Anne McRitchie - A Life of Adventure, Adversity and Girl Power
NAME: Anne McRitchie
LOCATION: Chilcotts Grass NSW Australia
BA (Melb Uni); Fellow University of Technology Sydney; Director College of Universal Medicine; EPA Accredited Practitioner; writer; book publisher.
I was born in Surrey, England during the Second World War and we were often bombed in my first two years. As my father was Australian we came to Australia as soon as the war ended. Although while growing up my siblings and I did not have many children to play with in the local community, every year from when I was about seven or eight until my mid-teens, we would spend the long summer holidays camping at the beach where I had the opportunity to play with other children – I mostly played with boys as they had more adventures!
After University I worked for a few years as a computer programmer for a large oil company and found myself as the only woman in an all male department. This was a trend that was to follow me for the rest of my career as at that time there were few professional woman in the IT industry
In my early twenties, I sailed for England, worked in both England and Italy and travelled extensively in Europe. On my return to Australia I joined a multinational IT company where for twenty-five years I held a variety of marketing and management positions. My career spanned those years when a woman in a management position in a large IT company was relatively rare, and it was very much the domain of men.
By this time,
I thoroughly enjoyed working for a multinational company as it meant that there was scope to have a variety of interesting and challenging positions, as well as traveling overseas on many occasions. As I was not married and did not have children, my work was my life and I threw myself into it with gusto! Some of the more interesting trips involved representing Australia at an International Chamber of Commerce meeting in Paris, visiting NASA in Houston just after a successful satellite launch, calling on the US administration to discuss telecommunications policy and much more. I was also called on to speak at conferences, seminars and University graduation ceremonies.
In addition to my regular job, I was appointed to a number of Boards and committees, the longest running being a University Council and the board of the NSW Small Business Development Corporation. I also consulted to various state governments on the use of technology in schools. I loved the variety that these positions provided and the opportunities to meet a wide cross section of people.
During my career years, not only were my personal friends and business colleagues almost all male, my recreational activities were also very male dominated. I started to learn to fly when I lived in Melbourne in my late twenties. I then moved to Sydney where I took up sailing with a passion, both cruising and racing. I competed in many races including the Sydney Hobart Yacht race, which is very gruelling. I also cruised within Australia as well as in Greece, Tahiti and the British Virgin Islands. Although I had always skied on and off, in my late thirties I took it up as a regular winter activity and needless to say, I usually skied with the guys!
At fifty, I retired from full-time employment and moved to Thredbo ski village where I set up a small business managing ski chalets and consulting to other small businesses. Still seeking adventure, I also took up paragliding but this was short lived as I had a rather heavy landing during a training exercise!
From the time I was fifty until I turned sixty, there were a number of difficult events in my life, which have shaped who I am today. At fifty I was diagnosed with cancer and after a radical hysterectomy operation I was told that I had twenty-five percent chance of living for more than two years. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, which was not my want, I read all the research I could find on cancer. This resulted in my making several lifestyle changes as well as supporting myself with alternate-healing treatments.
The biggest event in my life was the 1997 Thredbo landslide which occurred across the road from where I was living – I lost seventeen friends, six being close friends, in one night. It took a week to uncover all the bodies and body parts, our village was in lock-down and the press were all over the place even invading the privacy of a service in the village chapel!! The local residents, including me, were in total disbelief and shock as the drama unfolded and took its toll on people’s emotions and wellbeing. Shortly afterwards I was hospitalised and had a pacemaker fitted which was replaced a year later with a pacemaker/defibrillator after a heart attack that saw me clinically dead for ten minutes.
Two years after these events I was again hospitalised, this time in Canada with Strep C blood infection. I had several operations on my left knee and was told that I would likely not walk again on my left leg. This was a very challenging time as when I first put my left foot on the ground after the operations I screamed in pain. So next day I had to start with one small step using a large walking frame and supported by my partner, Greg. I was determined to increase the number of steps each day until eventually I could do a lap of the ward. It took focus and dedication to get to this point and I gradually progressed from a large walking frame to a smaller frame and then to crutches. By the time I left Canada I only needed a walking stick, which I used for a year after I got home. After discarding the walking stick, I was soon back skiing black runs in Canada!
I was married at sixty-one to my partner of fifteen years. Neither of us had been married before and neither of us had ever had children. Our relationship had developed from a mutual interest in searching for some deeper meaning to life and exploring New Age literature and workshops. We knew that there was something more to life, but we had yet to discover it.
Ten days after our wedding my husband came down with Q-fever. He had no sooner recovered than I was advised to undergo open-heart surgery to have my mitral valve replaced. I was still recovering when our 240-acre property went up in flames and the fire escaped into the National Park where it burned for 3 more weeks.
These and other similar events had taken their toll on my health when in 2004 I was introduced to Serge Benhayon and was inspired by what he presented to make different lifestyle choices and to start to listen to my body instead of being constantly driven by my mind. Since I have made gradual changes in my life and more loving choices, this way of living allows me to access a deep wisdom that supports and inspires those around me.
These changes also included how my husband and I were in our relationship. We gradually discarded the emptiness and hurts and started to live in a more loving way, both with ourselves and with each other. We shared a deep connection and we wanted to be together, but the change did not happen instantly or even in the first year. It took commitment on both sides, and a mutual understanding and trust when one or the other of us chose to express from emotion… rather than from the love within.
For the last ten years I have also developed close friendships with women and for the first time in my life I have more female friends than male friends. My female friends are a great reflection of what it can look like when a woman fully claims her ‘femaleness’ and lives in deep connection with the stillness and sacredness, which is innate in the female body. They are always inspiring me to continue to deepen my connection with my own femaleness which I denied for so much of my life.
Although retired from full-time paid work, I have many and varied interests that keep me fully occupied. These include as a director of the College of Universal Medicine, compiling a book of stories on the ‘Joy of Ageing Esoterically’, developing a website and a variety of other projects including renovating our home