NOTE: This a guest blog by the inspiring Sarah Berger – a winner in my Happiness Rockstar Blogger Contest!
As a young girl, I fantasized about my life as an adult. I imagined my job, my family, and all of the choices I could make without my parents’ or teachers’ approval.
I desired a second grade teaching position, four kids, a husband who looked like Luke Perry from Beverly Hills 90210, two cute little dogs, all of the shoes I wanted, and the freedom to do anything and everything I chose.
I set up a classroom, in the basement of my childhood home, and gathered all of the neighborhood kids to act as my students. I taught them lessons while I circled the room with a ‘teacher’s copy’ book cradled in my arms and swirled chalk in my hand, just as my second grade teacher, Mrs. Argus, did. I chose all of the names for my future children by the age of ten, decided how many boys and how many girls and hung posters of Luke Perry everywhere, hoping I might bump into him one day.
I knew exactly what I planned to do with my life.
My plans were brutally interrupted. At the age of twenty-one, I woke up one morning walking and went to bed that evening paralyzed from the waist down. A new reality was thrust upon me and my plan, my version of choice and freedom I yearned for as a child, was no longer applicable.
For quite some time, following my injury, I desperately clung to this vision of freedom I had so carefully defined, as a child and young adult, that involved only my desires and neglected my body and my soul. I grew angry and resentful of those who seemed to choose freely and without consequence.
My health declined so rapidly and so greatly, I finally surrendered. Kindness to my body and its needs was imperative. The courage and faith to finally submit to the demands of my health were not found easily.
I, reluctantly, tapped into a great deal of self discipline and routine. I began with simple choices, such as food and activity, choosing only what benefited my health the most.
And as this practice blossomed, I added prayer, meditation, exercise, and anything that encouraged my physical and mental wellness.
I soon discovered my value system was confronted because of my health situation. I adopted a new plan for my life. A plan that involved a level of undiscovered conciseness. A level I knew of, but never explored at any depth.
I released the power of choice over to a higher power, instead of my own desires. This discipline opened my eyes to an alternative life plan, one guided by awareness, kindness, intention, and mindfulness.
I recently found these words by Karen Salmansohn in her book INSTANT HAPPY – and they spoke to me on many levels.
“Much of the pain in life
comes from having a plan
that you’ve fallen in love with,
but that doesn’t work out.
Having to find a new
life plan hurts.
The trick is not to become
too attached to any particular
life plan and to remember
that there is always a better,
life plan out there somewhere.
Although it’s not always easy, instead of falling victim to judgement, desire, resentment, or envy, I now calmly surrender to love and servitude and purpose.
This new found freedom is true freedom and offers a level of contentment I never knew existed.
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
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