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The Milky Way is Always There

It is a divinely beautiful experience to stand under the Milky Way on a clear, balmy summer  night. The energy is exquisite. A few weeks ago, I did just this, gazing into the heavens, drinking in the atmosphere, and feeling a sense of perspective with my place in the universe.

The following night, I went out to drink in some more of the loveliness, but the stars were hidden beneath smatterings of cloud. It was still beautiful, in its own way, but it didn’t hold the magic and sparkle of the previous evening. And yet, I knew that beyond those clouds, the same Milky Way was still there, just hidden from my eyes.


Once again, it’s been quite a while since I last posted here. There are a few reasons:

1. Committing to Sleep
I think I’ve finally solved my sleep commitment issues. I made a pact with myself that I can only rise early in the morning to meditate if I’ve slept for 8 hours. Daily meditation is a part of the spiritual studies I’m currently undertaking, and I’m learning that the benefits are life changing. Further to this, I’m finding that meditation first thing after waking is an awesome way to begin my day, as it starts me off in the right head-space, and carries throughout my day. So, despite my natural tendency towards being a night owl, I’ve had surprisingly little difficulty in establishing this practice. The problem lay in maintaining my late night habits alongside my early morning meditation. Exhaustion does not facilitate mindfulness. Hence, the pact. That has been motivation enough.

Herein lies the next problem: my writing and publishing, thus far, has been confined to late night (or very early morning!) when the kids are asleep, and I have no other pressing responsibilities (aside from sleep, that is!). So, when I’m committed to sleep at night, it’s tricky to find daylight hours to squeeze in writing between the school and kinder run, playing trains, riding bikes to the park, keeping the house looking semi-respectable, preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner, cleaning up after breakfast lunch and dinner … I’ll stop there. It’s oh-so-easy to push yourself into the trap of “I don’t have the time” (all the while emphatically claiming that you fell in, against your most-determined will).

2. Wallowing in an Energetic Funk
I’ve struggled to generate inspired content that I deem publish worthy. This is a trend for me, it seems. I’m not interested in publishing just for the sake of it, despite all the advice out there that consistent content creation is key to a successful blog. I only want to share writing that I feel moved to share, writing that I believe will resonate, move, inspire, comfort, or spread love. I’m less about “successful blog”, and more about authentic connection.

I’ve struggled with this, I believe, because my energy has taken somewhat of nose dive from the heady highs of the early weeks of this year, when my chakras were rocking, and I was brimming with positivity and connection.

I don’t think I’ve done anything “wrong” to cause this downward turn. I’ve maintained my meditation practice. I’m continuously delving deep into spirit. I’m even sleeping more! I think it’s simply the ebb and flow of energy and life, it’s something I’m learning from and I’m yet to master. I understand that the level that my energy vibrates on is my responsibility, but I’m still learning how to manage this. I’m acknowledging the drains on my energy, such as the new routines and earlier mornings with a new preppy in the family. I’m making an effort to accept this experience for what it is, without making it wrong. I’m doing more “gentle” and “restorative” yoga classes, and less vinyasa, until my body is ready. I’ve turned down invitations for evening socialising, and instead substituted rest and sleep. But, I’m still a work in progress. I am so ingrained in the mindset of “pushing through” when it comes to matters of household and parenting duties, and this inevitably lands me in the state I’m in right now – succumbed to a viral infection, unable to do much, and forced to do that which I should have done to prevent this outcome: rest. It’s uncomfortable territory to put me as number one priority. I’m taking baby steps.

Anyway, my energetic funk has had me feeling like I’m incapable of producing shareable content, because I believe that high-vibing content can’t be faked. If I’m not vibing high, any content I create will stink of the funk I’m in. But I’m coming to realise that there is an antidote, a way to create that is authentic and share-worthy, even when I’m feeling down (because let’s face it, we can’t hide under the bed covers indefinitely every time we’re feeling off).

The answer: taking action, and being honest.

So, here I am.

