SHIFTING FOCUS

A couple of days ago I interviewed Dr Ann O’Neill, a truly amazing and generous woman. She has survived what most of us think we could not: the loss of her two children as part of an horrific domestic crime. Today, she dedicates her life to helping others improve understanding around the victims of crime.

While talking with Ann, and reading about her experiences, which have over the years gained a lot of media coverage, I was struck by her calm wisdom and her generosity of spirit. How she was able to pull herself out of the black hole she fell into years ago shows an admirable and enviable strength of spirit. She is someone who walks the walk, not just “talks the talk”.

In the course of our conversation, I asked her what she does when life gets on top of her, when memories force their way to the forefront.

“I try to make sure I get some times with friends and family, and the usual things, eat well, exercise,” she said.

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And then she added: “Just being in nature – so much of our lives are inside.”

To Ann, it’s about mindfulness – some would say that’s a trendy, new-age word, but I know what she means. It’s about being aware of what’s around you and who’s around you. It’s shifting focus from what you are doing, to just being.

I had time for a walk again this morning. The oval near the kids’ school has some outdoor exercise equipment so I used the ab-swing and cross trainer and looked around…at the possum nesting boxes, at the reflections on the creek, the gum nuts mixed with crunchy, dry leaves. I let the sun rest on me (not for too long, of course) and watched the clouds move.

As Ann said to me: “Very simple things in life are the greatest gift.” I can’t help but agree.

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