My story is about how, over the past three years, I’ve been able to grow, leave my past behind and learn how to live with gratitude and joy. As a child, I was a gentle soul; my mother used to say about me ‘please don’t let anything hurt her’. My father had ‘issues’ and, consequently, my childhood was made very challenging and then, at 16, I became a single mother and faced all of the additional challenges this brings. I’d always had a lot of drive though, and by 25, I was Network Manager for Compaq UK.

Throughout all of this, I always had a spiritual nature, but it wasn’t something I could express as I worked in an IT environment where it was all practical, very binary and all black or white. I always believed however, that every challenge was simply a cloud with a silver lining, and it was that that kept me going. My daughter has mental health challenges and, as a young a mum with little support, it was very, very difficult to deal with; anything that went wrong was always my fault and as a result I was ground down and forgot about the silver linings. It just always seemed to be raining. It came to a period where, for number of few days, I sat on my bedroom floor staring at a bottle of vodka and a large selection of pills, thinking suicide was a viable option. The only thing that stopped me doing it was the thought of my own mum and the devastation that it would cause her and so, as I got rid of the mess on my floor, I chose not to die. But I still hadn’t chosen to live. It wasn’t until three or four years later that I sought out help and ended up seeing a life coach because life still had no meaning to me. I felt there was no reason for me to be here apart from working and paying bills. I was living an empty life and needed more.

The life coach was a wonderful lady who helped me find me again, because I’d got lost in it all. As a direct result of working with her I went on to find the man who later became my now husband and slowly I also found myself.

It took years and then a something happened that changed my outlook completely; I was doing some mic running for a guy called Peter Sage at his event, the Sage Business School, and the first day blew my mind. It was about our place in the world; about us as souls living the human existence, and how life itself is our spiritual school. I believe we are either the teacher or the pupil and we reverse those roles depending on who we are with and what he said absolutely resonated with me.

I started to wake up spiritually and, reflecting back over my life, started to remember some of the things that had happened to me and began looking at them in a different way. For instance, I remember when I was 8 years old and had been given some money for my birthday. During my birthday party the money went missing. My father, who lacked empathy often, said it was my fault and I should have looked after it and that he wasn’t going to help me. The 8-year-old child in me continued to fret about that for years and years after. I felt hard done by for that 8-year-old; why didn’t she have a better response from her parent? Now, as a direct result of my journey, I look back on that and think what a beautiful lesson it was. It enabled me to become very self-sufficient money wise and I’ve done reasonably well financially off the back of what I previously thought of as a negative event.

I started to be able to see the blessings in the ALL the things in my life that I had previously viewed as negative. It’s not come easy; it’s been a very determined effort of going back and looking for the blessings. I now journal most days and give gratitude for everything in my life. Life isn’t always great; life sometimes throws us a curve ball and my journaling works for me because I can write down what happened, how I can overcome it and how I can be grateful for the opportunity to learn. We can all live in gratitude every day by taking note of the little things, take breathing for instance. I now give gratitude for the ability to breathe deeply, to be able to fully inhale and get high on oxygen. After a nasty bout of pneumonia, for which I now give thanks, it’s taught me that I’m amazingly lucky to be alive here and now and can take the great joy from just breathing easily.