jueves, 24 de julio de 2008

Breaking the shell

So I decided to be happy. Not to pretend to be happy in front of others, or happy as the western society says you should, but really happy. How should I start then?
How to be happy? money? friends? love? family? god? Let´s see how I understand happiness now. Looks like a two step program: Make yourself happy inside and follow what you desire.

Happiness based on money, as most of us know it, seems temporary, false and only works as a comparative with others. We want things that others have, and when we get them, we are happy. But then, someone gets a newer, faster, more expensive things, so we are unhappy again until we get them. Besides with one exception, there will always be richer people than you, so you´ll never be completely happy if you compare, and surely you´ll always want more. An as I told in a previous post, we own nothing, so a fortune can disappear in seconds, and so would you happiness.
To support happiness in others is a risk too. Friends, a special person, family, they all have their own life and pretty sure you are not the center of it. If you base your life in others, you´ll depend on their time, resources, availability and mood. You can not manipulate people to make you happy. If we have the ability to get happy by ourselves, why beg someone to help us with our happiness? You should be happy, and then share it with others.
God? well, I don´t know the foundations of every religion, but I see a lot of believers not very happy with their lives. I suppose it helps, but there´s something missing.

Fortunately in a given moment, a great book got to my hands. If I had received the book before, maybe I wouldn´t have paid a lot of attention to it, but in that search It was the first sign I was looking for.
After reading it, I concluded that the best way to look for happiness is deciding to, as it does not depend on external factors but only from the inside. When something happens, only you decide how to take it, if it´s good or bad, and most of the time we decide for the latest.
A cliché I know, but I think everything happens for a reason. I understand this now, and I think it´s completely true. Just take as example my heart attack: on monday january 22nd, I would have thought that I didn´t deserve that, I lived fair and healthy, why me? Today I´m grateful for that health incident, as my life changed for good. That year has been the best of my life to date, my happier too.
Sometimes things happen, and appear to be bad, but we might find an explanation for those incidents later. But in the moment we react with anger or deception. If we understand that a flat tire, or heavy rain, or a lost business is for something better in the future, and we believe it, we live calmer. So if we can perceive as good everything that happens to us, nothing external will affect us. We can now only focus on living our lives, and no others lives.

Now, if you had all the money you want, or If your physician told you that you have 3 months left, what would you do? Ok, that´s the next step for happiness. Forget about accumulating and begin to live. Chose Life, as the movie said. I made myself that question and the answer was I wanted to travel to China. Why? I don´t know. It seemed like a different world, it´s eastern culture it´s more spiritual, and their values are different. It just catch my attention. So I made plans to travel and I did it. How satisfying is that?.
My life changed from a single life plan and goal, to smaller short term satisfactions.
Two years ago I had my life completely planned, today I´m just watching the next year but with concrete plans in the short term. I always have in mind that even life is lent, in 50 years or tomorrow might be gone, so I have to use it the best way I can. With this new way to see life I might say, that if I die today, I would die happy, only if I made the plans for what I wanted. It´s enough to fulfill my soul.

lunes, 21 de julio de 2008

A light sparkle

Clues were revealed to me in each thought I had during my recovery. I had a lot of pieces of the puzzle but there was no structure, and I wasn´t sure all the pieces were complete.
One day, in the morning I had everything, and in the afternoon I had nothing. Things, objects, valuables, this might be the reason why every person that has a near death experience becomes more spiritual. Because you understand the hard way and without doubt that money isn´t happiness. A lot of debate about it, and I´ll write one post only with my perception of what money means now, but when I opened my eyes after my health issue, thousands of things went through my mind before money. This meant that I had to change my reason for leaving to date.
Work, save, work more, save more, travel, buy things, go out to places to have fun, buy a house, invest to get more money, to save more, to travel further, to be able to support a family, afford a faster car, maybe some studies, to get a better paid job, to save more, accumulate, accumulate to have. To have what? Nothing, we own nothing. We just own a false sense of confidence, and we live happy with that, as long as we keep our savings, as long as we have a secure number in a bank account. We aren´t aware that one day all of that might disappear, by crime, by health issues, by mistake, by accident, and If our life is just our belongings, life ends there.

When I was already home, recovering physically, one morning I woke up in bed with a stranger aside. Who is she? What are we doing together? Nothing made sense. As I was a complete different person from the guy that went to work that monday january 22nd, we were complete strangers. Nothing in common, no common objectives for the future, no common interests, a lot of problems for the health restrictions, each one worried for it´s own sake, a complete nightmare for her and for me. She had been through the complete incident with me, her family was a great support, but being together was hurting both of us.

