Happy-Go-Lucky

Have you ever thought about what it means to be who you really are?  We all know who we are, essentially.  But I mean the actual personal qualities that you express when you are at your happiest states.  It could possibly be those times where you first fell in love with doing something or someone (no pun intended lol).  Imagine all the molecules of gratitude you encompass in these moments where you feel completely free to be yourself.  It has always amused me to think about how we act when we are in tune with our personality.  On the other hand, when are you not yourself?  Perhaps those times when you are restricted from doing what you want.  Imagine how you are in these moments when you feel trapped and unfulfilled.  This was the attitude I needed to break free from to appreciate my new life.

After experiencing my accident, my physical identity had completely changed.  I now had to face the fact that I was always going to be sitting down and pushing wheels to get around, rather than being able to stand and walk like everybody else.  I was very resistant to the idea of living my life in a wheelchair, as it was really tough to accept that I couldn’t control half of my body anymore.  This then led me to believe that my new situation was completely ridiculous because I now felt trapped in my own body.  However, when I was in the rehabilitation hospital I was exposed to many other people with all types of spinal cord and brain injuries that led me to realize that it could have been a lot worse.  I fell from a 3rd floor balcony, landed on a patch of grass that was right next to a sidewalk and 6 inches from a sprinkler head, and somehow I managed to only be paralyzed from the waist down.  Others constantly reminded me that I was lucky to just be alive, let alone not having to face a quadriplegic or brain injury.  I was known to have one of the lower injuries at the rehabilitation hospital, and I was able to appreciate that I have full upper body function after observing how many others didn’t and had to learn how to live their lives again from their new perspectives.  Being in the rehabilitation hospital I was exposed to people in similar or worse situations on a daily basis.  However, my next step was to go home and face my new reality head on.

Moving back home to face the real world for the first time in my situation was intimidating because now I had to make a life out of my paralysis.  It was a drastic change from how my life used to be because now I needed help to do almost everything.  I had to live at home with my parents by necessity because at that time I needed assistance to bathe, get dressed, and even use the bathroom!  I received this assistance in the rehabilitation hospital but it was different now because I wasn’t exposed to people in wheelchairs everyday.  Now everybody that I was exposed to could stand, walk, and lived what I felt was a “normal life”.  A normal life to me was anybody who was physically able to live their life independently.  I used to have a normal life and now all I could ever think about was how much I took that for granted.  Consequently, this led me to feel envious of others because I wanted to be independent like everybody else.  I would think, “How am I ever going to be able to be independent like this?”  I thought the only way I could truly be independent is if I was able to walk again because I felt it would be too difficult with the limitations I now had.  And for 3 years I held on to this thought waiting for a miracle to happen so I could live my life normally.  However, eventually I had to reach acceptance and detach from this thought in order to be able to achieve independence in my situation.

When I reached the point of acceptance I thought about how far I had come since my accident had happened.  I was now dressing myself, driving, and even got a job.  Slowly but surely, baby step after baby step, I was able to overcome so many obstacles.  After analyzing my thoughts I realized that I was only able to overcome an obstacle once I decided to believe that it was now possible.  This then led me to think, “why didn’t I believe that I could overcome these obstacles from the start?”  I then came to an amazing realization about my thoughts.  I thought, “My thoughts are just my thoughts.  I am the one that decides which thoughts I will believe.  I attach myself to the thoughts that I choose to believe.  And I detach myself from the thoughts I choose not to believe.”  Then it became clear to me that I needed to let go of the thoughts that held me back from living my life right now to the best of my ability.  I now understood that I could do anything I wanted to do if I just believed that I could.  And I thought, “I choose to believe the thoughts that make me feel happy, excited, and joyful.  And choose not to believe the thoughts that make me sad, angry, and depressed.”  This idea was ingenious to me and I decided that this was going to be my mode of thought going forward.  I was always going to decide what thoughts to believe in based on how they made me feel.  I had so many thoughts about what I felt I couldn’t do anymore since I was now a paraplegic.  These thoughts made me feel inadequate and led me to believe that I could no longer live a high quality of life.  But with this new way of thinking I could now believe that I could do anything that I wanted to.

