First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 6 – People

As I allow the light reflecting from the beacons to illuminate further recesses in the cave I discover memories of people whose images flicker in the light.

People pass through our lives, sometimes fleetingly, sometimes staying for a while, sometimes remaining a part of the structure of our lives. And they always leave a marker, if we care enough to consider the lesson they have taught us in their passing. Take the time, the lesson is often better understood upon reflection.

I consider a seemingly chance meeting, on a station platform, with a man to whom I owed a debt of gratitude. That meeting allowed not only the expression of that gratitude, but the opportunity to reflect on how our individual histories collided, and how that collision made a difference. I have never seen him since.

A woman who passed through my life at a time when a particular interest had entranced me. That interest touched something off in her. We explored it together, we became excited by it together and her enthusiasm carried me forward. Then she disappeared. I know not why, but for that period she was necessary for my development, and therefore will always occupy a warm place in my heart.

Nor is it a requirement that I have met the people personally. There is a couple whose generosity of spirit, reflected through a friend of mine, touches my own life. I am grateful to them.

The impact of these people and our memories of them can last long after their passing from this life. I recall, and often revisit, the memory of sitting at the bottom of my father’s grave, some 25 years after his death, and him coming, in person, to talk with me. That memory can sustain me to this day.”

“But I would not like to mislead you into thinking that it is only the people who have been good to us from whom we can learn. Often it is the people whose appearance in our life coincided with pain from whom we can learn the most. Yet this is a harder question to ask. For the question often needed is – What is it about me which allowed that person to affect me in that way?

Without the answer to that question we will carry on repeating the same mistakes.

Until I recognized, in me, my need to be seen as the knight on the white charger, I continued to get involved with the same sort of people.

So allow the light to guide your reflections. Take your courage in both hands and revisit your past. Be prepared to ask the hard questions because the answers will guide your future.

As always  –  if you prefer the spoken word  –



28 Responses to “First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 6 – People”

  1. So allow the light to guide your reflections. …indeed I try to do the same

  2. peta straatman Says:


    I’m finally hearing your voice clearly and straightforwardly as I read these chunks of reflective thought. Still not into visualisation and still don’t see it as a prose poem – but hey, what do I know!

    Luv Peta

  3. Good chapter and I think I got it what you are saying here. So often it is true, when someone is hurting us, it says a lot about how we are.

    But I do have questions too, like when I read:

    “Often it is the people whose appearance in our life coincided with pain from whom we can learn the most. Yet this is a harder question to ask. For the question often needed is – What is it about me which allowed that person to affect me in that way?”

    Reflection and trying to find an aswer to this question is not always possible I think, for when something bad happend to you as a child 8 years old, for instance, what would it have to do with you as a person?

    You could not have prevented it, it was not your fault yet it happend and your mother blames you, and the whole sodded mess effects you and how you look at people for life.
    Okay, maybe it was that persons own pain that made him do it. I grasp that. But the question as the one above would not do me much good here I think.

    • peta straatman Says:

      Ina, I very much hope you don’t mind me coming in here as your question is asked of David but in my younger days I lived in Scheveningen for 10 years (Dutch ex-husband) and feel something of a kinship towards you.

      This quote from Al Anon was my salvation in the alcoholic situation and you may find it helpful:-

      “something happened which hurt and changed me. What happened was not my fault, but I can do something about the changes in me and I can stop hurting.”

      With all my best wishes

    • belfastdavid Says:


      I think Peta and Tikarma have answered your question much better than I could.

      I do recognise now from your and their comments that this was not addressed in the book.

      But, given their response, I am grateful that you raised the question.

      Thank you for your honesty


  4. Still a wise chapter overall 🙂

  5. Hi David,

    I’m going to say straight up that I think my response is as much to the chapter and yourself as it is to Ina.

    I’m caught up too in sadness with the passing of my grandfather-in-law, so my apologies if I come across too strongly in my sentiments. *sheepish grin*

    This chapter, People. It one of the hardest yet liberating chapters for me to read.
    I does bring back a lot of good memories in reflecting on people who’ve passed through my life. Like yourself I’ve many instances of picking up with people and then they or even me moving to a different path in life. They have been angels at times and sometimes people who challenged me, my beliefs , my life which then propelled me further on my path.

    In dealing with my post trauma though…hmmm..people…The paragrpah Ina struggled over is one I too struggled over for many years.

