December 28, 2011

Can't does not exist

15 years ago doctors told me I needed knee-replacement surgery. I said I'd wait for technology to figure out how to save my knee. 

Earlier this year, I was told that my knee had to be replaced as soon as possible and that any other options wouldn't work, or, at  best, would be a short-term fix. I took my chances and in July had cartilage implanted in my knee.

Climbing the last of the stairs
Today, less than 6 months later, I climbed Mount Masada in Israel at 5am, reaching the top in time to see the sun peak out over the Jordanian mountains across the Dead Sea.Thank you Doctor Norman Marcus for your superb job on my leg.

I was told by experts to take it easy and that I couldn't climb. I did it anyway. Without pain, medication or assistance. It felt great. Okay, I had a hot stone massage after at the local spa for my aching muscles, but the knee is still holding firm.

I felt triumphant reaching that top. All I needed was the theme to Rocky playing in the background to complete the scene.

Here's what this experience taught me.

There are experts all around us - even when they don't know what they're talking about. 

Some of what they say is useful to consider. All of it is sourced in their own particular view of the world which becomes a filter through which the brain notices some bits of information and ignores others. Also, there will always be people around us to tell us what we can and cannot do based on their own filters, fears and concerns.

If we accept their opinion as truth, then it has the power to derail our dreams. If we see it as just an opinion, then we can choose how to deal with it. 

I vote for selective hearing.

At the end of the day, it is our faith in our own abilities that really matters. While there are no guarantees, that faith is extraordinarily powerful and has proven over the centuries to cause miracles.

Our shortcut - steeper but shorter
It's no magic or mystery how I made it to the top. I simply had faith. Given that absolute certainty that I was going to make it up that mountain, I trained like mad to ensure my body was strong enough to make the climb.  I rode my stationary bike, walked or went to the gym every day, often twice a day. I pushed myself to be as fit as possible to give me the best chance of success. 

It was my faith that kept me going up the mountain, even when it felt like it was too steep to climb one more step because my heart was pounding and I couldn't catch my breath. I was making it to the top, no matter how long it took.

Most importantly, I learned that the phrase "I can't" really does not exist.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

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