We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” -Orson Welles.
With an over two month inpatient hospital stay and constant therapy or doctor appointments upon discharge, my social life was dead on arrival. Not to mention I was practically on house arrest, not being able to drive anywhere. This just added to the great sadness that plagued me; a culmination of living upside down in a world that was not of my choosing. This “new world,”lacked the independence I had once known prior to the stroke,possessed no social life, andhad way too much parental supervision for my liking.I often found myself alone making up things to keep busy and to keep sane. Luckily,growing up as an only child provided sufficient training for such circumstances.Living ina constantly moving world and being so unusually busy myself, friends were a rare sight. However, despite all of the hurdles there are those wonderful souls who have stepped forward and really offered their time and support. These humans are what I like to call rare birds, that stand out in an overwhelming flock of conformity and status quo. They are colorful when things are dull, different when things are uniform, and most of allcompassionate. I’m happy thatalonglife’s rocky roadI picked up these hitchhikers and can call them my friends.
Whats more, thesepassengers I haveprocured aren’t the type to bail out as soon as the car breaks down. Instead of looking for another ride, they patiently wait and help me while I try to fixmine. For years now it is on these little pebblesof good moments that haveadded up to create a roadI am ableto move forward on.It’s not onlygood company, but it serves as therapy too!It has improved my soul, AND aided in the recovery of my brain. Therefore, these rare birdsare certainly more then just flights of fancy. They also serve as part time therapists and free of charge no less! You can’t beat that. Itis often that when life beats you downthatthese birds will rise up to meet and surprise you with their goodness. Because, it is when you find yourself in the dark that you need to be reminded of the light. This was(and is) especially true in my case and perhaps yours too. It seems the things we need most will find us when we least expect it.
“Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and believe?”
― Scott Turow, Ordinary Heroes.
Stories of triumph, stories of success, and stories of dreams coming true. These are the kinds of tales that keep us alive and keep us going. For me, these stories were a life boat in the middle of a dark and stormy ocean. The stories you and I tell ourselves make a tremendous impact on how we feel and in which direction we go. The difference between a good story and a bad one canput into motion either success or failure When every avenue seemed bleak, I could always pullpositive stories from my memory library to serve as an escape. My current life circumstances(post stroke) were a sinking ship of titanic proportions. However, reaching back into my memory banks, I could pull a story from a happier time. Without these invisible books I was headed for the bottom gasping for air, another casualty of life’sbad circumstances.While these books seem imaginary, the life lines they offer are very real. These stories told me I could accomplish my dreams as I had before, that the impossible was possible(as possible is part of the word itself) and gave me a reason to get up in the morning rather then languish in bed. A good story will motivate you and give you confidence, while a bad one will take away all of your hope. Do you suppose that thelegends of our time told themselves stories of failure?I’m certain it was just the opposite! I posit they reassured themselves that their mountains could be conquered. In this way we need to do the same thing. Whatever your goal, tell yourself that you canand thenpull examples of all your past successes. The longer you ruminate on past or current(perceived or real) failures, the longer you’ll remain in unwanted circumstances. By dwelling you effectively anchor yourself in shallow waters. Therefore, use positive stories toputthe windin your sails and venture to deeper waters. It is there you’ll find more to explore and myriad possibilities. Furthermore, surround yourself with people that add to the positive stories rather than help anchor you in shallow waters.
“With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.” -Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Each generation wants to think they’re betterthan the last. It’sat the point when you start seriously noticing the differences between your generation and subsequentonesthatit makes you feel old. Well, my friendsI guess I’m “old.” I’m considered part of the annoyingmillennial generation, which has been watched by the world most of our lives. However, as a millennialI have noticed some things about the yet to be officially named generation of current 20- somethings. Not to be confused with baby boomers, the millennialgeneration as well ascurrent 20- somethingscould easilyfall under thesame umbrella, the “Me Generation.”With the rise of social media, apps that doalmost everything, and new technologies,self absorption has never been easier. Unfortunately, along with self absorption comesa lack of ambition, laziness, and anear complete disregard for other people. It’s far too easy to think(and talk, and Instagram, and Snapchat,and Facebook)about yourself all day, rather than more outwardly consider the rest of the world around you. Therefore, if you are an individual that hasn’t beenbrainwashed by social media, get out there, do something, and help someone other than yourself! I promise it feels really good to help someone else. This leads into the question of “ Would we be more fulfilled if we helped each other more?” Not only would a movement of selflessnessmake our lives more enriching, but collectively easier. If we were able to count on someone other than ourselves it would lead to a lotless stress and a lot more breathing room. Having less stress means less physical ailments and evenmanydiseases!Everyone wins. We don’t have to imagine a world like this when we easily have thepower to startamovement like this today. All it takes is one person and oneact of selflessness , simply just do it , and help start a chain reaction of kindness, love, and helping.
