We all face boulders in our life. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, an unexpected illness or accident, divorce, bankruptcy or business failure, these unplanned surprise events at times can seem like insurmountable boulders blocking our path to continuing a joyful life.
However, accepting the fact that these unexpected boulders will be dropped down in our path is just part of our life journey, the question we must ask ourselves is: “how will we respond to these obstacles?” Will we give up and accept our fate caused by these roadblocks or, will we view them as an opportunity for change and new beginnings?
In my bankruptcy practice, I meet with people on a daily basis who are defeated, hopeless, embarrassed and depressed, over their current financial situation. As I write about in my new book, “Bankruptcy in Plain English”, I understand their despair because I have walked in their shoes as well. However, what they don’t know, which I do, is that by sitting across the table from me, they are taking the first step to change their lives for the better and, eliminate the boulder that they view as insurmountable from their lives.
Well what would you do if you had an actual boulder literally stopping you in your tracks from continuing your life? Recently, I had the honor of hearing Aron Ralston speak in Fort Myers.
While you may not recognize his name, you may already be familiar with his story and the movie that was made about it called “127 Hours” starring James Franco. The movie tells the story of Aron’s life and death experience while hiking through narrow canyons in southern Utah and having his hand crushed between a boulder and the canyon wall trapping him there for 127 hours. The day that I heard him speak, April 15, 2015, is a date that will be indelibly etched in my mind forever.
I have to admit that I did have some skepticism as well as curiosity regarding Aron before hearing his presentation. One reason I went was merely as a student of motivational speaking. I was also wondering if he was just trying to capitalize on the movie and I wasn’t really sure if someone who was an engineer by background, could convey what obviously is a compelling story. Well, Aron had everyone in Barbara B. Mann Theater mesmerize by his story as he put you not only in the canyon with him, but also, inside his mind and his heart.
Even though you know the story beforehand and how it ends, you are still hoping beyond hope that he can escape without removing his hand, despite the fact you see him speaking with his prosthetic limb. I purposely did not see the movie or read the book before seeing him because I wanted to experience the story directly from him the first time. I cannot imagine the movie coming close to conveying those 127 hours any better than Aron did that evening. I did not even realize the effect he had on me, both mentally and physically, until I got into bed that night and my legs began cramping up due to the tension I felt during his presentation.
For those of you who have not read the book or seen the movie, I won’t spoil how he ultimately escapes what appears to be literally his grave. What I do want to share with you in this article and, what was so amazing to me, was his reaction to this event, his reaction to the loss of his hand and, his reaction to the boulder that changed his life. Instead of being bitter and angry about losing his dominant hand and having to go through life with a prosthetic limb, he is thankful for what the boulder taught him about what is truly important in life. It made him realize that despite his desire for adventure and exploring nature and the wilderness, what was most important to him was his relationships with his mother, father, sister and close friends.
At one point, having reached the conclusion that he would not be able to extricate himself and that he was going to die inside of this canyon, he began filming himself on his video camera giving his last message to the people most important to him in his life. However, in doing this video, saying goodbye and, realizing the love he had for the most important people in his life, he was inspired to do the unthinkable to see them again. Ultimately, he said that it was love that saved his life.
Since losing his hand in 2003, he has gone back to visit that canyon and that boulder 12 times. Is a very emotional experience for him each time he visits and he speaks to the boulder as if it was a friend and, thanks it for teaching him some of the most important lessons in his life. He even joked that he updates the builder on his life and shares pictures with it of his son who he envisioned while he was trapped in the canyon and who would not be born for another five years after the event.
Despite losing a limb, he continues on his adventures including climbing to the top 14 highest peaks in Colorado SOLO, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and being the first person with a prosthetic limb to white water raft down the Grand Canyon. The image that will stay with me from this evening is Aron’s smile and how he said that while he was cutting off his hand he was smiling because, after six days of being trapped in what he assumed was going to be his grave, he knew he would at least have the opportunity to possibly see his family again if he could free himself, climb out of the canyon, hike eight miles to his car and drive 60 miles on a winding dirt road for help.
Not only do I recommend you going to see Aron live should he come back to Southwest Florida, I am telling you that you MUST see him. If you have any teenagers who have ever whined about not having the latest video game or cell phone, it is a MUST see event for them. If you are facing a boulder in your life, it is a MUST see event for you. It was a life changing evening for me and, I hope you have the chance to see Aron live as well, so that the next time life throws a boulder in your path, you may view it as an opportunity, instead of an obstacle.
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If you have a situation as we described in this article and have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us to answer your bankruptcy legal questions.
Martella Bankruptcy Firm
18501 Murdock Circle, Suite 304
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
5237 Summerlin Commons, Suite 411
Fort Myers, FL 33907