My journey from being led by my heart, to leading with heart
At just one-week old doctors discovered I was born with a rare heart condition – Truncus Arteriosus if you’re curious - and given a 1% chance of life.
I don’t remember my first heart event. But my mother vividly remembered Christmas Eve 1974 when she found me blue in my crib. I was rushed to Hawke’s Bay Hospital and then flown to Greenlane Hospital in Auckland. Repair surgery was successfully carried out a week later by pioneering New Zealand heart surgeon Sir Brian Barratt-Boyes.
I’ve been told my entire life that I’d need ongoing heart surgeries or worse – that I wouldn’t survive. I was told that I’d never reach adulthood, have children or live a normal, healthy lifestyle…
It's not game over, it’s just a different journey
Over the following years, my spirited determination saw me through many surgeries and helped me rise when I was seriously ill. I went on to have three beautiful children who continually drive me to beat the odds.
My middle child, Rossi, was also born with a heart condition and underwent open-heart surgery as a baby, and countless other procedures over the following years. Together, we know how scary it feels to have life taken out of your hands and to be at the mercy of hospital visits and medical intervention.
Living life against all odds
I’ve lived a life better than I should have, and I’m proud that I continue to defy medical expectations. This hasn’t come without challenges. But that light-bulb moment is something I’ll forever be thankful for – the realisation of the powerful alignment between my body and mind.
The importance of keeping my body healthy, and to look to new ways of improving my mental wellbeing. If our life experiences are all part of a plan to teach us how we can support others, it makes complete sense that I’ve landed on a path initially supported by massage therapy and now mindfulness.
As a dedicated massage therapist, I’ve seen first-hand how regular massage can improve someone’s quality of life. Whether it’s to proactively align the body to face the day-to-day or to treat pains and stresses. But, it wasn’t until I followed the path of mindfulness and introduced my own daily practice that I realised the benefits of treating both body and mind.
Since introducing a daily practice of mindfulness, I have managed to come off all my heart medication for high blood pressure and no longer take pain medications. My sleep has improved, I am less tired during the day and I am able to cope with my daily life with ease
A path that’s been filled with immeasurable highs and difficult lows. Experiences that have given me time, patience and grace to reflect on where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m heading. A spirited determination to ease the bodies and minds of the remarkable people I get to work alongside. I hope that you’ll feel this when you join me to strengthen your own journey to wellbeing.
I'm so excited to share this with you - say Hello to The Brain Garden Trust
The Brain Garden Trust is a registered charity providing mindfulness based support to children, and their families, living with long-term health conditions.
The Brain Garden Trust is the result of my own heart-centered journey. Acknowledging that every year there is a significant number of NZ children born or diagnosed with with life-changing, long-term health conditions. These children, and their families, often feel alone and unsupported while navigating a life they didn't prepare for.
I believe children, their parents and their families should have access to resources and skills to help them develop coping strategies that enable self-acceptance, confidence, happiness and lead a fulfilled life. I'm standing here today a different me because living with a long-term health condition hasn't been game-over, it's just been a different journey - one that has been made easier because of my mindfulness practice.
As a registered charity I rely solely on the generous support of community and people like you. From spreading the good word to making a one-off or regular donation - there are many ways you can help. To find how more about the Trust, and how you can help, you can visit the website or head on over to the Givealittle page and make a donation.