I’ve been thinking, talking, reading and writing a lot about gratitude recently, and the topic will be taking over my life during the next few months as I settle down to writing my second book. I don’t have a title yet, but it’s about gratitude as a spiritual practice. I was given the title, the book plan, the introduction and most of the chapter headings by Archangel Gabriel in a dream, just as I was in the final, hectic stages of getting The Soul Cave ready for publication. I am working on it over the winter and publishing some time in 2024. You heard it here first!
At the moment, I’m in the UK for a few weeks, visiting family, and during the journey over here and since our arrival just over a week ago, my own capacity for gratitude has been sorely tested. I haven’t written about it before now, because I’ve been reflecting on my feelings about what’s happened and trying to work out why I haven’t been able to keep my own Attitude of Gratitude going as usual. I’ve faced worse challenges, after all! Let me explain what happened. It’s not the end of the world by any means, but for a few days, it really felt like it!
My great friend Glenys, who has been sharing life with me both in the UK and in Spain for seven years now, has made the decision to stay in the UK when I return to Spain next month. Since having a stroke two years ago, she’s struggled with a number of physical and mental health issues, and although she loves life in Spain, she feels the time is right to return to the UK full time to be close to her family without having to struggle with the language barrier and unfamiliar systems. It was a difficult decision for her, and I will miss her company, but she feels the time is right so of course I respect that.
Instead of travelling in one vehicle as usual, we headed to Santander and the cross channel ferry in convoy, Glenys and Gizmo in her camper, and Luna and me in my little Fiat Panda. All was fine until we made our first pit stop at a service area at Albacete, just over two hours from home. One of my writer friends thinks Albacete is the worst place in Spain, and now I’m inclined to agree with him! As we returned to the vehicles, the people in the next car pointed to the left front tyre on the Panda, which was flat and unsafe to drive. I wasn’t too concerned, as I thought it was a simple matter to get the wheel changed and be on our way, and of course I was grateful it had been spotted now, and that I hadn’t had a blow out on the motorway.
However, all thoughts of gratitude left the building when the mechanic who came with the grua – tow truck – informed me he couldn’t change the wheel because there were problems with the nuts, so it would have to go to a garage of my choice. I could either have a taxi home or continue onwards with Glenys. It was no choice really, as I was booked for a mind, body spirit fair at the weekend, and in any case, Glenys couldn’t manage on the ferry on her own with Gizmo. As it was a Sunday, we couldn’t arrange to have the car taken to a garage near my home in Algorfa, so we all carried on to our overnight hotel in Segovia, leaving my poor car to spend the night in a strange garage all alone.
Next day, I called the ferry company to explain the problem and as well as a partial refund we were able to secure a dog friendly cabin as someone had just cancelled. Of course I told myself that was something to be grateful for, as we’d been calling for weeks, but the answer was always no dog friendly cabins available, so the dogs had to travel in the kennels on deck 10. I wasn’t really feeling the gratitude though, because I was so worried about how I was going to get back to Spain – even though I hadn’t yet reached the UK!
In other words, I was doing what I expressly encourage my clients who come for readings and healing not to do: harping back to recent events I couldn’t change, worrying about a future I couldn’t yet know about and therefore not fully being present in the blessings of the present moment. And it really was a blessing to have the dogs with us. It meant I didn’t have to struggle up and down the steps to the kennels with two dogs, because Glenys couldn’t manage them. It also meant the dogs were with us all the time, and we could exercise them on the small deck at the end of the cabin corridor with just a few other dogs, so it was much easier to keep Luna calm and happy.
Once I got to the UK, the bad news continued. My two granddaughters tested positive for Covid, so I was going to have to wait to see them. And the car was going to cost €500 to repair, as it needed not one but two new tyres, and the mechanic had broken the wheel nuts, plus a bearing needed replacing. The obvious answer seemed to be to hire a car in the UK and drop it off in Spain, but it’s half term week when we travel back, so there’s not a car to be had locally. So maybe hire a care in Spain to get Luna and me back to Algorfa? No, because the ferry company only allow pets to travel in vehicles.
So then, maybe I can send Luna back by pet transport and I can fly back? Or perhaps there’s an airline that will fly her back home with me? Iberia do, but I need to get to Birmingham or London, on public transport, with Luna, my luggage and a crate for her to travel in. So that’s not viable. I contacted five pet transport companies, only one of which has so far come back with an estimate. They were happy to transport both of us to Spain via the Channel Tunnel and road, but they quoted £3,800, excluding hotel accommodation en route!
As you can imagine, with each thwarted solution, gratitude and positivity took a nosedive. When I spoke to friends on the phone, I ended up in tears, and all I could think of was how was I going to get back to Spain with Luna. Then it was Friday, and there was just one day to go to the mind, body, spirit fair. I was going to be signing copies of my book, not doing readings or therapies, but I knew there was no way I could attend with the mindset and energy levels I’d been carrying around for five days now, so I made a conscious decision not to even think about my problems over the weekend.
Easier said than done, I know, but I was determined not to bring low energies to what has always been a positive experience for me, especially as it was my first time as an exhibitor rather than just a visitor. First, I used one of the channelled visualisations from my book to clear my mind of the negative thoughts that had taken over. Then I selected a comedy film to watch. By the time the credits rolled, I was feeling much more positive, and I slept better than at any time since arriving in the UK.
Over the next two days, I met so many lovely, positive people that I raised my energy to a level I was more familiar with – and much happier with. As an added bonus, I sold a respectable number of books too, which helped ease the current financial situation, and snagged a deck of Angel Tarot cards I’d been promising myself for a while at half the usual price. I went to bed on Sunday feeling really contented for the first time in a week.
The next day, I woke up with pretty much every joint in my body hurting, due to the combination of damp weather and sitting on uncomfortable chairs all weekend. However, I was still on an energetic high, so I wasn’t too disheartened. I decided on a ‘Me’ day, with meditations to help me relax, uplifting reading and my favourite TV programmes and puzzles.
By yesterday, I was back to normal, physically and energetically. And then a really good friend from Spain came up with a solution to my travel problem. He offered to drive to Santander, sail to Plymouth, spend a few days here and then take Luna and me home. I am grateful for such good friends in my life. After all, it’s not like just popping down the road to pick me up; it’s a 1,100 mile return road journey, with two 24 hour sea crossings.
So, what has the last week taught me, spiritually? Mainly that keeping your energetic vibration high needs constant effort and determination. Just because you’ve come through trauma back to happiness in the past, you’re not immune from the ‘Why Me?’ mindset that pulls your energy down so quickly. It’s a humbling experience, especially when so many people have been congratulating me on my emotional strength and positivity after reading The Soul Cave.
I am about to start living on my own for the first time in my life at the age of 71, and several friends and family members have expressed concerns that I can manage on my own, even though I am perfectly happy to be moving forward with my next chapter. Dealing with things over the last week has, hopefully reassured those close to me that I have the support of true friends who will go the extra mile for me, and also that I don’t fall to pieces when things go wrong. Despite a couple of meltdowns, I’ve pulled myself back to where I need to be, and I won’t easily slide back down again.
I’ve learned a lot about myself this last week, and I’m truly grateful for that. I have my Gratitude Attitude safely back in place, along with a new understanding of the importance of working at keeping my energy positive, whatever the circumstances. And this will help me to be even more supportive to those who come to me when their energy and self confidence is low. Everything happens for a reason, and now I understand the events of the last week, I can accept it all and live in the present moment with joy once more.