Make loving yourself a priority today

On the day that the capitalist world tells us to give out love, (and spend money on pointless tat), be rebellious; make loving yourself a priority… 

Self - love

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Altazar’s life transformed the moment he decided he could no longer fit himself into the boxes of our ‘cultural matrix’

Pretty much anyone who has #Emerged Proud to date could probably relate to Altazar’s words of wisdom here;

“Who I was being had no relevance to my true self. My identity was in meltdown. And I knew this crisis had been brewing for a long time…. I decided that I had to be true to myself, whatever that looked like, or die in the process.”

It’s usually the meaning we find within the crisis that points us in the direction of our purpose. We have to succumb to the emotions we’ve been repressing, often for years, for the healing journey to begin. However, calming the Ego enough to let go and trust this necessary fall is not at all and easy thing to do, as Altazar recounts through his story…
Altazar headshot

I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental disorder. Probably because, somehow, I had the nous to stay out of the medical system. Nevertheless, I believe my experience would today be classified as a mental/emotional breakdown and burnout. I was walking down the street having arguments with myself – out loud, for Christ’s sake!

When I realised this I got very scared. I certainly did not want it on my medical records jeopardising future employment prospects, loading insurance premiums or producing any other unnecessary challenges in my life.

I was 37 years old, working as an electrical design engineer in a well-paid very rational male-dominated industry. However, that industry was in deep recession and my job would soon disappear with no hope of finding anything similar. My marriage was falling apart. I was completely shut down emotionally. My life was a mess. I was certainly depressed. I was toxic to be around.

Looking back now it’s obvious that I was going through a major spiritual awakening. I’d been living my life inside the boxes prescribed by convention. Outwardly I looked successful, but I hated myself. Those boxes I’d put myself in never did fit me and they’d led me to be very fragmented. I was different people for different aspects of my life, and inauthentic in virtually all of them.

Who I was being had no relevance to my true self. My identity was in meltdown. And I knew this crisis had been brewing for a long time.

I needed to sort myself out. I had no idea how, but I decided that I had to be true to myself, whatever that looked like, or die in the process. If I couldn’t find some real meaning to my existence and integrate that into the way I lived I did not want to be here.

By chance I was in the old St Pancras library one day in my lunchtime and picked up a flyer for a ten-week course about stress and burnout. I read it and ticked all the boxes twice over. It was like someone had left it there especially for me. I signed up immediately.

To the person I was then, it was all weird. There were some basic psychological exercises (Transactional Analysis), story-telling, role-playing, reflexology, massage and meditation. It was the meditation that saved me.

We were taught a version of the Buddhist Metta Bhavana (loving kindness) practice. It saved my life. I embraced it wholeheartedly, as if something in me remembered it from another existence.

My marriage collapsed; my job disappeared. It took about two years to regain some sense of equilibrium after that.

I practised my meditation daily, although I did nothing else metaphysical for about five years. But I was changing.

I found a job that I could manage easily and I enrolled in a part-time degree course at what is now Middlesex University, reading English. I wanted to take a completely different direction. That was where the five years went.

Initially the degree was something to keep me busy and at home, as my fourteen-year-old son chose to live with me instead of his mother. But I evolved; I did well, and I got interested in psychoanalytic literary criticism – something most other students avoided like the plague.

As I got deeper into how we make meaning of things I started to see the meanings I’d made up about my own existence. My interpretations of my experiences had plainly accumulated into a perception of myself and life in general that just had to implode at some point. I was seeing why I’d made such a mess of my life. Coupled with the meditation practice this enabled me to accept and forgive myself for much of the mess I’d created.

I graduated with a good first class honours that allowed me to be accepted directly onto a PhD programme without taking an interim master’s degree. I was researching how we make sense of ourselves through linguistic structures. Ultimately, this was analysing my own process through close examination of the way I made meaning out of various texts, and how I mapped that onto the reality of my life.

And just as I was getting into my PhD I got a shock. What I now know as my healing channels opened spontaneously in meditation. I had no reference points for this, and again I was scared. My body tingled with energy from head to toe. I could visualise it, and turn it on and off.

