My name is Craig J. Phillips. My about page shares how I found my second chance to live. Let me start by sharing some background with you. Background that led me to second chance to live. I possess an undergraduate degree in theology and physical education / recreation. I possess a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. I have worked during the past 30 years assisting individuals in various altruistic capacities in their pursuit of their dreams and their destinies. While working through undergraduate and graduate school I worked in a variety of human service positions assisting individuals and families in various capacities.
Below is a record of how I found my second chance to live.
Among these capacities, I worked in assisted living centers, a residential treatment center and as a counselor in the cemetery and funeral industries. In these positions, roles and capacities, I sought to enhance the lives of individuals and families. I sought to enhance their lives through providing support, encouragement, solutions and hope. Encouragement, motivation, empowerment and hope for facing, addressing and overcoming adversity. Hope for creating a good life for themselves, by not giving up.
Post graduate school, I worked as a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) in both public and private rehabilitation settings assisting individuals with physical, emotional and psychological disabilities. My focus has been to help individuals find ways to use their gifts, talents and abilities to pursue their dreams and their destinies. Each of my altruistic pursuits provided a unique window into the lives of individuals throughout the spectrum of life’s experiences. With this window of understanding and my desire to be of service, I have sought to grow in my self-discovery, self-reflection and self-exploration. As I grew in self-reflection and self-exploration I sought to share what I gained through my pursuit of personal growth and personal empowerment.
Factors in Finding my Second Chance to Live
Through my professional pursuits, as well as my personal endeavors to be of service; I have sought to grow in self-awareness and self-acceptance. As I have grown in self-awareness and self-acceptance, I have grown in my ability to take healthy and positive action in life. This action has given me a fresh perspective on how to create hope in my life. With this exploration, I was able to reach a place of acceptance with some thing, that I would like to share with you. I am a traumatic brain injury survivor. My brain injury occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident in 1967 when I was 10 years old. I sustained an open skull fracture, right frontal lobe damage, a several brain bruise with brain stem involvement. I remained in a coma for 3 weeks.
In 1967 there was not much known about brain injuries or neurological rehabilitation. Once my external wounds healed my traumatic brain injury was never again considered to be a factor in my development or my difficulties. Because I was able to teach myself how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences the effects of the injury to my brain became invisible and hidden. For more insight into my learning to walk again, click on this link: Finding Craig — Learning to Walk Again Part 3
Although I was not expected to succeed beyond high school academically, I was able to graduate on time with my high school class and then go on to obtain my undergraduate degree (4 majors, 2 universities and one junior college in 10 years) and my graduate degree (in 3 1/2 years and 2 different grad schools). For more insight into my academic path, click on this link: Finding Craig — My Academic Path Part 4
My Experience with Being a Client of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
Interestingly, my first evaluation process as a client of (DVR) occurred after I had obtained my graduate degree as a rehabilitation counselor and my national credentials as a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC).
Interestingly, I became a client of DVR for the 1st time in Florida while still working as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. My first evaluation process did not result in a job placement and I was terminated as a client of the Florida DVR.
My second evaluation process as a client with DVR was in North Carolina. I began this second evaluation process after being recruited, moving to North Carolina, working as a CRC for an insurance company for 4 months and then being fired. The outcome from this evaluation deemed me unemployable.
For individuals who learn more effective through watching and listening, I have created video presentations of my 2 experiences as a client of DVR.
Click on the links and the video presentations will open for you on you tube.
For more insight into what lead up to my 2 Evaluations with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, click on this link: Finding Craig — My Brain Injury Awareness Part 5
Following my second evaluation process with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and my 3rd application with the Social Security Administration I was declared disabled.
So at the end of 1998 I found myself deemed unemployable, declared disabled and approved to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Being deemed unemployable and declared disabled left me feeling relieved and despondent. Relieved because I could set up a budget to alleviate the ongoing feeling of financial insecurity. Despondent because all of my hard work had seemed to be for naught. Although I felt like some one all dressed up — prepared and ready — I had nowhere to go.
