A Life without Passion is Mediocrity

 violin passionMake the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you, Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all have to gauge our lives from where our dreams endeavor in achieving our passions. Knowing our limits and still reaching beyond circumspection. Passion rules many of our lives; it brings us to points in life which elevates our enthusiasm and confidence, and it can kill us. A sobering thought.

Many in life enjoy trying new adventures, we push ourselves, challenge ourselves, and we are taught to do this from the day we are born. Electrifying, enhancing ourselves is taught in the work place, on the sports field and in schools every day. Why do you think we have report cards?

The point being we humans push ourselves, in every culture, every country all across the globe, and accidents – injuries are assured to happen.

Humans live with dedication in their lives, sometimes to the death to win! It is our passion, our commitment to the core that states, “I give it my all.” Passion is applauded and revered in our world, as it should be, this is life. We love to win even in minute moments of life. We tell everyone to “Live their passion” when seeking employment, in play, in love; in all areas of life! It is a mantra, it is LIFE!

Recently we watched, read or heard about the 2014 World Cup in Soccer being played out around the world, and there were numerous injuries – this is the agony of sports. Yet there is a lifetime of exaltation into delirious passion played out, oft times from toddler stage of life; passion in life reaches beyond limitation.

The facts remain, we humans are going to live life with passion, with force, with adventure, with vigilance, and with all the gusto we can mustard until a moment of life halts us. And then we push further, dream more fervently. If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.”

The skull crushing distortion of Alvaro Pereira was both awed and fearsome, striking the public in alvaro Pereiraa grimace contortion as Alvaro’s head was gnarled under his opponents’ knee. He was knocked unconscious in the 61st run. Recovering to a dazed state, shaking his head, demand to resume the field with his teammates in the 63rd run.

This is the World Cup!

A life time of soccer played, dreams and hopes; passion and dedication streaming through every cell of his body and mind. For this young Uruguayan, soccer is his life. The World Cup is on the line and this is a chance of a lifetime! “Sometimes life is bitter and some moments are worth the bitterness.” (MicheleElys)

We set our goals, know our limits, have watched others during bone crunching episodes; the passion percolates inside, we must go beyond the limitations and this includes injuries.

Kevin Pearce, a top-ranked halfpipe rider with a good chance of making the U.S. Olympic team, was knocked unconscious when falling forward onto his head during a training run at Park City Utah, December 29th 2009. Another bone chilling bloody calamitous accident leaving him unconscious and hospitalized in critical care for 26 days. His family in Vermont, traveled to be by his side, through each gut wrenching moment while Kevin struggled. Then to Craigs’ Hospital here in Colorado and the long arduous years of recovery.

These are Kevins’ words: “I tried the trick and ended up coming down on my front edge and resulted in slamming my head into the sheer ice half pipe and left me in a coma.” These words took many months of agonizing therapy before he could articulate the comprehensive sentence.

The recovery is laborious filled with torment, doctors and drugs. Over time Kevin came to realize that being a snowboarding trickster would no longer to be part of his life. Yet, as I watch the film Crash Reel, his earlier days as a toddler, snowboarding was a genetic passion.

A passion so great, intrinsically born, never to be dismissed from the yearning desire to live out in the snow, it must be played out through life in some form, the sense of freedom, fulfillment, LIFE being live at its fullest.

Kevin admits he is still recovering in 2014, speaking around the nation about traumatic brain injuries, ““Love Your Brain” and admittedly longs to be out on a snowboard. He realizes the kevindisadvantage, yet still pushes further to be free of the chains of impediment to live his passion.

Kevin as well as many sport figures – athletes of every genre, corporate professionals, those whom have had strokes, brain aneurysms – most all push beyond the restraints of injury to live life passionately. For a life without passion is mediocrity and both can kill you. Which do you choose?

Our critical crossroad here is not to fall into hysteria and blame. On the forefront we blame sports! Sports in schools, major leagues, humans love to point fingers. The problem with blame, is in the blame affect. While we are blaming are we finding resolutions?

It is the treatment of traumatic brain injuries where our answers lie. The protocol in training, action during injury and yet – as in Alvaro Pereira case (and many others) he had to continue playing for it was the World Cup. Do we stop individuals who have dedicated their life to passion? Whose call is this? Who is to state the correct performance of life?

This is not to say, the multitude of Sport Conglomerates are not at fault, they are culpable for the training and treatment of their athletes and its own competition concussion protocol.

