The future is bright 😊
The future is bright 😊
Biking, being on a bike, free wheeling, saddle sailing… has always been a sanctuary for me throughout my life. From growing up riding my bike through the neighbourhood, to commuting around my home city, to an incredible biking adventure along the Loire Valley, to traversing the country roads of the Sunny South East, and finally to being the proud owner on an electric bike in Baja Sur, winning myself the sweet free winds of independence.
I feel confident, safe and in control on a bike. At peace on two wheels, wind in my hair. There is something so incredibly alive and invigorating about riding a bicycle; you have to be so present and aware in your surroundings, the vehicles, the people, the terrain, the weather, connected, plugged in. Truly present, and oh when you become that aware, the world around you? it fills and touches your senses, you see things, incredible natural things, sharing in its beauty and abundance as you sail through its enormously stretching landscape, holding you within its embrace, fragile yet buoyant on two wheels. The ride is always exhilarating, Its effort endlessly worth it, embraced and at peace come the end of each and every journey.
In one slow motion split second, when eyes grow wide, and realisation hits, there is nothing I can do to stop a collision. Wondering is this it, is this the end? What will happen to me? Calm deafening silence but for the sheer force of impact, the slapping thwack of my body onto tarmac. Black. Panic rises, terrified to move. Am I still here, can I feel my body? I wait. Slowly I lift my head, hyper aware, people begin to gather. They talk but I can’t listen. I feel numb, disconnected and voiceless, the event carries on around me. The harsh reality rushes back into my being and I gasp. A familiar face, tender caring eyes as hands fly up to face in shock, tears and sobs spring up from below. I surrender to being cared for by those around, my fight falls away, I need tenderness and I allow it in.
Perched on the sidewalk, memories of childhood spills, swim, muddle and mingle with my foggy emotional state, and I am once again a girl in the playground. I feel exhausted and helpless, I pick myself up to standing and begin to try and come back into my body. I am tense, my body feels rigid and I am gently vibrating from the trauma of what has just occured. I am vulnerable and open.
As the weeks follow I feel as though something has changed. I search for what it is, I scan my inner scape and attempt to pick up and hold what is dear to me, I let it go, and question, what it is that is different. What are my truths, now? I get back on my bike, I swing my leg over her saddle and settle into my seat, and I am vulnerable again, my heart races, the road brings many anxieties, my eyes go wide again and my heart is in my throat. I scream internally PLEASE SEE ME, PLEASE SEE ME. It subsides and I stretch to reach for peace.
I miss what my journeys once brought me. It makes my heart ache a little. Day after day, I get back on her, and continue my quest for peace on the road again, and it will take time, I acknowledge that some days are better than others. I practice my breath in the wind as I sail down the motorway, and I have a deep knowing it will return. I too recognise it may look different inside, but I know I will again feel freedom on two wheels.
As I try to draw from this experience and current process, I realise this is not only applicable to a traumatic event, this is the type of tenderness and kindness I can afford myself within other life experiences, be them good or bad. It is no different. I can give myself just as much care and understanding in any life situation. A soft, gentle kindness.
To place feet forward and try again, to expose ourselves to who we are inside, and realise there is an ocean of who we are to explore, to dive deep and uncover treasures we bury so deeply, to free them to the surface, and breathe life into them. To show the world with shining eyes a true spirit, and not let the fear of the journey stop us from setting course toward it.
I have just completed a 21 day abundance challenge with Deepak Chopra. And, firstly, I want to say, it is just that, a challenge. My initial reaction to the invitation with its rules and regulations, was mixed, and I know with hand on heart at any other time in my life, I would have immediately declined. I certainly have a pace and way of doing things in my life. My structure, or lack thereof was being challenged right off the bat. I usually attach a ‘I like’ and ‘I don’t like’ to something that challenges the way I work, I get stressed and overwhelmed, smashing the ‘I have no time for this button’, coupled with a big middle finger. SUCK IT. Not for me, don’t push me.
And so I decided; not this time, I want to challenge that part of myself, and really let go, and try it, with an open mind and heart. Traditional seated meditation has never been my forte. Most of my meditation is done out in nature, where I find it easy to tap into my peace centre, relax and just be. Guided meditation turned out to be a really nice structure for me to experience a consistent seated practice, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so every morning. After the 21 days I literally thought to myself; why isn’t this a forever day abundance challenge? DAM IT! Ding ding and my penchant for morning rituals lights up.
Honestly though, some days it was really tough, tough in the sense of feeling pressure from myself to efficiently complete the day’s challenge. But every task attached to each day’s meditation was incredibly fruitful and freeing, so with patience and compassion for myself I took each day as it came. It delved into areas I did not know I held tension or negative beliefs. Questions that hit hard, especially after seeing my answers spill out. At times the weight of those beliefs were made so small and insignificant when viewed on the page. Surprising things or realisations, that were emotionally charged, yet many other times watching my knowledge and inner wisdom pour out onto the page made me feel so, so liberated.
I can positively say over the three weeks, that many opportunities, joy, connection and healing came into my life in such a short space of time. And the best part! The best part is, I have it all down in a journal to remind myself to keep asking those questions, to keep connecting to my intuition, to trust in myself and in the universe. To be able to open my eyes more to what is abundantly around. To quit the neighsayer mentality, to believe more in what is out there for us all. That opportunity and possibilities are everywhere, we just need to trust and allow ourselves access to them and truly see ourselves with them. To connect to that vision for ourselves, and not be scared to see good things for ourselves in our lives. Let go of the meekness, the smallness, really embrace what is abound.