Despondent because no one seemed to want what I had to give as I was unemployable. Despondent because I was now living below the poverty line. Despondent because I questioned my own worth and value as an individual. Despondent because I was unable to prove that I was not making excuses. Despondent because I could not change my reality.
But, I am glad that I did not give up.
Although neither DVR evaluation gave me the answers I needed, I am glad that I did not give up on my search.
In my search, I discovered that I needed to ask questions of myself that no one else could ask.
In my search, I discovered that I was the only one who could answer the questions that no one else could answer.
Although I had diligently applied myself both academically and vocationally for many years, I found myself effectively discounted and dismissed by society. Being deemed disabled and declared disabled left me feeling like a broken toy, tossed into a box to be forgotten.
What I Discovered
In my experience, I had to reach a point in time when I could no longer defend, justify or explain why I kept getting fired from positions. I knew that I was a hard worker, that I was responsible and honest; yet some thing was not working. At the coffee before graduation ceremonies, I called my Mom to let her know the graduate program chair told me he would let me graduate. During that conversation with my Mom she told me that I had proved them wrong by obtaining my graduate degree. And so I did after 10 years to obtain my undergraduate degree and 3 1/2 years to obtain my graduate degree.
A Foundation Set
In my desire to follow my dreams and my destiny, I discovered some thing very important. A lesson that would lay a foundation. A foundation upon which I would learn to build a future to follow my dreams. A foundation that would serve to encourage and motivate me. A foundation that would help ask and answer questions the I needed to ask of myself.
In 1968 in follow-up to my open skull fracture and brain injury I underwent a battery of test. The test results showed that I would probably not be able to succeed beyond high school academically. My Mom and Dad decided to not share what the Dr’s told them in 1968.
So I had proved them wrong, but I was unable to maintain employment having obtained my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Due to difficulties on the job I disclosed to my DVR supervisor that I had sustained a severe brain injury in 1967 when I was 10 years old. The consequence of that disclosure resulted in my becoming a client of DVR.
Faced with what I had denied for many, many years and the pain of not being able to change that reality; I began to grieve. Began to grieve what could not be changed. As I confronted my denial and denial of family and friends I was able to move through 4 more stages. Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance in the grieving process.
Opening the Door to Hope
The process took time, but when I was able to accept the impact of the injury to my brain and my invisible disability a new world opened to me. Through working through my grieving process I found that my despair began to turn into hope. I began to realize that I had other options than what the results from the 2 DVR evaluations had communicated to me.
By grieving what could not be changed, I gained the gift of acceptance. Acceptance then helped me to get into action. Getting into action helped me to explore other options. Options that would work for me. Although I was declared disabled, I realized that I was not dis-abled. I just needed to find ways that would work for me.
And so, I decided to explore different options. Options that I could use to use my passion to encourage people to not give up in ways that would work for me. Ways to use my gifts, talents and abilities to share my experience strength and hope. Options to use my passions through my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that worked for me for the people who wanted what I had to give.
For more insight into what helped me to begin opening the door to hope, click on this link: Finding Craig — Empowering My Life Part 6
The Back Story of Second Chance to Live
What I discovered, through my process; was that answering these questions just took time. After being deemed unemployable and declared disabled the process of finding and then beginning my second chance to live took another 7 years. To read about what led up to finding and then beginning my second chance to live, please click on the below 2 links.
The Creation of Second Chance to Live
In my process of finding a way that would work for me I wrote an autobiography, a book and then on February 6, 2007, at the encouragement of a friend; I found my way to share hope. Through my website Second Chance to Live. I began writing and publishing articles on Second Chance to Live.
During the past 9 1/2 years I have written a total of now 1546 articles for Second Chance to Live. To view a list of the articles that I have written and published on Second Chance to Live you may click on this link: Site Map for my Articles.
