Imagine the flow of a babbling brook as it shapes rocks into smooth pieces of art or the magical way that the clouds flow over the wings of a plane as you travel to your next Ohm moment. Or imagine (if you are a yogi), the rhythm of your breathing as you flow through Vinyasa. What is most important is that you find your flow, your rhythm, your balance with whatever challenges life brings you.
Find the balance between being a better version of you, but also being comfortable in your own skin. I can preach to the choir on this one until I’m blue in the face, but sometimes, just sometimes, I’ll admit that it is not extremely easy for me to follow my own prescription - my own recipe for hope. In fact, sometimes it is downright difficult.
At the age of 30, John finally found his balance and flow when dealing with his own insecurities. You see, John, was born with legs and hands that did not have the proper bone structure. The decision was made, when he was six months old, to amputate his legs and to give him the best chance of being mobile. In John’s own words, he was incredibly self-conscious. He spent “the majority of [his] life basically feeling ashamed and would only really allow [his] closest friends to see [him] without [his] legs on.” He mistakenly believed that his man-made prosthetics would allow him to feel “whole”. This was until he found the flow – the flow that spoke to him and said, “Imperfection does not dictate self-worth!” As an adult, he learned this lesson from a group of 12-year-old Hockey players who did not know that their insight provided his “ah ha” moment.
John is so incredibly proud of many achievements including winning a competition in the direct marketing category for a provincial marketing competition where only the top 1% of students in the Canadian province are invited. He also found his flow by helping others to be their best versions of themselves. Nine years ago, he founded a group to help other amputees find resources, hope and their own flow. After eight years, his organization was deemed a successful provider of hope for amputees and was recognized by the local hospital system as a community service organization in Windsor Ontario, Canada.
These are amazing achievements, but John is most proud of a club that serves para athletes. With his marketing skills, he re-branded the club, changed its name and vision. His club is called the Rose City Riot Para Sports Club – they have also found their flow. They have a development team, they compete in tournaments, and have a growing sponsor list. John and his teammates are out there doing it. Every day, they are focused on providing inspiration to others who are facing the challenge of being differently abled! They are out there teaching others that their value is based on their humanity. John is able to be the stream of a babbling brook smoothing the edges for others. He is like the magic of clouds flowing over the wings of flight. He provides wings of hope to others. Others that include me!
He has an amazing attitude. He told me that his, “recipe for success is simple. Patience and perseverance. It takes a lot of patience to build something from nothing and make it successful. It also takes perseverance to keep pushing beyond the naysayers and obstacles (both real and perceived). Most importantly, push beyond your own ego. Knowing when to ask for help or when to change your strategy can make or break you, so you have to try to keep that ego in check.”
Keeping one’s ego in check is especially important in yoga. John knows that yoga provides balance and harmony to his life – it helps give him those “me” moments to focus on restoring and recuperating. It allows him to go with his flow so that he can help others find theirs.
John is already looking ahead to other ways of inspiring – by teaching yoga. This is one of his favorite quotes that will use to instill a hopeful attitude for his students.
"Don't cry upon your losses
Don't measure today with tomorrows
Don't trust to passed and coming days
Believe in now - and be happy today."
Omar Khayyam, a mathematician and astronomer from the 11th century (died Dec 4, 1131)
John has found his wholeness through helping others, through being comfortable in his own skin, and abilities. John, I am perfectly imperfect! I have scars on my hips, ankles, back, and knees. I struggle sometimes to not see myself as the sum of those scars. Thank you for the reminder! I see you as the sum of greatness and inspiration. As my yoga teacher, Olivia, constantly says, “I am humbled and honored to know you!”
Check out John’s Facebook group, Rose City Riot Para-Sports Club, and Instagram, jonny_eh