The Plunge

‘Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life’ – Jerzy Gregorek. This June, I finished up in my job, after 14 years service to the company. A hard month emotionally, because not only was I leaving my job, I was leaving my life in Dublin too. By nature I go at a slow pace, albeit a splash and go girl when it comes to smaller, enjoyable choices. For me, making big decisions comes in fits and bursts of toe dipping. A little further each time, wading to the knee, extended periods of lolling in the adjustment, in between phases, dragging fingers through the waters of indecision. It has taken me approx two years to get to the jump off point, the big splash into my unknown.

A bitter sweet decision, having built a lovely life for myself, I was choosing to saying goodbye to something I was proud of creating. Farewell to my communities; family, friends, yoga, gym, colleagues, connections made. I have lived in Dublin all of my life. It was a big deal for me to leave, even if I wasn’t going too far away. It’s all I’ve ever really known.

It’s scary to give up something, especially when so much of it was good. Underneath all that goodness though, I had buried deep an unfulfilled void in relation to my work/career per say. The noise of which seemed to get only louder and louder, until finally, I had to listen, and do something about it. I am grateful for what those 14 years has given me, it has shown me; I know how to make a happy life, I understand myself, I know the things I need to cope, and how to surround myself with a wonderfully vibrant support system of people, activities and fun. Being there allowed me the space to learn that. It’s where I grew up.

Big changes tend to unsettle the air and kick up dust. Lots of things whir around in the whirlwind of an impending change. The universe seems to throw you curve balls, change is never plain sailing. Dealing with unexpected reactions, situations that really test your strength, is the stuff that fuels doubt. All of those obstacles are there to show you, to help you learn, and solidify why the change is in fact necessary. In letting go of something old, sometimes you lose connections, but you gain clarity in doing so. In the end we are all only trying to do our best with what we have. Having the kindness to allow emotions be felt, and not add them as a burden on your path, is paramount.

I had to go. I had spent 14 years being stuck and comfortable, never quite being able to muster the strength, or courage to figure out a different way. Often we box ourselves off by the overwhelming large picture, it creates a blindness and inertia that stops us seeing possibilities, or being open to a different way, without having every detail planned out. The more you communicate with your circle, listen to your intuition, break up with old habits, the easier it becomes to let in the light of opportunity, and begin to re-frame your situation, breath energy and power into action. These are all the little lessons I have been learning through my blogging, that have given me the courage to keep going, keep trying, and see another way. I always say start in an area of your life you enjoy, challenge yourself there, make changes there first, transfer those skills to the places that your find harder to move on.

I decided I wanted to mark, celebrate, signify and draw a line under my Dublin life in a truly personal, positive way. I choose to cycle the 166 km to my new life; marking the end of a chapter and sailing into a new one. I knew it was going to be tough, whatever way I cut it, I expected that. This journey was my pilgrimage to a new start. I chose a route so scenic, that throughout the physical struggle and effort, I had only to look around me, take in the beautiful countryside, wildlife and wondrous nature, to be thankful for this time. To remind myself, I didn’t need to rush, I had all day, and this day was for me. To take it in and be grateful for the opportunity I had given myself to be in the moment. It harked back to my childhood, spoke to my heart, and assured it I was listening, and that I did care. It was nature, wildlife, outdoor activity, at my own pace, all the things that bring me joy and make me who I am today.

I am currently working on re-birthing, settling, rejuvenating and regenerating good energies. I am being happy in my now, and relishing the freedom that I have worked hard to find, so I can move forward.

Are there any changes you crave to make? Anything is possible once you put your mind to it, and allow the time and space for it to come to being. I am resting with these two quotes at the moment;

‘Heal yourself, love yourself, know yourself – These phrases are becoming more and more common, why? Because they are the pathways to our own freedom and happiness.’ – Yung Pueblo

‘Part of self-acceptance is releasing other peoples opinions. We are meant to be different. When we can accept this, there is no competition and no comparison.’ – Louise L Hay

Wishing you all joy, love, light, energy and courage on your own journeys . Paint wildly and freely, friends.

Celebrate your Circle

The energy we surround ourselves with, our friends and family. How we connect. How we lift each other and champion good energy. The people in our corner. The light we shine, attracting others to shine with us, and grow a powerful energy of living, together. Our orbit, our community. Nurturing, growing, wilting into bloom, through all the seasons of life. This is our infinite energy source to which we live our lives.

In a time where we have unparalleled access to knowledge, wisdom, information, guidance. Gurus in self-help, wellness and self-care. SO MUCH INFORMATION. Motivational quotes and snippets helping us traverse adult life. We tend to forget about our own circle. Overlooking the knowledge and wisdom of those close to us, for that of people we’ve never met or connected with. Who don’t know us or have any idea of our journey.

