Category Archives: connectedness

What made you happy yesterday might not make you happy today

Life is a journey, right? We are told this continuously throughout our lives, by friends and relatives hoping to provide some reassurance or insight. We too, have most likely bestowed this timeless phrase on our loved ones on many an occasion. But do we really know what this means in practice? Do we fully understand how to embrace the constant onward march of time, and the ever-changing circumstances we find ourselves faced with?

I can only speak for myself when I say that I have not yet mastered this skill. I understand the theory behind the journey of life, and letting go of the idea that I was ever in control. I’m certainly much better at accepting the light and dark that enters our lives, and recognising that maybe, just maybe, the lights have gone out so that we may discover something new about ourselves. But change I find tricky, and my skill-set in dealing with life often falls short when it comes to uncertainty and periods of transition. And there definitely is a skill-set involved, without which it’s logical that we may falter and struggle against reality.

There was a lot of change for me growing up, but this doesn’t mean that I know how to handle it. In fact, I’d say I’m less well-equipped than someone who has had a relatively stable upbringing, because our goal as a family was to run away from the problems, and wherever possible, pretend that they didn’t exist. This is perfectly understandable, given that my parents didn’t have the know-how to help us deal with what was going on. That’s not to say that they didn’t do lots of lovely things to soothe and comfort us, or that they didn’t desperately want for us to be happy and well-adjusted. Their love and adoration is not in question here. I think perhaps one of the difficulties with a highly changeable upbringing is that you find yourself always looking for something permanent; something solid to hold onto in a seemingly unfriendly world. But by doing this, you overlook the importance of letting go and of going with the flow of life. And there most definitely is a flow to life, isn’t there? We’ve all experienced that delicious feeling of being on the right path, or of just knowing somehow that life is supporting you in your endeavours.

Note: it’s been important for me to realise that life is always supporting me, even when it feels as though everything is falling apart.

One of my biggest frustrations in life is that what made me happy yesterday might not make me happy today. I can be sailing along, having a perfectly wonderful week, then suddenly everything looks very different. “But wait! I was happy and content before – what’s happened to change how I feel? Why can’t I find that feeling again by doing the same things as before?” It’s a very disheartening experience, and one that can make you feel very powerless and out of control if you let it. The only answer I have come up with so far is to let go and let happiness reveal itself to you in its own time. As tempting as it is to keep looking in the same places, perhaps you need to take a big step back and view life from a different perspective? The truth is that life may look the same as it did yesterday or last year, but we are never the same person, from one day to the next. We are older, wiser, and hopefully have a little more clarity about how we wish to spend our time on this planet. Perhaps the previous year was spent making important discoveries about yourself and/or your relationships, but now the time has come to utilise that knowledge and express more of yourself to the world? Continuing to delve into your inner-psyche might not have the same impact as before because, well, you’re in a different phase of your life, and the nature of life’s journey requires that you move on from where you were before.

This is tough, and often requires patience, support from others, and at times, huge leaps of faith that will leave you wondering what on earth just happened. These are the moments in life where we must gather as much courage as possible, and maybe take things a little less seriously. I know how serious and dark life can feel at times, as I’m sure you do. But survivors of serious illness and near-death experiences will tell you how liberating it is to live for the moment and enjoy each day for what it is, instead of getting so bogged down in worry and negativity.

And let’s not forget that we are all connected in this journey of life. We cannot do this alone, and will never have to, no matter how alone we may feel at times. Being strong and independent doesn’t mean not needing anyone else for support and guidance, and in fact it is a sign of maturity to be able to reach out to others, and recognise when we don’t have the know-how to keep moving in the right direction. Life will keep moving; it’s how we handle it that counts.

Much love,

Kath

 

p.s. I always want to apologise at the end of my blog posts: “Sorry it was so wordy and long, or that it didn’t sound intelligent enough or have enough content”. Well today I will not apologise. If you didn’t like what you read, I salute you for having your own ideas and preferences. If you did like it, well how very exciting!

Image courtesy of WILL POWER via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License

Shadows and stars

There are so many hidden parts of me, just waiting to get out. I see now, after so many years of anxiety and sadness, that I have been living in the shadows, unaware of what was waiting for me in the light. Like a long dark tunnel, it is necessary to keep moving forwards in order to reach the light. It’s terrifying – truly terrifying. But oh… once you’ve glimpsed the light which lies beyond that dark and confined space, you will know in your heart that there is no turning back.