If you read my blog, it’s quite clear that I focus on perspective and self belief. I am passionate about finding tools, and methods to empower myself and others to be the person they want to be, to allow themselves to accept, delight, embrace, and love all of who they are, who they were and who they will be. How not to let past patterns, hurts and traumas overshadow the light naturally wanting to shine through, the light that seeks to merge, to connect to the beaming energy that is good and nurturing in the great vast ocean of energy in this world we all live in.
For anyone curious about trying this program, know that it is work, but it is good work. It is freeing work, it is a great tool to spring clean, and clear out any sticky unserving patterns that may go unnoticed, and ultimately block or obscure your path. It uses meditation, journaling prompts and affirmations as its structure, a powerful combination.
It made me realise how aligning these methods with one clear intention for the day, was something I was missing in my personal practices, it’s what I would like to work on, and one of my biggest takeaways from this. When we get caught up in the doing and doing of things, we lose sight of the why of it, and oftentimes the benefit is lost, and it can morph into a stressor. It’s important for us to spring clean, clear out, question and reassess our daily routines and rituals. You know? In the fog of all this doing, and without us even realising it’s happened, we so easily fall foul to the monotony trap, losing clarity on the things that are important in our lives.
If you fancy a little refreshing mind spritz, maybe some clear spectacles to view your place in the world more wholly? Or to rediscover and reconnect with yourself, with the things you are passionate about, and remember what is important again to your heart and soul? To step ahead a little lighter, a little freer, a little more excited for the possibilities that lay all around you? 21 Days of abundance may just be the gateway you need to see what is abundantly already there for you, so you can celebrate by living your life just the way you were always meant to live it.
I believe that my friend brought me this opportunity at the right moment in my life, and so maybe you too can use this tool and see what fruit it may bear for you, and feel comfort in knowing this challenge is here ready and waiting for you if and when you want it.
Finding my voice again. What to say?, is it appropriate to continue speaking? How does it feel to keep silent?, to have so many questions, questions of myself, of society, of the HOW of it all. Will more words make a difference? Who would they make a difference to? Who? How do we connect? Connection is found through experience. The experiences we have are dictated by who and what we are exposed to. In privilege we have more of a choice to that exposure, and have comfortably remained blissfully ignorant in our experiences.
The bubble we existed in previously to corvid….was invisible. Being physically put into a confined existence within our homes, the invisible bubble began to grow; because we were all in it, in this space to examine the world, our own worlds. In a miraculous way, it boiled up and spilled over, joining us, and has allowed us to experience more …more outside of our usual norms… the things we did not see, or could not, rose up, and keep doing so. As we expose more truth and do the uncovering, we break the invisible lines we comfortably accepted, and lived within.
I come back to sharing, and I stop, I wonder. I review my thoughts. They change daily, cringing at previous patterns and ideas, and I am back again to being silent. What is it I want to say, or really what is it I can do?. A feeling of helplessness. As the language of lanes to be in, changes daily, and at times I scornfully resort to childish inner reaction. Frustration, silence again, jaw clenched at the injustices . Then I remember…I am privileged. I get to indulge in not having to be on the end of a daily battle of that magnitude. Reiterating to myself, that fact does not discount my own personal struggles. Remembering that being privileged does not change that, is a constant.
Recognising that experiencing prejudice in my own life for being who I am, is not being undermined or dismissed or attacked, and that this for once is not about me, the white persons experience. Yet here I am with my white view, and I can’t change the fact of my skin colour, but I can choose how I show up. As I follow, watch, and listen, and expand diversity in the fields I am interested in, I begin to realise how small my world was. What I thought was broad, open, liberal, all inclusive….really… just was not.
Where I grew up wasn’t very diverse, and Ireland in the 80’s and early 90’s didn’t have much going on in the diversity dept. I had one friend at school who was a POC, summers were spent with him and two other friends, we all lived close by. We rode bikes, we climbed trees, we roamed the river banks, we played football, tip tip the can and red rover. We bought our first pack of cigarettes together, we drank our first can of jolt together. He was my friend. Those were the best summers of my childhood, endlessly long, filled with sunshine, and great pals. My heart broke when I remembered the day we went to Dunkin Donuts in the next town over. We had all scraped together enough money for one donut each, we thought we were cool, all grown up and shit. And just like that, some other kids verbally attacked him, and us, with awful language, we shouted back, but no one helped us. We had to leave. He was tough, but he had to be; everyday, I now realise. We never went back there. And there were other times, but our little group stood up, and always shouted for him, he was one of us, he was our friend, the colour of his skin did not determine that. We had fire in the belly, and fought to protect our friends. Where did that fight go as we grew up, in everyday life, in situations where we accepted words and actions in those around us and in ourselves, that were not ok.
I was at the salon earlier in the week, and there was a kid getting their hair done. They got a rainbow of colours put in, and oh! to see how happy they were afterwards, was such a joyful experience. There was singing, and dancing and swishing of hair in celebration. I thought to myself, how cool!, these parents allowed their kid to express themselves and be who they wanted to be. Gender identity is somewhere I have remained unaware and ignorant in. I’ve started doing some research, and it is truly incredible how diverse the spectrum is, and has opened my eyes to how interesting we are as humans, and that binary really puts a lid on some many people’s experience of life. I think back again to childhood, and I wonder what that struggle is for a child growing up into the world, unable to express who they are, and my heart breaks a little more.
