Only 10 more sleeps before Christmas! My deepest wish is for all of you to stay safe in 2017 and that you will discover more happiness, peace and fulfilment as the days go by. I wish for all of you to live a life that is filled with everything that is good – and if you get stuck or meet a major road hurdle, that you know we are always here for you, every step of the way!
Christmas is a time of sharing and connecting from the heart. It is an opportunity to put differences aside and to make choices based on love, rather than fear. Today I decided to share my biography with you rather than coming up with a new blog.
Our business has almost tripled in the last few years and we now have many new faces on board, including Tania, Melinda, Alana, Sheyana, Dana and Indy. I am always grateful for Caleb, Helen, Cassie, Ebony, Melanie and Sarah Anne, as well as Mieke and Lisanne, who are the veterans of the Purple House and Alchemy. They have consistently contributed from the goodness of their hearts to our business for years, and I want to give them a big THANK YOU! Peter and I wouldn’t be here without you, and some of our clients wouldn’t even been alive without you!
Many of you don’t know me so let me introduce myself to you by sharing my story. You will discover how the Purple House started. I hope that at the very least you will be entertained, and perhaps in reading it you will be inspired to rise above the challenges that life throws at you and start believing in yourself!
I grew up in Holland and met Peter when I was seventeen. Always a romantic at heart, I fell in love with Peter and the idea of going home with him to remote Tasmania. Roughly a year later I found myself living on the NW Coast of Tasmania and expecting my first child at the tender age of nineteen.
In the first two years of our marriage we moved eight times and had two children. We then started to settle down and Peter commenced a career in Nursing in Launceston in 1983. In 1988 we bought a farm in a remote corner of the North East of Tasmania. By then I was expecting number four and Peter was a fully qualified practicing Nurse and Midwife. In between Peter doing shift work at the local hospital in Scottsdale and me raising children (we stopped at six), we also had sixty cows, four cats, two dogs, two ponies, pigs, calves, ducks, chooks and geese. For extra money we started a protea plantation which grew into a successful business.
We certainly learnt to become very resourceful, living on an isolated farm with six children. We used to grow our own vegetables, have a large herb garden and I used to bake all our own bread, sew items for the kids and be creative. It was hard work but an idyllic lifestyle, especially in hindsight!
In 1999 we moved to Forth. The older children needed to be closer to tertiary education and I was impatient to start my own Natural Therapy business.
We sold one of the family cars to build a three-roomed clinic behind our house in Forth. The house is situated on nine acres along the Forth River and we started a small herb nursery at the same time. The herbs included growing fifty varieties of rare types of garlic. We designed a very large medicinal herb garden which the local TAFE College used to inspire students. I also wanted to start our own seed saving business but ran out of time and energy.
One day Peter in 1999 came home with several of the kids in tow when they heard me talking animatedly. The kids piped up: do we have visitors? Peter answered: no, it’s just mum rambling on as usual. Little did he know that I was being interviewed over the local radio about our garlic growing business. We had advertised collections of 50 different garlic varieties that people could buy, and the radio station had grown curious when they spotted the ad in the paper. I guess they wondered if there was a story in it for them. They rang me just as I was stirring the pots making dinner at 5 pm which used to be my lowest point of the day, with the kids hungry and tired. They asked if I could drop everything I was doing so they could do a live recording on the spot. I had visions of me burning tea, or accidently yelling at the kids during the interview so I insisted: give me a minute to turn my cooking on low, wash my hands and get my thoughts together. They had no choice but to agree and ten minutes later I had locked myself in the front bedroom of our rambling family home, away from my noisy brood. We also happened to have a second hand held phone in that room. This was still in the days of landlines before we had mobiles.
After a few nail-biting minutes, my moment of glory came with the shrill sound of the phone ringing. Before long the radio person and I were having a lively conversation about garlic and what motivated us etc. etc., and that is when Peter barged in. Caleb and the younger kids had their ears glued to a disused radio in the kitchen and when he informed Pete that my voice was coming from the radio Peters yaw nearly dropped on the floor. He should have known better because I always come up with surprises, and not always pleasant ones either, if I can be totally truthful with you, e.g. telling him that I was pregnant with number 4, 5 and 6, when Peter had only ever wanted 3 children. That is how he lost his hair I guess but gained a life full of love and laughter.