It’s a strange thing to awaken to your true self. The truth of who I am has always been there, but I have been so very oblivious to it I can hardly believe it. I have been afraid, but I see now that I am brave – courageous beyond my wildest dreams. Where once I felt ashamed, I am beginning to feel a joy in letting it all hang-out. This is me, and there won’t ever be another one of me. Similar, yes. Kindred spirits – definitely. But an exact copy? Nope. I am a part of the universe that has never existed before, and will never exist again. And the same is true for you, whoever you are. A friend of mine called me a ‘star’ the other day, and I liked how it reminded me that I am a part of a much bigger picture. As Gill Edwards put it: “We are all pieces in a giant cosmic jigsaw” (I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember the exact quote). Needless to say that when I first encountered this quote in Gill’s writings, I felt a sense of belonging and of family that I have spent my life searching for.

I realise that this post makes it sound like I’m close to having all the answers, which is far from the truth. I believe I have a lot more to learn about myself, and I hope many more adventures to go on. But for the first time in my 35 years on this planet, the longing to be my true self is greater than any anxiety about what people may think of me.

So much life to be lived. So many parts of myself to explore and express. So many lovely people to connect and share experiences with.

I still have days where I struggle to feel connected to myself and others, but I know now to let these days pass me by, trusting that they will give way to something more joyful and more true. My disconnected state isn’t my true self, but rather a state of being that masks my true self. This is different to the concept of light and dark existing alongside one another; there will always be good and bad times in our lives, just like the sky can’t always be filled with sunshine. But our true selves remain constant, even if they are hidden away, and even if it’s grey outside and everything in our lives seems to be falling to pieces.

So, I put this to you, my lovely readers. You are a star, shining brightly in an ever-unfolding universe. You are part of something wonderful, but you yourself are wonderful, just as you are. So make like those cheesy slogans we see all over mugs and tote bags, and shine bright for all the world to see.

And one last thing: if you’re only just entering the dark tunnel of your life, be kind and patient with yourself. Keep moving forwards, bit by bit, and when you least expect it, a small amount of light will begin to appear at the other side. Whatever you do, don’t look back.

Love,

Kath

Don’t judge me, I’m only human.

Please don’t judge me – you know nothing of what I’ve been through.

You may think you know, just as I may think that I understand you.

But how can we? How can we really understand what it’s like to walk in each other’s shoes?

I see the way you look at me – constantly assessing my character.

You’ve been doing it since the day we first met, and even now, after all these years, you can’t seem to just let me be.

I know you love me, as I love you.

I try not to judge you, and to let you be. But I do judge your judgement of me.

I have felt judged my whole life, and the last thing I need is to feel that I am under your scrutiny.

You don’t mean to, I know, but I always feel so belittled, so inferior under your watchful gaze.

You can’t know that this is the story of my life – feeling that I’m constantly falling short.

Never belonging

Never fitting in

How could you know? You have never asked, and I have never told you.

In any case, I know how you’d react.

You’d be full of judgements and opinions on that too:

“Oh there’s no point holding onto the past! You’ve got to let these things go like I have”

“You’re too much of a worrier, that’s your problem”

“Stop procrastinating and live for the moment! Enjoy life – it’s wonderful!”

But I see how much the past troubles you

You mention it all the time

You protest too loudly for me to believe you when you say that you have moved on

And as for my worrying… well, there was plenty to worry about growing up, and no one who could really help me to get a handle on life; to manage my emotions and feel safe in the world.

Under these circumstances, most people would become prone to anxiety and worry.

So don’t judge me or make me feel that I’ve somehow got it all wrong. I’ve judged and chastised myself enough over the years.

What I need now is love and acceptance

To feel deep down inside my bones that I belong and that I am connected to the world around me

Your judgements do not serve me, but your love means the world.

 

Image courtesy of Johnny Lai via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution licence

Is it any wonder?

Is it any wonder that I failed to speak my truth growing up?

So much to say, but no one to hear me – including myself.

