Ambo family love


There is a certain comfort that comes from being able to explain in detail the difficulty I had intubating the child due to the two-minute noodles that were tangled around his cords after he was pulled lifeless from the swimming pool. There is unspoken relief, gratitude and respect that exists when we laugh about the persistent, repugnant smell of burnt, wet human tissue that gets stuck up your nose days after the case you attended, regardless of whether you touched the deceased or not. That moment of empathy when you take over the truck in the morning and the night shift guys say the night was “shit”. We just know what that means. Nothing more needs to be said, it’s enough to make the guys a cup of coffee so they get home to their own bed in one piece.

When we describe ourselves like “family”, it’s because we see each other in the best and worst moments of our lives. I may not be his wife, but as his work partner I see him sweat as he tries in vain to resuscitate the child, the tears he tries to hide and the images that he will try to protect his wife from. And he will see me hold the Nanas’ hand as she passes, silently saying a prayer to honor her when nobody else is there to do so. Unless you have actually seen a Cat Lady breastfeeding her cats, you’ll never appreciate how funny that look is, that one glance from your partner that says it all. There are no words for breastfeeding cats, none.

We share these experiences together and they bond us. We don’t talk about the details often. Usually we are more concerned about where to find the next feed or coffee but the bonds are there, they are real and they are strong. I have shed more tears from laughing with my colleagues about the absolute hilarity of life than anything else.

Of course there are many tears that never get shed, most of them in fact. So when I receive the phone call from my long-term work mate that one of our own is dead, it is like a dam is burst open in my heart. The fact that he was once my

boyfriend and I “knew” it would come to this one day makes the moment even more surreal.

As a Paramedic I have a well- developed ability to sit in the face of horrific events and appear unaffected. I can pause, breath, respond with appropriate words in a very calm way. A jet plane could fall from the sky and I recon I wouldn’t flinch. I’d see it happen, pick up my phone and start making the appropriate calls. In order to be able to act in the face of intense trauma, one must learn to dissociate somewhat from their feelings. I used to think this dissociation was emotional “mastery”. I was wrong of course, but in any case, having that control over my emotions certainly came in handy more than once during my career as an on road Paramedic.

They say that hearts don’t break, they bend but I can tell you now that something broke deep inside me on that particular day. All that “mastery” melted in an instant and I sobbed a million tears. We have all seen so many deaths of course; it’s not about the death. The tragic irony of a Paramedic choosing death always hits so hard.

Some may say that starting in the job at age 20 robbed me of my innocence. I disagree. Robbed my “ignorance” perhaps. I like to think that I have been given an incredibly positive attitude towards life as a result of working in the job.

Dealing with suicide after suicide of my colleagues has been a different matter however. There is a wound that is difficult to heal when these fellows with whom we share so much intensity, “opt out”. The first one was shocking, the second distressing, the third had been my boyfriend and felt as if it broke me, the fourth a friend and it pissed me off. The next was unexpected and the fact he attended by a colleague who would become another “statistic” himself only 18months later, utterly devastating. The sad irony being that he was to be found by yet another colleague who will be haunted by that same final image.

And so the bitter-sweet relationship of the Paramedic exists. On one level you’d trust your partner with your life. God knows we know their dirty secrets! But then you never know what dark thoughts they entertain. Never actually know if perhaps they will be the next one to make that final decision that will crush us all again. And in the meant time we keep attending to the general public, knocking on doors, bringing them back from the dead, letting them go and moving them on. Patching them up, sorting them out, mending their wounds.

Perhaps if we put enough people back together, save enough lives and relieve some more pain we will somehow mend our own hearts. Maybe we all just have one collective pain and it is possible to recover our own losses through recovering the losses of our patients. Maybe a little piece of ourselves comes back to us each time we get a heart beating again. And maybe every time we cry from laughing about a breastfeeding Cat Lady, another fragment of our broken hearts fly back to us and give us the fuel to keep on going in this crazy, passionate, painful and glorious world of the Paramedic.

What I do know from my insane wealth of experience with dealing with suicide is this:

  1. Emotions are energy moving, normal and natural. When you allow yourself a space to grieve, cry or sob like a hyperventilating crazy, you feel BETTER afterwards. Exhausted but better. And it’s better for you. So do it. Cry!
  2. We are all the same essentially. So all you “tough guys and girls” out there, just know that you are allowed to have feelings too. It’s OK to have a feeling and you never know, being honest about how you are feeling might just make it easier for your mates to have theirs.
  3. Talking about it helps. It’s OK to say that you are pissed off, angry, let down etc. Find a mate that you trust and let them know what’s going on inside your head. Guess what? It may change as soon as you share it and that’s OK too.
  4. If you ever entertain the thought that you want to self harm or kill yourself for goodness sake, TELL SOMEONE!!! This has the effect of bringing LIGHT into an otherwise DARK inner landscape. There is always a better option.
5. If you are concerned for a colleague, call them and ask them “R U OK?”, mention your concern. Be there for each other, speak kindly about others when they are not there and always assume that you and everybody else did the best job they could possibly do!

