You see, I love words. Words are powerful. And sometimes you hear some words from some friends and they will stay with you for quite a long time. Like these three words a friend shared with me, "Revealing is healing."
So today, I would like to reveal to you the story of how I began my journey into this life. And to be quite honest with you, everything I'm gonna tell you I wish I didn't tell you, but I'm gonna do it. When I was six years old, I'm starting to journey into life and into school. I'm just like every other boy of my age except I've a strange name, my hair is very red, and I've got many freckles on my skin. No big deal, but I'm also the only one like this in the school. And one day in the playground, a group of boys come and they stand all around me. There are many, and I'm alone. And they start to scream at me some very intelligent stuff like "Carrot hair, carrot hair, you've got rusty skin." I'm six years old. The only thing I get is that I'm scared. They continue. And one comes and pushes me, and I'm falling. They are laughing, and I'm crying on the floor. To be honest, I hated it.
So imagine this on repeat over many years quite a few times. I had to learn to live with this fear looking down. And I never know when the next treatment of humiliation would come around. At some point, I told myself that I need to talk about it and ask for help. So who's the first person you talk to? Your mother. "Mum, at school, there are boys. They always make fun of me. They call me names all the time, and they hurt me. Mom, please do something. Help me." "Listen, it's nothing. It's just words. They won't kill you. Get over it, okay, and stop it." Now you see those words—they felt like they were killing me. I felt unseen, and unmet, and unworthy. And I get it. My mother—she's a schoolteacher. And the only thing that matters to her is the good grades. And I can do that quite well but for the rest. The shaming, the humiliating, the bullying "doesn't matter" means to me I do not matter.
So, as you can imagine, I had a poor level of self-esteem as I grew up, and I had to live like that because life goes on. So me and my good grades, we had a mission—destination; find a job. And eventually, I did. I ended up working and as an executive in a bank, and it's not exactly the dream job. I'm working far too much, and I'm burning out. My dad passed away, and my girlfriend at the time had a great idea. She disappeared overnight. Not happy. I'm depressed.
One day I'm waking up, and everything feels blurry. My mind is foggy. I can't make sense of anything. And I can't recognize where I am. All I hear is beep beep beep, beep beep. Somebody comes. This man is a nurse, and he tells me, "You're in hospital, in the intensive care unit. You had a bad accident. You cannot move for the moment. Be patient. We're taking care of you." I don't understand. All I know is that I'm in this bed, and my body's plugged to many machines, and there's many pipes in my body, and I can't move.
I'm just waking up from a coma that lasted fourteen days. And I'm on my way to the third of three surgeries—long, complex, and major surgeries. So days go by in this intensive care unit. And eventually, with time, things got a bit better, and I'm taken to a patient room, and one day a doctor comes, and he tells me, "We think that you intended to end your life when you drove that car into a tree." "What are you talking about?" I have zero memory of anything. Zero. But there's one thing I get is that to him, there's something wrong with me and I'm trouble.
And again, here I am filled with shame and guilt. To be honest, I felt crap. And I start to understand that they have a plan for my life—a plan that I don't like—and I start to feel the trap. And there's no way I'm gonna let myself go there. So a few months later, as soon as I could, I found myself a place somewhere, anywhere. And I got myself out of hospital, and I left behind all the medical programs. I'm twenty-nine. I'm rather crippled. I'm alone, and I'm scared for my life. But I know I have to do something. I have to fix myself. And I have no idea how I'm gonna do that.
Eventually, at some point, I managed to pick myself up, and one step at a time, day after day, I got there, and it wasn't like I go from there to there, more like this. I had to bring myself back up many times, and I received some very mysterious help along the way. And I learned a lot. So I embarked on this journey of self-healing and bodywork. And eventually, I got there. I spent the last seventeen years trying to fix this body so it can be functional. And this is now part of my daily life. And it will always be. And I kind of like it like that, in fact. But what happened to the other part of me? What happened to this scared boy, the part of me that was keeping me hiding, taking no risk, and playing little in life?