And so, I am tapping into that strong childhood fierce protective nature, but adding the flavour of maturity to it. What is it that I can do, with what I have right now? I sit here on my privileged ass, away from my home, my savings dwindling by the day, and I work on teasing out a new way for my life. And with every day, I try to step forward with a fierce and curious heart, assessing how I show up, taking awareness to the messages I deliver out into the world. Guaranteed I will stumble and make errors. I know I can keep improving my knowledge, my language, my horizons, and the method in which I do so.
I know we all can. We can share, we can connect, we can support, we can change, we can move away, we can move forward, we can open our eyes, we can remove the lines, we can break the division. We can welcome our diversity, hear all voices, grow, find the way, light our bellies, and shout together for justice, and togetherness, and oneness.
Some places I started Rachel Cargle , Alok Vaid-Menon, Brandon K Goodman . I also listened to an excellent podcast on Neuro Endocrinology (Sex & Gender) with Ologies , its a two parter. We all like are information in different forms, these are a few of the places I like to go to learn/listen and jump off from.
As time ticks on, and our patience gets ever tested, this corona lockdown life we currently exist in, brings up many, many, MANY questions. What will our future look like? Can I see myself doing what I was doing before all this? Will my plans still work? Do I want to go back to that? Is it even possible to? What do I want? How do I see myself/life? How will I cope with the change? What, how, when, how, when what, and sure, lets throw in a few whys for the laugh shall we?? … I’m getting PRETTY peeved with these merrygorounders. I’m just busy…Ok! Busy avoiding shit over here.
Sitting down to a cup of tea/about to fall asleep/feeling good about your day/having a little moment of self congratulations are you? Whoosh, out comes the rug from under your comfortable seat, Cumulonimbus irrational fear clouds come rolling on it. Hello, Hi, Hey, Howzit, Yup Yup IT ME. You were comfortable, it was the perfect invitation, right?!! These guys need answers,and they need them NOW! We have a list of QUESTIONS, adjusts glasses, glances at impossibly long clipboard list, clears throat…and away we go, up onto the carousel we climb. Sound familiar?
I am usually pretty good at proaction, it’s one of my combat tools, do something about it, go. Recently it is becoming harder, and harder to remain on it, consistently up in the face of the uncertain limbo. I find it interesting. Yes, I say interesting. Well because it is interesting…interesting to see what comes up, and how I/we behave. It really is an extreme sport in trying to maintain a baseline. Routine is soooo routine, habits ….pith PULEEZE, these good habits are starting to tweak the nips right off my bad habits, seriously can good habits turn into bad habits…hello attachment!
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some of my time listening to various experts on fear, extreme change, procrastination and other fun things, like clouds and storms. Fun fact; clouds can’t be square, but they are flat at the bottom, like, ALL of them are flat at the bottom, NO exceptions. Your welcome.
Firstly I listened to an interview with Mary Poffenroth a fearologist on the ologies podcast. She talks about categorising fear. We have two major categories Factual and Fictional. The majority of privileged people’s fears are Fictional. I learned that stress is just another word for fear. Wow. Mind blown! Chew on that for a moment! Fictional fears (irrational, non fact, backed up by our evil story telling narrator,(that guy again!)) is split into a further two categories. They are; Fear of not being enough. Or. Fear of not being in control. Everything can be put into either one of these two. Using this simple identification system is so helpful in understanding our fears. I really connected with it. It helps to lead us away from the baby storm clouds forming, and moves us forward toward calm. I’ve already been putting this to practice. Cue me levitating off into the sunset, hovering over a beautifully pink and sherbert orange stratus cloud, more than likely seen to be holding the perfect situational mudra. Lets envision it folks, it will be.
Another tool she developed and uses is RIA;
R – recognising the fear.
I – Identifying it; Name it to Claim it.
A – Address it, strategies and outcomes.
This helps bring in more awareness around moments when a fear begins to rear its ugly head. Maybe we are embarrassed about the fear, or ashamed of our anger response. We can also reflect back and use it in the aftermath to work through what just happened.
In addition to Mary’s gems, I wanted to share with you an exercise I did on my fears. I heard about it in a Tim Ferris interview with Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)…a Byron Katie style exercise. You begin by inviting your fears to write, spilling everything out onto that page, listening politely, and when you are done, thank your fears for sharing, and kindly ask them to step aside, and invite wisdom to come and write down what it thinks about what fear had to say. We hold many fictional fears, so this exercise can be repeated.
In the next paragraph I share with you what came up for me in doing this exercise. I feel very vulnerable sharing these fears, very exposed. On reading them back to myself it became easy to see and distinguish them from what I know and really, truly feel. They are fears, they are irrational, utter scare tactics of the mind, and bear no resemblance to how I feel about the people in my life. They are not fact or true. I acknowledge these are very privileged types of fears and that I am lucky to own this particular set. I hope that by reading this, you feel supported, connected, and safe and realise that we all have fears, and that is all they are, fears.
