After my father had been moved to a closer hospital, towards the end of 2011, we were pleased that it would be a lot easier to visit him. Even so, this was a time when he was on a life support machine, so it wasn’t as if we could have a conversation with him.
There were times when I would take my mother up there and at other times, my granddad would also come along. My mother would say things to him, but this wasn’t something that I was able to do.
I Didn’t Know How to Respond
My grandmother had passed on when I was younger and my uncle had also lost his life a number of years before, so it wasn’t as though this was all new. I had also worked at a crematorium when I was younger.
However, what was different was that the person lying in front of me was my father - this time it was different. I did remember hearing about how someone can still hear what you say even though they are not conscious.
Back to Work
When I visited my father, it would usually be after I had finished work, and when I was at work I did what I could to carry on as normal.
Some of the people where I worked knew what was taking place, but I don’t think I spoke about it much; if I did, it was only with certain people. I just wanted to focus on what I was doing and not have people bring it up all the time.
No More Uncertainty
After a number of things were done to try to keep my father alive, it became clear that he wasn’t going to make it. If they had tried to do more, it would have just caused even more damage.
The life support machine would be tuned off and this would stop him from having to suffer any longer. I’m not sure how long they said that he would live for, but it wasn’t a very long time.
One Last Time
When I went to see my father, for what would the last time I would see him, I felt extremely tired. I sat down next to him and listened to what my mother had to see, and it wasn’t long before I fell asleep.
I think I had a dream, but I’m not sure; what I am sure about is that when I woke up, I had this sense that everything would be Ok. Intellectually, I wasn’t sure what had just taken place.
A Special Moment
Perhaps this was a time when another part of me was communicating with another part of my father, and this was why my mind had this outlook. Yet, as my father was unable to communicate with me directly, this makes sense.
This doesn’t mean that since my father has passed on my life has been a walk in the park, far from it. What I believe was meant by what I was told was that I would be able to handle what would happen in the future.
Whilst my father was in hospital, towards the end of 2011, I was working somewhere where I had the opportunity to speak to a lot of people. When I first started working there, there were a number of things that I enjoyed.
There were a number of people who I got on well with, and then there were the people who I spoke to each day. The manager wasn’t too bad either; generally, he was easy-going and fair.
A Big Difference
After I had been there for a few weeks, I was asked if I could stay behind and help move a few things. I was happy to do this, and the manger thanked me for what I had done once this had taken place.
I felt as though I was appreciated and valued, which caused me to feel as though I was part of the team. From this moment on, I was only too happy to help the manger in any way that I could.
There were plenty of customers who ended up becoming friends, and this meant that we would talk about all kinds of things. And when I didn’t have anything to do, it gave me the chance to think about life.
Being around so many people also meant that I picked up a lot of insights, and I would write about these later on. It wasn’t all positive, though, as I would often go home feeling burned out.
On the one hand, I loved speaking to people and listening to what they had to say and, on the other, I could have done with working fewer hours. Still, the energy I received through doing this made it a lot easier to handle.
However, the second year I was there just wasn’t the same, and there were a number of reasons for this. I was no longer the same person and it was a lot busier than it had been the previous year.
A Change of Scenery
During the second year that I was there, I was asked if I would like to work somewhere else that was owned by the same company. I thought that this would give me the chance to get out of there and to experience something different.
The trouble was that I was going there because they were under staffed, so it wasn’t going to be any easier. Due to what was taking place in my personal life, I certainly didn’t need any more stress at this point in my life.
The End of the Line
In the beginning I thought that it was fun being there, but my outlook started to change after I had been there for a few months. One afternoon, we had run out of something, and I said to a few customers that it would take about 15 minutes until we had more.
It turned out that one of these customers worked for one of the company’s that supplied the food that we were selling. The reason I knew this was because the manager came over after this had all settled down and told me that this person had complained.
Just another Person
I made it clear that I wasn’t rude to anyone, and the only thing I did was tell people that there wasn’t anything that I could do as we were understaffed. And the fact that this person worked for a fairly big company didn’t mean a lot to me.