We are so used to connecting with our friends and family on the same levels, paths grooved in over years of friendship. Look around your orbit. I am sure you admire and want to best for those within it, but have you ever stopped to ask; What motivates them? What energises them? How do they energise themselves? What tools have they used to succeed? What techniques or rituals work for them? and I mean really asked them, and not just an assumed an answer.

If your stuck on something in your life, pivot and look around your circle. Who do you know that does that area of life well. Go spend some time with them, ask them about it. Be inspired by them to face your challenges, by how they have succeeded in theirs. Doing this brings deeper appreciation to your connections. A gratefulness of your sphere, and a realisation of how powerful that energy can be. Sharing in your experiences.

This month I did just that. I went to Italy to visit a friend. He took the leap to move there 2.5 years ago. I wanted to see first hand what that was like, to fully go for something you had dreamed of. I wanted to see the realities, hear the good and the bad. It gave me great comfort to see him out there doing his thing. I felt inspired, and spurred on to face my fears, and just go try. Often people don’t realise how much of an impact they might have on your life at certain times, and it feels good to tell them. Tell them, Hey! I think what your doing is awesome, and you make me want to go and get after it too!

Talking about your plans, thrashing out problems or asking for simple advice is very liberating. Sharing a vision or speed bump you have, makes a world of difference. Hearing what your pals have been through, overcome, strategies they use that you may never have known about. Makes not only you feel more grounded, but makes the other party feel good about themselves in turn. Sometimes you don’t say out loud the things you have achieved, and when you hear them, it hits home. Hearing your why, can give new energy to a person and yourself. We sometimes forget our whys. Talking helps you shape, reframe, organise and understand how you feel, and builds confidence in the knowing of yourself.

As part of mental health awareness month, I have been trying to reach out and spend time with the people in my circle, make more of an effort to connect with intention and let them know I appreciate them. Reach out, make a date. Who in your circle inspires you?, why not tell them. You don’t need to be looking for advice, help, ideas or perspective to spend time and share good energy, go celebrate it. Champion your circle.

Breaking up is never easy

A routine queen, I put my hands up, it’s true. My tapestry of routines and rituals are what guide me through daily life. Layering up over time, they have become a delicately knit fabric, interwoven together creating harmony in my world.

The beauty of life is, it’s ever changing. We change, we grow, we evolve. Learning to accept and allow the flow of life take its course. Not holding fast and steady to routines and rituals that once worked for us, but no longer seem to. Acknowledging this, instead of fervently trying to stuff our now round peg back into that old square hole.

When an old routine becomes stagnant it’s a sure sign that a change is occurring. A shift. Growth. It’s a message you need to listen to. Change can creep up on you, especially when you get so caught up in the doing of routines, a disconnect from being, from you, begins. It’s important to stop and notice when these flags start pinging up.

It’s a frustrating time, trying to understand, to figure out what is going on. Firstly, we must start to question. Why did it work before? What was its purpose? Why is it not working now? Does it still have a purpose? What is it that I want, what is it that I need? Has that changed? Have I exhausted its means? Viewing it in a positive light. You are still you, you have just grown. Same, same you, but different you. Let’s not pigeon hole or type cast ourselves. Make room, thank your old routine for getting you thus far, start the curious journey of creating something new, something to match your shift.  Give yourself space to expand those horizons.

I recently listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast with Neil Gaiman. He talks about how his writing routines have changed over the years, and how you must not be afraid when an old routine stops working for you. Accepting the fact, you are different, yet, you are still you, and making a change to reflect that.

I have several friends that have just had kids, and/or have young families. I have watched on in awe, how they as parents, are so very capable of routine changes. All the changes, all of the time! At the drop of a hat. Figuring it out like a bunch of pros on the reg. I’m taking inspiration from their hop scotch strong game.

In my life I struggle with stress management. I have had a solid routine for the last 3 to 4 years that has transformed my life balance. I am now re-examining these, because they seem to be no longer working. I am busy delving into these questions and figuring out what has changed. Examining all the angles. I might have to go to the root, the source, the cause, all the way to Lemkin. This time I’m not afraid to. I think it is time to break up with an old way/routine/route/path. Yikes.

When we recognise that nothing stays the same, we can let go of where we were, so we can be where we are now. Next time a way of doing something/being, or a routine stops working for you, or starts making you feel stressed and anxious, question, re-evaluate, listen, accept, move.

We do in order to be, but we also must be in order to do.

