Category Archives: Flow

With great pain comes understanding and peace

When all is said and done, there is only love.

When all is said and done, connection and togetherness is all that really matters.

When all is said and done, what matters most about your life might have nothing to do with your external achievements or appearance.

What matters – the ONLY thing that matters – is how we feel.

Our connection to joy and inner-peace.

Our ability to sit with all of our emotions; not censoring them, but rather noticing and acknowledging them for what they are.

How we connect with the world around us and with the universe that exists within all of us is paramount to our happiness and well-being.

I’ve read and heard ideas like these for quite a few years now, but only in this moment can I say that I am finally beginning to fully understand the truth behind them. It has taken many a dark moment of fear and disconnection to finally allow my emotional blocks to begin dissolving away, giving way to a deep well of joy and peace I never knew I could experience.

I haven’t reached this point in my life in spite of the bad times, but rather because of them. They were my friend all along, and only ever wanted the best for me. My demons are my saviours, and for as long as I live, I will try to always listen to the dark moments of my life and hear what they are trying to tell me.

And for as long as I live, I will endeavour to let go of the need to control, or to always understand what a situation is about. I cannot comprehend a universe in which I am not in constant communication with some unseen, but oh so loving and friendly force. I have felt this connection from being a young woman, but I learnt to disconnect from it in favour of social norms and false ideas about what it means to be safe and loved in the world. It has been a long journey to come home to myself, and it has only just begun! I get the feeling that I have only glimpsed the very smallest portion of my potential.

I want so desperately to feel connected, and to help others do the same. I will no longer live in a world where we are all meaningless collections of atoms, because for me this no longer feels like the truth.

I occasionally come across bits of paper with scrawled notes or reminders written on them – I have an enormous collection of writing from the last few years, which has served to help guide me and remind me of what I already knew to be the truth. It’s not prize-winning stuff, but it was important at the time, and sometimes my own words reach out to me from the past and touch me in unexpected ways. This last happened just a few days ago now, and this is what I found:

Go find your joy

Go find your purpose

Go out into the world

Let it see you

And cast your eyes upon its magnificence

Don’t label yourself;

Be wild and free

Express yourself

And feel your connection to the rest of humanity

You’ve come so far

Know that nothing is outside of your reach

These were just the words I needed to read at that exact moment, so I guess I’m happy that I’ve kept all my scrappy bits of paper!

So, my lovely readers. What feels true for you? What do you ache to do or say, but daren’t because you fear ridicule, rejection or ruin?

What is it about your life that speaks to you the most, and what is missing?

Who do you most love to spend your time with, and who drains your energy and leaves you feeling hollow?

If you could trust that your life belongs to you, what would you do differently?

And if you feel a long way off from all of this very whimsical sounding self-help style material, then know that that too is OK. It’s all good, all of the time.

LOADS of love,

Kath

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

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

The most magical time of the year?

Hello people of the internet. I hope this blog post finds you well.

I have decided to keep a record of all of the magical/out of the ordinary experiences I have had throughout my life. I’m going through a process of awakening at the moment, in which I’m coming to see what the human existence is really all about, and deciding if I have the strength and conviction to trust what I believe to be true. Since my beliefs are largely a result of what life and experience have taught me thus far, where better to start than with the things that I have personally seen and felt?

You see, all this spiritual stuff and personal development was OK when I placed ownership on anyone but myself. Spiritualism and the lessons self-help literature can teach us seemed like concrete things that I could grasp on to when I needed an anchor, but the whole point of all these teachings is that they enable us to connect with something inside of us. They are the catalyst for transformation, but the transformation is very much our own. This is scary for someone like me, who has always lacked her own voice and looked to others for what is right and wrong.

I hope some of this sounds familiar to one or two of you – surely I’m not the only one going through an existential crisis?!!

So here we go – a complete list of all the magical moments in my life (that I can remember and which are interesting enough to include in this blog post!). Because I need to start trusting my own inner voice, which has always led me to believe that there is more to life than atoms and molecules.

