Despite spending the last few years trying to be ‘present’, neither looking back nor forward, it’s exciting and comforting to sometimes take a peak back and see just how much my life has changed in such a short space of time.
I was looking through my photos this morning to see whether or not our Tulip tree was in leaf this time last year. Scrolling through the several hundred photos taken in that time was like thumbing through a ‘flipper book’, seeing various flowers dead then bloom, trees in leaf and the various day trips and holidays we’ve taken over the past twelve months.
The tulip tree wasn’t actually in full leaf until May 24th last year, so we still have a little way to go before the season is ‘behind schedule’.
This day last year was spent with very dear friends at a mini ‘festival’ in their garden, celebrating the sadly too short life of their son who’d passed away in January last year. The garden was full of daffodils and the trees were dressed with colourful fabric and adorned with pompoms made my so many of the friends and family of dear Alex. It marked the beginning of last years Spring, and personally the beginning of my new life of being able to help others rather than needing to be helped.
It was around 15 years ago that I learned that receiving help gave a tremendous gift to the giver. Always being fiercely independent and then finding myself in the middle of a crisis, ( father of my 1 & 3 yr old sons left) I didn’t want to appear unable to cope and so I neglected to ask for help. I soon learned that I was in fact surrounded by so many friends who dearly wanted to help, and by not asking, or receiving was not only making life difficult for me but also causing unnecessary pain to those around me.
We all have experienced times when we feel overwhelmed with ‘things to do’ that it seemed easier to plough on rather than dissect and delegate. I was forced to experience this again eight years ago when I fell ill. That time I knew that not only did I have to receive help, but I was able to notice that people genuinely felt better for being able to help me get through those tough times.
Spending a day last year decorating trees with a group of lovely people, brought together by shared grief and the need to be able ‘to do something’ was a marvellous gift to us all. We all laughed, shed a tear or two but also new friendships were formed between us and we’ve continued to support Alex’s family through what must only be a year of unimaginable pain.
A year ago I still did not imagine that I’d be starting a new career, or even working at all. I had begun my Herbal Medicine studies, but knew that I still had many years of study ahead of me. As my health improved I began to be able to do more and realised that the greatest joy was being able to ‘be a friend’ and get back in touch with those I’d missed during my years of illness. I also was now able to meet up with new friends I’d met on line through being ill.
The last few months however have been extraordinary. In March I was invited to speak at a conference and ‘tell my story’ in front of around 100 people, almost all of them strangers. I came alive on that stage, being able to share the tale of the depths of despair that come with long term chronic health conditions. Then I could move onto the sheer joy that being able to live again gives. I was asked to speak, not only because of the extraordinary benefits I have experienced from the mineral supplements I have been taking, but also to educate others who have not been blessed with illness to understand the compassion needed when communicating with people suffering. Although I am naturally passionate about helping others to experience the same health benefits that I have, I am also aware of the complex issues that surround illness. Many of us become defined by our illness and if the illness is removed then something has to fill the vacuum created. We need to redefine who we are.
I have written before on ‘Who I am‘ and have spent much time contemplating why I am here and what I should be spending my time doing. Recently I have been working on quantifying my purpose in life and what I enjoy doing. I have always passionately believed that everyone has a gift, and that work is something to be enjoyed not endured. I know that I was extremely lucky to have had a career as an Artist, which was not only successful but also one I thoroughly enjoyed. Through being a successful artist I was able to work with helping other people take the step to leave their boring jobs and become artists if that was what their passion was, and I have even just signed up to a workshop with an Artist who once came on one of my courses!
What I find interesting is that I still have that passion, it still upsets me when friends are unhappy at work, are putting off their dreams and passions due to fears of earning a living. I also know that its no good telling other people to leave their jobs and financial security if I didn’t know for sure that it was possible, not only that, I had to be living proof that it was possible!
Today, I find myself in a new career that enables me to build financial security for myself and my family, it’s funding my studies and family holidays and by the end of the summer will be buying me a new car. I’m not having to sell my soul or compromise on my passions, I’m seeing some dear friends also have great improvements in their health, I’m hearing amazing stories and meeting new friends who’ve also had their lives transformed from taking the same minerals that I do. Then, to fill the vacuum left by illness healed, we’re all able to look to the future and realise our dreams.
I’ve met parents who can now work from home and spend time with their children, middle aged couples who have established a regular income for the rest of their lives to supplement a pension, and students who can finance their studies. It’s a different way of working, and not one I thought I’d ever be involved in, but it works, it’s fair and generous and so extremely rewarding.
Despite the rain and wind outside and our Tulip tree still sleeping, I am feeling fully alive and excited about what the coming year has to offer!
If you’d like to give your body the best opportunity for healing click here
I am also at Castle Cary Market every Tuesday selling my husbands cider vinegar & apple juice ( when in season), my home made herbal teas and beeswax polish plus sharing samples of the wonderful minerals that have changed my life for the better!