I am afraid of not meeting and finding my soulmate. I am afraid my vision or ideal holds me back, I want to be both connected and physically attracted, to have harmony in giving and receiving. I am afraid I will not find that. I am afraid that wanting a partnership and a romantic love is not what I should be looking for and my ego tells me I am shallow and weak and I should go on being alone, and do more for myself and not focus on something that brings me pain. I am afraid my hard work is never hard enough or that I don’t ever do enough. I am afraid I won’t ever improve, master, grow, change or reach a level I would like to be at. I am afraid I am bad or that I am not genuine enough. I am afraid I am not seen, heard or valued. I am afraid I won’t be successful and I will continue on this limbo of non mastery at mid to low level white noise. I am afraid my ego wants validation too much from the outside and that I can’t give myself enough. I am afraid that people think I am stupid and that I don’t know anything. I am afraid people think I am awkward and weird and that I am annoying and too much. I am afraid of what will become of me, of where I will be. I am afraid to go back to Ireland where I feel less than good enough, unsupported, unheard, unseen, unrecognised, unloved and under appreciated. I am afraid.
Ok, I have heard your fears, and thank you for sharing. I kindly ask you to step aside and invite wisdom in to write down what it thinks, and make room for something else so I can move forward.
It is human to seek and wish for connection with another, for companionship and to want love to be shared. Attraction and connection build as you allow yourself to be open to getting to know a person before pegging it to a romance. It’s ok to take time to meet and find a person. You can support yourself by being kind and getting to know yourself, and holding dear the platonic and familial connections that are loving in your life. Allow that love to support, lift and carry you along.
You work hard, daily and consistently. When you begin to compare your journey, or life position to another you lose sight of your own work, you miss the seeds growing, the method with which you plant them, how you do grow, and that your curves of success are beautifully unfurling and blooming as you keep shining your energies upon them. Keep watering, tending and caring for your dreams. If you love yourself, you can do more for yourself; in seeing, believing, allowing, opening, succeeding, living, connecting, ending and beginning again and again.
You are not bad, know you are good, you are only afraid of not being perfectly good. You are human; you care, and you dont care, you love and you anger, you fight and you make peace, you shout and you stay silent, you ask and you respond, you react and you stay present, you inhale and you exhale, you know things and you dont know things, you are smart and you are stupid, you are playful and you are serious. You can and you can’t. You are.
Everything is always changing, nothing remains the same, down to our cellular level, we are never the same from one moment to the next, this is a constant. Let go of limbo, remain present in each step. It is natural to seek validation or support for our efforts, but you can support yourself with the knowledge that everyday is a new day and another opportunity to show up for yourself in whatever small way that you can. Acknowledge the support network around you, and do not allow validation to become a fence that keeps you penned in.
It is not your business what other people think of you. You will never please everyone or be everyone’s cup of tea. Be your own cup of tea, just how you like it. The ones who don’t get you, understand or respect you, are not your people, let them go. Your light will bring forth the people with whom you were meant to connect, meet, learn from, be with, love and support.
You cannot fear what has not yet happened or spend time worrying about a complete unknown, as it is just that; unknown. Everything that you do now, all your work and love will benefit and help that future Ruth figure out her way as she goes. The seed grows roots and she grows strong.
Let go of trauma and release it from Ireland, do not attach the two. They are separate. Things and events happen, it doesn’t change the good of the past into one big blob of doom. There will be many disappointments in life, it is our work to not hold them close to our hearts, but to set them free, cast them up into the winds, let them disperse and scatter, dismantle and come back to the earth as pure energy, untainted.
You are loved. You are supported. You are appreciated. You are heard. You are respected. You are enough.
Phew! So that was it. Very emotional, and uncomfortable seeing it up here. Trivial but also meaningful. I would love to hear if any of you have tried this before, or how you get on if you try it out. Some really simple tools there to try help us thrash through the woody inner forest, shine a little light in, making us some more space. Lets grow some room for freer spacious energy to flow in.
What interesting times we are now experiencing? Just under a month ago I finished a 26 day yoga teacher training at Yandara; here in Baja California, Mexico. My heart, so full of gratitude for taking time for myself, to focus, for the beautiful people I met there, the energy and support I felt. The team of mentors, soul guides, and staff adding up to a perfectly seasoned recipe for inner freedom and peace. What a treat. And now? The world is having to take a forced break away from its regular reality too, but the recipe ain’t so tasty, it’s heavy and hard to digest, how can we make it go down more easily?
We all have some work to do, and although it’s time to slow down, it kind of feels like we are running at high speed. Waking up tired, even if we slept for longer than usual. Thinking, Fuck! I’ve been at home all day. Why am I so tired, distraction and avoidance gets harder and harder as days go by. It’s easy to believe we need to fill our days with learning new things, doing and doing, we are so used to doing, but what are we side stepping? Ourselves?How do we balance this time we have been given? By adding a generous pinch of compassion, and awareness, that’s how. We have lost our ability to be with ourselves peacefully, and because this time has been forced upon us, it’s uncomfortable, exhausting, we squirm out of our spotlight, steam rising, beads forming, ego mind in overdrive.
Can we use this time to get back to our core selves, get to know ourselves again. If we fill, and fill our minds, how do we find space, space to breath and be at peace internally. Maybe we can bring awareness to why we feel uncomfortable with stopping? Then we understand, ok! going balls deep in incessant projects actually is where I find peace, cool. Take awareness to our actions, that way we can observe, can we look into our lives and see if there is something that needs change, or a little care and attention. The act of awareness allows more peace and calm to flow into our hearts. We become less mindless and more mindful.
Every second day at Yandara we shared a truth circle. This is called Satya. It’s truth telling. Truth telling with others. There are rules; no judgement, no advice, just support, love and ears to listen. Can we do this with ourselves? It starts with a question. What’s going on with me today? Is there anything rankling? How do I feel? It can be as simple as how you feel physically, to what is sitting up top in egoville. To be able to share this with someone else, and to hear what’s up, out loud, helps you release, feel lighter and begin to take action with letting it go. In this time of disconnection from our friends, and to those close to us, it could be an opportunity to start this. It isn’t always hard stuff, there is often laughter and fun involved. It creates a connection to yourself and if you decide to practice with someone else, to them also.
