Shifting the Covid Narrative

As most of you will know from reading my blog I have 3 Auto-Immune diseases, one of which has caused me to have a number of respiratory issues. When news of Covid-19 hitting our shores broke, I must be honest I was completely petrified as the risk if I got the virus was truly life threatening.

The impact of the disease on my business and personal life was catastrophic and pretty daunting to say the least. As I struggle with my chest over winter, with most winters resulting in hospital stays of up to 6 weeks at a time, I found myself becoming overwhelmed with Fear.

I then had to take a hard look at how I was going to survive not only Covid-19 but the fear and feeling of being overwhelmed.

In times of stress and anxiety my go to has always been to get out into the fresh air or to jump into the ocean or on my Standup Paddleboard and just take the time in Nature to allow my mind the space to think.

The first 2 weeks of our stage 5 lockdown I was in hospital as I had pneumonia. It was pretty horrendous and extremely taxing on the mind being completely isolated from my family and friends. In total I spent 4.5 weeks in hospital completely isolated for 3.5 of them. It was incredibly challenging for me. However as always I had incredible support from my tribe and got by on Zoom calls.

Coming home was a blessing but again pretty terrifying as I was now alone at home and isolated again as I am high risk. I don’t know that I have ever experienced such a deep sense of fear and loneliness. I am blessed to have an amazing support system and my family and friends all did drop offs of food and delivered Lattes and so much love to my door.

This time gave me space to reflect and deal with the last 18 months of trauma in my life and face it head on. I had been through 5 surgeries, a few resuscitations, a home robbery and the loss of my brother all during those 18 months. What a crazy time. I feel like the enforced lockdown made it impossible to block any emotions from these experiences out.

Having owned and run an event business for the last 21 years, lockdown and Covid-19 brought another challenge when it completely shut down the Event Industry. My brain went into complete WTF mode. I was scrambling for solutions and ways in which I could reinvent myself and see some kind of hope for the future.

What I did discover was that mental clarity and a focus on mental wellbeing over this time was key. I realised that unless I got up and out of my home and into fresh air and nature I was literally going to sink deeper into a depression. I had unfortunately come out of hospital and taken a bad fall down the stairs at my house and had broken the bone on the arch of my foot. It was extremely painful but I thought it was just sprained.

I decided to keep walking and even though I had to wrap up warm and make sure I was safe, I got up every morning at 6am and started walking. Fortunately the 5km from my house include, ocean, mountains and forests. I could only do the ocean options for the first 2 months as the forests were closed to exercise and so were the beaches.

I am busy working out what the path forward is and how I can reinvent myself and what great teachings I can take from this time of separation and isolation. I am focused on embracing a new way of being and truly being grateful for the abundance of blessings I have in my life. I am doing my best to support small businesses and people doing all they can to stay afloat financially.

I had to do things that I could control as so little was in my control. What I could control was getting up and exercising and ensuring I was getting the best possible nutrition and supplements to remain as healthy as possible over these times. I have found that my walks and connection with the beauty of where I live have helped me to find greater clarity and purpose.

I can’t say that I have all the answers and I can’t pretend there is not still fear and anxiety, but I can say that by focusing on my mental and physical wellbeing I am certainly coping much better.

I have managed to shed 24.5 kilograms and I have created the foundation to my crazy cookery series Gooi en Steek – Cooking Tips for Kitchen Warriors. I am focused on bringing this to life now and sharing my fun, healthy, easy recipes with folk around the world.

So today when you get up and start you day instead of plugging into the endless stats and fake news fear based reading, rather sit down and plan your life and your business first. As until you are calm and have order you will continue to spin out in chaos.

Facing Fear

This week I confronted one of my greatest fears. I started to study again. Throughout my school career, studying was a big challenge for me. I had a learning disability and found studying hard when I had to read large amounts of material.

I have always been a visual and auditory learner and therefore the thought of taking on an 10-week Digital Marketing course was both terrifying and exciting. I however decided to put on my big girl panties and jump in with both feet.

As I opened the first lesson I felt overwhelmed by the amount of reading and information I needed to get through and started to doubt my decision. I then stopped myself and remembered a great article I had read the week before about how we process fear and how to over come it. I remembered how this article spoke about creating acronyms from words to shift the way you think about them.

