Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

Have you ever seen the Diving Bell and The Butterfly? It's a movie that was released in 2008. 

Here's a quick overview: On December 8 1995 at 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby, inventive and charismatic editor in chief of the French magazine Elle suffered a massive stroke and his brain stem was rendered inactive. After lapsing into a coma, he awoke 20 days later to find himself the victim of locked-in syndrome - mentally alert but a prisoner inside his own body, his only means of communicating with the outside world the blinking of his left eye.

Forced to adjust to this unique perspective, Bauby created a new world for looking into himself to find the only two things that weren't paralyzed, his imagination and his memory. At The Maritime Hospital in France he was taught an alphabet, a code in the order of the most frequently used letters in the French alphabet. Letter by letter, painstakingly words, sentences and paragraphs tell the story of a profound adventure into the human psyche and into the battle between life and death. This alphabet unlocked the prison of Jean-Dominique's body which he called his Diving Bell and travelled the border-less regions of freedom that he called The Butterfly. 

Watching this movie was an assignment for my life coaching class. Why, you ask, would a movie like this be a class assignment? Because it's so inspiring. It shows that anything in life is possible. It's up to us – we have a choice in life to suffer or to soar. 

Jean-Dominique at first wanted to die after waking up from his coma and realizing he was “locked in” – who could blame him – but when he realizes he still has his imagination and his memories, he uses them to write a book. Yes, this man wrote an entire book by blinking his one working eye.

This tells me that any excuse I have for not going after my dreams in life are lame. If a man who is paralyzed from head-to-toe and is unable to speak can write a book by blinking one eye, I can surely accomplish anything I set my mind to! 

This movie shows us that there is no obstacle too great. When the going gets tough, get creative, like Jean-Dominique's therapist did by devising the system for him to communicate. 

Although the prognosis was grim, Jean-Dominique's therapists did not give up on him. They never stopped trying to improve his quality of life, and he achieved one of his life goals of writing a book. He still lived his life to the best of his ability. Amazing. Moving. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Tina! Amazing...just what I needed to hear. I just got diagnosed with something that will limit my physical abilities. Initially I had a little pity party, and now I'm looking inward so that I can soul search for God's calling on my life. I love these inspirational stories...we ALL need to hear them regularly!!!