, multi-faceted person. She worked full time as an executive secretary for a vice president with AT & T. In her spare time she taught yoga, was a Reikki healer, an herbalist , and a pilot who flew her own plane. She also volunteered as a paramedic with fire rescue, and drove her own Harley. At age 12, she learned to drive by racing cars on the track next to her mother's restaurant. Brenda had everything going for her.

After the accident, Brenda was a quadriplegic. She had no movement or feeling whatsoever from the neck down. Since her larynx was damaged from the bullet, Brenda could only whisper. Attendants had to literally do everything for her. Her doctor told her that because of the severity of her spinal cord injury she would never have any movement or sensation below the neck, and that she would not be able to sit up and function. Then, in addition to such shocking news, her doctor told her that she would probably not live longer than 5 years! Brenda told the doctor, "You don't understand; I'll do what I want to do." The doctor just shook his head and walked out of the room.

Before the accident, Brenda had for many years been in the habit of rising at 3:00 a.m., and practicing yoga every morning. Now, lying in the hospital bed, her body's alarm clock continued to ring at this time. Although completely immobile, filled with tubes and surrounded by monitors, Brenda's body still screamed out at 3:00 each morning, 'Wake up; it's time to practice yoga.' As we will see, beneath Brenda's sweet , gentle exterior is a woman with incredible courage and tenacity.

Every morning at 3:00 a.m., Brenda asked an attendant to play a cassette tape of a yoga class. Each morning, as disciplined as she had been when she had full body function, Brenda flowed through the postures - mentally. In real time, she visualized each stretch, bend, twist and balance, making the same movements mentally as she had once done physically. She visualized that she could feel her body as she did the postures. Since Brenda was not the kind of person to watch television, she continued this practice throughout the day, mentally doing the postures over and over. Between her "classes" she practiced yoga breathing exercises and listened to chanting and meditation tapes. Even in her hospital bed, her life was filled with yoga.

One morning, about two weeks after following this daily routine, in the midst of doing the postures mentally, she felt a light on the left side of her ribs. It felt very warm. She felt like she could see and feel her ribs. A few weeks later she could feel some twitching in her toes. Six or eight weeks after the accident she started getting feelings back on the whole left side of her body-- from the toes to her head. But the right side was still totally numb.

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