Stephanie's lifestory up to 2020
Back to 2013...
In March 2013, I fell off my horse. It
started with a headache. A few days working from home, I thought, and I’ll be
fine. But every day it became more difficult. The strain of working, even of
doing daily tasks like cooking, became more difficult, leaving me drained of
energy and in such pain. Still, I tried to push through it, surely it would
improve soon if I kept trying?
Five days after my accident, I opened an excel spreadsheet full of formulas I had created myself. I couldn’t understand any of them. Had I really created this document?? Not some mathematical nerd? I was scared. Had I become stupid? Would I ever have the same level of comprehension and logic that I used to have?
On day six, again I woke up with a heavy head. A dull, thumping and foggy feeling, like I wasn’t really there. Dazzled I looked at myself in the mirror. Two dull, brown eyes were staring back at me. I burst into tears and asked myself “why?” “What is happening?”
The answer now is so logical and clear. But not back then. I had sustained a brain injury but I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t know anything about health or life. I only knew what I had learned in society. This is life and this is the way to live it. Then my life had stopped and I was no longer able to take part in society. But still, I was alive. This was the first moment that I realised there is a life outside society.
That realisation occurred to me after several weeks. Half laying in my bed I found myself staring at the monotonous grey skies. Every now and then a bird flew past. While I was sitting there in silence, staring into nothingness, it occured to me how life is going on, even though I had no part in it. People are off to their jobs, walking the streets, doing shoppings. They are just as caught up in their busy lives as I had been until only a few weeks before. It feels like another world. Their world. Mine is grey and silent. But still, I am part of life. These days I would say: if you fall out of society, you fall into life.
Eyes that saw dreams,
Looking into nothingness.
Eyes that knew hope,
Lost their sparkle.
Eyes that shone in faith,
Are now staring in doubt.
Eyes that were full of trust,
Are searching …
To find that tiny sparkle they know must shine somewhere.
Eyes waiting …
To grow that sparkle …
Into a new kind of life.
Choosing to walk my own path
No help was offered by any doctor or hospital and the common advice was to do as much as I could to try to participate in society. There was an expectation that you have to accept your situation for the rest of your life. But I wanted to heal. To me, it feels so unnatural not to want to search for ways to heal, so I chose to follow my own path and do all I could to heal myself.
While I sit at home, watching the birds in the garden, a strong conviction wells up from deep inside: I will heal. If no one can tell me how, than I will find out myself. I cán do this, no matter what others might think of it.
My brain may be largely switched off, but my mind jumps in and gives me all stubbornness I need. No longer will I conform to expectations others have of me. Now is the time to do it my way. It is either that, or spent the rest of my life in pain. Dividing my time between simple jobs and sleeping. I choose to follow my own path.
It didn’t turn out to be a smooth one. The resistance was enormous. As soon as you can’t fit in society, some automatic system seems to become operative that tries to pull you back in. Yet no longer I give away the power over my life, because I am the one and only who is responsible for my life. For the quality of life I have.
I will not follow where the path may lead
but I will go where there is no path
and leave a trail...
A path of selfhealing arises...
Reading is too difficult. I don’t really understand what I am reading, the image of a page full of letters is dazzling and I don’t remember a single thing. I try to read a few lines every day, to give me the feeling I am actually doing some activity. And it’s a great exercise, how little it may seem.
Being online on my computer or phone is really not done. Overwhelming and dazzling, all those sites with lots of text, pictures, images. And the flickering of the screen! It makes searching for info about braininjury even more difficult.
I have been given some magazines and one of them puts me on the track of selfhealing. In the Happinez I find an article about healing with your hands. That had always interested me, but I had never dived into the subject. Even though I can’t read, the images are explaining what you have to do. It looks simple enough to embrace one finger after the other and so I start. Immediately my whole body starts to react. I alternately feel warm and cold. I start to yawn and burp . I feel a little sick, my muscles are quivering, my head buzzes and my body tingles. In the end I fall asleep.
The morning after I am taken by surprise: I feel clearly better then the past weeks! One thing is for sure: this will help me to heal. From that moment on, I treat myself daily with energy techniques. In the years that follow I will learn many more energetic healing methods and techniques, including Reiki, Aurachakra healing, Reflexology, Heart Coherence and Feldenkrais.
