Being somewhat of an analytical type and being a bit shamed up for feeling low and ungrateful I started to cross examine myself. I have had revolting vertigo and migraines. I have some damage to my vision and optical nerves after a nasty bout of violent vomiting. Symptoms now, and not nice ones. Am I getting better or is the aneurysm still growing? eeek. No I am ok, I am ok, really am ok. I’m concentrating every day on healing and this FRED device in my head is working, I just know it!
But the clincher has been the lack of physical exercise. A couple of years ago when I learned to walk again it ignited a joy for the physical, moving ones muscles and pushing through limits and barriers became a real centre of passion for me. Not to mention the copious amounts of serotonin my body now craves like chocolate after getting the old pins working. I knew how much joy it gave me, but I never thought I would be in this situation, where I had to seriously rest again (just for a bit).
So the quandary became evident that I had a bad case of feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want to sit around eating worms and i had allowed myself a few days of mwah so I sent a request to the heavens for some lifting up and had a serious chat to myself, a coachy passionate pep talk. My brother heard me and burst into the room with a crowbar as he thought I was yelling at an attacker, only to find me red faced and embarrassed, breaking out in a sweat as I berated myself loudly in the mirror (im kidding)
What can I do to make myself feel better? How do I alter my attitude? What would make me feel good?
A trip to a tropical island….nope not this week.
A back rub from Johnny Depp while a I smoke a cuban cigar?…nice but not probable..
I read a few books…and I prayed again. Asking for patience and maybe just a little something to lift me up.
Then there was a knock on the door, (I am serious, it was within minutes) I received a beautiful big bunch of flowers, so colourful and gorgeous and a bundle of letters. I opened the letters and there were cards from very special children all signed with messages of hope and love. My friend’s children had written cards with their classmates sending prayers of good health and healing. Another friends beautiful wee little daughter had drawn a card with us together on it. A few tears later and I was lifted. Well and truly Blessed huh?
A few little choices that may not be politics changing huge are actually stepping stones to feeling good, abundant and blessed. They are spiritually huge, human kind huge. Those precious little people chose to write me a card. A special friend chose to send flowers. I chose to pray. We all synchronistically made a choice and it resulted in shooing away negativity to the nasty little corner it belongs in. There’s that Alchemy at work again. Even as I type this I feel that gratitude rising up again, thats the cool thing about Joy, it has a residue that can keep repeating in your chest like positive reflux!
Just about Every crappy situation can have a silver lining somewhere. (I say JUST as we are human and there are a lot of things that go on in the world that Im sure aren’t silver) But my point is I wouldn’t change anything about my last aneurysm 2 years ago. Not one thing, I am not trying to project myself as some cliche positive soap boxer, I only speak the truth here. How could I get to a place where I am thankful to my illness?
Being in that situation makes you really reflect and take a big gulp when you view your life from a different angle of no bullshit. Trust me when I say don’t waste your time. Because ONE day and hopefully its when you are 85 plus, but one day you WILL look at your life from this perspective. You do not want to be looking at it saying “I wish i did, I wish I didnt, I wish I had.” You want to be able to sit there and say “Man! I gave that a crack! I gave it everything I had, and it sure was a ride!”
You see I don’t think we give ourselves permission. Sometimes its a lack of confidence, resources etc.
I had years of doing work I was good at but actually detested. I am lying there thinking What would I really like to be doing? Why would I like doing this? What can I offer? Can it generate an income? I have a family to support as well, so the practical is relevant. Is my intention right?
I came up with a list.
Life IS Short
I want to be with my kids, available to them, home after school
I love making candles, Im passionate about Eco products, it fascinates me
I want to be creative
I know I can make an excellent and unique product
I know I could do this EVERY day and never get sick of it.
So… I started making a list of all the things I needed to do and learn to turn my hobby into a profitable business. I had plenty of time to do this whilst recuperating. Thats where the second chapter for me started, with that choice, the choice to give myself permission. I would not have made this choice had I not been so unwell. I would not have justified it, I would have made common sensical excuses, resistance and I had so many people around me so full of common sense trying to talk me out of it. Folk can be so insightful and awfully sensible and willing to rain on one’s parade sometimes!
There is only one choice; Infuse passion into your life, any bloody way you can. Only good things can come from it. If its sport, painting, writing, healing, counselling, jumping, nutrition, running, weight lifting, bee keeping, flying, jewellery making…..anything. The people that say don’t live with regrets know what they are on about. You will think these thoughts one day, you will reflect on them one day. End of story. Also take time to contemplate these thoughts, reflect. Take a moment. Take a breath.
I give this advice to you free of charge friend, trust me on it. Give yourself a time frame to make it happen, make a plan, what are the best things that can happen from it? What are the worst things? Action the plan, and the Alchemy starts again, your choice is like a seed you plant, suddenly it grows! Your life . Your choices. Its all about making good choices. The old free will is a magical seed, what you infuse it with will grow. If you want a stale, ugly twisted vine to grow, then make that choice. Me? I will take the gigantic shiny scary beanstalk thanks! If you believe in and love what you do I believe its a very organic process that starts to take place, it feeds into what you are doing and shines a light on it. Passion can be infectious.
End of lecture. God I can go off on tangents cant i? Im blaming the brain surgery on that and hope that you are still here in the meadow with me, not nodding off yet?
So this brings me back to choices. There have been some very cool people making very nice choices that have affected us lately. Every one of you know who you are, and we thank you, good folk from our home town of Kyabram have been fundraising at a trivia night at the Bluebrick Hotel (great spot) supporting and sending messages, customers, stockists and friends here in Geelong… I need a better word of oomph than thank you. I am going to come up with one soon.
