It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
After four weeks of lying flat on my back in traction with a broken neck, no mobility or feeling in both my arms and one of my legs, I got a visit from the ‘expert doctors’.
At 20 years old I was told that I wasn’t responding to any of the treatments and I was going to be paralyzed for the rest of my life.
“The rest of my life!” rang in my head over and over and over. With a tsunami twirling in my stomach, my heart pounding out of my chest I immediately blurted out; “I don’t think so doc, that’s not my plan!”
I don’t remember much after that because my inner chatter went ballistic, overflowing with worst case scenarios. My mind had dropped a movie screen right down in front of me so I could watch the story of my life as a quadriplegic.
As I watched in horror, I saw my mom spoon feeding me, brushing my teeth, shaving my face, combing my hair, wiping my butt and dressing me. Being chauffeured everywhere I needed to go, never to ride a bike, a motorcycle or drive my car again. Thinking if I was lucky enough to have a wife, I would never be able to wrap my arms around her or be able to hold our baby in my arms.
Contributing to the new humanity gives me meaning beyond anything I could have possibly imagined. I write books, give events, and create programs to teach about creating authentic power—aligning the personality with the soul so that we can transform ourselves with our own wills instead of trying to change others.
I am filled with meaning when I am giving a gift to Life. Sometimes when a chapter that I am writing comes to an end, or I reread a chapter that I have written, I cry without being able to stop because I am so grateful to be allowed to write these words and share these thoughts.
Happy Passover! Happy Palm Sunday! I hope you are smiling wherever you are!
This morning, I am smiling as I look ahead to Holy Week. I am looking forward to it because it feels like an opportunity to reset. Regardless of your religion, this is a moment for everyone to reflect and renew. Both feel more important now than ever.
The other day, I read a quote from Prince Harry that stayed with me all week long. Writing about his mother’s death and how it affected him as a child, he said: “I didn’t want to believe or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me.”
Prince Harry wrote those words in a foreword to a new picture book aimed at helping children cope with losing a loved one to COVID-19. His words resonated with me deeply because grief has left a huge hole inside of me, too. It’s a hole that I’ve tried to fill up over the years with going, doing, and accomplishing things. I’ve always been hoping to get ahead of grief so that I didn’t have to deal with it.
Grief is like that. It’s there, and you want to deal with it, but you know you have to carry on so you try to push past it.
Somehow, when I face what is mine to face and empty myself of all that is agitating me, I go clear like a lake after a storm. It is then that I can see through to the bottom of what is me, only to see that I share that bottom with all other beings. When I face my heartache and reach its bottom, there is the bottom of all heartache which is both comforting and renewing.
In this brave and tender way, resilience is accepting strength from everything that is not us. When being ourselves to the bottom of our personality, we trip into the well of all personality. When giving all our care to what is before us, we trip into the well of all love. When diving through the depth that some call soul, we swim in the depth of being. Once opened that deeply, summoning and marshalling what is dormant in us to face the situation at hand empowers our fortitude.
Happy Spring, friends! How are you doing today? How are you feeling with all the talk about getting back to so-called normal?
Are you feeling good? Are you relieved? Are you anxious? Or are you just not having any of it? No matter how you feel, I understand. It’s a lot to take in and process. I don’t know about you, but to me, it feels like we were just talking about double masking. Now planes are filled to the max again, restaurants and gyms are reopening. And, depending on where you live, people can (and are) walking around totally unmasked!
It’s enough to give even the calmest among us post-pandemic anxiety, so breathe. That’s where you and your voice come in. That’s where our first story in the Views Above the Noise section below will really help you move forward.
Over the past few days, I’ve spoken to people from all walks of life—different age groups, different states, people on the frontlines of the pandemic, and also those who have lost their jobs—and I’ve got to say, not one person has said, “I’m going back to the way things were.” They all say, “I want to move forward, but I want to move forward differently. I want to live with more intention.” Every one of them has had a different experience, but all of them have been impacted by the pandemic and have felt the need to take stock of their life and reset. Many aren't sure what the new normal is, but they feel blessed to still be here, and they want to move forward with a new focus, a new mindset, and a new sense of purpose and intention. Me too.
That brings me to two conversations I had this week that I think will help us all do exactly that. One was about having accountability partners in your life, and the other was about a jar of marbles (yup, a jar of marbles). Both got me thinking.
My first conversation was one about where you turn for advice. My friend asked me this: Do you have at least five people to whom you can turn for sound advice? Do you have people who will tell you the truth, who will call you out when the situation warrants it, and who will keep you moving forward?
As my friend and I discussed this, they then told me to “take those five people and smoosh them together. Then you will have you!”
This week, there was a lot to think about. There was a lot to talk about, a lot to feel, and a lot to reflect upon as we approach the one-year anniversary of lockdown.
Can you believe that one year has passed? Can you believe that more than 500,000 people have lost their lives to a disease that few of us had even heard of a year ago? Can you believe how much has changed?
I think it’s fair to say that none of us are the same people we were before Covid shut down our worlds. Lives have been lost and/or dramatically altered. Jobs have disappeared, identities have been reimagined, and priorities have shifted dramatically. It’s as if we are all looking at our lives through new eyes.
What do you see today when you look out? What do you feel about your life and your future? Have you found a silver lining? Does being asked to look for one tick you off? Did you love your life before and hate it now, or is it the other way around? Did Covid force you to stop? Have you had to dig your way up and out? Are you taken aback at where you have found yourself? Do you feel uncertain and alone when you look forward?
I don't know about you, but very little in my life feels the same as it did one year ago. I don't look at the world the same way, nor do I look at my life the same way. And I know I'm not alone. That’s why I’m grateful that the new book The Call to Unite: Voices of Hope and Awakening by my brother Tim Shriver and my friend Tom Rosshirt is coming out this Tuesday. It's the first from my new publishing imprint The Open Field! Yippee! Hooray!
She was standing in the aisle as the train bumped along the Hudson. She was looking in her bag, as if she’d lost something important. She just meant to check that it was still there, like when she reached for her wallet the other day, just to make sure she didn’t leave it on the counter in the drugstore. Or like reaching for that small photo of her son who was now gone. Is it there? How could she go on without it? The more she looked, the more desperate she became, as if she couldn’t find her heart. Where did she leave it? She began to search her mind for when she last took her heart out. Did she leave it on the table at the restaurant when the young couple reminded her of her first love? Or did she leave it at her son’s funereal? Did it fall into his grave at the cemetery? She had to find it or she couldn’t go on. I began to ache for her, saying to myself, “Keep looking. It has to be there. You can’t lose something like that.” But then, I slouched, remembering the times I’d lost my heart and how awful the weeks before I found it. She began to cry and pull at her bag, as if it had betrayed her. My heart began to pound. Things started to spill from her bag onto the floor. I moved closer, thinking, Now that I’m in this, I have enough heart for two. I touched her arm. And the extra heart she’d given me by being so real in her fear of loss in the middle of a train—I gave it back by holding up her bag which was falling. She gasped for air, as if waking from a dream of drowning, and put her hand to her chest. It had been there all along.
Join Panache Desai every morning and for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
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