It’s all about the “vibe”


Everything in the universe is made up of matter and matter holds a vibration. It actually vibrates at various rates. There are many things that affect the vibration of matter. A common house brick will probably hold a low vibration relative to a human. Not much life force running though that one. However, if the brick had been used to hold up a wall in the Golden Temple in Sri Puram, India, where millions of people pour their devotion daily, this brick will imbue this energy and hold a higher vibration.


As humans our vibration changes throughout the day and throughout our life. Depending on many factors. Our thoughts, beliefs, emotional state, as well as our relationships and our environment all influence our vibration. It basically moves up and down all day as we interact with our surroundings. We find ourselves at a “resting” vibration or average vibration depending on these life circumstances.


The “name of the game” for a conscious spiritual aspirant is to raise the vibration. Why? Because it changes your life, and expands your consciousness. If I was to hold a resting vibration of the emotion of shame, I will tend to dwell in this vibrational “kingdom”. I may live in the same suburb as you, have the same job even earn the same, but my experience of life will resonate with shame. I will attract situations that affirm this vibrational reality; I will be hanging out in the vicinity spiritually speaking, of like vibrations such as guilt, anxiety and fear. This is the scientific fact of the matter, through the universal law of attraction that states “like attracts like”.


Likewise, if I hold a high vibration say of the emotion of bliss, I will be dwelling in this “kingdom” with the same job, same location but totally different reality or kingdom to live in. I will see and experience a totally different world. Joy, happiness and peace will be all around me as they are resonate with this vibration too. I may be sitting at the same café as “shame vibration” guy and I will see how glorious life is, the café bustling with life affirming energy and people. Where as, through the lense of shame, there might be an overall sense that “ I am separate, I don’t really fit in here, I am not a part of, an observer really, are they looking at me? Have I been here too long, someone else might need this table, I had better leave.”


A really easy way to raise your vibration is to hang out in places with people that hold a high one. When I am sitting in the presence of my spiritual teacher in the ashram that she spends most of her time, I feel amazing. My whole energy body hums and zings. My heart rate increases as this energy center registers the immense love She embodies. I feel lifted, buoyant and excited. It’s like I change gears as my vibration lifts and lifts. Bliss, joy, peace and love greet me as I enter this space and her aura. I could hang out here forever, sit at her feet and enjoy the energy bath and lift in vibration.


My teacher has told me I need to be “love on legs” out there in the real world, to raise my own vibration and assist in the raising of the vibration of the planet. It’s easy to feel enlightened in the ashram. The real test comes when I am smack bang in the middle of the “real” world.


Needless to say I am a spiritual aspirant. I have enjoyed the conscious life for some years now. I am also an Intensive Care Paramedic. I have thoroughly enjoyed the thrills and spills of this profession over the years and still do.


The environment of emergency pre-hospital care is fraught with difficulties and challenges. There is often intense fear held within the patients and bystanders. Grief, intoxication, violence and stress are daily workplace joys for us. Can you imagine what this does to your overall vibration? Maintaining my vibration in my work place has become a type of sport for me. I have trained; I am up for the challenge and so, “bring it on!”


When the work is good I am fine. I am highly skilled and experienced and us Paramedics love to put our skills to good use. There is nothing more satisfying than rescuing a dying patient from a car crash, tending to a fractured bone of a child, treating a critical heart attack or stroke patient and administering life saving medications and interventions. We love it! It’s easy to hold a high vibration when I feel satisfied, useful and competent. Unfortunately (or fortunately) its definitely not like that all of the time. Especially not on night shift in suburbia.


It’s 0400hrs. I am tired and have indulged a little too much Nutella earlier on so my sugar high is waning and I really want to be in my own bed. The sugar binge was the first predictable error. I sometimes indulge the delusion that sugar will give me energy. It doesn’t. I get a vague fuzzy manic high then I crash. Why do I keep going back to this “fools gold”? Because, Nutella tastes SO GOOD, that’s why. And I will defend my right to indulge this insane addiction a little longer. I am sure there will be a blog there somewhere too, so that’s good right??


SO, I am tired and have been dealing with patients all night, so when the call comes in to attend the  broken finger nail, I am the first to admit, I react most ungraciously. A dash to the ED for an emergency glue-job perhaps??


I know my thoughts and my attitude affect my vibration so I do try to remain positive. There is no use sitting in judgment of the general public because at the end of the day they will continue to call and we will continue to respond. And I have to take my vibration home with me.


