The art of living is a skill that I have been striving to refine for most of my life, sharpening my sword to cut through the many layers of perceived difficulty and challenge, no matter how dark they may seem.
No matter what happens “to us” or around us, I believe that what’s going on beneath the surface, is what really moves us beyond any emotional setbacks and traumatic experiences. To see our journey towards achievement as difficult or as an uphill battle can be disheartening, though I have arrived at the viewpoint where I ask myself…”difficult…in comparison to what“?
If we tell ourselves that something was supposed to be “easy”, then we are setting ourselves up for the potential to only achieve that which is easy, and what value do such things really have? Anything worthwhile that anyone has ever attained, you can guarantee, it was a result of great persistence, burning desire and repetitive steps in the direction of that goal, no matter what that may be.
As a child I was dyslexic. Early in primary school, both my teacher and I would become frustrated with each other…I because she kept telling me to write, when I couldn’t, and that It was in front of everyone where I became embarrassed…and her, because I couldn’t do what she wanted me to do – write! I remember the feeling of being so ostracized and pointed out, which I truly believe was one of the greatest blessings of my life. I became determined at that point, to overcome my dyslexia, practicing with my mum at home until one day, I could finally write properly.
I remember one day when my mother was in the bank withdrawing her pension. It was the first time I wrote my name without the L being upside down and back to front and everything else correct. I remember running up to mum with the slip of paper in my hand, over the moon at my achievement! I felt that learning how to write, I could now do anything I wanted! It was a feeling I remember clearly! From that day on, I began using paper as my friend, my confidant and therapy. I have kept journals ever since! Today, writing has continued to be one of my greatest loves. Grateful beyond words, I have grown to understand that we can transform our weaknesses into our strengths through sheer determination. I have used this challenge to propel me forward, to develop myself and inspire me to learn. Every day now is an opportunity for me to educate myself, which I feel deep down is a gift from my childhood learning struggles! What a blessing in disguise.
My point is, we must use our hardships, our challenges and difficulties to flip things around and learn from…as inspiration and fuel to strengthen ourselves. Life gives us challenges for a reason, to test us and see how much we really want something!
Feelings of frustration in the journey toward realising our dreams can be instantly dissolved in the realisation that… the experience of challenges, is the very sign that you are making way, pushing through boundaries and simply feeling the growing pains of moving beyond the known into an expanded realm of learning.
A friend of mine once said that he saw “emotions”, as the “stories we tell ourselves”, which I really like and resonate with, as I feel that we are very much governed by what we tell ourselves, behaviorally, emotionally and in every other dymension of life, through the filter of our perception lens, judgments and awareness.
With the philosophy that emotions are informed by thoughts, I have been able to really look back and assess my “take” on life and see how such perceptions of the journey overall, with it’s many chapters, has created the person I am, and my values in life. Such a small exercise has given me the opportunity to re-frame events from my youth, gain clarity in detaching emotional meaning, and seeing what was really there.
Any feelings of trauma and suffering that I had held, around my childhood throughout my memories, have been completely set free, in growing to understand my own input and creation of such emotions. Knowing that these emotions are seated in perceptions, provides a perspective of great wisdom that allows for the kind of self reflection that awakens deep gratitude for each hurdle laid out before us on our way.
I have come to believe that running from things (the past), will only take from our energy, by maintaining the “view” that it is/ was “painful” and without purpose…though to utilize our more trying experiences, to propel us forward as a garden does to compost, rather than seeking to forget the painful emotional images we hold, can be a great awakening to the perfect order contained in each chapter of our lives, be it an event, personal relationship, death of a loved one, or any type of trauma.
I have realised that to run from, bury, hide or erase our past, can leave us to miss out on huge opportunities to grow from overcoming such adversity, rather than to leave the “baggage” and miss out on the strength of learning to carry it with grace…to love it and be grateful for it. It is universal law that we have two sides to every coin so why would we then want to let one side go, to miss out on the other…as they are one, after all.
I feel that it is merely our “view” of the so called “baggage” of life, that can make it feel heavy, rather than a gift of tools to use in creating pathways to achievement and triumph. To me…baggage is only baggage if we see it that way, otherwise it can be our greatest asset that we are able to use as a platform and foundation to work with, build upon and transform.
If you lose it by suppressing it, blocking out the pain or trying to forget, you have the potential to miss out on the possibilities of molding it into something great! Like clay, our experiences are valuable learning tools, that we can change, purely out of the vision that we have within and our choice – and will to make something of them!
