To watch and listen to a video presentation of this article, click on this link: Ingredients to Build a Good Life for Ourselves after Brain Injury
Through my process and on my journey, I discovered a very valuable and life changing lesson.
A lesson that empowered (s) my ability to make sense of what made little sense to me.
A lesson that helped me to begin to gather ingredients to build a good life after my brain injury.
“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
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book; On Death and Dying speaks to 5 stages. Five stages in the process of grieving. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages were essential to my being able to start my process of gathering ingredients.
My Experience with the Grieving Process after my Brain Injury
By using the principles of the grieving process, I was able to face what was keeping me stuck. The inability to change the impact of my open skull fracture, right frontal lobe damage, a severe brain bruise with brain stem involvement. By facing my powerlessness, I became angry and then tried to bargain my way out.
When I could not bargain my way out of being powerless, change what could not be changed, I became depressed. My depression lasted until I was able to accept that I could not change the impact of my brain injury. I remained depressed until I became sick and tired of being sick and tired of what I could not change.
In my experience, I discovered that when I accepted what I could not change, I became willing. As I became willing, I discovered that I had choices. I no longer needed to be discouraged and despondent by what could not be changed. Instead, I began to realize that I could discover how to use my gifts, talents and abilities.
I could learn how to use my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that would work for me. In my discovery, I realized that I no longer needed to feel “undermined”, “crippled” or limited by what I could not change. With my awareness, I discovered that I could build a good life for myself despite the impact of my brain injury.
The Lesson of the Ingredients
In May of 2000 I began training at a martial arts school. During one of my early conversations with my Sensei or martial arts instructor he shared something that changed the way that I looked at life.
He said, “What I do is give you ingredients — what he would teach me and I would learn there at the martial art school. Your job is to gather those ingredients to “bake a cake” and in the process become a black belt.”
He also told me that a black belt is a master of the basics.
By watching, learning and drilling what Sensei taught his students, over time and through commitment, I would become a master of the basics. In the process of gathering and combining “ingredients” and by not giving up, I would develop as a martial artist.
An Invaluable Lesson
My Sensei reminded me on many occasions, when I thought I should be promoted to the next belt, that if you are asking you are not ready. What I came to understand through my process, is that what the student learns through through the process is more important than the color of a belt.
The Learning Process and the Journey is More Important than the Destination
“Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless, and add specifically your own creation.” Bruce Lee
Applying the Principles of Combining Ingredients to Creating a Good Life
As I apply the lesson of gathering ingredients I am able to create a good life for myself. Through combining lessons, that I gain from my circumstances and opportunities; I am able to find out what works best for me. As I learn and grow, in my experience, I am able to build a good life.
“Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it.” Zig Ziglar
What I need to remember is that the process of learning and the journey is more important than the outcome and the destination.
Keep creating hope through gathering ingredients. Gathering ingredients through lessons that your circumstances, experiences and opportunities teach you.
And use those ingredients to create a good life for yourself, one day at a time.
Gather ingredients and bake your cake (s) and don’t worry if takes a while to build your cake (s). Stick with the process and don’t give up. You will be glad you persevered.
Enjoy the process and the journey. More will be revealed to you and to me.
“Everyone is trying to do some thing big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” Frank A. Clark