When Joseph Reidy was just eighteen years old, he was involved in a very serious accident. An upbeat, well-liked freshman at Champlain College in Vermont at the time, he was struck by a Volkwagen Jetta while walking across a street en route to his dorm. He was immediately rushed to the Surgical Intensive Unit of Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont, where he remained in a coma for twelve days. Shortly after he first opened his left eye, it became apparent to both Joey and those around him that he was no longer the same person he was just two weeks prior. What followed in the subsequent weeks and months would forever change the way he viewed life. As he learned again to breathe, eat, and eventually walk, he was confronted with some profound revelations about a seemingly fragile identity he had once thought securely defined him. Joe chronicles his journey though rehab and the insights he gleaned in his newly released book, My Nightmare….and How I woke from it. He writes, “Maybe I got a glimpse of reality when I was in my coma. I think when we die, we’re all given a choice–to go back or stay out where it is all real. Just a glimpse though, because I’m still here. I had to pick out a new version of myself in reality, because it’s not really my time yet.” There is so much to be gained from viewing the world through Joe’s eyes, as he recovers from a traumatic brain injury. I particularly enjoyed his philosophical musings about his experience and have compiled a list of five insights he shares that struck me as particularly powerful as I read his story.
1.) People are the most valuable thing.
2) Life is just what you think it is, and that’s all.
3.) You never stop growing. There’s nothing we can do to stop our growth.
4.) Our bodies are just our physical presence in the world.
5.) Each day you are a new version of yourself.
I’m so thankful that Joe reached out to introduce himself. Through the evolution of his soul he offers others an opportunity to expand in compassion and grow in a deeper understanding of the relationship between the mind, body, and spirit.
“The hardest thing to do is see the world through the eyes of another person.” –Joseph Reidy