I lay in amazement from the previous night’s discoveries. A wave of memories, as big as a tsunami, hit. I had literally crossed over to the other side alive without dying and had come back to consciousness with a deeper knowledge and inspiration for life.
I was eleven; an innocent, smiley, happy child with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. I remember that day so clearly. I was beaming with happiness. It was the last day of school. I was so proud. Now I was “big.” Next year I would be in junior high no longer a youngster in elementary school. Excitement filled my heart as it was the first day of summer, June 21st. Three months of fun, laughter, and play were ahead and I couldn’t be happier! Life was a fairy tale for me.
Like every Friday afternoon, my brother Prometheus and I were waiting for the bus to go to Tang Soo Do School. We waited on a long dirt road that led to an intersection of two other roads. We stood near a donkey and water trough, where farmers brought their animals to drink to quench their hot thirst. As usual, we were dressed in our all white Tang Soo Do uniform. Everything was going wonderfully, except for the bus being late. As we waited, traffic went by. I started getting tired of standing, and asked my brother who was sitting down leaning up against a Stop sign if I could sit there. “The bus will be here any moment,” he replied. So I just stood there waiting.
Suddenly everything stopped. I heard a car screech, and thought to myself, “Another crazy driver.” There was a lot of smoke all around me, and I could faintly see a red car spinning and coming towards me. Then I blanked out. I had no idea what had just happened to me. When I regained consciousness, my legs hurt tremendously. I found myself lying on the dirt road, several feet from where I’d originally stood. My all white-uniform was not white anymore; it was covered in dirt. My legs felt weird and different, like they were no longer part of me, disconnected from the rest of my body. As if they were partially in the ground. The pain was excruciating.
I was very confused, and felt much fear. I didn’t know if I would live, if I would be crippled, or lose my legs. I felt very weak and tired. I just wanted to close my eyes and go to sleep, and hopefully when I woke up it would have all been a bad dream. Now with both my femur bones broken, my reality switched 180 degrees.
A year of horror began: Being rushed to the hospital, the doctor cruelly yelling at me to stop crying as he violently placed a cast over both my swelling legs. Being inserted with a catheter, embarrassed and exposed in a room full of people. Being told I must be rushed to Athens, the mainland by plane as my case was too serious to stay on the island. Enduring excruciating pain as I was constantly being moved from room to room, bed to bed; I just wanted to drift away into a deep sleep.
Almost losing my leg as the doctor had wrongly placed the cast around one of my legs too tightly, blocking my circulation, I was just an hour away from being amputated. Waking up in shock with these huge alien-looking metal things now extending into my legs. My bum rotten and cut from not being cleaned properly by the nurses after going to the bathroom in the bedpan. Being bedridden, unable to walk for seven months, separated from nature which I so dearly love.
The worst pain? The changing of my bandages twice a day in order to keep the holes in my wounds open around the eight metal rods, until they healed. Waking up one morning covered in ants feeding on my open leg wounds, frightened and unable to jump up and shake them off me. Days and nights spent with my legs stretched straight out in front of me unable to move, relying on others to pick me up to take me to go to the bathroom. Finally given crutches after seven months, and realizing I no longer remember how to walk. Having the bars removed by the same alcoholic doctor who almost cost me my leg, gasping for air as he used no anesthetic or pain-reliever.
This is just the physical pain, it comes and eventually leaves forever. But even after it is healed, what remains, and that which is central to it all, are the emotions, thoughts, views, and feelings behind every experience. That day I felt I had lost everything in the blink of an eye.
I began crying uncontrollably, like I never had known tears before. It was like a river rapidly forcefully pushing through. Images of this long past journey flashed through my head. It came out of nowhere, and hit me just as if it were that car. Suddenly I received an influx of profound insights, understandings about my life patterns, cycles, and ways of viewing things. Such a small event shaped the course of my life. I will share some of my insights here.
I never really believed in romantic relationships. Possible, but a rare occurrence, I thought. The only person I could truly count on was myself. Pessimistic when it came to marriages and partnerships; thinking “In the end, it doesn’t work out.” I blamed this belief on psychological explanations, my parents failed marriage, a society filled with adultery and divorces. Now I understand where this belief really started.
