Spirituality is a funny topic that I’ve explored in several different ways throughout my life. Spirituality is often linked to religion, that there is a God up above us, looking out for us and helping us. I’m a Catholic, born and bred, I even had a stint as an altar boy to strengthen my faith. Back then, I lived my life following the Catholic values, which are; believing in the life and dignity of the human person; calling to the importance of family, community, and participation; respecting rights and responsibilities; developing options for the poor and vulnerable; and caring for God’s creation. I was taught about Heaven and Hell, that after we leave this mortal world, we go to another place. This motivated me to follow the Catholic values, to ensure that my path led me to Heaven and not to Hell. I also believed that God’s creation is everything around us, including us.
My first communion
But my mother, who is not religious, taught me even more about spirituality. She taught me that if I trust my gut, the world will lead me to the right place. This is similar to believing in a God if you believe that God communicates through your gut. She was also a palliative care nurse, where she saw many things, which led her to believe in life after death. That a soul remains after the body has passed, to look after its loved ones. This drove an interest in the afterlife and my thirst for knowledge delved deeply.
A great example of me trusting my gut, which then led me to the right place, is when I moved up to Brisbane. I moved to Brisbane because my good mate Patrick Wright had moved up there to be with his parents, who kindly offered me a bed while I looked for something permanent. It would have been smart to find somewhere close by, but I moved over to the other side of the city because it was cheaper but just as convenient. But it led me to play hockey with the South West United Hockey club which embraced me like family. I made so many good supportive friends and had such a good time. I wouldn’t have found a better club for me in Brisbane.
Then when I recently battled cancer, I experienced some profound Noetic Experiences. A Noetic Experience is one that contains intuition, psychic, or mystical experiences. My father, unfortunately, contracted and died of cancer, while I was in the hospital with cancer. He lived and was being treated in Tasmania, while I lived and was being treated in Canberra. I have not a single memory of that time, as my cancer treatment resulted in severe, short and long-term, memory loss. However, my mother told me the most amazing story.
During my hospital stay, I asked the nurse to call my mum. “What time is dad coming to pick me up?” I asked. After a stunned silence, and a couple of awkward questions, I informed my mother that Dad had visited me and told me that he’d be there to pick me up. My mum didn’t bat an eyelid. She doesn’t 100% believe in astral travel, but she does believe it’s a real possibility. She believes that he would have come to see me, to make sure I was ok, and to help me out where he could. I believe that too because that’s exactly what he would have done. He also had an unconquerable soul and if any soul would stick around, it would be an unconquerable one.
This gave me such a good feeling, that I was able to say goodbye to my dad. It also reminded me that there is life after death. Which re-emphasised the Catholic faith to me, as I had drifted away from the faith throughout my life. So I prayed to God to save me from death, which he did several times when I was given 24hours to live, so a gigantic big thank you goes to the big guy.
But it also gave me hope, that if I did pass away, it wouldn’t be the end of me, that I would go to another place. A Garden of Eden heavenly paradise, filled with Gods creations. Soaring mountains with waterfalls plunging into valleys filled with trees, flowers and animals. Away from the world’s problems. To be with all those ancestors who had passed before me.
After my father’s passing, my mother decided to downsize, as the house was too big for her to maintain by herself. She had wanted to do this for several years, but dad had insisted that they stay just a little bit longer. He liked having a big garage to build stuff and a big backyard for a vegetable patch.
When she started looking around, the most amazing thing happened. My brother’s shack up the Great Lake was located next to the shack of one of dad’s old mates. They got talking and he happened to be thinking about selling one of his units. When she went to have a look at it, it was perfect in just about every single way. Better yet, a Real Estate agent had not been signed up yet, so no commission had to be paid. Plus there was no competition and he was asking a very reasonable price. It seemed too good to be true. It was like dad was up there looking down, feeling bad about not being able to help her downsize.
But it gets better. The owner agrees to plaster and paint the walls for her. Then he replaces some of the damaged floor coverings. Then goes halves in a brand new oven with her. Amazing! She got a stand-alone unit, in a great spot, with the exact floor plan she was looking for, at the right price, with freshly painted walls, new floor coverings, and a new oven. Dad was definitely looking out for her. Although the garage is quite difficult to get the car in and out of. So I guess some things never change. A tight driveway at the last house, a tight driveway at the new one. He would absolutely get a laugh out of that.
