This year, these last three months have been so very hard. My mum was diagnosed with cancer at the end of December and then we lost her at the end of March. This has created a ripple affect across the family, in other areas of my life and come at the same time as a few other issues. I’ve felt like I’ve been spinning out of control. Trying hard to fight to keep my head above water and find a focal point to keep moving forward in a straight line.
One focal point or tool I found was a book by Fearne Cotton, Bigger Than Us. The power of finding meaning in a messy world. What a messy world it’s been.
I think I heard about it on Sunday Brunch, and then like a lot of things once I’d heard about it once, it kept popping up. I was interested to find out about her Enneagrams number and meaning and much more.
It’s a great book, I’ve already recommended and bought for friends. I talk about it often.
It’s a book about discovery. In this mad world there’s something else that connects us. I’ve read the book slowly, absorbing each chapter and thinking deeply about what they offer. This made me laugh, as anyone that knows me knows I live a very busy, frantic life. I work long hours, have a grown-up family, a husband, and an elderly (at the time sick) mother to deal with. When do I have time to read?
I needed to read. I needed to slip into something else.
Reading this book, I’ve felt like I was following Fearne on her journey. She meets and interviews lots of interesting people and each one brings with it a discovery, an explanation of something else that connects all of us together.
Sitting down or even lying down reading the book has made me relax. I’ve taken a few pages or a chapter at a time. Folding over the corner of the pages as I‘ve gone through. Key things I want to hold on to and come back to.
I’ve read books by some of the people she mentions, I’ve downloaded Apps or podcasts for future solace. There is so much I’ve discovered, rediscovered, or just found really useful in these pages.
I was brought up in the Catholic faith, so I thought I knew about prayer, but I now have a slightly different view. A softer, kinder method that I will try and use more often. Not just in moments of crisis!
I have felt connections to the universe before. Many years ago, back in 2012 I did a mood board, spurred on by a powerful story I heard and then avidly read The Secret and other books by Rhonda Byrne. I filled the mood board with wishes and desires. I remembered that my dad used to quote Muhammad Ali, and Rhonda had a similar vision – conceive, believe, and receive. Decide what you want… believe you can have it, believe you deserve it, believe it’s possible for you. One of the things on that mood board was my desire to go and meet my dad’s family in Australia. As a child I met my aunt maybe three times and just after my dad died in 2001 his niece came over to visit. She had three grown up children and there were over 20 cousins for us to get to know. I set the intention and one morning while working unconsciously entered a radio competition and won flights to Australia. Unfortunately, the flights were for the wrong city and for two people. We needed flights for five to Perth. However, it set off a chain of events in motion and we ended up there in the summer of 2013. Three beautiful weeks exploring Western Australia and making lifelong memories with cousins I’d only seen in photographs. If formed new bonds and was an amazing experience.
Fearne talks about getting lost in the modern day and it’s so true. I’m now more curious about shamans, mediums, rituals, and signs and have a burning desire to go deeper and explore other things.
I need to create a meditation ritual and take time for myself. My Enneagram number is an 8 and I absolutely relate to being strong and forceful but also recognise that under that strong exterior is a vulnerability. With recent events I’ve been really surprised (not sure why) at the level of support I’ve received from friends. I hate ‘opening up’ about things I consider my weaknesses and my problems but when I have, I’ve felt genuinely supported and loved, but it’s been painful to talk about.
I then went on to read Rhonda’s new book The Greatest Secret and learnt that my ‘opening up’ was part of the letting go process.
I’m curious to discover a different level of connection to the universe and use positive energy and intent. We’ve spent the last two years talking about being kinder to each other and ourselves but how many of us have already slipped out of that routine?
I turn 50 later this year. At the end of last year, before my mum was diagnosed with cancer, I’d created a 10-year plan or vision on what I wanted to achieve. Strangely despite the personal bombs going off around me the plan started developing at pace. The choices I’d been looking to make started to make more rhyme and reason. I managed to see positives in the crisis my life had become, and I was making a plan to use them to help others.
Then at the end of March, far too soon my mum sadly slipped away. It was so quick and painless, luckily. It is devastating but I really feel the last three months have been a god send. I’ve reconnected with so many people to help me, help her and now they are here to support me.
Reading the book and recognising signs, learning about listening to my ego and soothing it with compassion, knowing there is lasting energy which we are all part of means so much. It means that I haven’t lost her, she’s still with me and I’m sure that will comfort me in the days, months, and years to come. For now I’m just so sad that she’s no longer here.
I believe now more than ever that things happen for a reason. I took the time to slow down and spend more time with her and for that I’ll be forever grateful. Something told me it was important and however difficult to juggle it was worth it.
The road ahead isn’t going to be easy, but I do feel more positive armed with some different ‘methods and resources’ in my backpack of life that I’ll get through this and come out the other side a better and calmer person.
I feel I have just scratched the surface, reading this book. I want to learn more. There’s a helpful reading list at the back of the book and I’ll be ‘going deeper’ to help soothe me in the coming months. It’s only taken me 50 years to get to this point but it’s the right time for me.
We all need help, support, and love. Asking for it is difficult at times so maybe reading about it can prepare us to reach out. It’s also given me something positive to talk about rather than all the ‘rubbish’ life has thrown at me.
This book gave me so many ‘lightening’ moments. My last one to share is thinking about negativity and negative thoughts as objects been thrown at you. I am working on dodging them, rather than catching them and holding on to them. Maybe not quite what Fearne meant but it’s the way I’ve interpreted it.
Everything happens for a reason.