Remarkable Changes: Turning Life's Challenges Into Opportunities by Jane Seymour with Pamela Patrick Novotny - Preface by Christopher Reeve
So many of our dreams seem at first impossible, then improbable, then, when we summon the will, they become inevitable.
- Christopher Reeve, speaking at the Democratic
National Convention, 1996
IN 1995, I MADE a conscious choice to deal in a positive way with a life-altering change - I decided to live. My injury was severe and required immediate surgery, but the doctors gave me only a 50-50 chance of surviving. Beyond that, I struggled with the knowledge that because of a freak accident, I had, in an instant, stopped being an active, athletic husband, father, and actor and became a vent-dependent quadriplegic. Despite my deep outrage at the unfairness of it all, the simple reality was that I was paralyzed.
I thought it would be selfish and unfair to my wife and three children to remain alive because of the care I would need. But it was my wife, Dana, whose words gave me the courage and the motivation to live, when she knelt by my bedside and said, "You're still you, and I love you."
Those words sent both of us on a journey we could not have imagined. But that's the way it so often is with change in our lives. In Remarkable Changes, Jane Seymour talks about how one decision can create a cascade of challenges in our lives that require us to work harder and try more diligently than we ever thought we could.
How do we find the will for such tests? I'm often reminded of the adage, "Fake it until you make it." Sometimes it seems that setting a goal and taking the first small steps toward it are all you need to really get rolling toward significant change. Just doing that can help us find the inner resources to actually make a change we need.
I, like Jane, believe that we all have a choice in how we live our lives every minute of the day. Even though I'm paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I still have freedom of choice. I'm still making the decisions that govern my life and I'm as much in charge of me as I would be if I were on my feet.
What happens to many people who are fully functional physically is that they become paralyzed in an emotional or psychological sense. Perhaps they have low self-esteem, are still influenced by their upbringing, or failed too often to be willing to try again. But just as surely as we can allow ourselves to become paralyzed within, we can also choose to set ourselves free.
Jane and I have been friends from the time we met more than twenty years ago while filming Somewhere In Time. When she's been in a difficult situation, like having to give up her career as a dancer, or when her marriage to David Flynn became unbearably chaotic, she had the courage to take action, to make changes. Accepting change and creating change have been at the heart of Jane's life, and it's at the heart of the message of this book.
I hope that the stories Jane shares with you will help you face unforeseen change or adversity in your life. Let this remarkable book serve as a guide toward making your dreams seem not impossible, but inevitable.