I then returned to work after my cancer journey, with the most amazing boss who supported me so well during my cancer journey, was very clear he wanted me back and then did everything he could, to get me back up to speed once I returned. Unfortunately the cognitive impairment I suffered during my cancer journey, meant that I was unable to work full time or do the wide thinking needed to develop strategies in the space industry. So they asked me to resign. My boss had been so good that I respected his request and started looking for a new job. To say this was challenging is an understatement.
My cognitive impairment meant that I was unsure what kind of job I could still do. I could also only consider part-time roles because if I couldn’t work my way up to full time in my previous job, there’s no way I could start a new full-time job. This also happened right at the start of the Coronachaos, which affected the job market profoundly. But I didn’t let it get me down, I explored the types of jobs that suited my cognitive capacity, where I also had previous experience.
Then I was talking with our electrician and he mentioned that his neighbour owned a company who was looking for employees and that it did computer stuff. I had actively avoided software development for most of my career, but it’s also true that you don’t always end up where you want to be, but you do end up where you need to be. I get a message from his neighbour Andrew Cleary about a week later on LinkedIn suggesting we catch up. I quickly check out Andrews’s LinkedIn profile to figure out which company he runs. His Tagline is “Connecting people with the right information through empathic design”. WOW! What an amazing mantra to have and its fair to say after my cancer journey I’m very much more empathic. The company he has created is called 12th Level and they are a software development company specialising in data analysis and visualisation.
My entire career has been data-driven, gathering qualitative and quantitative data and presenting it back to facilitate critical thinking and creating innovative solutions. I’ve done this in process improvement, competitor analysis, strategy development, and reliability engineering. I too have connected people with the right information. So even though it’s ICT, it’s right up my alley and my gut tells me to say Geronimo, so I jump right in.
I am now absolutely loving working for a software development company. I didn’t expect that! My new boss is just as good as my last one, they have outstanding flexible working practices that are helping me manage my cognitive impairment so well and the work I’m doing is perfectly suited to my cognitive capacity. That’s my dad helping me out, without a doubt. He would be so proud that I get the opportunity to work for an amazing Australian-owned company and he would be so relieved that they’re helping me out so well in I’m my current condition.
If you are a spiritual person, you believe that your path in life is determined before you are born. That if you follow that path in life, you will be happy, and if you don’t follow that path it will lead to unhappiness.
To follow your path in life you need to understand and know really well, what makes you happy and drives you. If you understand that really well and the right opportunity presents itself, then you’re following your path. That’s the same as trusting your gut. I trusted my gut that working for 12thLevel was the right path in life, even though I had previously avoided working in software development and it has led me to happiness.
My brother then surprised everyone by announcing in his late forties that they were having another baby. Baby Holley was born and you should see her eyes and her deep gaze. They look deep inside of you and at everything around her. I immediately felt a deep connection with this little lady. Both my mother and I agree, that they are dad’s eyes.
Then just the other day I felt the presence of my father. In my youth, my father had taught me to build cool stuff around the backyard, like patios, dog kennels, garden beds, etc, and I’d continued that tradition throughout my life. However, my cancer journey has meant that I’ve unfortunately been unable to build cool stuff. Then my father-in-law law bought us a DIY backyard shed, so I jumped in and helped him decipher the instructions. It almost killed me. But I felt my father’s presence, I saw his shadow against the fence. I knew that he was proud of me because I was doing it, even though it hurt so much.
Then there is another theory about who created us, but I won’t pretend to understand it very well. Is it possible that another race of extraterrestrials created us? Then they ‘planted’ us in our own world and watched in wonder as we grew. It is called the Zoo Hypothesis, where the extraterrestrials purposefully avoid being in contact with us so that we follow natural evolution and sociocultural development.
I’m not sure I 100% believe in the Zoo Hypothesis, but I do acknowledge that it is a possibility and I absolutely believe that there is another intelligent life in the universe. I can’t believe that we would be the only ones in the vastness of space. Therefore UFOs have always fascinated me. My grandmother McGee told the eeriest story of an encounter. She woke up one night, with the brightest light filling the bedroom of their farm in Dairy Plains, Tasmania. Being a farmer, she assumed that someone’s barn had caught alight, so she quickly looked out the window to raise the alarm. What she saw alarmed her even more. It was a round saucer-like vessel with windows all around it, that disappeared just as quickly as it appeared. The next day there was a marked ring in the grass up in the top paddock, which made the cows jittery and they refused to go anywhere near it. Other members of the family also saw similar UFOs from time to time.