Busy as a Bee
I come from a long line of busy people; both my parents worked extremely hard to provide for our family. The first forty years of my life embraced their hard work ethic, but after my father’s untimely death in 1995, I took the decision to leave my busy natural medicines practise behind and move to the home of my ancestors in Donegal, Ireland.
I have never regretted this decision.
The slower pace of life suited me well, and I built up a small but successful healing and teaching business over a period of four years. One of my long held dreams was to travel to India, and it became a reality in early 2003, when I spent six weeks on a spiritual pilgrimage.
Sadly, five months later I developed a series of frightening symptoms in the aftermath of a raging bog fire which had circled my home. Fire is often viewed as a cleanser that paves the way for new growth…
Stopping the World
The first sign of imbalance was an ache in the upper part of my left arm. Several days later this developed into severe shortness of breath, accompanied by pressure on my chest. Further symptoms were soon added to the list:
- Swollen lymph glands in my left armpit
- Inability to lift my left arm above 90 degrees
- Swelling in the middle fingers of my left arm
- Multiple joint pains like hot knives
- Difficulty in keeping warm
- Aching over my left shoulder
- Aching eyes and whites that turned bluish grey
All investigations proved negative, bar lung function tests which showed my left lung was not inflating properly, and my lungs were working at 70% capacity.
I was unable to work for more than a year, and I had to face one of my deepest fears – lack of financial resources. It was incredibly tough having to rely on benefits but I had no choice.
Facing these fears brought a remarkable change on my outlook on LIFE.
Instead of spending my days inspiring others on their self healing journey, I had to focus on my own inner healing.
Thus I finally learned to SLOW DOWN.
One night I had a dream of rebuilding a house with new stronger foundations, and I felt reassured that I was making good progress.
I found that keeping a gratitude diary helped me enormously.
Small steps in my healing progress were included, as well as simple JOYS that filled my day:
- MEDITATIVE WALKS
- ENJOYING NATURE, including watching the birth of a neighbour’s calf
- LIGHT BULB MOMENTS when I recognised a new INSIGHT on my self healing journey
- CREATIVITY – joining a local singing class and a creative writing class
- POTTERING IN MY GARDEN
My natural medicines toolbox helped me enormously as I tweaked my diet, benefited from treatments of both reflexology and massage, practised daily meditation and visualisation…
Life in the Slow Lane
In April 2006, I moved to a new home that had once belonged to a keen gardener. I had always enjoyed gardening and felt the spirit of the previous owner inspiring me to travel in a new direction.
A few weeks later, I inquired about retraining in organic horticulture a short distance way.
Fast forward to June 2006, and I was working and studying part time, earning a wage and forging a new career that eventually led to my teaching in schools and inspiring children to create organic wildlife gardens.
The seeds of my memoir “Watching the Daisies – Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow” were sown!
The most important INSIGHT I learned on this journey was:
” First, learn to love thyself.”
This is the first time I have shared these experiences on my blog.
Have you or someone you know faced a life changing illness?
What insights did you gain from your experience?
In what ways has this paved the way for new growth?
This article was originally posted on Sixty and Me a community of 350,000 women over the age of 60, founded by Margaret Manning.
Brigid P. Gallagher
Memoir: “Watching the Daisies – Life lessons on the Importance of Slow” is available from Amazon and all good online book stores.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/r5GCjaetgZk