During my recovery, many people around me that I felt loved me, and whom I loved, just disappeared. My friends vanished. My parents were wrapped up in meeting my physical needs, and so in my eyes emotionally absent. I felt alone, abandoned, lying there day after day. As a child, I transformed this into a reality where all those that love you, and those you love, disappear. Relationships you held dear changed and turned out to be unreal. From then on, every time in my life I experienced a difficult or sad moment, I felt alone, which would bring to the surface those hidden feelings from my accident. Therefore, I concluded that all relationships eventually did not last.
In my eyes, my parents were so involved in giving their support to meet me during my recovery that they forgot the most significant matter of all. I felt I lost my friendships, the closeness with the people I loved.
However, I was not aware of something very important....
“The love of the self is never something that is directly personal. It has a great deal to do with oneself, but the real love is something that is a by-product of the way human beings live their lives. That is what real love means.”
-Ra Uru Hu
Was it really true that all my loved ones around me did not truly love me? Or care for me? or was it because their actions did not correspond to what I considered as loving and caring according to my point of view?
We are all different and unique. We tend to perceive love and caring through our minds which is limited and determined by what society has decided it to be. Ignoring the fact that we are different and there are many different ways in which people express themselves. We treat other people based on the certainties and ideas that are given to us as universal truths, a universal belief system that only includes certain things and excludes others. It is not all-encompassing, forgetting our differentiation and uniqueness. This leads to fights, blame, shame, and violence.
To me, love is being yourself. It cannot be defined as we are all so unique. Everyone holds a piece to make up what love is, who we are is different to every other being. Love and caring is not something specific just like a gift can be anything in any form. For one the same gift can be the worst thing in the world, to the other it can be the best gift in the world! A smile can be a form of kindness as well as a form of cruelty. Love is expressed through the other within their own unique design. Have you ever had a hard time finding a gift for someone? That is because you have to find what that person defines as love, based on who they are.
This is why they say there are many kinds of love, it is not something solid it can take many forms. It expresses itself through you in its own unique way. So love is something different and unique to every person. You cannot define it, naming certain actions as loving and unkind, it all depends. One moment love can be this, and another moment something entirely different. It is not even selflessness and unconditional, it can be, yet it is so much more, it can also be selfish and conditional. For one person love can be empowering you to be yourself, to the other correcting you, to the other feeding you, to the other hugging you, to the other one defending you in a disagreement, to another monogamy, to another polygamy. Neither is right or wrong simply different expressions and what is correct what works for us individually, using our unique awareness and not the world’s preconceived ideas, views, definitions, and judgments.
Being in a position of which I considered a lack of caring support at the time provided me with an understanding of what MY value of caring, of love, and expressed feelings were. How I express love and caring to others taught me that love is not only what I perceived it to be. In essence, it taught me about all forms of loving and caring. Another wonderful gift which I received from this experience.
Did I truly lose all the people I loved? No. Do I know all the people that loved me and cared for me during that time, expressed their love and caring according to what was correct for them? Yes. I got to see my truth and the truth of those around me. I got to know better the people around me, through their eyes and not only mine, to recognize them and appreciate them for their own unique beauty and expression. And how grateful I am to all those who were there along my journey and participating in this amazing transformation.
There is something even more important and beautiful I came to discover during that period. A different kind of loving and caring. I got to get to know myself under different circumstances. I was given the opportunity to have more alone time away from the presence of others and more within myself, in a different way. I became my own support system and my own best friend. I have always loved my company more than anyone else’s and have the greatest fun in my own presence; it is unlike anything else. I am my favorite person to be with. I LOVE spending time with myself. I never get bored. I crack myself up, I have fun, I laugh, I play, I get to choose whatever I want, whenever I want, I can create anything. Perhaps this began with my incident. Where I discovered the joy of my own company, my own kind of love, kindness, nurturing, and being. I got to experience and know myself under different circumstances.
Before this event, I used to spend most of my time out in nature in solitude playing amongst the trees, sand dunes, insects, animals, and ocean. Nature was my favorite place to be. During the recovery period, I was separated from what I held the most valuable in my life...nature.
The Worst Part
A fairy that no longer had wings,
Imprisoned in the forbidden word
Separated from her siblings…
Plants & flowers, unable to reach them,
A building- not a place for a fairy.
She could not roam the forests,
Swim in the ocean, Dance on a mountain.
Her home was unreachable, so close yet…impossible.
She longed for a window so she could catch a view of the flowers…
That would give her hope.
But her wings were broken,
Her heart was broken.
