Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Choices, Questions, Courage and Miracles

What is it about courage that draws us in and holds our attention, wonder and respect? I am characteristically drawn to stories of courage that personify human strength born out of vulnerability, along with the perseverance and determination to move through physical and emotional challenges. I had the privilege of meeting an individual who embodies this type of courage. The setting was a retreat/training at the Teotihuacan ruins outside of Mexico City. The participants of this retreat came from a variety of countries and had a variety of reasons for attending the retreat/training led by Don Miguel Ruiz. At the retreat, our mornings were spent in trainings let by Don Miguel, afternoons were spent at the ruins and our evenings were spent either in contemplation or connecting with fellow travelers via conversation and Spanish karaoke. We started out as a small group of strangers who, through the sharing of our life stories, quickly recognized our kindred spirit relationships and developed deep friendships that transcended time.

 “Juan” was a 40 something gentleman from the east coast. He was tall, slender, casual in nature, boyish looking and walked with the aid of two titanium walking sticks. His story unfolded one day as we were walking back to the hotel from our afternoon meditation ritual at the Teotihuacan ruins. Two years prior to the retreat, Juan was in a serious accident. He was on his way to meet friends for a typical Sunday morning brunch riding his beloved motorcycle, when he was hit by a large SUV that had run a red light. Juan was violently thrown from his motorcycle and suffered injuries so severe that he wound up in a hospital for an entire year. His injuries included multiple fractures in almost every bone of his body and his recovery included multiple hip replacements – initial surgeries and subsequent ones when the initial replacements became seriously infected. He was told by multiple medical experts that he would never walk again.

Had Juan chosen to believe the experts’ opinion, his story would have unfolded quite differently. Instead, he chose to step into a story with a different ending - one in which he embodied the qualities of courage, strength, perseverance and faith, rather than those of acceptance and resignation. Juan’s choice worked miracles for him. There is often a thin line between fantasy and reality and we tend to idealize experts as messengers of reality. When we don't accept expert opinions, we can be accused of living in a fantasy world. Juan’s courage led him to his belief that the experts could have their opinion and that he could have a different one. Juan asked himself the question: If it was possible to walk again, what would I need to do? Through his intentional and courageous act of stepping into this question, Juan was led to additional experts who were able to support him in his physical, emotional and spiritual healing.

What are the questions that guide you throughout your life challenges?


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