A few months prior, MRI’s of my brain and entire spinal cord revealed something at the core of my being, I was told there was a massive tumor elongating through the center of my spinal cord, at nearly 2 feet in length it extended from my brain all the way down to the thoracic 7 vertebrae - more then half the length of my neck and back combined.
Neurosurgeons at Yale and Columbia agreed that an exploratory surgery was the next step in medical intervention, prognosis for surgery was uninspiring to say the least.
I was told that if I chose to go the surgical route there was a chance I die in the operating room, a chance I would wake up from surgery completely paralyzed from the neck down, or a chance I would wake from surgery with some form of paralysis and that perhaps over time with a lot of support I might learn to move in some capacity again.
Without medical intervention it was suggested that I was well on my way to becoming completely paralyzed.
This news was devastating, at 33 I found myself completely unprepared for the circumstances before me, with no one to consult possessing the wisdom to guide me through. Life as I knew it was about to end and everything I believed, everything I dreamed and aspired to could never be. I cursed God and became an empty shell before writing my last will and testament on my way into surgery.
Intuitive wisdom has made it clear to me that I must continue to move beyond internal resistance and share my story - my life's work - so that I may realize and further integrate the healing I seek, so that I may rise into and embrace the power revealed by my authentic journey.
I am discovering that sharing my story will enable me to integrate all the skills I have learned on my healing journey with even more integrity. While inspiring others to step more powerfully into their own healing, their own authentic story within a movement towards developing awareness, mindfulness, consciousness and discovering well being within regardless of circumstance.
My story is about how disease changed my life irrevocably, but not in the way you might think, it’s about how my beliefs and values have come to change, and the impact that has had on my experience. Its about how I have come to know Syringomyelia and all of its crippling, limiting and disabling instances as one of my life's greatest teachers and gifts. It’s about showing up for your authentic self, developing mindfulness, insight and intuitive wisdom and the impact such skills have on your experience in this world. It’s about discovering the skills that help you not only survive but thrive amidst life’s greatest challenges.
A few weeks ago I participated in a free one week “tell your story bootcamp” online. It provided me the opportunity to work with an inspiring couple named Heather and Julian who are the founders of the Million Person Project.
The Million Person Project (MPP) is a global project about love, storytelling and connecting change makers. Through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online programs, MPP supports change makers to identify and own their personal story relating to their work, in order to powerfully share it and move any audience to action.
The Million Person Project started as a project to help 1 million people globally change the world by telling their story. Since 2011 Heather + Julian have worked with over 1500 change makers from 67 countries - authors, TED speakers, activists, students, entreprenuers and more.
What I didn't realize when I enrolled in the free one week bootcamp was that the process employed to clarify and share my story would also help me clarify and share the potency of the healing practices I discovered relief with, helping me further integrate the skills I have been learning with even more integrity while freeing me of the burden of an untold story, moving me closer to fulfilling my life’s purpose.
This process of clarifying and and sharing my story will not only be healing for me. It lends itself to the possibility that the gift of my journey, the disease that continues to teach me so much is a gift that can be shared with the world around me, inspiring us all to discover the healing work within so that we all may experience more peace and well-being in the regardless of external circumstance.
Bootcamp was just the beginning of this process. The next step involves enrolling in a 6 month Story Academy beginning this November. At the Story Academy I will receive the help and support I need to really transform what’s in the way of me sharing my story. I will receive support in finalizing my narrative and submitting it for publication and applying for speaking engagements.
I am asking for your support in generating the tuition needed to enroll in the Story Academy with the Million Person Project so that I may move more deeply into this healing work and share the gift of my journey. $3,234.00 will cover the cost of tuition for 6 months and the fees associated with this campaign. Additional donations will be used to pay physical therapy and medical bills from this past year and make other therapeutic sessions available.
Thank you for your support and generosity with donations and in sharing this GoFundMe campaign. I realize its important to go about funding in this way because it gives me the experience of overcoming one of the greatest obstacles before me, finding the courage to step out in front of an audience with my story. Taking this step further grounds me in the work I am here to do and holds me even more accountable in my commitment to it, so that I may fulfill my life’s purpose for all my relations.
Curtis John Mitchell
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