A life changing situation

The Context Of My Brain-injury:

I went through a life changing situation. In December 1995, I sustained a severe  brain injury by falling off a boogie-board in shallow surf at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia.  Consequently I was in a  coma for four weeks, confined in hospital for six months, had to learn everything all over again. These things included:

  • Having to learn everything all over again including walking, talking and eating solid food again
  • Get my  brain back together from a very scrambled state since December 1995. I am not the same man as before my accident
  • Lost a lot of intuitive ability to feel what other people are saying ….. although that has largely come back now
  • I am not the same man as before my accident. However I have learnt to work from what I have and not from what I have lost. It is a new season in my life
  • I cannot drive twenty two years (1995-2017) out from my accident …. but I have learnt to drive on the Internet …. to go around the world in few minutes and see hundreds of people at the same time

At the moment these are my continuing problems:

  • My balance is still a bit out at the moment
  •  I cannot ride a bicycle now ….. Used to ride for kilometres when I had one when I was younger. I would now fall off a bicycle from a lack of balance
  • I have to be careful in walking up narrow paths
  • I have to come down backwards still on steep steps at home whilst  holding onto the banister
  • My mind has slowed right down …. It is hard to take initiative for one’s life and make clear decisions. The result of this for me, is that my wife Harriet now to manages all the finances on a day to day basis. Prior to my accident, we ran a small landscape design and construction business and I did most of that.

Ken in a comatose state  December 1995

One day two of my friends, Colin and Julianne had come to see me with their little baby. Even though I was in a coma, I heard them talking. When you are in coma you can hear  people but cannot respond. Colin said to his wife ‘Ken will not be doing this in hurry’. Colin put the baby in  my arms and I felt it lying there. The photograph is of that occasion.

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Before this for twenty years, I ran a small Landscape Design and Construction Company undertaking very creative, individual designer gardens for wealthy residential clients around Brisbane.   I was an  artistic person, a lateral thinker ….. more artist than businessman. I thought of a landscape as a three-dimensional piece of space that people walked through. This space changed with time as  it grew and changed with the time of day. Shadows vs. sun patterns, boulders, colour, plants, trees, earth-forms, solid structures and water. These were the ingredients I used. Unknowingly, I was a landscape sculptor. Rather an intangible product to sell and run a business with!! However I built a structure for my life: my marriage, family, house and business from this base.

At  ‘A life changing situation ..The Recycled Man as at December 2016 … can be downloaded as a PDF download. This story  outlines how to be a victor though the worst situations in life.  I attribute my ongoing recovery primarily to my Christian Spirituality which has brought healing, restoration and transformation of life purpose. A Christian spirituality comes as a consequence of having a Christian World view. It isn’t another Spirituality in the Post Modern Culture of many spiritualities which are all seen to be equal. It is a unique Spirituality which integrates the whole of life ….. of the Inner, Middle and Outer Persons { Spirit, Soul ( = mind, will and emotions) and the Body} It means being a disciple of the Person of Jesus Christ, not a follower of a Church as a Corporation.  Christian Spirituality could also be termed a Spirituality from Jesus Christ.

When I speak about Christianity, I mean a Christianity which is focused on the resurrected Jesus Christ. It is also focused on the Holy Spirit who He gave to be His personal representative to each person here on earth. It is a Spirit-filled Christianity and not a ritualised, hierarchal Christianity that has a Corporation view of itself. Harriet (my wife) and I personally share in the life of this ‘Spirituality from Jesus Christ’. It is this life which has sustained us and our family of two children since my severe brain injury  twenty two years ago. It enabled us to go on four week holidays around the world. See this post:

Ken and Harriet’s Travel post from 2003 to 2017.

A  Christian Spirituality is not an abstract belief in some unseen dimension but it is about  a living relationship  with a Personal Higher Power who is the  infinite – personal God  through the Holy Spirit.  This  is a 24/7 Vertical Spirituality which then flows out into a Horizontal spirituality to other people with the purpose of aiding others to find a better quality of life and belief system.  In your life, it is where you are there for other people as Albert Einstein said long ago …. Not for what you can get from them but what you can impart into their lives for good in an inner sense. We are here for one another …… I have a component of life that you need and you have a component of life that I need.]