This was my view yet you know what I discovered? I discovered I was never truly separated from nature it was there it always was. I could not do the things I could once do, what I thought I wanted to do, I was not physically in nature’s presence any longer yet it was still there. My love for it was there. I had not lost anything. I did not lose my life, nor myself, I lost nothing. Instead, I gained. Yes, when I recovered things had changed. Now though I had gained something more. A greater love, a greater understanding, appreciation, and recognition of myself and all things. I found…myself. I became aware I could stand on my own two feet. The trees, ocean, plants, and animals were always there waiting for me to return after my initiation into my new transformed state.
A shirt, a car, a home, a person, a friendship, a lover may come and go and can vanish so quickly, but what remains, what is stable and true, and the most important of all is our being. I came out of it even more empowered, I got to see my strength, my courage, my will power, my love…me. It was the greatest gift of all, to belong to myself.
Before the accident, I viewed life as an adventure a place of mystery and excitement, it was a fairy tale. After my recovery, I regained this sense once more and the magic returned, even stronger. This provided an inner strength, a belief in myself, a trust in the world and myself like never before that no matter what happens, I can rise and endure all that comes my way. No matter what comes, I will always see it with eyes of beauty for all things, laugh, and take in all the wonderful gifts life has to offer me.
How fortunate I am to have been given the gift of living, breathing, feeling and moving. That in itself is the greatest gift of all. If I could turn back time and change this event would I? Absolutely not. I am incredibly grateful for this experience, and every moment of my life, as it has brought me to where I am now. Life comes with its ups and downs. Giving us the tools to learn, expand, grow and truly get in touch with who we are. I can lose my legs, my arms, my voice, my sight, but that which cannot be taken from me is my being.
I look forward to all the “good’’ and “bad” that lie ahead: the sorrows, joys, traumas, laughs, tears, hugs, disappointments, love, awareness, and further initiations.
I await with open arms…
"Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining."
Would you like to journey deeper?
My Continuing Evolution
Have you ever wondered, with certain traumas, accidents, incidents, experiences, who is really the traumatized one? The person who actually has the experience, or can it sometimes be the people around? Is it possible that a woman is sexually assaulted and it impacts her husband’s life more than hers? Or a father has an accident and his son is the one who is left with the scars? That maybe a person listening to a traumatizing story feels more pain than the actual person who lived through it?
Have you ever considered that sometimes our experience of a certain event can be influenced by the feelings, emotions, thoughts, points of view of those around us and the world around us? How much of what our experience of an event is actually ours, and how much is influenced by the experiences of those around us?
23 years ago, I was hit by a car and broke both my femur bones.
A couple of years ago, as I sat by the lake, I found myself once again crying about the accident and not understanding why. It didn’t seem like I had any pain remaining. I had dealt with my feelings and emotions. It turned out there was another part needing mending, a much deeper part.
I came to a profound and shocking awareness that day. Sure it was horrible, however, it was actually not such a big deal for me, well, not in the way you would think. My whole life, I always felt I had to forgive myself for something, and I never knew for what. I have always been a caring person. I have never tried purposely to harm anyone or do anything bad.
I have always been aware of other people’s feelings, emotions, thoughts, energies — very aware.
During the accident recovery period, I was bedridden, unable to move, go to the bathroom, or even get a glass of water, for six months. After that, there were crutches for another five months.
I came to the awareness that the deep pain I felt was not because of what happened and all I went through. It was the awareness of how my family around me felt during that time. I was so deeply aware of their pain, frustration, anger (with themselves, me, and each other), helplessness, sadness for what I was going through, that I took it on as mine. It does not mean I did not have any feelings of my own.
However, it hurt me immensely to watch them struggle. You see, in my eyes, I was the cause of their suffering. Maybe they were more frightened, shocked and traumatized than I was. Watching me in immense pain, unable to walk, is not something easy to bare. It crushed their trust in life, their reality.
I watched how frustrated they would get to have to carry me to the bathroom, bring me water, or turn on the TV. I watched their feeling of helplessness.
It was extremely heartbreaking to feel their pain, or perhaps I was picking up on their heartbreak for what I was going through. In a way, I blamed myself. Somehow I created the belief that it was my fault, that I was responsible for what happened. I was never able to forgive myself for taking away their joy and putting them through that.
The worst part for me was watching my loved ones be in pain and not being able to do anything about it. I found myself saying, "I didn’t mean it." I felt shame. I wished I could have taken their pain away just as what they wished for me.