    My post trauma will always be there, and it catches me at the worst times, but I learnt those people who caused me pain and trauma have had a large impact on my life and who I have chosen to be.
    In anothers actions that cause hurt and pain, no it wasn’t my fault, I was only a child but I now have a choice to rise above it, They become sign posts as they show me what not to be.

    I’m not particualry greatful nor thankful for the truama in my life but at the same time I can look at that person in memory and say “You made me who I am” A better person, a more loving person, a more compassionate person.

    It doesn’t take away the pain, or the hurt but it makes me greatful that I have gone through the fire and not fallen to hatred, bitterness, or a place where I remain the victim internally. So I don’t have to look back on them too harshly, because they have in a way made me who I am and it is liberating when I look at that reflection to be able to say “I am not like you.”

    This chapter reminds me that we are made up of all the various individuals who come in and out of our lives. It also reminds me that the impression they leave upon me is mine, to now take up and make the best and most positive use of.

    Those good people, give strength to walk life with head held high and the negative people bolster my determination to live my life with head high and not be defeated.

    Your very last paragraph is hard…to re-visit the past can be so very painful, but your wisdom shines through, if we’re brave enough for in the hurt and pain are the lights of goodness and the knowledge that it is part of the path to wholeness, wellness, and being a complete indiviudal.

    Thankyou, you have certainly been one of those people, who despite the fact we’ve never met have been a great blessing in my life, even when your insights are challenging. 🙂

    I hope you are having a lovely weekend.


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Tikarma,

      First to let you know my thoughts are with you and Jamie at this time. There is sadness but I realised after my mother passed away that she would always live on in my memories – She still pops in from time to time to remind me to get my hair cut!! 🙂

      Secondly let me thank you for your willingness to be open and honest about your experiences – that willingness to share can only be a help to others. Too often these things get hidden away and yet by bringing them out in to the light we let others know they are not on their own and help ourselves to go forward.

      And we do not need to dwell in those experiences or to “remain the victim internally” as you say or eternally for that matter!!

      We are, as you say, a product of our experiences, and it is up to us what we make of that – to define our own way forward.

      I am aware now, as I said to Ina, that the book does not cover these circumstances so I hope that reading it again and responding in this way did not cause you too much pain.

      Thank you too for your kind words – our friendship is one of the big bonuses I have had from coming on the internet 🙂

      I hope your weekend is full of sunshine


      • Hi David,

        Thankyou for your condolences. ((hug))
        Thankyou too for understanding my intentions. My big mouth is a desire to try and help, so I can only hope it does somewhere, somehow…

        No reading and responding didn’t cause me pain. I am in a good place in my life and that is why I can look back. My past is just a ghost of sorts. The fight or flight reponse might kick in, but as long as I stay away from specfiic events I’m good! 🙂

        Today the sun has indeed decided to poke it’s head out from the clouds. I hope you too are getting some sunshine. 🙂


  6. Hi Peta 🙂 Scheveningen of all places lol, that is the one giving the most problems in pronouncing I think, and Tikarma, Tikarma, sorry about bringing up memories that way, horrible memories for you. Thank you very much for your kind words to me.

    I was a bit too emotional I think, it just struck me and I should have waited with posting a reply perhaps. Sorry about your granddfather too.

    “I’m not particualry greatful nor thankful for the trauma in my life but at the same time I can look at that person in memory and say “You made me who I am” A better person, a more loving person, a more compassionate person. ”

    That is so great. For me, I don’t think I am a better person for having this man in my life, or a worse person for that matter. He didn’t effect me that way I hope. For a while I felt very insecure especially about trusting my mother as she reacted the way she did. And I think maybe I would have been able to be a lot more loving and caring for my mother if this experience hadn’t been there. Not sure. But it has been a long time ago and time and love make a lot of difference. My anger (at the wrong person, as I learnt she had her own history of same traumatic experience) is gone, and fear (for the wrong things) are fading
    I wish you the best dealing with the sadness in your life.

    David, this chapter had a bit of an impact as you notice.

    “And they always leave a marker, if we care enough to consider the lesson they have taught us in their passing. ”

    Some people we meet, give us so much in a possitive way, learning from them is a reason we go through this journey called life I suppose. Thanks for this chapter.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Ina for your courage and your honesty in response to this blog.

      I hope the experience has not been too painful for you.

      And there are indeed more positive things to learn than negative – at least that has been my experience 🙂

      With my best wishes


      • Well the possitive things have more use to us I suppose 🙂 So away with the downside of past. Thanks for your reply on my blog. Looking forward to part 7. Your journey certainly makes me think about a lot!