  1. Crying myself to sleep one night as a teenager, and begging for a sign that everything would be OK. My mum had told me to ask for a white feather, so this is what I did. On my way to college the next morning, a large white feather slowly drifted in waves and landed right by my feet.
  2. Again as a teenager, I was on my way home from college one cold winter afternoon, and for some unknown reason decided to walk back and use the payphone to ask for a lift. When I called it turned out I didn’t have my keys with me and no one was in the house, so walking home would have meant standing out in the cold waiting for someone to get home. I remember thinking as I walked back to college to use the payphone that it made no sense to do this, since I’d already been half-way home. I waited in the warmth of the college until I was able to confirm that someone was home.
  3. One night my sister and I played a game where she looked at random cards from a pack of playing cards and I had to see what number she was looking at. I got 10 right in a row and we got so spooked that we stopped doing it!
  4. I used to be able to predict lottery numbers – unfortunately, only when the numbers had been selected by the machine but before the number was revealed to the viewing public. I regularly used to get three of four numbers correct.
  5. On my way to college one day, I saw someone walking on the opposite side of the pavement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look at them, and saw the lower part of a torso slowly fade out to nothing.
  6. Quite a few years ago now I worked for the NHS and used to make a fairly regular trip over to where some colleagues worked in a nearby hospital library. The library was supposedly haunted. One day, I was sat at my computer behind the library desk, and I heard a female voice singing, crystal clear and quite tuneful. It suddenly occurred to me that there was only myself and a colleague in the library, so I asked her if she had been singing. No, she had not. I also checked what the sounds from outside sounded like, since it was summer and the windows were open. I could certainly hear muffled voices and conversations from outside, but nothing as clear as the singing. When I later recalled this event to another colleague, she explained that one of the ghosts in the library was supposedly a lady in hospital gowns who wandered around singing. I doubted my own experience for long after this occurrence, but now I’m more inclined to trust that it happened.
  7. This is one of my favourites. I had booked a chimney sweep, and put the £45 fee in an old purse that I was due to throw out. It was two £20 notes, two £2 coins and one £1 coin. The purse was on the bookshelf in my living room, where the fireplace in question was being dealt with. I was aware of having someone in the house and made sure I only went as far away as the next room, so when I went to pay I was really surprised to find the money wasn’t there. What opportunity had he had to steal the money? He really didn’t seem like the type and, well, I was sure I’d have heard or seen something from the kitchen. I paid by cheque and did what we all do in these situations – beat myself up about it. Over the next few weeks I went back to the purse on several occasions, turning it inside out trying to make the money reappear. It just seemed so odd, and I had a gut feeling it hadn’t been stolen. One day, just as I was about to throw the purse out and forget the whole saga, I said a little prayer to the universe, along the lines of: “OK universe, I know I’ve been beating myself up about this and I know I need to learn to give myself a break. If I promise – really promise – to forgive myself for misplacing the money, please could I have it back because £45 is a lot of money!” I opened the purse and…. There it was. Two £20 notes, two £2 coins and one £1 coin. My husband swears he didn’t replace the money – and in any case he didn’t know the exact denominations.
  8. Only a few years ago, I was in an interview for a job I really wanted. With extra special emphasis on the really. I can’t exactly explain why, but I felt a strong magnetic pull to this job – almost as though it wanted me as much as I wanted it. So I was understandably nervous leading up to and during the interview, and when I was asked a question I couldn’t instantly think of a good answer to, I used a trick I’d read somewhere, which is to ask if you can take a moment to consider your answer. As I pondered, I stared into the corner of the ceiling and realised that my mind had gone completely blank – like a clean, white sheet of paper with no trace of any useful information. So I was surprised to discover myself giving a full and eloquent answer, without knowing where it had come from. The interviewees just looked at me for a few seconds, seemingly impressed with what they’d heard, and moved on to the next question.
  9. After three long and joyous/gruelling years of working in the job mentioned above, I reached a point whereby the only way forward for me was to quit and make a big change in my life. The change was calling to me, and it made me quake in my boots just thinking about it. If I did this, I sensed that everything would change for the better, but I didn’t have the courage – not least because I had no concrete plans whatsoever for what I would do with my life from that point onward. So I asked the universe for some guidance on my way into town to meet my mum. The guidance came in the form of a greetings card, which caught my eye in this gorgeous little gift shop I’ve been visiting for years. The card (of which there were many, but only this one called to me to read it) said this: “Life is like riding a bike – to keep your balance, you must keep moving”. That was all the confirmation I needed, as I had been going through a particularly magical phase in my life and listening to the ‘whispers’ from the universe was a daily occurrence for me. So I quit, and everything changed, and I’ve never been more scared or prouder of myself than in that moment.
  10. A year or two later, whilst walking to my sister’s house, I remembered that it’s important to ask for the things we want in life. So I silently asked the universe for a friend, and I was very specific that it had to be a proper friend, that I could be completely myself around, and who was on my wavelength. Basically, I was in need of a soul friend, which is something I’ve never truly had before. The other day, I was round at my friend’s house and I suddenly remembered what I had asked for. And boy oh boy did I get what I asked for: a friend like I’ve never had before, and who I cannot now imagine my life without. She has opened up my world and encouraged me to be more and more of who I am, and in return, she has gained the friend that she has always wanted.
  11. A doctor once mentioned something called Emotional Freedom Technique to me. I filed it away in my list of things to explore, and was later reminded of it when I read about it in a book. Hmmm, I thought – now feels like the right time to pursue this, but where on earth am I going to find a practitioner close to my home town? I had a look on the internet, couldn’t find anything, and settled on teaching myself how to use the technique, even though I knew this would never happen. Then one night I was giving my mum a shoulder rub and she asked where you can go to get a proper back massage that isn’t one of those beauty parlours with the false nails and eyelashes (nothing wrong with either of those things, obviously, but it’s not my mum’s style and she would feel uncomfortable in that kind of environment). I mentioned a local therapy centre I knew of, and upon checking the list of treatments they offer, there on the list was Emotional Freedom Technique. I was blown away, and subsequently signed up for sessions which have proven to be life changing. I realise that many people would dismiss this as coincidence, and of course I am open-minded to the idea. But this was one of many instances in my life where exactly the right thing/situation/person has come along exactly when I needed it.