At this time I was also in a new relationship, with someone who had a passing interest in spirituality. I didn’t tell my partner about my experience for a few days; when I did she encouraged me to explore the realm of spiritual healing. I had nothing to lose, so that was the beginning of a sojourn through New Age spirituality that lasted several years.

It was a lot of fun and sometimes very scary. I found the territory populated with a mixture of sincerity and superficiality, integrity and exploitation. It was a minefield.

There was LOADS of emotional work: buckets full of tears and rage. There was more than one experience of what is known generically as the dark night of the soul, which is more accurately the mind going into a flat spin because nothing it knows can cope with the fractures in its sense of reality.

But I was on a path. There was enough consistency in my spiritual adventures to keep me engaged.

I looked at various forms of energy healing, in an attempt to give myself some kind of label, and I learned a great deal from all of them. The most commonly recognised form I learned was Reiki, which I actually taught for four years. But, I’ve been consistently driven to find my own way.

As a child I could remember being a man in another life – I still can; I saw things – beings, entities that “weren’t there” according to my parents – I still do. However, I went into denial about my inherent spiritual nature for nearly thirty years because of a difficult experience with religion at the age of ten turned me against anything religious, and by implication spiritual.

Since my initial episode of mental instability I’ve gradually been better able to join the dots of my life into a coherent picture. That picture is not static, which is also a challenge to a mind that craves stability, but it gets clearer all the time.

What is crystal clear is that there are few reliable reference points in our culture for the process of spiritual awakening. Hearing voices and seeing visions may not book your ticket to the funny farm, but it will qualify you for some addictive medication to slug your sensitivity – if you tell the wrong people.

These days I support others as they awaken to their spiritual nature. I help them to learn to trust themselves, their intuition and their magic, and find their way to engage with what I call their Spiritual Intelligence. The 37 year-old electrical engineer I was would have said you were mad, had you told him this was where he was headed.

The mainstream cultural matrix functions as a control device to keep us afraid of ourselves, calling our inherent magic madness”. You embody its inherent psychosis if you go along with it.

Altazar Rossiter, February 2019

Walt Whitman’s Preface to Leaves of Grass [1885 edition]: 

Re-examine all you have been told

in school or church or in any book,

Dismiss whatever insults your own soul  ❤ 

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Thank You Body Festival; celebrate YOU and the launch of our second Kinda Proud pocket book of Hope

Thank You Body Festival (6)

In celebration of the launch of the second book in the KindaProud series;

#EmergingProud through disordered eating, poor body image and low self-esteem Pocket Book of Hope, SoulShine will be hosting a community gathering to celebrate body diversity, inspire self-acceptance and build connections.

The aim of the day is to create a space to celebrate, honour and empower our relationships with ourselves, our bodies and our food. We will provide opportunities to explore beliefs about body image, the relationships we have with food and also our connection to our own well being.

With guest speakers, storytelling, embodied movement and well being workshops, with wholesome nourishing food, a Wild Woman photo shoot exhibition, and a few little extra surprises thrown into the mix, it’s going to be a nourishing and uplifting day of connection!!

Come and join in the fun and celebrate with us.

The Forum, Norwich, Norfolk 10am

GET YOUR TICKET HERE

This is a free event, we do however welcome donations and are so incredibly grateful for any support you can give.

Help us spread the word!

We are currently looking for sponsors. If this is of interest to you, please email;

Amy at info@soul-shine.org.uk

Want to get involved? get in touch with us.

We really look forward to seeing you there!

So much love,
Amy, Robyn, Kate and Rachel (the SoulShine team) ❤

Thank You Body Festival (8)
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Bev is Kinda Proud of her journey from burnout to a burning desire to help others know that it’s ‘okay to not be okay’

After spending years as a ‘successful’ business woman, hardly ever allowing herself to take time off, it took all of Bev’s strength from deep within to reach out for help at a time when she felt all was lost. Bev discovered that this was true strength. Like so many who have #Emerged Proud through a personal crisis, this has now become Bev’s mission; to help others to realise that mental health struggles are a normal reaction to difficult life circumstances, and that it’s not only okay to self- care, it’s absolutely vital.

Bev now tells her story within workplace settings, to give others strength to reach out. Here she recounts how she ended up doing this wonderful work…

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Like a Phoenix from the ashes

This year (2019) marks a huge milestone for me as it was ten years ago that I went through what can only be described as my annus horribilis.