In my eyes, the position they held at a company didn’t mean that they were more important than anyone else. I got the impression that this person had allowed their success to go to their head, and this was why they had a false sense of importance.
Putting Things into Perspective
Once this had taken place, I started to think about my father and this allowed me to put what had happened into perspective. My father was in a bad way and here was someone who was making a fuss over having to wait a few minutes for a few lettuce leaves.
Now, I understand that this person was not aware of what was going on in my personal life and that they had every right to be annoyed, but due to how I was experiencing life it made me think about how trivial their problem was. I thought that I no longer have time for this.
In the upcoming weeks and months, my patience started to run out; I was no longer willing to tolerate this kind of behaviour. It wasn’t long before I had to deal with another customer who complained about a drink that he had ordered.
The coffee machines had been changed in order to make more money, and these machines were nowhere near as fast as the old machines. This wasn’t the only time someone complained, though, as it happened a few more times.
The Time Had Come
In the beginning of 2012, I had had enough; I knew that I had to move on. I stopped working there and this gave me the time that I needed to write, amongst other things.
As I look back on this time in my life, it makes me think about how much of an effect our perspective has on our life. And once our perspective has changed, we can no longer go back to who we were before.
As I have said in a previous article, my father had to go into hospital in the middle of 2011, and this was a time when I was under a lot of stress. My mother had had a stroke the previous year and soon my life would change once again.
During the time that my father was in hospital, I would help to run our family guest house when I wasn’t at work. I had a lot going on at this time, and this helped to keep my mind off what was taking place.
At Other Times
And when I wasn’t at work or helping out at home, I would often be out socialising or doing some kind of exercise. I was doing Yoga, Pilates, Kung Fu, Salsa Dancing and swimming, amongst other things.
I found that while the exercise allowed me to let off steam, socialising with others had a positive effect on my wellbeing. I enjoyed meeting new people and speaking to the people I already knew.
This was also a time when I was buying a lot of music, and this was because it had a positive effect on my mood. I had bought albums before, but not as many as I bought at this stage of my life.
I was also working with someone called Vincenzo Santiglia, who I had met on a course that I did in Antwerp, Belgium. Through working with him, my ability to observe my thoughts, emotions and sensations dramatically improved.
A Big Difference
This time in my life would have been a lot harder if he wasn’t around, and I would have found it a lot harder to observe my inner world. Another person who made a big difference, during this challenging time in my life, was a friend called Ben.
There were moments when I needed to speak about what was going on, and he would listen and offer his support. I had only known him for under a year, but it seemed as though I had known him for ages.
When I look back on this time in my life, there are a number of things that stand out, and one of the things that stand out is what happened after I came home from work one evening. There were three people staying that night who wanted to use the Jacuzzi; however, for some reason it didn’t work.
I said to one of them that the only person who knew how to fix it was my father, but he wouldn’t be able to do anything as he was in hospital. This was not something that they had paid for, though, so it wasn’t as if they were missing out.
The Unexpected Happened
I then apologised and said that I would see what I could do to get it working. If I remember rightly, this person was able to find the instructions online, and this then allowed them to get it working.
After this, I spoke to the same person again, and towards the end of the conversation they said something like “I don’t care if your father is in hospital!” I couldn’t believe what had just come out of their mouth.
So, although my lower brain would have loved to have taken over at this point, another part of me had more than enough to deal with already without getting caught up in what had just been said. And, as this was a time when I was under a lot of stress, I wasn’t looking to create more.
Still, I did wonder how someone could say something like this. And even though I’m not religious, what did come to mind was the following saying: “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
If I had allowed the lower part of me to take over and I attacked this person, I might have felt better for a short while. But after I had settled down, I would have felt disgusted with myself.
Perhaps this person found it hard to empathise with others; they might even have had something wrong with their brain, who knows. What I do know is that responding in a violent manner wouldn’t have solved anything.
As I look back on my journey, I can see that there have been a number of moments when what I was doing no longer worked. And, when this has happened, it has caused me to look for something else.
