In September 2005 I ended up studying music technology, and this was due to a number of reasons. Firstly, I was into dance music and wanted to learn how to create my own music and, secondly, I didn’t know what else to do.
During this time, I thought I would be spending a lot of time learning how to make dance music. I was sadly mistaken, though, as I had to learn about other areas of music that had very little do to with creating it.
I Couldn’t Believe It
Still, I worked hard and ended up getting a distinction. Even though the course wasn’t extremely hard, I was surprised by how well I did; especially after I didn’t do very well at school.
When it came to my last year at school, the highest grade I got was a D, and this was for English. My lecturer at college was aware of how hard I had worked as she said that she could see this wasn’t something that came easy to me.
The Next Level
I was proud of what I had achieved, and I ended up going onto the next level, which was a two year course. Whilst I was doing the first year, I had a friend who was great at producing music and knew exactly what he was doing when it came to technical side of things.
And although I got the highest grade, there were times when I felt like a fish out of water. I thought here is someone who knows exactly what he is doing and there are people out there who can produce great music, so why am I wasting my time!?
It Got Better
Yet, while this was something I reflected on, I didn’t know what else I would do at this stage of my life. What I was doing wasn’t the perfect match for me but I thought it was better than doing anything else that came to my mind at this time.
I was during the second year that I met someone called Brian. There was something about this guy that stood out, and this made me reach out to him.
The Third Year
After got to know him, I came to see that we were on same level; in fact, I couldn’t believe that I had met someone like this whilst I was at college. I had met people on courses who were open-minded and into what I was into, but I hadn’t met anyone in my day-to-day life who was like this.
This was someone who was open to learning about what was going on behind the scenes, so to speak, and about psychology, amongst other things. In many ways, it was worth doing the second part of this course just to meet him.
A Two-Way Street
In addition to what I shared with him, there was also the support and validation that he provided. If I spoke about what I was into to my family, I would often end up being criticised and told to stop preaching, amongst other things, and most of my other friends at the time were not into what I was into.
I simply wanted to share what I had learnt and to help my family, and it hurt that I was being treated in this way. Based on how they were behaving, it was as if I was trying to sell them a virus.
A Big Effect
There was a time when were walking from college into town when Brian said that “I had a way with words.” It was this moment, along with all of the other moments that we shared together, that had a big effect on how I came to see myself.
As although I believed in what I had to say, there was another part of me that wasn’t as supportive. So I am extremely grateful that our paths crossed all those years ago.
Towards the end of 2014, I felt a lot better than I did in the beginning of 2013, and what also played a part here is that I had recently been away. I had gone to Mexico for my sister’s wedding in June that year.
Going away gave me a lift and, when I came back, I wondered why I didn’t go away more often. I enjoyed the warm weather, meeting new people, trying different food and finding out about what Mexico was like.
Time for a Different Approach
So, as I felt better, I knew that what I had been doing to heal the pain within me was no longer working. If I hadn’t gone away during this time, I probably would have continued to do the same thing.
Ultimately, I wasn’t prepared to go back to how I felt before. But while I wasn’t prepared to do this, I still had to find a way to go to the next level; this wasn’t something that would just happen.
As time went by, I gradually returned to how I felt before I went away. This wasn’t the end of the world, though, as I was able to get in touch with how I felt whilst I was away – I had a new reference point.
I was during this time that I was reading a book called ‘Heartwounds: Role of Unresolved Grief and Trauma in Relationships’ by Tian Dayton. Through reading this book, and looking at other sources, I came to see that I was carrying a lot of grief.
In august, after I had been back for a number of weeks, I looked for a therapist who did SHEN therapy. I had been working with someone who practiced this therapy, but I thought that I had gone as far as I could with this person.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t a case of anyone would do, I wanted to find someone who had worked with people who had experienced grief. I soon came across someone called Vijay Rana.
The Real Deal
On the website that he had at the time, he spoke about his own experience of overcoming grief, amongst other things. I knew instantly that this was someone who I had to work with.
