One of the most memorable movie quotes of my childhood was from “Field of Dreams” where Kevin Costner is told, “if you build it, he will come” in reference to building a baseball diamond in his cornfield which will summon his beloved baseball players from the past to come and play ball. A pretty straightforward cause and effect statement. Do this, and that will ensue.
I find myself thinking of this quote a lot recently, in the context of my recovery and dealing with all of the questions and doubt that arise and try to throw me off track. I’ve been “building it” for over a year now. This time last year is when I felt strong enough to ignore the lifestyle of adaptation and flat out laziness that the medical establishment was providing me, and took the initiative to start an aggressive routine of rehab, exercise and physical and mental hard work.
Up until my accident, I had always understood that the causal relationship between hard work and reward was reliable and relatively short-term, particularly with physical improvements (I wrote an entire post about this subject). Now, after a year of working so hard everyday, of literally channeling so much of my energy towards recovery and healing, I’m often left wondering…ok, can someone throw me a bone here? I need something to happen already!
Yes I’ve had improvements, yes my health and overall strength has improved, yes I can still wiggle my toe, yes I can sit taller, push further and continue to challenge my capabilities and improve upon them, but all of that said, I have to put this out there: I need a breakthrough.
I’m reminded of the conversations I’ve had with friends so many times about being single and wanting to find a girlfriend. Or of changing job paths and furiously job hunting and the advice we would always give each other when frustrations would hit new highs. “You’re looking too hard for it. Sometimes these things happen when we ease up on searching or expecting them, and then all of a sudden, boom! it happens.”
I have no doubt that this applies to my current situation. I want improvement badly. I want validation for all of this hard work I’ve done and I want it to be more than a toe I started wiggling nine months ago or gradual strength that I’ve built up over time. But I’m looking so hard for it! I wake up every morning and wonder if this will be the day that I’ll have that breakthrough. I’m trying not to expect it, but I expect it. And then I try to rid myself of the expecting of not expecting. And so it goes….
I wish this injury was more forgiving in this way. I wish there was a formula and even if I knew it would take a long time, I could find peace in knowing that the next breakthrough would indeed arrive. But that’s not the way this injury is. It rips you apart and takes away everything and leaves you with more doubt, uncertainty and ambiguity than you could ever imagine.
I can hear the advice from everyone already: Get rid of the expectations. Cultivate patience. Find peace with the situation. Make the most of the present moment without any consideration of the future and what it will bring. Life is too short so enjoy what you have right now and relish every moment. I say, easier said than done.
The funny thing is, I’ve actually been able to do all of these things but only to a certain extent. Much of my efforts recently have revolved around patience and letting go of expectations, and I’ve certainly gotten better at this. I have no choice but to continue doing these things and physically continuing to work as hard as possible but I still can’t help thinking that because I’m building it, it will come…
40 thoughts on “If you build it, will it come? And when? And how? And….”
Dearest Arash, you are building many things and one thing is an extraordinary community of friends and family and a network of new folks. I wish for you exactly what you want, right now, you so deserve it. Keep the faith and thank you for sharing your hopes and ideas and feelings with us ! Love, Caren
Thanks so much Caren. I’ll try to harness that positive energy and apply it to my healing and recovery -AB
You can wiggle your toe !!!! I’m in awe of you for initiating your own self preserverance program for more independence. Your brain is cooperating with your regimen. Continue on. Yes, vent when necessary, but do continue on.
Haha thanks for letting me vent as I realize that last post was a pretty obvious venting and frustration session but oh well. So be it. -AB
You know The Wall? You may have hit it. Now, keep moving forward. The breakthrough will come. Look how many have already arrived. Gratitude for the Grace that has allowed you to progress this far WILL NOT let you go! Keep moving forward Arash. You are my hero and I hold you in the highest esteem! You can, you will, do it! Love, Jack
Thank you Jack. Your words are encouraging and inspiring to me. I do think I’ve hit the wall and hope to continue to progress. I’m hopeful that you’re right, that I will indeed move past the wall and achieve the breakthrough soon. Thanks as always my friend -AB
Arash, I can certainly feel your frustration! I think that one is either a patient person or one is not. I’m not particularly patient and have no idea how to learn to be. You are putting such hard work in to your recovery that surely something has to happen soon! It was such an exciting moment when you were able to wriggle your toe. I can completely understand your desire for all the hard work to pay off and another breakthrough present itself. Maybe,just for a few minutes, focus on what you have achieved, rather than what you haven’t. Include things that are not physical, too. As Caren said, you have achieved an extraordinary community of friends and family… But like I have said before – I wouldn’t be dead for quids. Keep on fighting, Arash. xo
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your message and I will do my best to heed your advice and focus on what I have achieved instead of what I haven’t. That is absolutely the best thing to do in this situation, but it’s just not instinctive. I think it’s almost human nature to want more and focus on what you don’t have instead of appreciating what you do have. Thanks for renewing my desire to fight. -AB
I think you are amazing and have such wonderful tenacity. I can see you walking again one day. 😀 And if you ever get to Australia, I make a great tour guide!
