Breaking Through Without Tony Robbins

July 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Late last night after a long day that involved welcoming my sister and nieces arriving from Brazil, I watched Tony Robbins’s show “Breakthrough” which I had previously recorded.   I was interested in seeing what the promos of the show had been advertising for weeks; people with great obstacles being taught and/or shown how to overcome them.

I don’t know much about Tony Robbins.  The extend of my knowledge amounts to talking to a few people that have taken his courses, skimming through his books, and catching minutes of commercials or infomercials on TV.  The reason I never gave him and his teaching more time than that is because I’ve never been too interested in mathematics when it comes to emotions.  Smile and say life is great three times and you will be happy.

The first episode of “Breakthrough with Tony Robbins” told the story of couple, Frank and Kristen Alioto.  On their wedding night, Frank jumped in a pool to swim to Kristen but hit his head in the bottom of the pool and became a quadriplegic.  In an instant Frank was disable and Kristen a caretaker.  Tony’s job is to show the couple they still can have the life they imagined for themselves.  In order to achieve that he flies the couple to his home in Fiji, gets them to skydive, go to a spa, play murderball (a game played on wheelchairs), drive a hand controlled truck in the desert and get married again.

My comments are: how many couples facing this situation get to go to Fiji and do all these other things on their own dime?  Did the couple still feel empowered when the TV crew left?  Did they feel pressured to show some breakthrough because they were on TV?

Discussing Tony Robbins and his show is not the point of my post so I’m going to move on without dwelling on the answers to the questions proposed.

The point I want to discuss here is the need for all of us to acknowledge and embrace a moment of crisis, and/or a turning point when it happens in our lives.

While watching the show I thought back to my own life, because that’s what we do as humans; we look for similar experiences to identify.

I drifted back to the first overnight stay at a hospital with my late husband.  Chris had had a procedure where many pieces of his liver were cut and sent to the pathologist for analysis but the surgeon had come out of the surgery telling me it was cancer and it was everywhere in Chris’ liver and his only salvation a liver transplant.  In the morning, while Chris slept I thought about my life.

I had known Chris for 2 ½ years and we had been living together as boyfriend and girlfriend for a year and a half.  As I sat in my pajamas in the hospital hallway, I realized my life of incredible trips, restaurants, and wine (my husband was a travel and wine journalist) was over and I would be spending a lot of my time in hospitals under excruciating stress.   Every cell in my body wanted me to run but I sat there and let all the emotions I had take full hold of me.  I mourned the end of my idyllic life and I played in my head different scenarios based on each choice I had available to me.  At the end of my process I knew no matter what awaited me, I couldn’t leave Chris and so I walked back into his room and with all the love I had in my heart kissed him tenderly.

The process of understanding what is ahead and making a choice allows us to move forward.  Making choices is like knowing how to swim instead of being adrift in the ocean with each wave pulling us under or moving us closer or further to shore.   Whatever difficulties we face in life squaring them in the face, allowing them to fully express their force and then making a choice on our own is what gives us meaning and power.   The process turns us from victims (passive) to doers (active).

The fact that for 2 ½ years of Chris’ illness I chose to be his caretaker, allowed me to find love and happiness even in the most difficult of our days together.

There are no regrets in my heart and today I look forward to spending my time with my family.

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