Your arm is stuck between a rock and a rock wall.
For 127 hours.
And in the end, you choose the only choice that will save you.
It’s time to cut off your own arm.
With a swiss army knife.
This is the true story of Aron Rolston – and a surprisingly appropriate metaphor for many of us doing transformational work. The movie 127 Hours tells his story: a rock climber (played by James Franco) who had his hand and wrist crushed by a boulder, trapping him against a canyon wall. The film is a riveting if unpleasant experience of watching him reach the decision, after more than five days, that his only means of escape is to amputate his own arm.
The build up was riveting and potent:
He could literally die to protect his arm.
Or go through unbelievable pain and lifelong change in order to find freedom.
Srikala and I recently watched the movie, and for weeks after, we continuously kept asking each other:
What is your rock?
What is the arm that needs to be amputated in order to get free?
The uncomfortable truth for both of us is that in order to live in freedom, we have had to cut off parts of ourselves we did not want to lose.
But if we didn’t, we would literally die.
What is it that you need to cut off at this time in your life?
What’s the painful, challenging, or even awful thing that you know you have to do in order to transform, to grow, to move forward, to live?
Note: the option to do the awful thing – cutting off his own arm – was there the whole time, each of the 127 hours. Aron Rolston could have done it on day one, hour one, and avoided the days of depression, hallucinations, hunger, and severe dehydration he endured.
What changed after 127 hours?
His level of urgency.
His clarity that if he didn’t do it, he would definitely die.
Then he made his choice.
He was finally willing to break free.
The heart of my work is to help people shorten the number of hours before the urgency kicks in.
You’re gonna cut your arm off either way.
If it’s not in this lifetime… you’re gonna keep living it until you make that choice.
So… what’s your arm?
What pain and suffering are you putting yourself through that could be avoided if you made the choice now, today?