I looked at the word FEAR and decided to break it down and shift the meaning to help me whenever I got a fearful feeling. I did this by creating my own acronym. F = Focused E= Energy A= Activates R= Results. This allowed me to create a positive association with my fear. As I start to feel anxious or overwhelmed I just repeat this acronym like a mantra.

It really has helped me during this first week. While I am not saying I am not still very nervous but now I am just more focused on activating results. In life I believe we often shy away from taking a chance or stepping into something that is challenging as we are afraid of failure, however if we don’t take a chance and just do it, we will never grow.

So as you start your day today think about what it is that you have always wanted to try and have been too afraid to do and just do it!

Being Brave

This year has been a brutal year for me. I have faced some of the scariest most humbling experiences of my life. I have spent nearly 15 weeks in hospital with a number of complications and challenges. I was gassed and robbed in my home and then I lost my brother who was, and always will be my hero.

On Monday 7th of October I stood up in court and testified against the people who robbed me and finally my body said ENOUGH! An overwhelming sense of anxiety and a feeling of complete desperation flooded over me. It all felt like every part of me was unravelling rapidly. I felt terrified and exhausted and basically like I had reached the limit of what I could take.

There are many people in this world who can relate to panic attacks and anxiety and the overwhelming feeling of deep grief. And there are so many people who don’t reach out and ask for help in this situation, however my greatest teaching this year has been to just put up my hand and ask for help.

As a society we have developed a belief system that we need to constantly put on a brave face and pretend to be ok in order to make other people comfortable, when actually we just need to own the emotions we are feeling however scary and real they are.

To be brave is to know when you need help. To be brave is to ask for help and say I am not ok. I am not coping and I feel like I am drowning. There is such societal stigma around depression and anxiety that many people don’t speak out and ask for help and that is a very dangerous thing.

The fear of judgement and rejection is so great that people often feel it’s better to pretend they are fine and hide behind a mask than to face the gruelling journey of unpacking and healing the parts that feel broken inside. I have learnt this year that no matter how much I have tried to put on my big girl panties and pull myself towards myself, I have struggled to keep it to together.

The combination of traumas I have experienced both physically and emotionally compounded and my body simply said no more. I became anxious and had massive panic attacks and realised that this was not something I could simply “will” myself through.

I have had to face the fact that I have full blown PTSD and that the best healing was to face all the scary stuff in a supportive way through counselling. I have had to realise that no matter how much my logical, analytical brain is trying to be “FINE”, I am not fine and am taking strain.

A deep deep sadness enveloped me and it feels like I have lost my joy. I put one foot in front of the other on a daily basis while at times feeling completely numb. There are so many moments that have flashed in front of me from this year that have shaken me to the core and unbalanced me as I don’t like being out of control. It’s an extremely uncomfortable place for me.

I apologise if my vulnerability and humanity makes you uncomfortable and disengaging but I really don’t care. You see I choose to feel the roller coaster of emotions and rather understand with true courage and conviction what it is to live through these great challenges.

I choose to confront all that makes me uncomfortable and feel off kilter. I am fully aware that I am not my “old” self but that I am just who I am and the best part of me is that I feel deeply and care deeply.

While my generosity and willingness has at times seemed like a dumping ground for bullshitters, con artists and narcissists, I am choosing to no longer be that dumping ground. I am a real fan of Brené Brown and while reading her book Rising Strong I discovered a paragraph that resonated with me and helped me to realise that it’s ok to not be ok.

“The opposite of recognising that we are feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. our job is not to deny the story, but defy the ending – to rise strong, recognise our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. this is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how the story ends.”

So as you start your day don’t forget to be curious and check in with where you are emotionally, physically and mentally and never to the disservice of yourself by masking your vulnerability and truth as in the end the only person it harms is you.

Letting Go

To say the last 9 months have been like a living hell for me feels like an understatement. My silence on my blog has been a reflection of where I have been mentally and emotionally and how I have struggled to find the light and sense through the pain and chaos. I feel that there is so much pain and chaos on our planet that I was not able to write. I needed to find a space to see the teaching to find the reasoning to understand the journey before I could share it.

Living with a combination of Auto Immune diseases has been my challenge for 9 years and has tested my inner most strength to the core. The last 9 months has however been next level and a challenge that at times has felt all consuming. I have been through so much trauma to my body both mentally and physically and at times have felt like I was in a tumble dryer with nails.

