It’s funny how a “life-changing” event (like a stroke) will change your life. Duh. Right now if you are reading this , you are no doubt realizing that you have stumbled upon one of the greatest writers/philosophers of modern-day. Or not. Even now, as I think about it, I was not prepared for the level of change that I would be experiencing.
Like most people, I was caught in “The Cycle”. You know it. Expectations. Work hard, accumulate “stuff”, and compete with the “stuff” that others are getting, then work to pay off that debt. Save what you can to have the experience of freedom later in life. I wanted the experience before I was too old or it was too late. But my debt and my belongings (and dogs) limited. And still do, my ability to just experience freedom.
Then came the stroke, which I always thought could happen, there is a family history, but I wrongly assumed that it wouldn’t happen, and if it did, it would be when I was old…or at least older. Wrong. So, while I am still young and filled with ideas of how my old age would look, I am suddenly fast forwarded into what looks and feels like old age to me, minus the financial security and someone to share my life with.
Because this was such a big event for me, for anyone I trust, I have done a lot of soul-searching. I have lost things that made me understand that stuff is just stuff. What I don’t want to lose is the experience of being here in this world as a full participant, being authentic and adding to the world. I know now that I can lose a lot of stuff and still have the wealth of experiences. But I also know that life is short, and valuable. I heard recently that the odds of even being born, at this time in your family are 400 trillion to one. So, you see, just being here is a phenomenal miracle in itself. I squandered far too many years, waiting for the freedom to experience. I realize now that none of us, even if you exercise and eat right, have the luxury of squandering time. Not even a minute. I want to join the Circle, not the Cycle of Life. Life is way too valuable to be stuck in the cycle. It’s a shame to me that I needed such a huge event to fully wake me up. But I am awake now so watch out!
“From the day we arrive on the planet, and blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high, through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It’s the Circle of Life, and it moves us all
Through despair and hope, through faith and love
Till we find our place, on the path unwinding
In the Circle, The circle of Life”
Yes, those are the lyrics from “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”.
The other thing that has really changed for me is the way I see things now. I have an entirely different perspective when I see and hear things. Everything is a sign. Live! Experience! Grow! Participate! Benefit others.
There is not enough time left for me to do everything there is to do, see everything that there is to see, et cetera, et cetera. So, I need to adjust my perspective, and acknowledge and accept that I just can’t get it done, or I can say, there is just enough time to get the stuff done that I need to. I only need to be as good at me as I can. I believe there is the perfect amount of time for that. But I have to start now. Writing my blog is part of that.
So here’s a story. It’s not mine but it could be:
A man falls into a deep hole. It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s deep. He starts to panic a bit and begins to yell for help. One passerby hears and looks down in the hole. He throws a flashlight into the hole and keeps walking. It really doesn’t help the man in the hole at all so he continues to yell for help. A priest stops and looks in the hole and yells down that he will pray for the man in the hole. He keeps walking and the man is still in the hole. He yells again for help. This time he is surprised to see a passerby jump down into the hole with him. The man who jumped in says, “I heard you yelling for help so I’m here to help” The first man says in response, “Thanks but now we are BOTH in the hole. The second man replies, “Yep. But I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.
I hope you never find yourself in a deep, dark hole. And if you do, I hope that there is someone who will jump in with you and show you the way out. And I hope that if you know someone who is in a hole, that you consider jumping down in the hole and helping. I think the Universe challenges us to share our experiences with others. Help each other out of holes.
One of the gifts of my stroke has been to be in a deep, dark hole. As I work my way out, I know there are others that are in holes, have been in holes, will be in holes. At the very least, this connects me to others. I also know that the hole doesn’t have to define us. It just becomes part of the story. What story doesn’t become more interesting when there is a deep dark hole involved?
Here’s to living fully engaged for as many days as we get!