My Wish for You.

ImageChristmas can be such a wonderful occasion of sharing and caring. Of excitement and expectation. For me it’s also a time of reflection and prayer. Of gratitude and thanks for the family and friends that make my life so special. And it’s a time for wishes.

I understand those who dread the festivities. This bright and shimmering period which serves only to reinforce a  sense of loss, disappointment and weariness. Tough going at the best of times, but even harder if you’re trying to put on a brave face so that those around you won’t sense how desperate you are. How hard it all is. How lonely you feel.

Somehow when everyone else is celebrating around you, it can make your pain feel a million times worse. And your sense of isolation almost unbearable. My wish for you would be that you be filled with the reassurance that if you just stay strong there are brighter times ahead.

For anyone who feels hopeless I wish you hope. For those in physical pain, I wish you healing. For the lonely I wish you friendship and compassion. If you’re trapped in the past I wish you freedom to enjoy the day and move on to the future. If you’re fearful I wish you courage and self-belief. If you’re struggling with grief, anger or bitterness, I wish you peace and forgiveness.

For anyone who is on the journey to becoming themselves I wish you inspiration to live the life you dream of. For those who are happy and contented with life, I wish you continued joy and prosperity of mind, body and soul.

For everyone who has been kind enough to support The Hurt Healer blog in so many ways, I thank you sincerely for sharing my journey. I wish you all a safe and loving Christmas and look forward spending time with you in 2013.

“May all your hopes, dreams and wishes become reality.” ~The Hurt Healer

LIfe - Kathleen Tennant
Images – Floral Love http://www.etsy.com/listing/91476696/floral-love-11×14-mixed-media-art-print and Life http://www.etsy.com/listing/87084411/life-8×14-signed-mixed-media-print-home thanks to the amazing Kathleen Tennant

Courage to heal.

Are you a victim of your past? Do you ever find yourself reliving the pain and unable to move on? Has your trauma become your security blanket? Then you need the courage to heal.

At some point in their life everyone will go through an emotional ordeal or physical trial. For many, recovery is difficult but achievable with appropriate support. In time there is nothing left other than a harmless memory or experience.

On the other hand, the damage of a life changing event or situation can create a victim mentality that unless challenged will keep you trapped in the past. The longer you remain attached to the pain the harder it is to break free. Your emotional state, whatever it is – anger, bitterness, jealousy, grief becomes your normality. Eventually it can become your refuge, because familiarity is safe.

Yet you don’t have to live as a victim. The transition to survivor and living your life as the person you were meant to be is possible. But you do need to have the willingness to heal. And you need courage.

Courage to take responsibility for your life again. Courage to take the risk of letting go. Courage to explore your inner-self.

Most of all you need courage to face the fear. The fear that if you mess with the wound that somehow it will be made worse and it will never heal. Or that your worst fears about yourself will be confirmed and you will never be whole again.

You may believe that you haven’t the strength or the bravery to overcome a situation that has overwhelmed you for so long. You do.

After years of suffering depression and being gripped by alcoholism, I had a complete physical and psychological break-down. Admission to a psychiatric ward heralded for me ultimate despair. At the time, I felt like the tears would never stop falling and my nightmare existence would continue for the rest of my life.

Yet a nurse came up to me and made the most extraordinary comment – “I’ll be excited to see where you are in five years time.” She knew of my past and how I had attempted suicide, but there she was talking of the future. Her reply when I pointed out how ridiculous that sounded was a big smile and a matter of fact, “After everything you’ve been through, you’re still here.” She then listed some of the things she saw in me. Courage wasn’t one of them, but resourcefulness and determination were.

“Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.” ~ Richard Bach

I realised that courage wasn’t an action, but an attitude. It meant accepting my circumstances and asking for help. It was overcoming my weaknesses. It was having a willingness to change and be changed.

The courage to heal came when I embraced all these things, so that little by little I could come to terms with the pain of my past. It no longer held me hostage. Recovery and sobriety helped me to appreciate what life had taught me. And the very things I used to fear became the source of my strength.

I wish I could’ve have told the nurse how right she was. Five years on from that incident my life had turned around completely. I was sober, sane and happily married with two beautiful daughters. Her words had been a gift. The gift of courage.

If you are struggling to find your inner strength I would like to extend this gift to you also. Take what you know and use it as your stepping stone to change. Watch it transform into the courage to heal and set yourself free.

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Top image thanks to the wonderful                                                                                   Lindy Gaskill http://www.etsy.com/listing/115192157/5×7-she-wanted-the-rainbow-so-she-put-up

The Gift of Gratitude.

How can I be thankful for my life? How can I find gratitude when events take a turn for the worse? The answer for me lies in ‘perspective’.

