The world got to see something special last night. If you missed Jim Kelly’s powerful speech at the ESPY awards show after accepting the Jim Valvano Award for perseverance, do yourself a favor and check it out here:
The Jimmy V Award, which is in honor of Jim Valvano is given to “a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.”
When you watch the video, be sure to look at the shots of the audience as Jim Kelly gave his acceptance speech. When someone in the fight of their life stands up in front of the world with a message to the rest of us about the blessings we have in our lives, it would behoove us to listen. It appeared everyone in the audience was receiving his message loud and clear.
If I learned anything since becoming an oncology nurse/psychotherapist (after working often with hospice staff over the last 42 years), it’s that the experience of having cancer presents unique challenges to the soul. It’s a mysterious disease – always lurking with an existential threat to swallow one’s entire being.
It’s not like heart disease or other illnesses that are easy to visualize. Cancer is a murky, quirky mystery that makes one question why any cell in our body would go awry and turn against us.
The enemy within us.
One of the most challenging obstacles to spiritually conquering this vicious disease is the constant urge to get obsessed with the WHY. The amount of mental energy expended by trying to determine why a diagnosis of cancer happened could metaphorically build another Empire State building.
It’s a spiritual black hole to get sucked into the why – and the only way to avoid it is to do exactly what Jim Kelly does every day of his precious life now – appreciates every single moment and continues to give back.
People often ask me how these incredibly brave people can step forward and share their wisdom so willingly and lovingly with the rest of us. My observation after working with the souls of those fighting cancer is that there is a distinctly therapeutic need on the part of someone experiencing cancer to reach out and share their internal wisdom.
After watching literally hundreds of people go through this experience, many kind enough to allow me to share in their journey, it became clear most people want to share some of their life experience. By doing so, it allows a person to assign some sort of meaning for their personal suffering.
Humans innately seem to harbor a desire to leave something meaningful behind after death. This can be viewed through a scientific lens and be explained as an evolutionary behavior through the development of instinctual knowledge.
However, science has a difficult time explaining our spiritual side. We are more than the sum of our cells. The soul needs to experience meaning and purpose that can be fulfilled in a number of different ways.
Jim Kelly’s soul is evident in everything he does and says these days. His defiant speech about never giving up clearly came out of the very heart that beats within this passionate man. His message was clear and powerful. He triggered a specific message in me that I’ve repeatedly heard on the death bed of many people over the years.
Do. Not. Waste.Time.
Don’t waste time on negativity. Don’t let the toxicity all around us envelope our soul and prevent us from being our best. Show an act of kindness toward another human being, no matter how small – and then pay attention to how it makes you feel.
Understand no matter how stressed out life may seem, it is precious and can be gone in a flash. Incredibly, many spiritual warriors I’ve worked with over the years have told me that their cancer experience was the greatest gift they ever received.
It’s easy to shed a tear and talk among ourselves about how Jim Kelly is such a hero. It’s much harder to use his words of wisdom to change the world – one smile or one kind word at a time.
Editor’s babble: Sometimes messages come along to remind us to focus our attention on the things that really matter in life. Jim Kelly’s exceptional journey provides a treasure trove of reminders about where we should be putting our energy every single moment of every single day of our lives. Sending love and gratitude to all who took the time to read this.