Gifts from the Devastation – A Journey of Remembering

By Celine O’Donovan /

It is almost six years to the day since I got the news that I had breast cancer.

It still amazes me that those two simple words could dramatically alter the course of my life in an instant. Nothing would ever be the same again. The life I knew just disintegrated before my eyes and I was left reeling. I’m sure anyone who has been given difficult news or come face to face with tragedy will understand what it’s like. Everything stops in that moment while life continues on as normal all around you. It is hard to comprehend how the world keeps on turning when you have been dealt such a devastating blow, but it does.

The truth is, no one escapes devastation in life. As tough as it is, and I know there are some tragedies that are beyond comprehension, I firmly believe that how we view and process our experiences determines the course of our lives. It is not always easy but it is we who ultimately choose who we become.  We can choose to believe that we live in a hostile world that is out to get us or we can choose to believe that life is always happening to help us grow and express our full potential, even if we don’t understand it at the time. Sometimes we just have to trust. Sometimes we just need to be stopped in our tracks so that we can remember who we are and why we are here.

I am a native of Galway city and worked in marketing for over twenty years prior to my cancer diagnosis. I lived in Dublin for thirteen years before returning to Galway in 2005. My career brought me all over the world and for the last ten years, all over Ireland. This was the role I loved most of all, visiting schools – supporting and guiding teenagers as they made decisions about going to university. To anyone looking in from the outside they probably thought I hadn’t a care in the world but there was another side to that coin. By the time cancer knocked on my door, I was totally burnt out. I felt like I was dying inside. I was frustrated by the limitations of my role as I wanted to work with young people in a much more holistic way. I was struggling with some difficult relationships and I had suppressed some very painful earlier life experiences that were now catching up on me. By 2016, I couldn’t outrun life any longer.

I really don’t think anything else that could have stopped me in my tracks so completely. A car accident two years before was one of many wake-up calls, but it wasn’t long before I was back on the hamster wheel at full speed. I felt like there must be something wrong with me because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t reconcile myself with the fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle that typified our modern-day world. We seemed to have lost touch with the important things in life, like the understanding of our true nature and gifts. None of it made sense to me anymore. I was also desperately lonely for connections with like-minded people.

Cancer brought me on the greatest rollercoaster journey of self-discovery that continues to this day. It taught me that I am not a helpless victim of life with everything randomly happening to me.  Nothing could be further from the truth. It reminded me that I have powerful, creative abilities and am here to express my gifts and live a life that is true to me. I know that now in my heart and soul. Cancer reminded me of my connection to my power source. It gave me permission to show my true self to the world. 

As painful as life can be at times, we can’t just snap our fingers and extract the wisdom. Life doesn’t work like that.  We would learn nothing that way. We have to go through challenging times to transform, but we can do so from a higher perspective of understanding. Just remember, life is always trying to get you on your path or redirect you if you have gone off track. That’s what happened to me. You will know when you are on track because you will feel a flow to your life like you have never felt before. That is the prize and that is my wish for you.

That is why I wrote my book, Gifts from the Devastation, although it didn’t start out like that. Writing became my outlet for processing the massive changes that were taking place in me. It was only with time and the urgings of good people that I was encouraged to turn it into a book. I hope you are encouraged to go on your own journey of self-discovery as you read mine. As you do, you will come to know what you need to understand about your own life. The insights that are important for your growth will be revealed to you. You will instinctively feel what is coming up for healing and your will be ready to start creating a life that you love. You will be held every step of the way as I was, so you never need to worry. 

Trust me, although you may have not have been told this ever, you have more power within you than you could ever comprehend. You have the most amazing gifts and abilities that are your birthright. I really hope my book reminds you of this. Through your thoughts, feelings, words and actions, you create your life. They are all energy and energy is the substance of creation. I guarantee you that once you live from your heart, connect with your intuition and trust your gut, you will be led on a path of flow and magic, the path you are here to follow.

To help you take action, I finish the book with a very practical tool called the InsideOut Living Indicator. Working through this exercise will help you move forward. Whether it is spending more time in silence, developing healthy boundaries, processing difficult emotions or finding an outlet for creative expression, your next steps will become very clear to you. Awareness is the first powerful step we take on road to change. When we combine it with the right actions, we are unstoppable.

I hope that you remember how powerful you really are. I hope you live your life fiercely and bravely, honouring who you are. I hope that by sharing my story, you are inspired to do so. We all came into the world to live at our highest potential, expressing our unique gifts. Once we wake up to this fact, the sky’s the limit. This is how we create our lives. This is how we create a wonderful new earth. It really is!

Packed full of practical tips and insights, this book is a reminder that you are not just a helpless victim of life.


Gifts from the Devastation by Celine O’Donovan is available from and from wherever books are sold.


You can Order Gifts from the Devastation Audio Book here:

You can Listen to extract 1: or by watching the video below:

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