Category Archives: Self love

Everything is Perfect

Beautiful girl, it’s ok. Really. Everything is just fine, and nothing is wrong. In fact, everything is perfect. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. And any which way you go will be the perfect way, too. 

You haven’t failed, expectations are worthless, and you don’t need to do anything. Really, not anything. You are worthy as you are, simply because you are. You don’t have to earn your worthiness; it’s inherent. And you don’t owe anyone anything. Not anyone, not anything. Nothing at all. 

It’s ok to relax. It’s safe to trust the process. Your journey will give you everything you need to learn and grow.

And that journey, it has no destination. There’s nowhere to arrive. It’s all simply an experience. An experience filled with both light and dark. It helps to remember that the dark can always be transmuted by the light. 

You are perfect, whole and complete, right here, right now, as you are. You are so loved. Unconditionally. And nothing can change any of that. 

You are already playing your role – perfectly – in enabling the divine purpose of the Universe to unfold.  It’s incredible and breathtakingly beautiful. And it’s impossible to mess up.

Let go. Breathe. Everything is perfect. 

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Exhibitionist in hiding

I’m noticing, with curiosity and (my best attempt at) non-judgement, that I’m in a strange place at the moment.

These past few months have seen my health improve dramatically, after a really challenging period, in response to committed effort with the help and support of my health practitioners and family. This is such a joyful relief.

As I’ve improved physically, mentally and emotionally, I’ve become inspired to write and share again, after what felt like a long period of hibernation. It feels so good.

And yet, there’s a part of me that is holding back.

I am learning to accept and embrace that I love putting myself out there and sharing. And with my words and imagery, that is so joyful and satisfying. But it’s also safe, because I can hide behind my screen to achieve this. But there is a part of me that yearns to share more – more intimately, more of me. I don’t want to hide, I want to express myself.

There have been instances where I’ve contemplated sharing a photo or video of myself. Nothing outrageous, just more me.

But the contemplation doesn’t last long. I’m experiencing a period of self-consciousness & my self-confidence is shot, because it seems that the final frustrating and baffling hurdle of my health journey is stubbornly plastered across my face for the world to see. Painful cystic acne that has returned with a vengeance, rosacea, and eye problems that refuse to be hidden under makeup. It all got too much today, and I felt sore and sorry for myself, and the tears flowed.

I’m not fishing for sympathy or reassurance (or advice!). Reassurance is useless when you don’t believe it for yourself. And I trust that there’s a lesson for me in this experience, and that working through it myself, with selective support, will bring me to a place of acceptance and healing.

I’m sharing for the reason I always do – sharing about my experiences is part of who I am, it feels good, and it might serve someone who is reading.

It’s interesting to observe how this has rattled me. I take pride in my appearance, and like to look my best, but I didn’t consider myself to be vain or overly concerned with my looks. And yet, this experience has demonstrated that when my perception of my appearance falls so far short of what I believe to be an acceptable standard, it affects me in so many ways. How I show up in public. How I feel about socialising with friends and family. How I panic when a loved one moves to kiss me on the cheek. How much I avoid interacting with strangers. What my inner voice says when I look in the mirror. And how I hide as much as possible.

There was a point when I thought that the best thing for me to do would be to overcome this self-consciousness by feeling the fear and doing it anyway – selfies, videos, just rip off the bandaid and get over it. But on reflection, I don’t think that’s what I need, I don’t think it would be helpful, and it’s just not where I’m at. Vulnerability can be a beautiful thing, but it needs to be held in a container of trust. It’s self preservation to know the difference between baring your soul in a trusting relationship compared with the local gossip. And putting my face online right now would feel like giving the town gossip flyers to hand out to everyone with the headline “Doesn’t she look hideousl!”

I’ll come out of my shell and grow my visibility when I’m good & ready. It’s healthy to acknowledge that I don’t possess the trust required to so yet. And it’s ok to be gentle with myself. I make the rules.

In the meantime, I’ll keep sharing from the heart, from behind the screen, in the way that feels good. 😘


Image by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

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Do you modulate your light?