In the endless searching that I have done, I have been blessed to walk through what felt like fire and discover the powerful potential hidden just beneath the pain…and have found that pushing through that initial stage of any kind of hurt, be it resentment, anger, grief or fear, we can be empowered…in peeling back the layers, to find the golden truth that the mind is the most potent power in our lives.
I have experienced all types of “tragedy” from childhood neglect and homelessness, to all kinds of abuse, death of loved ones and beyond…and come through these waters with a great and unwavering strength, with a deep yearning and burning desire to experience the other side of the life coin.
Though my journey has given me experiences beyond what many encounter in a life time, I have also been blessed with an enormous ability to open my mind to the beauty in this world, and experience bliss in simple things like being alone, in nature or appreciating the possibilities of life.
I truly feel and believe with all of my heart, that this very strength and drive comes from the appreciation of how precious the time is that we hold in our hands, how powerful our choices are…and how perfectly the people and experiences in our lives serve us in teaching us all that we need to learn, so that we may pass this wisdom onto others and contribute to the world.
My story is one of many uncanny twists and turns, that have surpised me many times over, in ways that have made me realise that there must be a hidden order to life. I have never had to look very far to find the synchronicity of it all, how things just line up and make sense in the end…that the struggles that we may perceive at any given time, turn out to be the greatest gifts, just yet to unfold.
As hard as that notion may be to initially accept, I truly believe with conviction, that every painful experience is a gift, waiting to be explored and unveiled. I believe sometimes, our most challenging experiences, can be like growing pains. They hurt at the time, but there is a reason for it. I have a strong sense that shying away from challenges rather than seeing the opportunity within them, can stop us from wanting to delve any further, where we really get to see the gifts and attain deep insight into the truth of our reality.
The theme of my early life since being a three year old toddler, was like an underworld tunnel of drugs, death and crime that I remember beginning to understand by age seven, going to my first funeral, which was my mothers partner who used heroin paid for by theft. Along the way, I have began to see my youth as a very valuable time, that tested me greatly throughout experiencing homelessness, abuse, and psychiatric hospitalisation for nervous breakdowns, that gave me great freedom in the realisation that “I had nothing to lose and everything to gain”.
Being so isolated from family growing up, running away from one parent to anothers and then onto friend’s floors and sofas, pushed me out into a world of the unpredictable, where I found great comfort. It was here I took refuge in not being judged by anyone, because for one, no one knew me and I could not be defined by anything, not even where I came from.
My own extended family closed their doors to me in the assumption that I too would turn out like my parents and siblings, on drugs and untrustworthy…though I am grateful beyond words, that watching my family undo themselves, was my greatest blessing and driving force to care for myself so as not to lose my life in that same way.
Both my sister and I were abused by members of our family, which caused deep seperation, shame and isolation because of the rejection, blame, disbelief and distancing of family members. For me, this was deeply hurtful at the time, though the very thing that lead me to find solace and sanity in writing. I have kept journals from the age of ten, which helped me greatly in learning to reflect and extract the meaning and blessings from each chapter in my life.
Keeping a journal has allowed me to explore my own feelings and see the very power that I have had in the progress and acheivements born of my commitment to grow and evolve. Choosing to walk away from the drugs and crime that was so deeply embedded in my family through childhood, I turned to words, poetry and journaling as my therapy, recording my observations along the way, so that I could somehow make sense of it all.
While I may have experienced testing times through my youth, I feel that we all have our own unique path and struggles, that help us to grow triumphantly with grace in learning great lessons. Without such hardships, I feel life can be such a dull mental space through which one may slowly let possibilities slip right through their fingers, without realising how prescious it really is, or being grateful for what is.
One of my biggest blessings has been the realisation of how fragile and precious life is…having balanced on fine lines many times, it’s never been boring, in fact, I don’t know the meaning of the word! Feeling the razor sharp edge of life in the face of death and immortality as we say goodbye to someone we love can be one of the most empowering gifts ever, in awakening our drive to really live! I personally no longer have the illusion of grief, which brings me to tears how powerful such a freedom is.
What a gift! I am someone who most people would say “has lost so much”…yet I feel no loss at all! I feel the gifts that were born of the love shared with angels, the blessings born of the spiritual protection that I’ve been given, the power that I feel within to have nothing to lose is almost superhuman, and I would not trade that in not for one moment to have anyone of my loved one’s back in physical form because the truth is, they did their work on earth.
