4. Developing second sight on the Isle of Skye

By Michelle Walter

Our first day on the Isle of Skye, the grocer told us, “There’s magic in Skye. When people come here, their lives change… for better or worse.” We’d just bought a house from which to run our psychic counseling business.

And on 29th January 2000, we learned Gavin had killed himself. He was 28 years old. Gavin was a close friend and I’d been in love with him for years. We’d had a relationship that got cut short by his schizophrenia.

I think in Hamid’s mind, if we were each wealthy enough to own a car, we should share our wealth with the community.

His family returned to Australia for the funeral, but I had to stay behind. I was alone on the island for six weeks with nothing and nobody to cradle my grief.

Those first days, Skye produced the darkest, blackest nights you can imagine. I wanted desperately to see Gavin just one last time. I searched for his voice in the whistling wind and the rain thrashing against my window.

The Quiraing, Skye, by Shandchem

After four days I ventured outside. I was exhausted, sad and lonely. I looked up, the clouds parted and a strong stream of light shone through. Suddenly my sadness dropped away and my heart opened. A deep peace flooded my body. I breathed, as if for the first time.

Gavin spoke, his voice clear to me. He didn’t really say anything… but he said everything. He told me that to be vulnerable and stand naked before the universe is the most important thing. That death is not the end.

The final five weeks passed quickly. The island that had shunned me with its winds, its cold and its desolation became my whispering cocoon for healing. Skye was my mirror, and everywhere I looked I saw another aspect of myself. I was the pebble lying at the bottom of the stream, shaped by events beyond my control; I was the earth, stripped of its protective vegetation, lying open and exposed to the wind.

I found a new perspective on life. I had l always been afraid, but now I surrendered to my new-found freedom, and the world opened up. I took risks, big ones. I abandoned my conventional goals and plans. I realized I wasn’t on a timeline any more.

5. An epiphany in the desert

By Betty Thesky, author of Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase

I was on a three-day camel trek in Morocco. My 22 year-old camel driver, Hamid, had never left the Sahara Desert, and was curious what the rest of the world was like. When he learned the friend I was traveling with and I both had cars, he asked, “So why don’t you give one away?”

I think in his mind, if we were wealthy enough to each own a car, we should share our wealth with our community. I explained we each had a house and a job, so each needed a car to get around.

Morocco camel ride, by wonker

“You don’t live together?” He was incredulous.
“No.”
“You live… alone?”
“Yes.”

This really blew his mind. He told me he’d never heard of anybody living alone, and that he lived in a house with 60 other people!

What really struck me was when he asked if I had a computer in my house, and I said I did. He explained the difficult, multi-day journey he would face to use a computer: find a ride though the desert to a town, then take a bus to the city, then wait at the library in the hope of getting to use a computer!

What I learned from Hamid was that although I may not have a high paying job, I am still extremely wealthy. It’s a shame I had to fly to another country to realize how fortunate I really am, and how relative wealth is.

6. Starting a business to help other victims of breast cancer

By Haralee Weintraub, CEO of Haralee.com

In 2002 I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. I was 48 and a sales executive with a Fortune 500 company. I had various surgery and treatments, and went to working part time. The treatments threw me into menopause with lasting side effects after they were over, such as hot flashes whilst sleeping. I looked carefully at my life and decided I wanted to help other women who were suffering from breast cancer. I started my own business devoted to nightwear for women suffering from menopause symptoms and hot flashes, enabling them to get a good night’s sleep.

Keep reading to learn how a fleeting encounter with a man bearing fire changed someone’s life!