Book Giveaway and Excerpt: Gifts from the Devastation

Dear KOM-ers!

We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!

Please enjoy this excerpt from “Gifts from the Devastation” by Celine O’Donovan.

There are 2 ways to enter to win a FREE hard copy:

  1. Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
  2. Email us at with the Subject: Gifts from the Devastation giveaway entry

The winner will be randomly selected on 3/21/22 and announced on our website and social media. *


Can our devastations be opportunities for great transformation? Moments of devastation will visit everyone in life. Whether it is grief, illness, loss or some other trauma, no one escapes. In Celine’s case, one of those moments was her diagnosis with breast cancer in 2016.

As you join Celine on her journey from getting this life-changing news, to surrendering and ultimately choosing a path of transformation, you are prompted to reflect on your own life and how your personal traumas have shaped you into the person you are today. You will discover that every crisis is an opportunity to evolve and that despite the inevitable pain that comes with growth, life really is happening for you, not to you. It is always unfolding for your highest good.

Packed full of practical tips and insights, this book is a reminder that you are not just a helpless victim of life. You are a powerful creator and life is actually trying to help you grow into the fullest version of you.

Excerpt from Chapter 2: The Writing Was On The Wall

If you’re not excited about it, it’s not the right path. – Abraham Hicks

In saying The writing was on the wall, I mean there were many signs that my life was out of balance long before my diagnosis. I can honestly say that in the years leading up to it I was struggling. Although I had been passionate about my job for many years, I knew with every fiber of my being that it was time for change. Added to this, I had some questionable personal relationships in my life that were not serving me at all and only added to my distress. I continued to work very hard in an effort to shake off these feelings but to no avail. I found myself living with a constant low-level anxiety and sometimes all-out panic as I tried to maintain the façade of being okay. I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. I felt like an actor in my own life. I was playing many roles but none of them were me.

In early November 2014 I had been involved in a car accident. Luckily, although no one was seriously injured, I was left feeling shattered. I was literally brought to a standstill and was on sick leave for a month. It felt like someone had tripped a switch in my brain. I realized that my body was telling me enough was enough. I was burnt out. I needed to change how I was living as it wasn’t working for me anymore. I didn’t listen, or in truth I didn’t know what to do. On the day of the accident, I was feeling particularly stressed. I had always loved being out on the road meeting students and teachers. I felt like I was really making a difference, but something had changed. The financial crash of 2008 had put enormous pressure on everyone and in the public sector where I worked it was no different. Year on year it intensified and everyone was feeling stretched. Yet instinctively I also knew that it was time to broaden my horizons; to develop other skills and be of service in the world in a new way. I say this at the risk of sounding sorry for myself, but what I really want to illustrate is that the warning signs are always there. I had felt them creeping up on me for quite some time. Knowing what I now know, I won’t do that again. Hindsight is a great teacher and I don’t regret any of it. I had to recognize my limits in all aspects of my life and learn about boundaries. I needed to take my power back.

Returning to the car accident, it was a surreal experience. I was almost at the doorstep of the school that I was visiting when it happened. I drove straight into the back of a car at a pedestrian crossing. I can remember the seconds before it happened so well. I knew I was in the red zone in terms of stress. I was very agitated and couldn’t concentrate. The last thing I remember was my attention straying to a woman pushing a buggy on the footpath nearby. I thought she looked so happy and relaxed and I envied her. In that moment I would have given anything to be in her shoes although I knew nothing of her life. I took my eyes and attention off the road. Then bang! Everything stopped. I don’t remember the details except that it all seemed to be over within a matter of minutes. I gave my details to the Guards and then everyone dispersed. I was down in County Kerry, far from home, and my car was a write-off. As I started to panic I heard a knock on the window and I turned to see an elderly man with kind eyes looking in at me. He had witnessed the accident and invited me to his home to recover. I gladly accepted the offer. In their cozy kitchen that I still remember vividly, his wife made me a strong cup of sweet tea. As the sugar hit my system I managed to pull myself together. They helped me arrange the practical details of hiring a car and as it was going to take a few hours, they made plates of sandwiches and many pots of tea were consumed. As the afternoon passed, I found myself alone with the man’s wife and we chatted easily. On entering the house I had noticed many photographs of a young boy who looked to be in his late teens. I asked her about him. With tears in her eyes, she proceeded to tell me that he was her son and he had been killed in a car accident a few years before. I could sense her grief was still very raw. She talked about him, his plans, his girlfriend and the life he had great hopes for. Then he was gone. Something happened during our conversation and it has stayed with me to this day. As we left for the car hire office we bumped into a neighbor. Hearing about the accident she quietly said to me that they were very special people. I couldn’t have agreed with her more. I’m not sure what I would have done if they hadn’t looked after me so well.