Each one of my so called “losses” was the death of someone, my mother, father, brother, sister and many more…who each taught me great lessons, through their living…in the choices not to make for their cost will always come. From each one of my family members that died because of drugs, I learned an invaluable lesson. That lesson was that whatever we choose for ourselves, there is a cost…and to be sure the price is worth the attainment. For me now, I am blessed with the wisdom that whispers clearly to me, that my time is the most valuable gift that I can give in return for my dreams becoming a reality.
So today, whatever it is that I seek to manifest in my life, I am certain of the commitment it takes. I have an understanding of the price that we pay for the dreams that we wish to create…and I would rather offer my time, in educating myself, applying myself and learning about how to attain such goals, rather than to seek something without seeing it’s value and honoring it’s worth… for something sought in such a way then it would never truly be attained.
Having been stuck in the illusion of grief throughout times along my journey, I have witnessed myself seeking to fill the voids, that I perceived with all kinds of self destructive means. I have had toxic relationships and living situations, that I created, purely out of the void that I was coming from. I have found that many people do such things out of a-voidance, to escape their feelings of emptiness, which is exactly what I attempted to do. Until the pain of the destructive behaviors such as engaging in toxic and abusive relationships, becomes too great, the pain of the void will always seem greater.
This for me has been why I personally continued to have unhealthy relationships…running from the pain of the void within, which always made the relationships feel like a better alternative. Taking the band-aid off such voids has only ever been possible when the time came that the pain of the abuse, overtook the pain of the void. So until such time that we are so self destructive, that we see more harm in the self medication of props to fill the voids, we are never going to see that there is truly nothing ever missing, but the fulfillment of our own mental wellbeing.
The most valuable lessons we can learn are often cleverly disguised at the time, as monsters and mountains that are hard to climb. Being faced with adversity too often hardens the heart in the attempt to self protect which can be a real tragedy for the true beauty can often be there just beneath the surface of our wounds, waiting to be revealed.
It is the hurdles in life that have the most potential to take us to the greatest heights, with the wounds, exposing our core to the outer world, and to others…with no barrier between. Left vulnerable, we can find ourselves in the most wonderful and mysterious places, exposed to the winds of change, open to experiencing the many colourful facets and multi-dimensional aspects of life!
The most valuable insight we can take from our hardships and tragedies, is a recognition of the deep influence of attitudes, in the condition of our lives. Much of the time, it is not the load that we carry, but the way we carry it…that truly counts. I have come to the point where I now see all those typically niggly little things encountered along the way, that is very much a part of life and our existance, as just “bugs on the windscreen”. We can either focus on them, or look ahead to where we are going in life, rather than be distracted, deterred or derailed by them.
They only fall off as our journey continues… and the further we go…so focusing on the road ahead, rather than being distracted by the little things, I have found, can save us great time and energy. I have personally been through times in my life that I have enabled myself to fly through an otherwise typically traumatic time, purely out of the understanding of the very fact that what was happening, was serving a purpose, to get me through to a place where I could have the ability, power and opportunity to manifest a fulfilling life, that I deserved (that we all deserve).
The one thing that has pulled me through such times, has been the knowing that “I choose my life”, no matter what state it is in, for reasons that serve me always. If there have been aspects that were ever more challenging, I would simply remember that it is all part of attaining something greater, sacrificing the good…for great! It’s not where we are that counts most, but the direction we are heading in that we can be inspired by, encouraged to move towards, and away from what could otherwise hold us back. If ever I have found myself focusing upon that which I did not want in my life, I stopped myself and redirected my thoughts, so as to focus on creating a different reality, rather than complain and give power (energy) to that which I did not wish for.
I’ve found that my life has been a lot like a card game… Choosing the cards is not always in possible, but playing well with the cards in hand has been the very thing that has determined my unfolding destiny. One of the most empowering realisations I have made, is that personal achievement comes as a result of seeing that it is not how life treats us that matters, but how “we” treat life.
When so often perceived “crappy” things happen to people, the very idea that such experiences are without purpose, leads to missing out on seeing the great compost that it is. I look at the lives of those without such “crap”, who have had many perceived great blessings in their lives, and I think, that they actually are missing out on some great opportunities to grow and develop inner wealth, as a result of having little awareness as to the “value” of what they have.
Not knowing the absence of something in life, I feel…can be really unfortunate…as all things are impermanent, and not to see and appreciate things for what they are at the time, can lead to regret, later. Sometimes we must see that in order to become free like the butterfly, we must first live within the darkness of the cocoon.
