Cover Design - Socciones
"In 2010 I woke up!"
The opening line of my speech at 'Derby Women's Centre' on Wednesday the 24th February 2016. My fifth return visit to the centre's monthly coffee mornings since October 2013 and living in Derbyshire, one of a number of local charities I have continued to support.
The year 2010 was an extremely difficult time for me, because eventually I lost almost everything, including my life. But it's in adverse times we grow and learn, even though we don't see it at the time.
I lost my job as a top sales executive with a British brand leader, my company car, wardrobe of designer clothes and shoes, credit cards, my home and consequently my self-respect, because I placed all this material stuff above everything else. How I thought I needed to look and how I thought I needed to be in society had somehow become the focus of my life. Sadly, this self-centred approach of my this, my that, my body, my car and my promotion seems to affect so many of us. For thirty years my mind had been completely occupied by a self-cherishing attitude, a mentality that seems to be encouraged across western civilizations. We are constantly striving to be better than the next person by improving our status, climbing the ladder and accumulating material possessions, but at what cost? It is no surprise there is a rise in mental illness, when we are forever being persuaded by advertisers selling their latest products never to be satisfied with who we are and what we have.
What baffles me the most about this time is how I couldn't see that my constant bouts of severe depression, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem and debt - a consequence of my spending addiction, were all painting a completely different picture, and it wasn't happiness! I had listened to my ego far more than my heart, but yet in both body and soul I was always far more uplifted when the goals I set for myself, were in place to help make a difference for others.
In September 2013 my vocation in life finally came to light and I set up as an inspirational speaker and writer under the name A Compassionate Voice, not only sharing my experiences to help others overcome their own personal hurdles, but passionate about animal welfare and the importance of nature for our well-being, speaking out on behalf of the voiceless and vulnerable too. Speaking engagements have taken me around the country, my story has created media attention with regular requests for radio interviews and features in women's national magazines and press, because my experiences seems to resonate with so many people.
Picture credit - Nicky Armstrong
Early February 2016 my first book There Is a Way was published on Amazon, with far more sales than I had anticipated and already receiving wonderful reviews. Available as a paperback, or kindle down load, writing this book has been the next step towards inspiring others and raising awareness to all the issues close to my heart.
It wasn't easy to tell a story that had travelled across three decades and then just as I turned my first half century culminated into the most life changing experiences, however, I believed the best place to start was from the beginning, which is exactly what I did. Retracing my steps from childhood to where I am now enabled me to see what had been hidden for many years behind my own personal issues, but what I hope for more than anything is that my honesty and openness will allow readers of the book to understand themselves more too.
Picture credit - Steve Hill Photograpy
So many of us want to see a change in the world and we all want to try to do our bit in helping bring about these changes, so that future generations can enjoy their life in a more compassionate, caring world. Before we can do this though we have to exemplify that change and this isn't as black and white as it may seem.
My deepest wish is for everyone who reads this book to be encouraged enough to take action and realise while ever we have hope and love in our hearts, there will always be a way!
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