I learnt to be silent

I learnt to value the opinions of others above my own

I never learnt how to be an ‘I’

No sense of self

No space to freely explore and express who I am

And oh so much fear

Insecurity reigned, like an evil queen.

Always too scared to discover what’s on the inside

Too frightened to let anyone in

Have I ever truly let someone in?

And felt that true connection with someone I love?

There have definitely been moments: tiny sparks that burned bright but fizzled out all too soon.

But that inner-wiring exists nonetheless

I am hardwired for connection; we all are.

But first I must connect with myself, daring to lift the lid and see what’s inside.

I’m sure that what I see won’t all be good or perfect

But who wants to be good and perfect anyway?!

I will see – have seen – kindness, that’s for sure.

Oh yes, there is a giant heart beating inside my chest.

A heart that so desperately wants to reach out and touch the hearts of others

But first I must heal my relationship with my self

Then I will have much to share with the world

Then I will feel peace and joy

Then I will know that I have found my way home

 

Image courtesy of Ghost of Kuji via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution Licence

Do you hear me?

I have recently become involved with a local Deaf and Hearing Support charity, as a volunteer and attendee of their free weekly sign language classes. As I’m in the UK, the language we are learning is British Sign Language (I’m told it’s VERY different from American Sign Language, plus the numerous other sign languages that exist – in fact, even within the UK there are many regional differences, making it just as complex to learn and understand as any spoken language).

You may be wondering by now why I’m writing about sign language, so I’ll crack on and cut to the chase. All of this has got me thinking about how we communicate with each other, and indeed with ourselves. I am only just now beginning to understand the devastating impact of having not felt ‘heard’ as a child and a teenager, and possibly also as an adult. We may be sounding out words, but whether or not they are being fully received and really listened to is another matter.

Let’s be honest, there are a whole host of reasons why we may feel unheard. Perhaps we struggle to communicate what we need, struggling even to formulate our emotions and experiences into sentences the other person can understand, or shying away from what we want to say because we fear being judged. Perhaps the person we’re speaking to can’t understand our point of view, or is too wrapped up in their own issues to fully empathise with us in the way we want them to. Or perhaps they are literally not listening to us, but rather coasting through the conversation with a series of words and noises which sound good enough, but our gut tells us that they’re just not interested. Whatever the reason, the effects can feel really devastating, especially if we’re talking to someone we feel really ought to understand, and whose opinion and understanding are important to us.

So why is this so important? Why do we need to feel heard in the first place? I’m sure most of you already know the answer: it’s simply part of the human experience to need to communicate the way we feel, and to thereby feel supported and part of a bigger whole. No man (or woman) is an island, and trying to operate alone is a very lonely and depressing experience.

I often find that I’m so frustrated with someone who isn’t meeting my conversational expectations, that I don’t realise I’m doing the same thing in return. I was talking with a family member earlier today, and because I was frustrated with them for not acknowledging what I had been saying, I started to lose interest in the conversation and give very minimal responses. “Listen to me!” I wanted to say. “Stop talking about yourself and listen to what I have to say”. It’s a vicious circle of people not feeling heard or acknowledged, often resulting in the individuals coming away feeling frustrated and depressed.

So what can we do to make sure that we’re really heard, and also that we’re aware of our own emotional and conversational needs?

