Here is my story that I submitted to BBC My Story writing competition in 2010. It was the first time I had written such an account of my life. The word count limit helped me to condense otherwise I feel there is a book in me … but that’s a longer term project!
My reason for sharing it here is for giving you hope and inspiration and the recognition that you are capable of achieving much, much, much more than you currently think you can.
Experiencing Lifetimes within a Lifetime. (05/01/2010)
I have my own therapy, coaching and training business. All about personal development, success, and feeling happier through transforming (conscious and unconscious) negative emotions and developing new, more useful thoughts and habits. Who am I to be doing this kind of work? What do I have to bring to the market that has so many established “gurus” in it? Me, who was born in a remote Indian village, to an illiterate mother and a violent, alcoholic father?
Many lifetimes ago in this lifetime; I have changed so much that I don’t even recognise the girl who felt sick during the whole flight over from India when she was just six years old.
What seriously started this path of being a personal change facilitator was my decision to seek counselling, in my third lifetime, whilst going through a divorce. What prompted my decision was the chance viewing of a film called ‘Prince of Tides’ with Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand. Seeing the power of transformation and healing through counselling encouraged me to seek a counsellor.
Unlike the Hollywood film, the two-year intense weekly self-examining process was excruciatingly painful, lonely and isolating. I was already miserably lonely. I had one friend who I could share a tiny bit of it with but other than that I was alone with my haunting thoughts.
Persistent, disturbing thoughts leading to nightmares that would wake me in the middle of the dark, cold nights. I’d think my dad was still alive and I’d be hiding my children, fearing his disapproval if he saw them. I was cowering, fearing his wrath upon discovering that I’d married without his consent. Upon waking it would take me a few minutes to realise where I was and that I was now safe. He could no longer hurt me, not physically, but the mental torment continued even fourteen long years after his suicide when I was eighteen.
Such was my fear of him that my mind still refused to believe he was dead and could no longer affect my life. That I was now free of his drinking into oblivion, lying, shouting, bullying, physical bruising from his heavy, carpenter hands and fierce domination of what I wore, ate and did. He had vented his rage on my mother probably since they had their arranged marriage. She was bi-polar, and her home, from when we moved to the UK from India when I was six, was the local psychiatric hospital. Back in India she was labelled ‘mad’ as my language has no word for depression. It was a relief for me to learn that she had a recognised illness and was not actually fated to be mad because of pastlife bad deeds.
My mum was defeated and yet I refused to be. Even without any nurturing and supportive figure in my formative years I somehow made other ‘happy’ families we knew my role models. When visiting such relatives I used to feel warm, safe and carefree. They were short periods. But this exposure to other kinds of parenting made me determined to change things for my own children in the future.
From the age of twelve I became the translator for both my parents (neither could speak English) and a young carer as my father disowned my second brother. He went to college one day and came back to an empty flat. My father and I had moved to a house he had bought secretly in another part of London. The eldest, aged sixteen when we emigrated to England, was unable to live with us from the beginning due to the violence.
My life then became one of domesticity, which then was without a washing machine, vacuum cleaner and steam iron! In between all the household chores a mum would be doing, I had to learn how to knit, sew clothes (so I could be a good wife one day) and study.
Schooling that didn’t recognise my culture, teachers who made no attempt to uncover why I was not reaching my potential, and boys and girls who could be so cruel, with their racist taunts of “go back to your own country!” and other, not so polite, variations of this. And yet I was a runner-up in a national essay writing competition. I left sixth-form with two ‘A’ levels.
And so, at the age of eighteen, ended my first relentlessly harrowing lifetime with my father’s suicide.
I felt some physical and mental freedom after my father’s death. It’s amazing what shock can do the mind and body. I got on with my second lifetime. At age twenty I married my ‘Prince Charming’. There was going to be a ‘happy ever after’ after all even though we were different castes. I was brought up with the value of marriage is forever. My mother saw my marriage but not my children, as she died when I was twenty-one and two months pregnant with my first. After having found Dad’s body only three years earlier, I was devastated to arrive at the hospital’s A&E department and see Mum’s semi naked body on a bed. I’ll never forget what seeing her made me think; that she looked like a slab of meat lying there lifelessly. She had had a stroke and was unconscious. I just couldn’t believe how cruel life was being and wondered just how much more I could bear. I desperately wanted her to see my baby and thought she may as she started to recover. That, however, was not meant to be as two weeks later she had a brainstem stroke and took two, agonizingly long, weeks to go. Her funeral was the day before my birthday. I remember having the realisation that I was twenty-one and an orphan.
Life continued and I had the baby to look forward to. I was the ideal wife, considered by friends to be tremendously understanding, non-judgmental and wise. They came to me with their woes for a cup of tea and a listening ear. Ten years later, aged thirty, the fairy tale ended when I was the first amongst my peers to file for a divorce.
Thus began the third lifetime, of not only being a stigmatised divorced Indian woman, but also a single parent of two children; a son aged eight and a daughter of five. With no family support I had to dig deeper than ever before to stop following in my father’s footsteps to end my own anguish. I chose life and I chose to ensure my children would have a mother who was there for them. I was determined they would lead a very different life away from the norms and values of the suffocating and hypocritical environment I had been raised in.
My resolve gave me the confidence and courage to take risks, to step out of my comfort zone and embark on the path less travelled. I set a goal – to be free of all the negative conditioning of my childhood. This focus has led me to meet inspiring individuals, for relevant books to jump out at me in the library and bookshops and to enrol on courses during which, whilst learning new skills, I also cleared more and more of my mental turmoil.
The more I worked on myself, the more opportunities came my way. In fact my very first training experience came through facing the fear and saying yes to a request to do henna hand-painting one International Women’s Day, even though I had never done this before. I am a very quick learner! I had my picture in the local paper and starting delivering a monthly workshop on this Asian art.
During one of my sessions, my counsellor shared with me something he had heard about transformation:
“If you want to heal the children, heal the mother.”
This quote has resonated hugely with me. What I have noticed is that the more I have evolved the more my children have flourished into stable, capable and talented young adults.
I am so very proud of who they are. They are accomplished young adults who take complete responsibility for who they are and what they do. They are well rounded individuals who earn the respect of peers and adults they come into contact with. If only their grandparents could see them now.
I am very proud of my achievements. I am a personal development and soft skills trainer, a life coach, therapist, hypnotherapist, and the facilitator of personal development groups.
Thus ends this lifetime in which I have provided my children with a nurturing platform from which to launch and go to make a contribution to the world.
And I am now embarking on my fourth lifetime in which I acknowledge my talents, gifts and skills and take myself into the world to share my learning and wisdom and make a difference, and I’m only forty-six!
Not bad for a little girl born in a remote village in India to an illiterate mother and a violent, alcoholic father.
This story was one of many published for some time on the BBC My Story website. I didn’t win the main prize of a book deal. I did, however, receive many emails from complete strangers who were touched, inspired, and full of hope after reading my story. I hope it does the same for you.
One of my favourite quotes is:
“It’s not what happens to you that matters, what matters is what you do with what has happened to you.”
Now I hope you appreciate why.
If you would like a FREE, confidential, no obligation telephone consultation about how I may be able to help you please call 07944 931 437 or email