In May 2016 I wrote an article to share my 12 Categories for Brain Injury Support and my 295 Video Presentations for Brain Injury Support. Click on these 2 links to access my 12 Categories and my 295 Video Presentations: 12 Article Categories for Brain Injury Support and my 295 Video Presentations for Brain Injury Support.
In June 2016 I created the Global Brain Injury Peer Support Network — Empowering the Individual, Not the Brain Injury. I created this network to offer a variety of resources. The network can be accessed through clicking on this link Global Brain Injury Peer Support Network — Empowering the Individual, Not the Brain Injury.
Creating Video Presentation for Visual and Auditory Learners
On July 29, 2011 I created a You Tube channel to begin creating video presentations for individuals who learn more effectively through watching and listening. To date I have created 296 video presentations for my Second Chance to Live 2dogbull You Tube channel. With in my Site Map for my Video Presentations, there is a list of the titles of the video presentations that I have created. By clicking on the title (s) of the video presentation (s) in my Site Map for my Video Presentations, the video presentation (s) will open for you on my You Tube channel.
A List of the e Books that I have Written and Published
In 2015 I created and published 5 e Books to offer another way to access the information with in my articles and video presentations.
In 2016 I created and published an additional 2 e Books.
My e Books are free for download and contain information that have empowered my ability to pursue my dreams and my destiny despite being deemed unemployable and declared disabled. Below is a list of links to my 7 e Books. Click on each of the links and the e Books will open for you.
As stated my 7 e Books are free to download. Click on the following link for downloading instructions: Downloading Instructions.
To further be of service and After much thought and prayer, on June 16, 2015; I decided to create a new website Create a Spark of Hope – Create a Spark of Hope – to share what I discovered that has helped me to begin to create sparks of hope in my own life. I have written a total of 54 articles for Create a Spark of Hope.
With the time, kindness and patience of a good friend on August 2, 2015 I moved Second Chance to Live and Create a Spark of Hope from wordpress.com to managed wordpress websites. I wrote an article to share the news: Second Chance to Live, a Metamorphosis and a New Look.
For the past 17 years I have been using different martial art disciplines to work on overcoming physical and cognitive limitations. In the past several years the term neuoplasticity was coined to describe the process of creating new neural pathways and brain reorganization.
In my experience I have used repetitive mirrored movements to develop skills and skill sets on both my dominant and non dominant sides of my body. Through practicing these repetitive mirrored that I never dreamed possible.
In my experience, I have needed to do a “bazillion” repetitions to create muscle memory. Through doing a “bazillion” repetitive mirrored movements on my dominant and non-dominant sides of my body I have created and enhanced muscle memory. I have also created and improved gross and fine motor skills.
In October 2013, I was fortunate to give a keynote presentation during the Southwest Conference on Disability. During the conference I shared a 5 minute video presentation of my using the principle of repetitive mirrored movement. To watch the presentation click on this link: Mirrored Movements.
Since giving the keynote presentation, I have continued to work on using repetitive mirrored movement to overcome physical and cognitive challenges. To watch a 1:48 presentation of my continued use of martial art disciplines to improve physical and cognitive development, click on this link: Continued Repetitive Mirrored Movement
If you have not already begun a program using repetitive mirror movements, I would encourage you to do so my friend. The process takes time, but the rewards are worth the effort and commitment. Several years ago I wrote an article that may help you to get started with this process if you have not already begun. Below is a link to the article and video presentation of the article.
To listen to and watch the presentation, please click on this link: Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets Video Presentation
To read the article from which this video presentation is made, please click on this link: Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets
Translate Second Chance to Live into Your Language
In 2008 I created a tool that would give individuals the ability to translate articles on Second Chance to Live into different languages. Below are links to the represented languages. By clicking on the desired language Second Chance to Live will be translated into that language.
The tool can also be accessed from my upper right side bar on Second Chance to Live. In the event the links do not open for you, please let me know. Thank you.