These choices make me feel very grateful and then I want to do something kind of payitforward type thing, because it feels so good to do something for someone else. Even something little, something tiny but a gesture where no thank you is required and you just get that little humble bubble in your chest, the joy factor. I always tell my children that the one way to do something to fix your blues is to take the focus off yourself and do something for someone else.
What to do though? We don’t have oodles of cash right at the present time. Aneurysms and brain surgery will do that to your back pocket. This pondering leaves me a bit stumped given my physical restrictions too. I do my pray thing again, asking what can I do? Then Sunday comes along. We go off to church. We have been visiting a local church lately that we were invited to attend. They seem like an ok bunch so we have found ourselves there a few times now. I personally was like a bull at a gate after being housebound, cabin fever had set in big time.
At church we are informed that there is a Gift Giving service the following Sunday (this Sunday coming), everyone brings a present for a child and the trucks deliver them to folks that might be doing it a bit tough at Christmas. I know this too well, Christmas is hard for a lot of people sometimes.
This starts me thinking back many moons ago, and the memory brings a super grin to my face, and that joy-relfuxy-thing. When I was a small little chatterbox and my siblings were little too our Mother was a single mum for quite a few tough years. We were very poor financially. She was an amazing person during that period and to this day I look back and admire her strength and tenacity. Her ability to provide for us, love us and make us feel loved and safe when she was so alone still makes me draw a small breath of disbelief today. We went from what I understand to be quite comfortable to total poverty.
I hear all the time people make some pretty derogatory generalisations about folk who live in lower socio economic areas or whom are poor. I can tell you we were those people and many of those generalisations do not apply and can be damaging and insulting. For a very short time we were homeless. My beautiful Hardworking, educated Mother who came from a “good solid” family became homeless with 3 little children. My mother also had amazing friends, good friends, and we had lots of love, good family.
How did she become a single mother? How did we end up so poor? My mother made a choice. She left the house one night with only her purse and us after an extreme domestic violence episode. I remember that night vividly. We literally walked down the shops at dusk and the shop keeper hid us out the back. We had nothing. She made a choice to protect us, the choice to do it tough and to have some pretty testing circumstances for a while. There’s that word again…Choice. We watched, we learned pride, abundance and courage. We even had to leave our home town for a bit, change our names to false ones and live incognito until it was safe to return to Kyabram. My Mother was very industrious, there was nothing she could not do or achieve. Through her sheer determination we had everything we needed. Maybe not everything we wanted, but what we needed we received thanks to Mum.
We were loved so much but we were still poor. Which meant we got little gifts, often handmade for Christmas that we treasured. We never expected anything more, because as a kid you just know these things.
One particular Christmas it was particularly tough, mum had been working just to try and pay the rent and feed us, clothe us. I know she was struggling to pull any money together, and being a mighty independent lady I know it was hard for her. But she never showed us this side. I was a little bit older, sometimes I heard her crying after we all went to bed, but in front of us she hid her fears like an Oscar winner. She was a warrior woman and very brave and strong.
So getting back to my story, this one sad Christmas morning We woke up and walked into our lounge room to look for our little present under the tree and our lounge room was FULL OF GIFTS. I don’t just mean lots. I mean the lounge room was chockablock to the freaking walls with what looked like mountains of brightly wrapped parcels. We screamed the bloody house down, there were yelps, tears, disbelief, shock, screeches. Excitement for hours. My baby brother got a Voltron castle, he loved the box it came in so much he wanted to sleep in it! I got a little portable desk to write on with compartments and all sorts of gadgety things.
It was amazing crazy stuff. The social club of a local factory had done what our Church is doing this week, and my mum was a recipient. And as much as our Ma detested handouts or charity when she was on the receiving end (pride) it was a contagiously joyful Christmas. Even to this day every Christmas someone says “Remember that Christmas?” Its our favourite as children.
It wasn’t the materialistic receiving of presents either, (mind you it was so cool) there is a spirit of giving involved that seeps in. You just cant under estimate what this means to a family doing it tough. A renewal of faith in others happens. Community and a sense that “we are all in this together” comes from it, it felt so nice!
So I sit there listening to their plan for this Sunday, remembering “that” Christmas and I think of Mum. What did she get? What about the mums and dads? Worrying, striving, no luxuries, no little special trinkets or goodies. Luxury often isn’t even in the region let alone under the Christmas tree!
The penny drops, (it takes me a while) I remember what I do for a living. So this week while I rest I have a tribe of little helpers, because whilst we do not have lots of $ we do have a successful candle business and an abundance of Aromatherapy, Wax, Wicks and TLC. So there will be 40 big kids receiving an Angel Sent Candle Pack this Christmas, with a message of thanks. That is what we will put under the GivingTree. It isn’t very much, its a tiny gesture but it makes me happy, makes me smile and then I don’t want to feel sorry for myself.
We have so much to be grateful for this Christmas. And I am happy to report that my Mum wasn’t a single mum forever. A little while after that Christmas my hard nosed soft hearted mother got swept off her feet by a certain Mr. R. O’Donnell AKA my Dad. She had sworn off the male species but we really wanted to keep him. He adopted us, we adopted him and we got 2 extra brothers and a tribe of O’Donnells that paved the way for healing. He also helped us trust men again, that there was such a thing as a gentleman. No more violence, just a house full of loud happy.
The circles and connections of “choices” intrigues me every day.
Thank you for reading my blog this week. Thank you to my beautiful Mother for reading this and allowing me to share her story too. Still to this day many people do not know her story and it is very brave of her. I’m really looking forward to a healthy, happy loving Christmas.
PS- if anyone from the Alfred is reading this- you are all Earth Angels, what you do every day is inspiring and dedicated. If you are a patient at the Alfred and you are reading this- you are in wonderful safe hands x