Recently a friend asked a question that many of us who have experienced a brain injury have asked at some point in time, “Have you ever thought about what might have been if you had not experienced a brain injury?”. I thought his question was relevant to many of us asking, “Why?“and What Might have Been?; that I decided to write this article to share part of my answer to his question.
My experience has shown me that I certainly do not have the big picture AND I do not know what is best for me. Consequently, I come back to the reality – each time that I also find myself in a funk and a black hole (at least feeling as though I am in a black hole) that more will be revealed in time. What now may not make sense, will become more clear to me. The pieces of the puzzle will come together at the right time and in the right order. I wrote an article in 2007 called the Flight of the Butterfly, in which I spoke about the development of the butterfly from the pupa to the larvae, to the caterpillar, to the cocoon and then to the butterfly. Each stage of the butterfly’s development of value and is apparent through struggle.
In that article I spoke about the need for the butterfly (in the cocoon) to struggle to strengthen its wings. Apart from struggle, the butterfly would not be able to fly and would fall to the ground to die or be eaten. With struggle, by the butterfly expanding and releasing it’s wings in the cocoon, the butterfly slowly cracks the shell of the cocoon. Through the process expanding /relaxing/ expanding it’s wings the butterfly strengthens it’s wings and gains the ability to fly to fulfill its purpose. The butterfly’s experience speaks to me in that apart from struggle I too could or would not be able to fulfill the purpose for which I was created and destined to live.
I have also come to realize that my brain injury served to be a switch on the railroad of life. Although my life was traveling down a tract of life, the impact of my traumatic brain injury served as a “switch” to lead me down an unintended track of life. A track of life that would reveal new possibilities to me. A track of life that I would have not otherwise traveled. A track that would help me to find my way to create a good life for myself and fulfill my destiny.
In the case of being an individual living with a brain injury, I am faced with a paradox, challenge and a conundrum. I am faced with – as time makes my reality more real – the reality that I can not do anything to change the impact that and ripples of living with a brain injury. The reality that I longer have the ability to fulfill what might have been, if I had not sustained a brain injury. I am faced with the reality that I can stay stuck by staring at the door that has closed or I can begin to look at / for the door that is opening for me. By looking for the new door, I begin to realize that I have choices. Although I am faced with a paradox, challenge and a conundrum I do not have to stay stuck.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed-door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller
By realizing that I have choices, new possibilities become realistic. By realizing that I have a choice to look for the door that is or is set to open for me, I am given hope. Hope of what might be instead of focusing on what might have been, if only I hadn’t sustained a brain injury. Gaining acceptance of my reality is and continues to be – at times – a long journey from the “what if’s “ in life. Embracing the reality that my life has been and continues to be impacted by a brain injury is a struggle at times. But what I need to remember about the experience of the butterfly, is that my wings are and continue to be strengthened. My wings are being strengthened through struggle and the work that I am putting into building on my lot in life.
“Regardless of your lot in life, you can build some thing beautiful on it.” Zig Ziglar
Acceptance is a very HARD pill to swallow, especially when I want what is out of reach. But the good news is that I can build upon that acceptance. I do not have to remain feeling stuck. By accepting what is, I am able to stop fighting against myself. I am able to cease from striving and I am able to let go of outcomes. I am able to experience the possibilities of creating hope in my life. And in the process of creating hope in my life, I am able to stop focusing on what might have been – if I had not experienced a brain injury – to what can be because I experienced a brain injury. On June 16, 2015 I launched a second website in which I share what has helped me to stop focusing on what might have been, so that I could create a good life.
I would invite and encourage you to visit Create a Spark of Hope by clicking on this link: Create a Spark of Hope. Simply scroll down the website to read articles from each of the below categories. As you do and questions come to mind, please send those questions to me. I would love to hear from you. All questions are good questions. All comments are welcomed.
Not Giving Up
“I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that I was not going to be competitive and the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do is shrug my shoulders and say, ‘we’ll just have to see.” Dick Fosbury (Olympic Gold Medalist. Inventor of the “Fosbury Flop” High Jump Technique)
You have my permission to share my articles and or video presentations with anyone you believe could benefit, however, I maintain ownership of the intellectual property AND my articles, video presentations and eBooks are not to be considered OPEN SOURCE. Please also provide a link back to Second Chance to Live. In the event that you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions. I look forward to hearing from you. More Information: Copyright 2007 -2017.