    • Hi Ina,

      Thankyou for your condolance and as David to has also said thankyou for your bravery and honesty.

      I’m am in a very good place in my life. I may get the hiccups for lack of a better way to put it, but my experiances drive me to try and be helpful, they’ve lost their power to hurt.

      I agree time and love do help with healing and I hope they both continue to help you heal from your pains. I hope in talking about your experiances it didn’t cause your too much hurt.


      • Hi Tikarma, just up and I noticed your reply to my reply, I am so sorry the comments on this posting here are so much about me. I am starting to feel really awkward lol,. This all happened a long time ago and my life has had many turns and ups and downs since then, but it gave me 3 sons and a great husband. I think I am healed alright, just had a hiccup 🙂 . Thanks for the hug. Hugs too. I don’t know what experiences you had to heal from but good thing you did 🙂

        Bad things can make us stronger in the end and more understanding of others (so I learn), but everyone has to struggle with coping on his or her own way I suppose. Reading this blog certainly gives something to think about .

        btw: It is not brave just to speak one’s mind I think; I can always just suck up, but that wouldn’t be of much use 🙂 ?

        Weather here is grey and miserable lol. Coffee!

        Arohanui 😉 Tikarma, you ar a very sweet person! Thanks.

  7. Before I came into recovery I wouldn’t have understood this at all. My personal logo read “Go away and leave me alone” I hand knitted all my own answers, dropping stitches all over the place and refusing to look at the holes. Now it is different and I am aware of the connectedness of us all, both positive and negative experiences. It all adds up to part of John Donne’s quote'”No man is an island”.

    There is a very shiny thread running through this book, David, and it is that of your deep sense of gratitude.

    Keep up your lovely writing, you are a natural.

    lots of love

    Christine (x)


    • belfastdavid Says:

      “I hand knitted all my own answers, dropping stitches all over the place and refusing to look at the holes”

      Wonderful!!! 🙂

      The book was written as a way of expressing my gratitude 🙂

      Thank you

      Lots of love

  8. What an impact your words have on me!

  9. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    I live a lot with gratitude too, – certain people having been part of my life, and others who I would think I would not mind never having met.
    But love and mistakes and “happenings” all help us to learn and guide us to today.
    I like the way you explain it!

    Vera & Karley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Vera,

      I am who I am today because of all those “happenings”
      And when I sit here at my computer looking at the birds in the tree outside my window I am truely grateful.

      Gratitude is such an easy word to say. Yet it makes such a big difference to our lives when we can find it. 🙂

      I hope you and Karley have a good week


  10. Your words conjur up bitter-sweet memories for me… I think i tend to try to forget the great losses…. Once again i feel as if our lives ran along a very similar path!! You are a miracle… Hugs David!!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      The great thing about recovery Sandy is that we realise we are neither unique nor alone – both of which we thought we were when we were drinking.

      Does that sentence make sense – I guess it does!! 🙂

      Hugs to you too

  11. “Often it is the people whose appearance in our life coincided with pain from whom we can learn the most. Yet this is a harder question to ask. For the question often needed is – What is it about me which allowed that person to affect me in that way?

    Without the answer to that question we will carry on repeating the same mistakes.”

    This has been the hardest thing for me to do! It is much easier to accept what happens as the result of faults in others. What we often forget is that we have chosen to have those people, along with all their faults, in our lives. We have given them permission to plant the bombs of our self destruction. So…why? When I can answer that question, I will be a lot more confident of new choices.

    I am getting a lot of thought provoking wisdom and insight from this reading, the videos, and comments posted here. Thank you.

    Take care, and much love to you,

    • belfastdavid Says:


      I am smiling at your reply – ruefully smiling as I recognise the truth of what you say in my own life.
      Only when I was prepared to take full responsibility for my own alcoholism was I able to do something about it. And the same applies in all other areas of my life – only when I take full responsibility for my own choices am I able to decide what to do about them – but it is the hardest thing to do.

      I have quoted Martin O’Neill before – “I never try to make a right decision. I make a decision and try to make it right.” Made a difference to me as did the realisation that I could always make another decision 🙂

      You are making me think this morning with your comments 🙂
      Actually there have been a lot of comments on this blog which make me think. More soon – I will record some more videos today.

      You take good care of yourself.
      Much love

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