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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is having a disability in any way like being gay?

In light of the recent landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage in my home state of New York, I decided to repost an except from an older blog with a few modifications to the wording. Please feel at home to leave your opinions. Please be civil.
...Proponents of [same-sex marriage] argue simple equality under the law while opponents declare gay marriage to be an idea inconsistent with the unique, male- to-female complementary relationship that exists by nature.
I have struggled in my own mind with this topic, as I have gay friends, both religious and secular, with whom I cannot dare to imply that I oppose their individual happiness. As a recently engaged man, I cannot imagine being told that my love for my wife-to-be is somehow invalid because someone else entirely detached from our intimate bond, (a bond both of us feel was gifted to us [by God], has declared it un-Godly by its very existence. Still, I readily identify and adhere to the notion that homosexuality is non-functional scientifically and procreativity and is simply incompatible with God's and/or nature's ideal in a similar way as that of my own Cerebral Palsy. Ideally, I should walk, and yet I cannot. I am logically the non-ideal of nature's design -- and yet I remain as unique as anything else in God's creation.... Homosexuality in its inability to produce life is therefore seen as an "affective disorder" likened to a kind of sexual disability. 

There is {also] the point that while male-female relations create life and prolong humanity, homosexual relations do not.  Yet to my thinking, this arguement is similar to saying that because I use a wheelchair, I am unfit to raise children because I cannot draw from the emotions, tendencies and experiences of able-bodied people.  (Original source:

Readers, what do you think? Are there any similarities between disability and certain sexual orientations?

Roll on!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Visualize what you want as if it is already here

Canadian Hip Hop superstar and actor Wes "Maestro" Williams' recent motivational "vision"

As someone who, as it seems to me, is sometimes seen as an inspiration to the uninformed about disability for my positivity (as if I should be in a closet or a cage in some remote outer province of Transylvania), I thought I'd take some of that insight and put it to use here. I recently started a journal of my goals which I call a "vision book" after reading about the idea in rapper and actor Wes Williams' book Stick to Your Vision. It's a simple concept really. It's all about writing down (or recording) your goals. But my and many others' preferred method is to do this in the present tense as if the events have already happened. I started doing this after picturing and having general faith that certain financial things have come to pass -- and they have I have nearly closed deals in less than two weeks that would almost equal my past monthly Social Security/disability checks.

Here's an exercise:

Instead of writing in your journal:" I want $20,000 so that I can pay off my student loan, and catch up on my bills."

Write something like this: "I'm making $5,000.00 a month a (Write the .00 to help you picture a check with that amount written on it.) and I'm well on my way to financial freedom!"

If you're asking, "Why the @&*! would just saying something make it happen?" You'd be smart to ask that question. But the real answer is that besides the fact that many religions and cultures teach the practice of unwavering faith as when Jesus says in Mark 11:24 that we should believe that we have received it and it shall be given to us, doing this  MOTIVATES YOU LIKE CRAZY! Your thoughts affect all aspects of your life -- think about it. When you're in a positive mindset, you have more energy, you have better health and you now have focus to do exactly what you need to do. You'll also find that your mind, if driven by what I like to call "positive pressure," can come up with ways to make it happen!

Try it out. It will work!

Roll on!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Wheelchair Philosopher Presents: Mega Motivation Audio and Video Course by Email (Pick your price!) From $25

Please be advised that the media listed below were obtained for free in the public domain and elsewhere throughout the Internet.

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Getting motivated can be tricky at times. We use a multitude of excuses: "It's too early in the morning!" "I'm too old!" "The economy is crap!" But in reality, if you can get past your excuses, fears, "what ifs" and generally bad habits, you'll find that if you start small, nothing is totally impossible.

My ten-week email course covers and guides you through:

Yes You Can by Jim Donovan

The Best of Steve Pavlina's Motivational Blog Podcast

The Best of James Allen including As a Man Thinketh and The Heavenly Life by Librivox

Infinite Possibility by Marianne Williamson

The Science of Being Great by Wallace D. Wattles

**Act soon while they're still streaming online and get your choice of full-length audiobooks for me to personally guide you through such titles as Dr. Wayne Dyer's Inspiration, Gregg Braden's The Spontaneous Healing of Belief and Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist. [Sparknotes for The Alchemist] (These are on YouTube and may be taken down at the user's discretion.)