Waiting around to feel “ready” to write, waiting for inspiration to hit, will get me nowhere. I’ve been trying to convince myself that the time will be right soon, but not right now. This has generated nothing. There is a time for stillness, a time for rest, but this is not the same thing. Knowing that I have these words bubbling up inside of me, clambering to get out onto the screen and in front of you, means that I need to take action. During the time between publishing posts, I don’t sit around feeling fulfilled by my last post – I feel magnetically pulled toward creating. I don’t always know what it is I want to write, but I can feel the words trying to escape from inside of me. Putting pen to paper, and turning on the computer, is what generates the inspiration for exactly what it is I will share with you.

As I’ve explained, my highs of the early weeks of the year have bottomed out. I’ve been doing everything I’m “supposed” to be doing to improve and maintain energetic vitality, but I’ve lost that sense of flow and connection that I was in. I’ve felt frustrated, frustrated, frustrated. Plus angry, embarrassed, and like a failure. I had thought that once I’d attained that lofty high, I was there to stay. A high is like that – it makes you feel invincible, like you’ll never return to the grotty lows from where you first rose. What am I supposed to say now that it’s waning? I’ve felt like a fool at times, like a naive little girl chasing castles in the sky. How can I progress from there?

So, I’ve had some time, to be with what is, and to consider my situation from different perspectives. I chose not to quit in disappointment and disillusionment, but to maintain my commitment to my spiritual practices – THANK GOODNESS. It’s paying off – a few days ago, I finally re-connected, albeit faintly, with source. It’s brought about an awakening:

• Energy ebbs and flows. It’s my responsibility to maintain my own high vibration of energy, but I also need to acknowledge the natural peaks and troughs of the energy that surrounds and impacts me, and do my best to work with it and flow with the currents. It’s my responsibility to prevent external low vibration energies from dragging me down.

 

Vibrate higher
Source unknown.

• This too, shall pass.
• I am exactly where I am supposed to be – even if that is in a funk – and my journey gives me everything I need to learn and grow. I trust the entire process.
• Beneath the fog of my funk, I’m still the same soul that I was at my vibrational high. It’s simply the clouds temporarily covering the starry sky. This gives me faith.

xo


Photo credit: The Milky Way Strikes, by Abdul Rahman.  Under licence.

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Thank goodness for yoga

I had an epiphany during yoga practice on Tuesday night. I’ve been silently chastising myself for the fact that I’m struggling with my vinyasa practice lately. I’ve been telling myself that I’m not getting to enough classes, not consistent enough in my practice, I’m doing too many restorative classes (as if there is such a thing as too much!) instead of vinyasa classes, and my strength and stamina have deteriorated as a result, which is bad. I’ve been mentally beating myself up, for undoing all the good that I’d achieved with my practice in the first half of 2014. I had come so far, and I feel like I’m back at the beginning. I’m letting myself down, being slack, not being disciplined enough. My ego has been running rampant, telling me stories of how my teachers have no doubt noticed the deterioration in my practice, that they wouldn’t think very highly of me, and that it’s a visible sign to others that I haven’t got it all together. I even felt the pang of jealousy when I heard a teacher compliment another student on his beautiful practice. I was the one receiving those comments six months ago.

Then, on Tuesday, it suddenly dawned on me during the middle of practice – it doesn’t matter.

Yoga is not an ideal to be achieved. It is not a spectator sport. It’s not about progression.

Yoga is about the here and now. It is the union of mind and body. I have been missing this point for months.

My new mantra, which has brought me so much peace in the past few weeks, applies to my yoga journey:

Surrender.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and my journey gives me everything I need to learn and grow. I trust the entire process. The Universe delivers everything I ask for, and more.

So, it doesn’t matter. The deterioration of my strength and stamina is simply part of my journey, part of the process. I don’t need to berate myself for it. It isn’t bad, it just is what it is.

Of course, I’d like to improve my practice and regain my lost yoga fitness, even surpass it. But instead of striving for progression, adding love to this equation means that the outcome is irrelevant. Even if I never progress my practice from where it is today, it will continue to serve me well. I am nourished by my yoga, it teaches me stillness and presence. For that, I am grateful.