Most people don’t understand the value of the cocoon as being a portal for the freedom which comes as a reward for overcoming great adversities and enduring a little restriction along the way. Great things come at a cost…and to remember this, is to be reminded of the fact that any time you feel “lack”, anywhere in your life, is to see simultaneously, that there are riches in the making. It may not be in that aspect of life, but in one aspect, be it spiritual, physical, mental, social, vocational or familial…there will be wealth and health!
No one would have believed the catapillar if he told them he was going to fly one day…they would have thought him crazy. But this is what the symbolism of the butterfly represents. It is one of faith and possibilities, that reminds us that it pays to surrender to change, no matter how hard it may be.
Growing up in the welfare system… it would be easy to say I had a shaky start to life, though in looking closely, I have found that it was the very thing that contributed greatly to a very rich journey of learning, discovery and awakening. Sailing through many a storm, often seemingly without an anchor or silver lining in sight, I have learned, that there is always a mountain peak, resting just above the darkest gray clouds. It was through such seas, that I learned to navigate and find my way… which over time, grew to be my greatest asset.
Though some things may start out seeming dark, like muddy roots of the Lotus Flower, there is usually a purpose to the growing pains…that have great potential to unfold into beautiful works of nature. Everything happens for a reason, every stage and every season! Sometimes we must accept a certain chapter as an essential part of life, to help us understand the rest of the story.
I have come to realise that it is not so much the life that we experience, but the experience we bring to life, that really counts….and it is through our ability to look beyond our circumstances and perceive something greater, that we are able to do this in a powerful and meaningful way.
No matter where we stand in life, at any point, there is one thing certain and that is, that we must not take people’s word when it comes to our own potential. We must not let people’s ideas of how big we are, who we are, or what is possible for us… from their outer view, determine our inner vision, for where we see ourselves heading. The most powerful thing we can ever do, is be ourselves, for those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, wont mind.
“Sometimes we must save ourselves from good-intentioned people & do-gooders, who are constantly advising us to be this, to be that. Listen to them, thank them. They don´t mean any harm –but harm is what happens. Just listen to your own heart. That is your only teacher. In the real journey of life, your own intuition is your only teacher.” – Osho
One thing we must always remember in times of uncertainty, is that “change” is the only thing certain. Life is an ocean, our spirit the sails, our wills, the ship! Whatever storm you face, you can learn to steer around and through. And the time will come…where once more you can drop your anchor. Always.
As Leonardo Da Vinci said, ” It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
I like to see the hurdles in life, as the things that make us see how high we can really go, when pushed…and given a reason, to reveal to us our potential. It is the challenges and troubles in life that are there to show us where not to go. Like the bumps on the edge of the freeway, they are there as warning signs, to tell us we are heading in the wrong direction. They are blessings…there to point us in the right direction, so we can change our ways and refocus our attention…they are there to wake us up!
We have great power in our hands to steer the course of our lives. All we need to do is listen to our inner voice, and be guided by it. What can you celebrate? What greatness have you found, attained, become, overcome or witnessed? Reflect on that! It will always pull you through those tougher moments. Throughout my life, since being a child, I have always kept a journal, which taught me the power of focus and gratitude. It has mirrored, that my state of mind and attitude of gratitude, has always determined the outcomes I have attained, and been a reflection of what was to come. Focus is a powerful thing, and while we may wish to pull weeds and clear away those thing we do not wish for…I believe we really need to be planting seeds and thinking about that which we “do” wish to create and what we are thankful for.
It is the fertiliser that comes our way, that gives us the very potent potential to grow and develop in many ways… Our life is our garden, and our wills are our gardeners!
“Focusing on what is missing in life can cause you to miss what is there”. Attitude is a small thing with a big difference. Like the wind, we cannot see…though its sway and power is witnessed in everything it moves.
Regardless what happens in our world, we have the capacity to remain centred inwardly. What determines our destiny is how we perceive and view our outer reality, and act upon it. We are the captains of our ship, the master of our own lives.
The challenges and perceived “losses” of life, are not what count in the end…it is what we make out of them. I have grown to learn that the wounds that we endure, are our greatest gifts, opening us up to the light that exists, breaking us down to learn how to rebuild ourselves and realise what’s important!
It is our attitudes that count the most. Our determination and vision makes us who we are… and where we come from is nothing in comparison to where we are going and what we do with what we’ve been shown.
“The further down and out you have been, the further up and in you can go, and our attitudes alone, can make a heaven out of hell and a hell out of heaven.”.