Anyway, I had fun talking about our garlic varieties. It helped that I hadn’t had any time to get nervous and that I always felt passionate about everything to do with nature and healing. It gave our business great exposure. Two newspaper articles followed and we sold out all our garlic that year. The only repercussion was that the reporter called us the smelly Robertsons, and the kids were teased at school for a few days afterwards. But their pain soon evaporated with Rescue Remedy that I always had on standby. I used it on Peter, myself, the kids, the pets and even on our plants in the garden, always with good results. (My Bach Flower days are long gone, these days I just wave my hands over all living creatures with even better results)
By the start of 2000 the business was up and running. Peter and I were both qualified massage practitioners by then and life was hectic with working, gardening, looking after a family of eight and studying. It was a fulfilling time. The clients could walk around the growing gardens and sit under the shade of the young silver birch forest.
By 2005 we had outgrown the premises and bought the Purple House. We always think big, so we decided to completely pull the back off the house and leave the original front as it was. It had a nice ambience. We wanted to end up with a large reception area and eight treatment rooms and create an oasis for people to come and forget about the world for a while, like stepping into a parallel universe, one where everything is calm and gentle.
Suddenly our idyllic dream was shattered. In January 2006 I was in the process of getting into the car, which was parked out the front of the half dismantled Purple House, when a truck heading in the same direction misjudged the road and collected me in the back! The back of my body exploded on impact and so did the car door, which completely crumpled and fell on the ground. From what I remember, I very slowly landed on top of it. Afterwards my shoes were found a long way away from the accident on the other side of a large hedge, so I must have flown into the air first.
The impact was so shattering that I left my body. Everything went white and still and I could have easily kept going, but then I would have died. With my last rational thought I heard myself say ‘I can’t die because I have six children!’ and then I was back into my body, which by then was lying on the door.
My eyes were rolled into the back of my skull, and by now I was surrounded by people and felt very self-conscious so I managed to roll my eyes back to the front. The world around me was in a panic, but I couldn’t allow myself to go there, otherwise I would waste too much energy and die. Besides, I was still filled with a sort of other-worldly calm.
Having six kids had sufficiently toughened me up for the pain, which by then became nearly unbearable. That evening I said goodbye to all the family and went to sleep, or so I thought. What really happened was that I was slowly bleeding to death from massive internal injuries. I woke up six hours later, after having been resuscitated and was flown to the Alfred Trauma Hospital in Melbourne.
Injuries: broken neck and fifteen other vertebrae down the spine, broken ribs, pulverized sacrum, and the pelvis was broken in ten places and I had a broken leg. The liver was also bleeding. I needed three major operations, one to rebuild the right hip, a colostomy bag and one to repair the lower back.
After twelve weeks in various hospitals I was home again and allowed to have a go at walking. Nobody had given me any assurance as to what my future would hold, so I used the power of the mind to picture myself up and walking and doing all the things I felt passionate about.
I made the most miraculous recovery and six months later I started work again, in part time fashion. Nine months after the accident I had weaned myself off all painkillers and life started to take on some sort of normality. Renovations on the Purple House resumed and I had learnt to live with my injuries, colostomy bag, and paralysed bladder. Eighteen months after the accident some sensation and control over my bladder and bowel had returned, so I had the colostomy reversed and didn’t need to use a catheter any more. This was a giant leap back in the right direction!
In September 2007, we finally moved into our new premises. It looked every bit how we had envisaged it and even though it had nearly cost me my life I was very happy to resume my work there. Two years after the accident I had a series of mini collapses and ended up in a psychiatric ward for two months. This was a very insightful and interesting time for me. I realized that the traditional medical world, while giving me my life back in the first place, had nothing to offer me now other than shock treatment and a range of sedatives. I refused these and made the most of the peace and quiet it offered me. I gained some insights into the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome/Panic Disorder/acrophobia I was diagnosed with.
