Hope


How do we survive what life throws at us? It is miraculous, indeed, that a broken heart keeps beating. Hope is found in the friend who has retreated- missing from all social media-and  whom reappears after their dark night of the soul. It is the dawn we thought we may not see, and waking after major surgery that we were warned may kill us. It is the rescinding and rebuttal of bottles of booze and cigarettes after being warned of the inevitability of an early grave. It is continuing in the face of grief, and the exercise we partake in, despite wanting to stay in bed. It is a mindset that urges us to keep going, and keep alive, despite a downward turn in fortunes. Hope has no need for evidence, it is timeless and often without basis in facts. It stands alone, without anything to cling to, as ephemeral as a cloud, and as mighty as a gladiator. I have strolled through areas of Australian bush, which had been decimated by fire. Hope is found in the green shoots and new foliage on charred trees and scrub. You only need a small area which is undamaged to cultivate new life, it turns out. img_1550

You can have it all, and then lose it all. Enjoy today whilst it is here. The one thing that you cannot lose is yourself, a fine purpose-built instrument ripe for remodelling. Soaring above the decimation and loss is a feeling of hope; that you have it in you to rebuild. The hour is not too late, nor are you too old. We are somehow driven to grow in mud and rise from the ashes, again and again. Hold onto hope, no matter what circumstance you’re in.

Advertisements

Faking Bravery


I have been unprepared most of my life, if I am honest. I was ill-prepared to have a baby, start my own business, take the chances I have, and accept certain positions career-wise. I am familar with abject terror. Two things have helped me, or rather, two people. The first asked me to define when I thought I would be ready to commit to my dreams. What would have to be in place? There is never a perfect time to start IVF to try and have a baby, nor move toward a dream. There will always be doubts in both yourself and what you are aiming for. Just begin!

The second bit of advice I was gifted was a gem. If you are anxious, and feel as though your nerves will get the best of you, pretend you are Cate Blanchett! This reasonated with me, because I adore this actress. She has poise, style and confidence. She interviews easily and makes eye contact. I imagined I was Cate Blanchett whilst giving speeches, in job interviews, and throughout social occasions with strangers. How would Cate be? What would she say and do?  Fake it ’til you make it works! It may be George Clooney or Wonder Woman in your case.

So there you have it. Life doesn’t need to be perfect in order to chip away at your goals. There will never be a supreme moment to begin, so you may as well start now, right here with what you have today. Summon up the qualities you admire in Cate Blanchett or another wondrous soul, and wow this world!

The Wish Game App


 

 I have always had a healthy cynicism regarding the positive thinking movement. I think most survivors do, having repeatedly heard such chestnuts as “forget the past, look to the future.”  I once took a call at a luncheon from the IVF scientist in charge of taking care of my two precious embryos. They informed me that one of the two had perished. Heartbroken, and left with one chance of successful implantation, I went back to the table. “What’s the matter?” a companion asked. I told them the news, and they smiled. “Chin up!” they said, and went back to their conversation. I felt dismissed, and certainly my grief was unheard. I felt almost embarrassed, as though I shouldn’t have had a reaction at all. Platitudes don’t help, and are almost certainly entirely damaging when one is fragile, whether it be through grief or other trauma. Positive thinking can sadly be an escape for those who aren’t comfortable supporting and hearing another’s pain. Throw a person a platitude and then walk away. Being happy and planning for the future is altogether different.

It was in this spirit that I tried out this particular app. I was cautious, not expecting much at all. I punched in my desire to travel, and was pleasantly surprised at the result. The game took me through my desire, and then looked at how I may be sabotaging the realization of this goal. I realized that I have a fear of flying, and also am hesitant about travelling due to my health. Even the hassle of obtaining a passport has put me off! Once I looked at all the obstacles, the game allowed me to break down the steps into workable pieces. It is going to send me reminders on the dates I set! I see this game as a useful tool to get me to where I want to be. When you look at your dreams, they can seem too big and overwhelming. It is only when you break them down that you can see a way to achieving them.

The Wishing Game App is available here.

I had a dream…


img_0798

There I was, minding my own business, in the midst of a very busy life, when he appeared in a dream. Time had dulled him from my conscious mind, his features obscured. He was simply ‘that man.’ He was the one who came upon me as a vulnerable fourteen year old, and nearly ended my life. I had nightmares about him every night for many years, and the relief was indescribable when they finally ended. It were as though his hold over my life had ceased. Free at last! At last… It took my by surprise a week ago, when he appeared once again. I dreamt I was in a shopping centre, and he had spotted me. I knew instantly who it was. The stubble, that voice, those eyes… It all came flooding back. I ran, desperately trying to get away. It seemed to go on for eternity, until he cornered me. At first he was reassuring, telling me that he wasn’t going to hurt me. His voice had a pleasant tone, obviously rehearsed. I wasn’t moved by his display, and I kicked out. He didn’t like that at all; not one bit. Now he was snarling, ready to destroy me. After a mammoth struggle, I woke. I was crying, my whole body shaking. What the hell just happened?

I wondered what old file I was desperately trying to dump from the recesses of my brain. I hadn’t thought of him for so long… Since the dream, I have felt fragile, and haven’t had time to process what occurred or why. In some ways it has been a good thing, to be kept busy. In other ways, it has given me leave to avoid thinking about it, to my detriment. I wonder what was going on deep in my subconscious to summon him in my dream? Was it the crime report involving a young girl that had come to my attention? An advertisement for the aftershave he wore? A man who looked like him in the street? It could have been any one of those things. PTSD has no rhyme or reason. You can be coasting along splendidly, and then whack! I have slept fitfully since, as though my mind is fighting going into REM. It doesn’t want to let go, lest he be waiting.