During the last 9 months I have had 4 surgeries been resuscitated a few times and have hung on for dear life through some of the most incredible pain I have ever felt. The physical pain has felt like an onslaught that is beyond comprehension however none of this could prepare me for the greatest pain of all. The loss of my brother, My hero and one of the kindest people I was blessed to know has floored me completely.

Being a perfectionist and someone who believes that everything that happens in life does so for a reason and is a teaching, I am struggling to come to grips with this tragic loss. I have fought so hard this year just to keep breathing and keep believing that no matter what everything happens for a reason.

The health stuff for me has been a challenge but the loss of my brother has been utterly devastating. He was the male role model in my life and was my Big brother in every sense. I always felt safe knowing that if anything ever went wrong or if I felt uncomfortable about something I could talk to him with no judgement. He had a great sense of humor and could make me laugh from my belly and was one of the kindest people I knew.

At 46 years old I have experienced loss and death but nothing has felt quite as heartbreaking as losing a sibling. There is no name or description for the loss of a sibling and like most things in life unless it’s your personal loss people move on with their day to day life as normal but as the person who has lost someone everything feels like it is moving in slow motion.

To find hope and faith and continue to believe that everything happens for a reason has been extremely difficult for me over this truly challenging year. I have however discovered one of the greatest teachings that sounds so cliche until you live it and that is who really has your back.

I have discovered that there are many people in this world who profess to care and use spiritual quotes and platitudes to mask the people they really are when in reality the true depth of the person comes in their actions. Actions really do speak louder than words.

I have found that the joy of life and living is about simplicity and surrounding yourself with people and places that add joy to your life and letting go of those that simply drain your energy. I have discovered that while no body is perfect and we all make mistakes it’s essential to understand the meaning of integrity and to choose honesty over what is comfortable to believe or hear.

In the world right now there is a substantial amount of noise and pain. There are some of the most heinous crimes taking place and there is a lot of stress, however there is also SO much to look forward to and believe in.

As I continue my life and wake up every morning to face the world I am learning to do this from a place of self love. A friend of mine posted something the other day that reasonated #FLY (First Love Yourself). And that is what I do every day now. I start my day with a check in. I ask myself if what I am doing is helping me to FLY and if not I just don’t do it.

I know that one of my greatest challenges in my life to date has been trying to keep everyone happy and in the process I forgot about my own happiness. Through the tragedy and deep sense of loss this year I have discovered what is real, necessary and important to me. I have discovered the beauty and joy of being quiet and observing and I have discovered that it’s ok to just not be ok.

So as you start your day today I ask you to start it by checking in with YOU first. Check in and make sure that whatever you do you FLY.

Reason, Season, Lifetime

Living in a space where so much in my world is upside down and foreign to me at the moment, I have found an incredible blessing in simply understanding more about my boundaries. I have found a way of confronting the awkward gut feelings and intuition we all have and just owning exactly what I feel in the moment. I have confronted that saying there is always a reason for everything in life and have had endless hours of lying in bed to understand what that really means.

Being authentic and real at all times is not often the popular choice but when you are facing your mortality on a daily basis it becomes your reality. I have never been known to suffer fools easily but in the same sense I have been a truly generous, eager to help a good cause in any way I can kind of person throughout my life.

The thing that has completely floored me over the last 5 months while I have literally died 3 times and stopped breathing on so many occasions is how few people are who they project to the world they are. How few people have a deep sense of community and how to show up and be present in times of crisis.

You see for me I find it simple to show up for the people I care about in my life. It’s how I am made. I am an empath and as my teacher calls me, I am the wounded healer. So I have always been the person who will cook you a meal or pick up your kids or walk your dogs or hold your hand or be your shoulder when it all seems too much to handle. I have always been that person to arrange the get together and rally behind people when they need it most. It’s the way Great Spirit made me.

One of my most dear and special friends said to me the other day. Tell me how you feel. Tell me what I can do, how I can help and what it is you need during this time as I see you are feeling frustrated. I just broke down in tears and said Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to ask. Thank you for taking the time to not assume and thank you for taking the time to just show up.