  • Make time to do nothing. Carve out some time every day, no matter how small, just to take a breather, get some perspective and check in with your feelings. Keep a diary/journal if you want to. This can take any form you like – from a stream of consciousness to a bullet list of things to ask yourself, such as ‘how am I feeling?’ and ‘what do I need in this moment?’.
  • Develop an awareness of who amongst your friends and family is good to talk to, and who isn’t! Like it or not, there are often people in our lives we wish would really listen to us and provide that support and comfort we all crave, but for some reason they just aren’t able to give us what we need. Whilst this can really hurt, continuing to return to this person in the hopes that something will have changed is a recipe for heartache, frustration and a whole host of other emotions we’d rather not be feeling! Being realistic about what people have to offer means that you can ensure you seek support from the right places, and come away feeling lighter, not weighed down by additional worries.
  • Share how you feel. If you feel like someone in your life, such as your partner, isn’t listening to you in the way you’d like them to, consider letting them know. There’s no need to go in all guns blazing and blame them for not making enough effort – although obviously this might be the case! The best thing in my experience is to open up a conversation about what’s going on, what isn’t working for you, and how the other person feels about what you’re saying. Basically, just open up the line of communication and put your heads together to troubleshoot how you can both make sure you’re getting what you need. Consider carving out some time to get away from your routine, so that there’s enough mental space for you to really listen and be heard.
  • Cultivate friendships which feel good, with people who encourage you to express yourself and to become more and more of who you are. Some people drain our energy, whilst others build us up and help us to feel lighter. Once you’re aware of this, it’s easier to choose who to spend time with, when and how often. It’s not that there’s anything bad or wrong with people who drain your energy, or that by choosing not to spend time with them you are being disloyal to someone you love or care about as a friend. It’s just about being honest with yourself, knowing that if you take care of your needs, you will inevitably have more energy to give to everyone in your life.
  • Get creative! Your emotions don’t always need to be expressed as spoken or written words. Why not listen to some emotive music and do some freestyle dancing around the kitchen? Or if that’s a bit too out-there for you, maybe just get out some colouring pens and pencils and a blank sheet of paper and see what happens. I love to doodle and not put pressure on myself to create an artistic masterpiece – although sometimes I’m surprised by how much I like what I’ve drawn!

In conclusion, there’s a definite difference between hearing the words coming from someone’s mouth, and truly listening to what they’re saying/being emotionally available for them. And there is soooooo much to gain from listening to ourselves, and making sure we nurture and take care of ourselves the way we’d like others to take care of us. I often find myself feeling frustrated by how low I feel, when in theory I’m doing all the right things. But there’s a massive difference between what’s right on paper and what truly feels right for us. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, and whilst I still wish that there was a set of precise instructions for me to follow as I go through life, I’m starting to see that I am a unique piece of a greater jigsaw puzzle, and that the world needs me – and all of us – to show up as the people we truly are underneath all the social norms, peer pressure and family expectations.

P.S. I really love writing to you, whoever you are. I’m really trying my hardest to be more motivated, because I really do want to share as much as I can about what I’ve learned – mostly as a result of my less than smooth path in life thus far! Or maybe I’ll write a few more blog posts and realise I’m out of ideas…! Joking aside, it’s hard to believe in yourself (or in my case, myself) enough to keep writing a blog, especially living in the UK where we’re not supposed to promote ourselves or talk confidently about our skills or talents! Persevere I shall, and if you’ve taken the tiniest nugget of wisdom from this post, then I’m a happy English bunny.

Peace be with you, my fellow earth dwellers.

Bye for now x

The Woodland Den

Have you heard of the Woodland Den? No? Let me tell you about it then, for it is my greatest wish that as many people as possible may know of and benefit from this magical place… I first stumbled upon the den as a young girl, and since then have visited almost every day. It is my home, my sanctuary and my friend. I love this place dearly, but it is now time that I shared it with others.

The path that leads to the den is narrow and winding, and trees line the way up the hill and away from the village. This woodland is the most beautiful I have ever seen, with many different varieties of trees and other plant life. No matter the weather, the woods always feel peaceful and safe. In the autumn and winter months, the smell of wood smoke penetrates the landscape, reminding me of warm cosy evenings in front of the fire, perhaps with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a gingerbread man. In truth, I have never lived in a house with an open fire, but this is a place of imagination and dreams, and anything is possible. When you are almost at the den, the path becomes very steep indeed, and suddenly you find that you are at the top of a hill, looking into a clearing in the trees and foliage. The clearing is round, and the entrance is marked by a large boulder which bears the words ‘Woodland Den’. This is it – you have arrived! And what a treat you are in store for…

As you enter the den, you notice that the atmosphere becomes still and serene, no matter how bad the weather rages outside, or down below in the village. Dried leaves line the floor like a crunchy, autumnal carpet, and fairly lights hang from the trees at the edges of the clearing. An outdoor wood burning stove is already lit, so if you arrive at the den feeling a little cold, please go ahead and warm yourself in front of the fire.

After some time, you will most likely begin to notice that there are many animals on the perimeter of the den, looking in on you with curiosity. Rather than feeling that you have intruded on their space, you feel a deep sense of belonging, and you know instinctively that you are very welcome here. This place belongs to you, and you to it. You are one and the same, and the feeling of safety you experience in this magical place is like nothing you’ve experienced before.