One of the moments that comes to mind is in the middle of 2009, as this was a time when what I was doing was no longer cutting it. Soon enough, I came into contact with someone called Simon Rose.
Although I can’t remember exactly how I came across his website, what I do remember is that it showed up at just the right time. His method of healing was called Reference Point Therapy, and this was all about getting to the root of the problem.
And as this was something that appealed to me (and still does), I ended up reading his blog. Soon after, I ended up getting in contact with him in order to find out more about what this method was all about.
The Next Step
After hearing more, I soon came to the conclusion that I needed to learn about what this guy was teaching. I think it was only a matter of weeks or months before he would be teaching a few courses in London.
Once I had signed up for these courses, I couldn’t wait to get started - I was raring to go. During the time that I was on these courses, what stood out was that he was sharp, smart and knew what he was talking about.
There Was More
There was another course after this, but I wasn’t sure about whether I was going to do it. In the mean time, I had the chance to go along to a free healing clinic, which was part of the final course, at a university in London.
My father and a close friend also came along too. This was a time when I had the chance to find out more about this course, and my father and my friend were able to experience the technique for themselves.
I decided to do the next course in Belgium, and this was a time when I learnt about boundaries for the first time. Whilst I was on this course, I thought about how this was someone who had good boundaries.
Before this, I don’t think I had ever seen someone behave in an assertive manner; he didn’t walk over others and neither did he allow other people to walk over him. I soon realised how important it was to have boundaries.
A Big Effect
When we have boundaries, we will feel safe enough to express who we are, and this will allow us to say yes, and no, at the right moments. As if we can’t say no, they we can’t say yes either.
The reason for this is that if we can’t say no, we will only be saying yes to please others. Our own needs are then going to be ignored and this is going to make it hard for us to live a fulfilling life.
After hearing Dov Baron speak about how important our beliefs are, through an interview I listened to in December 2006, I searched for more information on this topic. Ultimately, I was looking for a way to change or remove what I believed.
I spent a little while going over the information that came up on a search engine and, after a little while, I came across a website that stood out. What I had found was a healing technique that would do just that – change what I believed.
Tell Me More
The person who offered this technique was someone called Tracy Holloway. I looked though the website a number of times and, as I had a number of questions, I sent her an email.
It didn’t take long before I heard back from her, and after I had found out more about what it was all about, I felt that I should take the next step. I booked an appointment, which would take place over the phone.
A Big Step
This was the first person I had reached out to, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I soon found out that I had nothing to worry about, she was warm, compassionate, understanding and supportive.
Due to the kind of women who were around me when I was growing up, I was amazed that a woman could be like this. I ended up going on a number of courses that she taught, and this was a time when I first started to connect with people who were also on the path.
This was a time when I received the validation that I desperately needed, and a big part of this related to being told that what I was going through was ok and that there was nothing inherently wrong with me. I didn’t really know why my life was a struggle at this point, but what I did know was that I needed support.
While this was going on, my family found out about what I was doing, and I ended up being criticised. I had a rough idea how they had found out, but it didn’t really matter who it was at this point.
As far as they were concerned, I was just wasting my money, and this just proved to me how out of touch they were. I was struggling but they were unable to see this; perhaps they didn’t want to see it.
However, I knew that I had to do something, which is why I wasn’t prepared to stop what I was doing in order to please them. I then started to feel better and, at the same time, I had more pressure to than normal to deal with.
If I hadn’t listened to myself back then, I have no doubt that I would be a very different person today. What I believe this emphasises is how important it is for us to listen to ourselves, and to trust our own judgement.
This is not always easy, though; especially if we have always had people around us who believe that they know what is best for us. Still, with patience and persistence, this is something that can be developed.
In the middle of 2011, my father had to go into hospital in order to have an operation. I drove him there and expected to be bringing him home in the not too distant future.
At the time, I thought that this was just a routine operation and that he would soon be out of hospital. What also played a part here is that he had been unwell for many years, and so it wasn’t unusual for him to go to the hospital.
