What is means to belong.. 

March 12, 2016

What does it mean to belong? how do we ever know if we are where we are supposed to be? or around the people we are supposed to be?

We don’t ever know …and that is the hardest part of all.. a good friend once told me to let go of trying to plan for future and just see what happens, and in some respect I agree… we should belong in the moment a little more. Take stock of what we have, who we have, where we are, and be thankful for all the amazing things we have in our lives.

Some of us will be lucky enough to experience true belonging in our lives, that moment of clarity that hits us right when we least expect it and it will forever change the way in which we progress with our lives.

#NatCon16 was the most humbling and awe inspiring experience I have ever been involved in. I knew it would be amazing but I am now on the plane back to Perth and have a sense of sadness that I won’t be rolling with my new found #TeamRippleAus entourage tomorrow.

There is a very good chance I am extremely jet lagged, over tired and somewhat delusional after a 24 hour and still counting transit (please excuse any spelling & grammar errors) – but I am going home with a sense of pure direction, clarity and in some ways it transcended any experience I have had previously.

They say the people make the place and this is true. We were in Sin City, walking the streets and seeing the bright lights of Vegas but it was the crew who made it incredible. The #TeamRippleAus #NatCon16 contingent are the most diverse bunch of people but we are now a big family. We laughed, we planned, we play fought, we danced and most of all we infected everyone we met with our positivity and passion about utilizing the lived expertise. People who have experienced suicide loss or have survived an attempt speaking up and making people listen.

I expected to attend and come back with lists and lists of things we could do be doing better in Australia, however, guess what? The USA need us … the USA are not as far ahead as I had thought. The term ‘lived experience’ is still new to them and I can honestly say they were blown away by the Aussie entourage who spoke about their experiences so openly.

We were notorious (in a good way) by the end of the conference. People wanted to seek us out and find ways to get us back over to talk. It is still hard to comprehend that this is all happening. And it wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for two very special people; Kevin & Margaret Hines.

The main man Kevin Hines has had his journey so far with mental illness and working toward positive brain health documented extensively and he is no stranger to the lived experience movement. Kevin IS the lived experience movement over in the USA. What many people might not know is how much he cares for people. He goes above and beyond to help others in similar situations and will do whatever he can to assist them to better themselves and their causes. Kevin does not receive enough credit for the people he has helped in the sector, not in just saving actual lives, but assisting people and organizations better their messages and programs. The #TeamRippleAus crew would not exist if not for him and he deserves every bit of praise, he is now an honorary Aussie!

Now I have purposely left the awe inspiring Margaret Hines last. I was so excited to meet Margaret. I had heard so many amazing things about her and Kevin lit up whenever he spoke of her. Now this women is FIERCE. She is a go getter, a ball buster and is a ‘takes no shit’ kinda lady. I was blown away by her generosity, her kindness towards us all and the similarities we both share in our lives. I feel as though I have someone in my corner surrounded by all these boys. The women behind the men rarely get the kudos they so very much deserve. Marg is one of a kind and although Kevin is bloody fantastic at what he does, a lot of the credit has to go to this wonderful woman. Thank you Marg for being you.

So #NatCon16 is done. A week in Vegas has left me tired, sporting an additional 5kgs around my waist, a sinus infection (sort out your smoking in casinos Vegas, that crap isn’t cool) and most importantly HOPE. Hope that what we are doing is actually important and it is ground breaking, worldwide stuff!

Our entourage has also grown to include anyone who wants to be apart of the change. #TeamRippleAus is not just a group of Aussies anymore, it is a movement. It includes anyone and everyone who is wanting to join us for the ripples of change.

#TeamRippleAus and the lived experience movement is going global. People wanted to be around us and know how we talk about this stuff. We told them we just do it, because we have to and it saves lives. Australia, we are lucky, we have the support of some amazing organizations like Suicide Prevention Australia who are recognized worldwide for their work. We are now apart of that.

Aidon would be looking down going, “you got this Loz”. He is the one and only reason I do this. I would give it all back tomorrow if it meant he was here another moment to hug.

So where does all this lead? I really don’t know. In all honestly, I’m a little scared. I’m scared that this was so monumental and impactful that my life is going to dramatically shift (for the best). We are going to help people and save lives.

I knew our little Aussie group would all be great friends, what I didn’t realize was that we would all become family. A little dysfunctional, very crude and super loud, but filled with love kind of family. We belong together. Every single one of us.

Thank you #NatCon16 for having us. We will be seeing you next year in Seattle. Until then, I hope you find something that makes you stop and think, “I’m on the right path, I belong here” – because we all have a purpose, sometimes it just takes a little longer for us to find out what it is, but it’s there. We have to work hard every day to be better people, to help others and help ourselves. Our time will come and when it does, we have to take it with both hands and trust it will all work out. If we don’t, we will always look back at that moment and ask “what if”.

I’m going to miss you Vegas. I won’t miss the smell of cigarette smoke, but I will miss the Starbucks within walking distance to my hotel room. I will miss the endless refills of my Diet Coke, I will miss the 60+ unread Facebook messages every morning, I will miss the crude and highly inappropriate language and stories shared over breakfast, lunch and dinner, I’ll miss the banter from the group, I will miss the laughter, so much laughter, which leads me to what I will miss most… the team.

Each and every one of you are amazing. There are not enough words to describe my deep love for you all and for what you are doing in this world. I am not one to talk about feelings so openly (not a hugger haha) but after experiences like this one, one can’t help but reflect on how it may have changed them in some way. I’m going to try be a little more open, you all did that. You all inspire me to be a better person. I hope I do the same for you and if nothing else, I hope you got some bloody good organizing tips! you all need it! haha

Much love & respect to all

#TeamRippleAus

#TeamRippleAus / #HopeHelpsHeal / #LBLearn2Fly / #TheEnemyWithin / #3Words / #LIVIN / #GVBMindWarrior/ #SuicideTheRippleEffect

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#TeamRippleAus

December 31, 2015
#TeamRippleAus

#TeamRippleAus

Meet #TeamRippleAus.

On December 30th, 2015 a group of people from across Australia came together in Sydney for a remarkable few days.

Kevin Hines (pictured centre) is a mental health, suicide prevention and lived experience guru from the USA, who has delved into the world of film making. After attempting to take his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge, he miraculously survived, of which only 1% who attempt do.

Since then Kevin has travelled the world speaking about his story and his journey of recovery to anyone who would listen. Fast forward to 2015 and Kevin is in the middle of filming a documentary called “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” . This documentary has taken him to 8 countries around the world, speaking to multiple people with a lived experience.

I was one of the lucky ones to be asked to join Kevin in Sydney for filming of the Australian component and it was truly an incredible experience. I was not alone though, along for the ride was Joe Williams (The Enemy Within), Patty Lawson (3 Words: I Need Help), Sam Webb (LIVIN), Sue Murray (SPA) and Tracy McCown (SPA). We spent hours talking all things lived experience and how our journeys, all very different, had brought us to this very moment.

This is the first documentary of its kind. One thats main focus is on those who have lived through the pain of suicide and who are trying to use those experiences to help others. To create positive ripple effects in the world.

#TeamRippleAus will be reconvening again in Jan 2016 to finalise some interviews so watch this space!

You can read more about Kevin and his story via his website – www.kevinhinesstory.com

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