Physical fatigue makes us vulnerable to drops in vibration. Why? Our thoughts. When we are tired and cranky our thoughts can turn negative, cynical and repetitive. And these types of negative cynical thought processes hold a vibration. “You’re kidding me right?!! Calling the emergency service for a freeking broken nail?!!!” I think to myself. Fuelled by disbelief and judgment these thoughts plummet my vibration in a non-second.


Okay, So back to the 0400hrs emergency call. The expectation is that we proceed under lights and siren to get to our emergency in a timely manor. The truth is, you never really know what is going on so always best to get there quickly. However, having seen many fatal crashes, I feel somewhat reluctant these days to fly through the streets on the wrong side of the road at break-neck speed to attend the broken acrylic nail type cases but maybe the call taker got it wrong? Maybe the patient has a broken tail? A broken back perhaps? Maybe there was some confusion I think to myself en-route to the early morning emergency.


No confusion. After we drop the forty odd kilos of equipment at the front door and knock “Hello? Ambulance?” our patient is busying herself with the evening bag and locking the door. Ready to attend the ED at this unreasonable hour for her nail trauma. She has a tissue wrapped around the finger to hold it in place I am assuming. But the eternal optimist in me thinks that perhaps the nail was ripped off? Could be a nasty one? Nope. Not nasty at all. But she does smell a little boozy. I think she may have had a little wine tonight.


I can feel the surge in my belly. I am really tired and the radio is quiet. If we weren’t here I would be relaxing on station. I really want to hold this person accountable for my wretched exhausted life right now. She is a sleep robber!  I think to myself shamelessly.


Oh-oh.” I think, control the mind!!! I start to feel worse within myself for all my judgments. I know I have to change my thought processing and fast. I am here to be of service I affirm to myself. I love that we are the most trusted profession and I need to uphold our reputation but I can’t even manage a warm smile!! I am sinking here!


“Take me to the hospital. I have travellers insurance, where do I write the number down so I don’t get a bill?”


Another surge of anger rushes through my entire system. She has no regard whatsoever for the term “emergency”. I imagine fire coming out of my eye-balls. I am in utter disbelief and anoyance for her misuse of the system. I hold long pauses and stare at her silently. Fuming, silently raging in a vain hope that she will, what? Learn her lesson?


I know I am sinking here. If my vibration was at the level of peace when I started this shift, it is not now. It is way down the bottom of the vibrational scale. Right now it is me who needs emergency care!!


I breathe in and imagine I can breath out all the anger from the pit of my belly. I breathe in again and release all of the judgment and criticism from my throat. I breathe in again. Imagining I can pull in a shower of love and light and I exhale out from my front chest, my heart chakra. A slight warmth permeates this area and an almost undetectable current of compassion warms my heart. My vibration is crawling back up again. I look around and see that she lives alone. I wonder how long she has been drinking here alone. Obviously the call is ridiculous, perhaps there is something else going on?


Ah, sweet relief. My vibration is climbing up again. I have regained some composure and the feeling of hatred has turned in to one of sympathy. She hasn’t made eye contact with me yet; I can see that she is filed with deep shame. From this place of compassion her vulnerability becomes more and more obvious.


“Are you ok?” I ask as I place my hand on her upper arm. She stops in her tracks and looks up. She has a fresh bruise on her cheek and I know someone has struck her. My heart surges with more compassion. She may be in a violent relationship. This call is not about the nail at all. This is a scream for help. She has no idea how to ask for help or how to get out of this awful situation. She feels ashamed of who she is and the life she is living but has no power to change it. I am being flooded with impressions of her world and her life.


If my resting vibration was not as high as it is, I may not have been able to open into compassion for this woman. I would have remained in a state of passive aggression, victim and blame. I would have sat in hell with her all the way to hospital and stayed there long after we dropped her off as I indulged a cynical negative headspace.


Through employing a few simple techniques and a lot of mental discipline I am able to notice when my own vibration is plummeting and to do something about it immediately. Before I know it, the patient is in floods of tears and thanking us profusely for being so kind to her. “Thank you, you have been Angels tonight, you are worth more”, she says at our parting, her own heart chakra becoming activated in the process.


Being “love on legs” means doing the work as a spiritual aspirant, being very conscious of my mental attitude and my thoughts, maintaining a high vibration and gifting this to those around me. This happens naturally without effort when I am disciplined enough to be vigilant with my own self. By holding my vibration high, I naturally lift those around me. And I get the added benefit of feeling good at the end of the transaction.


It helps me to remember that there are no mistakes in the universe. I am meant to meet every person that I meet. Including all those patients that call ‘000’ for reasons that I find absurd if only momentarily. We are all learning from each other and if I was to claim myself to be a “spiritual Olympian”, it’s these difficult patients and difficult circumstances that are my teachers and trainers. Without my teachers and trainers I cannot grow and I cannot test my progress. So I am grateful to all of my teachers out there. Who would have thought that a broken fingernail could serve such a divine purpose?