“I think developed countries – so-called developed countries – should reflect upon the way of living and the waste of energy.”- Hugo Chavez.
Just so you know, ownership is an illusion. Because, we can’t take anything with us when this life reaches its final chapter. Therefore, this means you are pretty much a custodian of inanimate objects. The question is, how big of acustodian job do you want? The more stuff you have the bigger the burden. So much of our time(and life) gets eaten up by working for, shopping for, and paying for said items, and then taking care of it all! AfterI nearlydied these inanimate objects lost nearly all their value to me. I began not only going through the loads of things I owned but also giving away and selling much of it. I no longer foundas much value inobjects as I once had.Simply put, you assign value to things, they don’t assign value to you. Our culture is unbelievably wasteful to the point of insanity. I still marvel at the hoards of things that occupy giant shopping malls. What happens to it all? Where does it all go? Furthermore, do wereally need any of it!? Just watch the video below. Also, avoid regular trips to Forever 21, H&M, and the website Modcloth.com!
A designer purse will not make you happier, just asno inanimate object was going to restore thephysical functions I nearly lost in my body. Therefore,I saw no point in becoming a collector of things that would only burden me. At some point I even questioned a bewildered friend, what the point of saving money was. Since it really didn’tserve me at the time or hold as much value anymore. When younearly lose everything, lets just say your perspective changes a bit. The continual dancethat people do, to obtain and maintain essentially useless objects became very unnecessary to me. Instead of petitioning for a better environment, perhaps we should quit dumping tons of unnatural materials into theEarth.Our time would be better spent on experiences that create incredible memories, rather than objectsthat cause us grief.Additionally we could use our resources to help another person either financially or with our time. Now that is something very worth doing!
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?”
Sometimes We can’t do everything and have to humble ourselves. Aftera lifetime of being stubborn and independent, having to ask for so much help was altogether humbling and produced a great patience in me. Before I was injured I did everything when and how I wanted to. However, in the hospital and after I had to have assistance and help with nearly everything. Not only was I not used to asking for help but it was painful having to wait so long(or seemingly) for everything. I even needed help to cut my own nails! I have never been all that patient, but now I had no choice but to be patient and gracious when things weren’t done how I’d normally prefer them.It was not only difficult having to ask and then wait, but it made me feel set back as well. We live in a “I want it now,” society. Therefore, waitingto do anything(especially everyday tasks) was excruciating. We all need help sometimes, but never to this extent. To ask for so much help was not only humbling but a great teacher of patience.Imagine having to waitto do what you want, when you never really had to. The experience of this was not only a lesson but highlighted the fact thatWe are definitely spoiled by convenience. Most of allin my times of need little human Angels popped up everywhere. This was not only a lesson in patience and humility, but community too. We all need each other more than you realize. In fact after being put into such a situation, it was clear to me that we’d all be betteroff if society valued the servant roles as much as the master roles. In our pursuit for control wemiss out on the beauty of a shared human experience. How much easierand full of love would life be, if We all helped each other rather than only ourselves? After being in a place of so much need I now understand the importance of serving and helping others. I actually lookoutfor and forward to opportunities to help someone. As well as look back at the times I had them and didn’t. To share in the life and joys of another, even a stranger is more fulfilling than living selfishly. For each person that went out of their way for me, they made my day better and it was donefor no personal gain. Allof these small acts of kindness are woven into a larger tapestry that creates our experience of humanity, andall of humanity is better when We share it.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWP6Qki8mWc&w=420&h=315%5DIt’s a lesson I wish I would’ve learned sooner than later. For, had that happened I would have spent so much more time sharing my life with others who needed help at that moment. In doing so and giving of yourself, you gain so much more than what you give. Don’t wait too long to realize this but the sooner you begin the better!
Having a blank slate is sometimes as daunting as it is exciting.” -Joe Madureira.
So, what are you going to do next? I thinkwe all ask ourselves this, especially at the beginning of a new year. I was asked this after completing a large goal that I haddreamed up many months prior to actually completing it. At the time I could only figure I’d keep striving and move forward to yet an even larger goal, a complete recovery. After the ball dropped in Times Square New Yorkand cheers erupted around me, I finally found my answer to that question. While I certainlyfulfilled a day dream by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge(see here!)at the same time Iaccomplished something even larger. I didn’t realize this until the clock struck twelve and 2016 was ushered inwith champagne that I had myanswer. Any goals that I have set and met were years in the making and a concerted effort.Even more important thanmy daydreams is all the wisdom and strength I have garnered by pushing through and past the many struggles I have faced. Each new idea was but a spark that eventually caused a forest fire in the landscape of my mind. Ialso could not havefulfilled these goals without the helping hands of friends, family, andgenerous strangers. Each of theirhandsjoined to create a bridge I could walk across to reach the other side. Oftentimes those goals involved independence and things people take for granted everyday. The ability of having freedom of physical movement,walking, social skills, and many simple activities of daily living. Each of your accomplishments are the result of a concerted effort as well. Without the support of others many of us would still be at the starting line of the race. Entering this new year it will be best spent continuing on the journey of moving forward, and if I’m lucky in this new year that bridge of hands will still be there.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.”