2009, the year that changed my life in so many ways; I started the year, what I thought was happy enough, although looking back the toxic relationship I was in along with the high-pressured job and bullying I was enduring in the workplace was not conducive to a happy, balanced life.

As the start of the year passed I went through it convincing myself it would all be Ok, that things would work out alright in the end if I just hung in there and hung in there I did. I hung on for the first five months of the year by a thread; it was like I was on the edge of a rock face gripping on by my fingertips. At the end of May 2009 my life fell apart when the situation at work became unbearable, so much so that all I did was spend all my time in tears, sobbing my way through the day and into my pillow at night.

Finally, I gave in and visited the doctor who diagnosed clinical depression and severe anxiety, I found this just to be the start of a road that led to a journey of darkness that went seemingly deeper with each day. I found myself walking through a fog, a fog of what I believed to be failure, a fog of sadness, a fog of paranoia, a fog of loneliness and a fog of isolation that turned into a fog of anger.

I became so angry. I was angry with me for being so useless, I was angry with those in work who had seemingly turned against me. I was angry with those closest to me who in my mind didn’t understand. I was angry with God, the Universe and basically anyone else I could blame for the situation I was now in.

Following my diagnosis, I was informed by the doctor that I had two weeks before hospitalisation, so my choice was to take a sick note and sign off from work, or to go to work where within two weeks they would be sending an ambulance to pick me up! I knew in my heart the choice was no choice, but it was hard, I always resisted the urge to be off sick but no more, I had to give in.

During the latter part of 2009 I lost my job, my home (temporarily to dry rot), and my relationship; my income lowered dramatically as I went from a senior manager salary to employment support allowance, and in my mind my world fell apart; little did I know this was actually the time when the foundations of my new life were starting to form.

I found myself self-harming, literally dragging my nails against my skin until I drew blood, this was my way of proving to myself I could hurt myself more than anyone else could hurt me.  In the darkest of nights, I found suicide thoughts creeping into my mind. I had it all planned, I wrote the text I would send to family and friends then worked out exactly how I would do it. I was so close, and yet the thought of the sadness I would cause to others somehow kept me hanging on to life.

Christmas / New Year 2010 became a turning point in my life. As I celebrated with family and friends I vowed that I would do whatever it would take to ensure that I would never have another year like 2009. I would turn my life around and ensure that those that had helped drive me down that road would not win. They may well have won the battle that took me towards the darkness of life, but they were never going to win the war.

I started 2010 by signing up to a Life Coaching diploma course as I became determined to help others not go where I had been. I wanted to somehow to let others know it is Ok not to be Ok, and you can indeed start day by day to come out the other side. At the time I renovated my property by day, so it became habitable again, and studied for my diploma by night. I was on medication for the depression and I have to say I was very lucky to have such an understanding doctor who was always on hand when needed. I undertook counselling sessions through which I learnt to take baby steps along the road to recovery.

I was shown how to take each day at a time, how to explore my new world by taking baby steps towards a new goal every day, even if that goal was just taking a walk in the park rather than staying under my duvet. One of my counsellors suggested always writing in my diary the evening before a plan for the next day therefore giving me a reason to get up. I have to say this advice worked so well in that I started to find getting up in the morning was fun as I suddenly had a purpose; it meant at the end of the day I could reflect on my progress and give thanks for all I had achieved that day.

As time passed, in 2010 I spent more and more quality time with family and friends, this made me realise that those riches in life lie with people not materialistic objects of desire.  These lovely people along with those I had met in my dark times started to build on the foundations I was building within myself.  I read books and absorbed information around positive thinking, faith, belief and mindfulness. I learnt how self-care was something that had been missing from my life for a long time and how by re-introducing it would in turn support me during the next stage of my journey as I began to walk along the path of recovery.

Fast forward to 2019 and it is suffice to say that the last ten years have been a rollercoaster, during which there were times I had to find the strength to hold on a little tighter. I have endured heartache, debt, and the anxiety still lurks hidden in the shadows but today it is thankfully manageable.

I started a business in August 2010 through which I now indeed do help others in many ways, including workplace wellbeing.  I am proud to say I actively share my story to normalise the importance of good mental health and what happens if self-care isn’t treated as an important part of everyday life.