The loss of my father in 2011 and the neglect I experienced as a child were two of the things that had played a part in the grief I was carrying. After I worked With Vijay for the first time, I could see that this was someone who knew what he was doing.
As Time Went By
During this time, I developed the ability to contain my emotions, and this took place through letting go of the emotional pain that was within me and through being affirmed. And, as I got stronger, I was able to cry out a lot of the pain that was within me.
For around a year, I ended up crying for at least ten minutes each day. This was generally something that I consciously chose to do, as opposed to something that just happened.
I Had To Do It
Listening to music, looking at old pictures and visiting my father’s grave were some of the ways in which I was able to do this. I didn’t feel much better when I first started crying, but as the months went by I gradually felt better.
Now that I have been through this process, I realise how important it is to be able to cry. Before this took place, I thought that crying was a sign of weakness, but now I understand that this is something that takes strength.
A little while before I headed to Bournemouth for New Years Eve, in 2012, I had been texting a woman I had met online. At this point, I didn’t know a great deal about her, but I was keen to meet her.
I think it was just after New Year’s Day that we arranged a time to meet and, when I met her for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised. What came to mind was that this is someone who looks far better in person than they do in their pictures.
It Went From There
The first time we met, we got to know each other better, and after this we arranged to meet again. Next time we went somewhere else and, the time after that, we had a meal.
After we had been seeing each other for a number of weeks, I said that I was happy to see where it would go. She had a similar outlook, as she was also happy to see where it would go.
I Thought I Was Building Something
This was a time when I pleased to have found someone to share my life with; especially after my grandfather had passed away the year before and my father the year before that. It was as if my life was finally going in the right direction.
There were more meals, nights out and all the other things that two people do together. However, soon something would happen that would end up changing everything, and before this happened, I did get a sense that something would happen.
I had arranged to meet a friend for a coffee and on my way there, I got this sense that I would see her there. But rather than feel good about this, I felt as though this wasn’t a good idea.
My head didn’t know what was going on, but another part of me knew that something bad was going to happen. Yet, even though I soon forgot about what was going through my mind whilst I was driving down, the unexpected happened.
I couldn’t believe it
Or should I say, it wasn’t long before what another part of me expected to happen, happened. Even so, I didn’t have long to think about this as I couldn’t get my head around what had just taken place.
She came in with her friends and didn’t really acknowledge me; her friends made more of an effort. I felt completely ignored, and it was clear to me that something wasn’t right.
The Next Day
Soon after this happened, I knew that we needed to talk about what had taken place. I sensed that it was over, but I wanted to talk about what was going for me and to hear about what was going on for her.
I felt angry and hurt, amongst other things, but I wasn’t going to blame her for how I felt; I knew that if I did this, it would make things even worse. Besides, what was taking place within me was my responsibility not hers.
That Was It
We got together the day after and spoke about what took place, and it became clear that our time together had come to an end. I couldn’t understand how this could have happened - I thought that my life was on the up.
I was sadly mistaken; in fact, I would soon end up hitting rock bottom. I had felt bad before, but I hadn’t felt as bad as I did after my time with her came to an end.
There Was More to It, A Lot More
What I came to see was that I didn’t just feel this was because the relationship came to an end - that was only a small part of it. The main reason why I felt so bad was largely due to what had been triggered from my past.
There was the loss of my father that I hadn’t grieved, and there was the neglect that I experienced when I was younger. Fortunately, I had developed the ability to observe my inner world and I knew why I felt the way that I did.
A Long Battle
This allowed me to keep my head above water, so to speak, and to reach out for the right support. I had to dig deep during these moments in my life, that’s for sure.
Without realising it, a lot of pain that been building up within me, and the time had come for me to face this pain. At the time, it was horrible, but it could now be seen as a blessing in disguise.
This pain needed to be faced and released, and in order for this to take place, I had to attach to someone. If the person I spent time with didn’t have much of an effect on me, this wouldn’t have happened.
And, once this attachment was broken, it allowed the pain that was hidden within me to come to the surface. This was a time in my life when I was finally strong enough to face this pain.
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 say, 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.