Mind Over Matter: Healing doesn’t stop with the body

by M.R.

This is my first blogging experience, so I appreciate those of you who are taking the time to read this. Also, thank you to all of you who are continuing to keep track of our ever-growing progress as a foundation as we work to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of those suffering from catastrophic injuries; but I especially appreciate those of you who are overcoming major obstacles in your everyday lives.

That being said, I would like to elaborate a little bit on why I feel that addressing the physical aspects of an individual who has suffered a paralyzing injury is only one small aspect of maintaining that individual’s overall health, well-being, and ability to have a life worth living.

As I’m sure most of you know, I was in a diving accident seven years ago that left me paralyzed from the shoulders down. After my accident, I spent the following seven months in a handful of different hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and when I think back on it, it still surprises me that I’ve made it to this point considering how many truly near-death experiences I’ve encountered, and just how unhealthy I was after leaving the hospital.

In order to get my health and life back in order, my family did all they could for me by researching where I could receive the best rehabilitation; this search for the best care has taken me all across the country. In my experience, these top facilities have great physical rehabilitation programs that have been proven to maintain muscle mass, bone density, and in many cases, the regaining of motor functions after suffering a paralyzing injury. Despite the successful physical rehabilitation that I have experienced, many of these facilities are lacking programs to aid in a patient’s positive thinking and evolving spirit that would ensure that all aspects of their being were making the same recoveries that they were experiencing physically.

It is difficult to put into words the mental battles one experiences on a day-to-day basis after suffering such a horrific accident and lifestyle change. But what I can explain is the importance of helping people maintain a positive mindset that allows them to still explore what life has to offer, no matter what physical state their body may be in. Thanks to the support of my family and friends, I am able to win that battle most days.

M.R. and Jeff with the Hudson race truck.

I’ve been blessed with opportunities to experience many things in the past seven years that prior to my accident I had only dreamed of. I’ve been to more sporting events in the last five years than I had previously been to in my whole life. I have traveled the country from west to east coast in a motor home. I’ve even taken control of a race car at speeds nearing 140 mph. These are just a couple of experiences that keep me going and make me smile. But what I’m truly passionate about is being able to give these opportunities to people in similar situations that otherwise may never realize that a full, happy life is still possible after a life-changing injury.

I believe that building a center where people will not only explore their potential to regain the many physical aspects of their life they have lost, but also be taught to appreciate and cultivate the mind that God blessed them with is more important than I can accurately express. The mind is the most powerful thing we possess, and most importantly, we still have control over it regardless of the state of our bodies. As long as we can help people realize this, many of the limitations they feel daily will seemingly fade away. They will be able to begin to focus on what blessings they still possess instead of dwelling on what has been lost.

The difference in those two statements will make or break any person, no matter where they are in their life. Helping individuals focus on what makes them happy and giving them opportunities to realize they still have a life worth living will be a cornerstone of our rehabilitation center, and that emphasis on mind, body, and spirit will be what separates us from the rest.

I thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope it shines a little bit of light on our foundation’s mission. I thank you for your support, and on the behalf of the many others in my position that do not have a voice, I thank you even more.

