So my 2017 didn’t start on the best foot. I had way too many jelly shots and mango liqueur which resulted in me passing out at a friend’s party a long time before we even hit midnight. But despite the drunken, embarrassing entry into the new year, 2017 is really bringing it on for me.
2016 was definitely rough- a break up from who I thought was the love of my life and the the loss of my best friend and some great friends as a result, resignation from two great jobs, some significant chronic fatigue crashes, the loss of my house and my two precious cats and severe financial hardship. It was a real low point for me. But it was by far the greatest learning curve I have ever experienced in my life and has consequently put me on the right path. A path catalysed by heartbreak, grief and loss of independence that has led to the discovery of my true self, incredible people and my true calling in life. And for this I am truly grateful.
Sure at the time it sucked. I thought the pain of heartbreak would never go away, that I would hurt that bad for ever. I thought that I would never recover from Chronic Fatigue and would forever be on this cycle of up’s and down’s unable to work, study and do the things I loved. I thought that I would never be loved and accepted, even just by friends, ever again. The depression and anxiety almost crippled me and at times I thought that this world would be better off without me.
But then I realised something. In the midst of all the hurt and suffering, I realised that my life did have meaning and all of this was happening to me to teach me lessons, make me stronger and help me grow into the person I need to be. Everything had it’s purpose. Every person had their purpose in my life. And at this point I decided I was going to have a purpose. I was going to make a difference in the world. I was going to make not only mine, but other’s lives matter. But first, it began with working on me, making myself the best possible version of me and overcoming one of the main things that was preventing me be that person – Chronic Fatigue. Despite all the beautiful wisdom and learning it gave me, CFS was still restricting and having some impact on my dream life.
After the break up, short little rebound and resignation from my job, I decided not to return to work but instead focus on my recovery by focusing on what I love and engaging on an amazing self development journey. For so long I had turned to other’s to help with my Chronic Fatigue- naturopaths, specialists, exercise physiologists, psychologist- but the only way I was going to get better was by helping myself. And so after 2.5 years or so suffering with the illness, I ditched all the medications and expert help and decided to commence on my own path. After all, nobody knows me better then me right?
It happened almost overnight, this spiritual awakening consumed me and I just couldn’t help but feel inspired by change. I raided the bookshelves and libraries for every self-help book I could find. I downloaded an entire library of podcasts to fill my mind. I researched every possible free source of self-development material I could find. If I was going to do this, I was going to give it my all.
Each day I would get up and plan my day, keeping myself accountable and goal-driven with a routine and schedule. I would start the day with positive affirmations, repeating over and over the 10 minute audio to set a positive intention for the day and retrain my thinking. Then it would be time to spend 10-15 minutes focusing on and writing out my gratitudes- the things that I was most grateful for in this world. After simplifying my life so much after getting sick, it was easy to focus on the things that mattered most and made me happy.
I then scheduled to read or listen to at least 1 chapter of a book or audio book per day. Usually I would be able to smash 1 chapter easily, but the cognitive affects of poor concentration and inability to absorb information as effectively due to CFS limited that to a degree. So I decided to start small and build up from there. Through this, I was able to get through some great books on retraining the subconscious, neurolinguistic programming, happiness, law of attraction and other fantastic areas of personal development.
Podcasts were also a great tool to retrain my mind and thinking to be able to successfully manage this recovery. I loved anything by Actualized.org so found myself going crazy with downloads from his library. The podcasts were short, clear and powerful, and I was easily getting through about 2-3 per day, learning fantastic new strategies to employ in my life. You Tube videos, especially those by Tony Robbins, were also great tools for motivation and self development.
When I first got sick and was consulting with an Exercise Physiologist, she provided me with one of the greatest tools that has absolutely transformed my mind, body and greatly assisted in my recovery and it is one I still use religiously- meditation. Guided meditation, quantam healing meditation, meditation music, all of these I have used to varying degrees to allow me to balance my energy levels, relax and restore when required. It has helped me to manage the high stress and anxiety levels with CFS, deal with my depression and just in general stay grounded and content in my life, despite all that happens. I truly believe without meditation, I would have probably gone off the rails in 2016. So everyday, for at least 2 hours at varying times throughout the day and before bed, I take time out to meditate. It doesn’t matter where I am or how weird I look, I know the benefits of this small little tool and know the greatness it manifests in my recovery and my journey and will continue to use it for the rest of my life.
