Life Insights From Losing a Limb
Alexander the Great was once faced with a terrific challenge. In a city named Phrygia, there was a famous knot – called the Gordian knot. Nobody could undo this knot and the oracles foretold that the person who would accomplish this, would also rule Asia. When Alexander arrived in the city of Phrygia he spend some time trying to figure out which way the ropes were wrapped and attempted to find a smart way to untie the knot. As a lot of eager ambitious men had done before him, Alexander struggled, became frustrated and in the end failed to loosen it. He suddenly stepped back and called out, what does it matter how I loosen it? With that, he drew his sword, and in one powerful stroke, he severed the knot.
Sometimes the only way to move forward in life is by cutting off that piece of your past which you’ve been dragging on and on. Sometimes you just have to leave things behind. We all carry stuff from the past that are holding us back from what we really want to do. Either that’s people, bad memories, negative mindsets (conditioned through a lifetime growing up), a useless limb or as in my situation: all the above. Sure it’s scary; it takes tremendous effort and a lot of courage. Being courageous though is not about being fearless. It’s about accepting fear, looking deeply into its core and moving forward anyways. Melancholy and passive negativity are two of the mind’s most favorite companionships. Getting rid of this two-headed monstrous state of mind requires audacity. Remaining depressed and motionless when life gets hard is easy. It does not require any effort, it’s a state of mind that arises by itself and the more you stand still in it, the more it paralyzes you. The more it becomes a swamp of quicksand that keeps pulling you in.
When life has thrown you down on your knees, be courageous. Look fear in the eye and cut the Gordian knot that is holding you back. It’s not going to be easy and most of the time it will take a lot more than one strike of the sword. You will have to fall and rise up a thousand times. But the goal is not to remain standing. The goal is to learn that if you can get up once you can do it again. You develop a sort of muscle memory in overcoming adversities and you learn to do this more efficiently every time. Don’t look at life as a sprint, but a marathon. A marathon filled with challenging obstacles. Everybody goes through dark times and everybody has those moments when they lose faith. When you are going through hell though – simply keep on going, as Winston Churchill once said. Because once the darkness passes by and daylight slowly starts to appear, you always wake up stronger.
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Just do the best you can within your circumstances and in the process, if possible, try inching forward in the world just a little bit. If you cannot do anything about your own situation, find others you can help and support. Helping others grow stronger is sometimes the best way to strengthen yourself. I guess this is part of what HomeMade Muscle is about…
The days we live in, compared with all historical times, are some of the most prosperous. If you’re not born in what is considered a third world country then you are going to suffer a lot less disease, war and hunger than most humans have who lived on this planet.
However, even though we might not face as many external challenges, we definitely experience equally difficult internal challenges. Even though we’re not confronted daily with dangers that threaten our lives, we do experience negative emotions almost every living hour. Even after all I went through with my accident, and even though I could go through a leg amputation with an extremely calm attitude, I still have days when the tiniest things stress me out. Why is that? Well, the first simple reason is that life is unexpected. We don’t always have the luxury of knowing when a demanding situation (like amputation surgery) will happen. We don’t always have 6 months to prepare for it in the best possible manner. Shit just happens – unexpectedly! And because we are human we react emotionally. We become angry, scared, anxiety gets the best of us and we might even do the worst things to the people we love the most.
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