On the drive we talked more. She pointed to the graveyard where her son was buried. She told me that she hadn’t been able to talk about him until today. We hugged as I left the car and I thanked her. I know that something very important happened between us in those few hours. She got the opportunity to open up to a stranger and hopefully got some relief. I felt huge gratitude that my accident hadn’t been any worse and nobody had been seriously injured. You couldn’t plan that situation. I have no doubt that the universe intervened. Here I was just after a car accident and the people who come to my rescue happened to have lost their own son in a car accident. I was acutely reminded of how precious life is and how it can all change in an instant. I left for home feeling privileged that she had been comfortable enough to share something so personal with me.

For the next few days I was wired and found it hard to sleep. Adrenaline was still coursing through my system. It was only when the effects wore off that I plummeted and found it hard to function. I didn’t understand what was happening to me and broke down when I visited my GP. She told me it was shock and that the accident had shaken me up on many levels. Looking back I can see that it was a breakdown of sorts. When I returned to work, I applied for different jobs in my desperation to make change. Deep down I knew it wasn’t the solution. I just wasn’t sure what else to do. I wasn’t successful in my applications and I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I was actually quite relieved. I ended up filling in a maternity leave cover, but this role didn’t solve any of my problems. Things were rapidly going downhill. Although I had a good employer, I was finding it harder to reconcile my love of working with young people with my increasing desire to work more holistically and take on new challenges. I had embraced a holistic approach to my own life for many years before this. My efforts had only intensified after the breakup of my marriage as I tried to process all the pain. I explored different therapies, read self-help books and attended yoga and meditation retreats. I loved every minute of this aspect of my life. It felt very natural to me, yet I struggled to see where it would take me. I eventually trained as a sound healing therapist, undertook training in craniosacral therapy and completed a foundation course in counseling and psychotherapy. All the same, I always felt like I was dancing around making a life for myself using these skills. My life was split in two and the effort to keep both lives going was becoming more and more of a strain. I struggled to know what steps to take and fear was also holding me back. If I’m honest, I was afraid of what people might think; that they might judge or dismiss me for my interests. It is only in recent years that I have been able to own who I am and let go of the need for external validation. So as I left work for the Christmas holidays at the end of 2015, I vowed to myself that next year would be the year for change. I started the process by enquiring about training as a Bio-Energy therapist, but more training was not to be the answer. I had planned to start the course in April, but life had other plans for me.


The encounter after my car accident has stayed with me to this day. It was clearly a wake-up call, reminding me that life is precious. I should cherish it and trust my inner voice. The struggle I had been feeling for quite some time was a sign that something needed to change. I didn’t know it at the time but I was going to get another even bigger wake-up call.


* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media. 

NOTE: You can pre-order Celine’s book from Hunt Publishing or Amazon.

celine o'donovan
Celine O’Donovan is a native of Galway city on the west coast of Ireland. Following a successful international career in marketing, she is now a published author. This change in direction was accelerated by personal lessons Celine learned after her diagnosis of breast cancer and its aftermath. Her message is: nothing happens by chance and all life events are sent to spur spiritual growth and enable us to fulfill our individual gifts. This re-framing of how we see our lives now shapes Celine's writing. Her mission is to create personal and practical 'epiphany' moments that allow her readers to discover this for themselves. Celine's other loves are the development of conscious communities, nature, knitting and all things holistic. With a career now as a writer, public speaker and coach, Celine is living proof that crisis can be the impetus to grow, find meaning and ultimately enjoy a better life. You can follow Celine on her website.

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