Saturday 12 October 2019

I Want In

There has been a relentlessness to the challenges I've faced over the last year: each one coming before I've recovered from the previous one, creating a backlog of intense emotion and a feeling of overwhelm so profound it’s taken my breath away at times. I imagine it’s a bit like being in the ocean in a storm, trying to catch my breath in-between the rolling waves, but not having the time as the waves and swell are simply too strong and concentrated. Every ounce of my determination has, on some days, been focused solely on ensuring that an out-breath follows an in-breath and vice versa. Of course, I've had days where it has all felt too much and I've questioned if I truly want to be here; I've had times when I've felt closer to death than life and contemplated the longed-for peace of letting go. I’ve wondered the point of life: why we exist and if I still felt I wanted to be a part of the rich panorama of existence. I think in many ways, this is a question that resides deep in the consciousness of every soul as how we answer this question ultimately defines and shapes the quality of the paths we walk and how we engage with ourselves, others and life.

Many feel that we choose the nature of our incarnations before we are born, my belief is somewhat different and this has grown as a result of my own struggles and challenges. It’s only human to want to make sense of why things are the way they are, and to find a reason as to why we suffer. Perhaps such a viewpoint helps us take responsibility for life, but I feel it also adds many layers of guilt as we can feel ‘to blame’ for all that is wrong in our lives.

Life happens. Stuff happens. Sh*t happens. Did I choose it all? Whilst I can’t categorically state for a fact that I didn’t, after years of trying to fix my frailties due to my belief that if I created it all then maybe I could un-create it or redefine the essence of my existence, I just added more pain, more sadness and more anger to an already over-stuffed bag of emotions. So, in the end, after much struggle and tousle, I let it go. Maybe, things are the way they are because that’s the way they are? Maybe there is no hidden or higher meaning, perhaps we are looking for answers to questions that have no answers? Did I choose to live with a chronic, multi-systemic condition? Did I invite it in? Would believing I chose such a path help me? I've come to believe that it doesn’t. I've let go of trying to attach meaning to this as it was crushing me. By letting it go and simply opening up to the idea that ‘it is what it is’, I have set myself free from the burden of guilt I’d created for myself.

As mind, body and soul are inextricably interwoven, whilst I’m sure the complexity of being me, along with my foibles, faults and unresolved emotional issues, adds to the challenge, I don’t believe solely in the ‘cause and effect’ idea of ill-health – it’s all interconnected obviously, but there are too many factors to distil this into a + b = c. This hasn’t miraculously cured me, it’s simply allowed me to move on and to remove an unnecessary layer of burden within my heart and soul.

In many ways, I have spent most of my life in denial as I've tried so hard to keep pushing on, expecting so much of myself and my body, but I've reached a stage where I've realised just how much this has taken away from me. I did battle with this for years as I felt the only way to deal with the struggle was to fight it, resist it and try to overcome it. I did battle until I realised the only one suffering in that equation was me. Doing battle with myself simply depleted me even more and left me feeling hollow and empty; it fed those days when everything felt too much as I had lost my connection to the sustenance within my own heart and soul. When I let go of the battle, I started to find peace.

In truth, this has been a work in progress as I continued to fight my own demons for years, as although my energy levels and physical capabilities were greatly diminished, I hadn’t been completely willing to fully accept this as I was caught between the ‘acceptance versus giving up’ argument and, until I felt sure I wasn’t giving up, I couldn’t risk not pushing and struggling. So, I pushed hard against my reality, trying to do more, be more and achieve more. Hitting brick wall after brick wall didn’t stop me, I just kept on, pushing, smiling and denying the reality that not everything was possible.

My heart and soul are still stuffed full of dreams and hopes, but because I hadn’t been willing to accept the reality of my re-shaped life, I was unable to find clarity with a new path to walk. Of course, trying to bury, ignore or deny anything doesn’t work in the long-term as life has a habit of making us look and then giving us a good smack around the chops if we continue to look the other way. Denial makes living with ill-health of any kind problematic as it doesn’t allow us to work out what’s truly important and what’s not.

