Dare To Dream – You Might Just Come Alive!
by Viv McKinnon
I have been asked on a few occasions over the years to write a book detailing my experiences and the learning’s I have taken from them to inspire others, so I am writing this blog to condense and give an overview of how resilience, determination and an inner knowing that “my life is about more than this” kind of attitude can be the vehicle of change, regardless of how long it takes to be acted upon.
Throughout my life I have always felt a strong urge to support others who’s energy moves me, to reduce suffering within people who tell their story through their eyes.
When I was a child I experienced sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, this in turn provided me with a very confusing and altered way of thinking. After my experiences with an older group of boys and a few highly sexualised experiences I lived with a very insecure and damaged outlook to any act of intimacy that only served to bring me more of the same experiences throughout my life, though growing up and becoming an adult I perceived myself as damaged and vulnerable so built walls so high to keep me safe from the world and the people within it, only difficulty was there was a back door that provided the very people I was trying to keep out an easy access.
Growing up in a household impacted and driven by the behaviour of addiction and Mental Health I developed coping strategies that enabled me to survive and get through life with the focus placed firmly on what I didn’t want in life, of course this only served to ensure these things always happened!!
Within my family home I had mastered the art of reading energy and instinctively knew from the moment I opened the front door at home how to approach my journey from there on in, I was able to quickly identify what to do to create, support or stabilise the environment based on where others were located, by the tone of their voice, the smell in the air and all the other little snippets of information that crucial first few seconds provided me with
At age 15 I left home only to return 3 months later, at age 17 i quickly met, married and fell pregnant to a young man struggling with anger, resentment, guilt, fear, hurt and sadness at the loss of a life he never owned yet somehow felt it belonged to him, I thought I could “fix” him so married him and spent the next 3 years at the hands of monster. After being placed in police protection and him finding some other unfortunate young lady to torture I eventually got me and my son to safety.
My life then became about wanting to “fix” people, in this process I drank in the energy of the lost and lonely fractured souls I encountered before eventually going into counselling at the ripe old age of 30, while this was a great start I was nowhere near ready to talk, I mean how would I ever be able to verbalise what the issues were when i wasn’t even really sure myself? Surely we all had stories to tell and I was just being a bit sensitive?
Needless to say I never received the answers I searched for, I tried a few other therapies before realising the answers are all within, why was I working to someone else’s approach? The decisions were all made in the back room of my mind therefore that’s where I needed to search to create any kind of change, I had tried to fit in a few “therapy boxes” and realised you don’t step into a therapy box, the therapy works best if it steps into your box that way it fits, it’s not too big where you rattle around getting lost, it’s not too small where you find it a little restricting in terms of personal growth.. Its like the 3 bears approach.. It had to be just right to provide me with the solace I sought.
The personal journey I embarked upon took a real boost when I entered a floatation tank in 2004, in there I was afforded the realisation that the most beneficial way for me to move forward was to work it out for myself, using forgiveness, kindness and appreciation to swap emotions for learning and to blaze a trail unique to me, my dad always said, “Vivian if there’s a long way to do things, you will find it”
That first experience in the floatation tank will live with me forever, for the first time in my life I felt free, I felt unrestricted in my thinking with a comforting safety I had never experienced before, I visualised a me I always knew existed and at last I could see a way to develop her and bring her to life, I worked on this vision at an unconscious level for over 10 years.
In that time I studied Health and Social care, Social Psychology, Neuro Linguistic Programming, TimeLine Therapy, Hypnosis, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Auricular Acupuncture, Laughter YOGA, Havening, at one point I flew to London and trained with Dr Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna.
One of the most effective things I have learnt on this journey is the power of language and once I stopped telling myself I had “suffered from” trauma, anxiety, PND and reminded myself I had “lived with it” during certain stages of my life they suddenly lost their power over me.
Understanding the way we construct and navigate ourselves linguistically has been a real driving force in my recovery and keeps me grounded every day to be best friends with my unconscious processing.
I attended various courses while still living in Scotland then here in Northern Ireland, courses delivered by the NI Health care trust around Personality disorders, Suicide intervention, Wellness recovery etc, in April 2013 i became a trainer for the Health Care Trust in Mental Health First Aid, I have committed myself to becoming the best version of me.
In the process of doing all of this I reconnected with my soul mate in 2010, who then in February 2015 encouraged me to breathe life into my vision of owning a float centre, he approached a local business park and secured me 35 hours of free business advice.
Comfort zones are for people afraid of the unknown and believe me after the journey I am on the unknown is certainly not something I am afraid of so in September 2015 I opened Hydro-ease, Northern Ireland’s only floatation centre, I gave up my salary and dared to create the dream.
For 20 years I smoked cannabis and self medicated with other drugs to ease the pain and heartache of a stolen childhood, I drank far more often and a lot heavier than most people and looked for the security I craved in strangers and other lost souls, I gave up on myself based on the actions and decisions of others.
I have been in recovery from life for almost 10 years now, I believe we are all impacted by the experiences we have and how our unique systems process and encode these based on how resilient or vulnerable our internal landscape is, I also believe the answers we seek are just one thought away, imagine the thought that would be the catalyst for change within you?
Always remember its possible that if you ever dare to dream you might just come alive.
Viv is the owner of Hydro Ease in Dundonald – it’s fantastic! (I will blog more on my experience there soon)
You can find out about it on the website
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