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Life, in all its glory and wonder, can be quite confusing. As I have been confined to the bounds of my apartment for days, due to the ferocious winter landscape of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, I cannot help but appreciate the solitude and comfort of being able to work from home. Somehow, I found a position that has set me up for success. The trick now is finding a way to improve and master my operation as an employee. I find that seeking the ultimate resources is the way to go.

I work for a disability resource and referral network, Disability Hub MN™, and I am all about good resources. How can a guy like me find the best resources to fulfill my needs? I’d like to emphasize that it is not all about a person’s needs but also who they are, and what they are interested in. For example, I find that tea helps me relax while being able to stay concentrated on my present work. There are tons of different resources for anything involving tea. One issue currently is that the curb cuts are not shoveled, and many sidewalks are barely suitable for even able-bodied people. Luckily, I can order tea right to my apartment, and all I must do is Google “grocery delivery in St. Paul”. What about something bigger than tea, like getting a vehicle to get to and from work? There are great programs, such as Waiver Programs, that can help people by providing funds to help modify a van, to make it accessible. You can find out more about Waiver Programs, along with many other programs and services at mn.db101.org.

Resources don’t always need to be associated with work, disability, or services, at least in my case. I find that I need to move my body and get in touch with all my physical aspects, for which I prefer yoga. There is a great Adaptive Yoga program through Mind Body Solutions, which is perfect for persons with physical disabilities. I was inspired by Matthew Sanford, the founder of Mind Body Solutions, and his story of working with a yoga teacher, from the ground up, which turned into what we know today as Adaptive Yoga. Currently, I am taking a Yoga Teacher Training class at Radiant Life Yoga, where I am the only person who uses a wheelchair, and the instructors have not worked with a person who has a physical disability. I had to first contact the instructors and explain my “disability” situation, of which they happily agreed to accept my proposal to take the class, even though I can’t do any of the standing positions. Fortunately, the instructors are excited for the opportunity to explore new frontiers in their work. It is not an ideal situation, but what can I say, I am resourceful.

I was introduced to an Ojibwa Native American man, Dan Hull, who is also a paraplegic. He has given me great insight into navigating my path as a person who uses a wheelchair. Dan introduced me to the Sweat Lodge Ceremony. The sweat lodge is a resource that meets my spiritual needs, which then reflects in my work, and many other aspects of my life. A couple of my elders, in their sympathy for my being entrapped by the winter weather, have reminded me to think of the Bear Clan teachings, and the fact that it is ok, and even good to hibernate from time to time.

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Comment by Adrienne Kleinman on February 27, 2019 at 2:57am

Thabiso, as a fellow wheelchair user, I can really relate to your feeling of being trapped in your apartment during the snowiest of times! I often wonder why I still live in this state--and it always comes down to the people and my connections here. Solidarity to you as we finish out this winter!

Comment by Erika J. Kluge on February 15, 2019 at 7:56pm

Very interesting article Thabiso! I have wondered what one would do with all this snow and needing to navigate in a wheelchair. It is wonderful to have all the delivery services but unacceptable the the walkways are not better plowed. Thank you for sharing! 

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