Living with the latest results and the diagnosis I recently received has meant that I am very isolated and doing anything requires planning and consideration of what environment I am going to, what I may be exposed to and how long I will last where I am going before I will need to leave. Every inch of who I have been for the last 46 years is being tested and changed and I am mourning parts of myself that I have to let go of as I am no longer that person. That is just my reality.

I have learnt more about looking at the world and people that I share my energy and heart with from a very different angle. With the current global energy and various levels of unrest and challenges there comes a time when the distribution of your energy is needed for a more focused cause. And being available to everyone and helping every cause is no longer possible. But the greatest challenge has been discovering quite brutally I might add how few of the “Friends” in my life have shown up and been present. And the acceptance and release of that everything is always as it should be. The initial heartache of the loss of the people you believed to be your friends who you have stood by through thick and thin just don’t step up to the plate.

I have discovered a great teaching on this 9 year journey but particularly over the last 5 months. And that is there are people who need you to fit in particular box for them to be comfortable. That box is one of the high energy, enthusiastic, always available listening and shoulder to lean on friend. However when you can’t be all that to them as you are fighting to survive it’s amazing to discover who really does have your back when the chips are down.

My spiritual teachings remind me that everyone comes into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Some people come into our lives to teach us something and once we have learnt it they are no longer in our lives and some people come into our lives for a lifetime and these are the people that show up in the toughest of times. These are the people who walk their talk. The people who don’t have to be by your side all the time but who are conscious enough to just drop you a call or send you a message.

You see to show up and be present for me requires very little more than just sending me a message to say thinking of you. Sending love. It’s not a big ask and it costs very little in time or money but makes the world of difference to someone isolated and feeling very alone to know that they are loved and validated in some way. We all need to be validated on some level it’s a human disposition.

The material over commercialized stuff that people give so much time to and invest so much energy into really doesn’t matter when it comes to the crunch. What matters is your sense of determination, and your self value.

What matters is how you treat people and when you look at how you treat people it is important to remember is not to have a vested interest in how those people treat you in return. Life is flawed by one core thing that creates numerous misconceptions and many a disappointed people. It’s called expectation. We all have certain preconceived expectations of people whether they are conscious of it or not. The challenge lies in having these expectations and not communicating them. How is that we can expect anyone to understand what our expectations are unless we make them clear.

We have all invested way too much of our lives as slaves to a system that is so unbelievably inept and dysfunctional in so many ways that it has created this hamster wheel of stress.

We as the human race have treated the earth and all the blessings of natural resources freely available to us with such gluttony and greed that the damage is now at a point where the earth is fighting back! Natural disasters are the earths way of culling over populated areas. We have no one to blame for this but ourselves and the complete overconsumption and desire for more. When is it enough. When do we as the human race WAKEUP. When do we stand up and say enough is enough.

Well I am standing up and I am doing what i can to be the change I seek in the world. I am standing up and working with what makes my soul smile and am connecting with projects that I feel need assistance. I choose to be a person who creates the change she desires in the world. I ask you all to do the same. Set your boundaries, communicate your expectations, do the work and reap the reward be it financially, spiritually or emotionally.

Life is all about seasons reasons and lifetimes. It’s about making a conscious decision to call yourself up on your shit, acknowledge your good and bad traits and honour yourself completely by practising self love. To make this clear self love is the most challenging journey of it all and it will carry many stumbling blocks and challenges but ultimately it is what we all need to embrace as our most important one. As if we do not love ourselves how can it be possible for anyone to love us.

Be who you are authentically and own your space. Love who you are completely and love your space. Stand in the power of self love to the point when your cup overflows, then and only then can you be the vessel for anyone to connect and plug into. And only work with and connect with people who get who you are.

There has come a time our world to reconnect with all that is real, pure and authentic. The time has come to connect to your desired journey and to go out and achieve it. Life is short.

So today when you get up and start you day make your first empowering move with intention and go and vote. Then connect with what makes your soul smile from there on out anything is possible and that too is exactly as it should be.

X

Attitude of Gratitude

In keeping with my commitment to myself and my journey of finding the positive in all the challenges and learning from every aspect of this journey with pain, lack of oxygen and infections I am choosing to forge a path of gratitude and peace with it all.

