A few weeks ago, I decided to stop writing about the work I was creating. I was afraid of my vulnerability in writing about the pieces and I also began to think that my write ups would influence how you feel about what you see.
I’ve missed writing with my work and I think it’s important for you to know why I create the work I do. So this is me, fully stepping into my vulnerability;
In 2013 we had a really stormy Christmas week. I ran a small Ecommerce business at the time, it was a thriving business but it often meant that I worked allot including evenings and weekends too - despite having two young children. The last working day before Christmas was Monday 23rd December. I had one junior member of staff and I let her go home early as the weather was getting worse. I decided to do the last postal run on my own.
Before I left for the post office I became aware of my neighbour across the road, I didn’t see her often, but on this occasion I couldn’t stop myself from staring at her. I could see myself, standing in-front of our then second floor hallway window watching her for a considerable amount of time. I can only describe this as an out of body experience.
She had thick long blonde hair and because it was windy, she was wearing a Russian Fur Hat. She was putting luggage into the boot of her car so I can only assume that she was going home for Christmas. I must have been stood watching her for a good 10 seconds, to this day, that picture is still very vivid in my mind. I even remember that she wore a long dark green coat and quite high heeled black sued boots, I remember thinking they’re not a good choice in this storm!
She always dressed really nicely, the kind of clothes I would have worn if I still had a job in town - so naturally, I noticed her. I remember feeling really peaceful watching her. As I came back into my body, I remembered that I had a Russian hat just like hers, one my sister had given to me earlier that year, it wasn’t really my style since I worked from home now but I kept it anyway hanging visibly in the cloakroom. I went downstairs, put it on and asked my partner who was in the kitchen at the time if it looked ok.
So I stepped out with the warmest coat I could find and put on my fur Russian hat to help protect my then signature, long, wavy hair extensions from the storm.
As I walk to the post office, the wind is ferocious and the rain is starting to beat down diagonally with the force of the wind - you know, the kind of rain that hurts your face, especially when it’s cold. Bins were getting blown across the road and everything including street signs and lamp posts were rattling.
The news said the weather would be bad, but this is London, storms are never as bad in built up areas right? I thought to myself. Struggling to walk against the wind, I opened my mouth and muttered defiantly; “I will make this business work even if it kills me”
It’s about 30 minutes later, I’ve posted the final parcels of the year and I’ve popped into the local cooperative grocery shop to pick up some lamb for dinner, a bottle of rose wine and a bag of posh crisps in anticipation of going home to my partner and children, to relax and start celebrating the Christmas holidays.
I take 2 steps out of the Co-op shop doors and my world goes pitch black - as if someone has switched off all the lights - everywhere. I can no longer see, but I know I’m falling. So I talk to myself again, this time in my head; “CJ, it’s ok, something has happened to you, keep calm” I also remember thinking, this is not my time, I want to see my children grow up, I want to be sitting at the dinner table with them on Sundays when they get back from University - my children were 8 and 6 at the time.
A few minutes later, I wake up with the harsh rain still hitting my face but this time I’m lying on the ground, my head is fully tilted to one side, I can taste blood and I can see someone’s feet.
I try to cough because there’s stuff in my mouth. As my eyes open I can see that I’m coughing up dust and blood. The feet I see are hesitant to walk towards me, I get a sense that person is just as scared as I am and therefore staying back.
As I became fully conscious I spit out more dust and rubble and plead with the feet I could see to “help me”. The person started to come towards me as did two others. That’s when I really began to feel the impact of what had just happened to me.
The man (the feet) I will forever call my Angel, called the ambulance and would not leave my side. He also called my partner to tell him what had happened and stayed with me in the ambulance until we got to Kings hospital.
As I lay in the ambulance saying my Rosary (I focused on The Hail Mary, as I was praying as a mother) the paramedic called my case into the hospital, I heard him say that a 6 foot piece of concrete render had blown off the building and landed on top of me.
I had two head traumas, broke 2 bones in the top of my spine and damaged a collarbone. The consultant said I was very lucky to not have more damage. But I soon came to find out that this was not luck.
This was my first unconscious experience of someone or something greater intervening in my life and my first conscious experience of what I now understand as The Law of Attraction.
I believe that the intervention of God was the peaceful unconscious out of body experience which almost zombified me into putting on that thick fur hat. Without the hat (and my hair extensions) I think the impact on my head could have been worse.
I also believe that the words I spoke on my way to the post office manifested in my accident - why on Earth did I wish death on myself?!
Words (as well as thoughts) certainly are powerful.
I had never really thought about my mortality until that point, like many, I took things for granted. Not until I was faced with what could have been did I truly understand what I have.
I would like to add that when the Angel left me at the hospital, he only told my partner and my sister his first name, we had no other details for him and I never saw him again (imagine that, it was as if he didn’t exist!).
I tried asking about him in the local area and eventually almost a year later, one of the school mums was able to work out who I was talking about and helped me find him on Facebook. I sent messages of thank you with no reply, for months! Eventually, the first time I met him was totally by chance, I bumped into him in the Co-op! I only had the Facebook picture of him to go by but my instincts kicked in as he stood next to me by the bread isle. I asked him for his name and introduced myself and apologised that I as far as I was concerned, I could only refer to him as my Guardian Angel. He was very humble and tried to play down what he did - of course, I wouldn’t let him. Thank you always Angel, thank you for being there and staying with me.
