The Grit and Glory - experiences that have shaped me
In April of 1985, at 16 months old, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. On that night I was given a 50/50 chance of living.
In 1990 when I was six years old, I was hit by a drunk driver outside of my house. I had a double skull fracture and a bunch of other broken bones. If it wasn't memorial day weekend, the parking lot across from my house wouldn't have been empty and the helicopter that took me to the hospital would not have been able to land. I would have died according to the surgeons.
When I was in the 2nd grade I attended the Britannica Learning Center every day after school because I was considered 'slow'.
In 10th grade I was attacked by a pitbull and could no longer play roller hockey, which at the time was the focal point of my life.
In the 12th grade I competed in the prestigious Intel Science Competition for a 2-year research project I completed at Brooklyn Polytechnic University on "Carbon Nanotube Dispersion Techniques"
For all four years of high school I worked at TCBY scooping ice cream and serving White Chocolate Mouse. It was there that I learned hard work.
I was rejected from 12 of the 14 colleges that I applied to and settled for Syracuse University, a great university, but not my first or even 10th choice.
Three times I've passed out due to diabetic related seizures and had to be rushed to the emergency room. One of those times was in my dorm room during the third week of my freshman year of college. I was deeply ashamed that I was stained as 'that guy'.
During college I worked at the NASA Langley Research Center as an engineering intern doing research on composite cryogenic fuel tanks for military use, a project that taught me helped me to discover what I didn't want to do with my life.
After graduating college I moved to Haifa, Israel. While living there a war broke out with Hezbollah and I survived numerous bombings and air raids.
In the winter of 2008, at one of the lowest points in my life I weighed 199 pounds and felt deeply depressed, disconnected and hopeless. I promised myself I would not reach 200 pounds.
In the spring of 2009 I transformed my life and lost 60 pounds, dropping down to a slim 139 pounds.
- In 2010 I quit my job as a Research & Development Engineer for a Fortune 500 company, with no plan, no income and no idea of what I was going to do. For the next year I committed myself to the path of self-care and cleansed myself of 'should's' and 'have to's'.
- In the summer of 2015 I sat by the side of my grandma for 13 days and watched death take her.
- In the summer of 2016, I drank only grape juice and herbal teas for 108 days, ultimately making the decision to break 7 years of veganism. I also lost the connection to my drive to heal type 1 diabetes.
In short, I'm as real and human as you are.
Read between the lines above and what you'll discover is that I've experienced the spectrum of human emotion: self-sabotaging insecurity, doubt, despair, hopelessness, depression, shame, guilt, grief, paralyzing fear, worry, jealously, loneliness, anger, self-pity and every other feeling that you could ever possibly name.
I've suffered and because of that suffering I've blossomed...and so can you.
So, what's happened since 2010?
Great question. Life has happened. Countless Joys, sorrows, losses and achievements. More workshops, courses, trainings and immersion programs than I can remember. Thousands and thousands of dollars invested in myself. Hundreds of hours examining, introspecting and reflecting on the human experience. Hundreds of hours meditating.
What have I discovered? Who have I become? All to what end you may be wondering?
Ahhh, the suspense!
Time, energy, money and attention (well spent) so that I could simply sit and be. So that I can be with me, when I'm with me and so that I can be with you, when with you. A massive investment in freeing myself from the self-inhibiting and self-limiting prisons of my own creation that would rob me from this beautiful moment.
I've dug deep and drilled miles inward only to discover that who I've become is a total fucking waste if not shared.
The terrains that I've explored and the wisdom that I've acquired has without a doubt benefited me, but ultimately it's for you.
Who I am, me, is my gift to you and to the world.
That's what's happened...