*This is an article I wrote in August 2012. I felt too vulnerable at the time to share it, and it got lost amongst the sea of my life. Now, over a year later, I want to share my experience of being sick, and what it taught me!
Overcoming pneumonia has been a humbling experience.
not because it has weakened my body, challenged my mind and made me vulnerable, but because it has given me invaluable perspective. Going through a time of transition is always a challenge, but doing so while feeling physically weakened is unlike anything I have experienced before. It has made me doubt myself, lose focus, feel inferior and vulnerable to everything going on in my world.
Awakening with new perspective and gratitude is something that I never would have thought at the beginning of this journey. This is such a beautiful thing because it has reinforced my rule of not having expectations and going with the flow.
For almost 3 weeks I didn’t meditate consistently, eat as healthy, create anything or really interact with my friends or coach.
I spent countless hours in a hospital setting, in front of the TV (thank God for the Olympics) and in deep, dream filled sleep. I awoke from a 3 week hibernation where I felt lost, powerless and uninspired with my life.
All the self improvement and spiritual awakening I had endured for over 18 months seemed to have vanished for a short period, and it wasn’t until I had a mastermind session with a beautiful group of friends and colleagues that I started to regain my vision. I can’t tell you how important it is to surround yourself with people who are fun, inspiring and up to big things in life.
Once I regained focus, I realized the world had changed-or at least MY world had changed. I had conceptually known so many things in my life, but hadn’t had them sink into my BEING until my world shifted. They say it takes life altering circumstances to shift one’s perspective, but a shift can occur any time, as long as the person is conscious enough to recognize it!
My new life perspective has left me more empathetic and accepting of my vulnerability with people, and the world around me. I know some people are probably thinking, “I don’t want to be MORE vulnerable!” But in this vulnerability I have found strength. The strength to connect with people on a deeper level, to love life more passionately and feel the true meaning of being one with the earth and all the beautiful people on it.
Connecting deeper with people has been such a blessing in my life. The more I accept others for who they are and appreciate them for their uniqueness, the deeper connection I can form. Non-judgement is something that I have been working on within myself. Through the process of feeling weak, not good enough and everything else I was telling myself during my illness, I was able to cement non-judgement into my BEING. Once I was able to accept myself, I immediately saw a transformation on how I viewed others. This just cements my beliefs that all things must first come from within before you can authentically project them outwardly. Love, acceptance, gratitude….everything!
Pneumonia has taught me five things:
1.) Vulnerability = Strength
Forget what Websters says, being vulnerable can open up a power within you that most of us rarely experience. My entire life I have known strength in the traditional sense: standing firm, having a powerful presence, being mentally sharp or performing acts of valor. What I came to find is my weakest moments turned out to be stronger than anything in my previous experience. Being vulnerable allowed me to connect with others, trust them, collaborate and most importantly have them trust ME. Being vulnerable with someone automatically opens up a door that isn’t possible when you are showing strength. It is only when one party opens that door that both can walk through it to connect on the other side.
2.) Your physical health is paramount
I believe in a holistic approach to life. I work on my body, mind and spirit daily. I feel that if one spoke is weakened, the whole wheel wobbles. I have been mentally and spiritually weakened and been able to bounce back pretty quickly, but when pneumonia weakened my physical body it repaired MUCH slower than my mind and spirit. Having been blessed with amazing physical health for so long it really put things in perspective when I fell ill. We are creators in this world, and having physical health is a key component to the holism that is required to produce at our best. Being strong of mind and spirit are equally important, but our bodies are necessary in this physical realm!
3.) Conceptual vs Being
Being a student of life I find myself reading books, taking seminars, masterminding with great people and learning new things on a daily basis. I take in so much information sometimes that it’s hard to assimilate! It isn’t until I put a concept into action that it ever becomes a way of being for me. Over the past month I have had one thing after another sink into another level of my awareness and it has changed my way of being. Getting sick allowed me to have more gratitude for those around me, being vulnerable allowed me to have deeper connection, and accepting myself allowed me to accept others.
4.) Shift your perspective, change your world
Every so often we come across a story or even know someone who has had a life changing experience courtesy of a traumatic experience. After facing death people tend to see the world differently. I believe these events are put into our lives to help guide us on our journey. Why not use the things we experience everyday to make tiny shifts along our path? There are lessons in front of us everyday, we just have to be conscious that they are in our awareness and be able to see the lessons they are there to provide.
5.) The Olympics rock!
Every four years the worlds best athletes get together and have a huge party. A party like no other, where they get to compete against the best, stand in appreciation of others’ talents and represent their home country with pride. I hadn’t sat and watched Olympics since I was a little kid so it was really awesome to see the evolution of not only the sports, but the athletes awareness. I saw huge respect amongst competitors, camaraderie within the fans, and a level of physical prowess -38 world records were broken, almost double the total at Beijing- that was unmatched.
Matt Ritchey, author of this article is a life coach and founder of TheBlueSpoke.com. Matt has dedicated his professional life to inspiring and uplifting others to achieve their full potential. To find out more about Matt’s “Best Life Coaching” services Click Here.