Inside my heart, lies a deep sense of thankfulness for the many moons I have seen and the different places that I’ve been. I’ve been blessed, and I’ve seen the very best. I have loved so much… each moment that I could and to take any of it back, I never would. Each hardship and hurdle that’s made me fall, Id’e do it again I would do it all. I am grateful for the lessons that I have learned, and the joy that I feel that I know I have earned.
Many people don’t learn until much later in life through personal trial and error, though I was blessed to watch a great deal unfold around me, in the choices of others. What i have seen and where i have been has provided me with a great level of awakening in life, as in falling, I discovered my wings. And who knows, maybe the safe life beneath the shelter would have been a trade off for them. But I wouldn’t give them back, for anything. And to live a sheltered life, to me…would be such a shame, to miss out on all that sun shine. It’s the price you pay for a little rain. It’s called the miracle of life, and we are here to live it!
For the life that I have been blessed to experience… after the parting of the clouds and goodbyes of many kinds, my heart opens like a flower to the sun and the new life begun. Such abstract pieces that created such a puzzled journey, now make for poetic comprehension, of the unspeakable and invisible current that we float upon in this world.
Realizing often that things are not as they are seeming. Blessed is the soul, who learns how to sail…how easy it can be to just simply fail. My gratitude is owed to the darkest of nights that taught me so. How to float… and when to row. Those things, I will always know.
A new tree cannot grow in the shadow of an old one… and therefor, we must learn to let go, as life unfolds, no matter how painful it is. Sometimes we stumble on oportunity, mistaking it for an obstacle. Though it is in seeing this very possibility, that we are set free from the limiting perceptions that hold us back. We are often our own obstacle, and need to step out of our own way and see the blessings in each hurdle we stumble across.
I have a passion for wellbeing… which is born out of the understanding of how disempowering it can be to lose one’s health and independance because of lifestyle choices, watching my mother go down that road, passing away at fiftyone. My father passed away in much the same way, due to a twenty year road of drug and alcohol addiction.
I had many child protection workers assigned my case and four older siblings. Two that ran away and two that died because of the drugs. These very things, gave birth to my determination to be there for others going through the same dark allies that I have been so blessed to make my way out of. And today, my work in the community welfare sector, promoting living skills, is something I can say would never have been blessed to pursue so persistently had my life of been different.
It is my firm belief, that we can all make our way out of the darkness…with the right self care as an important part of the journey. People may say that they dont have time to take care of their health, but I truly would rather take time… to look after myself than spend time being ill. In all the years my mother was alive since giving me life, not once do I recall her being physically healthy and well. She spent much of her time in bed, being dignosed with diabetes, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, cilliacs disease, asthma and so much more, that I could go on and on. She spent countless hours at the doctors and every day taking medication of all types for her ills.
She could hardly walk in the end, her body had become ailed so deeply that she looked twice her age. One could say that she suffered a great deal of unspeakable trauma throughout her life… having had the passing of her first husband in a cyclone, her first born (daughter) in a house fire, and my brother, who was murdered by drug dealers, then my sister, his twin, to suicide by over dose, as well as her father from a brain hemorage.
I understand how hard it must have been to process all of that without any help, that turning to drugs is one way of finding a solution to block the mental pollution, I do have great compassion for her in knowing the pain that she felt in experiencing the emotions she did… But my understanding is that there are so many other ways, so much more one can do to help themselves.
I myself would drown myself with books in the library growing up. I would spend much of my time devouring books on healing and philosophy, so as to help myself understand and see things in a light that gave me perspective.
Today, I am much the same, holding the beleif that self care and self education are two of the most powerful things that one can do. No matter what happens, wisdom is the one thing that cannot be taken away from us. And I guess having lost a mother, father, brother and sister, I have such strong views around mortality which is what gives me great passion for writing…so that something may be left when I die. It’s the one thing that we can pass on and contribute to the world, long after we are gone. So as I write this, I have a vision in my heart, and purpose not only to express myself, but to leave a message behind, so that my life is not lived and forgotten, but given meaning and substance.
Where my journey began…
My earliest memories go back to when I was around three years old. I was living on a farm with my Mum, Dad, three brothers and sister.
Mum was thirtythree years old when i was born. Nine years before my arrival, she adopted my oldest brother who is in fact my cousin, though born to my mother’s sister who was brain damaged. Mum never really had anything to do with her family, apart from her Dad, who separated from her mother very early on. I never met my mother’s mum…which I don’t regret given what I learned about her. The brain damage my aunty endured was a result of her beatings.