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To sign up and get motivated like never before, send an email to today!

Roll on!

Monday, June 27, 2011

This symbol is truly worth a thousand words of Wheelchair Philosophy

To buy this button and other cool gear with the "3E heart" symbol of acceptance for those with disabilities... and the ones who love us/them,  visit, Stevie Hopkins and company at You can also check him out and "like" 3ELove on Facebook at

Check out 3ELove as part of the Pepsi Refresh Project at Leave me your thoughts below and until next time....

Roll on!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alice, age 15, writes about her battle with terminal cancer on her 'Bucket List' blog

I found this blog just last night in the Blogspot Blogs of Note. As a guy who is somehow always told how fearless he is, I'd be remiss if I failed to point out that my CP, though taxing at moments, is not even remotely similar or comparable to a terminal illness. But for a young blogger named Alice, that very thing is the source of her inspiration -- a word that my favorite motivational Ph.D Dr. Wayne Dyer reminds me is rooted in the phrase "in spirit." or "God-breathed." I have no doubt that young Alice is living as such with each new day she faces.

 The blog entitled Alice's Bucket List chronicles fifteen-year-old UK native Alice's quest for fun as she battles her way away from death's door to live every day as if it is her last. I was so enraptured by this young woman's story that I've decided to urge you beyond any slight measure of doubt to support her blog as well her spirit. She's fighting a terminal form of cancer that, as she braces to say, is "gaining on her." However, Alice remains ever undaunted and undeterred by her "disease" as she seemingly flies into the winds of adversity like a skydiver gliding and rolling her way through life's many wonders in a sort of magical, gravity-of-the-situation-defying upward pull toward Heaven.

From the blog:
"I'm 15 and I have terminal cancer. I've created a bucket list because there are so many things I still want to do in my life ... some are possible, some will remain a dream. My blog is to document this precious time with my family and friends, doing the things I want to do. You only have one life ... live it!"

Join me is rallying support for this brave young girl by reading or donating to her blog's cause at

To donate to cancer research and a multiplicity of other causes through FREE sponsored clicks, go to

To get an affordable copy of Dr.Wayne Dyer's book Inspiration, search  for it on at the link here. (This link also gives 4% to 8% of your total purchase to Mercy Corps).

Finally, to pass this post to over 15 million potential readers go to

...Roll on!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Apparently having paratransit buses run during standard business hours is too difficult -- what? (Re-edited 11/5/12)

This past March, I wrote the letter below in an effort to get the handicapped transportation in my town (otherwise known as paratransit) to run to accommodate 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. standard business hours and a fifteen-mile radius of travel.

March 10, 2011

Michael LaPenna


Pine Bush, NY 12566

Town of Crawford Board

121 Rt 302

Pine Bush, NY 12566

March 10, 2011

Michael LaPenna


Pine Bush, NY 12566

Town of Crawford Board

121 Rt 302

Pine Bush, NY 12566

Distinguished Board Members:

My name is Michael LaPenna. I am a thirty-year-old resident of Pine Bush, New York. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and was raised in what one might consider a typical family of five, put through K-12 education in the Pine Bush School District, and began my college career at Orange County Community College. I pursued Communications, and completed an Associate’s degree in Applied Sciences in May of 2002 and like most young men in their twenties, viewed the world wide-eyed and hopeful and with that youthful vigor I took to my best skills: DJing parties for friends and associates, beginning a screenplay which would become a novel, and exploring freelance writing as a career for a couple of years until enrolling in the State University of New York a New Paltz in 2005 where I majored in Media Management – Communications. There I hosted a college radio show, joined a poetry team and met my future wife among a multitude of other priceless experiences, memories and friendships that I will hold dearly in heart for the rest of my life.

