I’d like to share with you this amazing and uplifting story of Janine Shepherd, who was a professional athlete – cross-country skier, and who had an accident that changed her life forever. She found herself at the rock bottom, in a very bleak and hopeless situation. The doctors’ verdict was crushing – she’ll never walk again, she will never bear children (it’s not in the video but you’ll find it in her bio), she’ll never do what she loved the most – sport. Yet the strength of Janine’s spirit helped her not only to recover but also remake her life. She walks, has 3 kids and she became a pilot and an instructor of aviation. You might say, great for her, what it has to do with me? We all have been in a dark place at least once in our life, and even though it is always a huge challenge, it is also an equally huge opportunity to grow. That’s what Janine has done with her experience and here are the golden nuggets of wisdom she shares. You are not your body. Janine’s body was nearly totally destroyed and broken, yet she lived. Her body was weak and motionless, yet she had strength to survive, recover and start her life afresh. You are also not your emotions or mind. These are just parts of you, but not the true you. In Yogi Bhajan’s words:
”Your mind is your servant, your body is your vehicle and your soul is your residence.”Being attached and identifying with either of these is a source of pain. If you identify with your body, you most probably are very protective over it and if something happens to your body you are seriously shaken. The core of who you are is never shaken or touched by anything that happens to you. You gain huge amount of inner peace if you stop thinking I’m my body (mind or emotions) and start seeing yourself as a spirit. Your strength comes from within. Yes, the spirit is pure and powerful, nothing can destroy it, so it is a source of tremendous strength. Focus on the virtues of your heart. Your heart is a gateway to your spirit. Qualities you’ll find at the very core of your heart are qualities of your spirit. Shift focus from outside to inside of you. That’s what saved Janine’s life. If she hadn’t done so she would succumb to her injuries. This is what’s going to transform your life – the inner perspective on who you are and what life is about. Trust yourself. If Janine would believe the doctors she wouldn’t even walk, let alone do all the rest of the amazing things she has done and is still doing. Your spirit knows better and if you trust it, it will guide you and take you from the darkest woods and lead you onto the right path. Remember you are not alone. We are all connected. Janine shared the pain of other patients of the spinal ward and they shared theirs. This gave her yet another boost of strength and she stopped victimizing herself and asking ‘why me’ and started asking ‘why not me’. We are one and therefore part of each other. We share pain but we also share joy and happiness. There’s also the spirit present within each of us, always cradling and embracing us. Let go of judgement. Janine spent six months in a hospital, most of the time being still, and because of that she didn’t see how her fellow patients looked like. She made the deepest and most meaningful friendships that way. Lack of judgement is truly liberating, you just need to open your heart and connect. That’s it. Then reap the rewards of true connection. Plus when you don’t judge others you also don’t judge yourself. Accept your current situation. She wouldn’t be able to move on with her life if she stayed in the pit, repeating the same story and continuing to mourn her previous life. The acceptance of who she was and her new life’s circumstances, has helped her to start over. It doesn’t matter if you are very unhappy about something in your life or just a bit, accept it as it is. It is how it’s meant to be. Ask what you’re learning because of it. When you make peace with yourself and life as it is, you’re ready to move on. You can always change your circumstances. If Janine could rebuild her life, practically reinvent it from scratch, and then we can take the next step we’ve been procrastinating on for a long time. We often think ‘oh, that person is so amazing she/he could do this but I’d never be able to’. That’s simply not true. We have different set of skills but remember that who you truly are is who runs the show and there are no limits to your spirit. None. Possibilities on the other hand are infinite. Never let go of your dream. Janine couldn’t walk and was wearing a cast on her body, yet she decided she’s going to fly. She had a dream. It looked very unrealistic, yet she kept going with it until it became her reality. If you know and feel you are meant to do something, no matter how scary it might seem, persist, and keep going and one day you will get there. Your spirit will make sure of that! There’s so much more of wisdom in Janine’s talk. I recommend you watch it. I’m interested to hear what golden nuggets you’ve found in her story. Please share with me!