Three years after the adoption, Mum gave birth a second time after her first born died about six years earlier in a house fire while being babysat. Her first husband died in cyclone Tracey. Mum’s second born was my middle brother and after him she gave birth to the twins three years later again. Her marriage to their father lasted a short time and three years after the twins birth, I came along. I was my father’s only child and my mum’s last.
My father came from a family with nine other siblings. My Dad became somewhat of a black sheep to the family when he and my mother got themselves mixed up in a criminal crowd.
Entering the system at 3 years old…
By the time I was three, I had lived in three different places. Drugs became a prominent theme during this time, which eventually lead to the twins and I having our first stay at a foster home. At this stage I was just three years old. Dealing heroin, my mother already seperated from my father, went to prison when I was four, with a minimal sentence of six months.
For the following few years, we spent most of the time moving homes with mum, with her heroin use funded by crime. One of her boyfriend’s died after we moved out due to his violence towards us all.
By the time I was ten, mum had a new boyfriend, who she stayed with frequently, leaving me with my brother Billy, then thirteen and his girlfriend Dianne. By this time my sister was living between refuges and on the streets. It was during this time one day, that I took a rope from the back yard and tied a noose in it, grabbing a chair to get up to a tree branch. Right after I hung myself kicking the chair away, my brother’s girlfriend Dianne saw me from the kitchen window. I was then just ten years old.
She ran out the back screaming my name, calling for Billy to help. She lifted me up and Billy ran out helping her to untie the rope, loosening it from my neck.
It was within a month after this, I took my things and went back to Dad’s, to his new place in Epping with his girlfriend Veronica and her daughter Joy – my friend from a previous primary school. It was here that I turned eleven. This was my tenth move where I went to my sixth school. By now, our parents were taking speed and binge drinking quite frequently.
One night, just after Joy went to live with her Dad’s in an attempt to move to safer ground, I witnessed Dad putting her mum, Veronica’s head through the dining room wall in one of their episodes. I was cleaning the blood off the carpet in the hallway when Veronica came up to me and started spitting it all over my head.
With blood dripping down my forehead, I was filled with torment, deciding once again, that I wanted to leave. It was December 1996 when I came back to Mum’s that time. She had moved into yet another new place. Just a short while after my return, on January the 14th in 1997, I was watching my brother Billy helping Mum in the garden when Mum’s drug dealer, pulled up.
He came to ask if Billy wanted to come with him to show him where Andrew Walsh lived, a guy Billy apparently brought to the dealer’s place one day, who said he could get some “good gear” from the country if he gave him the money to go get it for him. Trusting Billy, he gave Andrew the money.
This was a mistake on Billy’s part as it cost him dearly as was found in the unfolding of events after Billy and our other brother Robert, took off in the car that day under the impression that they were to direct him to Andrew’s house. Just fourteen years old, days before the twins fifteenth birthday, with Billy’s unborn child, due in April to his sixteen year old girlfriend Dianne… Billy was never to be seen again.
They were instead driven straight to the drug dealer’s place which was the exact same house we lived in with mum’s boyfriend before going to the family rehab. Mum’s boyfriend, who was a very sick man, also died in that house after we left.
It was in that house that the boys were tortured for seven hours on that day in January 1997. Batted to the head on entering the door and they were dragged under the house and hung by their hands and feet tied behind their back, to the piping under the house. Only four years earlier, this was where we had our cubby house.
The boys we beaten by seven men and one woman, with sand filled baseball bats, whipped with bike chains, stabbed, made to eat dog excrement and repeatedly kicked over a seven hour period.
Robert, just seventeen at the time, was brought home and suvived to tell the tale…though he never spoke much of it afterwards. The investigation had just gotten under way, when three days later, Billy’s beaten body was found in the Yarra River.
My sister Margaret, Billy’s twin, was still yet to know. She had called where we were staying, after someone must of contacted her. All I remember was Mum picking up the phone, out of it on who knows what, sucking down a cask of wine, saying as plane as day, with a numb voice that sounded as if she was almost driven insane with all of it- “Billy’s dead”. Straight away, I could hear Margaret, from half way across the room, screaming, “No!”…echoeing through the whole room.
The coroner also found that Billy died from drowning, as there was water in his lungs, meaning he was unconscious but still alive when dumped in the River.
The day of Billy’s funeral an old “friend” of mum’s came to where we were staying in Thornbury afterward. Just as i walked out to find where Mum was, I saw her over dose on heroin in the back of the woman’s car. She was immediately rushed to the hospital to be revived.
Being placed under Police protection…
Within a few weeks of Billy’s murder, the police had moved us to the country. It was told that Mum and Robert had contracts out on their lives.