BRINGING MY YOGA PRACTICE INTO MY DAILY LIFE

I mentally beat myself up for all kinds of things on a daily basis. I’ve learnt that this habit is destructive and useless, but it is so ingrained that it has been a tough one to break.

For the purposes of shedding light on this struggle, I wrote a list of everything I could think of for which I berate myself. When I got to #37 without the end anywhere in sight, I decided I’d better not continue down that dark and depressing hole. It was obvious that, as countless people have told me over and over again for many years, I am very hard on myself. The vitriol that I brutally douse myself with repeatedly throughout every single day, is so toxic, cruel and ruthless that I would never even contemplate inflicting it on any other living creature. And yet, for me, it is the every day, every hour, every minute norm. I suspect that I am not the only one with this horrendous habit.

Why we think it is ok to treat ourselves in a manner that we would never treat another living creature is beyond me. Perhaps it’s a psychological issue that someone knowledgeable could explain, but I’m at a point where I don’t care about reasons any more. I just care about solutions.

In the wider scheme of the Universe, the things that I berate myself for are not inherently bad, just as they are not good. They are what they are. The “badness” is something I attribute to the thing in my mind. The goals I’ve failed to achieve, the ideals I fail to live up to, the skills I am deficient in, the struggles I face, the mistakes I make, the dreams I haven’t made manifest … they’re all essentially meaningless. None of it matters. And yet, I am so emotionally attached to every single one of them, it’s hard to believe that they don’t matter.

Let me stop talking figuratively, and give you a specific example to illustrate exactly what I mean. My biggest “bashing” item on the list at present, is how I feel about my experience of motherhood. Oftentimes, since I gave birth to my second baby, I’ve hated motherhood. I LOVE my precious babies, but I hate motherhood, because it is so damn hard, frustrating, monotonous, relentless, overwhelming, all consuming, and heart breaking. I feel as though I hadn’t fully established who I was pre-kids, let alone now that I feel so lost in motherhood. Of course, there are days scattered amongst the endless months where motherhood feels peachy. I also realise that “hate” is a very strong word to use about this period of my life, especially when I also associate this time with the miracle and beauty of my children and the intense love that I have for them. Let’s put it down to hormones (can I still blame them 3 years post-partum??), a tendency to dramatics, and laziness with accurately describing my feelings, but hate is just the word that slips out of my mouth.

So, I mentally flog myself for feeling these feelings. I know I am privileged to experience motherhood. I know I chose this path. I am so grateful to have been given the role of mothering these two precious souls. I know. I even know that my attitude about this, quite frankly, sucks. But, as so many before me have said, although I was told it was hard, I never anticipated the pain that motherhood would bring. I tell myself I am a bad person for feeling this way, for not loving and cherishing motherhood. I tell myself that these feelings must be damaging my children. I feel so much guilt, I feel shame, I feel unworthy as a mother for not yet having found a way to make motherhood feel great. I’ve made my feelings bad, and I’m convinced of their “badness”.

So, how can I bring my yoga practice to this part of my life?

Just as yoga is not an ideal to be achieved, neither is motherhood. There is no perfect way that motherhood is meant to be experienced that I should be striving to live up to. It simply is what it is. It’s a word used to describe an experience that I currently find myself engulfed in, that doesn’t need to be experienced in a prescribed way. It doesn’t matter if I like it or hate it. That doesn’t make me a good or bad mother. It doesn’t diminish the love I have for my children. Motherhood is not who I am. It’s a word to describe something I’m experiencing.

My yoga practice brings me to the present. It puts me in the here and now. If I do that in my motherhood experience, I can be present with my kids. I can put the frustrations and the overwhelm into perspective. I can keep calm amongst the storm.

If I bring yoga to my motherhood, it doesn’t matter if I’m hating it. It’s part of my journey, part of the process. If I continue to hate it, that’s meaningless. If I add self love and acceptance for my feelings of hating motherhood, instead of berating myself, I might actually just hate it a little less, and find the space to love some more, to accept the difficulties, and find more joy in being with my kids. But the outcome is irrelevant, and not what I need to focus on.