Read my story: The Recycled Man as at December 2016  (Just click on the story and and it will come up to screen size).

I now have three websites all largely free through Word Press and I send three e-mail broadcasts around the world based on these websites:

  1. My personal experiences website:  www.kenaitken.net   This website is used to personally stay in touch with hundreds of friends and associates around the world. I frequently send out our personal experiences photos and then links to the website posts. If you  have  been joined to  Ken & Harriet’s Place e-mail broadcast, you will  be built up. I also often forward on wonderful and inspiring e-mails which I receive from other people around the world. I also hyperlink photos and writing in posts in my personal  experiences website. I have written on our personal  experiences website: This website is used to  personally stay in touch with  hundreds friends and associates around the world.  Not only is it fun to travel but it means seeing new and often spectacular scenery and geography. It also means experiencing meeting people in new cultural settings and you realise there are millions of others around the world who live their lives in quite often new  ways.

They maybe largely ignorant of you and the way you live and where you even live.  Here are some years and countries we have been to:

    • Trip 1: 2003: England, Trip 2: 2005: Italy, Trip 3: 2007: France, Trip 4: 2008: Canada,
    • Trip 5: 2009: England again, Trip 6: 2010: The South Island of New Zealand,
    • Trip 7: 2011: China trip, Trip 8: 2012:  a two week holiday up in the Kimberleys in Western Australia,
    • Trip 9: 2013: Scenic Tours: Amsterdam for two days then a river cruise for 14 days from Amsterdam 
    • to Budapest  on the Rhine river with Scenic Tours. See this website. We then personally caught
    •  a train to Prague (six hours), stayed for two days and then we flew home via Singapore after 3.5 weeks
    • of being away.  We came back on the 29th of  July
    • Trip 10: 2014: South Africa and Madagascar and now with  Voyages to Antiquity … Cruises to Ancient Civilisations in May 2015
    • Trip  11: 2016: THE USA HOLIDAY for six weeks from 23rd September – 8th November
    • Trip 12: 2017: Japan for 16 days from the 4 – 19th August 2017.
    • Trip 13: 2017: Voyages to Antiquity: Cruises to Ancient Civilisations in September 2017. We sailed from Lisbon (in Portugal) to Rome over 17 days across the top of the Mediterranean Sea … we saw:
      • SPAIN: Cadiz, Malanga, Valencia, Barcelona
      • FRANCE: Carcassonne, Marseilles, French Rivera
      • ITALY: Florence (by bus), Rome …. Colosseum etc.

Then Harriet and I did our own trip to Northern Italy by train over the next week: Assissi (two days), Verona  (two days), Lake Como (two days), Milan (two days). Then we flew home to Brisbane, Australia via Dubai = 19 hours around to the other side of the world.

See some of the countries I have written up here  we have spent time on the website listing above.

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  1. New Earth  Community: This is a global Christian Cyberspace Community:

 http://www.newearthcommunity.org/ This community is meant to bring a new sense of belonging with the real discovery or affirmation of identity through the Sustainable Life​ which comes  from Jesus Christ.​

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  1. The Brain Injury Community:  https://braininjurycommunity.wordpress.com/ This is a global Brain Injury Cyberspace  Community of many hundreds of people.

This Community is focused on “Beyond Being a Brain Injury Survivor into Being a Brain Injury Thriver”. This is in contrast to the motto, “Victim, Survivor, Over Achiever”

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Current Activities:

I  am glad I have had a brain-injury ….. it  has brought so many good things into my life over twenty two years (to 2017). I am so excited by life …. Life is AWESOME !!  ….. life can hardly keep up with me. I wake up at 4.30 am.  every morning, excited to get into the day.  These are some of things I do:

Overall: Because I have  a  lifelong Income Protection which CPI indexed for life, I do not ever have to go work again ….. the money just comes into our account every month for  life …. CPI indexed. The money is far better than a Government  pension.