I remember that as soon as I was stable and conscious I wrote something to all the people that was worried about me. I wrote "thank you all, because I feel the good energy you are generating towards me, and I think that this energy is the cause for me to be alive". This was true. I never thought I was going to die. Being as fragile as I was I felt supported and loved, I thought It was a dream, and I was near to wake up. I never imagined I had so many friends, real friends, and so many people who loved me. When some one said to me I hope you get well soon, It wasn´t for good manners, I knew they meant it and I´m sure that love and good energy had to do something with my recovery. I never have heard so many I love you´s as I heard that month. And weren´t only from my girlfriend, but from family, friends, peers, people from the current and past jobs, and they all meant it. I remember blurredly a friend from the office saying to me: "I never told you how much I love you, I love you Juanito". Why wait until the people dies? Say "I love you" to the people you love, if you mean it, why not?

The last big clue, was the review of my life. As I wrote before, I wasn´t happy with what I had lived to date. Why? Because I didn´t do what I wanted. Simple. I had plans and I didn´t followed them. I wanted to know places and I never went, I wanted to say things and I never did, I had dreams for the future that I could fulfill but I didn´t. I was the only responsible for not having a better life, nobody else. I was living somebody else´s life, or the american dream´s life, but not mine. As I told one friend, my life was like a plan to built a house. And when I get old, and the house was finally finished I would live happy in the house I had planed and built during my life. What if I died before finishing the house?

With all those clues I decided I wasn´t going to make the same mistakes. It was time to act.
I didn´t see the light at the end of the tunnel that monday, or at least I can´t remember, but some light was illuminating the road to follow.
With the pieces I had I began to make decisions. I had to leave my girlfriend, I became close with family and friends, I began to enjoy every room of the house I built although the complete house wasn´t finished, and valuables became secondary to me. It was time to live for me, It was time to be happy now, It was time to differentiate among all things what were really important and fulfilling. It was time to take control of the life that was to the drift before. I decided to be happy.

miércoles, 16 de julio de 2008

Messy baby steps

Have you ever imagined beginning from cero again? With your age, in the moment of your life where you are right now, to lose everything and enter the run of life again with some kind of disadvantage?
I used to think about that when I read stories about people bankrupted, or recoveries after accidents, and I thought it should be very tough. Months learning to do something you didn´t even think about, because was so easy and common. We use to take for granted many things we currently don´t value as we should: health, family, friends, hands, fingers, eyes, senses, rest, free time, and many more. Society has changed the rules, and what we value are the less important things: clothes, makeup, cars, watches, cell phones, just objects. How would your life be without a car? and how would it be with out sight? For which one are you worried for insurance?
After I recovered my life, there were two things I had to start all over again: exercise, as I lost almost 20 pounds in two weeks and got dead tired after walking 20 or 30 steps, and my idea of life. This last issue was hard, harder that I ever thought.
As any baby learning to walk, I fell, I crawled and took clumsy decisions learning to live again.
I woke up with a life that was perfect before, but a life I didn´t recognized as valuable or mine anymore.
I went through a lot of stages in the process, from immortality (If I didn´t die after two heart attacks, why would I die driving at 160Km/h?), to self compassion (If I had a heart attack at 29 living healthy, I won´t live after 40).
For sometime, after analyzing the facts, I decided I would not live after 40, so I wasn´t going to have any kids. Why? If they are going to die early as I did, why be so evil? If you know the time you have left, your life changes radically, I guarantee it. And as I took temporarily that decision, life got messy. This attitude frightened everyone around me, specially my girlfriend. I was losing everything: my mind, my family, my motivations, my happiness, my time.
A certainty in life came as a truth to me after the whole situation: everything in life is lent, so we own nothing.

martes, 15 de julio de 2008

A sand storm

Two weeks after the incident I returned home. Physically I was weak and at high risk but stable, but mentally the situation was worse, I was completely clueless. Imagine waking up in a strange place, knowing nothing about time or space, with a blurred vision, and feeling dizzy, that´s how I felt all the time for the following weeks.
I didn´t knew exactly what, but something had changed. What was the message?
Something was true: science didn´t have an explanation. Not my cardiologist, blood tests, reasoning, nope. As lost as I felt I went to consult another sources I´ve never considered before. I went to a lady that read the astral map, to another lady that talked with angels, and to an energy lady. Although none gave me the answer I got nice clues.
I took a wrong path in my life, and something had to happen to be able to change roads and get into my correct road, like destiny itself took care of matters.
Not that I had a bad life, but as If I had a lot of life potential and for 29 years I ´had wasted it.
It was time to live fully, to really live.
To live it´s not to breath and eat, it´s not to survive. Living it´s being able to use all the resources you have in order to achieve something you are passionate about, it´s to deploy all your tools to go up, high, higher, aim to the impossible and beyond, because it´s possible.
When you are born, you get your living toys. We all are born with our toys. You get dreams, illusions, hobbies, and you get the tools to fulfill them: intelligence, boldness, heart, imagination, creativity an so on.
If we all begin with lives and toys what happens in between?
Well, some of us live the lives of others, some live the lives we are told to live, some other waste their lives, very few live their own lives.
The sad thing is that this is a known truth. Many people live a life they don´t like, they know it, but they continue living it. I knew it before my heart attack. But I lied to myself.
The majority live for the "american dream": born poor, die rich and you made it.
Well now I think that´s completely wrong. Many rich die unhappy, many poor live great lives, our society created the story of money and we all believe it.
After the sand storm passed by I saw it all clear: I had to live my life, a life for myself, a life that filled me, not my ego. I had to live a life that as long or short as It was, had to answer right the question I did to myself at the hospital: If I die today, am I satisfied with my life?