So now I’m beginning to understand what my teachers are talking about at the end of class, when they say to take your yoga practice into your life. I think that if there was less “mental bashing”, and more presence and love in my life, miracles really could happen. I can walk my path knowing that I’m simply here, and I love, and that is enough.

xx


*Image credit: Yoga class, by Augusto Mia Battaglia. Under licence.

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Finding my voice

My hairdresser told me a funny thing today. She said that when she read the first blog post of mine that I emailed to her, her jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe that I had so much to say. That I wrote so well. It made me laugh out loud. She went on to say that she was so shocked that I, the girl she knew so be so guarded and quiet, clearly held a LOT inside of me.

Whilst I found all of this quite comical, it really got me thinking. A lot. (I am an expert over-thinker.) I generally describe myself as fairly shy (I’m very uncomfortable at parties unless I am the hostess, more so if I’m amongst strangers, and I’m hesitant to introduce myself to a stranger or start a conversation). This might make some of my friends laugh, because they know me as pretty loud (well if not loud, definitely not quiet) and pretty happy to be the centre of attention. I’m not scared of public speaking, even though I can get a little nervous. So I’m a bit of a contradiction, a mixed bag. But the kind of communication that is the most important and satisfying to me – the D&Ms, discussing matters of spirituality, life, purpose … this is where I have traditionally struggled the most. These topics that I hold so dear and find so fascinating … why would I struggle with them? I’ve had one or two friends in my lifetime with whom I’ve been able to talk about these topics. Those chats fill me up, nourish my soul, make me feel connected and cosy. Then there are people who I think would be fabulous candidates for sharing these kinds of discussions with – for example, my hairdresser – and yet I’m guarded, stuck for words, inhibited, and feel as though maybe I don’t have as many valid ideas to contribute to the conversation as the other person. Or … they might judge me (there’s a doozy!). Then, there’s writing … I’ve been so humbled and honoured by the praise that my select handful of friends with whom I’ve shared my blog, have given me for my writing. It is dawning on me that … I AM A WRITER. Who would have thought?! I haven’t done a lot of writing in recent years, but composing and publishing blog posts, as few as there have been so far, has been SO satisfying. I love getting my message recorded in words, reviewing it and editing it, over and over, to ensure that I’m crystal clear in communicating it exactly as I intend. Heck, I’ve been so blocked with conversation in the past that I’ve been known to write letters to my husband, so that I know he gets my entire message, without missed details, or getting sidetracked, or using ineffective language, or even chickening out from telling him everything – at least if I hand him a note, I can squirm with embarrassment, but I can’t hide and cut the conversation short.

So, the conclusion I’m drawing from all this: when I feel vulnerable, I’m blocked in my communication. Big time. A perfect example: I haven’t shared my blog with my husband yet. It feels like a side of me that he’s unfamiliar with. I don’t expect he will dislike it … it’s just that I feel so vulnerable about something that is so ME, my vehicle for speaking my truth in the world, a side of me that he perhaps doesn’t know or understand, and he is probably my most important critic.

So whilst writing can be an effective means of communication, it can also be a wall to hide behind. It’s safe writing here from the safety of the computer keyboard, or the pen on the paper. They don’t judge. I don’t feel nearly so vulnerable. I’m certainly not suggesting that writing is a bad thing – it has its place (and here is one of them!). But obviously it lacks a certain intimacy that a conversation has. A palpable connection that you make with the person with whom you speak to. When I hand my husband a letter, he receives the message that I want to give him, but we both miss out on the intimacies of a face-to-face conversation, where so much more is communicated.

It’s no coincidence that this contemplation about my voice is coming up right now. In the two weeks prior to Christmas, I undertook training on chakra five as part of a course I am enrolled in. Chakra five, the throat chakra, is all about communication, self expression, and speaking your truth. The course work involved learning all the theory about the chakra and how the health of your chakra five affects your life, as well as working on clearing energetic blockages in this chakra and strengthening it. Needless to say, I’ve discovered some quite significant blockages in my chakra five, which go right back to my childhood. The substantial work that I’ve done to clear these blockages has led me to, amongst other things, get back here on the blog, and start sharing my words, my thoughts, my ideas, my voice. I still have a long way to go with my one-on-one D&Ms, but in the meantime, please consider my little patch of cyberspace as a place where we can share a virtual D&M. I feel certain that the better I get at using my voice here, where I feel so comfortable, the stronger my chakra five will grow, and my personal conversations will progress naturally.