I’ve been recognising a pattern in myself lately, that I teased out in a kinesiology session with my miracle-worker Sarah from Ignite Kinesiology (note: I do acknowledge that our sessions are actually a collaboration 😊) .  

I’ve been a people pleaser, I’m an introvert (some would scoff, but it’s truth!), and I often experience (mild) social anxiety. The truth is, on some level, I’m kinda scared of people (or more accurately, the power I give others to determine my self worth is scary). I’ve recognised lately that the combined energy of these traits has me modulate the way I interact with people, in an attempt to accomodate their energy, and therefore avoid being negatively judged. 

A simple example is when I’m taking my morning walk.  A while back, I decided to be brave and to greet passers by, something that felt like an uncomfortable stretch. The friendliness/volume/energy of my “hello” to passers-by will depend on how I assess their energy – Do they look friendly? Are they likely to reply? Will they think I’m a weirdo? … I’ll offer a hearty greeting to the person with a big smile and a jaunty step, I’ll be brave enough to mumble a “Morning” to the quiet-looking person minding their own business, and I’ll keep my mouth shut if someone looks grumpy or judgemental.

I acknowledge the importance of situational energy assessment and behaviour modulation in relating with others. But I think there’s a line to be drawn between appropriately managing/negotiating an interaction, and dimming your light. 

It’s so easy to shine your brightest when you feel confident in being well received. When another person is on the same page, likes you, supports you, and openly demonstrates all this, you feel held and encouraged to be your best. 

It’s not so easy to bring your best self to a situation if your ego feels threatened or vulnerable. If someone doesn’t like you, is focused on their own problems, or holds strong opinions in opposition to your own, there’s a good chance that your ego will take a battering if you share yourself in all of your fullness. 

But what has become more apparent to me recently, is that when I allow my egoic protection mechanisms to modulate how brightly I shine my light, a beautiful opportunity is missed. 

What if, I took a chance, recognising that an ego slam isn’t death, and opened my heart, despite the fear?  

I could be laughed at. 

I could be ignored. 

I could have to engage in an uncomfortable conversation. 

Unpleasant experiences perhaps, but not the end of the world. 

Or …

I could brighten someone’s day. 

I could remind someone to smile. 

I could make someone feel good. 

I could re-ignite the light in another. 

I’ve been avoiding these opportunities, allowing my ego to dictate my actions. Survival mechanisms are hard-wired, and it takes a willingness and conscious effort to move beyond them. 

But as I clarify my desired energy, experiences, interactions and impact in this lifetime, I can recognise that letting my ego steer the ship doesn’t support any of that. Engaging with others from a higher perspective – a soul perspective – is what will. As Sarah helped me to realise, when I’m embodying my desired energy, people receive my light, and this is the driver of my possibility. 

So I’ll start with my morning walk. And I’ll continue experimenting. 

How about you? Do you modulate your light?

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Mindfulness: A practice, not a desination

I’ve spend much of the past three months forgetting to apply much of what I’ve learnt over the past three and a half years. I’ve been focused on the future, attached to a specific idea of success, falling into old habitual thought patterns, and failing to practice presence.

The effects of this have not been pretty. Yearning, worrying, failing, and then judging myself for said failures, criticising myself, and then feeling self loathing, shame, despair, anguish, and excruciating frustration. All of which continues in a negative loop.

Self analysis comes easily to me and I am self aware. I’ve been able to see what I’m doing and how it’s affecting my world, but the excruciating part has been feeling powerless to change it. Especially when I know that I have the tools.

None of this is actually all that surprising. You see, this new journey I’m on with building a dōTERRA business is stretching me like nothing before. It’s taking me out of my comfort zone, and forcing me to address blockages and pain points that I’ve avoided and hidden from for years. And as a result, my ego is going bananas, fighting tooth and nail to survive.