Isn’t it amazing how sensitive we are? To everything around us? How we form or take on beliefs, ideas, thoughts, feelings, and emotions? Heck, I realized I was even picking up on the shock from all the people in the village and the island, as it was a major traumatic event.
I realize that in many difficult moments, I was not experiencing through my body, but theirs.
I remember many, many years ago, asking my brother Prometheus (he was there with me when the car hit me) what his experience of the accident was, what it was like to be there, and he replied that he does not want to talk about it. I told him if he ever would like to share, I am here. I have yet to hear anything.
After getting the bars removed from my legs and finally walking to school, I felt so happy and fantastic! I was on top of the world, confident as hell, joyful, nothing could stop me. No one could understand why, mostly in school. I was the famous tragic event on the island. I thought something was wrong with me for feeling this way. However, I felt empowered. The whole experience had given me immense inner strength.
It was a privilege, and I became aware of my own power. Others felt I should be sad, broken — the general point of view of the world. I remember being upset when I would see people’s responses and comments when I told them what happened.
Even with the scars on my legs remaining from the bars, I had no problem having them exposed in full sight. I wore short shorts all the time because that’s what I liked. It didn’t matter to me. Then gradually, after watching other people’s responses, staring at me, viewing them as something terrible, I began to take on that view. I watched how it made them feel uncomfortable when I told them what happened.
It gave them fear and sadness, so I began to view them as something wrong, something to feel ashamed of. I slowly began to cover them with more clothing and be seen less and less in public until it became a never, and extremely uncomfortable if they were to be seen. I feared the glances and the remarks, the judgment. I actually love my scars, they are a part of me. My warrior scars, as I call them.
I remember having lots of thoughts during the whole event, where I still found it fascinating what I was going through. For instance, when I was in the ambulance, I thought, “Oh, this is a cool experience, this is what it is like. I wonder if I won’t have to go to Tang Soo Do class for a while.”
Or when I was lying on the road after being hit, and surrounded by all these strangers — all hysterical, screaming, trying to figure out what to do — I just wanted to be left alone, and thought, “Geez, they are being dramatic.”
I remember my sister recently telling me that she met someone from the same grade in my school, and he told her how my accident had a profound impact on him. He will never forget it, he said to her. How he watched the teacher call out my name day after day, and I was not there. I had no idea. I have barely ever spoken to this person.
When I first injured my back many years ago and had a four-year healing journey, I have always said it was the best experience I ever had. This makes everyone look at me like I am delusional. It opened up incredible adventures and lifetime experiences ever! Discovering who I was, and finding my center.
Or when I fell and injured my knee, and it took five and a half hours for me and my friend to get to the car. We thought it was broken and had to maneuver over rocks, hills and all sorts of obstacles. I actually had fun. Sure it was physically painful and scary, my predominant feeling though was Dude, this is so cool! It’s like in a movie! I was laughing and joking throughout the way.
It was so ridiculous though what we had to go through, and how creative we had to become. I never bought the point of view this should have been a horrible experience because it simply wasn’t.
Or when I got lost in the forest and had to spend the night there. My sister, mother, ex, and family were freaking out hysterically, even though I assured them I was perfectly fine and it was no big deal for me. It was an amazing experience, especially because of the free helicopter ride, hanging from a rope in the air, getting the whole view of the forest! It was awesome!
You see, as humans, we are so sensitive to other people’s feelings, emotions, and thoughts that we so easily adopt them as our own, as the truth. There is no ultimate truth. Only our truth at that moment in time.We are all so unique and different.
I wonder how many times in our lives when something happens — an accident or incident — how much of our experience, our reaction, and feelings are really us or due to our point of view on how we should be feeling, acting, based on what we are taught is good and bad. Do we ever know how the other is really feeling or experiencing something? Or are we looking at it through our point of view or society’s point of view?
What if what is painful, frightening, saddening, or traumatizing for me is not so for others, to the point where they wouldn’t even bat an eye? What if what is painful, frightening, or saddening, or traumatizing to others is not for me? We are all different. Are happiness, joy, and fun not individual to each? Are we not all individuals?
What if we didn’t allow ourselves to create an event into an awful experience just because of how we should think or feel about it? Be it, only if it is coming from us, from within. What if it has nothing to do with willpower or strength? What if it is simply about whether it is us, or we are taking on some other person’s or the world’s point of view?