I also never saw my blonde neighbour again, in the whole 6 years that I stayed in Camberwell, I never saw her again. If I did, I’m not sure if I would have told her about that night. Perhaps now, fully accepting what happened, I would.
I know that many others have similar stories, even stories with near death experiences where they experience ‘the bright light’ - described to be the accession to Heaven.
My stay in the hospital was harrowing. The painful head trauma was so that I all my senses were heightened, especially my hearing - everything was just too loud. I was put in the Neurosurgery ward because of the trauma to my head.
There were people on the ward who had mental health difficulties, one woman especially was screaming in despair for most of the night. The howling wind continued to force itself against the floor to ceiling windows of Kings hospital. I was really scared but I just lay there thinking how grateful I was to be there, to be alive.
I did everything I could to be home for Christmas. I tried to not “look too sick” so that when the consultants came round they would be happy to tick me off the list to go home.
All I had to do was prove to the physiotherapist that I could walk ok with my neck brace on. So I did, they sent me home on the evening of the 24th with thee most painkillers I’d ever seen.
I spent most of the Christmas period in and out of painkiller induced naps. The accident replayed itself over and over in my head as nightmarish intrusive thoughts.
Anytime I tried to move, the room would spin - but I was happy. I insisted on spending Christmas Day with my entire family, as we always did, at my parents. Surrounded by siblings, nieces and nephews.
Unable to do much and being fully loved and cared for but most of all, being the most present I have ever been in my entire adult life - by force but completely in surrender and humbled.
I had questions about my accident, was it an accident? Why did I stand staring at my neighbour for so long?The “why me” question came up in many conversations even with our local priest who I’d asked to visit me just so I could ask him that question. He answered as my partner did and as I thought he would - God does not seek to punish.
My wonderful friends rallied around. I received flowers non stop for about 2 weeks. My partner took care of me, the children and the house.
I felt so loved but I still didn’t understand “why me”. I was a good person, all I ever did was put my head down and work hard. I was a good daughter and sister, I gave to charities, helped with the school PTA and I was mentoring a student. Why me?
I wasn’t able to work for 3 months so I spent more time being totally present with my children. I created a new rule that after school my phone would stay in another room until the children went to bed. It was vital for me to experience every minute I could with them, after all, these precious moments were almost taken away from us.
After about 6 weeks, I could walk on my own again but Ben had to come with me at first because I had developed anxiety that something else was going to hit me, in my head, a tree would fall, a car would come off the road at me, just anything strong enough to knock me down again so I walked away from trees, the roadside and anything bigger than me that could potentially fall on me. Eventually I was able to go for walks on my own.
I have been in my local parks on many occasions with the children but all of a sudden, I could smell and see plants and flowers that I had never noticed before, colours were bright and vivid, I started to notice bugs and creepy crawlies again - just like when I was a child. The park felt much bigger now too, it would take me much longer to walk round now because I would stop and get really close to everything, branches, leaves, petals, bark etc. Nature is magnificent - why did I stop noticing? It felt like in all my adult life, I stopped noticing nature - I felt ashamed about this.
All this time off made me question everything, I started counselling to help me come to terms with what had happened and to really question what I wanted for the rest of my life. I felt like I had been given a second chance.
On my walks, I also started to listen to Ted Talks and YouTube videos in search of knowledge. I’d heard of “Spiritual Awakenings” and wanted a deeper understanding - is this what I was going through?
Podcasts hadn’t quite hit the mainstream back then so I would just play videos on my phone (whilst in my pocket) and listen on my headphones. I knew about The Law of Attraction, a dear friend of mine had lent me the book The Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale which was basically TLOA for business. As I listened to more Ted Talks, I learned more about TLOA, Vibration and what felt like the modern day meanings of gratitude and thankfulness over and over again.
When I was a kid, being thankful and grateful went hand in hand with being a Christian, it was something we were told to practice but I always used to be thankful and grateful to God without truly understanding (at a young age) what for.
The more I listened to various seminars, the more this new phenomenal world started to open up and resonate with me and my experience. Dr Wayne Dyer, Bob Proctor, Eckhart Tolle, Rhonda Byrne, Oprah Winfrey, TD Jakes, Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, Brene Brown, Dr Anil Seth, Jay Shetty, Russell Brand. All of these people (and many others) were or had been on similar journeys and were sharing their knowledge and experiences with the world. I was so grateful to have found this new space of sharing and education.
I’ve always painted since leaving art school, it’s a huge part of me but until the accident, I didn’t really feel like I painted with purpose. Art and English and Music were the only subjects I was good at in school. The time off after my accident also allowed me to paint more. The more I created art, the more I felt at peace, like I was doing exactly what I should be, a feeling of fulfilment.
Before my accident, I spent allot of years being someone else, doing what I thought I should be doing rather than being who I truly am. So now, I’m a full time artist, on a mission to spread the word of The Law of Attraction, Vibration, Consciousness, Awakening, Gratitude, Living In The Present and any other spiritual and non spiritual emotional development practices through art.
To my dear friend who came to visit me after my accident and asked me “what did you do?” I answered at the time “I don’t know” I now know the answer ;
- I became aware.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.