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What Dying Taught Me About Residing

What Dying Taught Me About Residing


I just lately reworked my most private tales right into a TEDx speak titled: “What Dying Taught Me About Residing.”

I delivered this speak reside on the TEDx MCPHS reside occasion on March 18th, 2023, on the Massachusetts Faculty of Pharmacy and Well being Sciences within the metropolis of Boston.

The occasion was themed “What’s Your Story” and featured different inspiring leaders: Jimi Okubanjo and Yolanda Lewis.

You’ll be able to watch my TEDx speak on YouTube, however I made a decision to additionally share my TEDx script with you!

TEDx Speak Transcript – Elayna Fernández: What Dying Taught Me About Residing

“Have you ever ever heard the saying that one individual’s trash is one other individual’s treasure? That phrase can sum up the very best moments of my childhood within the Dominican Republic. 

And my favourite one occurred once I was 7 years outdated.

My brother and I had simply come again from fetching our day by day water and we determined to take a break and go to the dump.

You see, there was a landfill proper behind the little beat-up shack within the slum we known as dwelling – and it was wonderful!

Sure, there was a foul stench, the bottom felt mushy, and the flies… ugh… they have been all over the place. 

However, this was the magical place the place we might discover little objects and artifacts we might play with and be children! It was a candy escape.

As we searched and dug and in contrast our attention-grabbing finds, I observed one thing uncommon.

It was an outdated, soggy, smelly journal with phrases we couldn’t perceive. I eagerly flipped by the pages and was fascinated by the brilliant photos.

The children wore denims and tennis sneakers. They’d new books and toys… and their households… regarded so blissful!

I savored each scene. 

So I turned to my brother, and requested the query that might change my life eternally:  ¡¿Y si pudiéramos aprender este idioma?! 

“What if we might study this language?” I figured, if we knew English, we might have this glorious life!

As unreasonable as this appeared, in simply 4 years… I did it! I discovered methods to generate income to pay for courses, then I attended day by day for 3 years, and, as singer Celia Cruz used to say, my English grew to become “very handsome.”

Due to my new language, I used to be capable of transfer out of the slum and into town to attend faculty at solely 15 years outdated and even qualify for a high-paying job. I had left the darkness and dysfunction behind to take pleasure in a brand new life the place my journal goals have been all coming true!

However at some point… every little thing modified.

I boarded what I assumed was public transportation and, as an alternative of arriving in school, I used to be taken to an unknown vacation spot… trapped in a automobile the place I skilled hours of unspeakable violence and torture. 

I used to be solely 19 and this unmerciful stranger promised me I wouldn’t make it out alive.

Spoiler alert: 

I escaped. 

I believe you noticed that coming… however what you’d by no means guess is how a lot I needed I hadn’t survived. 

It was the start of a nightmare.

I hated each inch of my physique.

I used to be pressured to speak about it in court docket, to in some way show that I didn’t ask for it.

And what’s worse, as an alternative of seeing my ache, everybody I knew simply centered on making an attempt to inspire me.

However, as an alternative of wanting to maneuver on or feeling grateful… 

I felt unseen, unsafe, and unsupported. Unloved.

I needed to die…

And simply 6 months after being kidnapped, I obtained my want.  

The automobile crashed and flipped, and I went from using within the backseat to being trapped beneath it.

As if in gradual movement, I regarded down at my lifeless physique being rushed to the closest hospital. Within the E.R., I might see my brother weeping and begging because the medical workers broke the information to him: 

“There’s nothing we are able to do for her…” 

My physique was lifeless, however my thoughts was extra alert, and my spirit extra alive than ever… 

My brother was relentless, so the medical doctors turned their consideration to me. They placed on an oxygen masks, tried electrical cardioversion, and inserted a chest tube.

It regarded painful… however I didn’t really feel it. 

I used to be really experiencing freedom, peace, and unconditional love. Sure, Heaven.  

I needed to really feel like this eternally! 

However I heard a message that it wasn’t my time but, and as I got here again to my physique, all my senses have been flooded with ache.

Throughout my 8-day-coma, I discovered one other treasure in an surprising place – one other language that modified my life…

And I consider it could change yours, too.

I used to be capable of course of my traumatic childhood recollections, my intrusive ideas, and my painful feelings.

As an observer, a witness, I might hear the ache within the phrases individuals mentioned at my bedside. I might see the ache of their our bodies. I might sense it of their souls… The extra they broke down and fell aside for me, the extra I felt seen, protected, and supported… beloved.

And my greatest revelation was this: it’s not motivation, however validation that helps us transfer by emotional ache.