You see, the ego is an ancient evolutionary survival mechanism. Its purpose is to keep us alive and safe. It evolved to ensure that we would focus on danger, threats and negativity (such as the tiger that might be hunting us or the condemnation of our tribe that might see us thrown out and left unprotected) and then do whatever it takes to prevent them from eventuating. And it’s bloody good at its job – because back in the day, it was quite literally a matter of life and death.

So my ego is keenly aware that if I am to achieve the vision I’ve created for my business, I’m going to have to do things that feel very threatening:

  • Share and speak my truth in ways that will resonate with some, but that will be negatively judged by others: there will be people who won’t like me and my message.
  • Drop negative subconscious programming around “success” and generating income, which will take me into unchartered waters i.e. unfamiliarity and discomfort.
  • Drop my habitual thought patterns of “I’m a failure”, “I’m incapable”, “I’m ashamed of myself”, “I’m not good enough”, and “I’ll never succeed”, which are all very effective at keeping me small and safe and dependent.

So whilst I’ve been wallowing in despair, anguish, self hate and frustration, my ego has been high fiving itself for a job well done. Cause there ain’t no one gonna build a successful business off the back of that!

I writhed with the pain and frustration of knowing that I have the tools to move through this yet felt so completely stuck. I could observe my thoughts and see what my ego was doing and why. Yet I couldn’t separate myself from it. I watched helplessly as my ego took the driver’s seat, and pummelled me down even further as I hated on myself for being so stuck.

Then one day last week I had an instant of clarity. I was in the kitchen, despairing about my latest results, when I suddenly realised I was buying into a story of failure and what that meant. I realised that I actually had a choice as to whether I allowed these results to send me into wallowing self-pity and despair. I could actually conjure any alternative story of my liking – for example, I could accept the results, and recognise them as a step towards learning and progress and ultimate success. Or I could drop any idea of story altogether – the results are the results, and without my mind-created thoughts and judgements, they have no meaning. Whatever the case, I could instantly let go of the story that this was a situation worthy of despair and self criticism. And importantly, I noticed that buying in to the negative story is what comes automatically. And despite the pain, there is an aspect of the negativity that is comfortable and so easy to choose, because it’s familiar and safe. Choosing differently requires bravery and diligent effort.

It hasn’t been a fast and complete turnaround since that revelation, but it’s reminded me to come back, once again, to my mindfulness and presence practice. Without ongoing and intentional diligence and persistence, I will continue to be overcome by my ego, finding it in the driver’s seat of my life again and again. She’s got staying power.

So it’s back to The Power of Now. Back to my mindfulness resources. Back to my practice. Back to the continual, moment by moment remembrance that I have a choice – to identify with my ego, or identify with my higher self. I’ve remembered that results are subjective. Whilst they hold importance when we consider things like being able to pay the bills, put food on the table and a roof over out head, focusing on them is not conducive to success. When we focus on the now, and act from a place of love, service and faith, our needs are met.


Main image photo by me.

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Your light is eternal

I’m a freaking mess. High one day, a disaster the next. I feel like a complete idiot, like I’ve not learnt anything about life and how to live. I told anyone who’d listen that I finally had this depression thing sorted for good, and now, I’m being slammed by depressive episodes again. And it’s not even a “legit” depression, where the person is rendered physically and mentally incapable of dragging themselves through the day. No, my brand is shameful: it’s a choice. I’m feeling shit, and I’m wallowing in it. I’m choosing to opt out and zone out of life, because I just don’t want to endure another moment of feeling this way.

I’m heartbroken, because I was so certain that I’d found the golden ticket to keep me out of this pain permanently, but despite my dedicated chakra cleansing, my ego found the loophole: mindfulness. I know that mindfulness has been my stumbling block, and it’s the way my ego is worming it’s way back in to the drivers seat and controlling my life again. She’s clever – she’s even managed to convince me that she can thwart my attempts at chakra cleansing and channeling White Light. So, whilst I’ve surrendered to the MIA mindfulness, even my attempts to chakra cleanse and channel White Light feel measly and futile.

