What does a fulfilled life mean?
What is it to live a fulfilled life? How do some people achieve a sense of ease where as others live in a continued sense of struggle. There is no doubt in my mind that life can be tough and there are many difficulties and challenges that we all face. Sometimes these take over and they shadow us. At other times we learn, step by step, to live with them, even learning from them as we grow and develop in the world, enabling ourselves to see beauty when previously we only saw the whirl of grey cloud in the midst of our turmoil.
One of the greatest challenges I have faced in my personal life occurred in September 2018 when my wife, Cathy, suffered a sudden and severe brain haemorrhage. Only half an hour previously she was walking the dog in the fields near our home! For many weeks it was touch and go with the brain damage to the cerebellum affecting subsequently her ability to balance, move on her right side and control nausea. In one fleeting second, her life, mine and our close family and friends changed forever. One moment she was discussing with our daughter who needed to put out the bins and the next moment this same daughter, Naomi, was being called upon to literally save her Mum’s life!
I was walking in Spain when I this happened. I had embarked on the old pilgrim pathway through the Pyrenees and Northern Spain, the Camino, Compostella de Santiago. My intentions had been to break from my reality in order to recharge, destress and rethink my life’s direction in order to live a better, less stressful existence to benefit us all.
With a single phone call my World changed! My being, my outlook, and all that was important to me was refocused. I realised that what I actually had was really important to me and other matters were put into stark perspective. The family and Cathy moved into the foreground and everything else felt like background noise. Nothing else truly mattered.
In those early days we all tended to Cathy in support of her recovery, most days living in accordance with her needs. Everyday there were and still are tears shed in frustration, anger and sadness, but there is also the edge of future possibilities creeping in, expanding gradually over time and ushering in the shear beauty of discovery and the next phase of development for us all.
I am continuing to learn a lot about myself and Cathy (even after 30 years of marriage), as we continue to venture into this new way of living. We push where possible for recovery and learning, but also aim to live with greater ease and simplicity than before, accepting where we are and what cannot be changed, settling for nature’s beauty and breathing into it.
Perhaps that is the lesson I was meant to learn from my ‘Camino,’ and maybe one in life that we all need?
Our efforts and values, both at home and in our workplaces, should be about fun, curiosity, a sense of potential, equality, trust, integrity, nature and the beauty and depth of the human spirit.