The meaning of "Invictus" is "unconquerable" or "undefeated" and is defined in a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) while he was in hospital being treated for tuberculosis of the bone, also known as Pott's disease. Henley proclaims his strength in the face of adversity.
"My head is bloody, but unbowed...
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul."
I recently attended the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, a Paralympic style games for our wounded warriors. I was blown away by the courage of the veterans who had lost limbs, friends and sanity during the battle but were keeping on with passion and perseverance - finding hapiness and wholeness again in their life. It reinforced the belief that no matter what happens to us in life - we absolutely must keep going, pressing forward on our own and as a team.
Here are seven things to do when you are down and out to create a strong foundation within yourself, so that you can get through anything life gives you.
1. Know you are more than your wounds
No matter what wounds us in life, we can find a path that inspires us and makes us excited. You can ask yourself right now, what next step would be one that brings light to my eyes?
"Don't allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not." Paul Coelho
2. Believe that giving up is never an option
No matter what your situation is, and how bad it is, there is always something for you to do next. Just find the next angle.
3. Use affirmations and gratitude
Whenever your mind hits a dark negative place, override it by thinking affirmations like "I am the captain of my soul", "I am having a bad day, not a bad life." "This will pass and I will experience peace and joy again." "It could be worse" then focus on all the things you are grateful for. Sometimes I will go on a gratitude rant and write down 50 things I am thankful for.
4. Get back up again
Every time we get knocked down we must eventually get back up again. If you need to allow yourself to stay down and feel it for some time, but don't get stuck there. Then ask for help, either from family or friends, an organization or from God. Ask for what you need to get back up again and see yourself back up.
5. Accept where you are
And then grow from there. All the foundation you need is within you.
6. Strengthen with food
Eat or drink something that is so nourishing and nutrient rich for the body that it boosts your immune system, and so no matter how negative you feel it will instantly give some relief. It could be a green juice, lemon water, a raw piece of cucumber or celery, raw chocolate, a smoothie loaded with antioxidants, a powerful green salad, something that undeniably uplifts your body in a positive and guilt free way.
7. Remember there are good people here to help
I got to spend some time with Invictus Games Orlando Chairman Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House, who was described as the man who stepped up and made the games happen, "Invictus Games Orlando would not have happened without Fisher House, Ken Stepped up." Mr Fisher said at the end of the day he would like to be remembered as someone who cared. There are 70 Fisher Homes around the world, mostly in USA, which give free accommodation to the family members of veterans who are being treated in hospitals. Knowing things like this reminds us that it is human nature to want to help each other, and make life easier for each other when situations get rough, and not let each other suffer into the pits of severe depression.
What do you want to be remembered for? Go for that! For me I want to be remembered as someone who was in service; helping people to heal using food and a positive lifestyle. No matter how much seems to be taken away from us, we can always have a foundation of an Invictus Spirit. Together we press on.