Tag Archives: self care

Self-care soul warnings

I woke up one morning 2 weeks ago, having had another of my recurring dreams.

The recurring dreams I have aren’t exactly the same, but they have a recurring theme.  Each time I have one of these dreams, I am observing lions, tigers, or big cats of some sort, in an enclosure, sometimes at a zoo and other times in some other random setting.  The thing that is unusual about this is that in every dream, I eventually discover that the enclosure is not secure – either a gate has been left unlocked, or the fence is broken, or sometimes it’s even just a matter of me suddenly realising that this ain’t no regular big cat enclosure – wire farm fencing or flywire is hardly going to protect me if they decide they want to come and play.

I’ve pondered on the meaning of these recurring dreams over the years.  Of course there are many different interpretation guidelines and methods I could follow, but I prefer to take the intuitive route.  I’ve always felt into my dreams, to contemplate what emotions they evoke, and how they make me feel, and what the themes and specifics symbolise for me personally.

My hunch has always been that these dreams are a warning signal for me.  A soul warning that whilst on the surface things may seem to be hunky-dory, I’m actually in dangerous territory.  It feels as though I’m not paying adequate attention to a situation that seems to be under control right now, but that won’t take much to turn into full blown and life-threatening catastrophe.

I’ve wondered what specifically these dreams are pointing to.  What is it that I’m not being careful enough with?  The past 3 years in particular have seen me dedicate to working on improving my life by practicing self-care from a spiritual and energetic perspective, and I feel incredibly grateful that I’ve found and followed this path.  If I hadn’t made the changes I’ve made, I believe I’d be in a state of worsening depression and overall mental health, and declining physical health.  So I felt that even though I couldn’t pinpoint the specifics of where I was in danger, I felt as though I was taking proactive action from a broad perspective.

So, when this dream cropped up again the other week, it caught me off guard.  Haven’t I come so far?  Aren’t I doing all the right things?

Pondering this again has prompted me to get a lot more real with myself this past week.  I’m doing a lot of stuff “right”.  I generally eat very well, I exercise, I meditate, I do yoga, I manage my energy, and more recently I’ve begun incorporating my new love – essential oils – into my life for their therapeutic benefits.  But the truth is, in so many ways, I’m ignoring a number of aspects of my self-care that are having a negative impact on my health.  I’ve made no secret over the years of the fact that I struggle with disciplining myself to get adequate sleep.  There are days when I eat an entire block of chocolate within the space of 15 minutes, kidding myself that because its 95% cocoa it’s “healthy” and therefore ok.  And since beginning my business, I’ve really succumbed to the compulsion to be “on” all the time – checking and responding to emails and messages into the night and first thing when I rise.  Then there’s also the “I don’t have time” excuse creeping in here and there: my daily morning walks have become “sometimes”, and there have been a few too many instances where I’ve let my meditation practice slide.

The truth is, whilst deep down I know these actions aren’t helpful, I do them mindlessly.  I slip into habits that are supported by cultural and societal norms.  I allow my conscientiousness and work ethic to dictate over and above my inner knowing.  I zone out and let my actions happen, rather than acting with intention.  I let my ego take the driver’s seat, bowing to her justifications for emotional eating and behaviours that set my nervous system on edge.

And when my inner truth, the voice of my soul, gently whispers to me that I know full well that these behaviours aren’t helpful or sustainable or aligned, I pretend that I can’t hear her, or that I don’t know how to do things differently, feigning helplessness.

This recent dream has prompted me to sit a little more still with these gentle whisperings.  When I do so, it’s quite laughable how hypocritical I have been, always singing the praises of self-care, energy work and alignment, and yet completely disregarding the truth of my actions.

I started this business for so many wonderful reasons, many of which centre around how it gives me the freedom and autonomy to work the way I want to work – in a way that is sustainable and flexible for me and my family.  I work this business educating others about the importance of improving our health and wellbeing using simple and natural self-care solutions, and yet here I am sabotaging all the efforts I do make.  The leaders within my team promote self-care and sustainable work habits as essential to our success.  And yet, my ego does its best to convince me that I can get away with these dirty little secrets by making up for them with the good stuff that I do actually do.

But that’s not how it works.

As I sit with these truths, I can acknowledge that when I’m not getting the sleep I need, my mind isn’t as sharp, it takes me longer to complete just about everything, and I don’t look my best.  Added to that the longer term health implications of inadequate sleep in general, coupled with the hormonal imbalances and disease I am challenged with.  When I wire my nervous system with screen time into the evening and night, my sleep is affected.  When I drown my sorrows in a block of (oh-so-delicious) chocolate, the pleasure only lasts as long as the mouthful takes to swallow, and I’m left with the sugar crash that inevitably follows.  When I skip a few too many morning walks, my body gradually becomes stiffer and I feel less and less grounded.  The cumulative effects of all of these actions include sluggish digestion, mental fogginess, skin breakouts, susceptibility to illness, long term health decline, inability to practice mindfulness, mood swings, difficulty articulating myself clearly …  this list is nowhere near exhaustive.

We all know, deep down, what we should and shouldn’t be doing.