Until I accepted I could no longer do all the things I felt I ought to be able to do and instead focused on the things I could, and more importantly, wanted to do, I was unable to break free from the cycle of denial and I was trapped, frozen in a frustrated, resistance-driven state of mind of wanting what I couldn’t have. However, in hindsight, it went deeper than this as I realised the things that frustrated me weren’t truly things I felt deprived of, they were simply distractions to focus on to avoid me facing the mirror of my soul and opening up to the reality of my life.

I had reached a stage of my life where, unless I accepted my finite energy levels and physical restrictions, I would never be able to move forward. In many ways, this finiteness was a gift as it made me think about my true priorities as I simply didn’t have the energy to fritter on the people and things that drained or depleted me.

It has been unquestionably hard for me to accept the finiteness of my physical energy, but my resistance, stoicism and stubbornness were only using more up. So, instead of spending my time and energy breathing life into the fantasy of who I wanted to be (or felt I ought to be), I felt a sense of liberation as I could finally be just me. Of course, there was no ‘just’ about it, it felt delicious and real, and I opened up my heart and soul to the infinite nature of my soul. It goes against instinct to acknowledge and accept that not everything is possible as we all want to be able to do, be and achieve everything we set our hearts on. Yet, maybe life’s true lessons come when we don’t succeed?

It was hard to accept that I couldn’t do everything, but I haven’t shrunk as a result, I've grown as I’m now more in tune with the rhythm of my heart and soul: I’m listening to myself. Finally! It’s taken a long time, but instead of feeling sadness and grief for the things I've lost and the life I’m not living, I've re-kindled the spark of passion within me to seek out ways of living and being that truly nourish and nurture me.

It’s been a long journey, from the days where I wanted to end, to the days where I raged at the inherent unfairness of life, to reaching a stage where I no longer want to sanitise the pain or block out the challenges. In truth, I still oscillate between these as it’s a part of being human. It took me years, decades even, to realise that we can’t selectively pick and choose which emotions we experience and which we don’t: we can’t just have the ‘good’ stuff as it’s all or nothing. Of course, I’m human so I didn’t like this reality, but the choice of continuing to deny my pain was slowly squeezing the life out of me. So, I made a choice, I declared to myself a new intention: I want to wholeheartedly experience every moment; the good with the bad, the mundane with the fantastic as it’s only by experiencing it all that I can truly be alive.

Life is so precious, and it’s taken me decades to wholeheartedly acknowledge that I want to be here and dance wildly in the fires of life once again. Opening up my heart and soul to see what is, exactly as it is, has enabled me to reconnect to life, even the tough stuff. Over recent years I've travelled through the dense terrain of my soul walking through the detritus of the resistance and pain scattered all around me as I journeyed within. I've questioned my existence, challenged my beliefs and worked through layers of pain and angst. I've faced a failing body, and, on more than one occasion, I've felt closer to death than life, longing for peace. Yet, today is a new day and my intention to live wholeheartedly has grounded me in life more than ever before. It all still feels quite raw and uncertain, but it’s tantalisingly exciting at the same time.

So, watch out world, here I come…

Tuesday 1 January 2019


I’ve spent a great deal of my life feeling deeply discombobulated as I’ve fractured, re-formed and fractured time and time again. In fact, it’s happened more times than I care to recall! This process is a part of life and it’s how we evolve but no one warned me just how gut wrenching and soul spinning it can be.

For a long time, I thought the key was in learning how to outwit the cycle of discombobulation and I rode the waves of life with a kind of smug sense of knowing as I tried (in vain) to stay one step ahead. Yet I could no more stop discombobulating than I could stop the day turning into the night: it happened whether I wanted it to or not. After a few distinctly challenging and arduous years where, with no clear escape route, I felt increasingly disenchanted and discombobulated, I fell apart.

