The most valuable lesson I have learned is that the most meaningful journey is the inner journey.

Knowing When to Surrender and How to Live in the Moment

Lessons learned from my recent hospital stay

Jean Edelman: Great to be with you this week. This week, my title of my little talk is It Will Get Better – Teachers in Our Life. Teachers in our life can be people or events. This past January, I had a tremendous teaching moment when I landed in the hospital with viral bronchitis. As I was watching the EMT and the air docs and the nurses swirl around me, I surrendered and trusted I was in good hands. But I started to think about what it was that landed me in this situation and what was it that I needed to learn from this life event. Now I know when we’re sick and we’re not feeling well or there’s an emergency and we’ve got to get to the hospital. We’re not thinking like that. But for some reason, when I was going through all this, this was all I could think about.

And so what came to me was that I needed to slow down. I needed to stop pushing through everything like I was in survival mode and I needed to nourish my soul more. 

But where had I learned these aspects of myself? And I started to think about my dad. And he had passed away in August of last year. My fun dad was creative, he loved to cook, he loved to do research. He was so much fun to work on our school projects with because we would research and we’d make displays and we’d figure out how to make little things together. And it was so much fun. And I loved that piece of my dad. But the not so fun dad and the aspect of his personality that he learned from his dad and passed down from generations was that he was in constant survival mode. He would push through everything. It would be okay when you finally got to the end. And that was how he just moved through everything.

And so as I’m sitting there experiencing this health event, it’s like I’m seeing all these little pieces of him and me and how we’re all tied together. And like his dad and his dad and all these men in that line of the family, it was just an inherited piece of my personality. And that piece is what got me to that moment in that hospital, on the stretcher, because I felt like I had to just keep pushing through – it would get better, it would get better, and then it didn’t. 

So my dad, he learned that survival mode to push through from his dad, who learned from his dad, who learned from his dad. It could go back to 310 generations of survival. So if you think about it, you know, our ancestors, they probably were working the farms or life was very different back then, and that was their mode. But they taught it to their children.

But now, in the 21st century, I’m not so sure we need this anymore. To me at this moment, this health moment, this momentous moment in my life, I realized that it’s time to let this piece go. And so the action item for this week is to think about our heritage. Think about our family and our traits that maybe we see in ourselves, that we gave to our kids, that we see in our parents and our grandparents. Do those traits still fit here now in 2023? And is there something we can let go of? All aspects of our life are teaching moments, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yeah, we can blow them off or we can see them for the rich personal learning opportunities that they are. Because this is what makes us better human beings. I chose to see the learning opportunities. I chose to hold the higher purpose of what I was experiencing. 

As bad as it was, as scary as it was. I truly had no fear. I knew I was going to get through it because I had a lot of good people around me taking care of me and all my family and friends. So many prayers. It was awesome.

And so my word of the week is just LOVE. 

The L is to Listen to our bodies. They’re always telling us something. Put a time limit if you’re experiencing something. Put a timeline, a number of hours or days. Say, okay, if this doesn’t change in one day or three days, I’m taking action. Listen to our bodies. 

The O is to Observe. Our health can shift quickly. We think we can stay ahead of it. Trust me, there are moments when we cannot. Don’t take a chance. Be proactive. Observe. 

V is to Visit the doctor. Make sure you’re getting those annual physicals. Make sure you’re getting your blood work. Make sure you’re seeing the medical experts that you need to see. Visit your doctors. 

And the E is for Enjoy. Each day is truly, truly a gift. And as I experienced, life can change on a dime. So make each day the best day ever. Slow down. Stop pushing through and nourish your soul. What greater learning can you take from these life experiences? What can we let go of? What can we change?  

Have a great week, everyone. 

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