However, what we soon found out was that due to this age there was far more risk than there would be if he was younger. Therefore, there was no guarantee that it would be a success.
If I remember rightly, this was something that he had to have done; there wasn’t an alternative. The operation went ahead but it didn’t go to plan, and what made it even worse was that this took place at a hospital that was over an hour away.
He ended up on life support, and many conversations were had with the members of staff in regards to what may or may not happen. My mother, granddad and I went to the hospital in London on a number of occasions.
My sister lived a lot closer, so it was a lot easier for her to visit him. This all changed when he was moved to a hospital that was closer to us, and this meant that it was harder for my sister to visit him.
There Was Hope
When he was moved to a hospital nearby, there was the chance that he would pull through. Finally, we all had some good news, and we believed that it would only be a matter of time before he would be coming home.
This was short-lived, though, and it soon became clear that he wasn’t going to pull through. It was soon decided that the best thing would be to turn off the life support machine and to let him pass on.
Naturally, this was the last thing that we wanted to happen, but we didn’t want him to suffer any longer. He had been through enough, and the time had come for him to finally be at peace.
When he did pass on, I was just coming back from work, and this was a time when it didn’t quite understand what had taken place. I was so overwhelmed with stress at this point that it didn’t sink in.
Out of It
The year before this my mother had a stroke, and this was something that had wiped me out. My mother had changed and my father was no longer here, yet I felt numb and disconnected a lot of the time.
I felt as though I had to keep everything together and to act as though nothing affected me. Shortly after this had taken place, I went to a social club that I had been going to for a number of years, and whilst I was there I spoke to a friend about what had taken place.
We didn’t get the chance to say much to each other, but they sent me a message online shortly afterwards. There were a number of things that they said to me, and one thing they said was “you seem super strong”.
Out of Touch
In reality, I was completely overwhelmed, and it wasn’t long before I could no longer maintain this image. It was only a matter of time before I would fall right down, and I then had no other choice than to face what was taking place within me.
What I came to see is how important it is to have a strong connection with what it taking place within me and to reach out for external support when necessary. As I began to heal the pain that was within me, I gradually began to feel like a whole human being.
In early 2000, I started to learn a martial art, and for a little while before this I had thought about doing something. What had a played part here was that I had been watching films with Jean-Claude Van Damme in.
And while I ended up learning a different marital art to the one I had in mind, I soon forgot about this. I would do this once a week and this would be a time when my father would watch from the side.
A New Beginning
What I found, after doing this for a little while, is that I became more confident, which meant that more of my personality started to appear. I think a lot of this came down to the fact that I was in a new environment.
There wasn’t anyone there who would take the limelight, and this allowed me to express myself. Whereas when I was around my mother and sister, it was often hard for me to do this.
This was then a by-product of being in another environment as opposed to something that I believed would happen. Still, deep down I wanted to be able to be me and to no longer be overshadowed.
So, learning a martial art was one way for me to fulfil a need that I was completely aware of, and I ended up fulfilling a number of other needs that were just under the surface, so to speak. Naturally, I was expected to be serious and to focus on what was taking place during a class.
There were times when this took place and times when I ended up behaving in another way. My humorous side would often come out, and I got a real buzz from making some of the people laugh.
I wasn’t the only one though, as the trainer clearly liked to do the same thing. But while most people there would look up to the trainer and not saying anything, I was only too happy to stand my ground and answer back.
A Big Shock
And even though I was there to learn a certain martial art, but there were moments when we did other things. On one of these occasions, I asked the trainer where they had learnt about these techniques.
I was simply curious, I asked because I wanted to know; it wasn’t due to me having an ulterior motive. Well, let’s just say that I didn’t get much of an answer, and after they had walked off, I soon had a few of their acolytes come over to me.
On The Spot
One of things that I was told was that “I shouldn’t have asked them that”, to which I said that I was only curious. The people who came and spoke to me were around half the age of the trainer.