Start where it's easy


 

MANTRAS & DREAMS

I’ve done A LOT of intense spiritual practice over the past month or so. My studies and practices with chakras have taken me to places way beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m blown away by how calm, centred, and positive I am about where I am right now, and where I’m headed. My energy is, without any shadow of a doubt, changing – for the better! Sometimes I need to remind myself of how far I’ve come in these few short months.

I want to share with you some guidance I’ve received that has made every day a great day since receiving it. These guiding words have become my mantra, and they bring me comfort and peace, every single day:

Surrender.
I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, and my journey gives me everything I need to learn and grow. I trust the entire process. The Universe delivers everything I ask for, and more.

It seems so simple. And it is. I’m in such an awesome place right now. Life isn’t “perfect”, and yet it is – I trust that I’m on the right path and heading towards my dream life, and most importantly, my soul purpose. This makes me so SO excited for 2015 – it’s already the best year ever. No new years resolutions for me. Instead, I’ve become crystal clear on how I want to feel, right now, and I use these core desired feelings to inform every decision I make, every day. I desire to feel:

Exhilarated
Nourished
Ease

My coursework has also seen me get clear on my dream perfect life, which was also informed by my desired feelings. I won’t go into the details here, but if you’re the curious type, you can check out my dreams at http://dreamdrop.be/dream/201/rachael.

I am so full of gratitude to be exactly where I stand, here and now.

2015: BRING IT ON.

xo

 

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Lying by accident

I noticed something kind of embarrassing this evening. I was recalling a conversation I had with my friend this morning, during which I told her that we’re moving house this coming week. I said something along the lines of “So everything’s a bit crazy at the moment!” Something about her response made me hesitate for a moment in continuing the conversation down the same track, and I slightly tweaked the trajectory of where my subject matter was heading, turning eventually to discuss things in a somewhat more positive light. I’m not certain of exactly what it was that she said or did that made me do this, and I can’t make assumptions about what she was actually thinking, but it was just something I sensed, that she perhaps thought I was being dramatic, or overly negative, or just a bit strange. Thinking back about it this evening, I remember another friend having a very similar response when we were discussing the exact same topic. I then thought about all the other people I’ve had the same conversation with over the past week or so. Something about every single one of those conversations just felt … off.

I realised tonight why they felt off. Truth be told, I don’t feel like “everything’s a bit crazy at the moment!” Things are actually ok. Despite having a lot of packing to do, whilst running a household, amongst the usual routines around kinder and playgroup and the usual kid-related shenanigans, and a husband who has “done his back” – things are fine. I’ve been packing when I can, sorting bits and pieces out here and there, and not getting in a flap about it.

So, why have I been telling everyone that things are crazy? For starters, I can tend to be a drama queen at times, so telling everyone that things are fine and on track wouldn’t get me the attention that a drama queen craves. But tonight, my epiphany has shed light on the deeper reason as to why I’ve been telling everyone I’m so stressed out.

I’ve changed.

If I had been in this position 12 months ago, or probably even 3 months ago, I would likely be stressing out big time. I would be freaking out about how much I need to do, with not enough time to do it, and not enough help. I’d be fretting and worrying, worrying and fretting.

Instead, I’ve hardly been thinking about the work ahead of me. My husband and I have talked about what needs to be done, and then I’ve done it when I can. On a few occasions when I’ve thought that I should be packing in the evenings, I’ve decided that a better idea would be to go to bed, or meditate, or do something enjoyable, so that I’m feelings refreshed and energized the following day, and hence able to do more.