Since receiving my B.A. in May of 2007 after discovering that sales, marketing and the like just weren’t in my heart, I fervently pursued freelance writing—and while I have loved it, the market just has not paid very well. So like any enterprising person, I have soldiered on in the hope of finding work where I can get it. I even went so far as to enlist the services of a job coach this past summer at Independent Living Inc, in Newburgh, New York. I did so not because I thought I needed training in how to write a resume, how to speak, how dress and present myself at an interview, but because my disability limited my ability to work. This is a fact which my optimism continues to move beyond in a mental sense. However, reality is what is it is: I cannot do manual labor, build houses, dig ditches, wait tables in a restaurant, move furniture, stock high shelves and so forth. But moreover and most frustrating is the fact that my disability (as of today’s technological availabilities), completely prohibits me from being able to drive a car. For many years, I thought I would be able to get some type of hand controls to assist me in driving similar to those used by other wheelchair users like me—but as providence would have it, I would not be able to drive. The reality of this eventually led me to seek other means, and so I did. My search led my everywhere in the valley and I eventually found that there were ambulette services in my area that would cover the cost of my travels so long as I received proper approval from the State Medicaid office. I was thankful and I counted on this fact to assure and ensure my successful travel to and from any job that I would obtain in the future. And so filled with hope, this past summer I applied to jobs as many jobs as I could.

I spent a vast majority of my time combing the Internet, making lists of ideal jobs, writing cold letters and making phone calls to all jobs within range and consulting with my job coach on how to perfect my approaches on all levels. Within only a week, I had made several new contacts and was feeling great! I set up several interviews and finally I found and received a paying, part-time job with local Boys and Girls Club. I was excited! The job wouldn’t be high paying, but it was literally five minutes from my house! All that was left to do was to book my hours with the ambulette service. I called to book my hours and things were underway until I was asked where I would be going. I gave the address. That seemed fine. When I was asked my reason for going to the address I said, “It’s for a job at the Boys and Girls Club.” “Oh,” the woman on the phone replied with an apparent tinge of dread in her voice. She sympathized and told me if I took Wallkill Masters Coach to a job five minutes from my house, I would have to pay $75.00 per day plus mileage. I explained that I had accepted the job on the premise that I would have transportation. I was then told to call another office. That office told me the same thing. I was told this time in no uncertain terms that ambulette service only covers medical visits, medical equipment shipping and that the Medicaid system does not pay for work-related transportation.

I then spent the next three and a half hours on the phone with local transportation in valley only to find that although there are five disabled transport services in my area, (four of which are approximately within a fifteen-mile radius) but only the Town of Montgomery-Crawford Dial-A-Bus would be able to transport me. Not only is it currently the only service available, but the bus stops, running at 4.00 p.m., so therefore, I would never be able to be picked up from a nine to five, standard, eight-hour work day. Why paratransit is not already mandated by law to run a corporate business schedule is beyond all logic to me.

This nation though it may not be perfect, was founded on the indelible principles set forth by Thomas Jefferson and our forefathers 235 years ago in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is in this vein that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 was put into law: to say that if we are all born into this world as equal, if we believe this to be a universal truth beyond all race, religion, creed, class or sex, we must include those persons who have through no intention of their own, been born with a hardship to be overcome. In this vital sense, does the pursuit of our happiness not logically and without any doubt whatsoever include the means to earn a living wage? Does it not include the absolute right to access to travel during a standard business day? I, like you, have worked to overcome obstacles to have access to education, to go to college, to live life as normally as possible. I cite the following excerpt from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to point out a current flaw in the current “fixed route” rule as it pertains to reasonable access for persons with disabilities:


(a) General Rule. It shall be considered discrimination for purposes of section 202 of this Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) for a public entity which operates a fixed route system (other than a system which provides solely commuter bus service) to fail to provide with respect to the operations of its fixed route system, in accordance with this section, paratransit and other special transportation services to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, that are sufficient to provide to such individuals a level of service (1) which is comparable to the level of designated public transportation services provided to individuals without disabilities using such system; or (2) in the case of response time, which is comparable, to the extent practicable, to the level of designated public transportation services provided to individuals without disabilities using such system.

Such a “fixed route” rule allows passengers’ work hours to be at the mercy of any fixed route chosen by the provider—and bear in mind it being so with far fewer options then say, the New York City subway system with multiple trains and routes.