My computer crashed suddenly and spectacularly at the beginning of the week. It wasn’t just the inconvenience of being without the internet, it was the possibility that I had irretrievably lost some of my recent work that worried me. Any other time, this might have sent me into a panic at best and at worst, a prolonged period of ‘Why me?’

But I was able to accept the situation for what it was – a technical failure which meant I had to change a few things. My perception had been impacted by what had happened the day before. A letter had arrived to confirm the need for further treatment following a biopsy. It wasn’t what I had hoped for. Yet I could look at the positive side because of what happened the day before that. The death of a friend.

Perspective. No matter what was going on for me, the fact was that I had a life. My computer could be replaced. My work could be rewritten. My illness could be treated. How could I not be grateful?

Gratitude is a gift. And like any present, it is something that benefits the giver and the receiver. Thankfulness is so much more than an emotion. It is a choice to appreciate what you have. It is a decision to accept yourself and others for what you or they are.

Yet the more grateful we feel, the more our eyes are opened to the miracles that take place in our lives every day. We are touched by the blessings that appear and this allows us to reach out to others. Whether it is a simple ‘Thankyou’ or an extravagant gift, heartfelt appreciation always reaps rewards. It can turn someone’s ordinary day into an extraordinary occasion.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
~ Marcel Proust

In the past, my psychological damage and depression meant long periods of being unable to find anything to be thankful for.  My mind was so busy dealing with the pain that I became emotionally frozen. I could barely feel or express anything, but especially not gratitude.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

Life can be harsh, but the best way to deal with those troubled times is to count your blessings. Finding even one small thing to be thankful for can take you out of self-pity. Gratitude can help you find peace in chaos and relief from pain. It can spark the light that leads you out of the tunnel.

Learning how to be grateful brought healing to me. Through my faith and my family I learnt not only how to love others and myself, but also how to love my journey. I am grateful for the life I have had because it has made me the person that I am today. I can love my life because of my past and not despite of the pain. The gift of gratitude has set me free to embrace life on life’s terms, and that is freedom indeed.

No matter what happens today I’m going to find time to say ‘Thankyou!’ Will you join me?

Top image http://www.etsy.com/listing/94172614/may-you-wake-up-with-gratitude  thanks to Lori Porter

Abundant love. Abundant life.

Having it all! Isn’t that what most of us want and doesn’t it sometimes feel like everyone else has it better?

Whether it’s more money, a successful spouse, an amazing career, bigger house, expensive car – it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that material prosperity is essential to living abundantly. I can tell you from experience that it’s not.

Obviously we need money to exist in the world. The necessities of food, shelter, clothing as well as all the other essentials of modern-day living have to be purchased. And it’s great to have luxuries that make our lives easier and more pleasurable. Yet there is so much more to life than material wealth. And the beautiful truth is that the things that give our life meaning and depth can’t be purchased.

“The best things in life aren’t things.” ― Art Buchwald

Unfortunately, I learnt this lesson the hard way. As a young woman I appeared to have an enviable lifestyle. I was a well paid professional, with no family commitments. I presented as a self-assured, carefree individual who worked and played hard. Surely I had everything going for me? Actually, nothing could have been further from the truth.

Everything about me was a fake. I wore the mask of confidence and the costume of abundance. But underneath I was a complete physical and mental wreck. Alcoholism was costing me everything I possessed and depression was dragging me into suicidal depths. Being tortured by the nightmares of my past, bearing the shame of my addiction and believing that life was futile made a near fatal combination.

I had lost it all and hit rock bottom in every way conceivable. But although it was the worst time of my life, it also became the turning point. As I started to put my life together again I realised that even though my finances only met the most basic needs, I could appreciate my existence on a totally new level. It wasn’t easy or instantaneous.

Gradually rejecting anything that had left me spiritually and emotionally bankrupt, I was eventually free enough to embrace everything that enriched my mind, body and soul. I reclaimed my faith, found the courage to heal and started on a journey of previously unimaginable riches.

My greatest treasure of all was learning how to love and be loved. All the money in the world couldn’t replace the joy and happiness I have experienced through love in my life. Strangers, acquaintances, friends or family – it doesn’t matter where the love comes from. What matters is that I can accept it, cherish it and reciprocate genuine heart-felt affection.

Indira Gandhi said “Where there is love, there is life.” For me, that’s an insightful truth. And whilst I’d love to be better off financially I can count myself as rich as any wealthy tycoon. Because I don’t just have love in my life, I have abundant love.

Abundant love. Abundant life.

“Where there is abundant love, there is abundant life.” ~ The Hurt Healer

Top image thanks to Kathleen Tennant                           http://www.etsy.com/listing/87084411/life-8×14-signed-mixed-media-print
Quote thanks to Gayana http://www.etsy.com/listing/75854819/where-there-is-love
Bottom image thanks to Emelisa  http://www.redbubble.com/people/emelisa/works/8805582-earth-faeries