I can see you standing there, my friend, smiling, breathing in the crisp, woody air, and noticing the sounds of the woodland all around you. My first visit to this place was such a wonderful surprise: I will never forget the sensation of being completely held, and completely safe. In this place, I need be nothing more than I already am, and there is nothing at all to do other than what feels most joyful and comforting. This place exists inside of me, but it is as real as you and I. I can visit it at any time, and experience a calm serenity that day-to-day life often leads me to forget.

Now that I have introduced you to the Woodland Den, I would like to encourage you to visit as often as you like, and experience its ambience like a loving embrace. Although, I have to say that seeing you standing there in the den has made me wonder… What if it doesn’t quite suit your needs? Perhaps I have omitted something that you would find reassuring or entertaining in some way? I’m afraid there is no television, and now I’m beginning to wonder if this might be something you would enjoy. Do you enjoy to curl up in front of a good film with a hot drink and a close friend? If you’re going to bring guests, I suppose I really ought to furnish the place accordingly, with a sofa and some blankets. Oh dear, I appear not to have thought this through at all. Unless… unless you would like to make some alterations? Believe me when I say that the sky is the limit. All you need do is imagine what you desire, and poof! It will appear in front of you – or behind you, depending on your preferred layout. Feel free to sweep away the leaves and add a plush carpet for added warmth and luxuriousness, but be warned that the creatures that live in the woods may come to join you if you make it very cosy and comfortable. The foxes and badgers in particular have been known to visit me when I’ve snuggled up under a large blanket.

So my friend, I think I have told you all I need to about the Woodland Den. I hope that with time, it reminds you of something you already know: we are all worthy of joy and love, and there is always a place inside of us where we can experience safety and serenity.

 

 

Image courtesy of Richard Walker via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License

Forgiveness is the path to freedom

When we love our past, we free ourselves from it. Believe me, I have had moments of sublime gratitude when thinking about my past and everything I’ve gained from simply walking the path that I’ve walked. Even at times when I’ve seen how much I still have to learn and grow, I’ve seen beyond the mundane world view of meaningless pain and suffering, to a world where everything I’ve experienced is some sort of mystical, magical unfolding of my destiny. Just the other day, stood in the kitchen on a drab day, slowly tackling the dirty pots and wading through the treacle of emotions I’m feeling at the moment, I felt how very much I love everyone in my life. It was a huge and unexpected surge of compassion – something I’d like to experience more of, please and thank you!

Sometimes though, it can feel hard to love where we’ve come from. Sometimes we have a feeling of discontent and disconnection in the pit of our stomachs, and we would like nothing more than to avoid thinking about our childhoods, or spending time with people who remind us of those difficult times. In these moments, we can feel far from love, and it’s hard to know where to look for that feeling of comfort and relief. Lost. Lonely. Unsure. Desperate.

So what’s the answer? How can we move beyond pain and reconnect with the love we know lives inside of us? Well, today I was reminded of the power and absolute necessity of forgiveness. And I’m not talking here about forgiving those we feel have wronged us, although that is also important. Usually at the top of the list of people who need our forgiveness is us. Forgiveness for having disconnected from love. Forgiveness for having stepped out of alignment by believing unloving and fear-based thoughts about ourselves. Forgiveness for having unknowingly or unintentionally hurt someone else, or for having believed that we were responsible for that person’s happiness. Perhaps our younger selves dreamt of putting certain things ‘right’ for ourselves and others, and it turned out not to be possible. Perhaps we dreamt of making someone proud by getting a degree in mathematics and landing a high earning job. And perhaps we even achieved these aspirations, only to discover that they didn’t fill the whole in our hearts we once believed they would. For all of these things, and more, we must forgive ourselves.

