By | November 8, 2011 7 Comments

Because Shift Happens!


Shift happens all the time — and when it does, boy it can knock us off balance can’t it? My mother used to tell me that the only constant thing is change — she didn’t tell me that it was probably one of the most impossible things for which to plan. She also didn’t tell me that it could arrive at any moment and that whether or not you’re ready, it sure is going to have an impact on your life!

It would seem that some of us have experienced more ”˜shift’ than others. Some prolonged ”˜shifty’ periods, and some shorter moments where the time may be less but the shift can be much more potent. Yes, there are indeed varying degrees and innumerable differences in our experiences — but we certainly know when it happens. Or, as I once read in a magazine “We sure as heck notice it when the shift hits the fan!”

We all deal with things in different ways. For many years now, I have believed in the notion that it’s not what happens to us that helps us grow, it’s how we choose to respond that makes the difference. It’s our responsibility; our ability to respond that determines whether or how soon we can find and welcome the gift in any given situation.

Billy Connolly Live In London

This weekend I was luck enough to see Billy Connolly live in London, in aid of Leukemia and Lymphoma Research. For those of you who may not have heard of him, Billy is a famous Scottish comedian — and an accomplished musician and actor to boot. Known as “The Big Yin” (The Big One in Scottish dialect!) he works tirelessly for charities having endured a particularly difficult childhood himself. Billy is a big man with a big character and strong opinions. His language is hugely colourful (to put it politely!) and his humour is often a little on the dark or unusual side — he has a knack of taking his audience to places that they don’t really expect, and then having them falling about in hysterics as he continues with his wonderfully imagintive explanations. I bought the ticket because seeing Billy live was on my bucket-list, the things I’d like to experience while I’m here on this planet.

It was a wonderful experience. Not just because of his humour, but also because of a very serious message that Billy chose to share with the audience. Alan Yentob, the famous and hugely respected television producer, was interviewing him on stage, and he encouraged Billy to talk about his childhood.  It is a well documented but not often discussed story of abandonment, neglect and abuse — physical, sexual and emotional. It’s a story about abject poverty. It’s about enduring a harsh life in some of the toughest areas of Scotland. It’s about survival — and ultimately it’s about the fulfilment of dreams.

Billy stood up at one point, clearly moved by his memories, and reached out to everyone in the theatre. Looking around the auditorium he seemed able to touch each one of us with his voice, with the look on his face, and with his open armed gesture.

“You may be surprised to learn” he told us “that there are many more people who have been through abuse than you might care to imagine. I’ll take a bet that if we asked every single member of this audience, the vast majority would understand what I am talking about” Barely perceptible head nodding started as soon as those words were out. The theatre went silent — as usual Billy had succeeded in shocking us. This time, though, it was not through his off-the-wall humour. This time it was because of his honesty. It was because of his willingness to share his story, and to reach out to others. This was a completely different side to “The Big Yin” and I felt immediately humbled. Just moments before I had been doubled up in my seat, sides aching with laughter as the tears rolled down my face. Now I was alert, straight faced, wide eyed, and incredulous about the way this incredible man was connecting with the audience.

Alan asked how he had possibly managed to overcome such hardships. How he had managed to endure the pain and indignity of his childhood to become a man who brings so much joy to so many people. Billy’s voice cracked a little at this point. He drew himself up taller and spoke to us all again.

Forgiveness And Encouragement

“I implore you — all of you — to embrace forgiveness” he explained, emotion clearly etched across his face “It works, it really does! It’s like getting rid of a whole sack full of heavy rocks that had been weighing you down. It’s wonderfully healing you know. It’s a marvellous experience. It frees you. And I recommend it — not just for anybody who has been through difficult times, but for all of us. For every single one of us”

He then also went on to explain how frustrated he still gets when he hears people talking about victims of any kind of abuse — particularly children. Explaining how adults know everything when you’re a child, he said how damaging it can be when the adults then compound their misery by giving the child an unconscious message that they can never get better