One of my favorite things to do since I was a kid was to attend amusement parks.  I have always enjoyed the thrill of riding on rollercoasters and other amusement park rides.  After my accident, I didn’t believe that this was possible for me anymore.  It really upset me to believe this because I thoroughly enjoyed being able to go on these rides.  After I reached my new way of thinking I told myself that this could now be possible.  And in June 2010, I went on a family trip to Orlando, Florida and I knew that this was the perfect scenario to make this possibility a reality.  So along with two of my cousins, we ventured out to Universal Studios to make this happen.  I was a little bit nervous but with my cousins by my side I knew that if I needed any assistance transferring on to any of the rides they would be there to support me.  It turned out to be better than I expected.  Not only did we ride every thrilling ride Universal Studios had to offer, we were also able to cut in front of every line since we had handicap access.  I was so thankful to know how strong I was to be able to get on to every ride without any assistance.  Being able to achieve this was so imperative for my mentality because it validated how I now was supposed to think moving forward.  I was not going to let my thoughts hold me back any longer.  And 2 months later, I developed the courage to move back to Houston to be independent once again, despite being a paraplegic.

Moving back to Houston was a very surreal experience for me because I used to believe that this was not possible in my situation.  However, now that I knew it was possible didn’t mean it was going to be easy.  My parents and sister helped set me up in my new apartment, and after that it was all me from there on out.  There were so many obstacles I knew I had to overcome now that I was pursuing independence.  For example, when I went grocery shopping for the first time by myself I realized I couldn’t push a shopping cart and wheel myself around the grocery store at the same time.  Instead, it made more sense to use a shopping basket and place it on my lap as I rolled around the store picking out my items.  However, the shopping basket was limited in space and didn’t fit all the items I needed.  So I decided the logical thing to do was to pay for what I got so far, put them in my car, and go back in the store for a second trip to get the rest of the items that I needed.  It didn’t matter that I had to take a second trip; all that mattered was that I was able to overcome the obstacle.  As time went on, I discovered more and more obstacles I had to overcome; it almost seemed like I was overcoming obstacles on a daily basis.  It gave me so much joy to know that I was able to do this and finally achieve independence in my situation.

Today I am so appreciative for my life because it has taught me to be resilient.  I now believe that I can accomplish anything that I want to.  And by thinking this way it’s actually difficult for me to feel negative about anything.  Additionally, by filtering out negative thoughts from my mind, there’s nothing to hold me back from achieving any goal I wish to.  It’s truly amazing for me to think about how far I’ve come on my journey, and I look forward to what is to come in my future.  I think life is so enjoyable if you want it to be, regardless of what situation you have to deal with.  Shortly after I moved to Houston, I attended a quadriplegic rugby game to see what it was about.  This was a sport that was made strictly for quadriplegics, which is also known as “Murder Ball”.  I had so much admiration for them because despite their situations they were still having fun.  I then imagined what it would be like in their situation.  Would I have been able to accomplish as much as I have if I didn’t have full upper body function?  I met one of the players after the game and realized that he shared a lot of the same views as I did.  We discussed how we got into our respective situations and he was amazed to hear about my accident.  He said, “Man you’re lucky, you could’ve broke your neck.”  And in that moment, I knew I was lucky because it could have definitely been worse.  But after witnessing people in worse situations living their lives to their fullest, I realized that wasn’t the only reason why I was lucky.  I now know that I’m lucky because it can always gets better.

 

 

 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Happy-Go-Lucky”

  1. Wow !!! what a way of thinking. You have a purpose in life for sure to change the way people think to better themselves. You have always been stubborn and strong about what u want , now it is helping you in a positive way. You are my inspiration,!!!!! My teacher!!!!!! My role model !!! And I am your # 1 cheerleader !!!!! Yayyyyyyy
    Love u son

  2. Awesome as always! Every one of your posts tackles a new idea and brings clarity to life. Your words inspire many! ❤

  3. Truly amazing and inspiring. These posts just keep getting better and better. Thank you for sharing them with everyonee!!!

  4. Vik…you are a true inspiration. I was down today about something – I was feeling a little defeated and then I read your post. You are so right. Having a positive attitude is a choice. Obstacles are the only way we find out just how strong we are!

  5. Vik you are amazing,you have such a positive attitude and are so inspiring. God bless you and more power to you. Lots of love.

  6. Thanks again!! This was fun to read.

    I have a question, though. You said you base what you choose to think/believe based on how it makes you feel. Just to play devil’s advocate (and if I understand what you are saying correctly), how would you deal with the argument that this behavior leads to potentially believing lies? For example, athiests say that no matter how good believing in a God makes you feel, it is not the truth, and knowing the truth is better and more beautiful than believing lie to make you feel better.