It hadn’t consciously occurred to me until this evening that this is how I’ve been approaching this task. It’s just how I’ve begun rolling. And yet, when I talk about it with my friends, I’ve been telling them about how it would have been, in the past! My habits and actions have unconsciously changed, and my conscious mind hadn’t caught up! No wonder my negative chatter about the stressful move felt off!

So, this is good news. Great news, in fact. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments of stress and overwhelm, but they’re few and far between. This is actually amazing, and the reality of it is only just hitting me now, as I write this instead of packing boxes.

So, you may be wondering, what do I put this fan-bloody-tastic turnaround down to? A few things:

1. My commitment to self care
In my last post, I wrote about the importance of prioritising self care. I’ve done A LOT of inner work on this area since writing that post. The truth is, I understood and believed the concept at a deep level, but I was still struggling to put it into practice. My inner work led me to a crucial realisation – I couldn’t prioritise self care, when I wasn’t practicing self love. This topic on it’s own is worthy of a separate blog post, but for now I can simply say that I’ve delved deep in this area over the past weeks, and I’ve made massive progress. Hooray! So suddenly, when I experience true self love, the act of prioritising self care comes naturally. So, when I have the option of packing boxes at 11pm or meditating before snuggling in to bed for an early night, it’s really a no brainer. I’ve become very conscious of making choices based on whether they will have a healthy outcome for me.

2. My yoga practice
I resumed a regular yoga practice approximately 15 months ago, and I can say for sure that it has turned my life around. There are times when I forget the importance of my practice, and then there are times when it hits me just how much I am nourished by it, and the hundreds of ways in which my life is so much better for being a yogini. Physically, my practice gives my body movement and space, and this translates into my mind. When I stop practicing, both my mind and my body become constricted, tight, and prone to pain. I lack clarity on the specifics of exactly why and how yoga helps me, but I don’t care – I just know that with yoga, life works better.

3. My meditation practice
A regular meditation practice has been a very recent introduction to my daily routine. I’ve dabbled before, but this is the first time I’ve been committed, consistent, and enthusiastic about it. I have been using a guided chakra cleanse meditation audio by Belinda Davidson. I find using an audio makes it much easier to concentrate and stay present. The effects of my practice so far have been subtle but profound. I attribute my ability to “not freak out”, to staying present, which has been helped by my meditation practice.

4. Improving my energy
In September, I enrolled in Belinda Davidson’s School of the Modern Mystic. Sounds pretty strange, but the premise of Belinda’s teachings is actually very logical. In order to change your life, you must first change your energy. This comes down to quantum physics, a fascinating subject, which I have a very (very!) limited understanding of, but at it’s core, everything in the universe is made of energy. So, to change something, you need to change the energy. School of the Modern Mystic teaches, amongst other things, how to change your energy (the Chakra Cleanse Meditation mentioned above is the primary way to do this). I’m currently at the end of week 9 of the course, and it’s been AMAZING. My energy is shifting, and there is so much I could write about this, but for now, I’ll just say that the turnaround I’ve experienced all
comes down to this. My energy is what has enabled me to experience true self love. My energy is what allows me to honour my commitment to my yoga practice and my meditation practice – in the past, I’ve been a world class self-saboteur. I’ve so much more to learn, but I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so grateful about where I’m at in life, or so confidently positive and excited about where I’m headed in life.

I’m changing my energy. I’m changing my life.

x


Image credit: pinnochio by jesiehart, used under license.

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Prioritising You – How It’s Done in the Wild

I read a blogpost by Pinky McKay recently that described an analogy for the importance of prioritising self-care as a mother (or parent) that was even more powerful for me than the oxygen mask analogy that I read about so often. It described a wildlife documentary in which a lioness and her cub hadn’t eaten in two days, and the situation was becoming critical. When the lioness finally achieved a kill, she ate the whole lot herself, leaving none for her starving cub. The meal gave her the energy and strength to continue hunting, and she eventually made a larger kill, which she shared with her cub.

The lioness instinctually “knows” the vital importance and priority of self-care in her role as a mother. Her instincts instructed her to feed herself first for a crucial reason: if she had shared or given the food to her cub, she wouldn’t have had the energy or strength to make another kill, and consequently both she and her cub would have perished from starvation. She had to take care of her own needs first, to ensure the survival of her cub.

