Eighteen months ago our good friend and client, Theresa, was a victim of a car accident. Her vehicle was not only broadsided by another car, it was also forced head on into a brick wall. During each of these external hits, Theresa’s head bounced against another hard surface. Although she didn’t know it at the time, Theresa’s life as a driven, passionate, physical 4th Degree Black Belt instructor, and owner of a martial arts studio was over.
For several months, she was required to stay quiet and alone in her darkened home—no books, no television, and no stimulation of her brain. She went from an active, physical life to a daily life of darkness, silence and painful headaches, knowing her mind was never going to be the same. With the help of a brick wall, her mind had changed itself.
During the weeks of solitary time, Theresa made a choice. She could either wallow in self-pity spiraling into the despair of “woe is me“, or she could become curious about how her new brain functioned. Fortunately, for the world and her own growth, she chose curiosity. She became an observer of the different ways her mind functioned.
I’m sure Theresa has had many moments of despair and anger. What she shows the world, however, has been more like a precocious little girl discovering her new brain toy. She was given a shaken brain and she continues to reframe her thoughts to match the new way it operates. When her mind doesn’t make the neural connections she is used to, she goes—“Well, look at that. Isn’t that interesting? What can I make of this new connection?”
Theresa’s attitude and curiosity is instructive to the rest of us. Rather than wallow in anger and sadness at what she’s lost, she’s shifted her focus to expressing wonderment, curiosity and trust that her new mind’s capability will allow her to serve her mission in a different but still powerful way.
When she holds her view of new possibilities up to the world, it reminds us all that we have the power to change our minds about our circumstances. During the past year, a couple of us were experiencing surgery-limited bodies in recovery. Theresa’s positive attitude influenced our recovery by being a shining example of acceptance and the power of effective thinking to heal and reframe our approach to the challenges.
Theresa reframed normal, accepted it, and is now using her different capabilities to continue her passion for empowering women and children. Although she can no longer teach through the physical demands of martial arts, she’s recognized that what she teaches is as much mental as physical. She’s accepted that she needs to design and deliver her wisdom in a new way—a way that uses her best asset—her newly reconfigured brain.
Whether or not her brain works differently than before, Theresa realizes that she still has control over her own thoughts. If you want to experience the brilliance of Theresa and you are interested in the attitude of empowerment and self-defense, here’s the link to what she is giving the world with her new mind,http://www.theresabyrne.com/.
Respecting the value of hitting brick walls,