The last 9 years of this interesting life path I have chosen with all its lessons and challenges has been a colourful test of character and at times a test of true grit and faith. Believe me I have encountered some crazy things on this journey. I must however admit that never in the past 9 years have I ever been this physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally challenged. The last 4 months have been like being in a washing machine of spin cycle with nails in it.

I know that many people don’t understand the journey I am walking and my spiritual connection and acceptance of what is happening. I have had some people ask me where is my God to heal you when you need him here now? To this I just smile as he is right beside me holding my hand and giving my mind, body and soul the opportunity to understand the blessing of life.

The Native American people say everything is exactly as it should be right now. So while I have been in what I could consider the eye of a tornado assault on my entire being, I have continued to remind myself of the blessings and wonderful things in my world.

The last 16 days has been another roller coaster ride of complicated blockages, inflammations and challenges on my body that literally pushed part of my gut into my diaphragm, compressed my lung and sent my chronic asthma through the roof. To add more fun and games I was 2 days away from my much needed infusion that keeps the relentless pain away for a bit.

Living with Auto Immune diseases means that your immune system thinks that something in your cellular makeup is a bug that needs to be destroyed and attacks it to illuminate it. It is painful, relentless and challenging on a daily minute by minute basis. It is tiring, frustrating and highly annoying on many levels. But as with everything in life it is one of the greatest teachings you can experience.

The last 4 months, I must admit it really put me into a pragmatic frame of mind and gave me a deep insight into our mortality in this lifetime. It has helped me to focus my energy on people and things coming from an authentic space. It has given me an opportunity to take stoke and evaluate who and what I invest my energy into. This has been both eye opening and heartbreaking on many levels but has been a truly necessary part of the journey.

Part of working with something like this is learning to express what you need and when you need it from the people you love. It is also so important as someone living with Chronic Illness, to accept that the people in your life desperately want to help but can’t do anything and feel helpless at times. It important that when they make suggestions or tell you about a miracle drug or regime they have discovered it’s because they have a need to help to do SOMETHING.

I know that I can be intolerable for my loved ones at times as I am frustrated and mourning parts of who I am and what I used to be able to do while still being completely lucid and mentally aware. I tend to pull into myself as I find it harder sometimes to be vulnerable and let people know that I am terrified and feeling at a loss at times. It’s not easy on any level to face

Being a type A, OCD person who is mostly in charge of what goes on in my world living with a combination of auto immune diseases with its myriad of complications has been my greatest most humbling teaching on the true art of surrendering.

So as I start today listening to the sound of gentle rain, I remind myself of all the incredible blessings I have in my life. The access I have to the best medical professionals and the support of some amazing people. To reflect on this is so important as at times the journey seems relentless.

I ask you today to take time to be thankful for all that brings joy into your life and in the exact same way be thankful for the challenges as without both we have no balance or foundation for true perspective.

Kindness costs you nothing

Over the last few months as I have been challenged by the physical assault on my body, I have also been blessed with the teaching of more gratitude and humility. I have been utterly devastated by the lack of presence from some people who I have always been there for but at the same time truly thankful for the opportunity to take stock of where I invest my energy.

What has been remarkable for me is that I have found the depth of true kindness and how simply being kind to someone can really change their world. Somewhere along the road consumerism, greed and the absolute obsession with “STUFF” has clouded peoples judgment and created many very self absorbed individuals who don’t see the value in what’s really important.

We live in a world where people feel the need to own, buy and display their success through things and what they have in a material sense. However the real wealth of a person lies within their heart and level of consciousness.

As the current cost of living and financial strains start to put pressure on the material foundations people have built to define their “success” so the cracks are beginning to show. All the stuff in the world means nothing if you have no health and you have no depth of character as all those old beliefs systems are crumbling right now.

There has been a real sense of entitlement and general rude unacceptable behaviour that has started to develop and rear its ugly head on social media and daily life where it is actually astounding to watch. People have stopped communicating from a place of authenticity and have started to simply portray the image and illusion that works best for their “digital image”.

Well I call bullshit on this all. The more my health has been challenged and the more I have had to face what is real and necessary to live a good life the more I am astounded by the complete blatant lack of authenticity in society. Simple things like saying please and thank you and a general sense of community has really lost its direction.

I am blessed to have access to Private Health care not because it was handed to me but because I worked darn hard to make sure I could afford it and I am utterly grateful that I have it as I am able to get the medical attention I need and have the some of the best doctors possible working on my case.

