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 the hospital for six months, had to learn everything all over again. These things included:

  • Walking, talking, and eating solid food again
  • Get my brain back together from a very scrambled state and learn to live with  a new me
  • Lost a lot of intuitive ability to discern what other people are saying ….. although that has largely come back now
  • I cannot drive twenty-five years (1995-2020) out from my accident …. but I have learned to drive on the Internet …. to go around the world in a few minutes and see hundreds of people at the same time

At the moment these are my continuing challenges:

My balance is still a bit out at the moment this means:

  1. 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
  2. I have to be careful in walking up narrow paths
  3. 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.

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 a 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 my brain injury 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 financial structure for my life: my marriage, family, house, and business from this base.

See two of my jobs at these Website Posts:

Greenmount Beach Resort 1980 – 2008: … 28 years on from when I did the garden in 1980:

http://www.kenaitken.net/my-past-work/greenmount-beach-resort-1980-2008/

Sheehan’s Garden in October 1984 – 2007: …  House and Garden in West End, Brisbane … 23 years on from when I did the garden in 1984:

http://www.kenaitken.net/my-past-work/sheehan-garden-october-2007/

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The Sustainable Life:

At  ‘A life-changing situation …… The Recycled Man as at April 2021 … can be downloaded as a PDF download. This story outlines how to be a victor through 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. 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 …..  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 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 ritualized, hierarchical 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 that has sustained us and our family of two children since my severe brain injury twenty-six 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.

I now have three websites all largely free through Word Press and I send out three email 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 with the aim of building people up to stay in touch with hundreds of friends and associates around the world. Not only is it fun to travel but it means seeing new and often spectacular scenery and geography as well as experiencing people in new cultural settings.

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.

When the trip finished in Rome, Harriet and I took another week going up by train to Lake Como then down to Milan for two days. Then we flew home to Brisbane via a night in Dubai. It was six hours from Milan to Dubai and thirteen hours from Dubai to Brisbane ….. a long way to travel.

On the way up to Lake Como, we stopped off at Assisi for two days then Verona for two days then BellagioLake Como for two days. Then we went down to Milan for two days on our way home. I came back home with about 5,250 ++ photos …….. there was so much to see !!

Trip 17
2018 September 3 weeks Albatross tours
At the start of September this year  (2018), Harriet and I flew via Hong Kong to Zurich in Switzerland to join a tour organised by  Albatross tours. We travelled around the Alps which included Chamonix in France for two weeks then drove to Northern Italy and stayed there one week. The posts are:

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

  See this website. 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-five years (to 2021).  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 the 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 of 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 email broadcasts I receive from other people around the world.

Land:

  • I grew many Randia trees from seed which were planted as screening trees around the sides of our  property
  • See where I talk about Randia trees at:  Post 4: The Rainforest Garden Room

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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 have gone to a new stage: “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.   Its something that dominates and endeavours to control the circumstances. In order to cope, this person has 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 to two but more like

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

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The Sustainable Life:

Life is like a tree with roots and fruits whereby Person – Family – Community – Universe is related in a wholistic way. I have developed the Sustainable Life. A Sustainable Life has the ability to be continually renewed and maintained every day. Each of these components act like legs on a tripod which sit on a large rock near the ocean. When the storms and waves of life come, if the legs are strong, the waves will go over you but you will sit firmly on the rock of life. If one of the legs is weak, the tripod of your life will fall over in what you could call an Unsustainable Life.

Read more about the Sustainable Life at this post but halfway down the page, see the particular files:

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