I became a published author in 2012, an award-winning mentor, a radio show host, an avid volunteer, and met many new friends along the way. I renovated and sold my apartment to move back to my childhood village where I now live near my parents and share my life with my wonderful partner and his children. I know I am blessed, and I offer gratitude every day for the life I now have, the life I have built from the ashes, indeed the life that through experience turned an ordinary life to an extraordinary one.

I know from experience what it is like to feel like all is lost and I have seen members of my family broken by the suicide of my young cousin. The grief it leaves for others is immeasurable, and I am so relieved that from deep within I found a strength that saw me reach out for help at the time when I felt all was lost.

If I hadn’t done that I’d have missed out on all that the last ten years has brought me, and for that again I give thanks.

To contact Bev, you can find her website here:  http://www.awakencoaching.co.uk

or E.mail bev@awakencoaching.co.uk   Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/beverley-jones/

Do you resonate with Bev’s story? If you’d like to share yours in order to inspire others in Kelly’s KindaProud book:  #EmergingProud through Suicide

Please contact Kelly at: info@kellymichellewalsh.com

 

 

 

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Laura has the courage to say; we cannot pray away trauma, healing has to be holistic.

Emotional distress is not always toxic, sometimes emotional neglect is due to inter- generational pain that is unhealed and waiting for a ‘sensitive’ in the family to be brave enough to speak out, face the trauma and heal the family pattern. Whatever the cause,  Laura rightly says that; We need to start educating ourselves on how important childhood is. Nurturing and empathy are key. We need to help each other understand we can heal from toxic stress from our childhood.

As Laura says, this kind of trauma is little spoken about and needs some attention. Trauma changes our neurology, and the recovery journey needs an holistic approach. If we are to heal the world, we have a responsibility to heal ourselves – we can only do that if we have The Courage to Tell. Laura thankfully did, as she recounts here…

Laura C for Mandy's book

Finding God?

Finding God? is a chapter in my book My Courage to Tell. You see, I’m working backwards.

That sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, let me back up.

Since I was a child, I have been praying. I have always had a special connection to the Universe. I know I have many special “gifts”. I have been told by psychics for many years that I have healing hands.

I was taught since childhood that prayer will fix everything. I believed it. But, almost three years ago, I had something happen to me that I never thought would happen. My mother stopped talking to me. She turned her back on me and completely shut me out of her life. I was stonewalled. I was so hurt and betrayed, I sought help from a psychologist who specialized in toxic personalities and psychological abuse.

There is a saying: “Don’t judge me by the chapter you walked in on.” And it’s true. I am in my mid-fifties. My mother was my best friend. I trusted her.

You may ask “What happened? What could have possibly happened for a mother to stop speaking to her child?”

That’s why I wrote my book, My Courage to Tell. It is a long story, and it needed to be told.

I had been taught for many years, that I was not to talk about my childhood abuse. I was to not “make waves”. But I have learned that when you hold onto secrets, humans suffer mentally and physically. That may work for the people who are abusive, but that does not work for sensitive people like me.

My childhood was traumatic. I was shutting down at nine years old and hiding in my closet. I was extremely introverted and shy. I couldn’t make friends. I was having nightmares. I had a sibling who was mean-spirited. I had threats on my life. I witnessed animal abuse. I lived with constant intimidation and mind control. I was not protected by my parents. In fact, one parent laughed when I was bullied. It was not the best of childhoods.

I was brought up in a time where I heard “children are to be seen and not heard” and sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.

At nine, my piano teacher finally alerted my mother that she had better do something, or she would end up losing me. My mother listened. Thank God. Through the guidance of the teacher, she started to do what she could to try and catch my brother with his never-ending lies.

But my story did not end there. My awakening happened in my fifties when a semi-famous aunt passed away. It set off a series of events that lead to a diagnosis of Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

—American Psychological Association, 2014

I talk about subjects that are often not talked about: psychological abuse and it’s harmful effects; physical abuse without the bruises and cuts; silent treatment; stonewalling; childhood emotional neglect; emotional abuse; Complex PTSD; Adverse Childhood Experiences; being ostracized from family; scapegoating; gaslighting and much more.