“Oh, the poor child. That’s it, his/her life is now ruined. They’ll never be able to get over that. That person/situation has taken away any chance they had of living a normal life”

My goodness — that resonated with me on so many levels I can hardly put it in to words. Not just because of some of the messages I received as a child, but also because of the way people misguidedly keep us in our suffering when we’ve gone through a period of ”˜shift’. “Oh, I feel so sorry for you, you’ll never be able to love again” “I’ll bet you can never trust anyone now” “You must feel so stupid — you’re whole life is messed up!” Meant with the best of intention, messages like this (particularly to a child) can hold people in a mental prison. There may be no physical walls, but it doesn’t make it any easier to escape from the chains.

“Don’t tell the poor little b*****ds that they’re f*****d!” he cried, clenching his fists and gritting his teeth “Tell them that they’ll get through it! Tell them there’s a way! Tell them that this will pass, that there’s always hope, that they’ve got the power within them to make things good! Tell them to dream, to keep hope alive and to feel good about themselves! I did it — so can anybody else!”

When Billy stopped, the applause started. Quiet at the beginning (I was one of the first to applaud, as you may already have guessed) the whole theatre gradually built in to a crescendo of people all clapping their hands and nodding their heads. Once again I had tears rolling down my cheeks — this time because I had been deeply moved. I know I was not the only one.

I feel hugely privileged to have witnessed Billy Connolly in this particular way. It was a huge surprise for me — not in the least what I was expecting, but more rewarding that I could possibly have imagined.

It’s so true. When we believe we can, we do. When we know we’ll get through, we find a way. When we take one more step even when we think we can’t go any further, then miracles can occur. And when we encourage somebody else? Well, not only does it boost the other person, it gives us something positive at the same time.

There’s a friend of mine who often talks about “Random Acts Of Kindness” and his love of surprising people with good deeds. For me, I’ve learned that it’s hugely important that these gifts of love are not only given to others. I now understand that the more we ‘do’ Random Acts Of Kindness for ourselves, the better our world can become. And the better, as a result, we are able to radiate love and kindness to others as well.

The ticket to see Billy Connolly was, for me, a totally indulgent act of kindness to myself. The only ticket I could buy was a top price VIP ticket (it was the last seat in the theatre) and it also meant a flight to the UK and a stay in a hotel. Yes, it was a massive personal commitment of time and money from me to myself. Through that, though, I am now able to share this experience with all of you — well, it certainly justifies it for me!

So, yes, shift does happen. We all know that, and we all have plenty of it in our past and perhaps in our present as well – we may well feel at times that we’re “in the shift” more often that we’d like. So I’d like to finish this I post with a phrase I read today. It made me chuckle – I hope you’ll like it too

“Perhaps there are some areas of your life that could now do with some nurturing and some fertilisation?” it read “Just remember that the manure of your past can help grow a more fruitful future. What are you waiting for? What are you going to grow now?”

Love and blessings to all 🙂

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Thank you so much for this hugely inspirational message. It made me cry to read it – being in the audience must have been a profound experience.

It’s true, you know. We can overcome. We can all overcome. We can all transform the trauma into something better than we ever imagined.

Ox Drover

Dear Mel, I second Donna’s thanks for this hugely inspirational message. Billy is one of my favorites! and I love him! Would have really wanted to have been there!

I have “preached” on LF for years about “forgiveness” and how it does lighten our burdens…but “forgiving” someone, in other words, getting the BITTERNESS out of our hearts does not mean, I repeat, does NOT mean that we “forget”—it does NOT mean that we give them a pass, or that all is well, or that the relationship is restored or that we trust them again, or ever will trust them again, it simply means we quit letting their bad deeds spoil our lives.

Thanks to you and to Billy for this powerful message, WE CAN over come. We must believe though that we can in order to DO IT! Thanks, Mel!


Very profound – a good read.



Thank you very much for sharing this!