We should select to be nonetheless and go deep to study the language that validates ache. Like sifting by trash to seek out treasure.

Start pains, rising pains, dying pains… Ache is the widespread thread of humanity.

And, sadly, due to the archaic languages of stigma, disgrace, and stereotypes, we now have been conditioned to disclaim, downplay, and dismiss our ache. 

We regularly masks it with practices like constructive considering, invalidating gratitude, or discovering an prompt silver lining, when in actuality, these fast fixes have harmful results.

Unacknowledged, unprocessed, unexpressed emotional ache manifests in our our bodies as illness, in our minds as dysfunction, and in our spirits as disconnection. 

A flatlined existence. 

After over 25 years of researching and spending lots of of 1000’s of hours and {dollars} learning the neuroscience of feelings, constructive psychology, and trauma therapeutic modalities, I found one thing attention-grabbing: Science, philosophy, and spirituality all confirmed what I realized in my coma. 

And the analysis is evident: 

Processing our emotional ache requires validating it- and these abilities are realized by follow.

And my concept is that we should set a day by day date to take a seat with our painful recollections, ideas, and feelings. Like in studying a brand new language, immersion is the very best path to fluency. It’s uncomfortable at first… and it’s a lifelong journey. But it surely opens doorways we didn’t assume have been attainable for us. 

Having a date with ache could sound as dreadful to you as dumpster diving. However I do know that it’s loads simpler to rummage by trash after we turn out to be curious and deal with what we are going to discover.

Once we date – and validate – our ache, ache can turn out to be our sacred trainer, devoted messenger, and clever good friend.

Relationship my ache helps me survive all of the heavy darkish moments when life feels insufferable… as a result of just some seconds of validation might help us come again to wholeness.

As we date our ache, we begin to rework it and we cease transmitting it. We are able to turn out to be more healthy in each manner,  and extra peaceable at dwelling, at work, and on the planet. 

And chances are you’ll assume, nicely, one other factor so as to add to my to-do listing. Nope!

Neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor teaches the “90-second rule,” or the idea that any emotional response will final solely 90 seconds… simply 90 seconds.

If the mothers I attain by my weblog and group can match this in, so are you able to!

Plus, it’s free. The very best issues in life are!

So now you is perhaps asking, Elayna, what does relationship my ache even appear like?

My morning follow consists of 3 easy steps: See, Sense, and Say.

First, SEE:

You get nonetheless and recall one painful, hectic, or uncomfortable reminiscence, thought, or expertise. 

Second, SENSE:

You go into your physique to note each sensation that comes up. Is it tingly, tense, tight?

Third, SAY:

You deal with your self by identify, out loud or in writing, and validate your ache. That is achieved by permitting and acknowledging your ache.

Validating language feels like this:

  • Elayna, It’s okay to really feel what you’re feeling.
  • Elayna, Your feelings, and reactions make sense.
  • Elayna, I’m right here for you.

See, sense, say. That’s what you do in your date with ache.

My invitation is to put aside 2 minutes of your morning OR night time up to now your ache. 90 seconds of ache and 30 seconds of validation.

As you have interaction on this follow, you’ll study the native language of your feelings and really feel seen, protected, and supported… self-love.

You’ll be capable to share your genuine feelings with vulnerability and be a protected place for others to do the identical.

Once I determined to get up from my coma, I selected to actually get up to ache, however I additionally woke as much as love.

With 19 damaged bones, it harm to maneuver, it harm to breathe, it harm to really feel…and the grueling restoration course of was simply starting. And the trauma I had endured in my brief 19 years was nonetheless actual.

However I needed to reside!

I spotted I didn’t should be healed to really feel WHOLE. All I wanted was to really feel seen, protected and supported. That’s what all of us want and deserve. 

So right this moment, ask your self … What when you might study this language? 

Date your ache, and uncover a real treasure.


So right here’s what dying taught me about dwelling:

Once we don’t know how you can validate others, our phrases and actions turn out to be hurtful, quite than useful. Not understanding how you can validate ourselves results in unhealthy and self-destructive decisions and patterns that perpetuate the cycle of struggling.

Are you keen up to now your ache? Share within the feedback beneath.

Elayna is a homeschool educator, single mother of 4, founding father of the Constructive MOM Neighborhood, award-winning Storyteller, Story Strategist, and Scholar of Ache. She’s a bestselling writer, internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, and 3x TEDx speaker. To obtain a present from Elayna, click on HERE.

Be Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna FernandBe Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOMez ~ The Positive MOMBe Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna FernandBe Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOMez ~ The Positive MOM
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