So it was not as if the trainer was too young to stand up for themselves and not only this, the trainer was a very good martial artist, to say the least. Shorty after this happened; I got the impression that this was someone who wasn’t very secure in themselves.
Built On Sand
At the time, I felt that I had been treated unfairly, and my father found it hard to believe what had taken place. In many ways, this was another nail in the coffin, and I don’t think I went for much longer after that.
As time went by I started to think about how even though this person came across as strong and capable, perhaps that this was not how they truly felt on the inside. What this shows is that even though someone can come across as having it all together, it doesn’t mean that this is actually the case.
After I had got back from Australia and Bali in 2003, I started to change quite rapidly. Before I had been away, I had only read a few books, and these were books that I had to read for school.
But after being drawn to a book whilst I was in Australia, I was now reading on a regular basis. The book that I bought whilst I was away was written was by Louis L Hay, and shortly after I got back I started to read another book that she had written.
Reading these books was like being given food after going without it for a few days; I couldn’t get enough. After I had read the second book, I started to read books on Buddhism.
What may have play a part here is that when I was in Australia I visited a Buddhist temple. This was the Nan Tien Temple on the southern outskirts of the Australian city of Wollongong.
Loss of Interest
Through reading these books, I started to lose interest in some of the things that I had done before. I was the kind of person who made just about everyone laugh on a night out, and this usually meant that I was quiet harsh at times.
Yet, as a result of being away and reading about Buddhist, I no longer wanted to behave in this way. I didn’t want to judge people either, and the people I spent time with found it hard to understand what was going on, understandably so.
Out of Balance
As time when by I came to see that I had gone too far, and after a little while I gradually started to come back into the middle. I would go out but I wouldn’t be able to behave in the same way.
And as I had changed, I no longer felt as connected as I did before to the people I was spending time with. Even so, we continued to spend time together and there were times when it seemed as though nothing had changed.
But as I had changed and the people around me were still the same, there was only ever going to be one outcome. There was a moment that I remember clearly to this day, that had a big effect on the relationship I had with someone at the time.
I made it clear that I didn’t want to behave in a certain way anymore and he wasn’t willing to accept this. And although I was severely criticised by them, it wasn’t the first time that I had been on the receiving end of one of their tirades.
After this we still spoke, but I came to see that our relationship was over. I had got to the point where I was no longer emotionally connected to the relationship.
So, while we still had the memories, what we didn’t have was friendship that was going anywhere. It wasn’t as if I had other friends at this point who were on the same page, though, but that didn’t hold me back.
Part of Life
At the time, I felt let down, and I couldn’t understand why this was taking place. Yet as time passed, I was able to realise that not all relationships are supposed to last forever.
We are, after all, individuals, and as we change the kind of people who we want to spend time with can change. And if we do change, there is no guarantee that the people we spend time with will also change, and why should they.
In the middle of October 2010, a friend and I had decided to go out for the night in a city nearby. There were a number of places where we had gone in the past, and tonight we were likely to go to the same places.
The first place that we went to wasn’t very busy, and so we soon left and looked for somewhere else to go. If I remember rightly, the next place that we went to wasn’t any better.
So, before long we headed back to the same venue as before and it was just as empty as it had been. And just like before, we walk out and looked for somewhere that would have more going on.
At this point, we could have said that it’s not worth staying out and called it a night, but we were happy to wait a little longer. I think we may have gone somewhere else for a little while, yet this wasn’t busy either.
The Last Throw of the Dice
What made a difference here is that we were not spending a lot of money each time we went somewhere, as we were not drinking alcohol. Also, we didn’t need to pay to get into any of these places.
After a little while, we thought that we would go back to this place one more time and, if it wasn’t very busy, we wouldn’t go there again. This time it was different, though, as one of the doorman asked to see my wallet.
What’s going on?
I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I gave him my wallet and he started to rub the cards over his jacket. I said to him that the wallet was fairly old, so there was bound to be some dust on it.
As we had been in out and out a number of times, he believed that we were doing drugs in there. In reality, the reason why we had left so many times was because it wasn’t busy.