Albanian Arabic Bulgarian Catalan Chinese Simplified Chinese Traditional Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Estonian Filipino Finnish French Galician German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Lativian Lithuanian Maltese Norwegian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Ukrainian Vietnamese
Testimonials and Endorsement
In response to the article Back Ground Information for Keynote Presentation Craig Phillips Founder and Creator Second Chance to Live Southwest Conference on Disability 2013, Ken Collins wrote:
Wow! What a story of accomplishment! Craig, you stared adversity right in the eye and said: “Get out of the way – I have something to do with my life! Way to go! There needs to be more people in the world like you!
Ken Collins, Program Manager at San Juan Center for Independence, Gallup, New Mexico
Craig’s message is universal. “You can find your way thru tragedy and build a new life.” It may not be the life you had before, but Craig’s message of hope, empowerment and love can help you discover your second chance to live – and live well. I am grateful for Craig’s beautiful writings. They inspire me and bring me comfort. As a speaker, Craig, speaks from the heart and is a living testament to his message. I am honored to know and learn from Craig Phillips.
Viki Kind, MA Bioethicist and author of The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can’t – January 18, 2014 4:58 pm
Niketa P. Sheth, MPA
Senior Vice President, Quality of Life Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
I met Craig at the 2013 Southwest Conference on Disability, where he spoke as one of the keynote speakers for the conference. His remarkable words of inspiration moved hundreds of individuals in the room. Craig has an impressive ability to share his personal experience in a way that just about anyone can relate. His remarks brought strength and motivation to many in the audience. Craig has also invested much time and effort in creating many resources for individuals. I admire Craig’s dedication to inspire our community through his work with Second Chance to Live.
Rolf B. Gainer, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital
Craig Phillips is an exceptional person who has constructed his life to help others. I had the privilege to meet Craig, in person, at the 2013 Southwest Disability Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October 2013 where he was a keynote speaker. I had known Craig prior to that conference through his website and on-line presence where we had the opportunity to interact and learn about his work. What is impressive about Craig is his forthright manner about discussing his brain injury, it’s impact on his life and his devotion to helping others through Second Chance to Live. Craig has written a blog on our NeuroNotes which has brought his work to others living with brain injury.
To read more Testimonials, please click on this link: Testimonials / Endorsements
Global Impact of Second Chance to Live
In July 2012 I wrote an article to share how I learned to live on a fixed income. To read the article, click on this link: How to Manage Money while Living on SSDI — Social Security Disability Insurance
My Ongoing Process and Journey with Second Chance to Live
Over the past 9 1/2 years I have written an article series, My Journey thus Far to share highlights. Highlights from my process and journey with Second Chance to Live. Below are links to each part of the article series. Click on each part and the article will open for you.
I want to thank you for being a friend of Second Chance to Live. I look forward to being of service to you and your family.
In the event that you know of anyone who you believe could benefit, please share Second Chance to Live with them.
In the event that you have any questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and welcomed.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a great day.
Below are several quotes that have encouraged, motivated, empowered and given me hope.
“Be encouraged my friend, our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but they are meant to build us up.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
“Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person.” Mother Teresa
“If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to life the life that you have imagine…you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau
“Do not judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“Insist on yourself, never imitate. Your own gift you can present with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you only have an extemporaneous half-possession…Do that which is assigned to you, and you can not hope too much or dare too much.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” Scott Adams — American Cartoonist
“Everyone is trying to do some thing big, not realizing that life is made up of small things.” Frank A Clark
“I have heard that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The good news is that once we start walking on that journey, before long we will be able to look back and see how far we have come on our journey — because we did not give up.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
“…You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.” Mother Teresa
“For I know the plans that I have for you – says the Lord – plans for good and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 Old Testament
You have my permission to share my articles and or video presentations with anyone you believe could benefit, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) video presentation (s), and provide a link back to the article (s) on Second Chance to Live. In the event that you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you. Copyright 2007-2016.