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From Surviving to Thriving

by Auriol Burgess 2 years ago in healing

You Got this Girl.....

So, where do I start ? I've tried to write a book about it so many times but there is too much. So I guess it's best to strip it back to basics. Which is what I am doing right now. In lockdown. I had basically been retreating for about a year before lockdown. I was done. At age 15 I was diagnosed with scoliosis - curvature of the spine. It's a long story which I finally got round to writing last year. You see, the pain had caught up with me. Both emotional and physical. So I started writing about it, having thought I had 'dealt' with it. How could I have been so wrong? What I had done was 'got over it'. Because in the end you have no choice much as I have always fought that philiosophy and now that I am training as a therapist, I can see I was right to fight. I have always been a rebel but have calmed down alot now.....sort of. Anyway, the point is I was given the choice to wear a back brace or have an operation. I opted for the operation and as a naive 15 year old went to the pub to celebrate, thinking great now I don't have to look stupid in front of my mates. The operation went wrong. Not only did I wake up in the dark in excruciating pain having no idea where I was but when I finally did sit up ten days later the shooting pain in my left leg was agony. Not to mention the lasting effect it had on my relationship with my parents and the fact that whenever anything went wrong in my life my mother would put it down to 'that terrible operation'. When I walked with a limp the surgeon said it was a bruised nerve and would get better in 18 months. It didn't and now at 53 my foot has dropped and the limp is permanent and due to difficulty I have taking exercise it has meant that the final assault on my body of the menopause after years of trying to be 'inspirational' and 'get on with it' has brought me to my knees. You see.....I was already in recovery. I was already trying to 'be inspirational' as I have been recovering from a drink problem since I was thirty. Well, at least I thought it was a drink problem. It seems it was a 'life' problem and yet people see me as warm, friendly, real, authentic and giving. Hmmmm. It's taken a while to unravel the knots. So what is my point? Pause. I do too much thinking. Is that because of my back and the fact that I can't walk well so have found refuge in writing? Or is it because my spiritual path has lead me to this and my writing? Very complex and no matter how much I write I can't get to the bottom of it but I keep writing. There are so many things I have learned along the way. I guess one of them is writing needs an audience. What is the point of going through all this if you can't help people with it ? But I don't want to be a cliche. Someone who triumphs over adversity to help others. It's not that I don't want to help others but to me writing doesn't work like that. Writing is a healing tool. A place to find one's truth. A place to recover. And if it helps people, great. But there are so many potential 'traps' in recovery. I don't want to be cynical and have actually been able to realise gratitude for what you do have is so important. And I have so much. I was lucky enough to give birth to the most beautiful daughter who has brought so much love and happiness in to my life and healed so many wounds. I have always said if I had the choice between walking properly and having her I would choose her but it has been tough. Not just because of my back but because my personality in general is just so damn tricky!! So we are back to unravelling knots .....what am I trying to say? The title is from surviving to thriving. I have survived alot. After my operation I went to drama school as I had always desperately wanted to be an actress and saw no point in waiting until I was 18. I guess the clue is in the word desperate. Outwardly I had it all going for me. I was attractive, intelligent, talented, rich from adverts I had done as a kid, and hopeful even after the hidden trauma of my operation that I put a brave face on and acted my way through. But it caught up with me. As did the disappointment. The broken relationships, the escape in to drink, the not understanding with all these talents why I couldn't 'make it' in life, the spiritual breakthrough, the incredible pain, the feeling lost, the being checked in to a treatment centre, thinking 'I don't belong here.......I am supposed to be a famous actress by now'. The journey continued. Good and bad. If we choose to judge it like that. And maybe that is the problem. How we 'judge' or percieve our journey. So what's my point? I have been through alot to get where I am. I could list it all but that would take too long and the only point is to say, trust me. I have been there. To hell and back. And survived. As have many others who tell their story to be 'inspirational'. So why am I different? I guess I am not really but the girl before all this wanted to be. Before I became a 'label'. Before I became labelled by what had gone 'wrong' and what I had overcome which is why a part of me wants to ignore it and certainly not put it out there as an inspirational story. I am sick of being a product of what happened to me but my back won't let me forget. But I am not that. I would have written anyway today. Because that is what I want to do. The heart doesn't lie. I wanted to get drunk, I wanted to party, and I wanted to do all the crazy things I did. And then I wanted to get sober and have a family. So eventually I got lucky. I saw all the gifts in my journey. Why they had happened, what they had taught me. Yes, it's been painful but the gratitude of not being where I was and coming out of the darkness in to the light outweighs everything. So what am I trying to say? To pass on? And why does it even have to be about that? Because I am a writer and I am also a loving person and recovery and has taught me how to love and give again instead of being so wrapped up in my own pain. So how do you go from surviving trauma to thriving? This is has been my latest question having been brought to my knees last year and having to have yet another look at my stuff. Gratitude. Number one. If you are having a bad day. Look at what you have to be grateful for. There is always something even if it is having learned the tools to deal with a 'bad' day. There are all the cliches like what doesn't kill us makes us stronger so through adversity you learn to cope with challenges etc but my greatest gift I guess last year was breaking. Was admitting my vulnerability and for me, turning to God. This may put some people off. So be it. It is my truth and if there is one thing I have learned it is that life is nothing without that. I thought thriving was getting back on your feet, showing them all, being a success. No. Thriving has been getting back my faith. In God, in life, in that things are going to be o.k. That even when tested once you have come in to the light...you never go back. The tests were a gift. I passed. And the peace, joy, love and gratitude I have earned are inexpressible. Apart from to say this. Thank you for being my audience today. Thank you for letting me express the love I have learned exists under any circumstance, any trauma, any problem. Gratitude, gratitude and more gratitude. The more grateful you are the more your attract. The more you complain, the more you attract. It's very simple really but when we are in pain it is hard to see. And sometimes the pain has to be worked through. Not 'got over'. And it's worth it. Cause once you have looked it in the eye you can see it for the illusion it always was. Good luck on your journey know that all is well and exactly as it is meant to be even f it doesn't seem like it and try it. If you are having a rubbish day or even experiencing the worse pain imaginable ask for help. Call on your higher power whatever that may be for you and believe you can do it. And you will. Step out of the shadows and in to the light, one day at a time. And that, my friends, is thriving.

healing

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Auriol Burgess

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