127 Hours

8 Feb 2011 by Anthony J Piparo, 4 Comments »

As portrayed in the movie, 127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crushed his arm and trapped him in an isolated canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.  In April 2003, while he was on a hiking trip in Blue John Canyon (near Moab, Utah), a boulder became dislodged, crushing his right forearm and pinning it against the canyon wall. Ralston had not told anyone of his hiking plans and knew no one would be searching for him. Assuming that he would die, he spent five days slowly sipping his small amount of remaining water while trying to extricate his arm. His efforts were futile as he could not dislodge his arm. He eventually ran out of water, carved his name, date of birth and presumed date of death into the sandstone canyon wall, and videotaped his last goodbyes to his family.

After five days of trying to lift and break the boulder, the dehydrated and delirious Ralston amputated his trapped right arm below the elbow. After freeing himself, he was still seventeen miles from his vehicle, and he had no mobile phone. He had to rappel down a 65-foot sheer wall, then hike out of the canyon in the hot midday sun. While hiking out, he encountered a couple and their son who gave him water and then alerted the authorities. He was ultimately rescued by a helicopter search team six hours after amputating his arm.

Very few of us will ever have to make the choices Aron Ralston did.  We will never be trapped underneath a boulder and have to sever a limb to escape.  But for many of us, our emotional attachments to things, people, and experiences limit our freedom and are just as life-threatening as the boulder that trapped Aron Ralston.

Emotions are chemical compounds created in the brain and then released into the body under specific conditions.  There are specific chemical compounds for each emotional state: anger, love, sadness, depression, and so on.  Heroin uses the same neural-mechanisms that our emotions use.  So, if we can be addicted to heroin we can be addicted to emotions.  If you can’t control something you are addicted to it.

Drug users cannot control their dependency on drugs because they are addicted to the feelings that occur under the influence of the drug.  If you cannot control your emotions in specific situations then you are addicted to the chemical rush that occurs when in that situation.  You can be addicted to love, happiness, joy, anger, sadness, depression, and so on.  If you can’t control your emotional responses, good or bad, you are addicted to the chemicals released into your bloodstream when in that situation.

Part of self-mastery is the ability to control those emotions that restrict our experiences of happiness, love, joy, and the ability to experience life to the fullest.  The choice that Aron Ralston made to detach his right arm to release himself from his wilderness hell was not easy nor the actions he took to free himself.  The decision of addicts and the actions they take to detach themselves from their chemically induced hell and the actions they take to transform their lives are no less challenging or heroic.  The same is true for anyone whose emotional addiction to people, experiences, and situations that create suffering.  The decision and actions required to release yourself from your self-imposed hell is challenging and heroic if you can stay the course.

It may not be easy.  Overcoming any addiction can be difficult and you may fall back into old habits more than just a few times, but the freedom you’ll experience when you no longer are addicted to suffering cannot be described.  Just ask Aron Ralston.  Just ask any former (recovering) addict.  Just ask anyone who had the courage to overcome their emotional attachments and addictions.   Learn from Aron Ralston’s heroing adventure as told in 127 Hours and free yourself from all attachments and emotional addicitons that restrict your freedom and threaten your life.


  1. Debbie says:

    Wonderful post. Makes me want to learn more about Aaron. Boy that had to be extremely difficult. It is also difficult to let go of other attachments and addictions, but at least it is not an arm!…and well worth it How inspiring!
    Debbie recently posted..Looking Without Seeing

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  3. taksówka says:

    hello!,I like your writing so a lot! percentage we keep in touch extra about your article on AOL? I need a specialist in this house to unravel my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to peer you.

  4. I love that film and I admire Aron Ralston. Not all of us have the guts that he has.

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