The time is now.

‘So I’ve got a living, breathing, new kidney working beautifully inside of me. I underwent major surgery yesterday and today I’m already up walking, eating, weeing and drinking. Two doors down, my friend who gave up one of her kidneys for me is recovering and suffering in her own way. We have crossed paths once. I visited her, holding my wound, my brave face on. We smiled at each other, through our pain, knowing only we understand what this pain means.’

This was 7 months ago, coincidentally the last time I blogged. In that time my new kidney has taken me to Qld, went camping for 5 weeks in the middle of nowhere, went back to work, started another little job, taken the first steps to starting our own business, started to turn half our house into a B & B, made new friends and joined a group where we dance in the dark for an hour each week plus a number of other things! I look at my life now like Its an endless road. So limitless and free. I’ve learnt so much about myself with this new kidney. My second chance, or third I should say. It has made me realise that although my kidney failure never defined me, I got used to ‘struggling’. Everyday I got up, I knew what I had to do to get through the day, that was dialysis and all the physical and mental crap that went along with it. I had a mission and it kept me focused. I was good at that. Now, all I have to do is take medication three times a day. That’s it. Apart from the normal responsibilities that everyone has to deal with like finances, I don’t have a daily struggle anymore. I’m figuring out who I am all over again.

It may be because of what I went through that I see the extreme beauty in the world in all its infinite glory but I also see and feel the extreme sadness with all its unfathomable tragedies. I guess I have experienced both extremities. I have always been sensitive and empathic to animal welfare. To me it’s unimaginable that people think animals don’t have feelings. I am not a vegetarian but I try to choose my meat and eggs that have been ethically raised and at least lived a happy, if not shortened, life. It does make me feel better buying this way but at the end of the day, free range chickens are still cramped and free range pigs are still gassed inhumanly when they die. I am not an activist either. I just have a passion for animal rights. I am opposed to the Live Export industry and honestly I am not that well enough informed to go preaching about it but to have animals cramped in a boat for weeks on end only to send them to a fate worse than we can imagine is just not right, nor is factory farming. There are alternatives and its pathetic to think that these industries can continue for eternity just because its been done this way for hundreds of years. We have evolved and so should our practices on how we farm animals for human consumption. Puppy farms are a form of torture and it ‘s still legal in Australia to keep dogs in a cage their WHOLE lives purely for breeding and when they are riddled with mammary cancer and can’t produce any more litters, it is legal to knock them over the head and kill them. This is where puppies online, pet shops and some ‘so called’ registered breeders come from. It’s all about money. If you buy a puppy, view its parents and where they live. It breaks my heart on a daily basis to read about these dogs, pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, cats and horses and I cry for them. I refuse to turn a blind eye to them. Its my choice to expose myself to thier suffering. Why? Because its life and suffering is part of it. It motivates me to be a better person. If we’re not put on this earth firstly to help ourselves then others, what the hell are we here for then?

So that’s been my major struggle since getting my new kidney. Not the effects of the drugs I take, not the huge new scar, not my monthly bloods and not how long this kidney going to live for. Now that my awareness has shifted, I am absolutely shocked by how we can turn a blind eye to the atrocities in life, starting with self neglect. I just wonder if we all had something we were passionate about that wasn’t to do with some sort of superficial gain or recognition, we would live in a much more harmonious place and our children would lead by our example. We could create a generation of people that gave a shit about something else but themselves. We, as the human race, have created this world we live in so its only fair that we try to make things right, firstly for ourselves then for others. One person at a time. I hope that my posts about animal welfare don’t get mistaken for placing judgement on others. My motivation to do this is based on love and compassion. I hope people see the difference because I want to see change and this is they only way I can help, for now. I also have come to understand that we can’t help anyone else unless we truly help ourselves. So I ask you, what gets you up in the morning? And I don’t mean your kids, your job, the medication that keeps you alive (like I have to), because before all of that, there was only YOU. Your soul, your light, your spirit. What fulfils those things that were there from birth and will be there until the day we die? To be truly selfless, you need to be whole enough to give part of yourself away. That means being vulnerable and open to what you truly want out of life. Never be afraid of the freedom your dreams will bring you.