I realized that instead of walking towards life, I was walking away from life. So I still had to fix that part. And something had to happen. Early this year, as I'm enjoying my morning routine, not the one you're thinking of—the French one, coffee, croissant in a café—I meet a very inspiring person, and I feel extremely motivated when she talks to me about her upcoming course starting in two days. Something inside feels this is right for me. So within five minutes of knowing her, I said, "Deal. Please sign me in. I'm coming." And I'm excited. I'm gonna start a course learning to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time—if not all of my life.
So we are halfway into the training and my initial excitement changed a bit to slightly uncomfortable, embarrassment, and fear. I think I've made a mistake. This wasn't for me. I don't have what it takes. And naturally, I opened up to the teacher about it, and she listened. She said, "I get it. Why don't you go home and watch a few more videos of other students who did the course and try to find inspiration? See if it works for you. And we'll see how it goes from there." Sounded like a good idea.
So I go home that night and get on my laptop and get online. I watch one video after the other, one video after the other. And as I'm watching, I can see there's one thing in me that says, "Oh yeah, me too. I'm gonna do that." And there's another part of me who says, "No way. I don't have what it takes. There's no chance I'm gonna do that." So you see, that night I'm split, and I can't sleep. I'm anxious, and I'm nervous, and I don't know what's going on. I'm in my bed. I'm tossing and turning, tossing and turning. And I'm trying to figure out what is this all about?
And in the middle of this tossing and turning, I start to have flashbacks and some vague memories. And I start to connect the dots. I'm afraid that I can die from shame and humiliation. It's all about my initial trauma of public humiliation in school. That night there's a frightening monster just came out of the dark, and I'm scared. So at this point, I have two options. I go for it, and I face it. Or I quit. I resign, and I give up, which will feel like I'm driving my car into the tree one more time. And also, I would have to tell everybody, and I would have to face the shame of telling them one more time. And that's not me. That's the old me.
So I consider that. "Trust me, trust the process. Use the framework I'm giving you, and you'll be just fine. Do as I tell you. Trust me. I know my stuff." Those were the words that we heard at the beginning of the training from our coach. And it sounded doable, and it sounded easy. So I had to remind myself of those words, but also of my intention that I had taken many years ago to transform myself and to overcome the hurdles that were in my way—my own limiting beliefs. So I took a firm decision that I'm gonna go for it. And eventually, with the practice with the team, I crafted my story. Not one time. God knows how many times I repeated over and over again. And I got there. I mean, I got here. I got here, and I didn't come here alone. I brought with me a six-year-old child.
And me speaking in front of you here is him beating the beast from the past and taming the ghosts. When I was a child, I loved any kind of superhero. We do that, right? But I thought about it many, many times until I understood that it was just because I wanted to be like one of them—out of my wound of feeling unworthy, inadequate, or not enough. So I met a superhero, and he's six years old, and I know where he lives. You see, life has extremely mysterious ways and powerful ways to make whole again that which was once broken.
And my mom was right. These words didn't kill me. Though they nearly did. And my friend was right that "Revealing is healing," but I found something else. That "Healing is also revealing." Let me explain. My journey of healing myself has revealed to me my strengths within my weaknesses. My termination within my fears. My capacities within my doubts and my beauty within my vulnerability and my many scars. Now, I am no different. I know that all of you, all of you here tonight, without exception, you all have many scars of many types, and they're beautiful. They make you beautiful. They can reveal your inner gems, your inner treasures, which I hope you'd see for yourself. But more importantly, they do not define who you are. Our scars do not define who we are because it's up to us to choose how we're gonna write the story. And in life, a real story never has an ending. It only has new beginnings.
So my new story goes like this. I'm forty-five, and I'm a lucky man living on the gorgeous island of Bali surrounded by amazing inspirational people. I'm coming back, and I'm ready. I've got two powerful and amazing friends that will be always there for my life. Fear—hello, fear. Vulnerability—hello, vulnerability. With these two guys, I'm walking towards my life, and I'm willing to welcome what's coming my way. I know I might have to pick myself back up again more than one time because that's life. And I know also I will. My beautiful heart is now open and willing to share more of it. I'm ready. And now if you were to ask me, "How do I know I'm ready? How do we know when we are ready?" I think I would simply tell you that I was born ready for my life.