(Yes, that's me on the right.)
There is nothing quite like a 40 year High School Reunion to make you feel your age, right? Well I was surprised. It didn’t do that for me at all. What it did do however, was to remind me of how very far I’ve come. It reminded me of the power of the mind and how changing your thoughts can literally change your life.
You see those years were probably some of the worst years of my life both at school and at home. I lived my senior school years in tears each and every day. My life had become a helter skelter, a downward spiral both emotionally and educationally. I was an emotional and physical wreck. I hated school and I hated home and I had become very good at hiding it. I had gone from absolutely loving school to just wanting to escape. I took every opportunity I could to “wag” school and hardly anyone even noticed.
I was born a gifted child with high IQ (163 at age 7) with hyperactive child syndrome (ADHD) a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning. I had a reading age of 12 when I started school at 4, working with the older children right from the start. (There is another story in this - for a later page)
I loved flouting my intelligence and throughout my infants in UK and early primary school years in NSW it was never a problem. Due to my father’s work, I was backwards and forwards between schools in different towns each year and each new placement began with an intelligence test so that the teachers knew where to place me in the class, what reading to give me and which library books I was allowed to borrow. I loved astounding my teachers with the results of these tests and I was treated to extra reading material, quizzes, and fun things to do. During the school holidays I would work through maths text books two or three years ahead. I loved this too and was so proud of myself when I came to the end of a book. But things didn’t go so well as I got older.
My father’s work relocated him to a new town for three years and I was stuck at the same school from grade 5 to grade 8. My grade 5 teacher had no patience for someone who was so far ahead. He refused to allow me to work at my own pace and I was hit with a ruler on a number of occasions for “showing off” or doing long division “the quick way”. In grade 6 I was banned from maths and english games in class because I always knew the answers which meant that no-one else had a chance. I had to sit by myself and watch everyone else struggle and not be allowed to help. I began to get so miserable. By the time I finished primary school as DUX, I was being bullied by other students for my intelligence, for being English and even for being skinny. On a few occasions I was even threatened at knife point by another student. I told no-one. I thought I knew how to fix it though. As I began grade 8 I vowed never to be top of the class again and I even tried failing exams on purpose. My class results started to slip, but I realised that I wasn’t really happy. And to top it all, I was now being teased and laughed at for NOT being top of the class.
Towards the end of grade 8 - first year of high school, my father’s work took me to my final school destination in a regional city - no need now for the boarding school for which I had won a scholarship. I was full of good intention - I would be able to prove myself again. BUT the mind is a powerful thing. I couldn’t for the life of me turn things around. I was still a good student, but I could no longer put pen to paper on a written test or read multiple choice without making stupid mistakes. I COULD NOT pass an exam. As soon as an assignment or an exam hit the desk in front me I would freeze and my mind would be completely empty. My essays became a series of dot points containing all the facts, but nothing else. I was called lazy at home due to my results, and I began to take it on board - I was beginning to believe it.
Gradually, I was failing almost every subject except art (which not surprisingly I did not enjoy). I had gone from top of every class to literally the bottom of every class. Music and Dance kept me going and also gave me my escape route from school. I was part of the school Stage Band and concert band, learned flute and tenor saxophone at school and studied ballet externally. I made friends with the school office staff who would mark me away at dance or music classes when I needed to escape. Nobody ever knew what I was going through, although I have an idea that my friends in the office suspected. Unfortunately during my last two years at school I was made to give up my dance to concentrate on improving my school work - I lost that escape route.
By now the tears had started - at school because I didn’t want to be there and then I’d cry all weekend at home because frankly I would rather have been at school. I had nowhere to go.
With the problems at home, the looming end of school was especially terrifying. I had nothing to show for my years of study - there was really nothing I could do in those days, but become a secretary or shop assistant. I did both. I moved out of home at 17 and worked one full time job in an engineering office, part time in a dress boutique and part time at my parents picture framing business. All in an effort to prove that I had some worth. I would walk to work at the office at 6am in the morning and not leave until 6pm. Then work weekends and Thursday nights at my other jobs.
