If You Fall by Karen Darke

Jun 22nd, 2017 | By | Category: Articles, Healing, O Books, Psyche Books, Psychology, Soul Rocks Books

I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I just love the wilderness. I love mountains. I love adventure.  I love sharing these places with friends, and meeting strangers.

Someone once said to me, ‘Disability is a state of mind not a state of body.’ That’s a notion that relates to us all, regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not. Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations. What is life if it isn’t an adventure? I’m constantly amazed by what can be achieved if we set our heart and mind to it. It’s all about finding belief, confidence, motivation and commitment. And of course, friends. Then there are no limits.” Karen Darke

As a Paralympian, I sometimes feel like an actress stepping onto a stage; part of a collective drama about the good that can come from the challenges of life. I am part of the ‘Superhuman’ performance; we embody strength and courage, have fighting spirits and transform challenge into success. I, and other Paralympians, are billed as ‘Superhuman’, but we are no more or less human than anyone else. Life has thrown us the hand it has, and we do our best to engage with it positively. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when the daily irritations don’t become too much. There are occasions when I feel frustrated and upset; when the disabled toilet is locked again and my long-lost special ‘Radar’ key is still lost, when the train staff haven’t had the training in how to use the new lightweight ramp so I have to stay on the train thirty minutes more to the next stop then get a taxi back, when the disabled parking bays are full of people that apparently don’t need them…or whatever the trigger may be that makes me want to curl up or give up. We are inspirational only because by the nature of our situations and our choice to engage with those positively, rather than the alternative of being miserable. Perhaps we confront people’s self-perceptions. It’s probably human to endemically doubt our inner strength. Ironically, the night before I was paralysed, I commented to a friend “I would rather be dead than paralysed. I can’t imagine anything worse.” How wrong I was! We are all stronger than we might think, braver than we might believe, more able than we might feel. It is only when life forces us to call on those inner resources that they have the chance to appear.


If You Fall – It’s a New Beginning

by Karen Darke

Karen Darke was on a rock-climbing expedition on sea cliffs in Scotland. She fell, and was paralysed. This is her true story of exploration, not just of the world of mountains, but of the inner struggle she faces after her disaster to come back to terms with life. Out of her disability comes a strength to embrace the challenge and transform it into an opportunity to learn and grow.

Karen won Gold in road cycling at the 2016 Rio Paralympics


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