Even though working with energy* is a great support, it doesn’t bring a spontaneous recovery (complex diseases ask for attention to all parts of life to achieve healing). During the first year, I treat myself 6 hours a day on average. By doing so, I learn to feel deeply in my body. My body awareness grows by the day. And it makes me very curious to learn more about energy and healing.
* What I do is balancing my energyflows via the meridians in order to activate and reinforce the selfhealing system of the body. Energyflows stop whenever their path is blocked. However, those blocks are formed by the physical limitation or illness that you wish to heal. This also means that as long as the block / illness is still present, the energyflows will be stopped all the time. To help them moving beyond the blocks asks for a lot of energy treatment. In addition, I discovered meditative techniques to actually resolve physical blocks.
By doing so much energywork I gain some huge advantages: I feel more energised, I recover more quickly from strain ánd I can be more active. The latter I use to train myself, because functions lost do not return by magic alone. I get to understand the language of my body more and more. By feeling and then analysing what I feel, I am able to determine what my body needs. That I translate to activities and this way a more subtle training schedule. By doing and evaluating I discover how I can expand my boundaries.
Only upon looking back to these past 8 years, I notice how self educating I am. I feel, see, hear or read something, filter the essence and discover together with my body how I can apply it. In what way can this work out for me? How can I translate this to braininjury and my situation?
Sometimes things do not work, but instead lead me towards a new idea. Selfeducation is such an interesting and fun adventure. In every part of life, although health has become my most favourite theme.
During the process I regularly write down what I do and discover, because I soon realise that I am not the only one who misses out on support and the common advices and therapies do not lead to the maximum result possible.
The four pillars of selfhealing
Foundations of selfhealing
No matter how extended this whole process of healing already is, it is no more than a small part of selfhealing. Next to energywork, training and creating a big box filled with “essential tools for selfhealing”, I have two more foundations: meditation and mindset.
All day long my mind was buzzing with
thoughts about all and nothing, not in the least with worries and fear. But
quickly I came to see that constant thinking was a burden to my brain. I
decided that my mind had to become quiet. This was easier said than done, but
after a few weeks of meditating I succeeded; for a fraction of a second there was
nothing. What a feeling! Now that I had found the place of silence, I succeeded in getting there more often and for longer periods. Even to the point that it was normal to not have any thought for hours during the day. It appeared you don't need them at all 😉 I had come to know real silence.
From the very first attempt to meditate the effect it had on my health was amazing. The pain reduced. The more I meditated, the more happened in my body: I felt it pulsating and the selfhealing ability became more powerful. I decided to see if I could discover how I could direct the body’s healing system to specifically target my head. It became a very in-depth process of feeling and sensing in which I discovered how meditation could literally bring about healing.
I realised that my life up to this moment had led to my current situation. If I wanted to get out of it, not the circumstances but me had to change. Healing doesn’t happen from outside and can’t be arranged by others. You have to do it yourself from inside out.
It was the beginning of March and I sat in the garden, crouched in a thick coat as a protection against the cold weather. But the sun was shining and I knew intuitively that I needed sunlight. Dully I sat in a chair. Alone. Time passed. It was so quiet. And I felt so exhausted. Right at that moment my inner self provided me with a mirror. Made me feel. Showed me who I was. I had nowhere to go, wasn’t able to distract myself, couldn’t hide from me any longer. Then I accepted the mirror. It hurt but I made a conscious choice: I never want to feel this way again and I am going to resolve all that is needed.
At first it was hard. Feeling, digging, crying and gaining new insights. Acting upon them, making different choices and changing my behaviour. Changing myself. The good thing is, only in the beginning it was heavy. Everytime I resolved something and started to live from the new me I was creating, then I felt better. It became fun and challenging to do selfwork. Selfreflection became a life attitude. Convictions, beliefs, thought patterns, were they all true? What were my habits and what was their foundation? How did I feel and why? Nothing escaped my attention anymore and I kept peeling off layer after layer. How could I change my point of view, see things from a different perspective? Until the deepest part of me. Been there. Done that. Seen it all. It’s beautiful. Silence became my best companion.
Creating a new life
Many of the insights I gained are bundled in my Dutch book ‘Eigentijdse Wijsheden’. What a wonderful process it was to create this book. It was something I was able to do all by myself and it stood symbol for a new start of my life. Suddenly I was an author! Writing, photography and design, I did it all. What a relief after a long period of little functioning to be able to do something as special as creating a book. It was published on October 3th, 2014.
