Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” – Gerard Way.
I’ve been asked on many occasions, how I’ve dealt with a landslide of changes and perceived losses yet continued to move forward. That’s just it, perception. All of the things that were uncontrollable for me, could happen to anyone, but then again most people don’t have massive strokes in their twenties. As rare as such an event is(thankfully) it’s just as rare to survive it. Besides the initial question of how such a thing could happen, the question became what to do when it does. I have been attempting to answer that question for the last five years. At first it was just a matter of survival. While I don’t recall my time in intensive care my family certainly does. They and the medical team were fighting for me at the time. However, now that I’m able it’s my turn to enlist in the battle for myself. As I have steadily made physical and cognitive gains, many people are impressed. However, what they don’t fully realize is that anyone can achieve what I have, including them. There’s a formula. Once I became more fully aware of what had happened to me I became deeply depressed. Except at some point I knew that I couldn’t let that depression be a road block in my recovery. After all, I was in the fight of my life! When push came to shove, I wasn’t going to let the stroke continue to push me down. Certainly it did while I was still in the hospital. But now, I felt an obligation to getting my life back. It’s funny that after you’ve been railroaded, a great determination is built up in you as a result. I simply used this determination to kick some proverbial butt. Along the way I have set some lofty goals for myself. Even if I fail, I will have failed above other people because I’ve set the bar so high. In the last 1,825 days following my stroke I’ve met and had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing individuals. Besides, the stroke really showing me what I’m made of, it has unveiled a different side of life. The side we often don’t notice and the places we oft ignore. It is in these places I have found beauty, love, friendship, and thankfulness. A lot of the formula boils down to gratitude and acceptance.
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane.
You hear it often “be mindful, be present, and you should meditate.” These aren’t just new age guru mumbo jumbo beliefs but they’re actually right! I’d venture to guess that I’ve spent most of my life somewhere else, and definitely the past two years. In fact, the majority of us are not where we actually are at any given moment. Whether our minds are adrift or not, many times were wishing we were elsewhere. Either we are looking to the distant past or the near future. Our “modern society,” is really talented at keeping most of us discontent with where we are, always wanting more. The funny thing is, when you stop wishing to be somewhere other than where you are, suddenly life becomes much more enjoyable! When you let the mind wander less and focus in more on your present surroundings, it allows you to savor life and be in the moment. As an example, for many months I only wanted to be back in my beloved city of New York. However, once I chose to silence the noise, I realized that I was actually enjoying where I was. It’s easy to lose sight of where you are when advertisements and social media frequently remind you that you could be somewhere better. It’s as if we’re a rat running through a labyrinth of distractions, all the while completely missing the point that lies in the center. When you take away all that noise suddenly the point is much easier to find. What I realized is, that New York City will still be there when I’m ready to return, but my Parents(with whom I live) won’t be. As much as I have griped and protested about my current situation, the fact is I have had invaluable time spent with my family. One of whom supports and loves me through it all. Therefore, I wish(not again!) that I’d realized this sooner. For if I had, the past few years would’ve been far less painful. When your mind wanders away from the present moment it really hurts you. Not only do you miss out on a part of your life, but also lose focus on your present goals. In a way it’s like self sabotage! By looking in a different direction you lose track of your chosen path, and lose ground(ie time. If your particularly goal orientated this is crucial to know! By being present and focused on your current situation, it allows you to see clearly the bull whose horns your going to grab.
focus & conquer!