People are fascinating – you never know their story until they open up to you and for some that is not an easy thing to do! Very powerful insight this morning with our interview with Hayley Bennett who is one of our Foxy family. Grab a coffee, read and be inspired how life can hang in the balance and literally flip 180. Hayley’s story is one of determination and perseverance……
How can bad things in life turn out to be some of the best things that have happened to us?
We hear it all the time; “It will be for the best, in the end” or “You will look back on this and laugh”. At the time you want to tell the other person to go away and leave you alone. How can they not see how bad it is? But it can be true; it can be one of the best things that has happened, but how?
I get asked all the time, why did I choose to become a wellbeing practitioner? Well, my story is one of those that when something bad happened, it turned out to be one of the best things in my life.
When I was 15 years old, I remember flying to Portugal with my family. While we were there we went to see my uncle and auntie, who were living over there. My auntie had been a healer and doing reflexology for years and my uncle had just learnt to do Reiki and hypnosis after having cancer. This was all exciting to me and I found it fascinating, but at 15, 29 years ago, I couldn’t really go to the career adviser and ask to be a healer – It wasn’t the thing to do; a secretary or working in the bank were the careers they were still pushing. So, I went against the grain. No, I didn’t become a healer but I went into design and trained as a Graphic Designer. But, just as I was leaving college and had been offered a job at my work placement, I had a car accident.
As much as it was a major accident, myself and my partner at the time, (later to become my husband and the father of my son), were trapped in the burning car, we got out with minor injuries. My partner, John walked away with little to no injuries, but he did have the horrible memory of the whole experience. Myself, I don’t remember any of it as I hit my head and was out cold. John had sat on my lap, kicked the door open and dragged me out. I was X-rayed, stitched up and sent home the next day with broken ribs, sternum, finger and 15 stitches in my head. I could speak, knew my name and the people around me, I was going to be fine or so we thought.
(This is one of those moments when you want to tell the other person to go away!): My uncle from Portugal called and said to me; “The universe obviously has other plans for you”…… Really!!!
The headaches stayed, my balance was off and my memory wasn’t great. Every time I tried to get on with my life and go back to work I would relapse, the headaches got worse, my recall and short-term memory didn’t improve and I had started to black out. This went on for quite a few years until I had a really bad relapse after my son was born. They told me I would probably never work again and now I couldn’t even look after my son. I felt so useless, what was the point, I just wanted my life to end. But luckily, I was introduced to the Headway charity and I met a great doctor there, who helped me to understand what was going on with my head and gave me the best advice, these few simple words changed my life; ‘This illness will control your life, unless you learn to control it!’
I couldn’t let this illness rule my life, I needed to take control and learn how to work with it, not against it.
I went back to what I had found fascinating on that trip to Portugal; I turned to alternative treatments and started to understand my body and mind. Over time I realised one of the big problems I had was my mindset. I wanted to be the ‘Hayley’ I was before the accident, so every time I pushed myself to become that person, I pushed myself too far and then crashed. I was on a roller coaster; I needed to stop the ride and find out where my limits were. I needed to be the new ‘Hayley’, the one I was now after the accident and stay more stable.
I’m not saying this was easy or that it happened overnight. It took me a long time but slowly I figured it out. I learnt about a balanced life, I learnt what foods worked for me, about how exercise helped me mentally and physically and I learnt to listen to my body and to be kind to myself. ‘Know when to stop, don’t follow the crowd and do what is right for you!’
This is a hard thing to do. I was changing, I was going in a different direction and I couldn’t keep up with the pace. The other people in my life were still on the same path I was on with them, before the accident. This was a point in my life when I couldn’t see how this accident (the bad thing) could be the best thing that had happened to me, I was finding what was best for me, but losing things around me.
As I became more balanced in my life, the better I felt and slowly over the years I took on a little more. Over 16 years ago I trained as a reflexologist, I never looked back. My life and my job worked hand in hand. The more I trained, the more I understood my life and illness, and the more I understood the more I could put it into my life and the more I could help others because I was living it. I was living proof!
Sharing my knowledge and tools, helping people on their life journey is a job I love and I couldn’t do it as well as I do if it wasn’t for the accident. Maybe this was what my uncle meant with ‘The universe has other plans for you’
We all have things we have to deal with in life and some of us hide them away but if we look things differently, we will be able to see the good that can come from them. Don’t see limitations as negative things, see them as an alternative, maybe a better way, even if they are different
I might have limitations and I have to stick to a few rules to have a functioning life. But I’m up-right and I living my life to the full.