    What do you think?

    1. Thanks Sunaina for the thought provoking question. Here’s a good quote I thought that was relevant, “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think.” I think that by believing in the thoughts that make you feel good is the way to be able to be a positive thinker. By being a positive thinker you are able to live your life the way you want to. Now this is very much on an internal and personal level to encourage you to be who and what you want to be.
      On the idea that this behavior could potentially cause you to believe in lies, as in believe in a “God” rather than the “truth”. I’m not sure it really matters. I think the idea of believing in a God was created so long ago to motivate people to be good and live righteously. It was meant to influence people to think positively about their situations and give them strength to move forward by creating an image for them to rely on when they felt they were inadequate. So IF believing in a God helps you to move forward fearlessly and achieve everything you have ever wanted to who’s to say that believing in what atheists perceive as the truth is better? I think the idea of it being better is a subjective viewpoint.

      1. I get the idea that thinking positively about your abilities, about your future, about others, etc., helps you achieve goals, be happy, etc. In fact there is work in psychology that shows that thinking a certain way over an extended period of time can actually can rewire your brain so that these thought patterns become a more permanent way of thinking and thus can have long-term effects on happiness.

        Before I continue, I just want to clarify what I mean when I say “God.” I don’t mean a man who sits up in the clouds and watches our behavior and listens to our prayers and helps us when we feel down. I mean the general idea that there is a higher consciousness or that there is a higher meaning in everything that happens.

        So I see what you say about there being no harm in believing in a higher consciousness if it helps you be happy, but I just don’t understand how you can consciously choose what you believe based on how it makes you feel. For example, there can probably never be any “proof” of the existence of the spirit and higher meaning (and we can talk about why later) and it really does boil down to having a certain level of faith in order to believe. Some scientists would say that the physical is all there is, and this idea that there is a higher state of consciousness and meaning is just something people believe because it makes them feel good. In some ways, those who can believe without asking questions are lucky because they easily attain that boost in happiness that comes with believing. But for those who DO ask questions, it is hard to have full faith even if you want to.

      2. What if that is the proof? As you said, “In fact there is work in psychology that shows that thinking a certain way over an extended period of time can actually rewire your brain so that these thought patterns become a more permanent way of thinking and thus can have long-term effects on happiness.”. The idea of a God or a higher consciousness are just words in the English language that was developed on our planet. It is the idea that this separate entity we call God or a higher consciousness is the reason why things happen. And what if this being was nothing more than just the energy that is encompassed in everything. That’s what I believe anyway. I think there is so much that we don’t understand about anything. In fact, it is said that we only know about 1% about our own planet. Then you factor in the planets in our solar system, the universe that we know, and ever expanding space that goes beyond what we are currently able to discover. I think God is actually the energy that is encompassed in everything from nature, to your own body, to the infinite universe, and it’s all physical. So the idea isn’t that you have to believe in a higher consciousness in order to have the full benefits of being happy. The idea is to just understand that we live on a planet in an ever expanding universe that is composed of things that are beyond our comprehension. And by being able to accept that there are forces that exist in which we don’t understand, is all there is to believe in. The belief in the unknown. If you choose not to believe in what we don’t know yet, then I think you’re only being closed minded because there is soooo much that we don’t know. And in knowing that, understanding that you are part of everything that IS, and by being optimistic and believing in possibilities for yourself, you can always be happy and attain the things you want because you can.

  7. hello dear vik….. i enjoyed your latest update…. but u n sunaina…. man u two r almost going over the top…. u two mind keeping it a bit simple and lowbrow… so dum dums and country folks like me can follow.

    1. Haha thanks uncle. Sorry, that was some pretty deep thinking we did. I just get fascinated by space and how the universe works. It makes you realize how small we actually are and how much we really don’t know. And in knowing that helps me believe in possibilities. I guess that’s what i’m trying to say in a nut shell.

      1. Loved your response, Vik. Believe in the unknown!! Your response reminded me of this beautiful thing:

        [audio src="http://www.dpierce.com/music/mp3s/the_mystery.mp3" /]

  8. is it not great vic? life is soooooooo simple—–JUST BELIEVE n it happens!

    just believe life is great n it is
    just believe u are happy n u are
    just believe u can do it and u will

    you have everything inside of you—–JUST BELIEVE!!!!!!!

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