ACT2MOVE MOVE2ACT Injury, Empathy, and Healing

Sep 10, 2013
Tagged with: ACT2MOVE MOVE2ACT Injury, Empathy, and Healing

Dr. Bloom and I are working on singing the song “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from Kiss Me Kate, the musical version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.  One of the goals of singing this song is to get Dr. Bloom’s hands all the way up to his head, as though he is brushing his hair, a play on the words “brush up.” 

Some months ago when we were working on another gesture which involved raising up the arms of Dr. Bloom , he said, “I don’t mean to complain or sound like I am feeling sorry for myself, but my arms feel like “Popeye” arms.  They are so heavy.  That is why it’s so hard to lift them like this.”  He said this as he lifted his arms to shoulder height.  Now, he can reach past his shoulders, nearly to his head, even with the heaviness.

I recently injured one of my rotator cuff tendons and in the scheme of things, this is such a minor injury. Yet, I feel like the joke is minor when it happens to someone else. This tiny injury pops up when I buckle my seatbelt, close the car door, reach for a coffee cup, and lift groceries.

So, I find myself thinking about not being able to do things that I used to do so easily, such as buckle my seatbelt.  Then I find myself thinking about Dr. Bloom and the arms that he has managed to lift.  I like to think I am a compassionate and empathetic person.  After all, I often think about Dr. Bloom and his C3 incomplete spinal cord injury.  I marvel at all that he has accomplished in his life, before and after his injury. In the time we’ve worked together, my respect for his abilities continue to increase for his willingness to learn the new and foreign skill of acting.

Now, as I struggle to lift my arm, I hope I have discovered another layer of compassion and empathy.  Compassion literally means “to suffer together” while empathy comes from the Greek empatheia meaning affection.  I know that I cannot truly understand what Dr. Bloom’s arms feel like, but I hope I can translate my minor injury into a greater passion for him and the work we are doing together.

Which leads me back to why we began this journey in the first place,..  healing.  Dr. Bloom is as whole  as am I.  I cannot take away his spinal cord injury, as much as I wish I could, and he cannot fix my rotator cuff.  But, we can study Shakespeare together, laugh, learn, and experiment with acting, all the while becoming more whole, more healed, and more of who we are. What activity makes you feel complete?



Author: Elizabeth Vander Kamp

  • bobl07

    Any activity that makes me laugh, sweat, and smile are what completes me. It is usually rugby that is the activity that makes me feel this way.

  • Bob McKenna

    Elizabeth, Beautifully written. It’s all about, peace, love, ones, and good times with friends. What an awesome friendship you and Dr. Bloom have. Thank you for sharing your friendship and talents with us all. Can’t wait for the next performance! Bob

  • The Bloom Family

    Elizabeth has blessed our family immensely!!! The sheer technical acting and therapist skills have simply removed my dad’s physical and emotional pain. They have a treat in store for anybody attending the next inspiring and hilarious performance from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew! Happy are those that have compassion for others. Thank You Elizabeth!

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Thank you, beautiful Bloom family. You have blessed me more! Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Thank you, Bob! Wait until you see the scene from Taming of the Shrew! We are grateful for your hospitality!

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Rugby?!? I think I will have to give it a try now!

  • Bob Lujano

    Yes, if you come out and give rugby a try, I can certainly brush off the cobwebs on my acting and help you if needed.