I will happily plan on making it to Australia sometime very soon and I’ll take you up on the tour guide offer 🙂 -AB
I would love to hang out. 🙂
my nephew’s wife bailed out after a few years, and he met his future angel of a wife at a holiday party… she is the most wonderful gal, and is a gift to the entire family – just to witness her always-sunny disposition, even in hard times. you will surely be blessed with your own angels, some that will appear when you least expect it.
Hopefully that’s the case and something will show when I least expect it. -AB
What you are doing right now is ground work, you are securing the foundations, without them the future can’t be built but I do understand the impatience… you are waiting for a 10 on the exam you’ve been learning for a long time so to speak.
Just yesterday I was speaking with a friend about a difficult situation saying, all I want is that one thing to do the “bam” effect, that’ll tell me that this was the determinant factor for helping out this situation I’ve been busy improving for years and she answered, not always is it spectacular sometimes it’s everything you’ve done that contributes toward the improvement a bit like nest building it’s each twig that builds the end result.
It is frustrating because we’ve been molded by t.v mentality where things go fast and booming whereas life demands preparation, consistency and polishing which is slow but we eventually get there in a softer and much wiser way. It is what people will see and call “that spark, shine, glint and serenity” in you that becomes the beauty of the new you 🙂
Best of luck! You have the world’s support through blogging behind you!
I love your insight and thanks for sharing it with me. I use the analogy of the building all the time in fact. I talk about building a foundation and how the rest of the structure won’t stand at all if the foundation isn’t strong. Everything you say is true and it’s just up to me to stay strong and patient and know that healing will come when it does. The frustrating thing is that the time aspect of that is out of my control. I’ll keep fighting hard and thanks for your support -AB
My son has always said that one of the very hardest things is to wake up every morning wondering, ‘Is this it? Is this as far as I can go? Is this where recovery stops?’
One of the greatest acts of gallantry and courage I have ever witnessed is watching him start every day with that thought… then keep trying anyway.
There is lots of excellent advice and some wonderful comments on this page already…I don’t think you need me to add more 🙂
I’m just going to say I recognise courage and gallantry when I see it now.
So true! I like that your son moves past that emotion everyday and still decides to keep fighting. That IS courage. No doubt. I hope I can cultivate some of that same courage when I face my next big challenge. Thanks for sharing -AB
You’ll do it, Arash.. you and he are made of rather special stuff.
Dear Arash, I so love your writing. What you say can apply to all our situations I am sure – certainly does to mine – and then I have to kick myself and remind myself that yours is much more serious. Uncertainty is so hard to bear when you really want something. We can continue to want it and continue to work for it but we need to let go as well – not let our happiness be dependent upon it. I want to feel sure that you will achieve your breakthrough and I certainly hope it very much. Surrender and trust are the words that come to mind. All best wishes and thank you so much for your contributions. You are a great sprit. Melanie
Melanie, I was going to write something and then I saw that you wrote it the best. My thoughts exactly! 🙂 Thank you and thanks, Arash, you are such an inspiration! Judy
As I think you’ve already figured out, you need to build both your mind and your body and breakthroughs in one arena can be just as powerful in the other. Also, Kevin Costner never lies, so your field has to be just around the corner, right? If I was a betting woman, I would put all of my money on it.
Honestly? Sit down, cry, pound your fists. You deserve to grieve and don’t let anyone take that away from you. It is okay to feel the frustration and the anger, and it is okay to hurt. I fully support you getting angry and frustrated. Grief is a process and it doesn’t stop overnight, it will sneak up on you and I fully support giving into it sometimes.
Fall 7 times, get up 8.
I know that you will grieve and then keep moving forward, so I’m sending you good energy to take as you are ready to move forward again! In the mean time – seriously, hitting a pillow won’t hurt! (much)
Personally, I dont think we should ever let go of higher expectations! It is what gives one reason and makes life better! Who cares if you never reach them, working towards them is what counts! It is the journey, not the destination!
I totally agree. I’ve always justified having high goals for that same reason. -AB
Thanks for your inspiring and honest posts – they provide much food for thought. I can’t give you any advice. Only my love and support as you strive valiantly to overcome the odds.
I’ll take that love and support my friend. Thank you -AB
If you can’t find a miracle be one… You are still in the very beginning of your journey , things may not return they way they used to be before the accident ,but definitely will be better than they do right now, you must not think this way – how would my life look like without this -, you always have to believe in how far you have come.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this! You are never alone!
In this life, some people have things more than you do, some don’t have the things you have…. Life will always teach you new lessons, be yourself, accept yourself, live in peace with yourself …. Don’t take it as if you are in a race, take it day by day! One step at a time …. Enjoy each step, let your aim be to seize the moment, to enjoy the moment and to make the most of every moment, great things will appear and surprise you….. Acceptance is the treasure everybody needs in their lives .
Be positive , because life is too short to be sad and negative about … Be a miracle
And remember …. With all what happened to you , YOU ARE ALREADY A MIRACLE , you just have to nurture this miracle and let it grow !
