I’m franticly searching for the nearest emergency room on the outskirts of Seattle, Washington; thousands of miles away from my friends and family.
For the second night in a row, my car is whipping around turns at 60 miles per hour, with the only positive thing going for me being that the streets are fairly empty at two o’clock in the morning.
When the front desk at the hospital said they didn’t take my medical insurance there, that is when everything collapsed…
The disastrous consequences of a stressful life.
For as long as I could remember, I lived a life that was filled with stress.
From finding myself trapped in the basements of burning buildings as a firefighter, being the only lifeline left for people facing death as an Emergency Medical Technician, to being in the middle of active-shooter scenes both as a law enforcement officer and as an unarmed citizen; those types of stresses were only the beginning.
In these instances, the stress was expected. It was the nature of the job, but it wasn’t until my career path took a different turn before the slow, yet hidden buildup really began to creep up on me.
It started off with the pressure of getting good grades as a graduate student looking to achieve that 4.0 so I can be selected for the career of my choice. Then finding myself graduating into a recession where the only job I could get was well-below my skill level and pay grade.
In the corporate world, the constant pressure to make it to work on time through the rush-hour traffic and the deadlines from the company continued to build up. Long days at the office turned into short-lived nights and weekends.
Navigating my way through toxic relationships, and surrounding by myself with people who were a constant drain of my energy was a frustration in itself.
Finally, years later, as a self-employed entrepreneur; I reached the point on my journey where the business I spent years building collapsed own front of my eyes, and there was nothing I could do to save it.
When the bank account hit zero, the heart palpitations began to kick in…
Left with no money and rent due, thousands of miles away from my friends and family, and no clue how to climb out of this whole I found myself stuck in; the pressure cooker of emotions which has been building up over the years has finally reached a breaking point.
On that one fateful day in the Autumn of 2015, everything inside of me finally exploded…
The Diagnosis: Stress & Anxiety.
A week after the second hospital visit, the heart palpitations didn’t go away and things were only getting worse.
I decided I needed to be near family and packed my 2015 Honda CR-V with everything I could, and began the long drive all the way to the other side of the country.
On the journey back, I found myself on some wilderness highway just outside of Glacier National Park in Northern Montana. When the symptoms kicked in full swing, my face stated turning red, breathing was getting difficult, and I could feel the heart palpitations through the engine, as I’m speeding to the nearest emergency room at 120 miles per hour.
The only problem; the nearest emergency room was over 90 miles away.
My vision began to get blurry, I was forced to slam on the brakes, collapsing out of the drivers seat of my car onto the pavement below.
As I’m gasping for air, breathing in my final breaths before I lose consciousness, it was in this moment where the stress and anxiety I’ve been dealing with for years on end quickly built up to something which was spiraling out of my control.
There was one thing that saved my life on the side of the road that day, and after safely making it back to my family’s house in North Carolina; I spent the entire winter in and out of doctors offices.
I spent most of my days laying face down in my bed, unsure if I was ever going to escape this disaster of a life I found myself trapped in. The more the weeks went on, the more things didn’t look like they were going to ever get better.
On a rainy morning at the end of January, one doctor prescribed me a bottle of anti-depressants.
As I began to read the warning labels on the brochure, I noticed that a lot of the side effects of the drug were worse than the symptoms I was having. To top it all off, if I began taking the drug, and I stopped taking it too early, the side-effects would be even worse; even listing death as one of them.
Death as an alternative…
Sitting in my computer chair with the bottle of anti-depressants in one hand, and emptiness and uncertainty in the other, I was forced to make a decision.
I could take the pills and face the risk of my life going in a direction which I may never escape from. I hear stories of people growing addicted to narcotic drugs such as this for years on end.
On the other hand…I don’t know.
What is my other option?
And that’s the decision I faced…the other option was for me to jump feet-first into the unknown, and go searching for another way. To take this next leap of faith into the unknown, not knowing where it would land me. With the way my life was looking in this moment, suddenly any other option seemed like the better option.
Life was meant to be so much more than this…
How do I end this stress and finally be happy?
I began doing research on the internet for possible solutions. On my search, I ran into the prospect of moving to the small peaceful city of Boulder, Colorado.
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder seemed to have that laid-back atmosphere which I so desperately needed. The city was filled with biking paths, hiking trails, meditation and yoga retreats, and there was even a Buddhist college near the center of town.
A few weeks later, as I make my way up highway 36 and see the snow-capped peaks of the Flatiron Mountains, I knew that if there was any place that would give me the answers I was searching for; it would bey new hometown of Boulder, Colorado.
This is where you will find the answers you were searching for…
As you can see, the real reason why I wrote this book for you is not because I wanted to; but because I needed to.
I was in that place of my life where I was dealing with the stress, the frustration, the anxiety, and I wasn’t happy where I was. The lessons and insights I share with you today didn’t come from some outdated college textbook. And they sure as hell didn’t come from someone telling me to simply relax or to be happy.
Do you want me to let you in on a little secret?
The real answers you’re searching for are hidden inside of a place where nobody else dares to ever explore. What if, for a moment, you consider the possibility that the solutions you are looking for are hidden within the very struggles you are facing in your life today?
That each struggle holds a lesson, and instead of letting it sit there, ignoring it, waiting for it to go away; you do something different. You have the bravery to face it head-on and navigate through it, reaping the rewards of what is already waiting for you on the other side.
It’s like those power-up mushrooms from the video game Super Mario. Where each struggle you successfully navigate through gives you that “level-up”. When you do this, it may be scary at first, but learning these lessons will transform you into the person who can handle anything.
That no matter what life throws your way, you can control how you feel on the inside, and remain calm, collected, and with an inner sense of peace and happiness where you can enjoy anything in life today.
It’s a bold concept, but I’m here to offer bold perspectives.
Through the stories I share with you and the lessons I learned from them in the upcoming chapters, it is my intent that by the end of this book, you can do the same.
That you can arrive where this journey led me; being able to be at peace, happy, and calm with whatever life throws your way; no matter how bad things look on the outside – you can choose to be happy on the inside.
If this is something that interests you, its time to turn the page to the next chapter of your life, and let the journey begin…