This story cuts deep. Since becoming a mum, it’s felt as though my every need comes second (or third, or fourth) to those of my kids. In the early weeks and months, they were so utterly dependent for everything, and the patterns were quickly formed: meet the incessant needs of my baby, and then if there is any “left over time” when they’re finally sleeping (even if attached to me whilst doing so!), I can quickly slot in meeting my own needs before they wake again and the cycle repeats. This worked for the first few days, when I was  high on a post-birth hormone cocktail mixed with the excitement of my newly birthed baby, but it wasn’t sustainable. Yet, being the stubborn soul that I am, I have persisted with this habit, to some degree, for close to five years. Any wonder I feel exhausted, burnt out, resentful, disengaged, often sick, and I fantasise about running away on a regular basis.

In considering the lioness analogy, despite understanding it on an intellectual level,  my automatic and immediate response is still that I would give that first “small kill” to my kids – it’s my responsibility to care for them first and foremost, after all. After a little more careful consideration, I might contemplate the idea of sharing it with them. It’s not until I stop to consider the longer term consequences, that I feel a slight guilt-inducing tug towards making the choice to “feed myself” first. Do I really want us all to eventually “starve”? Of course not! Getting real about it requires me to really think through what this means. Neglecting my needs is causing me exhaustion, burnout, resentfulness, disengagement, illness, and fantasising about abandonment, whilst the kids immediate needs are being met. Long term, this will lead to (and is already heading towards) more serious illness, disconnection and broken relationships, and an inability to parent my children well and guide them towards living happy and healthy lives. This is clearly NOT what I want for myself or my family. At this point in the analysis, the appropriate action is glaringly obvious – meeting my needs MUST be prioritised when caring for my family.

I see this pattern in so many mums I know. Why is it that this notion of unsustainable self-sacrifice is so ingrained in so many of us as mothers? I think that’s perhaps another rabbit hole to be explored elsewhere, but one thing is crystal clear: at the end of the day, it serves no one.

I’ll keep the lioness in my mind as I go about life this week, making my daily choices in caring for myself and my family. Following from my last post, I’m pleased to report that I’m on track with my daily  meditation and adequate sleep. I haven’t been perfect – life knows how to bring up great excuses to avoid your commitments – but I’ve been mindful, and making better choices more often than not. I’ll remember the lioness as I continue.

How about you – how do you feel about the lioness and her choices? Do you prioritise yourself, or are you in denial of the critical priority of self-care? Why do you think that is? What is one small action you can take towards prioritising self-care? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Image credit: Female lion on the prowl, by John Rawlinson.  Used under license.

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Getting Honest

I’ve been attempting to write blog post number two for weeks now.  I’ve started writing so many times, and failed to come up with something I deem publish worthy.  Some attempts have turned into lengthy journal entries, which have been cathartic, but not worthy of sharing with you.  It’s been frustrating, and has left me wondering, at times, whether I’m cut out for this whole blog thing after all.  But I’m choosing to hang in there.

My aim is to write content that will uplift, inspire, and delight you.  This is where my problem currently lies . I can pretend all I like to be a shining beacon of positivity and “perfection”, full of sage advice on how to live an awesome life, but that would be a big fat lie.

The truth of the matter is, that right now, my head is a very messy place to be.

This truth came to its latest peak on Saturday, with a series of three mini meltdowns.  Exhausted and emotional, I spent a good chunk of yoga class hiding my mental turmoil and my tears in child’s pose.  When my beautiful yoga teacher showed me some love and kindness with a hug after class, I disolved into a fresh set of tears and escaped as quickly as possible to the privacy of my car.  Later in the day, whilst having my hair cut, the conversation with my long-time hairdresser (13 years and counting!) had me admitting that I was unstable, whilst a fresh set of red-eyed tears washed over me, and she spent the rest of my appointment giving me heartfelt advice and love along with an awesome haircut and blow wave (not to mention a dreamy head massage!).

This is certainly not the day of someone who’s got life all sorted out.