In my own case, the Town of Montgomery-Crawford Dial-A-Bus service stops running at 4.00 p.m. when in reality, the average worker would likely need it to run until between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. depending on how far the distance required to travel may be. So in closing, I ask and propose to all relevant parties and town officials that disabled transport services and paratransit in the Town of Montgomery-Crawford be extended to run to accommodate 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. standard business hours within a fifteen-mile

radius to allow fair and equal access to a living wage. I ask this knowing that the rights to both transportation and earning a living are essential to any productive citizenry.

In humble gratitude,

Michael LaPenna

This is the reply I received one and a half weeks later...

Dear Mr. LaPenna:

I received your letter regarding transportation after the normal hour of the Town of Montgomery/Crawford Dial-A-Bus. I applaud your initiative and hope a solution can be found to your problem. Unfortunately this is a fixed bus schedule transportation service. If we changed the hours to service you others would surely ask for nighttime hours. (Me: No, REALLY? Because that wasn't the entire point of my letter.) :(

I encourage you to write your public officials if you, like I, feel there should be legislation to make sure these kinds of situations never happen again.

... And Life must roll on! Wish me luck!

Monday, June 20, 2011

What does the media actually perceive to be a disability?

The following piece, originally entitled, Framing Disability in the Media: A Case Study, is an introspective glimpse into the media’s portrayal of disabled persons through my own experience as a person living with a disability. It includes a case study of a February 2006 Associated Press article which document the then ubiquitous story of autistic teen Jason McElwain’s 20-point basketball shocker. A condensed version of the piece was also featured in the Poughkeepsie Journal in the summer of 2007 in the paper’s “Valley Views” section. Below is the full text of the original paper I wrote in the spring of 2007.

“Hello, my name is Michael LaPenna and I was born with Cerebral Palsy.” That sentence, though it might be phrased differently with each time its contents are uttered, garners a wide variety of reactions from the many people I encounter in my daily life. Responses range from the simple, “Oh, really?” to the inquisitive, “What’s that like?” and the ever popular and furthermore blatantly ignorant, “Wow, it’s great to see you out!” These examples vary only slightly with each time one is said, but nevertheless, they are said with such ease and frequency that recalling them as I speak now, is almost as easy as blinking my eyes. Moreover, personal experiences such as these cause me to wonder what in our general society causes people to think, act, and react in this way. This case study is my attempt to answer this question with uncompromised honesty and integrity. In doing so, I have come to the conclusion that such uninformed and ignorant reactions are not necessarily the fault of those who give them, but more so reflect the misinformed nature of the mainstream media at it relates to disability.

Very often, I have noticed that disabled people in print, film, and public display have been shown as broken, inept charity cases in need of help as they were in 1980s telethons and today’s fleeting coverage of the “Special” Olympics and Paralympic Games. Or conversely, they are shown as triumphant overcomers of great hardship and pain as portrayed in the films, A Beautiful Mind, Forest Gump and Radio (films that largely focus on a horrific struggle of mental illness and disability). In many instances, these two portrayals may very well be accurate. For those who do suffer, I would wish that their suffering be eased. I doubt vehemently, however, that they would like to be permanently perceived in such a light. But more to my point is the fact that many are not in pain, depressed, alone or incapable of leading healthy, productive lives. They (as well as I) can be seen as happy, intelligent, dynamic, sexy or any number of positive adjectives! This case study is my attempt to change the dominant and mostly incorrect perceptions of disability and affirm more positive representations.
One such example is the Associated Press February 2006 story of an autistic high school senior’s unbelievable 20 points scored in the final four minutes of his basketball team’s final game of the 2006 season. The article is entitled, “Autistic teen’s 20-point night touches all.” It is centered around Jason McElwain, a 17-year-old equipment manager for the Athena Greece High School basketball team in Greece, NY. The general frame of the article was the usual tabloid-like inspirational story of legend.