lunes, 7 de julio de 2008

The after battle

Making decisions and analyzing situations gets rather complicated when there are many variables involved, even if the decision it´s superficial, but when the situation it´s your life, or the life of a loved one, all the unimportant factors disappear and there´s only one thing to care about. Then you get back to the less important issues. The problem is that when you decide with all the variables surrounding you, usually you are not able to differentiate or identify the important from the superficial and the conclusion goes wrong.

For a whole week I lost memory. From monday 9am, the day of the heart attacks to the next saturday 3pm when I almost had a new heart attack I didn´t remembered anything. Nothing about that terrible pain they talked that made me shout and move tremendously, not any compassionate crying face of family or friends, not about any blood transfusion, nor the priest that went to let me go to heaven in peace, nothing.
But when on saturday I felt that same dizziness of the previous monday, and the doctors began the second surgery to open the closed arteries, everything began to work again. All the engines began to move again: memory, thoughts, assumptions, imagination, my mind just woke up.
While I was at surgery, I was awake looking at the screen of my heart´s arteries being moved by the stent installation, but my mind after a holiday week, was busy trying to answer very difficult questions. Why this? why me? why now? what now? what changes? The only thing clear was that nothing was clear, all the rules changed, everything in my mind was a mess.

Before the event, everything was easy, there was a defined path to achieve all the goals I had set, but now, It was like someone has entered and sabotaged those plans inside. Everything upside down, things flying, spilled, broken, just like a battle field after the fiercest battle.
As I understood I was alive and was going to keep that way for sometime, I began to think about other aspects in my life: hey!!! what happened with my job? my girl? family? the money in the bank? well, my opinion about those matters changed completely.

Rules, conditions, goals, we make a living based on rules nobody stated but we all follow, at least the majority. I lived 29 years following those rules: what should we aim for, what is success, how should you live, what things you value most, we secretly share values and live by them. After coming back to life, from 24 minutes in the other side, I realized those rules I followed were not the ones I would like to follow now, why? I just made myself one question. If I had died, would I be satisfied with the 29 years of life that I had? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
I didn´t know why at the specific moment, I just knew I would be very disappointed if I had to review my life at that exact time. I had many plans but achieved none to date, I lived a fair and good life but an empty one, I lived for a better future, but taking for granted life as if I was god.
I didn´t knew exactly what, but something had to change. It´s sad to accept you wasted 29 years, but at least I had a new chance, and now it was time to take advantage of it.

martes, 1 de julio de 2008

The big slap in the face

When I opened my eyes, I was in a strange bed, and aside, my girlfriend and my mom were staring at me. I didn´t recognize the place, I felt weak, sleepy and I didn´t remembered anything recent. How did i get there? Where am I? What happened? Its just as I had appeared in that place without any past. For someone that usually had everything under control, and hated surprises I was lost in time and space.
What happened? I asked.
You had a heart attack, my girlfriend said.
No, tell me what happened to me please
You had a heart attack, she repeated.
I was so sleepy I don´t remember how many times I asked the same question. But the process inside was the same: a heart attack? me? Impossible. I´m in the best shape, no one eats as healthy as I do, love exercise, no alcohol, sleep well, no drugs, no nothing. Here it goes again, what happened?
Well, after two days of the same stupid question I realized that I didn´t had a heart attack. I had two heart attacks on that beautiful monday january 22nd.
While I was unconscious, I had two heart attacks, one in an ambulance and the other one at the hospital, my lungs got filled with water, my heart stopped for 24 minutes the second time, all the emergency team in that hospital focused only on saving me with an effort outside medical procedures, all my family and friends were informed that I had only 1% chance of surviving, tears, sadness, why him questions, phone calls, friends amazed, a day to forget.
For me, to be here writing one and a half year later, that day, many many things had to be perfect. The possibilities to live were so slim, that times, decisions, movements, orders, procedures, everything had to be perfect. If the case happened again, pretty sure the guy would die. But in my case everything was done right. If some old man driving a taxi hadn´t moved just like he did when my ambulance passed right by him, I would be dead. Not only the doctors, and the people at the hospital, but everything aligned for me to live.
What was all this? What really happened?
After months of tests and evaluations my doctor concluded that I have nothing. There was no reason for me to have a hearth attack that day or any other day.
So? what happened?
For me there´s a clear explanation right now: just a big, huge slap in the face.
WAKE UP!!!!!!