I have never been a religious person, though I’ve always sensed a presence of some sort of universal energy that I could only describe as “God”. I do, however, believe that this energy hears our every wish and desire, and that with it’s blessings our wildest dreams become reality. So I’m going to come out and share something really personal because I feel in my heart of hearts it’s important to say out loud.
After a violent sexual assault in my teens, that I didn’t speak about until adulthood, I spent a great deal of my youth in isolation and depression. In fact, in 2006, I climbed into the Granville street bridge, in tears, ready to jump.
I remember standing on the ledge, in tears, looking down at the water below. Cars stopped and people were getting out asking if I was okay. It felt like I was in a circus, suddenly all of my pain was on display and I almost felt pressured to jump in the moment. I climbed down, panicked. I prayed. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t believe in god. I just sent out a desperate help me into the universe.
Brad and I were engaged at the time, and I had phoned him from school earlier that day, in distress. Suddenly, to my complete surprise, despite not having given him any idea of where I was he came rollerblading up the Granville street bridge. Still the memory feels like a dream. I will never understand why he left work, got on a bus when he had a car, and started rollerblading towards the bridge. I guess he thought I would check in at the hospital and when he went there to check and I wasn’t there he felt I’d go to the bridge.
In the end the police were called, and I was checked into a psychiatric ward to be treated for depression. In that ward there wasn’t much to do. I wasn’t allowed outside without a pass and escort, and I wasn’t allowed to sleep all day which was the one thing I wanted to do. I was, however, allowed to make art. I was allowed to colour, read, paint, make jewelry, draw, play piano or guitar, watch movies, or write. Aside from that there was an exercise bike and a meditation/mindfulness class. So needless to say I spent many long hours making art in the art therapy room.
One day while making a little pair of earrings the therapist asked me if making art made me feel good, and of course I answered that it did, and she asked me if I’d like to make art every day for the rest of my life and make enough money to live and I said I would love that. She handed me a little pamphlet on pottery classes in Vancouver and left.
The reason I am sharing this is that looking back on that moment in my life it was a pivotal moment because in that moment of desperation I sent out a call of help into the universe and a response echoed back to me. I know without a doubt in my heart, that I am where I am today because of where I was then.
In some ways it seems very simple, but that single prayer lead to a chain of events – meeting the therapists who helped me recover from sexual abuse, but also who introduced me to the idea of becoming a working artist, and empowering me to pursue that dream despite having the belief that it wasn’t possible at the time. If that wound hadn’t surfaced as depression I would not work towards healing it. If depression hadn’t surfaced I would have never met that occupational art therapist. If I hadn’t met that art therapist Brad may not have bought a camera to encourage me to find healing through photography. If I hadn’t had that camera I wouldn’t have pursued professional photography. If I hadn’t gone to school to pursue professional photography I wouldn’t have shot weddings. If I hadn’t shot weddings I might have missed out an opportunity to examine what it means to be human and to love. It was as if, in that moment of desperation on the Granville Street Bridge I asked the universe to intervene in what felt like an out of control life, and suddenly all of the pieces began to fall into place quickly, and stepping stones began to align around me for me to walk out of my suffering. And as I pursued the path of what feels good and right in my soul (ie; my stepping stones) more pieces began to fall into place, and each time I look back at the road I have walked I find my awareness of these stepping stones expands, and I see each step more clearly — how certain people have come into my life at just the right time, or certain events have unfolded and just the right moment, all leading me to where I am now. I dont know if that’s God. I don’t know if when we utter a prayer it echos out of us as energy bumping against and affecting every atom in the universe until a response bounces back. All I know is that the universe hears us. It doesnt always respond the way we think it will, but it hears us, and it responds.
For the first time every I feel gratitude for all of the events of my life – even those which have caused me some suffering. Because each has lead me to the awareness I have now.