After nine months of being in the country, my sister Margaret, Billy’s twin, who was a ward of the state at the time, over dosed on heroin. It was a few days after she had spent a week with us at our country home.
We spoke on the phone the day before. She told me she loved me before she said goodbye. It was the last thing she ever said to me.
When the Department of Human Services came, we were given a note that was beside her bed. Margaret’s funeral was large and when her coffin was being driven away, there was one girl howling on the ground in despair.
Not too long after Margarets’s death, I myself attempted suicide again, taking my mother’s anti-depressant medication before being taken to the hospital when found.
Shortly after this my uncle was released from prison and came to live with us. Scared of the man, I left as soon as I could. He had been in prison for both rape and armed robbery.
Leaving mum’s I moved from place to place, including a foster care and a couple of short stays in a psychiatric hospital for nervous breakdowns while facing homelessness. By age fourteen I had moved eighteen times and by eighteen I had moved thirtytwo times. I had slept on many sofas and never quite had my feet on the ground.
During these years, I began to really understand how little we need in the way of tangible possessions. Losing so many along the way, I began to learn how little they actually meant. I learned one of the most valuable lessons I feel anyone can truly learn…that there is only two things that cannot be taken away from us, or ever lost. Our love and wisdom.
So where ever I went, I would always find a library…which would become my second home. Knowledge and understanding became my most valuable possessions, that had no weight in the physical, but in reality…was the most powerful force in the making of destiny, and only thing that I could truly call mine, that could not be taken, stolen or lost.
There have been both dark and light aspects that I have come to know are there no matter what, in each and every one of our lives. No one escapes the concrete reality of the magnetic nature of life, both negative and positive. By age eighteen, I had experienced the passing of my brother, my sister, my Pop, a boyfriend, my father’s girlfriend and also my mother.
Due to a fifteen year addiction to heroin, being on the methadone program and taking all kinds of anti-depressants and pharmaceutical drugs…my mothers body gave up. It was her heart that could take no more.
By this time, my two older brothers had seen enough, and totally abandoned her, which one could say was for their own wellbeing.
I honestly felt like I was her mother and I say that in the most loving way possible. I say it from my heart being so tormented to see her that way that I just wanted to protect her and be there for her.
I could feel deep down that she had just trembled inside and could barely cope with all of her losses. Being Mum’s strength was also a great learning journey for me, where I began to understand my own capacity to remain balanced and dissolve my emotions for my own benefit. It was somewhat liberating to discover such a power of mind.
Mum never told me much about the family other than the violent nature of it. I later came to understand why. There was not much worth telling, with the whole family riddled with criminals. She had her youngest brother murdered only months before my birth, on April the 21st 1985, exactly twelve years before Billy’s child Jo, was born. Billy’s girlfriend Dianne was pregnant when Billy was murdered so it all felt so bazaar with things unfolding the way they did.
Billy’s baby was born the same date April 21st, that our uncle was murdered…only twelve years later. With Billy being buried in the same grave as our uncle Pat, It was ironic the way it unfolded.
My mother died six years after my sister commited suicide, but on the exact same date, the ninth of october, as a result of physical deterioration.
The time came for Mum’s funeral, and I was the only one of her children there. Although my oldest brother said some nasty things about mum, including not to tell him when she passed away, because he no longer cared, I had written him a letter that he received on the day of her funeral. My other brother, I had not seen in five years, and had no idea of where he was. Neither of them had even seen or had any contact with mum in five years.
Soon after Mum’s death, I went to stay with my Dad for a while when again I was faced with homelessness as a result of an abusive living environment.
During this time, I discovered that…“Rock bottom is good solid ground, and a dead end street is just a place to turn around…when going through hell, to keep going…that a bend in the road is not the end of the road – unless you fail to make the turn.”
Well that I did! Within a year, I had begun working, studying and found my own little apartment to call home, after a number of months sleeping on different couches and dragging my bags behind me.
I have deep gratitude for the personal development that grew from such roots. It is as though the foundations were so shakey that it was like balancing on one leg at a time, for the purpose of strengthening the planted foot.
I see my early life as a great blessing that gave me the foundation of well l-earned wisdom and significant life experience.
Learning that life is a very fragile journey that can end at any given moment, I have discovered the value of time and power of appreciation for each day and the opportunities to learn, acquire knowledge and self educate so as to become independent and overcome adversity.
In March, 2006 I come to a place of peace with my father, who I had not seen in a number of months, due to my feelings around his substance dependence. Writing a letter, I decided to say everything that I needed to say, with the understanding that life can be so short, and that I didn’t want it to end without being complete about my relationship with him.