We have a problem with matching our thanks to the level of the gift given. Oftentimes wefeel that We cannot fully reciprocate or conveygratitude properly, when were given somethingbig(see here!)or a pricelessact of kindness.I’ve not only receivedloads of physical help, but alsothe gift of a nice meal out, gifts of someone’s time, and help from kind strangers.Among thesehave been the gifts that are priceless and bear nofeasible value. It’s when someone gives a part of their life in order to make yours better, that requires anacknowledgementthatit seems we cannot
match. Is athank you card sufficient? A hug, a gift card, a favor, a nice dinner perhaps? No, none of these will do, because the best thank you is to live fully and well. The reasonthis is sufficient is because when someone pours themselves into you, pour all that you can of yourself back intoyour life. People help in these priceless ways because they sincerely want to see you triumph in life. My friends, family, and some strangers didn’t giveof their time and money when I was in an ICU to witness me die, but tosee me survive and thrive.Of course, when someone gives from their heart they don’t expect or even want something in return. However, the best and only wayI can thank them is to live well. The life that they put into me deserves to begiven a return. This return on investment can be achieved if Iput my spirit into achieving my dreams and living the life they want to see me have. Because of what they’ve given me, I will not quit, give up, or waste any of thier priceless gifts. Therefore, thank those that have given to you by living well and enjoying each day you have, because as I learnedyou never know when those days could end.
With the upcoming holidays and the world on the brink of what seems like another war, this 1963 song seems eerily relevant today. Around the globe the coming of the new year is met withholiday celebrations and the symbolism of a fresh start. Instead of looking back, consider the future rather then harbor any regrets,and instead make up your mind to change themas you move forward. The impending holidays also bring to the forefront of people’s minds the spirit ofaltruism. While We can’t all spend our days giving 100% of ourselves to charity, We can at least vow to be apositive influence on ourselves and others, rather then anegative one. As humans it’s all too easy to be self centered, and ourselfishly motivated decisions can sometimes hurt others.What many people don’t fully realize is that in helping others you actually help yourself too. Therefore in giving you’re also receiving, it’s a win-win situation! Asthe new year brings with it renewed motivation for personal goals, why not with it a new vision? A vision that is geared more towards equality, peace, positivity, andaltruism. The consideration We have for the good of mankind should be in the forefront more then once a year, oronly reserved for when a tragedy strikes. Thelarger question that looms is“Canthesethings be brought abouton a regular basis, rather then just by Santa Claus ornew year resolutions?” The good news is that you don’t have to wait for someone else to answer this question, because you can. Each of us has a choice everyday rather then just once a year to pursuedreams, set new goals, be a positive influence , andto help others. Don’t just meet each new year withzest and motivation but how about each new day?
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
― John Lennon.
Through what has been a harrowingjourney, I thinkone of the many biggerthings I havelearned is thatif you have a choice, when you choose love you can’t lose.
As you probably already know, we are allconnected likethe synapses of our brains, paper chain dolls, and even the cosmos. Much like them we too, shine on.
I rarely like to ask for things, but plainly put,(Donate button on the right please) I need your help fellow humans.
This request stems frommy journey in learning how to walk again from being half paralyzed.Early on in rehab, I used to pretend I was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge(not an indoor trackrife with grandmas and grandpas)for motivation. However as I have gotten better, regained my balance, and amped up my determination I want to make this daydream a reality. Becausewhen things are bad you can push through them to theother side. As a demonstration of this I want to walk all 1.1 miles of the bridge with friends and family to celebrate life, raisestroke awareness,and inspire others to cross their own bridges in life My hope is to do it in the Fall, but if funds won’t allow it will have to wait.Thus, if you willeach raise up your hands, I could crowd surf safely across them tothe stage.
Sometimes it’s fun to do the impossible.” -Walt Disney
As if hope were a life jacket to keep you from drowning in sorrows,even when your knocked unconscious it brings you to the surface where you will be rescued.
Over a year ago I was going to drown.I have not seen the movie of this same blog title.However, the concept rings very true.Before I was given a glimpse of some real hope I was unconscious, sinking closer and closer to the ocean floor.Once hope arrived it gave me a life jacket.Now I have steadily been floating back up to the surface where I will be awaiting my rescue.I have decided since being rescued myself to go to school for aspiring lifeguards.While I have been on the shore looking out over the sea,I have seen others drowning or at risk and I’d like to offer a buoy.From the depths of the great unknown it’s possible to surface for some air and get more understanding.Were all swimming towards the shore and with the safety of hope we’ll certainly get there faster and not to mention safer.