“Sometimes in tragedy we find our life’s purpose. The eye sheds a tear to find its focus.” ~Robert Brault
“Lay still. We think both your arms are broken.”
I obeyed the police officer and stopped struggling to rise from the hard, cold pavement.
An ambulance soon had me in emergency, where I discovered that my problem was a lot worse than broken arms.
My right arm had to be amputated. My left arm was paralyzed. I had no more use of my arms.
I laughed my way through my long hospital stay.
No one could understand how a man who had lost his arms could laugh so happily.
I couldn’t explain it to anyone, but I was feeling a vast sense of relief. My old way of life had been stripped away in an instant.
My family had always worked as loggers or fishermen, and before the accident, I felt stuck emotionally and unable to leave my blue collar social group. What they saw as disaster, I saw as liberating. I knew I would never have to use a chainsaw to cut trees again.
At thirty years of age, I had been given a whole new life.
I was free. Free to create the life I really wanted to live.
Maybe you can gain your freedom without waiting for disaster to strike.
Take a good look at your life. Are you really doing exactly what you want to do in your heart of hearts? If you’re not, you may get a wakeup call like I did.
There was a lot of time in the hospital to think about what I really wanted to do. More than anything else, I wanted to write.
My California state rehabilitation counselor didn’t agree. He didn’t think I could make a living writing. So I agreed to a business program at state university.
Once enrolled, I took all the business classes to keep him happily supporting me while I also took all the writing courses to keep me happy.
Writing all those papers meant a lot of pecking away at a keyboard with a chopstick gripped firmly between my teeth, but I knew what I wanted.
Once you know what you want, you’ll also discover the fortitude to make your dream come true.
Money Sidetracks Me
After university, I discovered that my counselor had been right. Nobody wanted to hire a disabled person to write or do anything else.
With a wife and two small children, I had to find a way to get money quick.
A radical old dude from Canada took me under his wing. We wound up in Tokyo, where he showed me how to busk. All I had to do was make a show on a busy street corner, and people passing by dropped money into my tin cup.
A lot of money. Hundreds of dollars an hour.
You see, in Asia, begging is a traditional occupation for the disabled. My highly visible disability gave me a license to beg in any of Asia’s newly rich mega cities.
The money poured in.
I soon had a house in the city, a farm in the country, and a new car for my wife to drive our kids to private schools in.
But happiness was gone.
My wife didn’t like being married to a crippled beggar. She welcomed the money, but she tried to hide me away from her friends and family. Divorce wasn’t long coming.
I also suffered terribly from severe chronic pain in both arms.
Powerful tranquilizers were the only treatment modern medicine could offer me. I could feel how slow and stupid my once brilliant mind had become under the cloud of drugs.
I wasn’t writing, and I felt like I was losing the ability to ever write again.
Money had sidetracked me.
Don’t get sidetracked.
Then, fourteen years after my accident, I met Remedia.
She saw from across a crowded room how much pain I was in. Saying nothing, she simply began massaging the pain out of my shoulders and arms.
It felt like she had magic coming out of her fingers—magic that dissolved away all my pain.
Remedia had been born with the ability to heal, but had never studied it formally. She just used her gift whenever she saw a person in need.
I was fascinated.
We started traveling all over Asia to learn more about healing energy. Soon, we knew enough to start giving healing sessions. It wasn’t long before we were teaching too.
Joy and purpose returned to my life.
I was writing our course materials. I was keeping a journal. Most importantly of all, I was actively helping other people.
I wasn’t a crippled beggar anymore, able only to give people a humble “Thank you.”
Now, I could give something back to all those who had helped me for so many years.
Then, something even more momentous happened.
We met Krishna Kantha, Thailand’s living Saint. He kindly invited us to stay at his retreat center for a month.
Krishna has magic coming out of his hands too. Only Krishna’s magic opens and heals minds. Krishna opened the world of meditation for us by giving us instant access to the deepest states of meditation.
During repeated visits, he taught us how to open minds like he does. Then he said, “Go to India. You need to be in India.”
Years later, we’re still in India. We’re still growing spiritually, and we’re both radically joyful.
Remedia is living her life purpose of healing and helping all whom she meets.
I’m living my life purpose of teaching meditation and writing about it. I’ve pecked out four books published on Amazon, and I keep two websites going—all with my trusty chopstick.
My Advice for You?
When life slaps you upside the head, get serious about laughing, having some fun, and figuring out exactly what it is that you feel passionate about doing.
Then start doing it.
Your radical dude from Canada, a Remedia, or a Krishna will appear and open doors for you. But you have to be actively helping yourself first.
When help comes, don’t miss it because what has come is different than your vision of what you want.
I almost missed the radical dude because he was dressed in old, dirty clothes.
I almost missed Remedia because she has no education and speaks broken English.
And try some meditation. It really helps.
Photo by Luz Adriana Villa
About Richard Crown
You can discover more about Richard Crown, meditation & healing at HowtoMeditate-n-Heal.org Free I Love Meditation Course and E-book, How to Meditate & Heal With Love.