Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness. ~Eckhart Tolle
My Knock on the Head
In learning about improved health and clean lifestyles, I have discovered that many people who have pursued this change often had a major life disruption of some sort that set them down a different path. I am no exception. During the fall season of my senior year, I was hit on the head with a lacrosse stick and ended up experiencing Post-Concussive symptoms. I spent about eight or nine months without much cognitive ability—I could not read, watch television, use my cell phone or a computer, etc. I had to take a leave of absence from school, and I was effectively stripped of my identity. The emotions were often the worse of it; I had severe anxiety, paranoia, and depression. I left all my friends, moved back with my family, could not exercise or play the game I love, and so on.
There were not many things I could do, but after some time I was able to listen to things like audiobooks and music. On one particularly gloomy day, I asked my mother to drop me off at a local Barnes and Noble to sit and people watch in the cafe. I went in with the intention of looking at some of the guided meditation music; I had a practitioner who had healed herself through empowered thought. Because of lack of knowledge or perhaps fear, I had always downplayed meditation. But I figured that it was a route I had not yet pursued, so why not? As I walked through the store, down the center aisle, I came across a book that caught my attention…The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I read as much of the premise as I could before pain, and I got a general sense for the book, but I moved on. As I walked through the store, Eckhart kept calling to me. I sat in the cafe, and I wrote in my journal (an item I rarely had on hand, but happened to have that day) about listening to the book, setting up a meditation space for myself, and my new journey towards health.
I did not realize how important that moment would be, but I often look back on my recovery and see that day as the turning point. That evening, I started listening to Tolle’s audio book on iTunes. His voice was hypnotizing, and his message struck me. Tolle teaches that the only thing that truly exists is this moment. All of our memories of the past or projections about the future live solely in the mind, and we torture ourselves by longing for the good old days or a promise of a better tomorrow instead of accepting the moment as it is. This exactly described the situation I was in. I was at home, in pain, unhappy, and I longed for the summer before when I was in peak condition, about to start my senior season, and the future day I would start running again. After I listened to the book, I started meditating every day for thirty minutes in the morning and another thirty minutes in the afternoon.
At the time, I was not completely aware of the changes that were happening to me, but once that summer was over, I could see how things quickened from that point forward. All of a sudden, the right circumstances kept presenting themselves in my life, and the right people stepped in to help me. I met some incredible healers, and I learned of alternative sides to people I already knew. I made friends of all ages. I changed my lifestyle completely—I became calmer, my diet improved, and subsequently, my health followed suit. In June, I made the conscious decision to give up all forms of sugar (except fruit), caffeine (including chocolate), and all unnatural substances. By July, I was reading again. I was able to walk for exercise. I drove my brother with Autism to the place he loves most—the beach. By August, I made the decision to return to school, and I posted my first 4.0 that fall. Now, I consider myself well. I smile whenever I walk around because I am so grateful to be able to do so without pain. And I want to guide others on their own path to wellness.