Hold­ing hands with death

The Bali bomb­ings shook every­thing Car­ren had known but she has come back from the hor­rors of that night to build a new ‘nor­mal’

Life & Style Weekend - - BUSINESS - with Car­ren Smith

IT’S hard to com­pre­hend that, 15 years ago, my skull was crushed and my two best friends were killed in the Sari Club in Kuta.

Ten years later, 60 Min­utes flew me and my part­ner, Matt, back to Bali to re­visit the site in the hope of cre­at­ing an­other level of peace and un­der­stand­ing of what hap­pened on that fate­ful night of Oc­to­ber 12, 2002.

Thou­sands of lives were changed on that night in ways that are be­yond words and if you know me, or know of me, you’ll know I’ve ded­i­cated my life to help­ing oth­ers find a voice for their own suf­fer­ing and, most im­por­tantly, find free­dom from de­bil­i­ta­tion.

My per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, as a re­sult of run­ning through flames, jump­ing walls, falling down ditches and com­ing face to face with the stuff of night­mares, has left me in awe of the hu­man in­stinct for sur­vival and re­silience. I held hands with death and wit­nessed the bru­tal­ity of re­li­gious ex­trem­ism and to this day have mar­velled at our abil­ity to find a new ‘nor­mal’. A nor­mal that has its pri­or­ity rooted in per­sonal peace of mind.

My dad told me the day I ar­rived back from Bali in an am­bu­lance to the Royal North Shore hos­pi­tal that they may have tam­pered with my peace of mind but only I could re­store my faith in hu­man­ity.

My mum held me so close and stayed with me every sec­ond of every day for three weeks and brought me the com­fort I needed to re­build my­self when the time was right.

Aus­tralians reached out and sent cards, flow­ers, fruit bas­kets and wishes of hope and love in ways that were over­whelm­ing. More than 500 cards and 300 bunches of flow­ers adorned my hos­pi­tal room, all ooz­ing with sup­port and strength I didn’t have, but so needed, at that time.

It’s on the re­flec­tion of such a fate-filled time that I can ap­pre­ci­ate how far I’ve come per­son­ally, along with the im­por­tance of con­nec­tion, com­mu­nity and to­geth­er­ness.

We have no idea when our time is up and the day it comes, the last thing we want is to wish we had done things dif­fer­ently. It’s this mes­sage that will be car­ried from this an­niver­sary to al­ways be present and in the moment, al­ways be kind, al­ways be gen­er­ous, al­ways be com­pas­sion­ate, and to al­ways be free.

Free­dom is a state of mind more than a phys­i­cal con­di­tion and if we can all rise above our own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences of hell and reach for peace and a new ‘nor­mal’, the world, your world, will be­gin to be a bet­ter place.

PS – If you’d like a copy of my book Soul Sur­vivor, jump on­line to www.car­ren­smith.com and grab your copy from the home page.

If you have a ques­tion you’d like an­swered, email Car­ren on info@car­ren­smith.com.

We have no idea when our time is up ... the last thing we want is to wish we had done things dif­fer­ently

PHOTO: DEAN LEWINS

DEV­AS­TA­TION: An aerial view of the bomb blast scene days af­ter the at­tack in Oc­to­ber 2012. Al­most 200 peo­ple died, in­clud­ing many Aus­tralians.

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