When I came home again I felt that I had moved sideways but not forward. I was losing weight, felt very weak, and couldn’t be around people (which was agony because I love people) and my world shrunk to be the size of my bedroom. By now I realized that the panic attacks were brought on by me re-experiencing my own near death drama’s, and would get an overwhelming feeling of bleeding to death at the most inappropriate times. I didn’t know what to do about it.
In April 2008, I went to see Philip Rafferty, one of the world’s greatest kinesiologists. He had just arrived in Tasmania. Philip discovered straight away that I was hugely lacking in Magnesium. My body was also massively dehydrated even though I drank water all the time. I have since learnt that trauma and shock stay in the body and cause chronic dehydration, which in turns means that you don’t absorb your minerals and vitamins, which in turn can make you feel crazy! When he worked on my body I had a powerful experience of everything falling into place. The room around me started to spin and it felt as if all my ‘outer bodies’ realigned themselves. I knew deep down that Philip had turned my life around in that one session.
In between recovering from the accident, renovating, working, and several more operations Peter and I continued our studies. We went to Sydney three times and to the U.S once. Everything we learnt we applied to ourselves first, to aid me in my recovery and to iron out wrinkles in our marriage! Having a house full of teenagers, an invalid wife and a huge mortgage put a lot of strain on Peter, which in turn affected all our relationships. (Yes guys, your feelings do matter!)
The things that helped me most were a combination of reflexology and essential oils at first. Peter also did plenty of Pranic healing because that requires no touch, it consists of working in the energy field. I had to lie very still and any kind of touch was unbearable. The only movement was being log rolled every so many hours.
After four months, I could bear very light massages which always improved my aches and pains greatly. Craniosacral and Bowen were also very gentle and healing. I also worked with the Aura Soma Colour therapy. By the time I started to crack up mentally, none of these therapies helped me for very long any more, and I was very lucky to find Philip. With his kinergetics I recovered to about 80% in very short time. That is when we decided to go to Chicago (U.S) to get my biochemistry right. We studied the blood, urine and saliva analysis there, and after knowing how to address my individual nutritional needs I soon became 99%!
The NLP cleared the final dregs of the Post Traumatic Stress and Peter and I are back to where we wanted to be in the first place, but with a great deal more insights!
Oh yes, I forgot to tell you that I nearly died again in January 2013 from a bowel obstruction. This was the culmination of 5 years of bowel obstructions due to the internal bleeding and scarring from previous operations. After the first few occurrences we got so blasé about the bowel blockages that the kids hardly even came to visit me anymore when I ended up on life saving hooks and drips several times per year. This is how the abnormal quickly becomes the new normal. As for me, I never really got used to the trauma and agony that accompany bowel obstructions, but I understood that Peter and the kids had become desensitised to trauma. While they were doing their best to celebrate Christmas and New Year in 2012, I was clinging onto life with every bit of moral fibre I had. Once again, the medical world saved my life, by doing a lifesaving operation to clean out my abdomen. I guess that completed the full circle of healing for me.
The whole experience has taught me a lot about the incredible resilience of the human spirit, how it keeps on going under great suffering and how the body can muster the strength to heal itself even after being pulverized! I don’t have any whiplash symptoms and only experience some stiffness in my lower back. I now use my story to inspire other people to go on, heal themselves and live the life they deserve to have. I guess you can say that the universal lessons I learnt the hard way help my clients today to get what they long most for whether it is love and connection, health. happiness, clarity or confidence.
On behalf of our staff at the Purple House and Alchemy Café we wish you a very happy Christmas and a light filled 2017! With much love, Grada
The Purple House will be closed from the 25th December till the 3rd of January. Alchemy Café will be open on the 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st of December.
Phone 64283007 or 64282013 to arrange a booking or buy a gift voucher. www.purplehousenaturaltherapies.com.au to shop online