We have a little cockatiel who was born with a deformed tail. It is curly, and magnificent, though sadly leaves her unable to fly. She is a delight. She was on my lap the other day, and felt so comfortable, that her eyes grew heavy and she fell asleep. No hyper-vigilance or anxiety with this little one! I looked on with wonder at the ease of her rest.

IMG_6951IMG_6950

I pray I never dream of him again. I hope I never have to use all my mental resources in a lucid state to outsmart and defeat him in the future. The scars reading like a street directory over my body state that I have been there and done that. I want to close my eyes like this little bird, and fall into deep, blissful slumber, without the inclusion of him. I hope over time his features will be obscured again. He will once again recede into the ghoulish mists in the periphery of an otherwise enchanted tale.

Letting Go and the Art of Surrendering


11078041_941590055874840_530196003_n

I have always had a will of iron. I had to take control at a young age. Had to learn to eat and drink again. Had to learn how to walk. Had to rebuild the strength in my body, mind and soul. I hit all my targets. The same applied when I started correspondence school. Whatever I focused on, came to be. When I went out into the world at eighteen, I had huge dreams, and expected them to all come true, and in the allotted time. I was going to be a published author in my twenties, have several kids, a big rambling house and a strong body. As time passed, I saw the vision become clouded, as though someone had smeared petroleum jelly onto the camera lens. Instead of a tribe of kids, there was infertility. Rather than my body getting stronger, I slipped and fell, breaking my spine again. Instead of a large rambling house, there was a string of dodgy rental properties. Instead of peace there was turmoil. There were times when I lived on potatoes for a week, times when I had to walk miles home. Life was reduced to survival. The dreams refused to die, but they were tempered. The shoots dared to rear up from the soil. Spindly little things, they were, and I feared a downpour would flatten them. My saving grace was the removal of a time frame. Letting go of control. Having a tight schedule and discipline saved me as a teen. It wouldn’t work now. I was down on my knees as infertility and pain and uncertainty pounded me. I was pummelled. “I surrender!” I screamed.

10751534_855904967776683_31237554_n

As soon as I uttered those words, the kaleidoscope in my hands turned, and a beautiful geometrical pattern took shape. Everything about it was different to what I had stubbornly cleaved to. The colours were somehow more vibrant. Perhaps, it was a portent of things to come. I didn’t want the next decade to be remembered by a series of operations, disappointments and scars. As I was admitted to hospital yet again, I had to believe that this provided another step  to where I wanted to be. I had to surrender all control, yet hold onto the kernel of my dreams. They had after all, given me the fuel to keep going. Life is very different to where I thought I would be at this age and in this year. Yet as I reflect on the friends I have met, the miraculous daughter I birthed, the fact I am still able to walk, and am a published author, I can see it is damned near perfect. It is hard to surrender control. It is hard to accept that the vision has evolved and changed. It is scary. When you hit a target after the storm has pummelled your home, it tastes that much sweeter. Don’t give up! Don’t you ever give up.

Stained Glass Wolves


 

Stained Glass Wolves
Stained Glass Wolves

In my travels, I met an extraordinary young lady called Celia. She started Stained Glass Wolves on Facebook. It is for ‘victims and survivors of abuse, homelessness, domestic violence and the people who support them.’ There are two projects on the hop at the moment, Basic Love Packs and Knitting to Spread the Love and Warmth. The mascot is  The Mistress of Awesomeness and she certainly is! Apart from everything else she does, she is also a singer-songwriter.

10846381_10152905384786948_8473142848685898707_n

Celia is 28, and lives in Sydney. She is currently an AIN, working in a nursing home, and is also studying nursing at university. She believes in true equality, love, loyalty, compassion,truth, genuineness, dignity and justice. She has three specific missions in life:
1. To run her charity, Stained Glass Wolves, and reach out to the broken.
2. To sing and write.
3. To be a qualified nurse educator specialising in brain trauma and also making specific care plans for individuals; working with families, carer’s and the client to make a manageable plan to give that person the best quality of life.

Celia has qualifications in mechanics, and in the hospitality industry. There is nothing she can’t do, teaching herself to knit via YouTube. As a child, she was abused in every way a young girl can be, and was told that she was worthless. She refused to believe it. How she healed, and what she has done, are truly inspirational.  She has suffered depression, nightmares and flashbacks, but miraculously survived. The heart seared with great suffering often becomes the heart with the greatest capacity for love and compassion. Nobody came and rescued her from the thatch of thorns where she lay. She retrieved herself.

11033878_1553565741588282_8733685406528365085_n

She found her calling in nursing after encountering a 104 year old lady in a nursing home who inspired her. She applied to study, and a letter arrived from the ACU. She reluctantly opened it, thinking it was a rejection letter. They instead wanted to know why she hadn’t accepted her placement. She checked her spam, and there was an acceptance email! Check your spam, people! At university, she noticed there was a scheme, offering placement overseas to the student with the highest mark. She applied and was accepted! She went to Cambodia, volunteering in health camps, and also travelled to Georgia College in Atlanta. Like I said, inspiring. She is the rainbow after  the darkness dissipates. A survivor in every sense. If you would like to learn more, visit Stained Glass Wolves.

10424348_10153124862096948_8868193544428021750_n