Wow. What sage advice! These are the things I know I need to do and focus more on. The reality is that sometimes it’s still challenging to do these things and adopt this mentality. That doesn’t take away from the fact that I completely agree with you. Sometimes it’s just tough to enjoy each step along the way, when I’m so sick of being in that step and just want to progress.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. It’s so helpful to be reminded of these ideas. -AB
I can so relate to your words. My now age 24 son sustained a traumatic brain injury from a car accident in 2011. Although his progress has been nothing less than remarkable, he continues with cognitive & physical deficits that do not currently allow him to be independent. A scary prospect as I am his caretaker & the fear that he will still be dependent when I am no longer here or able to care for him is overwhelming. He has had & continues to have many forms of healing therapies. But I fear that he has reached or is reaching a plateau. And this can’t be because he’s not “finished” yet! I too, wake up everyday praying that the “magic bullet” will appear & make him, if not back to the way he was, then at least able to live an independent life. I have learned to tune out much of what people say, for my own sanity. People that have gone through similar things have earned the right to share what they have learned. But the others? It is the nature of things that they cannot know or understand. I’m not ready to accept that this is all that will be & I probably never will be.
Yeah we do relate to each other on many levels. Tuning out the others is essential. Not listening to what others tell you and remaining focused on your goals and objectives are going to get you through this in the long run. I truly believe that, even during frustrating and impatient times like this in my own recovery. I hope your son gets better and that you can begin to find more peace for yourself. Stay in touch -AB
I understand your frustration, but I can assure you that allowing yourself to mentally simmer in physical routine is important.
You just have to continue the Dream and know that the dreaming of it (is just as important as the miracle of change). Dreaming of a better future makes the mundane routine of mediocrity in your daily physical grind, an escape from reality.
Dreams are what our sanity depend on in these difficult times. Close your eyes every night with a picture of how you want your future to be. Don’t dream of climbing Mt Everest, try to keep some sort of reality and perspective in the dream. I spent many days/month/years dreaming of the day I could stop the world and get off (to escape from the constant chronic pain) and one day my dream came true. Once day it happened. And then it happened again & again. Not all the time like when I was working full time and in absolute misery every day. But it happened when I least expected it.
I still have chronic and sometimes excruciating pain, but these episodes are getter fewer and further between, as each day goes by. I can bare the terrible days (or nights) in the knowledge that there are actually possibilities for an alternative some time in the future. There are the occasional day of no pain and the sheer joy of living.
Dream the dreams of another life and as each minuscule change happens, be it a toe moving or having the strength to sit up straighter, know that miracles DO happen. Think back to the day after the accident and how you were then. Think about the change both mentally & physically.
Did you ever even imagine you could move your toe one day? Did you imagine the feeling of fresh air on your face and the ability to write this wonderful inspiring blog. This Blog in itself is a Miracle. A Miracle of your Mind.
Miracles also come in small packages you know.
“Simmer in physical routine” – I like that a lot. Your suggestion about dreams is a great one. I do this already but I need to do this more. It’s important to remain focused and motivated but within the realm of reality and what is achievable. I’m not saying I know what’s achievable or not, but I know what I need to think about that will motivate me the best. You’re absolutely right that compared to the day after my accident, I’m a completely different person. There are so many things that have changed and improved since then and if I’ve gotten so far already, what’s to say that I won’t continue to get better??! I love your words about the miracles. Thank you for sharing with me. Your comments and words continue to inspire me. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve come into contact with through this blog. I wish many days free of pain for you. -AB
Don’t start doubting yourself now, you’ve come soo far! Your hard work and dedication WILL pay off, I believe in you! Stay strong handsome. Always here to talk, love hearing from you.
Thanks for the support and encouragement. It’s hard to fight the doubt but I have no other choice but to keep fighting and working hard -AB
Just when you are ready to break with frustrations and expectations is usually when change comes. Either way, keep your head up. You have made so much progress already and your uncompromising will to walk again will get you there…I truly believe that. Keep on fighting and know that you have people all over the world sending strength and love in your direction
Thanks so much. I needed words and support like this at this time. It means a lot to me that you and so many others have faith in me as it renews my own faith in myself. Much love -AB
Arash! I wanted to tell you this in person when I visited hoping to give you some extra motivation and support. Been reading your blog for a while (very inspirational), I know how hard you have been working and still are, I see so much supports you have from your friends and family and I can see how much progress you have made. Dude, I still have no doubt you will be on your feet again soon. I am not great with advice and don’t think I have any that you haven’t been given already, but I believe in you man!!!
Thanks so much bro. Your words of support are more helpful than you may realize and I’m honored and flattered that you believe in me so much. Support like yours fuels my recovery and reminds me never to give up. Thank you -AB
Arash, My B-day was last Saturday and you were in one of my wishes! Sit still, stand still, walk still ! “When the sun goes down … the stars come out!” Big Hug!
I’m so grateful that you thought of me. Thank you for the positive wishes. Big hug back to you -AB