"You Are Not Your Body" The insights of a walking paraplegic
Janine with her children, Annabel and Angus
___________________________________________________ We often define ourselves by what is ‘outside’ us: relationships, work, and family. What would it mean to have your life dramatically altered and your body irrevocably damaged? Who would you be then? ___________________________________________________ Janine Shepherd is a walking paraplegic; she has no feeling from the waist down. She is also a pilot and aerobatics instructor, as well as a motivational speaker and author.
A champion cross-country skier in training for the winter Olympics, Janine’s life changed forever when she was hit by a truck during a bicycle ride in the Blue Mountains of Australia. Doctors did not expect her to survive and, when she did, they warned her that she would never walk again.
"It [doesn’t matter] what you look like, where you come from, or what you do for a living. All that matters is that we continue to fan the flame of humanity by living our lives as the ultimate creative expression of who we really are." ~ Janine
Janine focused intently for years on healing both her broken body and crushed morale. A turning point came watching small planes flying overhead. She decided: “If I can’t walk, I’ll fly.” While still in a full body cast, Janine was lifted into an aircraft for her first flight. Within a year she had her private pilot’s license. Later, she earned her commercial pilots license and instructor’s rating.
"If we are to move towards our collective bliss, it’s time we shed our focus on the physical, and instead, embrace the virtues of the heart." ~ Janine
Janine is the patron of the Australasian Spinal Research Trust and is committed to helping find a cure for spinal cord injury in the near future. In the meantime, through her writing and public presentations, she seeks to inspire those coping with physical disability. And while doctors told her after her accident that she would never have children, she now is a mother of three.