We are often confronted with many critical junctures in our life that force us to make important decisions about which direction we might choose to go. For me personally, one of these points in time came after a near death accident while living in Cambodia. After having my ulnar artery completely severed, I nearly bled out. It was a painfully scary moment, filled with fear, as I thought I was going to die. With blood pouring from my wrist, I really thought to myself ‘This is it...... I cannot believe I am going to die this way.’
It was a moment in time that will forever be etched in my heart and mind as it literally had me praying for an understanding of why this happened and asking the universe (or God), for a sign that I would be OK.
As I reflect back on this horrible accident and the stress and anxiety it caused, as well as why it happened, I know with certainty that it changed the course of my life. It forced me to confront many issues that I had grappled with up until that point. And for some odd and unexplainable reason, it gave me a very strong metaphorical jab straight to the solar plexus, pushing me to understand that I had to live my life differently. However, I had no idea what that actually meant at the time.
In the months following my accident, I continued to try to make sense of what had happened. Slowly over time, I sincerely felt that some of my prayers were beginning to be answered. I wouldn’t say I had total clarity. Far from it in fact, but the reality was that I began to approach my life in a completely new way.
When I reflect back on that time, I can’t help but think of a quote that I once wrote in my journal. It was this quote that helped me to better frame up my experience and allow me to be more accepting of the accident. As well, it helped me to understand and make sense of some of the other challenges that I had faced in my life prior to the accident itself.
The quote is this:
“Nothing in the world is worth having unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty. I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many who led difficult lives and lived them well.”
This powerful quote helped me to better understand that with hardship comes learning, especially when we open ourselves up to it. Sometimes in life, we hear and experience certain things, but only when we are ready to hear and experience them. And when we truly open ourselves up to these moments, the greatest shifts can occur within us.
Although still far from the version of the person I one day hope to become, I take the lessons from my accident seriously. In doing so, I now know I must always be open to growth, learning, and how I can best move forward in my life in ways that allow me to access my strengths, embrace my failures, and continue to overcome the challenges that life throws my way. I share this blog post as a reflective tool for you.
As you reflect on your own life, what challenges and hardships have you faced? What have you learned about yourself throughout this journey? What gifts have you developed within yourself as a result of these difficult moments? How do you take stock of your life in a way that allows you to access the strength within yourself and what you offer the world?
Sometimes the universe conveniently taps us on the shoulder and reminds us all that 'this one life we have been blessed with really matters.'
What you ultimately do with that message is up to you. It is my hope that anyone reading this post can take a few minutes to think more deeply about their own life and to know that the critical junctures they confront might be positioned exactly as they should be for a reason.
I hope these junctures continue to remind you about the strengths you possess and the greatness that resides within you. Thanks for reading.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.