These cases lend to greater merits than the monetary factor, we are dealing with human lives and the aftermath. Nevertheless, we need to leave the delirium lame tactics behind and deal with the TBI facts and realities; recovery from post-concussion syndromes.

Yes there are times we must intervene as Kevin Pearce did with his friend Trevor. Kevin understands the deep urge to be out on the snowboard, he had to reason with his friend that he was not at the point of recovery where minor snowboarding was viable. The brain damage leaves a person in a state uttering sentences and words from the inside which often are not intended, the words come scathing – tumbling over the tongue hurting or befuddling the listener.

saddnessThe internal parts of a person seem to be cruel, it is not the intent. A TBI injured person is pushing with such pain, angst and frustration to be themselves as they known in the past, that person felt – is alive inside. Often tormented coming to grips with their physical and mental brain injuries. The recovery process takes years, and some never realize a viable life.

I faced the same quandary with my lifelong passion in riding horses, particularly Arabians. When mentioning to other horse people that I love my Arabians some look at me in terror, for Arabians are extremely spirited. I never felt fear around animals, and loving horses from the time I was a toddler, many adults might see this as dangerous given my past injuries. It is passion.

Fortuitously I was professionally trained to ride horses as a child in Estraril, Portugal. These memories are wonderful: an eight year old child riding bareback in a large rink on a tethered horse with trainer and whip. The natural physical connection was an immediate relationship of joy. In less than a week I was riding thruwaterturning around on the horse’s back, riding backwards -sideways, leaning backwards with my head bouncing on his hind quarters while I giggled in sheer rapture.

Suddenly, the clap of a hand, “disengage now!” This expertise training saved my life many times riding into my adulthood. When danger was on the near horizon, the intrinsic motion from childhood to disengage is spontaneous. Immediately, pulling my body to a straight position, eying a point, with force pushing off from the horse’s withers, tucked and rolled onto the ground. It may have left a few bruised marks on my derriere and legs, most times standing immediately and remounting my horse. The training developed confidence and a lifelong tool to use.

Injuries to our bodies and heads come through numerous venues in life, not just sports. We are injured by parents. Many recover from childhood abuses with unseen – unknown trauma to the head, carrying secret emotional baggage of shame. We continue to attended school, oft times our performance was lousy, lacking focus or social skills in school. Yet the miracle and tenacity of the human mind coupled with spirit, we recover and become successful loving adults.

Whatever the sport is, from equestrian to football, to soccer or snowboarding; we are hell bent on being the best.

child passionAdditionally we gain stout bodies and strong self-esteem to WIN! This is PASSION! Passion Rules Life. If one does not have dreams and passion, you are not living.

Most everyone desires to have a better life, to be more, to better themselves through education – sports – employment position – monetarily – some value beyond the current limitations. Mediocrity is not a goal in our lives.

The same is applied to war veterans. My father was an exemplary soldier and commander. He never spoke of the atrocities of war. He endured headaches throughout my entire childhood and yet his passion to be a consummate leader ruled his internal loving passion. There is suffering in life, none of us come to our deaths untouched.

Another side of suffering and trauma are the misdiagnoses. TBI have often fallen into other categorizations. The very nature of a TBI are often unseen and over looked; the beast is beastly!

Most TBIs are a result from falls, statistical facts state 35%, and car accidents follow with a 20% brain injury rate. Most injured parties never seek medical treatment or doctor care until the oddities begin to rear their confounding concussion symptoms.

A simple scenario begins as a person embarks upon a regular day. Getting dressed for work, going out to their car with organizing thoughts of the days’ workload. Start the car, driving onto the road, a moments’ amazement occurs; they have no clue where they are headed! Confounded, confused and frightened are the emotions often felt in these flashes.

Or one could arrive at work – with a plan for the day and find the office was cleaned with some areas of the “normal office” changed, they lose all cognitive memory. The brain is blank and deterioration continues; colleague faces seem unfamiliar. Conversations on topics that they knew the previous day are incoherent, lacking any recollection of ideas or resolutions. One may forget to turn on their computer and stare at the paperwork stacked neatly in front of them, not able to manage thoughts or focus. The processing ability has momentarily disappeared. When will it return? There is no definitive answer. These are tormenting signs of post concussive syndromes.

Critical stages of TBI injury is recognition. Astute perception, awareness of extreme anger or denial to the severity of an accident, or glazed eyes or not making verbal sense, all are essential.

For those who are high functioning embodying great passion in their life and work, most likely they are not going to stop what they are doing subsequent to a fall or seemingly minuscule accident. brain passionMost are concentrated on the daily “to do list” and forge ahead.

