Here I am in my life, close to 50, and I experience a deep inner gratitude, far beyond words. A thankfulness that I have been born in this part of the world, in an affluent society with a social consciousness. A gratefulness to all the people and the social institutions that have joined together in preparing the path for me.
A gratefulness to have a person in my life, who is the most precious to me, and who means much more than having parents/family. Last and not least, a gratefulness about always having been connected to something larger than myself – an ability to reach into the higher consciousness where I again and again have found the strength and the will for the survival of my soul. Last but not least – I am deeply grateful to have received a financial compensation for my handicap. This has enabled me to establish this foundation.
There was a furious storm on the day I was born. The doctors thought that I would not survive and I was taken away from my mother, who went into post natal depression. The following day my father came to visit my mother and I, that was the first and last meeting for many years. I did not see them again until I, as an adult, suddenly knocked on their door. I had to see my source, it was an inexplicable, irrational drive – after all, they were total strangers to me. I did not know the feeling of having parents. All I knew of was an impersonal contact to the many pedagogues who came in and out of my life. It was a difficult meeting, especially for my mother. She hadn’t come to terms with the fact that she had given up on her child. I imagine giving up on a child must be the worst thing a mother can experience.
I am born handicapped with damages from the thalidomid medication. I have small legs without knees, deformed feet and arms, and 3 fingers on each hand. Thalidomid was prescribed to women to alleviate nausea during pregnancy. It caused the foetus to stop it’s normal development.
During the first three years of my life I had to undergo several operations, and my life alternated between the hospital and an infant home. I was often in plaster-of- paris casts for several months. This was when I instinctively started to move my consciousness away from the unbearable pain of my body, and I started to experience “out of body existence”. The medical and social theory of that era was to aim for a ‘normal body.’ I was forced to be fitted with leg prostheses to give me a “normal” height. My feet were shaped (operated) to fit that purpose. And that is how it was, 4 years old, I hobbled about on leg prostheses and I felt totally alienated from my body.
For ten years I put up with the situation, then I had had enough. I opposed the unreasonable demands of the doctors and pedagogues and refused to take as much as one more step. Without any support at all, I all alone, defied a whole institution and the idea of the time, that it was ” with the best of intentions”. I won, I was in charge of my own body for the first time in my life. I was free! How wonderful it was, and the most intoxicating of all, I had taken responsibility for myself. I had found my will, I could choose. This discovery was something special for the time when our upbringing was the antithesis of individuality.
Later, as an adult, I discovered I could also become free from my fear of hospitals. I realized I could consciously choose. I could act on the basis of my childhood experiences, or on the basis of the present time. My fear of hospitals disappeared, I had ‘turned’ my conceptions, I had become my own authority.
Many people have asked what it is like to be handicapped with the childhood I have had. It is a very complex question and there is absolutely no unambiguous answer. I remember the moment in my childhood when I suddenly realised I was different. It was a shocking insight and my freedom disappeared. I became self-conscious and the endlessness of life disappeared. I became a limited being with a noticeably different body. All the time I was reminded of all the things it was unable to do. I began measuring myself with “the normal” and often experienced a captivity. Today, most of the time,I feel free and integrated with my body. I do sometimes feel my soul is too big for my body. I think of myself as handicapped when I meet other peoples reactions to me – that is every time I am amongst others. This is a matter of course to me, as we are all mirrors to each other.
My adolescence was very disciplined, it was a time with psychological as well as physical maltreatment. I knew no different, life was as it was. Victor Frankl (a Jewish psychiatrist who survived 4 KZ-camps during world war 2) said: “You can take everything from a man, but nobody can take the soul”. He also said “We ourselves can choose how to relate to our destiny. “My institutional life ended when my school years were over. I was thrown head-first into the so called “real life”. I discovered family and work were the values of our culture – the opposite of my experiences – it almost finished me. I was so radically different, outside as well as inside. I didn’t have the qualifications for understanding the values of my culture. So down the hill it went, while I forgot all about Victor Frankl. I hit rock bottom, the choice was to leave this life or to resume responsibility for it. I got my head above water with help from a wise and wonderful woman. I found my soul again. I realized I was the only one who could be responsible for my life. If I failed myself as I had been failed upon as a child, I would become the worst executioner of all. It was a long and tough job, but I was determined to become free of my past. I did not want to become a victim of my destiny, but to blossom from it.
Today I experience freedom, though life is not always easy. My life has been and is in many ways radically different and harsh. This has contributed to form the person I am today. It has given me strength, willpower and insight. Most important, an understanding of the fact that I am the only one who is responsible for me. It has forced me to edges, given me deep scars and made me feel deserted and lonely. This is part of my history, the more I accept and let go, the more it dissolves. From the surrendering arises the acknowledgement that I am more than my story. It makes it easier to be present in the now, to be available for something greater and consciously choose how to act in relation to this greater perspective.
On October the 14th 2007, I was in hospital ill and dying. My soul had departed for the other world. I had the choice of staying there or returning to my earthly life. I chose to return, back to my precious soul mate and the world that needed me. I restored my body and let the purpose of life guide me. Quickly, one step led to the another. I even had to climb Kebnekaise (the highest mountain of the North) with a group of people who gave all to get me up there. I had an experience of being out of control, something greater ruled. At last I was able to trust the process. At times these experiences seemed completely meaningless, but simultaneously I knew that there was a higher meaning with everything that happened. Suddenly one day I received a phone-call with the message that I was eligible for a compensation to due my handicap. That phone-call could be traced back to the fatal day in 2007 – a long connecting thread, one event led to the next, which ended with the establishment of this foundation. FANTASTIC!
Are you interested in reading an article written by Simon Høgsberg about the trip to Kebnekaise and see Viktor Frankl, see the link below:
Simon Høgsberg: www.simonhoegsberg.com/spirit_is_higher
Viktor Frankl: www.youtube.com/watch