Psychological abuse definitely deserves some much-needed attention. Sexual and physical abuse have been receiving a lot of attention in recent years, which is extremely important. Now, it’s time to talk about psychological abuse.

No physical signs. Psychological abuse is hidden and very hard to recognize, however, it is every bit as damaging as physical and sexual abuse. The American Psychological Association (APA) revisited a study that was published in the Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy publication in 2014. The APA paper was titled: Unseen Wounds: The Contribution of Psychological Maltreatment to Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Risk Outcomes. 

What the study confirmed was that children who experienced psychological maltreatment were dealing with the same, or perhaps even worse, mental health problems than those children that had experienced physical and sexual abuse. The study also found that children who experienced psychological abuse experienced post-traumatic stress disorder just as often as children experiencing other forms of maltreatment and abuse. The paper concluded that there was a need for greater attention to psychological maltreatment.

My book is now being recommended as a teaching tool for people to recognize the types of abuse and neglect that I have mentioned.

I believe it is time we put science and prayer together.

Prayer will not solve all our problems. It is very important to me. But time and prayer will not heal trauma; trauma changes our brain. If babies and children are exposed to toxic stress for a long period of time, their brain structure changes and it affects the person long-term.

What is going to help humankind, is if we humans start helping other humans. We need to start educating ourselves on how important childhood is. Nurturing and empathy are key. We need to help each other understand we can heal from toxic stress from our childhood.

The science of early brain development can inform investments in early childhood. These basic concepts, established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, help illustrate why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.

—Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

We rise by lifting others. I now bring awareness of what I’ve learned to help others feel that they are not alone.

My Courage to Tell, the revised edition, is now available. And I am a spiritual and life coach to those who have read my book need help in their healing journey.

Peace.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
—Frederick Douglass

Find Laura here: lauracorbeth.com

Thank you Laura for being much – needed awareness to this subject ❤

Do you resonate with Laura’s story? If you have an experience that you’ve transformed through that you’d like to share for Mandy’s KindaProud book;  #EmergingProud through Trauma and Abuse 

Please contact Mandy at: ambrieleve@gmail.com

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Creating Recovery Communities; let’s stop talking about it and act on doing it

Creating Recovery Communities

Karen Taylor

Karen T

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Ron Coleman and I for many years now have been working to establish recovery houses, places where people who are ready and choose to recover can come for healing. Our latest house was near Perth WA Australia and was open for a year. We believe that most of the process of recovery is educational, so therefore the houses are an educational healing centre, people come to learn what they already instinctively know, that they can heal themselves; unfortunately, psychiatry knocks out this instinctive knowledge and through the medication and the process of diagnosis people become stuck in illness, believing they have a chronic and enduring condition and that they and their broken brain is the problem.

Whereas we believe the person isn’t the problem, the problem is the problem and more often than not connected to “what happened to them” and then the emotions that developed to cope with what happened are often the main sticking points.

Over the last couple of years, we have been developing our idea’s at creating recovery communities, in the past to us this was about creating networks of people mainly consumers, workers and family members but over the last couple of years this has changed, we now believe the way forward is to help create Cities, Villages, Suburbs, Towns of recovery – “Wellness Cities”. Our thinking has been partially influenced by the wonderful film “Lars and the real girl” where a whole town comes together to help a person work through an unusual belief which is really about healing what happened to him.

Is it possible? Yes, I believe so. It would take vision, it would take a lot of cooperation but mostly it would involve activism in local communities and a change of process in local government. At the moment too many departments are silo’s, their job to keep what little money they have to themselves, there is little interest in sharing this out and even less interest in understanding if the way they are currently working is actually making a real difference, as long as they tick the boxes and are providing “best value” services that is all they seem to care about.

Imagine though if all the money in health & social care , housing , education, leisure and environment was treated differently what if the agencies came together and asked across our services “how do we make a strong, healthy and caring community” What if instead of large acute wards, horrible hostels and group homes we creating Crisis centres in homely environments, healing /recovery centres, a neighbourhood cares project, where local ordinary people are trained in Emotional CPR and intentional peer support, so instead of neighbourhood watch schemes where they look out for crime, the schemes were all about caring about people in your street.