From the very first sentence, McElwain is shown to be the ultimate man on the sidelines: “Jason McElwain had done everything he was asked to do for the Greece Athena High School basketball team — keep the stats, run the clock, hand out water bottles.” But then as if filming a Hollywood drama, the hardworking McElwain is put into the game while the team has a sizeable lead. He scores 20 points: six three-point shots and one two-pointer to make the final score, 79-43 in favor of the home team. McElwain is hoisted atop his teammates’ shoulders conjuring the town hero cliché for sure. He is quoted as saying, “I ended my career on the right note.” The article proceeds to portray McElwain as the town hero as he is mobbed by autograph-seeking fans while sitting down for a meal at a local restaurant. This is followed by a “touching” backstory in which the reader is informed of McElwain’s lifelong struggle. One discovers that the young man who is described as “dedicated” by his coach was too small at 5’ 6” to make the Junior Varsity team and thus took on the role of team manager as an alternative to playing. McElwain did the same on the Varsity level. Coach Jim Johnson is paraphrased saying that he was impressed with McElwain’s dedication, and as a result thought about allowing McElwain to play in the home finale. Johnson later describes McElwain as “such a great help” and “well-liked by everyone on the team,” to add a sympathetic touch. Then, the reader is informed of McElwain’s not being able to speak until age five and his early lack of social skills— skills that improved as he got older. The piece continues with an emotional dramatization of McElwain’s famed four minutes documenting all the major twists and turns, his missed attempts which at first scared onlookers, and of course his 20 points.

In the midst of the chaos, both McElwain and his father David who is watching from the bleachers, are unphased. McElwain’s father adds, “The thing about Jason is he isn’t afraid of anything. He doesn’t care what people think about him. He is his own person.” Eventually, the drama unfolds with McElwain hitting shot after shot as the crowd is awestruck by his performance. Finally, the piece wraps with talk of McElwain’s team’s shot at a section title and reminds the reader that McElwain will not be playing in any more games. It does say, however, that McElwain plans to play basketball at Monroe Community College where he will study Business Management.

On the whole, this article conveys what is to be expected of a sensational news story: drama, elation, struggle and triumph. It has elements that are typical of any human interest frame. The reader sees a young, enthusiastic team manager who loves basketball finally get the chance to be in a game. This is followed by an amazing feat of athletic talent in which the young man is able to score 20 points in four minutes. And yet the drama does not end only with this young boy’s amazing achievement (by almost any standard), but rather is highlighted further by the boy’s being autistic and it is then framed around the boy’s disability.

 As a person who has lived with a disability all of my life, I find this frame to be unnecessary, stereotypical and exploitive of someone with a disability. To me, as I see him, Jason McElwain as a highly functioning autistic male who, though having struggled in his speech and social skills, has overcome nearly all of his setbacks. I make this observation interestingly enough, after seeing video of both McElwain’s play and his speaking ability. When I saw the footage of the game and post game interview, I did not see a horribly incapable or sick person. I saw an articulate young man with a slightly slower speech pattern who did a great athletic thing. To score 20 points in four minutes is a great achievement for any player, not only for one with a developmental disability. If anything, it shows that being expected not to be able to do a thing makes one more inclined to do it, and at times, better than expected. However, this article is framed like a charity endorsement in which a loving coach decides to fulfill his philanthropic duty to the world by letting the “special” kid in the game. Would Jason McElwain have gotten such a once-in-a-lifetime chance if he had just been the team manager who was short and bad at basketball? Maybe he would have. But in my high school, if you were not on the roster, you did not play ever. Further showing that he is not in need of such gratuity is the fact that McElwain is planning to study Business Management in college. So by my standard, he is not only normal, but more than likely, quite smart in some aspects.

As far as McElwain’s being a hero is concerned, I feel that might be warranted. Again, scoring 20 points in four minutes might make any player, let alone a team manager, a hero. However, when his coach goes out of his way to emphasize the “disabled” boy’s being well liked. The statement very much carries with it an aura of charity. Statements such as this and a title like, “Autistic teen… touches all,” evoke nothing but a kind of inspirational pity that has long plagued people with disabilities. It is as if one were to replace my earlier example of, “It’s great to see you out!” with “It’s great to see someone like you score so many points!” In my heart of hearts, I feel that Jason McElwain and others like him simply need to be respected for who they are as human beings first and seen as disabled people only if relevant to the situation. By this I mean, if McElwain were a double-arm amputee who scored 20 points shooting with his feet, I would be astonished! However, he was just a team manager who practiced with his team, developed his skills, and got a chance that most team managers do not. So, therefore, to me Jason McElwain is still a hero, but only in the sense that he has proven to me that one should not be dissuaded from one’s hopes and dreams by others’ false impressions of what is possible, but rather one should be driven enough to prove those naysayers wrong. 