And now for something completely different. A Jesus Quote. The heathen has Holy references?! Yes, yes I do. Stay at home folks, you can keep the front door shut. Let me lay it on ya. Firstly unacknowledged truth saps energy. ‘If you bring forth what is inside of you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will destroy you.’ Intense, right??!! Phew! It’s a heavy one folks. Keep those indoor workouts going, we need to be strong, turish get up the shit out of …our shit.
What I take away from the lessons, love and compassion I learned at our Satya circles in Yardara is this; my Passion Fruit analogy. When you pierce through your protective layer, hitting your mushy soft insides, a gasp, WOW! what is in there? and with awe and gratitude you can see, and you find that there are many seeds within you. Deep possibilities, things rooted inside of you, waiting for nourishment, the correct energy to feed them, bringing them towards the light so as they can grow, your true self can begin to flourish, expand, bloom, into the strong confident being you were always meant to become all along.
So my ripe and wonderful Passion Fruits, let us find compassion for ourselves, heal our little(big) hearts, be in our own experience, celebrate our mushiness. Give ourselves a hug, tell ourselves, hey! you’re doing great, you ain’t so bad pal. Find joy in the simple things again, joy in who you are. You are the one you have been waiting for. The world is inside of you, it is in all of us. Sometimes there are things on our plate that we know are good for us, and sheesh it’s a push to get them down, yet compliment them with some seasoned goodness, they go down a treat. When we realise that we do know the right ingredients to make this quarantine life we are currently living a little tastier, and easier to swallow, we are on the path to a stellar life recipe. Clear out those dusty cupboards, and get cooking folks. Truths with a dash of compash!
It’s been a little over a month on the road now. Finding words and searching for what I want to say has been difficult. My voice a little quiet amidst the ever changing dynamic, feeling a little disconnected, yet wanting to share.
I have been holding myself back at the start line, I’ve written about about doing this before, and with change it is something that comes up again and again in our lives. Avoiding the uncomfortableness of beginning a process. Paralysed by mind chatter, yet knowing once we make a start, things are never as bad as the story we created around it to be. We can cope, we can move, we are beyond capable of starting.
Isn’t it funny how we can lose our step, go off road in order to avoid a perceived uneven surface. Fear creating a mirage ahead, we lose trust in our footing, all of a sudden a chasm appears, we become frozen. Confusion, frustration, we shrink, forget ourselves.
I’ve been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Its a book about writing, and it talks about the first draft. How not to judge your first draft. First drafts suck, this goes for everything. Starting off, your first step may feel like you are on uneven terrain and very unsteady, let your front foot land, trust you can regain your balance and move forward. The road ahead begins to open up and your path is visible again, there is a route, paso y paso.
Letting go of judgement, allowing the fear to come, trusting your feet, they know the way forward. If you stumble, you get back up, from a stronger stance, open the gates and let the insecurities flood out, making space for the good stuff to rush in and push you ahead.
The same can be said for travel, it takes time to find your feet, building trust in your choices and the paths you chose to explore, people you chose to spend time with. And with anything we do, its up to us whether we decide to live in our moment, or step outside our experience and judge it against someone else’s. To be in your own experience, vibrating your energy and really feeling your journey. Allowing for the shaky steps, not staying on the shore watching others experience their paths. Trust yourself and live yours.
Direct your energies back to your own experience. Find joy in the unsure uncertain steps, appreciating the times when the road is smooth and the going is good. Allow yourself to experience your life, judging and comparison holds us back from that, narrowing the opportunity and space to see how lucky we are to be here and now, experiencing this life with each step we take.
Doing that keeps us buoyant and creates good energy, which attracts more good energy and helps us connect with our community rather that stand on the outside wishing we were living. Live your experience and the rest will follow. Be in it.
As we come into the final stretch of the year, it brings a time of reflection to the fore. November saw me take three of my goals to completion. When we hit a goal, with it comes celebratory highs followed closely by…what now? It’s the perfect time to reflect on what you have learned, what you can take forward with you, and what you can leave behind. Here we are in December, a time of year we can tend to focus on what we haven’t achieved, or what others have, and what we don’t have or lack. Practicing gratitude around this month can at times prove testing. We are tired from a year of living, be it our best lives or, just our plain ‘ol lives.
Continuing on from my last posts Leading Yoself and A Seasonal Switch let’s look at how we might review our year better. Can we approach this with some joy, understanding and positive objectivity? I feel personally, this reflection happens unplanned, and crops up to surprise me when I am trying to relax and wind down after the busy festivities start to die down. It usually starts with a negative comparison, slathered with a side of pity partying, you know?, the woe is me tune…I fucking hate that tune, it’s so boring and repetitive, YET….oh so catchy!DAM IT! This year I want to head that off at the pass, as I reflect on November’s achievements, I’m going to take a look back at my year too.
I am taking a look at the tools I have been using this year to help me move forward. Have I gotten better at using them, do they support me, have I enjoyed the process? Rather than leap frogging to the goals I’ve hit or missed, I want to assess the new habits, rituals, tools, skills I have been using to guide and lead me. Have they helped? What have I learned about myself in the process of applying them? I think this is a really nice place to start, it stops you from immediately focusing in on things that haven’t happened, or gone to plan. You begin to look at your process. What has made a difference, what needs more attention, is there something you can let go of?