It didn’t end there. I got myself a parttime job. But mostly I had the wish to use my experience to inspire others. I wanted to inspire as life had inspired me. Inspired by Life became the name I gave to my business. I had so many ideas. Online courses, teaching meditation, writing a new book … about achieving a better recovery after brain injury.
While I am writing this I see in a flash this whole period in which I taught myself to become an entrepreneur. All that I have done, experienced and learned. It has made me grow so much. And I did realise all of it. I had an online course, I taught (and teach by the way) meditation, I gave workshops ánd the book became a reality. On October 3th, 2017, it was published and almost 200 people have read it.
The image you hold of yourself, the world and life translates into health and is the key to healing.
Braininjury a second time
The abundance didn’t last for long. In the first half of 2018 I lost all of my beloved animals (horse and 2 rabbits) ánd I got brain injury a second time caused by a car accident. There I was again. In silence. I had worked my ass of to build my business, but now all of it was gone. I couldn’t teach or coach, couldn’t do any computerwork. I was able to make ends meet because of welfare.
I saw one advantage: I now knew the way. I knew what brain injury was, I was able to heal myself and I knew how to train. However, this new healing process started with the most important question of all: what life lessons did I have to learn? What made that my life was halted so dramatically, my car driven total loss and I was sent into a new healing process? What stood out was that I wasn’t on the right track.
Asking, feeling, sensing and getting deeply in touch with my intuition. Listening to answers and gaining new insights. It showed me that there was more personal transformation to be done. I was invited to discover my true self on a still deeper level. I was invited to discover my own voice. I was invited to step into my power, to let my inner light shine more. I was challenged to find the strength to stand for what I believe in and to act accordingly. To no longer hold back and make myself small. By transforming perceptions and attitudes, I resolved once again what had been limiting me to feel free to be myself.
Such processes are not easily captured in words. It’s intense, challenging. Discovering what limits you requires a lot of digging. It works in layers, continually resolving a deeper layer so continually digging deeper, sensing deeper to find the cause(s).
Apart from working on my health I also tried to generate my own income again. By offering guided meditations and starting a webshop in sustainable products. Welfare is not a long term option after all. But with the little activity I could do in a day, it didn’t work out at all. I tried so many things and kept trying, often not in favour of my health. Healing and making money simply do not make a merry combination. The moment came of course that I was cut off from welfare. After a year authorities waved me goodbye. My story was of no interest to them and the medical file didn’t offer sufficient evidence. I raised objections via a lawyer, which was only processed after a year of waiting. And it was turned down.
That whole second year I had managed to meet ends from my savings, done all I could in an effort to make money ánd to heal. At the end of my money I got jammed. I had hit the bottom and had no idea how to get out of it again. I was broke and nowhere near recovered.
And then the world economy was shut down. Everything changed. I made a choice: to continu in the same manner was not even an option, so I decided to leave my business for what is was for the moment and to focus completely on healing. During the next 6 months I worked non-stop to heal myself and the progress I was finally able to make was amazing.
In the final quarter of 2020 my health was so good that I was able to expand my (business)activities again. I added vegan gel polish to the webshop and gave weekly meditations.
By now we are in the final days of 2020 and I feel extremely well. I have been able to create a lifestyle in which I function very well and that totally fits me. I am making plans for creating a new business with a new name, fitting a new lifetime: Joyous Mind. With it I will focus on coaching in selfhealing and meditation. Even though I am on welfare (which was fortunately granted again), I have a lot of faith in the new year.
I spend 2 – 3 hours a day on conscious bodywork and meditation. Without that I don’t feel healthy. Especially yoga and Feldenkrais are really helpful. I’m at home or in nature a lot, I enjoy the tranquillity. Instead of a car I own an electrical bike. It makes that I live in a much slower pace than most people. I manage my time and appointments differently. And it feels so much more natural. Braininjury told me that my lifestyle didn’t work for me and in this new quiet and physically active lifestyle I feel way more at home. Lately even my eyes shine more brightly, I have more life energy!
Health is no longer something I take for granted. I work every day to maintain and improve my health and become even healthier. I like it. It’s normal to take care of your body and do selfwork. More normal than watching tv. More normal than endless scrolling through social media. It is fun to change your world view and free yourself. Taking control of your life. Discovering and making use of your talents. Creating a new you.