She’s good at convincing me that I suck at life, that I’m dumb and slow, and that I’m just not cut out to get my shit together enough to live an awesome life. She laughs hysterically when I say I want to shine my light and inspire others. “LIGHT?! WHAT LIGHT?! You’re a phoney loser. You don’t have a light, and saying the words won’t make one magically appear. You’re a try-hard, follow-the-crowd loser, pretending to be different. It’s embarrassing watching you pretend to people that you’ve got life sorted, that you have answers, because it’s a crock of shit and everyone sees through you. No one would ever want to follow your lead. Suck it up Princess, life’s a bitch, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner we can all get on with it and stop laughing with pity and disgust at your pathetic attempts at “Lightworking”. FFS, the fact that you have the audacity to even use that word is just maddeningly embarrassing, and hilarious, and pathetic. You’re not one of them, so give it up. You’re destined for mediocrity, so stop trying so hard, and maybe the road will be a lot less embarrassing and painful for both of us.”

Whoa. She’s brutal. She’s a total cow. Writing out her tirade helps me to see just how horrendous she is, and how it is that she’s managed to slam me. It’s not only given me clarity on how she’s operating, but also an idea on how to disarm her. You see, before I wrote out her vicious tirade, I knew I was being beaten into submission by her words, although I hadn’t consciously acknowledged exactly what her words were. I knew she was slamming me, but I felt completely helpless. Now, reading her vitriol on the page before me, I can see her for the abhorrent bully she is. It makes me think, if someone spoke like that to someone I loved, I would go beserk! I wouldn’t stand by helplessly – I would tear my loved one away from that person, and bombard them with all the reasons why those words are complete and utter bullocks! I would shower my loved-one with love and hugs, and tell them how beautiful and amazing and wonderful and perfectly imperfect they are. I’d tell them how much I love them.

So, that’s what I’m doing, for me.

Rachael Louise Stella, that horrible tirade that Ego just pissed all over you is complete and utter garbage. She is trying her best to tear you down, because she’s afraid of how powerful you are, and that you’ll render her powerless. She’s clawing her way to survival. It’s not true, and she knows it. Rachael, you are a beautiful, amazing, wonderful, perfectly imperfect woman, and I love you with all of my heart. You are a Lightworker – it’s just that your light has been dimmed lately, because you’ve believed those awful things that Ego tells you. I can assure you, it is a spiritual impossibility to extinguish your light – it is eternal. Don’t allow that desperate Ego to convince you that you’re not glorious. You are, and that terrifies her. But don’t fight her. Fighting is futile, and breeds negativity. Perhaps show her some love and kindness, by allowing her to be, but remembering that she does not speak the truth. Allow her to say whatever terrible things she has to say, but don’t accept them as true. Remember that her words are born of fear. She fears for her existence. You know how to disarm fear: with love. Remembering this will allow your light to shine, ever more brightly, and will keep Ego in the back seat, whilst you take the steering wheel.

I love you so much. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


Image credit: 365.12 – Light by Kristina Savic. Used under license.

 

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Life Lessons from the Lobster

Today, the 10th of January, I finally feel as though the year has officially kicked off, with incredibly spectacular style and energy. I attribute this feeling to the events I attended over the past couple of days, and the first new moon of the year. That’s not to suggest that my new years eve or new years day weren’t great – they were actually quite wonderful. But today truly feels like a new beginning, like the shedding of an old skin has taken place, and a fresh and tender new phase awaits.


As Friday 8th January approached, my excitement was mounting. I had a ticket to attend the annual School of the Modern Mystic (SoMM) meet-up, which this year was being held in Melbourne – woo hoo! This gathering is an opportunity to meet with the school staff and many of our classmates, most of whom we only know through our online connection via the school’s Facebook page. It’s also a chance to meet our teacher Belinda Davidson, hear her speak, and receive an in-person White Light transmission. My education via the school has created a monumental transformation for me, so an opportunity to meet with my SoMM sisters absolutely thrilled me to the core.