If we halved the pharmaceutical budget think of what we could do with that money. General practitioners could have budgets to prescribe anything from a walking group to Ti Chi. We could invest in recovery guides and mentors who walk alongside people on their journey. We could invest in family centres where dialogical processes are the norm and families can heal.

Schools could change their educational framework to ensure that kids grew up with the social & emotional skills and framework to care about themselves and the people around them. We could provide a different education for those who are kinetic learners or just people who don’t feel comfortable sitting at a desk, but give them something physical to do and lessons that are person centred so they will be achieving what they need for their future.

Let’s create a space where there are vegetables, herbs and fruit are grown on every green space and people are able to pick what they need. Let’s make sure there are pavements and walkways on every street to encourage people to walk and get to know each other, let councils have funds for yearly street parties and events so neighbours come out of their fenced area’s and get to know each other. Let’s promote talking to each other when we commute to work so that it will be perfectly normal to talk to the person standing by you on a squashed tube. We know that social isolation is the single biggest cause of distress for vulnerable people.

Let’s support all the retired people who want to help in building these communities, with all the skills they bring from their work days, let’s recreate a society where the Elders are looked on with reverence and respect. Let’s actively encourage connection between elders and youth.

If every holistic practitioner gave one free hour of their time to those most in need what a difference they could make in those people’s lives.

Let’s not create ghettos of social housing where we put all the “problem People” together as its easier and then they don’t “taint” the rest of the community. Let’s ban gated communities where those that have can shut out those that don’t.

Let’s start early in trying to prevent traumatic childhoods, every teacher and play leader understanding that behavioural problems in kids are often linked to trauma.

Let’s start spaces in the community where people can come together for storytelling and yarning. Go to any Mediterranean community and you will find groups of people sitting in cafes or on benches talking away in the evenings.

Let’s take our lead from what we can learn from indigenous cultures, the importance of stories, the importance of no community being bigger than 500 people, the importance of mother nature and our role to be guardians of this planet.

Let’s create men’s sheds and women’s circles that are open and free. Let’s instil in people a love for the land they live on and not a love for the next new commodity.

None of what’s above is new, what is new is bringing it all together to happen in each community, it needs a bottom up top down approach with people working together. I do believe that so many people are crying out to belong, to remove the isolation they feel, to connect. Connection or lack of it seems to be at the bottom of most mental distress and also effects physical health.

Let’s stop talking about this and start doing, it can only start to happen when we the people make it happen…

Karen

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If you agree with Karen, go and have your voice heard;

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT EVENTS HAPPENING AROUND THE UK: creating safe places to recover

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Christina from Sydney, Australia, transforms her pain into her purpose via a journey to self- heal

Christina’s story, as unique to her as there are individuals on the planet, is so resonant of the collective voices who #Emerge Proud. Discovering profound meaning in our pain; light in the darkness – this is something that echoes throughout the reported learnings of all NOTEs experiencers and Empaths.

We are so grateful to Christina for sharing her story of self- empowerment, and we couldn’t agree more when she says;

“As a “healer” my job is to hold space, channeling energy to help you understand the ‘why’ in order for you to heal your wounds”… As Christina discovered, we can only heal ourselves when we make the decision to no longer be a victim to the challenges that life throws at us to help us grow…

christina c

My name is Christina and my story goes something like this…

Proof that anything is possible if you believe.

I was born on an island called Cyprus and at birth, both my hips were dislocated but the doctors missed it. It was not until I was four years old, thanks to a persistent and determined mother who knew there was something wrong, that they realised what had happened and why I was unable to walk.

The doctors told my mum that if I were to ever walk, she would have to take me to England for the surgery I needed, and urgently, or I would be in a wheel chair for the rest of my life. My mother took me to England for the surgery. They placed screws in both my hips and I spent six months in plaster from the chest to the toes. I still remember when they finally cut the plaster off and I was able to stand up for the very first time. The freedom to be able to move again after feeling suffocated and unable to move for so long was incredible.

A year later I returned to hospital for more surgery to take the screws out. I was encased in plaster once more. History was repeating itself. The surgery was a success on the left hip but not on the right hip. I was experiencing pain. The following year there was a war in my country and my family fled to Australia.

The pain continued and at the age of twelve, my mum was told that I needed to have further surgery. It was decided that putting a screw in my hip would relieve the pain.