A “very mild to mild” diagnosis can be a misnomer if one is not educated by a knowledgeable medical facility or practitioner as to the onslaught of symptoms that will embody the weeks, months and years to come. We are not looking to heal from a diagnosis. These classifications and terminologies only lead injured parties down a hysterical path to nowhere. We are seeking a recovery processes, education is imperative.

Diagnosing a broken arm via X-rays informs us how the fractured bone needs repairing. Diagnosing a TBI leads into a multifaceted – post concussive arena that is ponderous. Lending a label can misinterpret the reality of a tormenting situation, leaving people to flounder in anguish, not understanding their odd behavior, reactions or lack of function. Millions contract a TBI without any awareness of having a concussion. TBI are strange in appearance, confusing riddles with bewilderment behavior, garnished with monolithic anxiety! This is a traumatic brain injury,the clandestine injury, agony with no ecstasy.

Now here in 2014, TBI has taken the pendulum swing into paramount studies by many universities, medical institutions, military, caregivers, therapists, school administrator.

TBI’s have been a critical statistic (numbering in the millions each year) in our world, action has been a non-ventured problem for decades, is not a collusion. We live in an increasing fast past life and this is not going to change. We must adjust to the paradigm shift that will continue to change at the same pace our computer era is forging. It is time to take a step back in observance while we move forward.

The facts are obvious, we need to be educated and know recovery is more than plausible. And our brains affect every part of our living organism; the body, mental activity, somatic and physical activity, in short, life itself. The beauty of the brain is its ability to change and regenerate! We call this Plasticity! And what gives the brain the power to heal? Two most important factors, Rest and Sleep. There is Jeff Iliff a neuroscientist on TedTalks.com “One more reason to get a good nights’ sleep.”

Having a TBI is execrable, I can attest to this fact, I had at the minimal 8 TBI’s and Recovered with minimal residuals; tinnitus and insomnia. If these are the only two malfunctioning issues I must live with for the rest of my life, I am WINNING (!!) the life game.

Humans adapt to change, our brains adapt to change whether positive or negative. So does the body, we must focus on the positive adaptations, particularly with the brain.The brain is an incredible universe unto its self, forming new neural-net-clusters with positive repetitive action and thought. At this very moment while you are reading or having this blog article read to you, this is a positive Feed-Forward changing the brains function, enlarging its self with ideas and possibilities.

What to do? The same as the medical community is currently conducting, educate, research and ask questions, watch behavior, have open lines of communication and believe in recovery. The future is not a finite conclusion. One must have dedication to treatment plans that are flexible to each individual brain injury. Whether that be sports or a stroke. We are on the bare frontiers of discovering what works.

Head injuries change over time. All the syndromes begin in one venue and subject to change the next moment. This makes diagnosis sometimes difficult and agonizing. Nonetheless, there are well educated people who do understand the value of neuro-psychological testing.

TBI and other brain disorders have expedited progressive studies, founded in 1992 ongoing comprehensive research study for military and family personnel www.DVBIC.org. Further research from university studies, medical research, educators and school administrators. For civilian information and resource guide, http://biacolorado.org/about/ is one recommendation.

Dr. Karen McVoy was the Clinical Manager on a CDC study of concussion in high athletes. As the result of that study, Dr. McVoy authored REAP A Community-Based Concussion Management Program for Families, Schools and Medical Professionals.

Compiling her research into a Guideline Booklet. A complete diagram in what to look for, recovery time line, for children who may have a TBI injury. And a “Back To Learning” analysis which now can be found on REAP.

My studies in psychology and behavioral sciences were activated in post trauma injury along with two savvy therapists to guide me for approximately a year. A deep internal determination with unequivocal passion, I recovered from the impossible – multiple painful surgeries and many mild to serious TBIs. I saw life as infinite, knowing myself, I created my own miracles by not listening to the doom and gloom or living the misdiagnosis. Rather positive change and reorganizing my thinking process. It took over ten years, I am one of many who have transformed a limitation into a success.

Limitations force people to be creative, weakness becomes a great strength. When you are an underdog you are force to try things you never otherwise have attempted, they look for alternative roots. Malcom Gladwell ~ Author




About the Author: MicheleElys is a Neurobehaviorist ~ Writer ~ Educator ~ Keynote Speaker.

Founder of NBR [neural behavior recognition]. A recovery model for Trauma/TBI Improvement, Recovery to maintenance, Need a Consult? Connect with MicheleElys email LinkedIn,  MicheleElys.com 

MicheleElys All Rights Reserved©

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