Thursday, December 20, 2012

Celebrating a new beginning....

I created this blog quite a while ago.  I loved its title, The Rest of My Life is Now, because I loved the idea of living in the now and looking forward rather than wallowing in the past.  Notice I say that I loved the idea, but I wasn't sure how to manifest it most of the time.  Consequently, my enthusiasm for writing the blog waned considerably.  So it has been quite a while since I've posted here but now, I believe I have gained the fortitude to continue on a regular basis.....we will see!

Today is the eve of the Solstice 2012; an appropriate day to begin I believe and also I am celebrating.  I am not just celebrating the turning point of winter as people have done since the beginning of time, I am celebrating a very personal anniversary, one that you may think a strange event to be remembered, much less celebrated, so I will explain.

On December 20th, 2002 I fell on my head, in rather spectacular fashion, while skiing in Colorado.  Although very dazed and totally winded, I subsequently stood up and carried on skiing.  A week later I was at the emergency room with dizziness and great difficulty trying to explain how the world had become so weird, how I couldn't sleep and asking why my brain wouldn't switch off.  It was like watching constant movie trailers inside my head 24/7.  Within the next two months I was diagnosed with a closed head brain injury and had surgery to replace two discs in my neck with a resulting fusion of three vertebrae.  I could barely function and other than three to four doctor visits a week, I lay on the bed with the blinds drawn reading the same book over and over again because once at the end I couldn't remember anything about the content, and occasionally watching PBS or Home and Garden TV because they were the most calm channels I could find.

I was lucky.  It took only a couple of years for me to recover full functioning.  Many head trauma victims never recover at all or at least lose decades of their lives.  I also had a wonderful spouse who took over all the practical details of our lives and allowed me to heal.  It was the best part of a year until I could go into a grocery store or any other place designed to stimulate the senses.  Bright colors, patterns, loud noises, strong smells were all overwhelming and I had to get away from them.

So why, you may ask, am I celebrating such a devastating event ten years on?

Because today, I can see (with 20/20 hindsight), that, had this event not occurred, my life would be very different and I would have missed all the wonderful events and people that have come into my life in the last ten years.  I am not celebrating the fact that I had a terrible accident, I am celebrating my life since then, now and for the future.

Up until the accident happened, I had great plans for an expansion of my career.  I had a new PhD in hand and some great work experience.  I was destined to be a consultant in an important career related to public safety and I knew I could make a difference.  The Universe, it seems, had other ideas.  My plans dissolved and I was forced to let life take me where it would and to follow the guidance of the amazing people who stepped up to offer advice and support.

First there was my friend who, on hearing me try to explain how confused and weird I felt, related her own struggle with brain injury and ordered me (yes, she really did and I listened)  to my doctor.  Then there was my GP who as I tried to dismiss my complaints as trivial, revealed that she had been on a committee to study brain injury and I had all the classic signs.  There were also other helpful medical professionals and finally a wonderful doctor who did everything he could for me and then told me to  try anything in the alternative medical field that I thought might help, a suggestion I never thought I would hear from a western trained (Harvard no less) medical individual.

There was the spiritual teacher who I met through a writing group (writing being the one thing I could do throughout all this and what a blessing that was).  She introduced me to energy work and many other alternative methods to soothe not only my brain but also my confused spirit.  She encouraged me to explore how my healing brain might be rearranging itself and opening up areas that I had previously shut down, areas that gave me renewed connections to realms far greater and more powerful than my old life had allowed me to appreciate.

Over the past ten years, I have not only healed, I have thrived.  I have explored a side of myself and of existence itself that I had abandoned in my difficult teenage years when I decided that the only way to live life was to be strong and depend on no one.  I learned to trust that there is something all powerful out there keeping the Universe on track and I don't have to do it!  I learned that I can tap into any amount of guidance and support that I need through different ways of connecting to that power using my whole self - body, mind, emotions and spirit.  Most importantly, I discovered that what I really wanted to do, deep inside, was to help others find the same guidance and inner peace and so I created a new career, my own career, unique to me, matching my particular skills and gifts.

Today then, I celebrate.  I celebrate me!  I celebrate my chosen path.  I celebrate the fact that the uncomfortable event of ten years ago, while at first knocking me off my feet and rearranging my thoughts, ultimately set me back on my feet and allowed me to set off in the true direction of my heart.

On this Solstice 2012, a day when some fear the world may end, I am celebrating a new beginning.  Ten years on from the most life changing event of my existence, I can see that new beginnings can happen at any time, for any reason.  Sometimes we choose them, often we don't.  When they occur, it is sometimes difficult to see where they will lead or to appreciate their future impact.  We are too busy dealing with the immediate consequences.  After a while however....or a decade in my case.....we can look back with a more detached and dispassionate eye and see how they set in motion new ways to approach our life journeys and how they allowed opportunities for growth into our lives.

I wouldn't wish the kind of accident I had and its consequences on anyone but I encourage you, on this important Solstice of 2012, to look back over the last ten years and see how events in your life during that time,which you may have found, at the most, devastating or at the least, upsetting, have affected your choices and the place you find yourself in today.  I hope that, like me, you find many things to celebrate.......