//In summation, I would hope that this case study opens the eyes of whoever reads it. Mine, I feel, is an opinion shared by many [people with disabilities]. It is one that says one’s only limitations are either self-imposed or imposed by the greater society when it places limitations where they need not be, whether this comes in the form of a lack of wheelchair access or a false perception that autistic people cannot play basketball. To these ends, I ask on behalf of Jason McElwain, myself and other “disabled people” that the media, as well as society as a whole, stop seeing us only as pitiful or inspiring, but instead try something new and see us for the human beings we are.

...Roll on!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wheelchair Philosophy #1: I'm different, so is everybody. (Section 1)

“Perpetual Motion” (Prose poem)

Since the beginning, I have wandered this land unable to stand on common ground sitting down in this wheelchair as myself. No more. No less. The child made of difference at conception, reflecting in my eyes the gift of true perception…. For I have no precedent and thus, no prejudice, because prejudice would require a pre-judging to which I could be held.  Plus, most people say they've never met anyone in my situation. Thus, I feel as though I am birthing a new nation for which there is no lineage, no heritage, only the evolution of movement.

That movement is enacted from this wheelchair that indeed tries to define my nature in my unnatural habitat. You see there is no archetypal family of wheelchairs chillin' at Applebees. When was the last time you heard '"Wheelchair, Party of six?"  It doesn't exist. There is no handicapped cultural gumbo, mambo or martial art to impart to the world. And if there is, it was created for sake of convention, honorable mention and retention of pride and identity. But, you see, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida and Quadriplegia, Scoliosis and Multiple Sclerosis are not very alike…. And I'm like, "People, NO, I don't know some random guy in a wheelchair and further, why is that the first question out of your mouth, my man?"

He seems, like others to forget Hello. "Hi!” "How are you?" "What's up?" "What's good?" "What's crackin?" "What it is?"  "What it do?" And all I'm left to ponder is what makes this man actually think his question is one that I would be able to answer? "Does he not realize his gross assumption? It would be the same if one were to assume someone of a certain race knew all others of that same race in the community.  This, my friends, is the same mentality that allowed the guy in the movie theatre to give the now infamous, "Good for you buddy" charity monologue in which he would sprinkle inspirational wisdom with inter-personal ignorance and note, I did not say impotence, because just to say the things he said to me, that dude had had to have some big ones. "How'd you get hurt?" "What happened to you?" "Oh! She's your girlfriend? Does your mother know you have girlfriend?"   "Good for you!" "It must be hard!"  "Do you get depressed?" And there is of course the ever overused, "It's GREAT to see you out," which is most commonly and haphazardly articulated by complete strangers or ravers, or drunks or altogether overly excited club hoppers. I feel like saying, "Yeah, they let me out of my cage in the lab just to talk to Your Worldly Highness that I might be so inspired not to kill myself!" This particular "gentleman" of whom I speak was a microcosm of many bewildering years of cheers, jeers and tattooed tears expressed by the minds of those who simply did not know.

They didn't know how I've been blessed to grow to learn to burn to earn that which I am in this, my unnatural habitat. I am a jungle cat who is humbled by his blue stripes and green tongue while so many others see only in black and white! Yes I am Irish and Italian and American born but none of these my chair has sworn.  For the only race it knows is perpetual motion. Its only creed is that of reality.

For you see, I've never really had a home anywhere but my own. There are wheelchair races but those races have no races, only various faces. We all make our own places fillin' in the spaces like the nomadic tribes of Pangaea Postpartum … and somehow they want to give us medals in the Paralympics like we ever knew what the frick we were doin'. All I know is I'm just livin'!
I'm livin' for the city, the country, the backyards, the backwoods, the new trees, the old hoods of this united nation. Yet I am not defined by steel wheels, Roosevelt's New Deal or George W. Bush's Patriot Act. For this chair's motion is an ever-evolving act of Congress never in need of amendment. It labors toward its own industrious revolutions. My home is wherever I may roam…. Call me Metallica! These wheels keep spinning like hip hop turntables as they the stand upright to support my weight. These wheels never hesitate. They only journey to new lands, the Holy Land, lemonade stands, New York, L.A. and Tokyo Japan.  They receive tribal markings from Aboriginal people from down under me who stitch my patchwork across a neo- prolific land bridge… I'm bridging the gaps, as I have been doing for years.

