MY ARM MOVES
For 8 months I have dreamed of this day, the day where my arm moves. Its so important in life to set goals, but these goals act just like a compass, they give us direction. If we are to reach them we have to put in hours and hours of focused work.
i remember when In had goals to be a World Champion, I never truly realised that the greatest gift I would ever receive was my health and the ability to move with freedom.
It wasn't till I woke up 8 months ago paralysed down one side of my body that I would see my goals through a completely new set of eyes. It was no longer about medals or titles it was about living.
Fighting for your life sends you on a journey of self discovery beyond belief and to places that have left me crying looking at photos of the athlete I was before this last surgery. I might not have the power to ride like I did, but I have a mind now stronger than it has ever been.
There has been days where I have felt like a prisoner in my own body, unable to do things I would love to do, the things I took for granted before they were taken away from me.
One of the most difficult parts of any transition in life is the change in your identity, but transitions in life can be great and really challenge you if you see the opportunities in them.
The one challenge for me this time has been managing loosing my identity. I didn't notice this in hospital or in rehab as you are in a safe environment and a bubble. However to develop and grow we have to step out of our comfort zone and for me this was leaving the safe bubble of rehab and going out in London.
Its funny you mostly walk about invisible and no one sees you until you are different, then people stare, not in a bad way, but at first you don't know this, you just feel people looking at you. I was very lucky in hospital to work lots on my Emotional Intelligence by studying the Harvard Business School audio books, especially the one on managing change. This taught me so much about myself that it prepared me to step out of my comfort zone.
However no book really prepares you for jumping into the sea, you could read everyday on how to swim, but until you jump in the water you wont know if it works. It is also a world a way from the book and there was times I felt so overwhelmed trying to walk through London that I wanted to just stop and cry.
I would then tell myself that people weren't looking in a negative way but one of curiosity and that I needed to be aware of this and then respond in a positive way. The hardest thing was chatting with someone and seeing in there eyes how much they had judged me before knowing my fight.
We tend to do this as humans, we judge before knowing the full story. Emotional intelligence has showing me this can be our biggest loss in life as we can miss out on meeting some amazing people.
We always seam to be in a hurry and run about with hour heads buried and miss the real beauty of life, try to pause sometimes and chat to someone new or to stop and say gratitude for your health and the world we live in.
I have met some of the kindest and most amazing people I have never met this year since my third tumour and they have made what has been one of the hardest years of my life into one of the most special ones as well.
I have worked every second of everyday over the last 8 months to move my arm, I never really had any signs that it might one day move again, but I never gave up once, and last week it moved for the first time in a way that gave me belief that one day it will move again.
So never give up on your dreams or your beliefs and always see challenges in life as a positive and an opportunity to discover more about yourself. Change can be good and creates neuroplasticity if you perceive it as a positive challenge and not a threat.
Set and intention each day you awake to not judge others and to make people smile as you will never know the fight someone else is going through if you don't make time to listen to them in an empathetic way.