Something to Talk About
After this had taken place, my friend and I spoke about what had happened, and I started to think about how it wasn’t possible for this guy to see what was actually taking place. Instead, he was projecting his reality onto what we were doing.
And this was probably a reality where he was used to dealing with people who were going in there to do drugs. It was either that night or a little while after that I felt the need to write about what had just happened.
My Writing Journey Began
This experience is what inspired me to write my first article, which was titled Defence Mechanism: Projection. Up until this point, I had been writing in a journal, so it wasn’t as if I just happened to write an article.
I enjoyed writing it and it wasn’t long before I had something else that I wanted to write about. In the beginning I only wrote a few articles a month and this changed as the years went by.
A Big Surprise
If someone had said to me when I was younger that I would be writing articles and books when I was older, I would have found it very hard to believe. This was a time when I wasn’t even interested in reading books, let alone writing them.
If I was asked what I would been doing when I was older, I probably would have said that I would be doing something outside. I wasn’t interested in being in a class room or doing anything intellectual.
What this makes me think about is how important it is for us to receive the right nutrients, so to speak. If we are given the right support and guidance, we will be able to grow and develop.
Without this, we can be like a seed without water or sunlight; it won’t be possible for us to realise our potential. And, through being this way, it can be normal for us to believe that we are not capable of much.
The other day I was reading a book that was written by M.Scott Peck, and this caused me to think about a number of different things. For some reason, I started to think about doing some kind of course at college.
As a result of this, I had a look at what courses were on offer at a college nearby. One of the courses that interested me was an introductory course on counselling; this seemed like something that I would enjoy.
A Closer Look
So, the next time I was in the area, I headed over to the college and spoke to someone about the course. I was told that it would only be for a few hours each week and that it would last for ten weeks.
But in order for me to get onto the course, I would have to come back for an interview. At this point, I was in two minds; I wasn’t completely convinced that this was something that I wanted to do.
The fact that it was only going to be for a few hours a week made me think that this wouldn’t be enough. However, while this was something that I wasn’t too keen on, there were other things that interested me.
I would be meeting different people and I would be able to find out more about what counselling was all about, amongst other things. When I came back in a few days for the interview, I still wasn’t sure if this was the right thing for me to do.
The Big Day
At the beginning of the interview, I found out more about what kind of things I would be doing on the course. And although it would only be a few hours each week, there would be a lot of work that I would have to do in my own time.
Once this part was over, I was given a load of forms to fill in, and this was when it started to get interesting. This wasn’t a time when I just had to write down my name, address and what kind of grades I had, for instance, there was a lot more to it.
A New Experience
One of the forms that I had to fill in had about six different boxes, and in each box was a mental and emotional experience. There were three options available for each box, and these were: yes, no, and in the past.
And, if I ticked the yes box, I then had to explain the effect that it was having on my life. When I saw what was listed in these boxes I nearly fell off my chair; it was as if I was seeing things.
Part of Life
I couldn’t believe that I was being asked I had ever experienced anxiety. I turned to the person next to me and said that it was a bit strange that we were being asked this question, along with a few of the others that were on their.
It was similar to being asked I had ever eaten food or had something to drink – I found it hard to take it all seriously. After all, being able to experience anxiety is part of the human experience and not a sign that something is wrong.
Yet, the fact that they had to mention anxiety shows that it is seen as a problem, as opposed to a normal part of life. At the same time, it could be said that they have to ask these questions due to the kind of course that it is.
This is understandable, but then do they really believe that there are people out there who have never experienced anxiety? If someone was to tick the box that said they have never experienced anxiety, would they be lying or would they be unable to experience emotions in general?
Making the Normal Abnormal and the Abnormal Normal
As I look back on this, it makes me think about how what it means to be a human being is being redefined. Being anxious or depressed, for instance, from time to time is no longer seen as part of life; it is seen as a sign that someone has mental health problems.
Now, clearly there is a difference between being anxious or depressed from time to time and always being this way. When someone is unable handle life because of something like this, the best thing will be for them to reach out for the right support.