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I would like to say that at the moment of impact I had one of those life-flashing-before-my-eyes moments, a realization of all the things I had never done but wanted to do, a moment of zen where I saw a tunnel of light.

But none of that happened.

My brain did race – for a split second I wondered if I could swerve to dodge the oncoming vehicle but there was traffic flying past on either side, it was rainy and the only decision I could come up in that split second was to grip the steering wheel tighter and blurt out a single expletive under my breath.

I could not have foreseen that this would be the day I would have an accident. If I had known that on this rainy autumn night I would be sitting in the turn lane at the light on a rainy thursday night I would be in a life-altering accident, I might have decided that I didnt need to get pizza that badly.

But without my crystal ball here I was, watching a drunk driver who had decided to use the turn lane for his own personal driving agenda. Unfortunately this agenda happened to include driving directly into my dodge grand caravan. I probably saw the accident was imminent about 10 yards away, and as his left headlight drove into mine the jolt to my body and the sound of metal, plastic and headlights colliding all seemed to happen at once.

In a classic accident scene I looked at Taryn and asked if she was alright. She nodded and we both did a mental and physical check to make sure we were still functional. I turned on the emergency lights and we both stepped out of the car. The driver of the other car was coherent – just.

His airbags had deployed on impact, but he was bleeding and did not seem aware of his surroundings. Moments later he would collapse and be taken to hospital in an ambulance, but for right now, my thanks were that everyone had survived the impact. Taryn was stretchered for safety, I somehow had survived unscathed. I took a ride in the policemans car to the hospital where I was told the other driver was in a coma and was bleeding from the brain. That was the last I heard of him.

The next few weeks were an amazing journey that led me to some amazing people, some amazing discoveries of the ability of the human body, but also some of the major faults in how the body is perceived by the traditional medical community (I will say traditional because not all doctors are built equal – some do an amazing job.. some are more concerned about their next patient than answering questions a curious personal trainer such as yours truly might have).

Why is it that the sudden ‘jolts’ in life teach us more than any course or inspirational book-on-tape could ever hope to?

That accident taught me more about the body than I ever could have hoped to know. It is amazing how pain (or the fear of pain) can motivate us to do things and learn with such fervor that we would never have done of our own volition.

The collision taught me that an accident doesn’t just happen and then heal as if you just sprained an ankle. It taught me that just because you don’t hurt two weeks later it doesn’t mean you wont hurt 6 months later. It taught me that the spine is the train station for your central nervous system, and if the spine has an issue, then the rest of you is about to have an issue. The collision taught me no matter how tough or powerful you think your mind is, that something happens in your subconscious when you return to that scene in your mind and your heart beats faster, and your blood pressure rises.

To be in an accident is something you may or may not understand (something I hope never happens to anyone who is in my life, but of course something I would never wish on my worst enemy – well, maybe Ryan Seacrest, but he has it coming in a big way).

A physical hit like that is something that changes your body in ways other than physical, in ways other than the immediate crunching impact. That singular event truly awoke to truly complex, how integrated and inter-related we are not only within our own bodies, but also within our own minds.

That accident taught me that our body is more than a mechanical machine.

That accident taught me that we are truly multidimensional.

“Sure, I knew that” I hear you say, but lets bring it back to the health and wellness side of things briefly. How many times have you heard the phrase “calories in equals calories out”. How many times have you or a friend gone to the doctor who prescribes pills for your stress/chest pain/sore knee?

If you were to look at the body as a whole, you might say that a multidimensional approach to rehabilitation would include rest, mental therapy, nutritional strategies to heal the body quickly, acupuncture, chiropractic, deep tissue work and some carefully placed rehabilitative movement strategies.

But what would my doctor recommend for this physical, mental and emotional trauma that has rocked the very core of my being?

Muscle relaxants.

Now dont get me wrong, I dont want to knock muscle relaxants. But is that an all encompassing multidimensional approach that takes consideration of the thoroughly complex organism that is the human mind, body and soul?

I think not.

I feel mostly recovered today. Almost like a rock in a pond sends waves out then sends them reverberating back, I feel tensions, aches and pains, memories of the accident rise up from time to time, but I welcome those – with each wave I know that the experience helps me in the journey I have chosen, it helps me to understand when someone comes to me and says “I was in a car/bike/pedestrian accident and two years later I suddenly have low back pain”. It gives me the ability to at least say “I understand”, and (thankfully) the ability to say “here is what I did to recover. Maybe it can help you, too”.

So to bring it back to wellness again, if you have a change in your life or if a friend has a change in their life that they want to achieve, dont let them take a one-track approach. The more dimensions on which change is approached, the greater chance for success change has.

Here are three things you can do if you really want to make change/help a friend change:

  1. Ask if this change if really going to happen ask how many different angles can this change be addressed with?
  2. Ask what are the top three things that would be most cost-effective – but also change-effective (what could you put in place that would create the greatest change in the most effective way)
  3. Ask what has stopped this change from happening before and what could be done differently to prevent that change from being dismantled again
  4. Show them this post (if you think it will help of course. If not then let’s just keep this between you and me 😉

Is there a change you would make in your life? Hopefully you don’t need a head-on car accident to help you realize what that change is.

Take a moment to think about that change, the things that you would do if you were really determined to make it happen – for real this time.

What are the top three cost-effective things that would create positive change in your life?

What are the top three change-effective things?

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