Green Renaissance produces gorgeous short films that uplift the personal stories of ordinary people, with the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change. We feel hugely blessed to feature video-stories that filmmakers Michael and Justine capture with exquisite expertise, and which so beautifully illustrate Grateful Living principles and practices. In this short film we hear from Christy Bragg.
Learn more about Green Renaissance through our Grateful Changemaker feature.*
Questions for Reflection
- Which part or parts of Christy’s story resonated with you the most?
- How have you been surprised by the kindness of others?
- What new perspective have you gained as a result of a difficult or challenging experience?
We invite you to share your reflections below the video transcript that follows.
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…”
That poem has always struck very deeply with me because the sea is a great solace. It’s so wide. It gives you perspective. It’s so timeless, and it’s part of us all.
That connection that humans have with nature, that wild, elemental aspect, that’s where my heart is, where my soul sings again. Where I can say, “Ok, I am Christy.” And that’s all that matters, I am Christy. It doesn’t matter if I shake now while I’m saying it. I am Christy. And it’s okay to just be Christy. I don’t have to be something else.
At this point in my life I feel a little bit like a ship that’s gone astray. And I’m trying to find the wind that’s going to blow me back on course. When I got divorced, it was after twenty years of marriage. You lose something of yourself and you have a lot of grief because of loss. Loss of love. Loss of a family life. And there was just a huge load of stress packed right on top of each other. And then at the same time I realized I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so that was something that I hadn’t actually been dealing with because I’d just been throwing myself into work and my family and, you know, trying to make ends meet. All of that took it’s toll on me and I think it all sort of went [whooshing noise]. Things were just falling apart, and I basically fell apart.
When you’re in a really difficult place you can lose perspective very quickly. And you start questioning yourself, you start saying, “what am I doing wrong? What did I do to deserve this?” I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling. I didn’t want to feel sad or grief or anything like that. I wanted to just power through it. I wasn’t taught about how to understand what my emotions are. If you don’t understand what you’re feeling and if you’re not allowed to have feelings, you tend to suppress it all. And that doesn’t work because eventually it’s going to come out. You’re going to shatter into little pieces and then you’re going to say, “oh look, here’s a little piece of grief, here’s a little piece of sorrow.” It’s okay to have grief and sorrow, and it’s okay for it to last a long time.
Positivity does not mean suppressing the negative emotions. Positivity means that you feel those emotions but you know you’re going to be okay and it’s going to change one day.
I am scared about what the future holds. The very hard thing is to see how other people worry and what they are feeling. For my kids especially. I don’t want them to be stressed by me, I want to be able to be there for them. But I can’t take away their pain, you know, that’s the sad thing. I can’t take away their sadness. I wish I could. But I can allow them to have their pain and express their emotions and say it’s okay to be sad about it. And when crying gets easier, laughing gets easier. So once you cry, you leave a little bit of space for the joy to come in.
I think Parkinson’s for me has been a silver lining of the cloud. It was a call for me to go slowly, and sometimes you need to go slowly in life, not just because you’re tired and exhausted, but because you need to step back and say, “what patterns am I repeating over and over that’s putting me in a place where my body is aching and tired?”
I tend to see the best in everybody else, but I don’t see that I deserve it as well. That has been my struggle, is that I’m not sure that I deserve kindness. Now I’m still not sure, but now I can see…now I’m more clear in seeing how other people…how kindness works. All it comes down to in the end is loving yourself. Because if you can love yourself, you can love others. And if you’re kind to yourself, you can be kind to others.
Humanity is about the ability to see the beauty in somebody else and to be kind to the other parts. That love which is so intangible but it’s there, it’s real. It’s a miracle that we love each other at all. It’s a complete and utter miracle. Being kind, now I see, is about opening yourself and being vulnerable. And a lot of that is about reaching out to people when you’re scared and when you’re lonely. And even when I’m depressed and miserable and the medicine is not working, you know, or my body is really inflamed because I’m sick and, you know, I can’t get out of bed and I’m supposed to be working, and… even those times, there are people who believe in me. I’m eternally grateful. And I cannot ever say how much people have done for me. It just blows my mind that people can be so beautiful and loving and kind. And they have the most warm, generous, amazing souls.
People have come to me in my deepest, darkest moments and brought me out into the light again. My daughter says, “if you want a flower, you’ll find a flower.” You’ll find it somewhere. So the learning of where the flowers are in my life, that’s been my journey.
Even sometimes when I’ve had a really bad day, then I go outside at night and I just look at the moon and the clouds and just think this is the universe, this whole universe…we’re all made of stardust. Just being is a miracle. Just being alive is a miracle. And instead of, like, berating my poor, shaky body I should actually be saying, “bloody well done for getting through this” you know? “Well done. I’m proud of you. Thank you. Thank you for shaking because you’re telling me that I’m not doing something right, that I need to take better care of myself.”
One can find hope in the smallest of places. The beauty that is out there every day, that gives me hope. I have hope when I still have me. You can’t hope for long lasting life so the hope is for a beautiful life.
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