One of the mysteries of life that I find most fascinating is the existence of Paradoxes.

If you have already read my posts about it, you will know how observing the Paradox helped me in my journey to healing. For me, understanding it is about accepting that I can not understand it, and be ok with it. It’s about surrendering to the higher powers of the universe and about having faith.

In the past five years, I have been practising martial arts as a hobby. First I started with Karate, then Kung Fu. Being slightly immersed in the Chinese art of battle was more about getting to know myself rather than learning to be aggressive with others. I found it magical to understand myself as a form of energy connected with nature and how I could be in control of that energy called Chi.

So I would like to share a snippet of The Samurai Paradox of Death and a quote from Mark Twain, which I love and I think complements divinely with my previous posts. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The Samurai Paradox of Death

“The Samurai embraced the soldiers-paradox: If you fear death, you will die. They were brave, as all warriors must be. The basic neurological fact that fear causes your brain to shut down your ability to do parasympathetic tasks (like complex sword fighting techniques, or snatching) was intuitively understood by ancient Samurai. However, they weren’t just interested in surviving. Bravery and Courage are not the same thing. To be brave is to do something despite the fact that you are frightened. To show courage is to do something that scares you precisely because you know you must – because it is the right thing to do. So, courage is a kind of bravery, but not always the other way around. What makes the Samurai a particularly unique brand of warrior was their sense of total righteousness and how that impacted their sense of courage. The soldiers-paradox, when correctly understood and applied, will keep you alive (or will – at least – make that more likely).

The samurai were said to possess a resolute self-belief, so much so that they believed they could accomplish anything. Certainly, when confronting a battle scenario and the prospect of death, self- belief would be paramount. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the spirit of ‘shinnen’ helped repair a post-war Japan and turn it into the world’s second largest economy today. We must also possess self-belief, particularly when confronting the obstacles (and sometimes discouraging statistics) that are part of startup life. In Japanese, the 2nd code of Bushido is “Yuuki” which translate as Courage – the quality of a confident character not to be afraid or intimidated easily but without being incautious or inconsiderate. It is the ability to do things which one finds frightening.”

“Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” ~ Mark Twain

The thing that got you sick in the first place is the thing that will take you out of it: the mind.
Autoimmune disease

When you try to get away from an unwanted aspect of yourself, it will stay near you, closer than ever.
The shadow

Once you take care of yourself first, you will have more energy to love others.

Push your health condition away, ignore it; it will stay or come back stronger. Why? Because your body is already run-down, using whatever energy available to maintain your health. And you use energy when you ignore the illness. Because the root-cause is still present. Hiding it underneath the carpet won’t clear the dust off your home.

The Paradox

Once I accepted the wheelchair, I was able to come out of the wheelchair.

In my early days of recovery, I depended on a wheelchair to move around, even from the bed to the toilet. I got shivers the first time the nurses pushed it in the room. But I remember well the moment when I thanked the invention of the chair with wheels. Especially after being bored of watching the red brick wall view I had from my bed in the hospital.

My life was an enormous blurry crystal ball that could break at any moment. My uncertain future was mentioned as being tough and short. But for some reason, from the beginning, I think my brain activated a survival mechanism of disbelief. I did not agree with what the doctors and nurses said, with the wheelchair, with the hospital garments. I used my own colourful PJs, and I was certain I was going to be out of there in no time.

But after a week of laying in bed, the intense moment built up. After being forced to feel my body, to see if I noticed any difference between one side and the other, it was inevitable also to observe my internal mess; the unbearable boiling impotence I was feeling inside. I saw my raw reality in that moment. I saw where I was and how I was: half there and half not there. And I exploded.  I cried from the centre of my soul, so hard that my stomach crunched, my lungs had no air, and no sound came out of my wide open mouth.

And then my eureka moment happened. Sitting on the side of the hospital’s bed, with my red brick wall view, I surrendered. I stopped fighting the fact that I was f*cked.

When I let all the fear and grief feelings come out, when I accepted and surrendered, magic happened; I felt relief.

Accept and surrender

Accepting your situation helps make the best of what you have. To live the process is hard because it means you will feel everything, the unbearable pain but also the sweetest joy.  The journey is terrifying; there’s no doubt about that. But give the feelings a space to express themselves. Do it. Cry, scream, have tantrums.  You will appreciate the sensation that comes after, even if it lasts for seconds. And simple things will be transformed to incredible moments. The taste of vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate will be surreal, and a sunset will fill you up with gratefulness; Those little pleasant experiences get transformed into priceless moments in your life. And it’s beautiful. In the hard times, your senses get powerful. You start to connect with a deeper part of yourself. It makes you grow; it makes you stronger to accept your vulnerability.

Expect results, and it will seem to take forever.

Stop waiting for something to change now. It will happen when you least expect it. Don’t abandon yourself either, but stop putting yourself through the extreme pressure. Stop jumping on the weight balance every second. Keep working on your health, slowly, a little every day. Be compassionate with yourself; you have gone through a lot.

Accepting your weaknesses makes you stronger.

What would you do if you wake up one morning with half of your body paralysed? If you realised that your life, plans, dreams had frozen with no melting time in sight? How do you deal with an unexpected life-long earthquake? And after the pieces are all broken, when even your loved ones are all shaken, how do you find balance again? How do you find hope to construct a solid life again? And how do you live with your worst enemy, or saver, called fear?

Nine years have passed, and doctors see me now as a “miracle”. A miracle because I went against medical odds? I can walk and move my arm, and for that I thank life. I recovered my life 100% after the terrifying diagnosis called multiple sclerosis. From my experience, the recipe for miracles like this is: a full spoon of bitter hard work, drops of acid inner-self discovery and a ton of sweet positive mindset. I’m a normal person, with no special powers. If I could do it so can you. Rising after falling, has been the best thing that happened in my life. I reconnected with myself in a deeper level, and I reconnected with life in a joyful level.

Whatever the shade of the fall, the intensity of your earthquake –while the thunder is at its peak, if you search carefully enough, a rainbow you’ll see between the clouds. The most breathtaking sky blooms after the storm. So rise and fall, my friends, because the fall brings rewards. And remember, as Osho says: “This too shall pass”.