If you have not already done so, please read Part 1 of this article by clicking here.
Below are several of the principles that I spoke to in Part 1 of this article.
As I have previously shared with you, during the course of my life time I have trained in various martial arts. A little over 10 years ago I started to train in a new style of martial arts. Through the course of training under my Sensei he shared several principles with me. These principles have helped me to connect the dots in my life and have helped me to experience dignity as a traumatic brain injury survivor. During one conversation Sensei shared with me the principle of baking a cake. He told me that he would give me the necessary ingredients that would empower me to bake my cake – to obtain my black belt.
Practical application to living my life with dignity
Over the past 6 or 7 years I have been able to apply this principle to my life. Instead of viewing my circumstances as gauntlets to survive, I started to become more aware of how my circumstances actually impacted my life. With my awareness, I began to see my circumstances as mini training camps, given to teach me new lessons. With my awareness, I began to see that my lessons prepared my ability to take full advantage of the opportunities that were given to me. With my awareness, I began to see how my – circumstances, lessons and opportunities – were being used as guides to point me in the direction of my destiny.
With my awareness, I began to see that I no longer needed to be subservient to or driven by SHAME – S.H.A.M.E. (see Part 1 for an explanation) – because I began to accept that with all my learning there is a learning curve.
At another point during my training at the martial arts school, my Sensei shared something with me that has also helped me to put dignity in perspective. Sensei said, “How can I fill your cup, when your cup is full? You need to empty your cup, so that I can fill it.” He shared this principle with me because I had a difficult time letting go of what I had learned through my previous martial arts training. By letting go of what I had known, I was able to learn from my Sensei and grow as a martial artist. By letting go of the way in which I thought it should be, I was able to learn a new way of application.
Practical application to living life with dignity
In life and through my experience I have come to realize that I do not have the big picture. I have also come to realize any adversity – including a traumatic brain injury – is merely a switch on the railroad of life. Adversity has the effect of pointing me in a different direction, a direction that I may not have otherwise known or traveled. When adversity occurs – as with a tbi or an abi – our lives , who we and what we are now able to do may have changed. Nevertheless, we may want to hold on to what we have known. We may be resistant to change. We may be resistant to the principle of emptying our cup. We may be resistant to a new way of living.
In my experience, I found that I needed to let go of the way that I thought my life should be. In my experience, I found that I needed to empty the cup of my expectations, my disappointment, my discouragement and my disillusionment before I could begin to live life in a new way.
In my experience, I found that I need to surrender my will and my life to the care of a loving God. In my experience, I found that I need to have a loving God fill my cup with His will for my life. In my experience, I found that I need to have a loving God’s help as I seek to live my life with dignity.
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