2 Years to the Day from My Near-Death Experience, Why I Believe Everything Happens for a Reason
2 years ago today, I fell approximately 10 feet while descending down a rock-face in Southern Thailand and fractured my spine, cracked a rib, and damaged some tendons in my ankle. I spent the next several months in a neck brace physically incapacitated contemplating exactly how close I came to losing my life. I am incredibly fortunate to have made a full recovery, and not a single day goes by where I don’t realize it.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking and writing about my experience, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. I believe I survived that fall for a reason: so that I can share my message that life is a gift never to be wasted for even a single second. Every day I wake up, open my eyes, stretch my arms above my head, realize the amazing gift I’ve been given, and think about how fortunate I am. I contemplate why this all happened to me, and why I’ve made such an amazing recovery to the point where I can practice yoga, dance, and live a normal life.
I was speaking with a friend of mine recently who has been dealing with an incredibly tragic situation over the last several months. While the two of us were talking, I shared some of my experiences recovering from my spinal injury and the types of things I would tell myself to keep my spirits high. Besides staying positive, being grateful for the way things are and realizing they could be worse, I said everything happens for a reason. Of everything I said, that last one was not something he agreed with at all.
He told me, “I used to believe that. I used to be able to believe that everything happens for a reason, but after going through this experience, I have no way of believing that there’s a reason why this amazing person would suffer so much. What reason could there be for such a terrible incident?”
I couldn’t argue with that. It’s not my or anyone else’s place to preach about the value of drawing positive meaning from a terrible incident like that, especially while she’s still dealing with it, but what I did say is it’s up to us to decide why this happened. It’s not god’s will that terrible things happen. It’s not fate. It’s up to all of us to decide what meaning we draw from events in our lives, both good and bad, and decide how we’re going to react and carry forward.
No matter what happens to us, we always have control over how we move forward. Anything can be a catalyst for positivity or negativity in our lives. I’ve used my rock-climbing fall as a catalyst to embrace positivity, spirituality, and gratitude in my life. When I think about why it happened, I don’t think about the fact that I ignored my parents advice and moved to the other side of the world. I don’t think about how my climbing guide’s malfeasance could’ve cost me my life. I think about how incredibly lucky I am to be alive, and I let it inspire me to live my life the absolute fullest moving forward, every single day.
While I was in Costa Rica, several people noticed my tattoo and told me “my message” inspired them. I appreciated them sharing their feedback, but I reminded them, it’s not “my message” that life is a gift and that we all should celebrate every waking moment we have. It’s all of our message. Anyone who can breathe should embrace that message.
Anyone who reads these words: celebrate your life. Tell the important people in your life you love them. Give thanks for everything you have in life especially the fact that you’re alive. You don’t have to live through some crazy, challenging, traumatic experience to reach this point of view. You don’t have to have your life or the life of someone you love threatened to reach this conclusion. This point of view is widely accessible to all of you. Gratitude is the pathway to abundance, so please, do it for me, do it for yourself: celebrate the fact that you’re alive by honoring the light inside of you and sharing it with the world.