What if we asked questions before making assumptions, judgments about what is considered a trauma, accident, disability, or bad, allowing acceptance for the individual or individuals involved? What if doctors, nurses, therapists and healers asked these questions and had no point of view? What If the acknowledged everyone’s uniqueness?
I was always solitary and spent most of my time in solitude. In that, I got to be myself and live my life through my perception. I recognized myself. I got to drift in and out of other people’s worlds when I chose to when it was correct for me.
When I had the accident this changed. Through this experience, I got to recognize others more deeply. A different perspective. I was now among their world there in the house every day. I got to watch and observe their side of the story their experience, and perception in this kind of situation, I got to watch the world in these situations.
During my time in the hospitals, I got to meet many people, patients, their visitors, people going through all kinds of things, different from the mundane everyday life. It was a very different world for me, drastically different. It was as if a different world existed that I never knew about. I had to take in all those feelings, emotions, pain, suffering, thoughts, pressure, anxiety, from others from a hospital environment, a major shock to me in comparison to being on my own, in my own aura and presence. That was the most difficult part of the whole experience, it was a horror to me.
Yet, it turned into a gift to watch and observe, it became an empowering experience. It was not easy, not easy at all, yet, I survived. I made it. I saw my strength and how no matter what is going on around me I could never lose who I am. So, in essence, I was not getting to know myself I was getting to know the other. I was getting to see how I changed and responded among their world, and what others took on from me, what was me, and what was not me. Then I got to return to my life, my view, and my truth.
The most important gift I received was the awareness of the impact just one person can have on the world around them. How one event can shift reality just like that. More so though how just one person can shift the reality, perception, and life of another. The key? Knowing who you are what is you, and what is not, what is true and correct for you. Loving and being the magic of you that is different than anyone else.
Sometimes we tend to focus on a small piece, one event, one behavior, one word and lock into it, closing our eyes to everything else. We stay with that and get stuck on one thing and harp on it as if there isn’t anything else when everything around us is moving and happening and we do not see it. We only see that one specific thing as if there is nothing else. We no longer see ourselves; we no longer see the other or anything around us. Thus we stop being.
That spot where I got hit by the car was a spot where many accidents had occurred in the past, my incident caused them to finally cut through the red tape and change speeding laws among other things. It affected so many people’s lives in my village, school, police department, and island. It changed the attitude of the police department as the driver of the car that hit me was a police officer. People became more sensitive and aware. There was a ripple effect, in a beautiful way.
I always had my own reality, my own way of being, a VERY different way of being and looking at the world. This event gave me a deep fear, an illusion that something unexpected could occur where I could not be myself and exist in the world as I am. A deep fear of losing myself and that I would have no control over stopping that from happening. That I would have to live a lie, a life through the eyes of others. It also confused me as to what was true, my reality or theirs. I doubted what was real.
It took time for me to become aware that they are both true, they are both there that it is simply a matter of what my truth is, my reality. I got to see the limitation of conditioning so that I can transcend beyond that. In essence, it showed me that no matter what, I am always there, that I can always return to being myself without being influenced by other’s realities that surround me. I could never get lost ever in the shuffle. I can always be who I am.
The fear was not real. My accident was the greatest gift I received I am so grateful for it, truly the greatest gift life has given me, the gift of myself. Within this experience, I became acquainted with myself and aware of who I truly am. I discovered me! And how different I was from everyone else and what that difference was. I got to see my uniqueness and let it shine.
It was actually proving to myself, that I can be myself. That even though I might be in situations where I get lost in someone else, in their world and views, that’s okay it happens, I always have the capability and power to return back to self. I never lost myself, or was far away just finding myself and re-finding myself, being and re-being myself. I have always led a very different unique life. Any resistance, judgment, or disbelief I have encountered has ever stopped me. This fear of one day losing myself, something unexpected happening, and not being able to be my unique self is over, is not true, it is a lie. Am I responsible, can I control what anyone else feels, says or does? No. That’s them and I am me. I can only be me. I can be me without any guilt or shame, allowing myself to shine and in that allowing others to do the same. Allowing others to be whatever it is they choose to be without judgment.
I am indeed grounded and rooted as the unique tree I am.
I am so grateful to all of you beautiful beings who have empowered me and continue to empower me to be myself and even those of you who haven’t, you have all been an empowering beautiful force in my life making it…a most magical adventure. Thank you.
“To be different is to be correct as yourself. There is, after all, nobody like you, never will be, cannot be. You are the only example of you.”
-Ra Uru Hu