Resilience is a key quality of those who cope well with life’s ups and downs.
One of my favorite authors, Thich Nhat Hanh coined the phrase “No Mud, No Lotus.”
In his writings, he describes the beautiful lotus flower that will only grow in some of the most putrid, nasty mud. It simply will not grow on grass or in a garden.
In reflecting on his message, I can see that my experience of 30+ years of suffering with dizziness, vertigo and severe headaches after multiple childhood concussions and constrictive orthodontics is the “pile of mud” that I have been given. And all that I have learned from my experience to create the Bell Method™ is the beautiful lotus flower that has grown from that pile of nasty mud and I have developed resilience.
Due to my own desperation to feel better and to create a life for myself, I have eagerly studied the most advanced evidence-based Vestibular Rehabilitation strategies and holistic self-care strategies from around the globe. I have personally faced and overcome the mental health overlay of confusion, nervousness, despair, hopelessness and suicidal ideation that is often a sequelae of chronic problems with dizziness or vertigo.
Physically, I am constantly battling to try to stay fit and in shape, since I have so many days that I cannot exercise due to dizziness or vertigo. I have become physically deconditioned multiple times in my life, losing my muscle strength and my cardiovascular fitness due to a lack of activity caused by dizziness or vertigo. But I maintain my resilience.
At all of my previous jobs, I have taken the maximum sick time allowed for employees.
It has deeply impacted my family and friends who are constantly worrying or concerned about my health. Occasionally, I become a burden to those I love when I am totally incapacitated and in need of caregiving due to the severity of my symptoms.
On too many occasions during my most severe, debilitating episodes, I’ve had to humbly request emergency transport to the nearest hospital from friends, family, and co-workers.
All of these factors and details represent my “pile of mud.”
But the beautiful lotus that I have been able to grow on that pile of mud is the life I have created for myself and the clinical excellence I have achieved as a Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in Vestibular Rehabilitation. The insight and innovation in my approach to my life and my work is a direct offspring from my pile of mud.
Had I not suffered so deeply for so many years, I would not have been as motivated to master this material and further develop new ideas and strategies to help myself feel better.
Now I have been able to integrate the modern Science of the West with the medicinal Wisdom of the East into a holistic approach to vertigo. I have pioneered my strategies in my own life and now I have reached thousands of people around the world who suffer like me.
I have written multiple 200+ page photo-enhanced training manuals and trained hundreds of US healthcare providers in my strategies. In turn, they have also reached thousands more people whom I have never met.
After many years of thinking the mud would be the extent of my life, my lotus has turned out beautifully. And now I don’t mind the mud so much anymore.
Because I know the lotus I have created and named The Bell Method could not have grown so beautifully without the pile of mud that I have lived through.
Now instead of asking, “Why me?”
I ask, “What now?”
And I eagerly await the lesson to be learned from my own experiences of intermittent discomfort from vertigo, neck pain, migraines, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, etc. The more I learn to care for myself, the more strategies I have in my clinical toolbox to care for others who suffer like me. And I develop more resilience.
Everything is now a lesson and I don’t wish it away anymore.
So I ask you to reflect on your own life with these questions in mind, “What is your pile of mud? And what beautiful lotus will you grow on it to share with others?”
How can you become more resilient in order to cope with the challenges that you face?
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that I might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.
Blog update on 1/30/18: I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior as of January 1, 2017. Now I rely on Him when I need resilience and renewal of my hope.