What changes have you had to make? How did you go about it? Did it take you long to figure it out? Please share.

Break up

Views and perspective

This month, I stepped up to the plate, and entered a writing competition. To date the majority of my goals have been fitness orientated.  I constantly set goals and challenges in this area.  I strive to explore, grow and remain curious within my practices. I feed off the energy I get from continuing to do so. Until now, I had not equated that type of mindset with my writing. I want to transfer that positive energy and growth into this area also. Why not try, see how I can expand this area of my life which I enjoy. Take the mind shift and move forward with it.

I understood that this was just a starting point, my writing wasn’t going to be perfect,  my piece would not smash it on my first offering. It was a place to start, a place to measure where I could grow from, see where I needed to put the work in, what I needed to improve upon. This can hold us back so often. That we are not going to be instantly awesome at something. It can stop us from continuing to put in the work, and get better, to hone our skills.  If we can get over that mind hurdle, keep showing up, and keep putting in the work, we will succeed.

With all of that said, I now share with you what I wrote. It’s a story from my travels. It was entered for a travel writing competition. My aim was to evoke a feeling, paint a picture, hopefully bring you back to a moment where you may have felt that same feeling. Perhaps inspire you to hold onto it, and seek it more often in your life.

Throughout our entire trip in Central America we got an overwhelming sense of the happiness and gratefulness the people there had, for simply being alive. They were happy because they were. It’s so basic, yet here in the western world, we seem to be so busy wanting, that we lose touch with that fact. How lucky we are to be here, and this story is one of those moments that knocks me down with that knowledge.

“One of the most liberating things about travel is,  listening to, and hearing other travelers regale tales of incredible experiences, and unique discoveries from the road. In turn inspiring you to go on, hatch a plan,  catching yourself an opportunity to go explore some of the magic they painted for you.

This story is one of those moments, and how it paid off for me and my travel buddy.    We were spun an idyllic tale of swaying in a hammock, on top of a Volcano, under the cover of a million stars. Awakening to the most breath-taking sunrise over the Gulf of Fonseca in El Salvador.

We set our sights on this Volcano Conchagua, and its fairy tale sunrise.  At 1,242 meters tall, it looks out on the Gulf of Fonseca, home to a collection of various small islands, encompassing views of Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

Transport to the top, was what could only be described as an old cattle truck. A domed open wired frame, ropes hung, tied and knotted from same. Choosing a rope, we braced for a bumpy ride uphill. The views glimpsed between clearings and moments of concentration to avoid branch whippings, were spectacular.

At the top, wind had picked up considerably. We were shown to an unfinished restaurant, and it was suggested we sleep there. Unfortunately the weather continued to turn, and with no windows or properly secured doors, the winds howled, ripping through the restaurant. Without sleeping bags we were very under prepared.

Gone was our vision of a calm balmy night, dozing in a hammock, occasionally gazing up at a canopy of a billion stars. Upon taking our final bathroom break before properly bedding down, we were met  with several parked 4×4’s, and the most warm and welcoming of greetings. A small group of El Salvadorans had driven from San Salvador to camp for the night.  They were part of a hiking group that met at weekends to hike volcanos all around El Salvador and Central America.

They informed us that a freak weather front had come in from the States. When we told them of our under prepared situation, they offered a half covered truck bed for us to sleep in.  This is what turned out to be our saving grace.

Returning to the restaurant and our icy tiled layer,  we huddled as best we could, bony hips met with hard tiles, padded bottoms grown numb.  To the truck bed we went. Crawling into the compact space we were instantly relived by the wind cover.

Early morning brought calmed winds. We were beckoned for the first tendrils of sunrise ‘ Girls its starting’ . Stiffly we climbed out, met with the offer of a warm sleeping bag. With sleepy heads, and puffy eyes, quietly we padded across to the viewing area and chose our spot.

Black horizon turning to dirty grey orange, to cobalt blues and burnt, fiery tones; the rest of the sky remaining inky, stars still twinkling bright. Oranges turned to powder pink and cerise. The sun began to shine its golden glow upon us. Each and every second being different, never stopping to hit you right in the chest.  How it lit up every cell in our bodies with the acknowledgement of how truly incredible it is that this happens. Every. Single. Day.

We lolled on rocks, ate breakfast, drank coffee and relished our time together on Conchagua, exchanging stories. This volcano had brought us all together, from such different parts of the world,  with diverse life experiences and stories. Yet we were all just humans, in search of, and trying to maintain our inner peace, by connecting back to our earth, and in turn each other.