Passing the driving test has always been an absolute Everest of a challenge for me. Mainly because, I don’t actually want or need a car, right now, or have I over the past then years this has been looming over me. It’s been my third time going through this process, and second time taking the test. What was different this time? A cultivated awareness of my behaviour, thats what. I had better tools this time round, and although initially I entered into the challenge again with dread, I ended up enjoying the process a whole lot more.
Through future-self journaling I have been working on changing behaviours, learned reactions and old narratives. I began to see a pattern. An old narrative, I run straight to it, and looking back I see how I approach certain things when learning something new with this story. I play the blame game. I blame the person teaching me, taking every piece of feedback negatively and personally, completely missing anything positive, I shape the narrative into a story of them not believing I am good enough, to the point where it holds me back from my potential. I get so upset and angry, because I am reliving an old wound. I tell myself, I can’t, I’m not able to, I’m rubbish at this, not good enough, never will be. I create situations to back up this old tale, scratching that record again and again, not remotely aware that I am doing it. Does this sound familiar? Well, it brought me to ask myself WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?
After some digging, I got my answer. I realised what I was doing, and I was able to let go of that narrative. I still go nervous, and made mistakes, but it gave me the confidence to know that, the old narrative wasn’t true. My ever patient instructor was so supportive, and on the day of my test, I got an empathetic tester and a person who I knew, believed I could do it, that person was me. I attracted that energy and I created it by letting go of that old story. BU-BYE!
We have to understand that in every process of building something new be it a relationship/career/business, changing a behaviour, reaching for a goal, creating a habit, that we don’t have a linear growth line, peaks and troughs is what we get. How we make it through the setbacks and overcome the challenges is the interesting part,the meaty bit. Can we make this part of the journey more triumphant, feel, and yet still create joy and positive force throughout?
Our ability to communicate with ourselves, how we view our strengths, do we even know them? Can we put words to them? Have you ever tried to? Is your internal vocabulary nasty and waspish? I learned how I work in a group setting, how I approach leading, my style of it. Was given tools to discover descriptions and traits that I could identify with, I could look at life situations and positively say, yes, I do that. I also saw things that were perceived weaknesses, and was able to recognise when I struggled that it was because I was displaying that behaviour or trait. I took a personality test and used the Myers Briggs model geared toward business leadership styles. Both of these being useful tools to help show you your strengths, especially if you find it difficult pin pointing them.
Ten years ago I took a dog training course, and there I learned about extinction behaviour. Applying this principle to an old narrative, behaviour you want to change or simply getting through a dip in your journey can prove another handy tool. It’s basis being to remove actions that reinforce a pattern, do not impound the story by giving it attention and energy. Extinction bursts aka tantrums are par for the course, if we view them as just that, we have the power to allow them to pass. As time goes by they become less frequent and you become more adept to dealing with them. A version of this method is used in training babies into better sleeping patterns, and self soothing. Let us go forth and self sooth our souls.
Let’s reflect positively this year. Look at our approach, our process, our journey, what holds our attention, what patterns and narratives do we frequent, do we need to address something we missed, can we see all the wins, are we willing to champion our strengths, are we asking the right questions?
The end of the year always screeches in at full speed, we really don’t need to dive straight into a hive of comparison or self depreciation. Inspect your tool kit, celebrate how far you have come, bolster and identify your strengths, be objective, you are not a finished piece, laugh at the tantrums, breath into your energy. Smile at yourself; be grateful of your journey. Christmas and the festive season are about joy and giving…give yourself a break. Afford yourself the opportunity to reflect and review in a kind and caring way, nurture your soul and reflect with the view of flourishing growth.
You can adjust, adapt and grow, you are resilient and vibrant, believe it, you have the power within you to do so.
Doing the work, especially inner work takes patience. Seeing the results or recognizing growth, takes time. My schedule last month changed drastically, throwing up a lot of mental resistance and frustration within the adjustment period. It presented an opportunity to observe and put into action piece by piece what I have been trying to develop; stronger self belief. When we first resist change, viewing that window, the opportunity for growth, can get somewhat fogged up by frustration and a loss of control.
I have been learning about team leadership. Things like, roles within teams, traits of good leaders, differences between managers and leaders, styles of leading. It got me thinking, how can we lead ourselves better? How can we be our own best team mate. Passing the baton from strength to strength and back again, growing our network of skills. We CAN learn to lead. Go team Numero Uno!
Knowing your team well and identifying its strengths and possible weaknesses is key. Having a clear path, understanding the phases of developing your team, leading it through support, encouragement, communication, empowering the team to keep momentum and improve, reaching and striving. These can all be applied to ourselves. Knowing who we are are, identifying where we have power and strength, working on strengthening perceived weaker areas. Having clarity, understanding it isn’t always plain sailing. Supporting ourselves through self care, encouraging acknowledgement and celebrating the wins, stoking our fires. Learning.Cheering. Championing.
I had to complete the Belbin self-perception inventory , on this leadership course I am taking. This identifies through a points system, over seven sections of scenarios, where your preferred team roles lie. There are nine team roles in Belbin’s model. Later the class set out to complete various team tasks, building objects within specific briefs. We then further analyzed which role each person took up within the briefs. Shortly we are going to be subjected to psychometric testing, ‘nailing’ our personality to 95%. WELL! Initial thoughts on these results, viewed roles taken, and impending testing….NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER! Intense feelings of unjust. Why? I don’t like being pigeon holed. Rick ‘em, rock ‘em, rake! Stick that sword into that snake!
