Enjoy a 1 minute clip or a 10 minute summary presentation, taken from Al’s Embracing Change talk given before a live audience of public and private agencies, military personnel, and professional staff.
Success requires a steady focus on the positive.
Al’s Most Recent Blog Post
Surrounded by Fear
Fear swirled around me, filling my head and controlling my thoughts. Too disoriented to know up from down. I couldn’t pay attention for any length of time and was often agitated and frustrated.
These feelings were all based in fear. How was I going to live with a disability? How would I do it?
For years, this fear kept me locked in a prison of loneliness. Bars of anger and confusion sunk into a foundation of anxiety kept meaningful relationships out of reach.
That look in his eyes—that longing, forlorn look
as he struggled to form the word “home”,
the word he had repeated so often the last few days.
At first he could only searchingly point to
the letters on a card: H-O-M-E.
Then slowly the sound became intelligent.
Yes, I want to take you home.
My heart aches when I see
your longing eyes, your trusting face.
Is this why God saved your life?
Is this what God wants me to do
with my time and energy—
to take care of a little boy—
a trusting little boy who just before his nineteenth birthday
was a strong, healthy, active, handsome, young man?
You don’t remember your birthday—
we sang to you as you lay in a coma in ICU.
When nurses raised the head of my bed, my head flopped to the side. Disorientation kept me from knowing up from down. When they first put me in a wheelchair, my head flopped to the side, pulling me to the floor where I flopped around like a hooked fish that landed on the dock.
For weeks, a strap, called a halo, encircled my head. It was fastened to a vertical bar on the back of my wheelchair. The bar projected a bit higher than my head and kept me upright. My staying upright was more important to Cheryl (my fiance’) and my parents than to me since I didn’t know when I wasn’t upright.
My head injury kept me oblivious to how bad things had actually become. About three months after I came out of my coma, I realized with wrecking-ball abruptness just how much things had changed. Looking back I realize now how my crash affected my entire family. When I crashed, so did they in a different way. They all suffered along with me.
There were so many unanswered questions about the long-term effects of brain injury on my ability to function in the real world. The length of time I was in a coma and the duration of loss of memory (amnesia) following my coma were useful in predicting how well I would recover. I woke up from my coma on the long end range of the general length of time, 2 to 4 weeks, with mine being 31 days.
Do you realize how often in life, when we make a choice to do or not to do something, those choices and actions affect others? Have you ever thought, “This is my life and I can live it as I choose.” I did. I later learned that my choices do affect others.
Why this matters is because the affect I have on others is how they will affect me. In other words, how I affect others is how I affect myself. We are held accountable for and by the type of energy we put out into the world. Is your energy fear based? If so, is it constructive, functionally helpful fear or it it fear that is destructive because it is based only in self interest? Control your fear and you control your destiny.