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Lions Roar : May 2015
PHOTOBYDONNASVENNEVIK THE DICTIONARY TELLS US that a miracle is a phenomenon that is not explicable by scien- tific or natural laws, and is therefore often cred- ited to a divine agency. That may or may not be. I, for one, am comfortable simply standing humbly in awe before what is so astonishing. The instant my body was so badly injured, it began to heal. If that is not miraculous, I do not know what is. It brings me to my knees. Oh, what a beautiful and therapeutic tonic is gratitude. Gratefulness is not the only human experience, however, and like every- thing else, it is not immutable. Within a couple of days I entered into the most devastating, horribly despondent period of my life. I would not have believed that a basically happy, posi- tive person could feel so miserable and hopeless. The depths of despair seemed limitless and the days endless. The first morning at home, I stepped onto our scale and learned that I had lost twenty-five pounds. This was undoubt- edly the result of two months without real food and exercise, added to the damage done by the severe burns. I was previously in good shape and I was now scrawny and physically weak. For those who might be tempted, let me state clearly that I do not recommend this type of “crash” diet (pun intended). Fortu- nately, I enjoy food, but gaining back this amount of weight in a healthful manner was not going to happen quickly. It took eight months to gain the first ten pounds and I still have a way to go. I realized from that first day that my number-one priority, for as long as it took, had to be my healing. More bluntly stated, I had to put me first. It felt like a strange and egocentric view and, I would like to believe, not my usual way of thinking, but the reality was stark and clear. If I did not recover, my life would HOT OFF THE PRESS be miserable and I would be of little use to anyone. My wife, Susanna, had considerable pain emanating from her broken vertebrae. She should have taken the same approach to her recovery as I did to mine, but my inability to attend to my basic daily needs meant that for the time being, she would be balancing my needs with her own. She was mobile, and other than no lifting or bending, she was able to lead a fairly normal life, albeit hampered by a heavy, restrictive, neck-to-waist brace, which she was to wear nonstop during waking hours. Of the two of us, I had been the more seriously injured physically, and recovery was going to be challenging on every level—physical, mental, and emotional. I knew this, but I had no idea how formidable the actual journey was going to be. That challenge, the most daunting either of us had ever faced, would weigh heavily on both of us. Throughout the day I would want to lie down, not so much due to fatigue, although that cer- tainly was part of it, but because of what is known as the “freeze In this preview of Through the Flames, ALLAN LOKOS marvels at the despair, the joy, and the healing process that he and his wife experienced after surviving a horrific airplane crash. The Miraculous Body “Over time, my burns will heal,” Lokos told the Shambhala Sun in 2014. “The support from the sangha has been phenomenal. I’m very fortunate.” SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 73