But then life caught up with me and at the ripe old age of 18 I collapsed after contracting Ross River Fever. I was bedridden for 6 months and had to move back into the family home (another story for later). This culminated in diagnoses of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, early onset arthritis, depression and anxiety and in all honesty I did not expect to make it to 30 years of age. BUT I was determined. There are many stories to tell around my long recovery, but those I will share in parts at later stages.
Surprisingly though, I didn’t give up on myself. I’m here! I’m fit, healthy, happy and living my dream. I learnt to change my thinking. It did take me a good few decades, but I’ve never given up. I have multiple qualifications in different areas as I found that studying outside of school suited me well.
I now understand the workings of the mind in creating reality. Life really and truly is what you make it. You can make it negative or you can make it positive. The choice really is up to you.
In the words of Mike Dooley “Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones”
Growing up was a difficult process for me. I had a less than happy childhood with many forms of abuse by many different people. I was bullied wherever I went, by children and adults alike. By the time I hit high school, I was afraid of everything and everyone. I was scared to go to school and scared to be at home. I hated weekdays and hated weekends. Each night I would lie awake and wonder how I would get through the next day. Those that know me from high school would probably remember me in tears most days in my senior years.
During these years, something miraculous was also happening. Something that kept me going, something that I wouldn't recognise and understand until many, many years later. Each and every morning as I stepped outside, as I did every morning at about 5am, I would be flooded with a warm, white gold light. I would feel instant peace, instant bliss and I would KNOW that I could get through another day. This happened spontaneously each day until the day I moved out of home at age 17.
At 18 I contracted a severe form of Ross River Fever and was bedridden for more than 6 months during which time I had to move back to my parents home. It was a horrible experience and resulted in a thirteen year journey through chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.
During the years of therapy that followed, I was often asked how my heart had managed to remain so full of love. Most people, I was told, who had been through what I had been through in my childhood and beyond, would have crumbled, would have been on the streets, alcoholics, addicts of some kind - but here I was relatively sane and with a heart apparently radiating love. And what I struggled to understand was how I could ever let anyone love me back. I was so undeserving and so messed up. When, during therapy, I was asked to think of a happy experience, I could honestly say that I could not remember one. Sometime in my twenties, I ditched all medications, all therapists and decided I needed to heal myself. After all, since I was still around, I obviously had a purpose. I just needed to find it.
My healing journey is another story altogether, but with the decision made, I began to once again have glimpses of this golden white light connection from my childhood. I began to start imagining it happening until it actually did. I pictured that white gold light above me, And I began to hold on to it. Breathe it in, fill myself up and feel that instant bliss, that joy of life. And it became a regular part of my healing journey.
I understand now, that I was so very lucky to have had the experience that I did in my childhood because it enabled me to recognise that light. And I believe that it stopped because I needed to make it become conscious. I needed to learn that I could connect to the universe, I could draw in the energy and unconditional love at will. I needed to hit rock bottom to learn to heal myself and others.
There are many books and writings that speak of calling in the light, charging yourself with love and then radiating it into the world. This is how we heal each other and the world around us.
It keeps your vibration high, your connection to the source strong and with this you can face anything. You can create miracles.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths into your whole body. Then imagine roots growing from the soles of your feet into the earth and feel the earths energy traveling up through those roots into your body, anchoring your, feeding you, healing you. Then imagine or feel a ball of golden white light hovering above your head. Breathe it in through your crown and feel it filling your whole body with light. Let it mingle with the earth energy, filling each and every cell within you. Then let that light expand outside of your body so that you are cocooned in light. Take a few more deep breaths and imagine or feel a pink light radiating inside your heart. Allow this light to grow until it fills your chest. Then send a beam from your heart out into the universe and watch it enveloping the earth and all of its beings. The whole world needs love right now and we can all contribute. When you are ready, take a few deep breaths and open your eyes.
Do this exercise every day and you will find that it will become spontaneous for you. You will only have to intend it and it is done. You will know it is done because you will feel the energy and the bliss and the joy.
I'm Jane Marin, artist, illustrator, writer, self confessed eclectic bohemian. Follow me and my musings right here on my blog.