Written by Julie Taylor
I was thinking about what it is that I’m trying to do (building this website)? And why am I doing it. I was also pondering how and why I was able to beat the odds and recover so completely? It’s always good to ponder and this is what came up for me…
When I was young my Dad used to tell me “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. I’ve always had this at the back of my mind in everything I’ve done. Including my rehab.
My Dad was full of moral sayings which he loved to teach his daughter (me!). Another saying that turned out later to be really important in my recovery was “Life is like a bank: You get out what you put in. With interest.” Luckily I had an amazing mom too and some good friends who gave to me when I really needed their help too.
Here is a photo of my dad around the time I was 6 or 7 – and my most impressionable…
I usually did my best – often not at school but in my work. At school I always threw myself into debates and also into real-life arguments. In my search for justice I always argued with passion and ‘did my best’. My family and friends knew they could depend on me. I also drove them nuts!
I built a good business with several employees depending on me for their incomes. I had a good relationship with my clients because they knew they could trust me to do a good job and always follow through with what I said.
There were times when I agreed to do something that turned out to be ‘bigger’ or harder than I thought and it would cost me – not them – and I would spend hours of my own time doing it. My ‘word’ became more and more important to me and it felt really good.
Gradually people learned that they could rely on my help, trust my word and depend on what I said. And probably one of the most important things was that I learned I could trust what I said. I learned that I could trust me…
Honesty, integrity, justice, trust… These are very important ‘needs’ for me. (I love Marshall Rosenberg’s ‘Language of Life’ based on needs – very simple and incredibly eloquent) I realized early on that because Ineed to give, I get more than I give, every time. This is the CD version for those who don’t like books Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life (Audio CD)
Social justice is something that nourishes my soul and I still care passionately about it. Have you seen this full length (free) film about new democracy? http://tinyurl.com/ls8qsg Amazing food for thought.
There’s a compulsion somewhere inside me that has to challenge most of what I learn (my teachers hated me!) until I really understand. I don’t give my agreement easily. But when I do give my agreement and allegiance, I mean it.
Likewise, everything I talk about here on ReBuildingYou is real. Not exaggerated. Not ‘wishful thinking’. I will report your feedback, good and bad. I will act on your recommendations – if they are for the greater good and if I’m not sure, I will ask you. I just could not do or say something just so I could make a buck…
In fact at the moment I’m not making any bucks! And that’s fine because this is not about money. This website started because I am grateful to be as well as I am. My own prognosis was grim and my ‘outcome’ could have been so different. I want to ‘pay forward’ the good fortune I’ve received. I want to… More than anything I love to help others to do better in their lives. That’s what I enjoy. It’s a very real part of ‘me’. I would also like just to make ends meet and travel a bit – nothing fancy! So if you want me to come to your event as an inspirational speaker, please email me…
One of the most important payoffs, for me, is that I sleep easy with myself. I like myself and I can trust myself. Which is a wonderful ‘full’ feeling and one that I’m sure helps me to achieve more than I otherwise might. I value highly other people trusting me.
I was a very fit and active – possibly hyperactive – young woman, full of ideas and the energy to try them, even when they seemed pretty much impossible. I was the only woman building-site worker that any of my suppliers had seen in the 80’s. Most of my employees were men. I loved my job.
Well meaning friends often remarked that I should stop giving and helping so much – it wasn’t ‘necessary’ and I tired myself needlessly. But I wanted to give (now I know it’s a need!) and thank goodness I did. Perhaps the second part of what my Dad promised me came true partly because I had accumulated a lot of ‘good karma’? After my accident, my kids and I needed so much help. And we were given it. In abundance. I am so grateful that I believed and trusted my Dad’s wise words. Life is like a bank…
How can you recover as well as you possibly can?
Do your best. Whatever that is. You will learn to trust yourself – which is one of the most important gifts you can have.
Be consistent and persistent in your efforts and, eventually, you will find yourself truly trusting you and then you will see that your efforts have paid off.
