Sunday, September 18, 2011

Excavate, Evaluate, Evolve

“To expose, to view by or as if by digging away a covering” 
 “To find the value or worth” 
“An unfolding process of development or change”
                                                                                 Provided by Webster’s Dictionary

      How many times in your life have you questioned why you’ve done something, made the choices you’ve made, or ended up in the situation you’re in?  How many times have you considered options along your path? Or have you felt like you had no choices, and that’s why you’ve ended up where you are? How many times have you continued doing the same things the same way even though you keep getting the same results; ones you don’t particularly want or desire?

     If this sounds like you, believe me you are not alone.  It isn’t easy to be constantly vigilant to every behavior, thought or action you engage in on a daily basis. But if you find that you aren’t getting what you want out of your life, in every aspect, it may be time to excavate, evaluate, and evolve.

    When I came out of my drug induced coma, fourteen years ago, I found myself in a newly altered body. I was alive and obviously victorious over the microscopic battle which had taken place on a physiological battle ground. The bacterial infection lost, but the collateral damage was high. I left my world as I had known it—whole, with no missing parts. I emerged in my new world, un-whole, missing three limbs and the left half of my chest. To say that I was in despair, frightened, and confused would be an understatement. Even though I knew I was going to live, I just didn’t know what that life was going to look like—how I was going to accomplish anything with the ravaged body which was now...mine.

     I began the excavation process very early on in my recovery, and started to dig deep within myself to uncover what I needed just to get through each day. What I found first and foremost was gratefulness for having a life, and the willingness to live it despite how it looked. Two enormously helpful tools were uncovered, “gratitude” and “courage”, and they paved the way for my complete recovery—my completeness in an incomplete body.

     With gratitude and courage under my belt, I began to evaluate my life—what was I worth and who was going to want me.  If I told you that the phrase “damaged merchandise” didn’t enter my mind, I’d be lying to you.  But as I began to really take charge of what I had left to manage, and how I was going to manage it, I found strength, and flexibility. I came to understand that the more I tried to force my new situation into my old life I was constantly reminded that I didn’t fit.

     I made the choice to quit pining away for a life I no longer fit into, and began to change; to evolve into a new way of living. I had to be strong, both physically and emotionally to embrace my physical changes, and I had to be flexible enough to twist and turn into my new body—to accept my in-completeness as completeness. 

     If I told you that all of this was accomplished within the first 6 months after my recovery, or even the first year, I’d be lying to you. Digging deep inside, considering what I’m made of, and changing my life has been a process. Just as evolution doesn’t happen instantly, self-evolution takes a life time.  

     I constantly dig deep, and excavate those things, those “treasures” that I need to get me through each and every day. And as I evaluate what I have found, more and more choices of where I want to be in my life and how I’m going to get there emerge.  Once I set my course, I begin the process of unfolding my life, developing my skills, and living my life as a survivor.

     When you are on the Survivor’s path, you must be willing to excavate—unearth the treasure inside you. You must be willing to evaluate how you are going to use your treasure to get you where you want to go.  And you must be willing to evolve—be ready to change… to unfold and not allow fear to get in the way of your forward motion. Finding the truth of who you are can be a painful process, but living in that truth is amazingly freeing, and gives you strength as well as flexibility. It gives you courage and a feeling of completeness—and that is what being a Survivor is all about.