For me, I just strive for inner peace. If I can find peace, I can only hope I pass it on for all those close to me, for you all and to to all the causes I try and help. Everyone has a right to be free in some point in their lives, including animals. I once was caged, tied to a machine to live. Now I am FREEEEEEEEE. Yes, it was my will to live that got me here, but I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have help, or more to the point, put it out there that I needed help. It’s my turn to give back. If someone needs help, I will try as much as I can to help them. If someone is brave enough to put it out there that they are suffering, they deserve help. That’s why I get up in the morning because where there is life, there is hope. I guess I just want everyone to feel the gift that is LIFE, through my eyes. Life is beautiful, even when its hard because there’s always lessons to be learnt that will get you through the next chapter. There is meaning in everything. A practical stranger gave up a physical and emotional part of themselves for me. Not for any recognition but that it allowed her light to shine and to this day, she tells me I did HER a favour. So what motivates me each day is based on self love. If I deserved this gift of a new life and graciously accepted it, then I will do my damnedest to honour this incredible life I have been given. I will work hard but not to be the richest man in the cemetery, its to create the life I want NOW. Money will aways come and go so as long as we have enough to pay our utilities including our beautiful home, then the rest will be for enjoying, exploring, meeting new people and experiencing the huge world out there. The time is now.

I try to make my life easy because I learnt from a very young age that I had a cross to bare. My life is simple but beautiful. I wake up and thank my body for being so incredibly strong. I then fit some sort of body awareness in the day in the form of exercise like yoga, walking or dancing. I then enthusiastically play with some food and plan a new and nourishing meal. I LOVE FOOD! Now I’m ready to plan a fun day for Karri pup, make sure Dan has everything he needs to get through his day as pleasantly as possible, then touch base with my family to make sure they are all ok even though I hate talking on the phone, it could just be a quick ‘I love you’ message. I think they are just happy to know I am doing so well but I still need them desperately and worry about them endlessly. I then help a few animals in need by sharing some photos of homeless dogs and articles on raising awareness to eating ethically. I try and limit this worry time as it breaks my soul to see these animals suffer but at least I can help, even in a small way. At the start of each week I also make time to catch up with my beautiful friends that have given me endless love and support so I can give it back to them. I try to find joy in each of my little jobs from selling shoes, to babysitting to merchandising in Bunnings! Honestly, I can’t complain there. I have huge diversity in my employment. Lastly, we work out where to fit ‘family time’. Time we spend in nature and breathe in some beautiful fresh air. Could be from a walk in the bush to a day at the beach, hand in hand, time to just be. I guess I’m just lucky that the simple things in life fulfil me but as long as I can achieve a work life love balance, I am satisfied. Life is a choice and I choose to have an easy, fun one.

You all know through my past posts that I am forever grateful for the life I have been given. The times I was at my most vulnerable were when I lost my native kidney function, received then lost my mums donated one, and going through this final transplant. But if I hadn’t been put in those situations, I would never have seen the true nature of people. These were without a doubt the hardest times in my life but what I saw will remain in my heart forever. The toughest, hardest of people left their issues at the door and crumbled. It was beautiful and humbling. Their smiles of hope and tears of sadness I will never forget. So I’ve seen first hand the soft and grateful nature that is truly within us all. For some, it takes someone else’s struggle to let their true light shine. Your spirit can be crushed through life experiences but it will forever burn bright and is waiting for you to set it free. Happiness will set you free. I got to experience these rare and beautiful moments in people. Moments of pure vulnerability. Their true self, living in the moment. If I was able to give those people the opportunity to see themselves for who they really are, even if it was just for one moment, then I’ve given something back to this incredible life i have been given. I just want to be thankful for everyday. I don’t know who to thank first so I normally just thank everyone. My body, the universe, my faith, my family, my upbringing, my husband, the ocean for cleansing me, my animal for showing me unconditional love every second of the day, the list goes on. The simple truth is, treat others as you would like to be treated. I’ve had it easy for being given my struggles because it forced me to see my shining light, my strength. Now I’ve seen it, it’s never going to fade. If you want to take a glimpse at it, look into your own eyes in the mirror. They don’t hide anything.

So ill leave you with these words written by someone that left this world too soon. ‘How to take the trail to where we want to be, I try to imagine this enormity takes belief and guts, takes someone who knows who they are. I believe your determination will be a satisfaction as you have sacrificed yourself and got straight back up and made life closer to your bones. Sadness is the beautiful condition caused by pain suffered by sensitive thoughtful people. To feel pain, first you must care.’

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