I woke up in intensive care in Stockport Hospital to learn that the 17-year old kid in the next bed had not made it through the night.
The night before, a nurse could not tell me that I was going to be OK. She had tears in her eyes. I was terrified, but fell to an exhausted sleep, not knowing if I was going to see September 11th 2001.
48 hours earlier, my surgeon friend had told me on a beach in Tarragona, Spain, that I had had a “cardiac event” and needed to go to hospital right away.
I had been caught swimming in the sea with a tide that was far stronger than me. Making it back to the beach was a miracle and took every nerve and sinew I had in me.
It was our friend’s wedding that same day, so in my usual gung-ho fashion, I said “Well, I’m not missing the wedding and if I’m gonna go, I’m going with champagne in one hand and a cigar in the other”
Since I had to turn my Dad’s life support machine off at the age of 17 I had lived a little recklessly. At this point, I was 32.
I thought I’d had a pretty amazing life so far, having been an RAF pilot, a journalist at The Daily Telegraph, a stand-up comedian, a published poet, a theatre company owner and, back then, the owner of a marketing company that was paying me more money every month than most of my family could earn in a year.
I didn’t know then that I would go on to get married, have 5 amazing kids, move continents, and generate over £50 million from one idea.
After I had woken up, I had a visit from the heart specialist who broke the news that they had measured the wrong enzymes. It was my muscles that were pumping them out through over-exertion, not my heart.
Then my girlfriend walked through the door. I said “What’s been happening?”. She said “Two planes have just flown into the Twin Towers in New York”
I was like “Yeah, right”.
The nurses moved me to the ward and I was told I’d have to stay for at least 3 days for observations.
I found the TV room and watched the horrors unfold, along with the rest of the planet. I didn’t know right then, but one of my old school friends was in WTC for a meeting that morning. He didn’t survive.
“Fuck this, I’m off”
I got dressed and walked out of the Hospital. When I got home I had a nurse screaming down the phone at me “If you die, it’s your own fault!” she said.
This was not the first or last time I would come to blows with the medical profession.
I lost something that day.
Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of success.
And I gained so much more.
What I have not told you is that this was the third time I had looked my own death in the face. Every time I had, I lost a little more of that council-house kid with limited horizons. I lost a little more of my originally unswerving faith in the system. And I gained a little more belief in the true me, my higher self, and faith in the Universe, God, Source, Allah – or whatever you want to call it.
We are all here for a purpose and finding that purpose is the whole point of being here.
Moving to Morocco in 2014 was also a big jump for me that took me into uncharted territory. I couldn’t speak the languages, it was bloody hot, the internet didn’t work…but, I felt the fear and did it anyway.
It’s the only way we grow.
You don’t need to face death to expand yourself spiritually like this, but it helps.
Whenever you jump over the chasm, there will be casualties. People once regarded as friends will peel away, business associates may fall out with you, people will betray you. But that’s OK. You’re expanding and they don’t want to be left behind. That’s their journey, not yours. Thank them and forgive them, then move on.
As Eric Pepin of the Higher Balance Institute is wont to say, this is just The Dough, the self-correcting code of this virtual reality Universe.
Stay firm, stay resolute, have faith and keep moving.
Life is not designed for you to stand still.