Always give your best effort – work longer hours, try harder in rehab… Come through for yourself by knowing that you are giving 100%. (And the one person you can never fool is yourself!)
On the days that you give up – gobble a whole bar of sinful and fattening chocolate or ‘just can’t’ – love yourself. Be kind and gentle with yourself. It’s good to be human…
Always give of your best, even when your best is technically ‘not so great’ – in physical rehabilitation, for example, when you wish you could do better. Be satisfied with your own effort.
Be generous with others and give whenever you can. To give is a precious and vital human need – we need to give. And you never know when you will be in need yourself…
Trust yourself. Trust the world ‘is enough’ to meet your needs. Because if you give the best of yourself – in effort and in caring for others – that good karma (or whatever we choose to call it) will come back to you, over and over.
I would also like for you to slowly begin to trust me? Allow me – this website – to earn your trust. And know that if there is ever anything with which you disagree, you can write and tell me and I will listen to you.
Am I saying that I have always gotten what I wanted or even needed at the time? No. Definitely not. And at the time sometimes it can seem that you’ve been let down. In the long run though – the bigger picture or in hindsight – yes… I have received everything I ever needed.
And my Dad? Without the moral gifts my Dad gave me as a child, I would not have survived. His moral teachings are part of what made me. Sadly, in the years before his death he was quite ill with heart trouble. He started to become bitter that he had always followed his own advice and on one occasion he told me he was wrong and that he should have been more selfish. He seemed stuck and sick. Happily he was reunited with the woman he loved for a few months before he died. His death itself was the way he might have chosen… He was playing tennis in the sun, having been advised by doctors not to play tennis. He was reaching for a ball when his replacement heart valve quite literally exploded with the effort. He died instantly before he hit the ground and autopsy found his heart valve in shreds. Total Biology might say that he died of a broken heart…
I spent over 20 years constantly rehabilitating myself, never giving up and always striving to be the best I could be. Striving to be able to give to those I loved – my kids, mom, husband and friends. When I found myself back in the hospital after my second accident, I leaned that almost everything they were teaching wasexactly what I had discovered by myself. I also realized that many people – most people, perhaps – still feel alone (despite family and friends and the sheer amount of therapy available today) and have no idea of ‘what to do first’ when they have suffered an accident or trauma.
Hospitals, doctors and therapists – knowledge of what’s available and where you should go ‘next’ – is unco-ordinated and a maze. At best. Traditional healthcare is very ‘Top Down‘. What we want, and what the internet can help us get, is healthcare from the ‘Ground Up’. This website was created to make the lived experiences of ‘those who have gone before us’ freely available. So that you can kick off on square one sharing the paths that others have trodden.
Is it possible for you to learn by my – and others – successes and mistakes? I believe so. A personal assistant would enable me to achieve everything I want – only a personal assistant is expensive. Let ReBuildingYou be the assistant you can afford.
I recovered against all the odds. My mother was told that I wouldn’t live. But I did. I was warned I would never walk again. But I have. Repeatedly doctors and therapists say one thing or another, which I eventually disprove.
Feeling alone in my invisible disability is one of the biggest sadnesses I had in my recovery – I love to meet and talk to others who know exactly what I’m talking about when I describe my difficulties. True, I had my kids, my mother and my husband and I was surrounded with love. What i really needed was contact with other people who had actually trodden the path I was having to follow. That’s what I want to offer you: Let me walk with you awhile, virtually. Join a support group and inhabit the forums and blog. When you feel ready, share what you’ve learned with others. It’s a basic and precious human need to be able to contribute.
As a ‘last word’… I want to add that my kids and I would not have survived – literally or as a family -without my mother. She cared for my sons – I was a single mom and they were very young at the time – and she still managed to come to visit me daily. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for her with such worry and sadness and how exhausting it must have been to carry on with daily life when everything was so ‘broken’. Without hesitation my mom took a leave of absence at work and gave to us all selflessly. Thanks Mom, from the bottom of my heart. Also I want to thank Nick who was also there for me daily and made it all so much more possible. Thanks Nick.