Inside the House:

  • I spend my time in the morning writing on my computer …. I have become a writer and photographer ….  I just love doing these  two things
  • I spend time every morning from 4.30 am. to 6.00 am. reading and meditating  on the Bible …. the Christian Scriptures seeing I have a Christian Spirituality
  • Because I have three websites, there is  a lot of reviewing, rewriting and writing new material
  • We have been going overseas every year since 2003 …..  I can come back with several thousand  photographs which need to be downloaded and  sorted into named folders
  • These can then be carefully selected and incorporated into posts on my Personal Experiences  Website
  • My personal experiences website is used to personally stay in touch with hundreds friends and associates around the world. I frequently send out our personal experiences photos and then  links to the website posts
  • Weekly I forward on wonderful e-mail broadcasts I receive from other people around the world.

Outside the House:

  • I try have a balance of practical work outside
  • We use a big  compost  heap down the back for the gardens and  any planted pots. We have three lidded  compost buckets outside  (one inside the kitchen at a time)  which need to taken  to the  compost heap in a wheelbarrow every week
  • We also have a big paper and cardboard bin under the sink which is also sorted outside in a wheelbarrow every week. Bore water is added to this paper to aid decomposition. This is also added to the compost heap. It helps make excellent compost
  • I always spend quite a bit of  time out in the garden or on our land of five acres
  • We have 11 garden rooms around our house so there  always  a lot  of monitoring  and  maintenance work on the different garden rooms
  • We have dug out a Dipping Pool in our drainage system in April 2016. Old planed demolition timber paving has been laid around this new pool by my son Anthony and I along many square metres of  old brick paving to join  the existing brick path. See our Permaculture Garden Room.
  • There is a  lot of new building (raised garden beds) and growing new things in our Permaculture Garden Room
  • My son Anthony  has  built these raised garden beds and I have added the soil and compost and planted the plants  as featured in this post
  • He is currently building in May 2016 another big raised bed for our herb plantings
  • Another thing I have been involved with in an observant is with my son Anthony. He has become  very focused on tree houses and has  a big tree down the back of our bush block land where  he is has built his tree house. He has formed a  Treehouse Club  on Facebook.  He has about 347  members already from around the world.  See the first photo to see his completed tree house and the next few ones on showing the  building process. See the section at the end of this post: OUR LAND OVERALL ANTHONY, OUR SON, BUILDING HIS TREE HOUSE ON OUR LAND …..
    September 2016 …. Initial stage.

People:

  • People are  very important to Harriet & I. See the photographs at the bottom of  Post 1: The Outside Amphitheatre Garden Room  of our Amphitheatre in use at night with a large group of people
  • We are heavily involved in a nearby Christian church at Rochedale which is a Community Church rather than being  a Corporation Church. We have a wonderful sense  of community there with different people
  • People are always being invited over for coffee  or a meal
  • In the last few  months we meet every two weeks with three other Christian couples at night  for a meal and afterwards a time of communal sharing and building in Biblical edification (building up our Christian Spirituality) … see what I have written on my New Earth Community Post about Jesus Christ and community vs. organisation
  • Harriet (now she has retired) and I are closely  involved  with two Brain Injury survivor groups meeting at Browns Plains and  Beenleigh.

Land:

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I call myself The Recycled/Restored Man. Many  people have told me that they would never  know I have had a brain injury.  I  gone to “Beyond Being a Brain Injury Survivor into Being a Brain Injury Thriver”. To ”thrive” means to:  To prosper or flourish; be successful, to grow vigorously or luxuriantly and improve physically. To thrive has more an image of a plant growing out of the ground. It has a sense of growing new green growth in a luxuriant way which is not normally possible given the situation the plant is in. It means growth in the midst of the given circumstances ….. good, bad or indifferent for the better. Its roots are secure and it produces beautiful flowers with colour, scent and seed for other living beings such as insects, animals and people.

An overachiever in contrast, is one who is driving oneself obsessively to reach defined goals ….. some of which are unreasonable. This means there is relentless work with all your efforts. It means being focused on achieving a goal in order to make yourself feel worthwhile.   It something that dominates and endeavors to control the circumstances. In order to cope, this person has a concern only for themselves only to reach normally unattainable goals. They leave everyone else behind in attaining their goal.

A thriver has a sense of their relationship with others. 1 + 1 is not equal two but more like

__________________________  ?????  vs. an overachiever where 1 + self effort = the goal

In your life, it is where you are there for other people as Albert Einstein said long ago …. Not for what you can get from them but what you can impart into their lives for good in an inner sense. We are here for one another …… I have a component of life that you need and you have a component of life that I need.

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