Welcome Banana Moments contributor, Steven Campbell, author and inspirational speaker on matters of heart and mind. This recent column illustrates a fundamental truth: the brain does not care, but Wisdom does. Steven shares a major turning point in his life to illustrate that if you believe it in your mind, then it is true. Victim or victor?
Many years ago a 19-year-old boy tried to kill himself by driving his Olds 88 into my VW bug. The Volkswagen lost! My dear friend Dwayne was instantly killed and all of my body was crushed.
It was an event I would not have traded for the world. Let’s discover why!
My brain kept me unconscious for two weeks preventing me from remembering anything. As I returned to consciousness, All of me was in traction. After ten weeks, the orthopedist informed me that now my legs must be immobilized with a spika body cast.
“What’s a spika body cast?”
“Well…the upper leg on your left side (your left femur) was broken, so we have to immobilize your knee and your hip with a spika cast.”
“What does it look like?”
“Err…it starts at your feet and goes up to your neck.”
“But…maybe I could have one-legged cast. I mean, only the lower bones in my right leg were broken (my tibia and fibula), so if you didn’t cast my right leg, I could at least move my right leg around.”
“No, Steve. Your right hip was dislocated, and so I think we should immobilize both legs.”
“How long will I be in this?”
“About 12 to 16 weeks.”`
So that afternoon the orderlies took me out of traction, rolled me down to the cast room and put me into a two-legged spika body cast. When they returned me to my room and laid me back on my bed, I finally lost it. This was just too much!
The Dam Breaks
As I stared at the ceiling (which was mostly all I could see), I began sobbing and crying out, “I can’t lie here for another four months! Why did this happen? Why Dwayne? Why not me? I don’t understand! Where are you, Lord? Why are you so silent?”
In the wee hours of the morning, as I lay there cocooned in the cast, too tired to continue crying but too tired to sleep, I began looking at my feelings…and my beliefs!
“I can’t change this. I can’t make my broken bones heal faster. I can’t bring Dwayne back! I can’t get out of this cast. I can’t change anything! I feel helpless!”
Wait a minute! I wasn’t helpless! There was something I could change.
I could change my beliefs!
And when I changed my beliefs, my feelings would follow! In fact, the foundation of cognitive psychology is that our feelings do not primarily come from what happens to us, they come from the beliefs about what happens to us.
So how can I change my beliefs to get through the next four months in a spika body cast?
Well…it started with a decision I made, enveloped in that cast, to believe that not only will I be able to get through this, but something wonderful may result! What could possibly be wonderful? I had no idea, but over the decades, I’ve seen the Lord take agonizing tragedies in the lives of people and turn them into amazing triumphs.
As soon as made that decision, I fell asleep, and slept for the next 12 hours.
(Incidentally, when the orthopedist came to my room that afternoon, he discovered a tiny fissure running through the groin area. “I don’t know what happened, but I’ll have my colleague Dr. Taylor replace this cast.” When I arrived at the cast room, Dr. Taylor looked up from my medical chart and asked me why they had put me into a two legged cast? “I mean, Steve, with a one-legged cast, you could at least move your right leg around.” “Good idea!” I responded. I wish I had thought of that!”)
I was out of that cast in less than ten weeks. And two years later I was traveling around America as a speaker to tens of thousands of college students sharing what had happened.
And it was on that tour…that I met Mary! Is one year in a hospital worth 42 years with Mary?
I’m surprised you even had to ask!
So what is an application here? Realize that all of us…all of us will experience or have experienced hard times and tragedies in our lives: sickness, deaths, financial setbacks and on and on.
We simply cannot change that.
But we can change what we believe about those setbacks and our feelings will follow just as surely as your heart pumps blood! In other words, and remember this forever, you need not be a victim of what you are feeling. Those feelings come from your beliefs, and you can change your beliefs!
And your brain believes what you are telling it! Are your beliefs true? You know what? Your brain doesn’t even care. All it cares about is what you tell it. You say it, and it believes it. And then when you lock onto those beliefs, it will do everything it can to make them true in your life.
Steven Campbell is an award winning author of the book, Making Your Mind Magnificent. He holds a Masters from University of San Francisco in Information Systems. After 20 years as a hospital materials manager, he spent the next twenty years doing what he loves most: teaching, as both a college professor and and Educational Dean. Steven now conducts seminars around America on the discovers cognitive psychology has made about understanding how we think, our feelings and creating goals that actually work. You can learn more about Steven’s work at: An Intelligent Heart. Contact Steve: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM, Tuesdays.
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