When I woke on Friday morning, I was positively giddy with excitement! I literally danced through the morning, cranked up the music, and sung at the top of my lungs, much to the amusement of my children. When I arrived at the venue, I was still bursting with excitement, and the palpable vibe blasting from the room was intoxicating. As we met our friends there were lots of heartfelt hugs, and a sea of smiles on the faces of a beautiful group of women who were thrilled to be communing. I was so high on the wonderful energy that the smile on my face felt permanent, and all of my laughter burst out of me in loud eruptions. I felt pretty goofy, but I was so happy that I didn’t care a bit.

The event, as expected, was wonderful. Belinda shared herself so generously with us, answered our questions, and re-inspired our commitment to our daily spiritual practices. There was a strong focus on chakras 3 and 6, including a White Light transmission specifically directed at healing and strengthening these key energy centres for us as Modern Mystics.

I was overflowing with love, gratitude, and freaking awesome mojo on Friday evening. It truly felt like one of the best days of my life.

Saturday arrived, and there was more excitement in-store. I also had a ticket for an event being hosted by Belinda and her “fellow sister of the light”, Rebecca Campbell, author of Light is the New Black. The event, “Rise Sister Rise, Step Up & Shine Bright”, was designed to give attendees “the opportunity to step into a high-vibe, transformational space and create the shift towards your soul purpose you’ve been longing for”. Once again, the vibe was epic. It was a room filled with 200+ Lightworkers, heeding the callings of their soul, coming together in a spirit of sisterhood to create magic and light up the world. Absolute pure joy. Belinda and Rebecca each spoke separately, and the day included music, singing, chanting, and crazy-lady dancing! Belinda embodied the energy of presence, calm, and insight. Rebecca was positively regal, powerful, and all heart. Both women were funny, beaming with light, and the ultimate examples of women living their soul purpose.

Belinda’s lecture focused on the critical importance of self esteem, self worth, and putting yourself first to enable you to step up and shine bright – in other words, we must have a healthy chakra 3. In her experience, as Lightworkers and women, chakra 3 issues are our biggest hurdle to overcome. Lack of self esteem, self worth, and inability to prioritise yourself, creates a downward spiral that prevents us from committing to the spiritual practices that will allow us to overcome these very issues. We must find a way to overcome this self sabotage, and if we can commit to working on our chakras every day, these issues will become less and less of a problem as we grow in self worth. To illustrate the critical nature of this concept, Belinda told us, (and I’m paraphrasing):

“I wish I could tell you that my family is the most important thing in my life, but it’s not. The most important thing in my life is the White Light.”

This woman knows and lives the truth that in order to be of service to others, in order to love others, we must first take care of ourselves.

Rebecca’s lecture focussed on rising up and listening to the callings of our soul, following the intuitive whisperings and niggles, the nudges from the Universe, and trusting that they will bring your life into alignment with your soul. She spoke of allowing the feminine energy to attract into your life that which lights you up, as opposed to using the masculine energies of striving, controlling and forcing, to create what you “think” you want. She also spoke of true sisterhood, and how by working our light, we inspire others to do the same, and we light up the world. She also used a brilliant analogy of the lobster. Let me explain.

A lobster, as we know, possesses a hard, protective shell which covers its body. As the lobster grows, it becomes too large for the shell – it no longer fits. At this time, the lobster retreats under a rock, and sheds it’s shell, to reveal a fresh, new, larger shell to fit its larger body. Initially, this new shell is soft and tender, but with time it harders and strengthens, until such time as the lobster again outgrows it and the cycle repeats.

It’s the same for us. Life is a constant cycle of growth, outgrowing our old, safe ways, and needing to shed our protective layer and become vulnerable, allowing us to grow to the next level. This initial vulnerability transforms into our strength, if we allow it. If we resist the shedding of our shell, resist the vulnerability that comes with allowing new growth, we become cramped, stuck, and unable to grow. Our strength becomes our hindrance.


