On Monday, 1 May 2023, my first book, The Soul Cave: It’s Never Too Late To Find Your Power was published. Today, I received the first copies of the book, straight from the printer, and finally it all seemed real. I’ve talked about writing a book ever since I can remember, but it’s taken me until the age of almost 71 – 70 years and 11 months actually – to hold that book in my hands and see my words in print. I might still be waiting for that magical moment if my husband hadn’t killed my dog in front of me, and I am so grateful.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not grateful that my dog died protecting me, or that I could no longer live with my husband after that dreadful night. However, I am eternally grateful that my book may be able to help, uplift and even inspire others facing their own trauma and challenges. I am grateful for the lessons learned navigating that difficult time four years ago, and I am grateful that I am at my happiest, with so much to look forward to in my future.
Would I rather it hadn’t happened? Of course I would, that goes without saying. I would love to have my dog Paddy back by my side, and I would have preferred to be there for my husband during his final illness. He passed to spirit in 2020, and I didn’t see him again, at least, not in the normal way of things. There’s more about that in the book. However, I couldn’t change what happened, so I had two choices; I could keep replaying the trauma and reliving the hurt, or I could accept what happened and move forward.
How did I manage that? It wasn’t easy; in fact, for several weeks afterwards I was very bitter and angry. It was a necessary part of the grieving and healing process, but I didn’t like being that way. It wasn’t me, and if I allowed the trauma of that night to turn me into a stranger to myself, I would become another victim of the situation and the darkness would have won.
Once I was able to stop asking myself ‘Why did this happen to me?’ and instead wonder ‘What do I need to learn from this?’ I knew I was on the path to healing. In The Soul Cave, I explain how I came late to spirituality in an effort to reclaim my inner peace. One way to do that is to shift our internal energy to the loving perspective of gratitude for everything that happens, good and bad. Bad stuff doesn’t happen because the universe has it in for us; change is necessary if we have lessons to learn, or if we’ve strayed from our true path. We may even be tasked with teaching a valuable life lesson to someone else, and indeed we’ve all signed up for certain missions when we incarnate on this Earth. We come here with a purpose, even if we don’t remember it or recognise it.
When I was able to step back and examine the situation as an observer rather than a participant, I realised that my main lesson was that we can only do so much for anyone before we need to recognise it’s time to walk away. It took Paddy’s death to drive that lesson home. With the best will in the world, I couldn’t help my husband because he either didn’t realise he needed to change his behaviour or he didn’t want to. We can only control our own thoughts, words and deeds, not anyone else’s. but we can control how we respond to situations and to other people.
I reached that point by consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive feelings, and I found the most effective way to do this was to find something to be thankful for, however small. And all the little things add up to big blessings! I do this with everything, not just major upsets, and it becomes second nature eventually. For example, if I’m late for an appointment, I don’t blame the traffic, or whatever. The first thing I say is not ‘Sorry I’m late,’ but ‘Thank you for waiting for me.’ Nothing that starts with ‘thank you’ can possibly be negative. You can’t even say it without curving the corners of your mouth, so as soon as you think or say the words, you’re moving into the energy of gratitude.
Doris Day once said, ‘Gratitude is riches, complaint is poverty,’ and my life is so much richer since I eased myself into the Attitude of Gratitude. It’s helped me heal from trauma, move on from loss and move into my best life. It can help you to do the same too. When we can be thankful for everything that happens to us, we are truly in the moment, and we can enjoy every aspect of our lives. When we are grateful, we are not looking back with regret or forward with anxiety. We are living the moment in joy, and it’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It’s why the current moment is called the present!