Fast forward a week, having completed a CV and Interview skills course, I’m feeling a little differently about it all. Hello objective perspective my ol’ buddy, ol’ pal! I partook in a mock interview which was filmed, and a real interview opportunity which was not filmed, all within the same week.
In the mock situation I was allowed to choose any job I wanted, it didn’t have to be real. Armed with a list of interview questions, AND the reasoning behind why an interviewer may ask a certain question along with sheets of positive vocabulary, off I toddled to prepare. It was pretty evident upon reviewing of the footage, with my mentors, how much I believed in myself, for this role, how I was able to identify my strengths, skills and really appreciate all I had done in my previous role, and apply it to this dream job. The clarity, how proud I felt of myself, it was gold. I felt like, WHO is she? WHO is THAT girl?I want to be like her…oh wait! I am her! WOW. An objective look at myself for the win.
In contrast I attended a real interview only a few hours later. An opportunity somewhat based in my old field. I was now confident in my abilities and skills. They on the other hand, had no clarity of the role, no clear line of questioning, filling air space with a bunch of buzz words to mask that fact. I learned although I was capable, it was not in line with my path, and that I am ready to leave the corporate life behind. Eeeek! Holy VanMoley! WHO AM I?
As I explore my path, I am learning to use tools along my journey. Last month I spoke about my future-self journaling, a tool I am consistently using daily. In fact, I applied it in choosing my mock interview; I self-projected myself into the role I was going for. I have collected a new tool to add to my arsenal. Power Posing. Yes my friends! Research has shown how this is extremely effective, and that it WORKS. Go check out Dr. Amy Cuddy, she has done wonderful research on it. Click link in her name to view TedTalk. How do you use it? Choose a power pose, do it for 2 mins right before anything you are nervous about, this could be a review, date, interview, meeting, presentation, class, hell even before going to lift at PB at the gym! Rest period, power pose it out! PP strong!
Back to my initial feelings of being pigeon holed. What did the interviews teach me? Roles were just strengths; they don’t define who I can become. When I ask the right questions, I have right the answers. I have many strengths yet to be uncovered, yet to be seen. I can only be pigeon holed if I do not see my own potential. Identifying, encouraging, leading, empowering, acknowledging, celebrating, growing, uncovering. We all have the ability to lead ourselves, by getting down to the brass tax of getting to know who we are, and challenging what we are made of by asking ourselves to do so.
Folk, lets get to know ourselves better, commit to love ourselves, celebrate and lead ourselves through the knowledge of our power. Get crafty with our tools. We are powerful, we are capable, we are able, we are strong, we have it in us to be authentic in our lives, and ask of ourselves to do so. Lead on my friends!
Being heard, that’s all people really want isn’t it, and not just listened to, but actually heard. How many of our emotional reactions stem from the feeling of not being heard? Shouting silently into space, and being hit with its gusty return; slap right across the cheek. Thwack! Ouch! It stings.
How can we be heard if we don’t even respect our own voice, or, think it worthy of hearing ourselves? To even know what it is we want heard in the first place, but still have the intense feeling of not being heard. Huh? How does that even work? I’m pretty sure I’ve battled this unknown frustrating feeling, for the best part of 15 years. Shouting for help when you don’t know what you want help with. Puts hands in pockets, kicks stone across yard, sighs hard, a gentle rage builds, kicks stone harder. Know that feeling?
We get told to stop following people online that make us feel bad about ourselves, right? The thing is there are so many good, inspiring and helpful resources out there. The kicker being, how quickly we get lost in following such a diverse melee of information, that we begin to block out our own voice, we cant find it anymore, or hear what its saying.
Hello from the other side! It sings, from deep in there somewhere. Hello…is it me your looking for…to which we respond, nope sssh!…Look! Such n such influencer super star is saying…I need to dance the funky chicken at 5am to loosen my joints #mobilityfam (It’s the golden hour hun, productivity high five), THEN spend 3 hours squeezing my gluteus Maximus so I have strong glutes, THEN I need to get out of the echo chamber, touch the void, trigger myself and unpack all of that shit, all while our planet slowly dies. #youcantdustforvomit Phew! You have approx. 5 mins to perform this routine as you have wasted 95% of your time watching someone else do it. FUCK MY LIFE! Do you hear me?
How do we separate the wheat from the chaff? Stop the incessant searching of the outside world, and turn inward, to our own wisdom. Yes, our own voice. We can still have all the socials, but we need to build on hearing our own voice, so we can separate the wheat from the chaff. Be our own expert. Cut the crap.
I’m coming into my third month being unemployed, living at the family home, trying to make changes, and create a plan or a path I am excited/energized by. It’s A LOT of pressure, but mainly, time. I am grateful to be afforded this time, I just didn’t realize how incredibly uncomfortable it is. The spotlight is on girl. What ya gona do!? The scrutiny #scrotiny. And yes my friends I’ve dove deep, deep into the world of socials, to hear a different voice. I flip flop between calling bullshit and then thinking their story, is my story. OH SHIZEN HOFF.
What I have started doing is…judging myself…no! I joke! I actually started to Future Self Journal. To tap into my inner wisdom, and hear myself again, to work at being uncomfortable, and accepting that this is how things are going to feel like for a while. I want to be my own expert. Super nerding go!