So my biggest take-aways from these two light-filled days are:

  • Coming together in the true spirit of sisterhood with fellow Lightworkers LIGHTS ME UP TO FULL WATTAGE!!! These two days were absolute bliss for me, I felt electrified, I felt alive, I felt at home. I WANT MORE.
  • Devotion to my spiritual practice is essential. My daily non-negotiable spiritual practice is the foundation of a wonderful, light-filled life.
  • The two most important chakras for me to work on at this point in time are chakras 3 (prioritising me) and chakra 6 (improving my intuition and psychic ability to guide me towards discovering my soul purpose).
  • I must be willing to let go of outgrown ways of being, and get vulnerable, in order to grow.
  • I’m doing a damn fine job of mothering my children.

So, that last point may seem a little random. Here’s what that’s about.

Towards the end of the second event, Belinda and Rebecca held a Q&A session. Initially I had no questions, but I did have a slight inkling that an important question was brewing inside me. As the session progressed, so did my inkling, and the question continued to very palpably bubble up within me until it sat in my throat and waited determinedly for me to raise my hand. Finally, I nervously took my opportunity. I’m generally pretty willing to speak in front of a crowd, but it doesn’t necessarily happen without nerves or fear – I usually do it anyway. My question felt difficult to ask, as it brought up feelings of guilt and shame, but I knew that I needed to ask it if I was to move forward. Time to get vulnerable.

My recollection of exactly what happened next is somewhat hazy thanks to my emotional state at the time, but I’ll do my best to retell the story.

I wanted advice on how I could move forward on my journey, given my ongoing struggles with motherhood. I did my best to explain that I am a devoted student of Belinda’s teachings, I am committed in my daily non-negotiable spiritual practice, and that the work I’ve done on my chakras is reaping rewards. My struggle is with the responsibilities of motherhood, the ways in which it feels as though motherhood is my biggest hindrance in following what lights me up. That despite my gratitude for the immense joy that my children bring to my life, I concurrently feel pain and resentment for the time and energy they demand of me. That despite my efforts to practice mindfulness in the day to day throes of motherhood, I find myself feeling guilty that I can only wish that motherhood lit me up, but the truth is that it doesn’t, and pretending won’t make it so. That I want to follow what lights me up, but so often it seems that it’s my mothering that gets in my way. I was shaking, and my eyes were filled with tears.

Belinda’s response was heartfelt, kind, supportive and uplifting. She reflected back to me the pain this situation creates in my heart. She reminded me that a crucial piece of this puzzle is continuing to strengthen my chakra 3. But most significantly, she demonstrated the true meaning of sisterhood, and prompted all the women surrounding me in that room to applaud my efforts and acknowledge the damn good job I’m doing as a mother. My tears flowed, and I felt so acknowledged, so heard, so loved. Belinda went on to say that in standing up and being acknowledged, a healing had taken place. Throughout what remained of the afternoon, so many women offered me hugs, words of support and encouragement, and gratitude for speaking the words that they too held in their hearts.

I’m not sure that I grasped the complete message in Belinda’s words, as my intuition tells me that this isn’t the end of my struggle (the ego is stubborn), but a shift has definitely occurred. Sharing my struggle was a relief, and forged a deeper connection with the women, especially the mothers, in that room.

As I gave Belinda a farewell hug before departing, she asked me if I felt better after what had transpired. I hesitated and admitted that I was still feeling a little emotional and shaky, but that yes, it had helped, and thank you. She told me that standing up and speaking my truth was an act of bravery, and that in doing so, I’d helped all the other mothers in the room who felt the same way.


So now, with the energy of the past 2 days still coursing through me, I feel that my 2016 has begun. Renewed focus, inspiration, and intention. As the first new moon of the year rises, I set my intention to shed my protective shell, and follow what lights me up. Hence, I’m here, writing for me, writing for you. In shedding my shell, I release that which no longer serves me – the feelings of pain, guilt, shame, and loneliness that I’ve felt around my struggles with motherhood. They don’t serve my children. They don’t serve me.

May your 2016 be light filled, and in the words of Belinda and Rebecca, may you rise sister rise, step up and shine bright.

xx


Image by Vic DeLeon, used 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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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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