This is not something I take for granted at all. However it has also revealed the complete sense of entitlement so many of the other patients in this Hospital feel and the lack of respect gratitude and appreciation they show the staff working hard to keep them alive or get them better.

Just because you have money or access to Private Health care it does not give you a free pass to rudeness and a sense of entitlement. I personally won’t stand for it anymore and find myself calling people up on their rudeness and behaviour regularly. If we want to be the change we seek in the world we need to create an example to follow and often that means you are swimming against the flow.

So today I ask you to simply consider and be conscious of how you speak to people and think about the tone you are using and call yourself up on your sense of entitlement if you become aware of it.

Believe me I have been rude and spoken terribly to people at times and don’t get it right all the time, but I am making a conscious effort to be more self aware and thinking more before I speak. And when I don’t get it right I have learnt to find the courage to apologise for my behaviour as it costs nothing to admit you were in the wrong.

Challenges are the greatest Teachings

Walking my road with Chronic illness has been one of the most humbling experiences I have been blessed to have. There are times and moments where the constant pain and endless infections feel overwhelming and all consuming. There are times when I feel so mad I want literally throw my toys out the cot like a petulant child and then you get to the place I am in today. The space of complete surrender and release.

Today I had the wind completely knocked out of my sails when I discovered that the 5th Biological drug I have been on can no longer be infused into my body. My lungs are taking too much strain and I am getting too many infections. When you have an auto immune disease basically your own immune system believes a part of your DNA is the enemy and your body produces these little soldiers to go and fight that enemy.

In my body I have 3 of these diseases so I have a whole bunch of crazy neurological signals and immune fighting going on. Over the last 9 years I have had a number of treatments both holistic and western medicine to combat what is going on in my body. My doctors have worked with a variation of treatments, diets and psychological approaches to get on top of what feels like a full blown assault at times.

I have had numerous surgeries and treatments and have survived some truly intense infections and today I start another journey as the last biological is now no longer working in my best interest but is causing major lung complications. You see with these diseases one of the approaches that has worked best to keep me moving has been to have immune suppressors. However when you are on Immune suppressors you switch off the immune system and are of course highly susceptible to infections and germs.

I am a positive upbeat person who will try and relay what it is like to people who have not walked this journey what it is like and that no I am not sick AGAIN, I have an autoimmune disease so I am just sick a lot and often. I don’t need to “just be positive” or reminded to look at the bright side. As I really do live that approach every day. Sometimes when you live with pain 24/7 you simply don’t have the energy to be upbeat.

I have also been pretty pissed off of late as I have been following all the diet programs for inflammation and leaky gut and doing all the protocols of awareness and I have still been floored and fallen ill. I am a spiritual being having a human experience and somedays I get truly Gatvol with it all.

So today when I sat down with the one doctor that I really trust who has my back and gives a shit and we discussed the results. I watched as he looked at me and said we’ve got this! I listened as he said we’ll find a way. And he said I know this because I know you and you are too determined to let this get the better of you. And as he said this I just smiled because I know that what will be will be.

This was a terrifying conversation as what now? How do we keep me moving? How do we keep the bones and joints from deforming what is going to happen to me when the pain is off the charts. How do I find the strength to put on the tap shoes and keep my chin up and keep doing all I can to be better. And the answer was simple really. Just surrender and let it be what it needs to be.

Now don’t get me wrong that in NO way means that I am giving up. You see the word surrender has been so misused and so misunderstood for so long that people think when you say you are surrendering you are giving up. All you are doing is not fighting with yourself and your mind and overthinking every decision every single thing and worrying about what you can and can’t control.

So today I am grateful again for the true blessing and teaching that is coming from this new challenge. I am thankful for being able to have the opportunity to be surrounded by friends, family and medical professionals who have my best interests at heart. And that is a whole lot to grateful for.

When you start your day ask yourself what can I be grateful and thankful for today? And how can I be more aware of what is great in my life. And focus on that. If we all just start looking at what to be thankful for I really do believe we can be the change we seek in the world.

Gratitude and Blessings

Today has been a truly contemplative day for me. I haven’t shared in a while because I have been working on finding the Gratitude and the Blessings in the traumatic 4 months I have experienced with my health.

