The game changer happened in October when I was introduced to the book, The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein. It is beautifully written, with the voice of Gabby’s personal journey introducing life lessons, making them relatable to everyone. If you know me, I have most likely spoken about this book at least once, and have probably even sent it to you on Audible, which cut me off after I shared it the maximum number of times.
If I had to sum up the book, I would say it is all about trusting in the process. Life is a process, and a lot of the times, we can’t necessarily see the lesson of a situation when we are in it. It is too close to focus, and it’s only once you step back far enough, can you see the powerful message. This is also why we tend to experience the same things over and over, like dating the same type of person. It’s because we have not learned the lesson and the Universe is going to replay the same thing until we step back, learn and master it.
For a long time, I was unable to step back from my situation. I had feelings of dread, resentment and anger surrounding my disability. I didn’t want to accept the fact it had happened to me. I felt if I accepted it, then that would prevent me from ever getting better. If I felt ok with being in a wheelchair, then that would keep me from ever getting out of it. I now recognize how accepting it actually allows me to use it to my advantage. There is power in owning it and owning my story. Gabby’s story is the reason I want to listen to her life lessons. She would have no credibility if it weren’t for her being in the depths of sadness and addiction, yet rising above it. I used to fight against my disability, and now I am fighting for it. My disability is what gives me credibility, which I was only able to discover once I dug deep and honestly asked myself what my circumstance was teaching me.
I resisted my wheelchair for a long time. I even hated having it in pictures. For our wedding, I told the photographer and videographer very strictly, I did not want my wheelchair in any photos. I thought it was so ugly and I only wanted beauty on my special day. On my Facebook, I also hated my wheelchair in photos and I couldn’t understand why anyone would want their chair in their profile picture. It was such a foreign idea to me and I though it was so stupid for it to be the first thing people saw. Well as you can see, my chair is now in my profile picture on Facebook and Instagram. My chair and my disability have now become my brand and taken center stage.
I was shaken to my core after reading The Universe Has Your Back, and I truly believe, the Universe broke my back. Yes, you read that correctly, I was given a gift that day on the mountain, laying there with broken bones, the Universe had a plan. It was only after I began living my life with gratitude and awareness did I understand what that plan was - and that plan is still revealing itself each day.
I wake up and say thank you. Thank you for another day. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my beautiful mind. Thank you for the lessons of yesterday and the ones in store for today. Thank you for my disability and thank you for my wheelchair.
Then I take a look around. What is making me upset, what am I resisting and how can I look at them with a new perspective? This is where I will find the biggest growth. Owning my disability has been painfully difficult, but I am now the happiest I have ever been in my life. Even as I write that last sentence, I am greeted with happy tears because I can’t resist how true those words are.
My fear of accepting my disability has faded, and I have quit denying it has happened. This is my story, this is my brand, this is me. I have a disability, but I also have the belief I can change that. Nothing is permanent, including our mindset. As Marianne Williams said, “The greatest power we have to change the world is to rethink it, to change our mind about it”. I believe I am not yet walking because I still have a lot of work to do, and I’m ok with that. I have become happy with the journey and look forward to seeing what will happen next. I trust in the process, and that allows any anxiety to melt away. I trust the Universe has my best interest in mind and something bigger is in store.
I believe I will be a voice for ADA rights, I will grow through the process of overcoming my paraplegia and I will be able to touch those who are also struggling with a disability. Most of all, I am able to live my dream of being a writer and speaker because I now have a platform I'm incredibly passionate about. I am able to write and speak pure from the heart, and my dream is becoming a reality through the process of helping others. I look forward to inspiring others to be their best self despite any perceived limitations, and there is no way I could do so if the Universe had not broken my back. Thank you Universe, from the bottom of my broken back.