Of course there are many tools for forgiveness, which I won’t attempt to list here. But I have learned one tool this week which I would like to share with you here, and which I hope you will take up and experiment with. It’s called Ho’oponopono, and it’s based on an ancient spiritual practice from Hawaii. The practice centres around the following mantra:

I’m sorry

Forgive me

I love you

And thank you

The idea is that when we experience anything that results in negative emotion or a sense of disconnection, we must put it right by creating a sacred space in which to meet the person, object, place, memory etc. that has caused us to experience pain. When in the sacred place, we can invite the person forward and repeat the above mantra to them three times. The crucial thing to remember is that we aren’t forgiving from an ego place, but rather from a higher perspective. Nor are we actually asking anyone to forgive us. It’s more about reconnecting with our sense of inner peace, and asking our higher selves (or the universe – however you choose to describe your higher power) to help us erase the negative emotions we have experienced.

Now, to say that this has been a basic and whistle stop tour of Ho’oponopono by a person who has only just begun to practice it themselves would be an understatement. I believe I have understood the concept and have been using it to good effect, but I know there is a lot of guidance about it online, so if you like the sound of it, go take a look and see what you find.

My current mission on the path of personal growth is to understand and embrace who I truly am, and to do this, I realise I must first forgive my past, including the part I played in it. The sense of conflict and discontent I have been feeling is an unwillingness to truly let go, because part of me believes that I should have been able to do things better. Only when I forgive myself can I begin to see others through a more compassionate lens, because then I will be approaching them from a place of love, compassion and defencelessness. Yogi Bhajan is quoted as having said:

If you are willing to look at another person’s behaviour towards you as a reflection of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement of your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.

What a gorgeous and much needed quote in my life right now! If I can forgive myself, and begin to connect with the idea that my value as a person is never in question, I will open the doors to compassion and a sense of emotional freedom. Huzzah!

And remember, forgiveness is a choice. So choose to forgive yourself as often as you can, each and every day, and see what doors begin to open for you.

Love to you all, my spectacular fellow human beings.

Kath Xxx

No one else will ever walk in your shoes

I don’t know about you, but I often get really frustrated when other’s don’t understand what I’m saying or my perspective on a particular topic. I guess I would probably feel less frustrated if I was more sure of myself, and less dependent on what others think, but for now, I still have an unhealthy attachment to external validation. Less than I used to. But it’s still there. So when I talk to people about something I feel uncertain about, what I really want for them to say is: “Oh, I know exactly what you mean! It’s so crazy isn’t it? I mean, I feel like you’ve literally described my own life, and I could not agree with you more!” Something like that anyway. More often than not though, I am met with an inadequate response, which isn’t surprising given how high my expectations are! No wonder I’m constantly disappointed if what I’m looking for is 100% understanding and enthusiasm on the part of my conversational partner.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s important for us to feel heard and understood, and if we don’t currently have many people who allow us to feel these life-affirming things, it’s maybe a good idea to reach out to people who are more on our wavelength, or join a Facebook community of like-minded individuals who can offer time and space to really hear what you’re saying. But in day-to-day conversations with friends, family and colleagues, I think it’s important (for sanity’s sake) to remember that they aren’t us, and we aren’t them. Even people we know really well, and who have been around since year dot, cannot know exactly what it’s like to walk in our shoes, and to have our unique perspective on life. It’s so important to remember this – not only to avoid feeling frustrated and disheartened, but also to ensure that we don’t give our personal power and sense of self away every five minutes. Trust me, I speak from experience! Depending on what you’re talking about, some people just won’t get it. I mean, they’re likely to agree that pizza tastes amazing, but they may be less able to understand why it’s so important for you to go sky diving or retire from work much earlier than anticipated.

This topic has come up for me because I’m currently living life so differently to how I used to, and so differently to how many people around me live their own lives. To be honest, it’s hard for me to make sense of most of the time, so how can I expect others to ‘get’ exactly where I’m coming from? It can be really isolating and lonely at times, and that’s why I mentioned about reaching out to like-minded individuals and becoming part of a Facebook community. We simply must take these practical steps in life, or risk feeling so discouraged that we give up on our hopes and dreams.

All of this helps to remind me that it’s important to keep the things that matter most to us in a sacred place inside, and not to let other people’s lack of understanding, negativity or inability to stop and really listen to what we’re saying, allow us to think less of ourselves – or our dreams. We must treat our dreams, aspirations and personal journeys with respect and kindness, and remind ourselves that we too are guilty of not completely understanding where other people are coming from sometimes.