Exercise has also been a huge part of my life since I was young, playing cricket at an elite level and spending most of my teenage years at the gym or training outdoors. But after I got sick, my exercise level and cardio output became limited. Despite this, over the past 2.5 years I have able to successfully build up my exercise levels from being able to walk only 100metres before feeling like I was going to die to doing a 20 minute interval run or 45 minute strength session at the gym. Since exercise has been so crucial in my recovery, it has been a vital component as part of my self-development makeover. As depicted in my goals for my recovery on a noticeboard in my living space, I have set myself the task of completing 3 weight sessions, 1-2 yoga sessions, 30-40mins cardio each day (walking, swimming, cycling, playing cricket, basketball, soccer) and 1 running interval session per week. Not only has it reignited my passion for health and fitness and helped in recovering from CFS but it has proved to me the importance of exercise in restoring ill health.
Healthy eating is probably one of the most fundamental components of this journey that has made this whole self-development program possible and effective. The saying that food is medicine could not be a more true concept. I have found that through eating a plant-based diet with adequate carbs, protein and fats I have been able to restore my energy levels progressively over time, particularly in the past 6 months. Of course I may go off the bandwagon every now and again, indulging in a bit too much sugar, dairy or gluten, but of course the consequence is I suffer afterwards. I feel more cloudy, fatigued and just all round ill and therefore less motivated to fulfil my daily self development schedule. Therefore, avoiding the ‘bad’ foods is in my best interest to stay on track and succeed at accomplishing my goals.
Last but probably the most important factor in this journey, particularly from the aspect of self love, is doing at least one thing I love every single day. Getting out in the sunshine, treating myself to a nice turmeric or chai latte, going to the beach, exploring a new place, going out for a nice meal with friends, listening to music or watching my fave show or a movie, all of these things are a part of who I am and in doing them have allowed me to feel like CFS has lost control over me. By getting out and doing what I love I have regained my independence and my enjoyment and quality of life, which I believe is vital when recovering from a chronic illness. It is doing these things that make me feel normal once again.
All of these factors- daily gratitude, positive affirmations, self development podcasts, videos and books, meditation, healthy eating, exercising and doing what I love each day- have enabled me after 6 months of doing them religiously to reach the most incredible point in my life.
Right now, after just commencing 2017 I am the happiest, confident and most positive I have ever been, not only in my recovery journey but in myself. I have realised that I do not want to get involved in any relationships or even be intimate with anyone, I am just so happy enjoying my own company and the knowledge I am acquiring daily about myself and the world. Self development is a never-ending journey, but in the past 6 months I feel as though I have done more of this, and more growing then I have in the entire 28.5 years I have been on this earth. And this is only the beginning.
I have met fantastic people, stepped out of my comfort zone a whole bunch of times, taken on new challenges and spent time with the positive and uplifting people that make up my family and friends. I continue to set goals on a daily basis, even when I am not having such a good day, to keep myself positive and on track towards my weekly, monthly and yearly goals.
While my self development journey is huge, I have kept my goals for 2017 fairly simple and straight forward:
- Be completely recovered from CFS by December 31st 2017 and be able to socialise, work out, study and work in my multi-faceted business without any post-exertional malaise
- Build my own multi-faceted business to generate a minimum of $10,000/month by December 31st 2017
With my determined attitude and driven persona I know that I can absolutely smash these goals out of the park, and then in 2018 fulfil my dreams of running my business and travelling the world. I know it may seem crazy, but my goals and the vision of successfully reaching these is so ingrained in me, that it has become part of my subconscious mind and consequentially every day purpose. To a degree I am already living like I am healthy, wealthy and free.
As I sit here with my life ahead of me and a bright future, I know that these goals will happen but I also know that I still need to enjoy everything that happens in the present, a task which meditation has helped me do. While I am enjoying this time away from home (Melbourne) at my second home (Central Coast), the minutes I have spent with my family, friend’s, in nature and even by myself have been some of the best and most memorable moments of my life. I have a heart full of gratitude and appreciation that I never had in the past, and all of this has come from my own self-engaged personal development journey.
Not to toot my own horn, but I am so proud of how far I have come, how far I have grown from the person I used to be, and if this much growing can happen in 6 months, then imagine how much there is to look forward to. Self development is a never ending journey with each life event teaching us more about our self and our lives, so why not embrace every moment of it.
This is the beginning of my future. A fabulous new year. A new healthy and successful version of me. A new successful business. This is my year to shine like a diamond.
I hope every one else kicks there goals out of the park.
Peace and love