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Meet Axel Paulina

‘After two years of extreme intense rehabilitation I could walk the streets again without tools’

Axel Paulina profiel.jpeg

At Meraki we are all about the mind – body- spirit connection. We all have a body. It’s our physical structure; the vessel holding our brains, body parts, muscle and fat. Our body consists of roughly 50 trillion cells, which collectively organize our tissues, nerves, bones and organs into our outward physical form. The mind governs our mental and emotional aspects. It houses our consciousness and allows us to be aware of the world and powers our ability to think and feel. Our spirit is invisible to us and to others. Its eternal nature doesn’t need a physical body or the need to conform space and time. It expresses life through the creative expressions of each and every one of us.


Today’s society shows that a lot of us are still looking for this magic connection. When we experience disease in our body, our mind and spirit are also affected. When negative thoughts or fears occur in our mind, our body and spirit also show signs of stress. When our connection to spirit is frail, we may turn to our mind and body to find the answers as to why.


When mind, body and spirit are integrated, we complete our human essence. Because our three parts are interconnected, every problem we address must involve all three. Can you imagine what would happen? Probably not yet right? Allow us to inspire you with this incredible story.


Meraki visited the amazing Axel Paulina, former kickboxing champion and now successful entrepreneur. Seven years ago he was involved in a severe car accident. His spine was shattered and his nerve pathways were completely cut off. He was diagnosed with a paraplegia and the doctors told him he would never be able to walk again in his life.


Axel, it is an honour to meet you. You are radiating positivity!

{Laughing}, thank you so much. I am a happy man. And I love It when people see the radiance, it means you are open to positivity, to a good and happy life.


Seven years ago you were involved in a heavy car accident. Can you tell us what happened?

I was waiting in front of a traffic light and saw a car behind me rapidly approaching. The man was drunk, I had no chance. There was a big smack and then I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I decided to hold still and wait for the ambulance. When I woke up, after being anesthetized for a couple of days, the doctors told me I had a paraplegia and I would never walk again.


Can you recall how you felt when the doctors brought you this verdict?

I was in shock but mostly I didn’t believe them. Being a fighter, I wanted to go back in the boxing ring. Mission impossible, so it seemed. I was staying at the ICU and my sons came to visit me. There I was, their strong father, laying in the bed and not able to get up. I felt ashamed but also determined to show them how strong I could be. Giving up was not an option. My body was still strong, my mind is strong and my determination to walk again was limitless.


What happened there at the ICU?

For days I concentrated on moving my toes. The sweat was dripping from my face, I was exhausted. And then it happened, I could move my big toe. I wasn’t even surprised; I knew this would happen. The MRI showed that one tiny connection was reestablished. That was the start of my recovery.


Rehabilitation after such an event must have been a life journey for you

At that time, It was my entire life. The therapists told me to be patient, but as usual I didn’t listen.  Patience was the last thing on my mind so I kept going. From my toes down I started focusing upwards, to my feet, ankles and legs. Little by little, I started to regain the ability to walk. It has been one of the toughest workouts in my life. After two years of extreme intense rehabilitation I could walk the streets again without tools.


Can you describe the feeling of that first time walking on the street again?
I was alone and it was a intensive experience. I was insecure because I could fall easily and I remember being very irritated. Modern society doesn’t cope very well with people who have restrictions. Despite these feelings of insecurity the main feeling was: I did it! NO MATTER WHAT! I was extremely proud.


We have no words but HOW?

It’s not about how, it’s about now. One thing is for sure, if I would have resigned to the judgment of the doctors, I would still be in a wheelchair today. Never have I accepted this verdict. Was it the strong connection of body and mind? Was it the fighter in me? Was it luck? I don’t know and frankly I don’t care. What I do care about is that if you focus on your goals, if you truly believe in them, you are definitely more likely to reach that goal.


How did this change your life perspective?
The funny thing is, I am much happier than I was before the accident. My perspective definitely changed. Now I embrace life. Not a day goes by taking it or granted. I enjoy every moment walking, even running to the metro station.  I have a strong connection to my spirit, to my will power. My lessons learned, as tough as they were are now allowing me to inspire others to never give up.


How is the NOW for you?
You already know because of the radiance, right? Things are good, I have rebuilt my life and my strength. I am a bodybuilder now; I do a lot of competitions. I want to be the best. I also have my own personal training practice. I want to help people get fitter, get stronger. I feel grateful to be able to inspire others with my story and drive.  


What’s your dream?
Dreams are short term because they are meant to be realized. I am going to leave a legacy for my two sons. I am working on building a health center (or two, three...) in Amsterdam where people can become the best version of their selves. You’ll wait and see and please be welcome to join.

Thank you Axel!


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