God Bless,

MR Pattison

M.R. heading on to the field at a Seahawks game


0 Comments On “Mind Over Matter: Healing doesn’t stop with the body”

  1. Michael Ryan,
    I grew up w/your father and uncles and although I’ve not seen them for many years, I remember meeting you when you were just a baby.
    I also had the pleasure of meeting and caring for a young man named Eric Rea from 2000 thru 2004. Eric suffered an accident much like yours. He was snowboarding in Montana, where he was attending his first year of college. Like your parent’s and family, his were extremely involved in his care and rehabilitation and he had many friends and much support during his initial years of recovery. He always amazed me because he seemed to have such a remarkable attitude about his physical condition and did not let it limit him in pursuing his goals, which had been art and web development prior to his accident. He continued w/his art, w/the help of some assistive devices, and continued w/web design and eventually went to work for a corporation designing websites. While I was still with him, he got a new van, met a girl and began dating and looking for his own home. He moved out of his parent’s and when I spoke with him last, he had gotten a new service dog.
    Suffice to say, in reading your blog, you remind me of Eric, who was someone who touched my heart so much during the time I cared for him that I just wanted to respond to you and tell you that what you are doing is such a fantastic and very important thing and I hope that you will continue with blogging because, as you know, your mind is the most important thing and needs healing and rehabilitation to function in a new way just as your body learns to do things differently.
    People that have not been through what you, or Eric, or many other inspiring young men have, cannot understand the importance of support, both from friends, family and especially people like you who have been able to see the good things that have, and continue, to come your way.
    What you are doing is very cool, and please continue to blog even if it seems as if you have nothing to say some days. You never know when something you say or something you have done will touch a particular person and you will have changed their way of thinking about life, even if just for a day, which is a start.
    Your uncle Tim sent the site to me via FB and I will continue to read anything you write, so keep it up, I know a lot of other’s are reading too and not just here in Seattle, but all over the world via our great social media.
    Please tell your father that I said hello when you have a chance. He and your mom obviously raised a wonderful young man and they should be very proud. Lots of love to you.

  2. Hi, M.R., I was introduced to your foundation through Todd Stabelfeldt. My husband, Dan, had a C4/5 incomplete SCI 42 years this week! We have had a wonderful if challenging life (doesn’t everybody?) Dan worked, full time, in an office without a personal assistant for almost 25 years after getting his Business degree at the UW. We now have a small tax/consulting business. We live near Tacoma.
    Writing a blog like this is a very powerful way to touch the hearts and minds of folks who aren’t as far along in their journey as you are. I am so impressed with your spirit and the mission of your foundation. I hope we can be a part of it in some small way, even thought we are old folks! I look forward to meeting you sometime, soon. Warm regards, Gail

  3. M.R. as i look through our family photo’s i see you, a strong baby, a smile that could break any heart, and a soul that outshines the sun! I just want to let you know, how you have touched my life. You have given me the ability to take my own hardships, and compassoinality used them to strengthen others where they may be weak. I take nothing for face value, and try to be of service where ever God want’s to use me. I have been a wittness to your sufferings, and to your strengths of accomplishments.. Iam proud to be a friend of Jesus, because i know first hand, it takes a village to raise a child, and we all belong to this village of life. Without you here with us, life would have lost a very important purpose..And i would have lost a angel..Thank you M.R. for your EVERYTHING!! God truely blessed us all with the life of his child..”YOU”..My Aloha to you..Auntie Erin

  4. Hi my name is Cathy, my daughter is Tara and she is amazing. Tara dove into a swimming pool one month ago and broker her neck. She is c6/incomplete and has the movement of her shoulders and above. She is a blessing to say the least. Tara never stops smiling, she makes all of us feel better when it is us who should be cheering her up. She made a video only days post surgery telling the world to slow down. This amazing young lady’s message is just this, ” little things, material things, fashion, popularity, money”……..they just don’t matter. What does matter is that you love your family, respect them and their love for you. Respect yourself, take things slow, tomorrow isn’t promised and if you are the best you that you can be, then God forbid he thinks its your time, then you can lay down and know you have lived your life the way you should have. Tara always wants to take the time to tell those around her how much they mean to her, that she is still the same person inside even though her body isn’t responding on the outside. This accident is still brand new, she is barely scratching the surface of the amazing things she will be learning. She treats each day at rehab like a day of work. She wakes for work and is gone for many hours, while she is in rehab she never gives up. No task the therapists ask her to do is ever too sill. She is aware of her body and her limitations, but she still works hard in the hopes of a miracle. We never know who the angels are that walk among us. They come in all forms, from the physical therapist to the personal care aids that keep her clean and well groomed. The nursing staff and physicians are all top notch. The other staff try to make her stay as happy and comfort able as possible, and for that she and we are eternally grateful. She is making amazing progress but we are also aware that she has an uphill battle and we believe she is ready for it.
    Thank you so much for sharing your views on the power of our minds. We have said to Tara from the start that ” if you bring the mind the body will follow.”
    You sound like an amazing person and I will follow all your postings. Keep up the good work, maybe one day you and Tara can talk. She should hear your views from your own mouth, and just maybe something she believes will help someone else.
    God Bless You and your Family/
    The Acceta’s

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