Later in our trip we managed to connect again, climbing Volcano Santa Ana with some of the group. This honest, pure human connection we encountered on Conchagua, not only made our first sunrise of Central America so special, but our time in El Salvador one we will hold onto for a very long time to come.

Anyone visiting El Salvador should add Conchagua into their time budget. It is worth spending a piece of it here to catch a sunrise.”

And that’s a wrap! I hope this short summary of a moment in my travels, can inspire you to delve back to a time you felt something similar, and give you some good energy. Strive for those simple pure moments of gratitude, they don’t need to be found on top of a volcano, sometimes they are found in a hug, or a walk in the park, or waking up on a bright morning. Let those moments fuel you forward into pure happiness, and appreciation for where you are right now.

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Guts and Intuition

Having returned home from traveling, I am busy processing and trying to readjust to my old routine/lifestyle. I have started reading The Alchemist. This quote about the language of the world has been inspiring me to forge ahead ‘It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of the search for something believed in and desired’.

How often do we hold ourselves back with negative ‘what if’s’ without even exploring the positive ‘what if’s’? Western society at present is a high pressured world to exist in. We are in a torrent cycle of having to live our lives up to the standards our society says are acceptable. Career, earning power, relationship status, procreation, home status…the list goes on. The never-ending pressure to measure up to these standards.

Being out of my regular routine, gave me the opportunity to quite all of that noise. It didn’t exist. I had the space to truly stop and hear what my gut was telling me, actually understand what that message was. Trust in an instinct, out of the scope of what these ‘standards’ said I should be chasing. A pure feeling, and its scary, but exhilarating all in the one breath…its the ‘what if’ I do/can.

I pushed myself while I was traveling; to do things i was scared or nervous of, and go for it all the same. This is something i can apply and use now that I’m back in my routine. Feel the fear and do it anyway. All of us can try do this a little more. Of course it’s not as simple with life decisions when you have responsibilities, but it can be applied to trying something new, something you have always wanted to do, or somewhere you might want to go. I jumped off cliffs, into lakes, into caves, into the sea, i dove, i held a tarantula. I am scared of spiders, and i am not super confident in my swimming ability, and have fears of what lies beneath the water’s surface. Yet I felt so alive and proud every-time i pushed and overcame a fear, i realised; yes i can do this, and its ok, more than ok, it’s exhilarating, and wonderful to experience. I gained self-confidence with each of those experiences.

Our bodies and minds are incredibly resilient. How over time we are able to normalise pain, whether its physical or mental anguish, to the point we become numb, lost and continue to damage ourselves. Through practising yoga I have learned to listen to my body more, and from travel to listen to my instincts. Last year I worked hard at doing things that brought me joy and happiness, but I wasn’t really listening. It’s important we take time to listen and connect to ourselves, in a bid to honor who we are.

My new years resolution is to follow my gut, listen to my instincts, and begin to get closer to a way of life I’ve always thought was out of reach. To work on resting, having the quite and calm to keep listening. Trust myself, my abilities, appreciate what I have learnt, celebrate it, and see where this life can take me.

Whats one of your dreams/visions?Can you do something today to take a step closer toward it? Does thinking about it inspire joy and excitement? Butterflies? Why not invest some energy into ways of reaching it?

I’ll leave you with this last quote from The Alchemist ‘He suddenly felt tremendously happy. He could always go back to being a shepherd. He could always become a crystal salesman again. Maybe the world had other hidden treasures, but he had a dream, and he had met with a king’

Be your own king or queen. Tune in. Hear the beat of your drum. It’s all in your own hands.

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The Hamster Wheel

The ol hamster wheel of disappointment, that keeps spinning and looping. Why do we stay on this wheel. A disappointment hits, and the broken record of all past disappointments start chiming in. They fill up our hearts and heads, spilling out, blurring the lines of why we were disappointed in the first place, soon we go bobbing on down the rivers of self-pity. Diving off the ‘cliffs of insanity’, plunging down into ‘the pit of despair’. (Ahem, cheeky Princess Bridge reference :D)

Can you relate? This month I had my driving test. Oh!, praise the lords of driving, the day was arriving thick and fast. I had put so much effort into practicing, forcing myself out into the car, sweating, shouting, flustering and enduring the general feeling of tenseness. I was ready for this day to arrive, so I could get to the next level. Disaster! I managed to overlook the physical car being ready. It was not. I wasn’t even allowed to sit the test. Que teenage style melt down, pan out to a shot of me in an open field, falling to my knees, arms thrown up to the heavens, shouting, WHY ME????!!!