It’s so important to be authentic and honest about where you are in your life and who you surround yourself with in your most trying times. One of my greatest goals is to always appreciate the teaching the dark and challenging times in our lives bring us.

I would not be authentic if I said I am finding that easy at the moment and on some days I really have to dig deep to find the joy and the blessings in situations that feel overwhelming. It’s ok though to get mad, to feel low and to honour all the myriad of emotions of living with Chronic illnesses is so important on this journey.

I find in today’s world people have lost touch with what’s real and what truly matters and let me tell you there really are only a few things that truly matter. For me these things begin with do you love yourself enough to accept, surrender and just feel all you choose to feel regardless of how scarey it is or what anyone else thinks.

What’s important is, is it authentic? Does it make your soul smile and if it doesn’t do you have the courage to do what best serves you and your wellbeing ? For a very long time in my life I have given generously and helped those less fortunate than me and I aspire to do more for people whenever I can. But right now my body is in crisis and I am having to learn a new way of being.

All that said and done there comes a time when you need to look at what is working for you, who’s got your back when you need it and who is just there when they need you. It’s the most brutal yet necessary teaching you can have. The day you wake up and realize that no amount of words make a difference but that action is what has the greatest impact.

Over the last 4 months my body has gone through an unbelievable amount of trauma and no matter how positive and mentally focused I have chosen to be, I have simply not been able to control the physical reaction to the trauma in my body. I am a truly strong willed individual and can generally, visualise, focus and pray my way through anything. But this has been next level for me.

My body is tired and I am tired and the reality is I can no longer move at the speed I am used to moving. The level of frustration I feel about this is incomprehensible. I am angry, sad, frustrated and grateful all at the same time.

On the outside I look like my normal self (baring some raw feet and cortisone bloat). On the inside I am like a ticking time bomb waiting for the next explosion. And a week ago today I dropped, my heart stopped and I stopped breathing. It took the medics 45 minutes to stabilise me and then a further 3 hours in hospital to get my breathing to return to normal.

From the trauma I have experienced in my body I have full blown PTSD and this has been my greatest challenge of all as I simply can not control how my body shakes, how emotional I am, my mood swings or the the emotional roller coaster I am on and that let me tell you for an OCD control freak is like living hell.

Sharing my story and helping people living with Chronic illness is something I am passionate about as so few people understand what it means to live like this. As someone with Chronic illness I can promise you that I am doing everything mentally, physically and emotionally possible to get better. I have read up on every possible treatment, miracle drug, meditation and holistic treatment out there.

I work with my nutrition and exercise and focus on being positive about what I am living with, however I have reached a stage where I am sick and tired of the “suggestions” from people who have NEVER experienced a full blown attack like this on their bodies and the condescending manner in which they deliver the “suggested approach”.

With this in mind as someone living it. I would simply like to say that the only real thing a Chronically Ill person really needs from the people who love them is understanding, a listening ear, an offer to make a meal or just a hug. They do not need to be lectured and told just be positive. Don’t make the assumption that you have any understanding of the journey being walked as you will NEVER understand it until you live it.

So as I end my blog today, I ask you to simply be present with yourself and those around you who may need your support. Don’t assume you know what anyone is dealing with as assumptions and expectations only create great disappointment. Just do what is best for you in the now and that is something that changes depending on where you are on that particular day. Don’t put yourself under pressure to be anything for anyone that does not ultimately serve your best interests first.

I am truly grateful for the teachings I have received from living with these challenges as through every darkness there is always light. As we face the challenges so we grow and learn how best to honour ourselves. I am grateful for every day I get to walk this earth and am at peace with my journey.

I am thankful and truly grateful for every nurse, medic and doctor that has worked with me and is doing their level best to help me heal. I am one very blessed human.

Understanding Chronic Illness

Being diagnosed with Chronic diseases is a truly challenging journey and one that has a number of elements that make it a real balance both mentally and physically. For me the hardest thing about coming to terms with the physical side of these diseases is coming to terms with the mental state of mind that comes with them.

Chronic pain is a thing that is truly difficult to explain to people who do not live with it and it is not something that anyone can understand until they live with it. The most challenging part of the process is people’s perceptions and often ignorance of what these diseases are and what it means to be in pain ALL the time.