It feels scary sharing these stories with you, because I know many people would dismiss or ridicule them. But that’s OK. No one should be forced to believe something they don’t. All I know is that these experiences are real, and that trusting my inner voice includes making room for the fact that there is more to life than meets the eye. Slowly but surely I hope to become more and more sure of my right to be here on this planet, living this life; not because someone else has told me so, but rather because I am able to know things without needing to be told.

Sending you all my very best wishes for the New Year.

Kath

p.s. Image courtesy of Andrew Melnychuk via Flickr Creative Commons: https://tinyurl.com/y9yd37u8

Opening the door to connectivity

I have spent the vast majority of my life fearing people, and seeing any interaction as an opportunity for me to fail or reveal myself for the good-for-nothing I really am. (I’m sure some of you reading this can identify with that deep-seated fear that sits inside your belly and tells you that you’re a bad person, and that if people only knew the real you they wouldn’t want to be your friend anymore).

I feared judgement, whilst unknowingly being judgemental myself; because finding fault in others was the only way I could feel good about myself. I say ‘unknowingly’ because I genuinely didn’t realise this trait in myself until recent years.

So this idea of connecting with and enjoying the company and companionship of my fellow human beings is a fairly recent discovery for me. And forgive me – I seem to remember that I wrote on this topic not that long ago. But it’s something I continue to ponder, especially as I start to feel more connected with the world around me (my joy is all the greater for having lived in the dark for so many years). We all have days when we feel closed off and don’t especially want to talk to anyone, but on the whole I feel less like I have something to prove and more like a valid piece in the enormous jigsaw puzzle that is our universe.

Connection isn’t something we can learn, but rather something we must learn to feel. Connection exists and is there for us to tap into in almost every moment. Like it or not, we are all connected as part of the shared human experience, and we are all worthy in our own right. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to believe this last point. And if you’re in a place in your life where you doubt your worthiness, then that is absolutely fine. It’s where you’re at right now, and it means that the joy of discovering your place in the world lies ahead, waiting patiently for the time that you feel ready to embrace all that you are.

So, from one piece of a giant jigsaw to another, thanks for being here to read this blog post and I’ll speak to you again soon.

Bye for now x

Why everyone should watch Kung Fu Panda. No really, it has some great messages…

I don’t know if this is true, but my husband tells me that the Kung Fu Panda films are quite highly regarded in China because they manage to explain in quite simple terms the message behind a lot of ancient Chinese wisdom. Regardless of this, they are amazing films and I wholeheartedly encourage anyone and everyone to watch them at least once.

Some of the messages I picked up by watching the 2nd film yesterday are this:

  1. Inner peace is a journey that we can all make, and it is down to us to make this happen. Some find it through dedicated meditation practice, and others through pain and suffering.
  2. If you are holding on to traumas from your past, the best thing you can do is to let them flow. Feel the emotions you’ve been avoiding, and trust yourself to let them flow through you until you begin to feel peaceful again. Obviously this may need to be done with the help of friends, family and/or a therapist. Whatever works for you – just don’t keep things bottled up. We all deserve better than that.
  3. It’s not what has happened to us in the past that matters; it’s who we choose to become and the life we decide to lead.

I’m not a religious person, but I am becoming increasingly spiritual. Maybe this qualifies as religion, I don’t know. But I definitely believe that our lives have meaning, and that the trick to a happy life is to accept and believe in ourselves. This includes all the rubbish, and all the good bits. I am who I am in part because of everything I’ve experienced, not in spite of it. It has served to point me in the direction of joy and happiness, and in those moments where I am able to sigh deeply and accept absolutely everything about myself and my past, I feel truly content.

So let it flow! Accept who you are and where you have come from. Face up to your emotions and know that (in the wise words of the Kung Fu Panda): That’s the thing about scars, they fade (I’m paraphrasing!).

You are all perfect versions of yourself, so start believing and see what magic begins to unfold…

Bye for now x