I spent my twelfth birthday in a hospital having my fifth surgery and was bed ridden for six weeks with my legs tied up in straps. This was followed by two months on crutches. During that hospital stay I saw my mum crying in the corridor next to my room and I made the conscious decision that I would never enter a hospital again or complain about the pain. The surgery was not a success. It only made the pain worse. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that they should never had put that screw in.

By my early twenty’s the pain became unbearable at times. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the hip. The pain would shoot down my leg. It didn’t help that I was studying to be a helicopter pilot. The vibrations of the helicopter irritated it even more. I decided to go see a doctor as I loved flying. It was my escape from reality. I was told that the only way to alleviate the pain was to get a plastic hip. I was also told that the pain would get worse as I got older until I would be unable to walk.

That was the last time I saw a doctor. I had tried everything. I spent a small fortune on physiotherapists, healers, chiropractors etc but nothing really worked, not long term anyway. I used to think that physical pain was far worse than emotional pain. At least with emotional pain you could cry yourself to sleep and have a rest.

None of this was helped by the fact that I am an empath – something I didn’t realise about myself until I went looking for answers. What that means is, I can feel other people’s pain. I am very sensitive to the suffering on this planet. This, in turn, would make my own pain worse. There was a time when it became so bad that I began to think I was going mad. Certainly, growing up I thought my sensitivity was a curse.

However, on my journey through this life I have come to see being an empath as the great gift it is. I realised that it was up to me to heal my hip. My body, my responsibility. I refused to believe that I was sent to this world to suffer. I questioned what sort of “God” (grew up in a christian home) would create me in their image just to suffer, especially since I considered myself to be a “good” person.

In 2000 at the age of 32 I went backpacking around the world, not only to try and make sense of this existence, but also to find ways to heal myself. I was very fortunate to be invited to stay with medicine women in New Mexico and this was where I found my first genuine teacher, a Navaho. My healing journey began. I had always had a thing for native Indians, even as a little girl. I wanted to meet them, so this was a dream come true. It was an awakening. They helped me to remember who I am and to make peace with a world that seemed incredibly cruel and unjust.

As fate would have it, after my sojourn with these medicine women, I ended up in Guatemala where I spent six months studying with three shamans who showed me ways to heal my body. To my surprise it worked! I was able to release the pain! So I continued to pursue more studies, spending more and more time with Indigenous medicine people and shamans. You can check out my journey www.alkehela.com

This was the catalyst for my becoming a “healer”. I say “healer” but it’s not really a word I like to use, as only you can heal yourself. As a “healer” my job is to hold space, channeling energy to help you understand the ‘why’ in order for you to heal your wounds. I share the tools that helped me heal my body physically, mentally and spiritually.

A word of caution; if you find a “healer” who promises to heal you, they are talking out of their ass, so run. Only you can heal yourself.

The mind is a powerful tool. If you don’t believe you can heal it doesn’t matter what anyone does, you won’t heal because you have free will. Playing the victim does not serve. What you are going through is merely a lesson that you have chosen to experience. I learnt that you can use your experiences and wounds as the reason to be a victim and play the blaming game, or you can use them as an inspiration to become all that you can be and more. The choice is yours.

I am now 50 years old. My pain did not get worse. In fact, I am rarely in pain these days. I do not have a plastic hip and I’ve been able to trek through the Amazon, climb Machu Picchu, scale mountains and can walk for hours without pain. I actually feel better and am fitter now then I was in my 20’s. The things we take for granted! To be able to walk and not be in pain is truly the most incredible gift. I am so grateful. As a child I thought I was being punished, that I had done something terribly wrong. Now I know that it was the greatest gift. My hips, my pain were my inspiration to go out there and do all the things I dreamt of doing. Things I was told I could never do. To search for and find the answers and tools I needed to heal myself. Tools I now take great joy in sharing with others for use in their own healing.

 “Live every moment as if it’s your last for tomorrow may never come.”

Find Christina’s website here:   www.alkehela.com

Find Facebook / Instegram sharing, teachings and affirmations at:  Alkehela

If you have a personal NOTE story that you’d like to share forNicole’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through NOTEs, we are taking submissions ONLY until Feb 15th… 

Please contact us here 

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