What did my head automatically do? of course it just hop, skipped and jumped right onto that hamster wheel, and off I flew around in circles, reliving all previous failures, and not just driving failures! FFS! Eventually, I managed to slap myself into shape, and tell myself to build a bridge, and GET OVER IT! Ssssssseeeeeeesssh! That wheel is exhausting. It makes you feel bad right down to the core, it really is a self-inflicted pain, like picking a scab and reopening a wound. So silly! Albeit sometimes our lessons can be far bigger and harder to take, but we cannot keep reliving each one, on loop, this is for certain.

It was a major learning curve for me, it took some time to extract my positives, I was very angry! Now I can look back and just say; well that was ridiculous. I have improved my driving and my confidence in the car. I still have work to do, I must keep going with the practice and not drop the ball. Consistency is key, and not letting small blips in the road permanently stall momentum forward. The last time I took my test, I failed, I allowed that experience to stop me getting back into a car for over 2 years. Not this time!

We have the power to stop our heads going down this path. In my previous post Old Habits Die Hard I’ve talked about the recognition of a pattern of thought, and this is what enables us to pull ourselves out of a cycle. It’s not healthy to default to this feeling every time something doesn’t work out or doesn’t go according to plan.

What disappointments have you faced, in your past, that have held you back from moving forward, or continue to hold you back? We have got to learn to get off this wheel and put our feet back on terra forma, get busy picking our Ego’s back up and going for this life we have. If we can’t get off the wheel, soon our outlook on our lives, and who we are will get stuck and not change for the better. Each time we try to stop the wheel spinning, and work at pulling ourselves back, we get stronger and quicker at doing so, we become more resilient and ready to take on our lives from a more positive perspective.

Shine your bright light, dust off those disappointments, stop carrying them around with you. Big shoulder rolls and shrug that shit right off. Disappointments suck, but they don’t need to follow us around for the rest of our lives. Be open to learn from them, grow and take those lessons on the chin. Tomorrow is another new day ready for the taking. Dust yourself off, don a smile and sail into that new day. ‘It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life, and I’m feeling good’.

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When the cat’s out of the bag

Ever held a secret for so long, you’re not quite sure if it’s actually happened/going to happen? Once the cat it out of the bag, shit gets real. Change is afoot in real-time.  Dust is in the air, feelings of elation coupled with panic and fear keep you in a constant state of alertness, edge of your seat style. A huge sense of relief also comes over you like a calming blanket in the same breath. It’s confusing emotionally for sure!

I can finally say out loud that I have decided to take a short sabbatical from work. Boy does it feel good that my colleagues now know. Holding onto secrets are not good for your soul. It keeps you from growing and holds you back. Although I have known I am going away for the guts of nine months, and knew it was real, that act of it being out in the open at my workplace has made it all seem new again, and somewhat more real. I have been looking forward daily to this trip, yet now that it’s become common knowledge, I can’t help but look around, see and take stock of what I have right here and now. Funny that!

I’ve been so focused on working toward the goal, and even though I am grateful for where I currently am, I am starting to feel it more and more. I am grateful. I feel grateful. I think they might be slightly different? In any case, I feel it, washing over me daily. Change can do that. Flip your perspective on where you are, allow you to appreciate and be grateful, let go of any resentment or disappointment, see more of the good in your daily life you were missing, because, you know it’s all going to change and be different soon.

I have found it a little stressful in the office, but I am lucky to work with a lovely bunch of fun and diverse characters.  I am enjoying organizing and training with my colleagues, taking time to listen, learn and see the work they do. Its shown me some skills I might like to develop, which was completely unexpected. I’m seeing my colleagues in a different light, and have shone that light on myself too. They are the ones facilitating my leave, for that I am ever grateful. Taking the chance to change or do something about an area of your life you need to work on, can open your eyes up in ways you never imagined possible. I have days when I panic, but I don’t allow myself dwell too long in the fear of what might lie ahead or allow it to take away from my decision to do something.

It’s never too late to do something, there is always something we can do. My decision to go off for a short three months has bled into all areas of my life, making me see and appreciate the time spent with the people I love and care about, do more of what I enjoy , and not take the time we/I have for granted.  This trip has already taught me; to be present, connect and enjoy that time, and I’ve not even left yet. That is pretty powerful stuff.

What plans are you holding close to your chest. Why not let them out into the world, tell people, let it be real, enjoy the excitement of making it happen,the journey to it. Share and allow yourself be supported in the dreams and goals you want to reach. Hatch a plan! Our stories are not yet written, we can change the narrative whenever we want to. Don’t be scared, let the cat out of the bag and go for it, use that energy of letting it loose drive you closer to that dream. Imagine where it may lead.

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