“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
― John O'Donohue.
Mindfulness meditation and yoga have positively transformed my life after a physical, mental, and emotionally challenging period following a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2020.
Meditation gave me a new lease on life and the inspiration to found Vida Flow. Vida means 'life' in Spanish, and since life flows like a river, it was only logical to choose the name: Vida Flow.
Vida Flow’s heartfelt mission is to partner with individuals and corporates to help people living with stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, and disability transform their lives using the scientifically proven power of mindfulness meditation and trauma-informed yoga.
Vida Flow’s purpose is to help everyone learn how to ‘flow in the river of life’ - even when going through rapids, as I did. We know that our world can change in a split second, yet we take our life for granted most days.
On the evening of 12 July 2020, my car was unexpectedly rear-ended at full speed while stationary, and I have never been the same after that Sunday night. After the accident, while in shock, I felt lucky to be alive and in one piece. I didn't break a bone. I just had a headache, back pain, and a couple of bruises. Little did I know that it was the beginning of the most challenging yet rewarding journey of my life.
Debilitating migraines, neuro fatigue, overwhelming sensory overload and light sensitivity, coupled with emotional dysregulation, cognitive and behavioural challenges, and PTSD became my daily reality. As a result, I struggled to function and couldn't do anything - except sleep - without triggering symptoms. A few weeks after my health issues began, I learned I had sustained whiplash and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the form of a concussion.
My rehab specialist said that the symptoms should go away within three months. Except, they didn't. It turns out that there is about a 15% chance of ongoing issues after a bad concussion. So, here I am, living with post-concussion syndrome.
With the support of Guide Dogs, my then-employer, I reduced my hours as a Marketing Manager and worked from home. However, this was not enough to alleviate my symptoms.
As you can imagine, fatigue, tension headaches, and sensory overload were debilitating physically, mentally, and emotionally. But the worst part was pretending to 'be fine' to avoid others worrying or feeling pity for me.
I loved my job, but unfortunately, it was depleting my brain. I was always in pain and felt constantly drained and overwhelmed.
My health issues plus relationship challenges, isolation from people, the daily challenges of single parenting and having no family support in Australia, made me feel even more alone, worthless and hopeless, day after day.
I don't know how I did it, but I continued to push through for months. My employer at Guide Dogs were overly supportive, and I will always be grateful for their flexibility, understanding and caring nature.
Unfortunately, after trying everything in my power, it became apparent that using so much cognitive energy for work was getting in the way of my recovery. In hindsight, doing what I did with a concussed brain was like running a marathon with a broken ankle!
My specialists consequently advised me to stop working and focus 100% on my rehab.
I knew this step was necessary, so I took an extended period off from work. The world as I knew it collapsed overnight, and I felt frustrated, defeated, and hopeless.
After focusing on my health - which included long daily meditation practice - I started to improve physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I lived like a monk for a while. I barely left my house, meditated daily, and completed an intensive 8-week mindfulness course, a game changer. Mindfulness made my world better.
As I improved, it became apparent that I couldn't be working work full-time, so I had to say bye to Guide Dogs for good.
Fast forward a few months. As my health improved, I started marketing volunteering work with Brain Injury SA (BISA) in late 2021. BISA is the leading provider of services for people with brain injury in SA; a fabulous organisation close to my heart for obvious reasons.
Eventually, the BISA Board and CEO took me on board as a Brand & Marketing Strategy Consultant to develop the Marketing Strategy for the organisation.
It was a fantastic personal and professional experience that allowed me to combine my passion for branding and marketing with my experience with brain injury.
After this project with BISA ended, I had new plans and ideas on the horizon.
In July 2022, I went to Chacala, Mexico, to undertake an intensive 200-hour Trauma-Informed Yoga & Meditation Teacher Training Certification.
After returning to Australia, Vida Flow was born to offer Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga programs to individuals and corporates.
Click here to read more about Vida Flow.