We shall OVERCOME, and FORGIVE! â¤


I couldn’t agree more Oxy… is very freeing to just finally decide you can be a loving Christian, a good person and still not allow these people in…and I am finding out how expensive the cost of the truth is….it is never easy or free. Any S path will try to hold any mistakes you have EVER made against you to use whenever needed. To put you back in the place they want you to be…I refuse to be what they want anymore. And instead of feeling resentful towards them…I have made the decision to just move on. I refuse to give them the reactions that they expect out of me. If they want a fight they will have to look elsewhere. You will never “win” with them so I gave up the’s over. I would NEVER have come to this place in my life if it weren’t for this site and wonderful people like Oxy. Just a note to the newbies though….once you make the decision to free yourself…you cannot straddle the fence….it will come at a cost and only you can decide if it’s worth it. I have no idea what my future holds (at 55) but I know that I won’t be put back in that cage. Am I scared? You bet, but fear of the unknown cannot be any worse than the fear of being controlled by these puppet masters. I feel like I have found “me” … you guys and gals…..


The Spath….Wolfe or patty of cow manure? You decide…

I am shifting inside, and chose this article to read b/c of title. Though it may not center in the place of anger I am still processing, it does center on my realization that I did “SEE”, at varying moments early on with my spath, that he was a(1) cow patty of manure…and I chose to step in it any way. I thought I could maintain my balance and well-being in the presense of someone who was not in alignment with what I was or shared the same principles. I found out that I was not strong enough to maintain self…I handed over “all” readily. Yes, he was masterfuly deceitful…but I was a soft skinned little girl in red cape, climbed right into bed with (2)BIG bad WOLFE and let him consume every part of my being…well past the point of seeing his fangs.
I know the relationship I had with spath will change my life….it will change the way I choose to function not just in my love relationships, but in all my dealings with humanity. I will go forward, knowing that I am responsible for building and maintaining healthy boundaries to protect my “self”. It is apparent to me that I must take this lesson beyond not running into arms of a wolfe again…or stepping in a cow patty. If I grow into a whole mature woman, who accepts full responsibilty for my own validation,well-being and happiness…then whomever I touch going forward will have a reflection of that wholeness instead of the little needy girl who I was.
Connolly says…”…Perhaps there are some ares of your life that could now do with some nurturing and some fertilization?…”

Spath was fertilizer that I stepped in, to get the deep pain brought on, so that I may grow(nurture self) into the being that God intended me to be.

The spath I knew once asked me if I would ever consider going sky diving with him? I am deathly afraid of heights..the answer should have been no. I told him I would consider it if he was with me b/c I really trusted him and if we did it together, maybe I would enjoy it!!!??? WTF…I think he asked me not because he really wanted to go sky diving, he wanted to see just how much control he had over me. I think even he was surprised that I had given him the control to kill me. My conciuosness at this point was so low, that I did not realize that he had already thrown me out of the plane…who knows when?….I think I was in a free fall after hello.
I will not step in cow patty’s, I will not crawl in bed with wolfe’s…I will not go sky diving. I am shifting inside. Thank you for this article.
Peace to all,



Mel, thank you so much for sharing this moving experience. And, I’ve typed this before: there are more people out there who have experienced some sort of abuse than not.

The important message is that we are not alone in our experiences. We “feel” that we are alone because abuse is a series of secrets and the perception is that those secrets only apply to me, individually. But, there are millions of survivors of abuse who are cognizant of their experiences and those who are still in denial.

Once it became clear to me that I was a “victim,” I had a choice to either shed that status, or not. My choice to heal and recover wasn’t an easy one. If I held on to that victim-status, it could provide me with many excuses. Being a victim had become “comfortable,” in a sense, because each day was the same as the previous one. But, maintaining the victim-status was lonely and I realized that, once I had recognized how things truly were, any choice to remain a victim was a deliberate action that would perpetuate the cycle and that I could no longer blame the abuser for his actions – if I remained, I was ALLOWING it and accepting abuse.

Again, thank you for this wonderful article.

Brightest blessings

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