Perhaps it’s also wise to not discuss things we feel really unsure about to the extent that we absolutely have to receive positive validation for what we’re saying. For example, I’m just beginning to realise how much more important it is to be happy and fully expressed in the world than it is to be ‘successful’ in the conventional sense of the word. This new belief is becoming less fragile as the days and weeks go by, but it’s still a huge blow to me if certain people in my life don’t agree and resonate more with my old way of seeing things. Perhaps these people are in my life to challenge me to heal these aspects of myself? Viewing it this way certainly seems to make difficult conversations feel less like a trial and more like an opportunity.

I hope this helps some of you similarly sensitive soul-searchers out there. Whoever you are, thanks so much for making it to the end of this post and for taking the time to hear what I have to say 🙂

Peace Xxx

 

Life as a free spirit

I’m discovering new things about myself all the time. The lessons are coming thick and fast at the moment, and to be perfectly honest, I’m a little overwhelmed. The reason I’m here today – writing this post, and beginning to play with ideas about how to live life as a happy, healthy human being – is because everything in my life has brought me to this point. I didn’t always walk willingly along this path of mine, and it has taken a lot of harsh life lessons for me to finally relinquish many aspects of myself that I thought to be true, but which I now know to have been largely driven by fear…

  • I didn’t love being a high-achiever. It made me feel safe.
  • I didn’t enjoy the daily grind of an office job, but I knew that was what others expected and wanted for me, and so I told myself I was on the right path. Even though barely anything about it made me come alive inside.
  • I didn’t find satisfaction in playing it safe, rather than expressing my true nature. But it didn’t even occur to me that my life belonged to me, or that the ultimate goal for any human being is joy, connection and fulfilment.

I was so, so lost. And I had absolutely no idea what life had in store for me! A few years on from giving up on the idea of a traditional career – or life! – I now see that my greatest battles have been the source of my greatest joy, as well as giving me a sense of purpose and fulfilment in the world:

  • My desire to please others has led me to the realisation that we can never, ever please everyone all of the time, and that we can never play the people-pleasing game AND be happy.
  • My ego’s desire to be the best at everything to avoid feeling unworthy or unacceptable has shown me that feelings of worthiness and self-love can only emerge when we allow our egos to quieten down and take a back seat.

The strangest thing of all, is that the person I turn out to be is so very different to the ‘me’ that emerged from my adolescent years. I’m free-spirited, creative and quirky. I love to take my time over things and really take in the moment. I adore playing with the young people in my life, and often wonder why kids get all the fun! Of course it’s also true that I LOVED being a student, that I enjoyed many aspects of the work I used to do, and that I will always love to learn new things and buy stationary (I had to sneak that one in – there’s nothing like a brand new note pad!). I am all of these things, and more aspects of my true self are, I’m sure, yet to reveal themselves.

So here I am. A free-spirit with a love of learning and stationary. A creative soul with a desire to change the world in some way. An academically successful person who likes to play and get messy. Being perfectly honest, I have no idea what to do with all this ‘me-ness’ at the moment. And I really don’t know about this whole writing thing. When I sit down to write, it’s usually to pour out a stream of consciousness, and I generally don’t know where the blog post is going until I get there. Is this normal? Can I ever become a more consistent and dedicated writer if most of my work amounts to ramblings? I  just don’t know. But here I am, and so I shall continue.

All I know for now is that the closer I get to my true self, the greater my chance of experiencing joy and fulfilment. Pretty cool hey?

Love and stuff x

Let’s get some clarity

Does life sometimes feel like a giant jigsaw puzzle to you? With all of the pieces laid out on the floor in front of you, and only the most basic understanding of how to make the whole thing come together? If so, you can join my club, because this seems to be my default setting at the moment. My usual tactic for dealing with this situation is to try to think and rationalise my way out of it. I add more mental clutter and noise to a head already full of ‘bits and pieces’. I don’t know how many more times I will have to go through this process before I finally realise that the only thing I really need to do is to get quiet, take a break from my usual routine and gain some much needed perspective. Sometimes we have to make this happen for ourselves. by booking some time off or taking up a daily meditation practice. At other times, life will force us to pause and take some time out from all the over-analysis, like for example if the author of a certain blog were to come down with the MOTHER OF ALL VIRUSES! I’m always nervous to use the term ‘flu’, but this ain’t no bog standard cold, I can tell you. In a strange sort of way, though, this illness has been my friend. It has made me stop trying to figure things out – constantly efforting and striving, exhausting myself in the process. Come to think of it, maybe there’s a reason why my immune system is shot to pieces at the moment…