Writing him this letter, gave me a sense of freedom and gratitude for finally letting go of the past. All that mattered to me now, was that he was my dad and gave me life. One month after I wrote that letter, he passed away suddenly.
They kept Dad in his bed for me to say goodbye. I walked into his room, and saw him lying there. He looked so peaceful. It was as though he had been set free. I suddenly felt closer to Dad than I ever did.
I remember a few months after his passing; I was told by a friend that she had left a number of voice messages on my phone. I had not even realised that I had a voice mail box, so I contacted the phone company and asked them how I could get into them an listen to them. Once I found out how to do it, the voice message said that I had some forty odd “unheard” voice messages.
As I began listening to them, I heard that most of them were from the previous year, so hearing a few of them, being so long ago, and many of them brief messages left for me to call back, I began deleting them without listening to any. After deleting a number of them, I thought I should just listen to them just in case.
The first one I listened to was a message from Dad. He wanted me to call him, saying that he missed me and loved me, and wanted to see me. There were several of them, all saying similar things. He wanted me to just call him. Had I of known he was calling me all that time things may have been so different during the time leading up to his death. I honestly feel that I may never have cut myself off from him those few months before writing the letter.
Though in another way, I am so grateful for having this happen in such a way, as I know for me his death would have been so much more difficult to go through had I have been closer to him during that time. I truly feel that everything happens perfectly for a reason, and it is in seeing these reasons, and the purpose of the seemingly challenging trials of life, that we are free from them, and able to love fully each stage in the unfolding of our lives.
Since my parents dying I have learned enormously, through both living and sourcing out material in which I could immerse myself, and totally let go and re-learn to love life. Though my feeling is that if you take one day at a time, with the bigger picture in mind, to keep you inspired and on track, you can develop great strength, from which anything is possible.
We are creative beings and our life is our choice. When we have no more will or reason enough to go on, when we are complete or have fulfilled our heart’s mission, we leave this world. When there is nothing left for us to do, we go. That is why I believe that everyone here has their purpose and are serving in some way.
Be it to test us and develop our strength, or share wisdom and empower people, we are all here to bring love into the world. Sometimes it may be disguised really well, while with others it is plane to see. Each person drawn into our lives, is there as a mirror of what is within us, to show us what we can’t see on our own, though we just need to look, in order to understand this.
My eyes have been opened through each of the chapters of my life, to the great blessings, hidden sometimes cleverly behind the hardships, where I have found an abundance of support and encouragement… and also criticism and belittlement, that has made me that much more determined to suceed, and exceed the expectations of those that doubted me.
I have grown to appreciate life on a very deep level and am a wealthy girl when it comes to gratitude, in understanding the value of each moment that passes, and knowing the power of my own free will.
Some people have everything, but have no idea which I don’t envy. In fact, to me, this means they actually have nothing. Things are not what count, it is the quality of being (of life) that matters more than anything. One may be rich, but heavy hearted and full of regrets, which has no value.
I have come to a place where I can see that nothing is without purpose. I am clear that every single occurrence in life is to serve us… and drive us to look within, where we can find the most peaceful, honest place of all… Our appreciation of all things, our abundance and ability to create whatever it is that we desire.
I know now… that Everything I have ever lost and every place I have ever been, All the things I have ever seen… have been to teach me how to be the person I am now. To push me to where I am.
I now see the blessings, hidden among the hurdles iv’e risen above. Iv’e discovered there is always a silver lining behind the clouds. And “It is often just above the darkest gray clouds that the highest mountain peaks reside”
So my philosophy is simply to keep moving forward, no matter how dark the tunnel may seem. Keep going, as it’s the only way out.
Without the compost of the painful lessons we endure, we would not have the power to create such beautiful gardens of life that we dream of so passionately, whatever that may be. The greater the pain, the higher the gain.
The greatest lesson in the end, that we can learn, is that there is no negative without a positive and no positive without a negative. If we are constantly supported in life, we find it harder to grow and learn of our own power to overcome challenges, while hardship and adversity, give us the opportunity to do such amazing things.
Triumph is an attitude, defeat is giving up.
This is why, we must not get carried away with the bad, or the good, for one never comes without the other. It is universal law. I feel that I never would have had the great abilities that I have now, to fulfill all that I am working towards, had I not have experienced all that I have in life…which is what makes me believe that all we come through, is all perfectly orchestrated to get us to where we are heading in life.