Before coming out of the coma I was at the crossroads where my sub-conscious asked me, “If you choose to live you have a choice, prepare to suffer or, prepare to heal. Where do you want to go?” Recovering from the gunshot wound to the head involved a five million dollar hospital bill, overcoming quadriplegia, and most importantly, letting go of the life I lived and accept the new life that was waiting for me. I knew immediately that if I wanted to get through this, I could not look back, because that is not where I was going. For example, a few months from being shot I was due to graduate college at the top of my class, I had a little home with two dogs, to make a long-story short, I had a long guided plan for myself and at the rate of a speeding bullet, everything vanished. Everything was fine though, despite anguishing in pain while on a rotation of twenty-two narcotics and still wanting to die, because I learned from a voice inside my head that said, “In life, when one journey comes to an end, a new journey begins.” When one journey comes to an end, a new journey begins, life should never be unfulfilling. While being in this state of near death, because some delinquent popped two two holes in my skull, I learned that, it does not matter what happened that counts, it is what I do with the my new opportunity that makes the difference. Furthermore, I knew that everything worth having is also worth working for and I had every intention without reservation to apply this mind set to my recovery. With that said, when I was forced to start my life from scratch I learned that there is nothing you cannot overcome, the power of belief, and the reasons why we live might not be a reason for living at all.
Sun Tzu that said, “Put your men in the face of death, there is nothing they can’t overcome.” We are never fully aware of what we are capable of until our back is against the wall and the only move we can make is through the gauntlet ahead of us. Sometimes in life we can feel paralyzed, like we want to make progress however, individuals do not think we can overcome the battle(s) ahead of us if we decide to do so. Everyday we are overwhelmed by fallacious barriers such as statistics from authority figures, the status quo, trying to be politically correct, and many more, all of which are potential sources of suppression to our full potential. For example, early in my recovery, when I was paralyzed from the neck down, medical statistics, the medical team, and my prognosis was that I would spend the remainder of my life in that condition and my recovery plan was intended to take me down a path of vegetative state. Socrates once said, “To find yourself, think for yourself.” The attitudes, values, and beliefs of others can discourage us from living the life we have imagined for ourselves and I learned that I cannot base my life on the the opinions of others. Additionally, you never know how strong you are until your back is against the wall and being strong is the only option left. One of the most important things that I learned in life was at this point of my recovery and that is the power of belief and having a positive outlook.
When I came out of the coma my sister reading a book to me called The Secret and Rhonda Byrne said, “The power to everything you want is inside you.” Hearing this quote was a spiritual moment for me because I had plans for myself. things to do, and had no time to be told that I would never be able to feed myself, walk, or make any physical recovery following this assault with a firearm against me. Furthermore, at this point of my life I had just worked myself out of homelessness, got over an alcohol addiction, got myself a car, was about to graduate from college as a double major, essentially, I had just started my life and it was not going to end like this. At this point i had a choice, prepare to suffer or, prepare to heal. With that said, if I did not believe in myself then I would have not found strength to rescue myself. Ryuho Okawa said, “What is most important in our lives is what we are always thinking about…the ideas that you have been thinking about all the time over the course of a year, three years, five years, twenty years, are the ideas that build who you are.” The state of your life is nothing more than a mere reflection of your state of mind. If you think you are incapable and unworthy then you will never find confidence, or purpose, to achieve your full potential. On the other hand, if you mentally feel good about yourself, and have a mind full of beautiful imagery and gratitude, then your outwardly appearance of life will reflect that. With that said, I found immense value in seeing the good in everything.
Joel Olsteen said, “Let go of yesterday. Let today be a new beginning and be the best that you can.” My experience of having a gun pressed against my head and being senselessly shot taught me that circumstances are neither positive or negative, they are neutral, it is you who chooses to react in either a constructive or negative way. Life is not static, it is a fluctuating playing field, and your attitude is the foundation of your existence. For example, when I was shot, paralyzed, and lost everything I loved, and do the activities that brought me joy, I was relieved. Being stripped of everything that defined who I was, and I thought brought me happiness, forced me to find happiness within myself, who I was, and a purpose in life outside of materialistic matters. At the time of the shooting I was studying Joseph Campbell and a quote he said was, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Letting go of the life I had planned meant I had an opportunity to learn, and become, who I really am as embarked on an unexpected journey of a lifetime. What I learned was that material items do no define who I am, the life I live, and we should let go of a superficial existence and shine from the inside out.
This Experience Taught Me…
Buddha said, “The root of suffering is attachment.” You should never become attached to your ego, opinions, the past, or anything outside of your consciousness in the present. Your consciousness is the gateway to all things possible, as it is the source of potential in its purest form. You are supposed to be creative, constantly moving forward, and looking for change. When you become attached to something outside your spirit and consciousness, you can find comfort, and your potential to create life is put on hold. For example, an individual might have great creativity and ambitious plans, but their life as they imagined it was put on hold due to a job they are attached to. The result is the loss of their pure potential and the associated negative feelings of suffering that comes with it. Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” When an individual is in a cushy job they no longer experience the personal growth that they get when they are ambitious and hungry for success. When an individual becomes comfortable with the way things are in life then it becomes difficult to let go and embark on a journey of transformation.