Strength, resilience and overcoming life’s challenges.
Life is tough, it doesn’t come with an instruction manual, we are all basically learning as we go, from this, we can grow and evolve through lessons that we have learnt along the way, ultimately it is this journey which ensures we can evolve and constantly become the very best version of who and what we are.
I, John Awen was born in 1969 and when I was delivered, by caesarean section into this world, the odds were stacked against me to begin with. I was born with a urine infection and chronically under developed lungs and in 1969 these were very serious conditions, life threatening in fact.
Upon my emergence into this life, I was placed in an incubator and here I stayed for around 8 weeks. Such were the seriousness of my ailments that my Parents were told numerous times that I would not survive, yet after a couple of months I was allowed out of my incubator and was taken home.
My childhood and formative years were I suppose fairly normal, although at around age 18 my world exploded and started to fall apart.
I had a motorcycle accident which left me with a shattered left ankle, as a result of this injury I was turned down for the army career I had dreamed of from a very young age. I was really at a loss at this point, all that I had imagined quickly spiralled away and with it, I started to feel vengeful towards the world around me.
I soon discovered cannabis, this helped me, or so I thought, from that, I experimented with any illegal substances which I could lay my hands on, this drug taking would continue for many years, the more solace I sought within my drug binges, the more removed I became not only from the real world and those around me, but also from myself as I plunged further into the abyss of self-harm and flagellation, basically I had hit the self-destruct button and didn’t care whether I lived or died.
During these periods from the age of 18 till my late thirties, I struggled immensely, I couldn’t hold down a regular job so the money I learnt, often vast sums came directly and indirectly from what can only be termed as illegal means.
At aged 27 I discovered heroin, this would hold me in its destructive vice like grip for 11 years, causing me harm to this day and also seeing me serve several prison sentences for driving whilst disqualified and shop lifting.
After a massive wake up call in 2008, I managed to step away and ditch my drug addled life that had held me for many years, although that was only the first part of it.
Once we have been cocooned in a certain way of life, whether that is good or bad, to step away is where the real journey begins. I can only describe it as a rebirthing, one where we basically have to literally find ourselves again, discover what we like, what we sense, what we feel, how we view the world around us, all combining basically in our rediscovery of ourselves, others and the world around us.
To relearn who you are is a very intimidating task indeed, even as an adult, it becomes apparent that although you think you know yourself, once you are not fuelled by drugs, you don’t know yourself at all, it is from this point where an immense and extremely intense journey of self-discovery begins and for me personally, it was the most harrowing and traumatic part of my life I had ever experienced, although the most rewarding and beneficial in delivering me to this point in time now, all in all a very powerful journey indeed.
I got married in late 2008 and at this point I felt as if life was great, I was getting to know myself and I was about to get married, so life seemed what can only be deemed as normal.
It soon became apparent that I had entered a very controlling and toxic relationship, not only was I still unsure of who and what I was, I struggled with being controlled and told what to do, again, this ended up being a very dark part of my life, yet now I can see I gained immense strength from it all, as any of us should.
In 2010 I underwent a very intense 48-week course of chemotherapy, this was because in my drug taking past, I had contracted Hepatitis C type 1, which at the time was the worst one you could get.
For almost the whole of this time I was stuck in bed, I ended up with chemically induced leukaemia due to this invasive treatment, yet I was eventually given the all clear from the Hep C which is fantastic, although there are knock on effects from the chemotherapy which I suffer from to this day and will do for the rest of my life.
I walked out of the very controlling marriage in 2012, I was at breaking point, had been for ages, so I left and never looked back.
I rented a small holding in Somerset in late 2012 until mid-2014, where I was responsible for many animals, including killing some and taking others to slaughter, it was this experience which had a profound effect upon me and ultimately was the main catalyst for going Vegan in early 2016, yet another evolutionary step within myself.
I started writing again around this time, something I had enjoyed since I was very young. I love writing, it is so cleansing, cathartic and inspirational, it really is so good for the soul.
In early 2016 I had my first book published and to date I have had four published, along with many magazine articles, both online and in paper magazine formats.
As well as being an author/writer, I am also a fully trained Hypnotherapist and this last year, 2018, has seen me travel across the country to give talks at many Vegan events and festivals, something which I absolutely love doing and having seen and been a part of slaughtering animals I know the truth about what goes on and again I am so passionate in sharing the message I have learnt.
Due to my previous drug addictions and abuse which I systematically enforced upon my body, there has been a toll and a price to pay.
In mid-2015 I was diagnosed as being in advanced heart failure, I was given no time at all and with 10 different and serious heart conditions, I really do know and understand intrinsically the sanctity of life and how very precious it is.
We must not and never take anything, nor anybody for granted, life really is so very short indeed and everything can change in an instant.
We all need to awaken to this, become truly compassionate, empathic and value all life, regardless of what species they are.
I am also very honoured to be the Patron of Beneath the Wood animal Sanctuary, a haven for rescued animals that is nestled in the beautiful Welsh countryside and provides a forever home for many creatures. I love visiting here and I also enjoy highlighting them when giving my talks and general interactions with the public.
I hope my words have touched you, maybe even resonated deep within you, I hope so.
Life really is so very precious and sacred, take time to talk, laugh and enjoy each moment, none of us know when our time will expire, so cherish every second and hold those you love close to you.
Many thanks and much love to you all.