So, instead of pretending to have “it all” figured out, I will instead just tell the truth, with the aim of sharing the lessons I am learning along the way.

My beautiful, clever, wise and loving hairdresser made me promise that I would get help.  I’ve been mulling over my options and talking about it with my husband.  I’m not certain yet what all of that help will entail, but I’ve finally made a commitment to myself, to take care of me.  It’s time to take responsibility for myself.

We’ve heard it a million times – to take care of your family, you must first take care of yourself.  Almost every article I’ve ever read on the subject refers to the in-flight emergency oxygen mask analogy: fit your own mask first, before helping others.  But it seems I’m a little slow and stubborn to allow this message to really sink in, or to actually take it on board.  I needed close to 5 years of motherhood related meltdowns to learn this crucial lesson.  I know I’m not the only one – too many mothers I know follow the same pattern, putting the needs of their family, and especially their children, before their own.  The inevitable result: meltdown (like my day on Saturday), breakdown, physical ill-health, mental ill-health.  The lesson is clear: MY FAMILY NEEDS ME TO TAKE QUALITY CARE OF MYSELF, IN ORDER FOR ME TO BE CAPABLE OF TAKING QUALITY CARE OF THEM.

Perhaps I should give myself “lines” – write this sentence out 100 times!

So, for me, it begins with this: I commit to care well for myself, body, mind and soul.

For me, it seems logical that whilst I need to care for all three of these parts of me in order that they all work indiviually, the key aspect is caring for my soul.  Without nourishing my soul, what is the point?  It’s the essential part of me, the eternal part of me, and without it, I am nothing.

I recently watched Oprah interview Gabrielle Bernstein on Super Soul Sunday, and it spoke to me deeply about how I can nourish my soul, and be a spiritual person.  Gabby, a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, yoga and meditation teacher, video blogger and self-confessed “spirit junkie”, described the following steps as nessesary in order to become more spiritual:

1. A willingness – to become more spiritual.
2. Pay attention – when you’re willing, guidance, opportunities and assignments will appear, if you pay attention.
3. Show up – when the guidance and assignments appear, you must show up for the assignments.

So, I’m willing.  I’ve stated my commitment to self care, body, mind and soul.  I’m paying attention, and it amazes me how the universe has given me the exact guidance I need.  Specifically, I need to sleep (who would have thought?!), and I need to meditate.  Step 3: show up.  That is my task now.  I’ve begun.  Early to bed, and I’ve begun with 5 minutes daily meditation.  Simple.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

What about you?  Do you practice quality self care?  If so, what does this include?  If not, what’s stopping you, and what’s the first step you can take to change this habit?  I look forward to hearing from you.

x

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Hello!

Where to begin …

Thank you for being here! I’m excited, nervous, optimistic, hopeful, scared, thrilled, and exhilarated to be embarking on this blogging journey. I’m not clear just yet on the precise direction in which this will head, but I begin with two main intentions:

  1. To help me

I’ve felt the pull, for a long time, to discover my purpose in the world. At this particular point in my life, this task feels more urgent than ever. I hope that this blog will enable me to explore, facilitate and share the ways in which I can live a life of passion and purpose.

  1. To help you

A few months ago, I was completing a “Goal Planning and Focus” worksheet. Question #1 asked me, what do I want in my life? My answers flowed quickly: happiness, love, fun, health, joy, purpose, fulfilment, adventure, abundance, and my core desired feelings: exhilarated, vitality, luxurious, potent (more on this in a later post, I promise!). Question #2 asked, if I could create it, what would make my life worthwhile? Again, the answer was simple: to bring all of the above, to others. My wish is that this blog will become a place in which I can bring some, if not all, of these things to you.

I truly am excited. The energy is right. This is the beginning. It’s not pretty and polished yet (hanging out to get to that!), but it’s a start. The Universe expressly told me, in an email last Friday, that if I want happiness, I should do something, anything, as soon as possible, and do it with care. So, here it is.

Again, thank you for being here.

x

PS – if you’d like to receive your own emails from the Universe just like me, visit www.tut.com

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