My mum has loads of sayings. And, as I imagine she’s been using them since the day I was born, these sayings have been downloaded into me. Not consciously, of course. All parents hand unconscious beliefs and behaviours down to their offspring…
Over the years I’ve had to decide which of Mum’s sayings are helpful (keepers) and which are unhelpful. The ‘reject’ pile includes things like: ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’ and ‘Chin up’ and ‘Will you put that bloody book down’.
The ‘helpful’ pile is plentiful. One of my favourites? ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Let’s imagine how Oprah would rephrase it – what about ‘Life’s challenges will help you grow’?
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen countless friends harness their pain for good. And so have I. In 1987, the day before my 16th birthday, my dad died suddenly. He had been knocked down by a drunk driver. Today would have been his 75th birthday. It’s over 30 years later and I still miss him every single day.
The pain of my dad’s death didn’t kill me, but it has certainly shaped my life in a positive way. For a start, if someone who’s grieving comes into the Reiki Room, I feel comfortable talking about death and dying and loss. The other gift the tragedy gave me? A fire in my belly to make sense of the bipolar gene that’s created so much havoc in our family.
Just over a decade ago, my cousin Amanda Saunders and I co-wrote a book: ‘Bipolar Disorder – the Ultimate Guide’. The second edition, fully revised and with seven new questions, was published last week. It was an Amazon bestseller for years and got many, many positive reviews. With my writing hat on, it is the single thing I’m most proud of.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
You and mum both used the same saying profusely when I was growing up: ‘I love you’. It’s my all-time favourite keeper. Love you too.