Where did I hear about this future self journaling you say? The all-encompassing world wide web don’t you know! There is a wonderful lady who provides a free template in order for you to follow daily. Dr. Nicole LePera I also recently read an article in Women’s Health Magazine on body positivity. Professor West, a researcher behind the naturist studies recommends mirror exposure therapy. That is repeatedly observing your own naked body (approx. 20mins at time) in a full length mirror. Overtime it is said it can reduce people’s negative and anxious responses to the way they look. I think future journaling is a form of this for your mind.
I get up daily starting my day by working through my journaling. I do so first thing in the morning, as this is the time that works best for me. I have been doing this for 12 days now. Not long I know. I’ve gone back and re read all my entries. What is prevalent? A voice that is growing in strength. Yes! Now I need to go ahead and hear it. Below I share some of my journaling snippets with you.
I am peaceful and aware. I will be my own cheerleader. I will acknowledge my own strength, and not seek out my weaknesses to diminish my current position. I can be clear about what i want without being anxious. I am able to adapt. I will be less affected by others agendas. I am a lovely worthy woman. I want to be less dismissive about what I am trying to do. I am grateful for my determined mind. More belief in what I see as a path. I have something to contribute.
I look forward to my voice becoming stronger and more direct. Let’s stop playing victim to our inner limiting beliefs. Tease them out, expose them onto the page, read them allowed. Hear them. Let them lose power. Read how wise our own advice is, that inner wisdom we all possess. Our expert. We are our own teacher. We can cheer ourselves on. Tap into that low rumble of wise wild power. Put on our invisible super hero suits, and beat the bejaysus out of those inner demons. Shout them down with our strong minds, so they can hear our ROAR.
Here I am, started my new chapter, first month almost under my belt. Taking the time to; just be. Spending time with my family and friends, doing things I enjoy, saying yes. Yes to things I’ve said no to in the past, now I have the room to. Allowing my days to take their own form. Relying on my own drive and incentives to be proactive in decision making for the day; is proving interesting. It being solely my responsibility, what I do with my time, how I chose to spend it. In my old daily life that sense of responsibility was shirked off by my rote routine. I forgot that it had always been my responsibility. Whoa! right, Hmm, Eeek, SHIT! That in itself was quite the revelation
I am responsible for my days; rolling that around the cheeks, hearing it aloud,seeing it written down, it’s powerful stuff. It’s shown me that it goes hand in hand with being responsible for my thoughts. I like to fill my days with being outdoors and moving around a good deal. That’s where I feel most at ease, content. The sitting with myself, that’s what I find hard. Boy can I go slow, but stop. Stopping is, phew! …well it’s intense. It’s easy to fill your days with things you enjoy, it’s hard to go to the places of yourself you have avoided. Long avoided. Ducking and diving into the content happy la la place. If avoidance is the game, I play it well! TUCK AND ROLL.
When you stop, things get loud. Hark is that my intuition I hear? gut starts
talking, tummy fills with butterflies, then BAM!, the door flies open and in
storms the boogie man of negative city heights. Just when you think you’re
out…they pull you back in! Rushing in to hold me back. I’ve been working,
chipping away at my internal dialogue for a good chunk of time, and I am
getting good at closing that door, quieting the chatter. Choosing not to run
into the space made up of; unknown, uncertain possible crazy negative
What I have uncovered, or actually exposed, is a physical tick that goes back to my teenage years. With this whole responsibility realisation, clarity on my tick’s source has arrived. I can for certain see it is linked to how I see myself. A manifestation of non-acceptance of my outward/physical self. It’s a little devastating, especially as I have been doing it so long. The good news is, perhaps this acknowledgement can help me finally address it head on. And truly, that is good news .
I think the majority of us punish ourselves outwardly, subconsciously, for our inner anguish about how we feel about ourselves, our worth. The most common, or should I say most focused on, is body shape, accepting our form and shape. Over eating/under eating/Yo-yoing/Binging…. This is where there is a huge amount of punishing and beating up with negative perspectives. Another example being, biting nails when anxious, about a decision, a judgement, or our ability. So many of us are doing it blindly, we don’t even know we are half of the time.
My tick is related to my skin. How I punish it daily for not being perfect. Unknowingly so in the main, although often purposefully too. Hands wander its landscape, fingers seeking out imperfections. I have never had clear skin, well that’s not true, before I was a teenager I did. I remember thinking, when I turn 18 my skin will be perfect! Here I am at 37 with this imperfect skin. Yes it is genetics, hormones and things out of my control also. I have spent years looking at diet, trying a million products, going to the doctor, the consultant, taking this tablet and that tablet, applying the lotions and potions. Maybe it all boils down to me not truly accepting myself. I wrote a poem about it.
This Skin I’m in
Reading, learning, trying to remember and apply. All the care and work I put into understanding. Yet I scrape and scratch, pull and pinch my skin. This thing, this living organism that protects all of me. Blindly punishing its imperfection. I accept and love myself; The Who of what I think I am. But still I pick away my outward self. Missing acceptance of what makes up a whole me. Inward work to solve an outward puzzle. To accept the skin I am wrapped in.
Outward work heals inward pain, inward work heals outward trauma. We need some mindfulness of how both are so intertwined. We can lose that obvious connection. Be responsible in a kind and caring way. Remember you are golden and have the power to shine your light. Acknowledging and knowingly moving towards the whole true spirit of who you are.
I hope that you can find something in this that you might relate to in your own journeys into further self-love and acceptance. Be wildly responsible for your gorgeous big, glorious life. Keep climbing.