I'm the kid in the wheelchair who lived next to the East Indians, across from the Jews who lived between a Polish family and a black family and a Puerto Rican fam up at the top of the hill.  But we called them names like Sariya, Brian, Alyssa, Dave, Evan, Mike, Asad, Vinny, Abbey, and Scott. All involved were united in our love of swimming pools, Nintendo, barbeque and just being human!

Ah, but humanity is such a funny word encompassing the absurd, the normal and the trans-formal. Jews and gentiles align in textiles but so many of them have never learned to sow. Chinese silk robes and Native American oak sculpture lay untouched and unseen by those trapped in forests— wildernesses fastened and fashioned in the name of ethnocentric concentric circles. And my wheelchair makes circles around these circles sweeping up ignorance like monsoons hoping that somehow these winds bring swift rain like holy water at Pentecost and become the ancient tongues of the Apostles. But don't take these words as Gospel for fear that I may blaspheme the Truth.

Glory, glory, glory be unto he who speaks the Truth. I'd once been told the Truth in its most immediate form never has to be debated, only understood. I often see that many have never known the Truth as I have.  I watch painfully today as the faithful fall to their knees to pray for my healing with words cased in cathedral ceilings. The parishioners proceed to anoint my body with blessings evanescently bubbling and floating— humming hymns of him and her in vain!

"I'm blessed enough already, my brother," I whisper  candidly to a man with eyes closed so tightly that he looks as if he's squeezing orange juice out of his tear ducts as he searches for that Vitamin C, C, C, C, C, C, C, H-R-I-S…T! I respond, "I am grateful for every moment… every moment that might allow my wheelchair be vessel for WE, WE, WE, who are all one.  I say to him, "What if I am the rebirth of Leviticus 21:16? Know what I mean?" He says, "No." and I reply, "So maybe that's not your scene."  "Sir, I am not suffering, but suffrage-ing… voting to believe beyond what you see in me. I vote for love, life, prosperity and joy among us. For these are wheels of perpetual motion with no need for you to be so worried!  Please stop before you have a heart attack in mid-prayer. Amen!"

And at times like these, my wheelchair spins the blemishes once shunned by the Priests of Aaron into dust. For all Humankind is and ever was dust.  We are but dust on the Divine Conscience that has created us.  I shout amongst the clergy, "Don't worry so much about my healing. Because I have my days when I can see the mountain top as I drag the Shadow of Death across my back.  I sow seeds in the Valley with my wheelchair's tire tracks!" In its travels my chair has discovered that I am not blemished, cursed, sick or diseased.  I am living as just me, made of dust and difference with only reality as my precedent.  I am as unique as each of us who is made to breathe.  We are as unique as we believe. Yet, we are similar enough that we must realize what we can achieve… together.

...Roll on!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rolling 'Foreword': These quotes will keep you moving!

The following motivational and inspirational quotations are 100 of the greatest ever according to Global One TV and Enjoy!

1. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

 Make each day your masterpiece.

John Wooden

 Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity. Reduce selfishness, have few desires.

Lao Tzu

4. If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

5. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

6. Fall seven times, stand up eight!

Japanese Proverbs

7. I am bigger than anything that can happen to me. All these things, sorrow, misfortune, and suffering, are outside my door. I am in the house and I have the key.

Charles Fletcher Lummis

8. Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.

William Ellery Channing

9. The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton

10. No pressure, no diamonds.

Mary Case

11. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.

Jack London

12. Everything you need is already inside. Just do it.

Bill Bowerman (Nike)

 Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.

Theodore Roosevelt

14. Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it.

Author Unknown

15. The best dreams happen when you’re awake.

Cherie Gilderbloom

16. God, grant me the serenity to accept things that I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can; And the wisdom to know the difference.

Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr

 You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

18. Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.

Mary Manin Morrissey

19. To change one’s life; Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.

William James

20. Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.