Anyhow. A few very obvious answers have emerged during my confinement and forced resting period, and I have experienced clarity for the first time in a long time. And oh how delicious and wonderful it feels! It’s like, having swum for days through muddy waters, I can finally see what I’m moving towards, and why I bothered to set out on this journey in the first place. I don’t want to risk boring you with too many personal details, but I’m sure you’re just a teeny bit intrigued to know what insights I’ve had over the last few days. If not, you can always skip to the next paragraph, and I won’t ever know about it! So here goes. The following are now BLATANTLY obvious to me:

  • I am craving a sense of community and a group of people with whom to share common goals
  • Having spent most of my life in fear of other people, I now realise that ‘people’ are absolutely 100% what I want to focus my life on. By which I mean, I feel that a major driving force in my life is to help others to heal, and in doing so to heal myself. Whether that’s by writing, spending time together or learning how to give Indian head massages, I don’t really know. The answer didn’t come to me with much small print, so I guess I’ll work the detail out later. I just know that I have something to offer, and that the longer I sit on this ‘something’ and tell myself that I’m being ridiculous, the more time I waste.
  • I need to actually start doing the things that float through my head on a daily basis. Writing, meditating, going on more adventures, connecting with more people through exercise groups or other social activities, creating unique pieces of craft and art with my hand-spun wool… I mean, I LOVE wool, I love colours, I love creating and crafting and experimenting and making things with my hands. So what the hell am I waiting for?

What am I waiting for? That’s a good question, and I suspect I know the answer. Permission. I’m waiting for someone from the administrative department of the universe to turn up on my doorstep and tell me that my dreams and desires have been approved. I’m waiting for everyone I know to suddenly be on my wavelength and 100% understand who I am and what makes me tick, despite the fact that they have completely different dreams and life experiences. I’m waiting for the day I wake up and believe in myself wholeheartedly and without any fear whatsoever that what I’m doing is invalid or wrong or stupid.

So yeah. I’m waiting for a bunch of things that will never happen, and if I keep waiting, I risk not bestowing my gifts and talents upon the world. Because I truly do believe that we are all needed, and that showing up as our true selves in the greatest gift we could ever give to the world. Anyone who follows this blog on a regular basis may have noticed that I’m becoming more spiritual by the day, and one of my favourite authors, Gill Edwards, once wrote that we are all pieces in a giant jigsaw, and that we are all needed to make the whole. This idea literally revolutionised my life when I first encountered it a few years ago. Having spent all my life trying to prove myself to be a worthy human being, to discover that I was not only worthy but also needed gave me the greatest sense of joy and freedom. It was also an idea that felt like coming home – I think, despite my insecurities, I had always suspected that I was good enough, and that I maybe even had a specific purpose for being here in this lifetime.

Unfortunately, the only way to get to my life’s purpose is to do what feels right, and I’ve come to realise over the last few years that things that feel right for me stand a good chance of being a bit scary/outside of my comfort zone and of ruffling a few feathers among friends and family. Not to mention the fact that in order to work out what feels right, you have to dedicate time to getting quiet and letting the answers come to you.

Before I close out this blog post, I just want to make a couple of things clear. Firstly, I believe we all have a certain purpose to fulfil. Whether you are spiritually inclined or not, you can still come to see yourself as the owner of several unique skills, insights, talents etc. and that the world benefits from having you around.

Secondly, by ‘life’s purpose’ I don’t mean something grand like changing international law, helping to save the rain forest or healing millions of people by becoming a well-known spiritual author. My ego would love to think that my purpose looks extremely important and grand, but I think I may have to settle for a little more run of the mill existence. Which actually suits me, since I like a quiet life.

So that’s it. That’s my wisdom for today (and yesterday – I started writing this last night!). I don’t know how wise or useful it will prove to be, but I’m starting to realise that having ideas and not doing anything with them is a recipe for misery.

Bye for now folks.