So if we know this, why do we sabotage ourselves?  I think there are a few key reasons.

Firstly, we are seduced by the notion that ignorance is bliss, that if we just squish that little niggling, knowing voice down far enough, we can hide out in the luxury of shunning responsibility for our lives.  This happens so easily and comfortably that we’re virtually unconscious of it.

The ignorant path may seem the easier option in the moment, but when we live our lives day in and day out with the consequences of our actions, the “easy” option doesn’t seem so easy to live with.  We’re forced to live with the pain of our karma.

The truth is, we essentially know what we need to change about our behaviour.  Acknowledgement is the first step.  Then it’s a matter of taking responsibility to create the kind of life that we want to live, a life that makes us feel good.  So, why don’t we do this?

This brings me to the second key reason we sabotage ourselves.  As I’ve sat with this topic since having my most recent dream, the answer has become clearer with each passing day.  I believe it comes down to our egoic yearning for approval.  Let me explain.

So often, when chatting with friends and fellow mums in particular, I find that we’re all having an almost universal experience in our daily lives: the feelings of being perpetually busy, over-extended, drained, overwhelmed, stressed, unable to get ahead, and constantly tired or even exhausted.  And what is also almost universally similar is that so many of us feel powerless to change by implementing self-care habits that will turn this situation around.  We know we should exercise more, we know meditation could help, we know we need more down time, we know we need to review our diet, we know we should get more sleep … BUT, these things require effort and energy and time.  So, we repeat the mantra of our societal era: I DON’T HAVE TIME.

The very idea of practicing self-care feels like adding more to our already overloaded list.  So what do we do?  Nothing.  We lament the so-called fact that we just don’t have the time or space to implement these changes.

We don’t prioritise ourselves.

The truth is, we could swap out these changes for other stuff that we are doing, but we don’t make them a priority, so they fall to the bottom of the list where to-do’s that are never-gonna-happen live.

I believe there is an insidious little cultural norm that drives this pattern.  We do what appears “right” from an external perspective.  We are terrified that if we actually prioritised our health and wellbeing before anything else, that we would be judged and condemned as selfish, uncaring parents, heartless citizens, and just plain bad human beings.  We think that everyone believes that self-care is a luxury for the self-centred.

We know deep down that if we took prime care of ourselves, we would have more health, energy, and vigour to gift to our families and the world.  We would get more done in less time.  We would succumb to illness less often.  We would have the energy and motivation to give our everything to the causes that most touch our hearts.  But our ego slyly pipes up with that devastating question that shuts down our sensibility: What will everyone think of me?

What will my children think?
What will my spouse think?
What will my family think?
What will the school mums think?
What will the neighbours think?
What will my employer think?
What will my work colleagues think?
What will the world think?

And as quickly as that, we place everyone else’s opinion of us before our own knowing.

The point I’m trying to make here is not to make you feel bad about yourself.  Rather, I’m observing that we all slip into habits of thinking and behaviour that society deems normal or required in modern life, and we allow these habits to derail us.  The team I am a part of in my business fully promotes and supports sustainable self-care, lifestyle and work habits to support our wellbeing, and yet it has been SO EASY for me to disregard these and slip into habits that leave me depleted, all the while telling myself that I’m practicing adequate self-care.

Looking after ourselves isn’t rocket science.  But I’m discovering that it takes courage.

Are you triggered by this idea?  Do you feel helpless and trapped in your current circumstances?

I challenge you to sit with this notion that your wellbeing is completely within your control, and that you know what to do, right now, and that you actually can do it.  I’m not downplaying the challenges that so many of us face in our everyday lives, but I truly believe that you can create true wellbeing for yourself.  I truly believe that if you are privileged enough to be reading this right now, you have the power within you to shape your experience of life.

It’s time to take stock of our lives, and notice the areas where we are vulnerable: where are we ignorant of the fact that the lion enclosure isn’t protecting us?  I for one am spending this time in the lead up to Christmas and the new year getting real with myself about where I’m shirking my self-care responsibility and succumbing to the herd mentality that it’s all too hard to create a life of health, wellbeing, and success that incorporates caring for myself as well as others.  I’m building the courage, step by step, moment by moment, to take a stand for prioritising my self-care.  I invite you to join me in creating a 2018 where we dare to buck the trend, and place our self-care at the top of our lists.  Let’s not leave it to fate to determine whether we find ourselves suddenly face to face with a metaphorical lion, all because of our fear of judgement.  Let’s be brave together.

 


You may also find this post relevant to this topic.

Also see the previous post for ideas on how to get started with cultivating calm.


Relevant resources that I stumbled upon in the lead up to writing this post:

The Kate & Mike Show podcast: Karen Brody, Daring to Rest: https://katenorthrup.com/podcast/episode-64-karen-brody-daring-rest/

The Quote of the Day Show podcast: Work Doesn’t Work Without Play, with Shonda Rhimes: http://seancroxton.com/quote-of-the-day/289/


Main image credit: Lions by Christopher Michel via Flickr.  Used under licence.


Hmmm … seems I have a bit of a thing for lion images 😉

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.

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.

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.

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.

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