Les Brown

21. There will be sleeping enough in the Grave.

Benjamin Franklin

22. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw

23. Life is either daring adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller

24. If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page.

Mark Houlahan

25. Don’t make me walk when I want to fly.

Galina Doyla

26. A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them.

Leonard Louis Levinson

27. Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.

Christopher Reeve

28. The best is yet to be.

Robert Browning

29. I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.

Og Mandino
30. We were born to succeed, not to fail.

Henry David Thoreau

 Tough times never last, but tough people do.

Dr. Robert Schuller

32. Carpe diem. (Seize the day.)

Dr. Horace

33. Nobody ever drowned in sweat

US Marine saying

34. Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.

Vince Lombardi (one of the most successful coaches in the history of American football in his first team meeting as Packers coach)

35. Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.

Norman Vincent Peale

36. Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

Charles Kettering

37. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.

Henry Ford

38. Reach up as far as you can and God will help you reach the rest of the way.

Greg Hickman

39. Never, never, never give up.

Winston Churchill ( In his later years, Winston Churchill was asked to give the commencement address at Oxford University. Following his introduction, he rose, went to the podium, and said the above 5 words. Then he took his seat.)

40. Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

41. It’s easy enough to be pleasant, when life flows along like a song, but the man worthwhile is the man with a smile, when everything goes dead wrong.

Author Unknown.

42. Everyday, give yourself a good mental shampoo.

Dr. Sara Jordan

43. Realize that true happiness lies within you.


44. When one door of happiness closes, another opens: but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Helen Keller

45. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Joan Collins

46. Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

47. Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.


48. This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God.

Walt Whitman

49. In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.

Deepak Chopra

50. If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.

David Carradine

51. Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.

Mario Fernandez

52. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.

Jim Rohn

53. Celebrate your success and find humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song.

Sam Walton (founder of Walmart)

 Keep your face to the sunshine and you can never see the shadow.

Helen Keller

55. Those who wish to sing, always find a song.

Swedish Proverb

56. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.


57. Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.

Helen Keller

58. Don’t count the days, make the days count.

Muhammad Ali

59. Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning. At sunrise, every soul is born again.

Author Unknown

60. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers.

Walter Hagen

61. Love all. Serve all. Help ever. Hurt never.

Author Unknown

62. Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.

63. Dance as though no one is watching you,
Love as though you have never been hurt before,
Sing as though no one can hear you,
Live as though heaven is on earth.


64. You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.

Henry Drummond

 Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Teilhard de Chardin

 We do not sing because we are happy, we are happy because we sing.

William James

 Waste no tears over the grieves of yesterday.


68. The moon lives in the lining of your skin.

Pablo Neruda

69. He who climbs above the cares of this world, and turns his face to his God, has found the sunny side of life.


70. Never think that God’s delays are God’s denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius.

Georges-Louis Leclere De Buffon

71. It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.

Vince Lombardi

72. Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

Abraham Lincoln

73. Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

74. Use what talents you possess; The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

Henry Van Dyke

75. When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

John Ruskin

76. Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.

Leonardo Da Vinci

77. You must not only aim right, but draw the bow with all your might.

Henry David Thoreau

78. Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.

Robert F. Kennedy

 So long as there is breath in me, that long will I persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles of success; If I persist long enough I will win.

Og Mandino

80. Success and rest don’t sleep together.

Russian proverb

81. The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.

Napoleon Hill

82. We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.

Kenji Miyazawa

83. If you’re going through Hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

84. Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.


85. Remember the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.

Ho Chi Minh

86. In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

87. When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.

Napoleon Hill

88. In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.

Albert Einstein

89. God never sends us more than we can handle.

Mother Theresa

90. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.

Mary Kay Ash

91. Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

Christian Larson

92. It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible.

Henry Ward Beecher

93. The things that hurt us teach us.

Author Unknown

94. What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

95. The oyster turns into pearl the sand which annoys it.

Sidney Newton Bremer

96. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein

97. Light tomorrow with today.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

98. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Will Rogers

99. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau

 A year from now you may wish you had started today.

Karen Lamb

BONUS: My gig - Get motivated in five minutes for $5!

Come back tomorrow for Wheelchair Philosophy #1: I'm different, so is everybody. Until then... roll on!