As some of you know I was diagnosed 9 years ago with a combination of auto immune diseases. I am committed to being the best version of myself and work daily on doing what will best serve my body and soul at that time. I sometimes get it right an sometimes I just don’t. And that is what being human is about. It’s about acceptance that on some days you will be able to cope and can look at the bright side and some days you are going to be frustrated and pissed off.

I work hard at not allowing the pain and challenges to consume me. The most difficult thing for me often is that on the outside I look absolutely fine. A lot of the times these diseases are referred to as invisible illnesses as on the outside you look great but inside its a whole different thing. It’s a bit like the swan gliding gently on top of the water but under the surface it’s legs are moving at a rapid rate.

There are currently between 80 and 100 identified Auto Immune diseases in the world and 293 Million people have been diagnosed with these diseases. And these are just the stats on the people who have been diagnosed. It’s a very real crisis in our world at the moment.

Most if not all these diseases are genetically based diseases that require a trigger to switch them on in the body. These triggers normally incorporate trauma or stress in the body to switch them on. Once they are switched on in the body they can create absolute havoc as you can’t mentally figure out why you feel so shit all the time. Logically illnesses normally have a timeline to them and a simple pill or rest or combination of things can “heal” the disease and life goes on as normal.

Chronic illness don’t generally work like that. Chronic illnesses are a complex thing as everyone’s DNA is different and therefore some treatments that work for some folk don’t work for other folk. A lot of what impacts on theses diseases is based on nutrition, stress environment and mental attitude. However while eating clean and reducing stress and getting rest helps it doesn’t always fix or cure the disease. In some cases it has shown amazing results and other cases people have seen little or no change.

Most people who live with chronic pain will agree that you just don’t even bother telling people you are in pain anymore as they just don’t understand it or get irritated with the fact that you are “sick again”.

I must say that for me personally that is my greatest frustration. If someone calls me and they hear that I have a chest infection or I am not upbeat and they ask me “Are you sick again” I literally want to slap them in the face. It is probably the WORST most annoying thing you can say to someone with chronic diseases. They are not sick again they have an auto immune disease which mean they often have some form of infection or pain as a result of the disease they have.

I know that there is NOTHING I want more than to be well and back to my old self. I have tried every “special” supplement, diet and even mentally have done and continue to do a lot of work to get my body to respond. The reality is that it is just what it is and surrendering to the process and resting when I need to and doing my best to just show up every day is all I can do. I eat clean, I exercise as much as I can and I do the work needed to stay on track.

Since the 17th of December last year I have been in a complete nightmare of infections, pneumonia and have had a few surgeries and a whole bunch of body trauma. It’s been the most challenging experience I have had since living with these diseases and believe me I have survived some crazy shit over the last 9 years.

The greatest challenge this time round is that I feel like my body is on load shedding. I have a few hours a day where I can function and focus and concentrate and then out of nowhere it literally feels like someone switched the power off and I want to collapse onto my bed and sleep for hours. When this happens I feel like I have done the iron man or something and that pisses me off to no end.

This time round my body has suffered such intense trauma that I have full blown PTSD which has been a complete mind fuck. I am annoyed, impatient and OVER being tired and feeling like hell. Being a type A personality I don’t have a lot of patience as I just want to get up and go 300kms an hour.

The greatest blessing however, and there are ALWAYS blessings and teachings in every situation, is that this time round I have finally learnt my boundaries and limitations and am working with them instead of fighting them. I am choosing who and what I give my valuable energy to and am putting my needs first. We all tend to think that if we put our needs first we are being selfish. When actually that’s a load of rubbish and simply a belief system that has been programmed into our minds by society.

Self love and healing begins with putting yourself first. Listening to what your bodies messages are and loving yourself enough to do what it is asking. The stress levels in the world at the moment are off the charts and people are mentally and physically in crisis. To bring about healing and change the first thing we need to do is start from within. Start with ourselves and then we can help others.

So as you start your day today I ask that you do something for you first and foremost. If you feel you need to have a lie in and just take the day off, then do that. Do what makes your soul smile and what feeds your body and soul the most. Stop doing things in life because you feel you don’t have a choice. We always have a choice, we have just been programmed to believe that putting ourself first is selfish when in fact it’s the most selfless thing you can do.