This year started out as one massive shit storm for me.
I woke up one morning and decided that I didn’t like my life anymore; that I had [broadly speaking] lived the same day over and over again for most of my 20s and that this had to stop. I could not live this same day anymore.
So I packed up my stuff, left my long-term boyfriend, and moved myself [reluctantly] back in with my parents (and my brother).
The morning after that, I received a heartbreaking, gut wrenching, world destroying message from one of my friends who I love very dearly. Life was never going to be the same.
There was a genuine, very deep feeling of ultimate loss.
My mind and my body became disconnected from one another and I began to simply exist in a fuzz. I imagine from an outside perspective I must have looked somewhat like the screen when the TV isn’t tuned in, except in 3D, making my way around the house aimlessly.
I am extremely grateful that I happened to be living at home during this period of my life. I mean, at the time of course I didn’t feel grateful. I didn’t feel anything except broken into a thousand tiny pieces. But now I look back, I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for the love and support of my mother I would be in dire straits right now [not the band, obviously].
She fed me. I know that sounds ridiculous but she did [and still does]. I didn’t know what the time was, what day it was, if I had slept, if I had had anything to drink, or if I had eaten. All I knew is that my phone kept buzzing with messages from well meaning people asking me questions and checking if I was ok.
And she fed me.
I’ve never needed my mum more than I did for the first few months of this year. And there she was, dinner in one hand, tissues in the other, sat with me at the dining room table, eating dinner with me; making sure I knew what love was when my entire world had crumbled around my ears.
She cried with me and she held me SO tight – as if she knew I was breaking into a thousand tiny pieces and she wanted to try to keep as many of those pieces together as she could.
It’s her birthday today and she’s 60 years old. Happy birthday Mum!
She’s spent the majority of those 60 years looking after other people. And I have never been more grateful to be one of those people.
She isn’t the only one I am grateful for. There was one particular night where I felt unsure whether or not the sun would rise, or at the very least if I would be around to see it. I couldn’t stop crying. And I mean CRYING. I have never in all of my life, through all of the trials, tribulations and losses I have endured, EVER cried like that before. I thought at one point I might just turn into a puddle. My mum was away that night and I reached out to several people, I reached out to everyone I could think of. But no one had any words for me. No one knew what to say and no one came to my door to save me. I was desperate. I had one last person on my list to contact, but they were over 10,000 miles away. I pressed send anyway and by some miracle [and I genuinely believe this was miraculous] I got a response. And another. And another. And after about an hour I realised I had managed to stop crying. The water had stopped pouring from my eyes and I probably wasn’t going to turn into a puddle. What’s more, it was highly likely I would be around for sunrise the following day.
You saved my life. You don’t even realise it. But you did. And I am eternally grateful for that.
After a while [I can’t be sure exactly how long] I started to feel a bit less fuzzy and I realised that, while my mother was keeping me alive for the moment, I needed to do something for myself. I needed to start to gather up the thousands of tiny pieces I had broken into, and start to mould myself back together into something that resembled me. And not just me, but a version of me that wasn’t going to live the same day over and over again for the rest of her 20s; a version of me that I recognised in the mirror.
So I logged into Amazon.
Yep. That’s right. I found myself on Amazon.co.uk
I’m kidding. [Partly.] But what I did find was a host of books that started to help me create appropriate thought patterns that have ultimately led me to where I am today – the happiest version of myself that I have been for a very long time. Years in fact. Maybe even almost a decade. In truth, I don’t actually remember ever feeling this happy before [disclaimer: I have a bad memory].
Now of course I have been happy before, but this kind of happy is something different. This is an adult kind of happy. This is a personal growth kind of happy. The kind of happy that you read about in celeb biographies: “I knew right then that I was in exactly the right place, at the right time, and I was doing what I was put on this earth to do”. That kind of happy. Though clearly I have a way to go yet, I’m not quite ‘doing what I was put on this earth to do’, but I am a million times closer to that than I have ever been before. How do I know that? Because I feel it in my gut. Right down inside me – in my heart, in my soul, in my very being – I am on the right path!
I had some help in choosing these books. So while we are being grateful for people, I’d like to take a moment to be grateful for H & H. Separately, but at the same time, they’ve given me books and authors, listened to my crazy, ENCOURAGED my crazy [which I think they will agree has probably just made me worse], and generally loved me throughout this entire process. And continue to do so.
Thank you. Both of you.
I’ll write about these books over time. But the one I want to speak about first is ‘Love is Letting Go of Fear’ by Gerald G. Jampolsky.
Now, the cover isn’t very inspiring. And I appreciate the title is a little woo woo (as H likes to call it). But I promise you this is the most effective, short and easy read that will change your life in the biggest way.
I read this book in a couple of hours. It has pictures. And big font. And it is laid out so that you can refer back to it by opening a random page and feeling instantly better.
It breaks down life experiences, the complexity of human existence and emotion, into two elements: fear and love. And it works.
It gives you directions and guides you through changing your thought patterns to improve your experience of life exponentially.
Now stick with me here…
You know those days when EVERYTHING GOES WRONG. Omg. You wake up and from the moment you step out of bed, everything you touch seems to just go to shit. Then you’re in a bad mood. And it becomes one thing after another – continual cycle. And you start to believe that everything that happens to you that day is going to be shit. And it is. You were right! And you write it off as ‘one of those days’.
Well, in the words of Mr Jampolsky:
“We all have the power to direct our minds to replace the feelings of being upset, depressed, and fearful [everything is going to shit] with the feeling of inner peace.
“I am tempted to believe that I am upset because of what other people do or because of circumstances and events that seem beyond my control. I may experience being upset as some form of anger, jealousy, resentment, or depression. Actually, all of these feelings represent some form of fear that I am experiencing. When I recognise that I always have the choice between being fearful or experiencing Love by extending Love to others, I need no longer be upset for any reason.”
And it is true. And it works.
If you are confronted by an angry person [kicking, screaming, shouting, swearing, however you’d like to imagine them] and you respond with more of the same [kicking, screaming, shouting etc.] then the feelings of fear/anger multiply and escalate and everyone feels bad.
If you respond to that angry/fearful person with love and kindness, and you ask them to take and seat and explain what’s wrong, use a softer tone and offer them a glass of water, the feelings of fear/anger dissipate.
The same is true of your inner dialogue. The way you speak to yourself. All day every day we speak to ourselves internally, in our heads [and out loud!] – we speak to ourselves more than we speak to anyone else. It is therefore imperative that we use the right language and we speak to ourselves with love, not fear.
This book helped me to do that. It gave me the tools to experience love more often than I experience fear.
And so it is, that life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it. I am living proof of that, and miraculously so is my friend who I love very dearly.