It’s that time of year when people start freaking out about their Christmas gift shopping. This afternoon as I wrapped a few presents, I started thinking back on the past year and the numerous gifts that I have received.
A year ago, at the beginning of December 2015, my doctor told me I was on the brink of a heart attack and a nervous breakdown. She didn’t understand how I was actually functioning. I wasn’t really. I was just going through the motions of life. She signed me off from work for five weeks, told me to get some serious rest and to go see a therapist. I went to work, dropped off my phone, dismantled my email accounts, told my office that I’d be back in January and went home to sleep. I slept for the next 10 days.
There were a lot of factors contributing to the state I was in. My marriage separation, my kids weren’t really speaking to me and weren’t coping well with the separation, I had a social media stalker who was attacking me, I had to recount my story a number of times with the police, I felt estranged from members of my family, and most importantly, I felt estranged from myself.
When I woke up (feeling quite a lot like Rip van Winkle, I must say), I realised I had ten days before I had to be home for my kids. I bought a plane ticket to New Zealand and followed my intuition fully for the entire trip.
I returned to Australia on speaking terms with my intuition in a way I hadn’t been for years. And I returned to a family counselling session that rocked me to my core. That was December 23rd. I started crying and didn’t stop for 36 hours. I pulled myself together enough to spend Christmas Day with my children and my ex, at the house where our family had lived together for years. That was hard but I did it for my kids.
After the ‘annus horribilis’ that was 2015, I vowed 2016 would be better.
One of my closest friends gave me the gift of her apartment in Sydney for a few days over New Years while she was away on holiday. Her flat is in Kirribilli at the base of the Harbour Bridge and was a perfect hideaway for me to figure out what I wanted out of 2016. As I watched the fireworks at midnight over the harbour alone, I knew I had to make some serious changes in my life and I committed to doing so.
As I’ve made those changes, I’ve received so many gifts from the Universe. The right gifts have shown up exactly when I’ve needed them and I am constantly grateful.
Those gifts include:
- Meeting the right people at the right time in the right place.
- Having time to focus on my relationships with my daughters.
- Leaving a job that was sucking the soul out of me.
- Being able to strike out on my own and work with people I love, on projects that I love.
- Being able to spend much time at the beach in my happy place, with my dog at my feet, listening to the birds overhead and the waves crashing in.
- Having enough money to do what I want.
- Creating this blog and the wonderful comments I get from the tribe who read it via text, the blog itself, phone calls or emails.
- Running my first Believing In Me retreat successfully in October.
- Having time to read, learn, listen and sit in silence.
- Time to walk my dog every day in beautiful places that speak to our souls.
- Watching and helping my children come to terms with a life that is different than they expected, but is also better than they expected.
- Listening to my intuition to discover my purpose and calling in life.
- Learning and practicing Reiki
- Finally realising that both of my parents have always loved me – no matter what.
- Finally realising that I am enough – no matter what.
- Starting to build a tribe of people who are listening to their hearts and supporting each other.
One friend in particular gave me a special gift this year. He reminded me of the importance of being present. He, like many men I know, can’t multi-task. He sees this as a fault, something that he needs to work on. I see it as a gift. Especially when he was present with me. Through his actions, he reminded me how amazing it feels when someone is fully present with you. Rarely are we fully present with other people. When we talk with them our minds are often on other things, we check our phones for messages, we have one eye on something else that grabs our attention. But to sit with another individual and be fully present with them shows respect. And makes the other person feel heard. How often do we really feel heard?
Since spending a bit of time with him earlier in the year (he lives overseas and I don’t see him often), I have remembered how he made me feel. And have tried to be present in conversations I have had with friends and family members. I try to turn off my phone, I focus on the person speaking, I listen more and try to speak less. I am in the moment and give the other person a gift of my time and attention. And I am rewarded with some of the best conversations I’ve had with people, many of whom I’ve known for years but with whom I previously had relatively superficial relationships.
This holiday season there isn’t much on my Christmas list. As a joke, I asked my kids for a Wonder Woman t-shirt, but that’s about it. Instead I am grateful for all of the gifts listed above that I have received throughout the year and will spend Christmas reflecting on them and the people who have delivered those presents to me.
They all arrived at the right time in the right way. And have contributed to my best gift, which is peace, joy and contentment this Christmas.
I wish you the same.