However, instead of running or trying to outwit the cycle, I started to seek out nourishment in this seemingly bleak and inhospitable place, a bit like the bacteria that thrive in the dark at the bottom of oceans or in volcanoes and I found a way to breathe. Strangely, it seemed the more I fell apart and the more I learned to breathe, the more whole I started to feel. This may sound like a contradiction in terms as it feels counter-intuitive but it’s my own experience and that’s my reference point!

Experiencing fracture after fracture after fracture creates deep scars in the soul but it also opens the doorway to strength and courage. The more challenges I faced, the more I leaned into them and this took me beyond the mind-set of feeling the negative aura of discombobulation and instead I started to move into a space of an awareness of the bigger picture of recombobulation. It’s a word that speaks for itself: it’s a ‘coming back together’ and a willingness to allow the process to continue with an open heart and an open soul. (I’m not sure if recombobulating is officially a word, but I like it, so I’m using it!).

Words carry power and energy, and recombobulation feels empowering and inspirational to me; it’s a breakthrough and a re-emergence. It’s a shift of perspective allowing me to breathe more deeply into life and, at the same time, allowing life to breathe more deeply into me. Recombobulating is re-connecting, re-awakening and reaching out into life akin to a daffodil turning its head towards the warming sun on a spring day.

In many ways, life hasn’t changed much for me as I’m still experiencing fractures and challenges but I face them differently these days: I turn to them and face them wholeheartedly, taking a deep breath and letting go of resistance. This doesn’t mean I love having them in my life but they’re staying so I’ve chosen to adapt. Nor does it mean I’ve given up, I’ve simply stopped giving myself a hard time for not being perfect and not being the me I’d hoped I’d be or thought I should be. The me I am isn’t the me I’d dreamed about but it feels more real and more genuine as I’m fully engaged and connected to the process. By being real, I’m giving my true essence the room to flow freely.

Life is rarely straight forward or black and white; life is a kaleidoscope of colour, experiences and change. When we fight and resist, we stagnate and recoil. When we let go, we find new ways to thrive. There is no way to avoid the cycle of discombobulation as it’s how we grow and evolve but when we step back and see the process as a part of a bigger cycle, it helps bring a new perspective.
If we wholeheartedly buy into the essence of feeling discombobulated, life feels heavy and challenging, yet when we see it as a part of a cycle of recombobulation it somehow feels lighter and easier to navigate as we’re no longer victims but conscious souls riding the ebb and flow of life…

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Falling Off The Edge

At the end of 2015, I wrote about ‘the year I broke’, an intense and challenging year of my life where I felt as though my heart and soul had been ripped out from the fabric of my being, then torn to shreds and trampled upon. I fell apart, broke, disintegrated and found myself laying naked and cold on the harsh floor of reality.
When I posted that article, I was, I believed, over the worst. How wrong was I?! 2016 took me to some new depths as the challenges intensified and came flooding into my life with such ferocity, I had no time to take a breath. By last summer, I reached a point of saturation as my body, mind and soul could take no more; the shutters fell and I drifted into a hibernation state, a period of stasis where, other than essential functioning, everything else stopped. Hence the ‘radio silence’ on my blogs and with emails.
As I curled up and recoiled in a kind of functional spiritual vegetative state, every time I tried to push myself to get up, I was sucked back into a deep state of powerlessness. I fought and wrestled with the powerlessness as I wanted to push it away so I could get on with my life but it’s force was bigger and stronger than me, and, like tentacles reaching in all directions, it slowly took hold. This game of ‘tug and war’ continued for weeks until I had nothing left. I simply couldn’t do anything other than surrender.  I stopped fighting and trying to be more, do more and achieve more as I found myself unable to see beyond the moment.
Of course, in hindsight, this was a gift, as the present moment is the only moment of true significance, but I wanted that revelation to come to me willingly over afternoon tea one day rather than be dragged, kicking and screaming, to a point of realisation. However, everything happens for a reason, in its own time and in its own way, so despite my reluctance, it was obviously time I woke up fully and stopped faffing about in denial.
I felt myself torn between a state of numb exhaustion and feeling the intensity of years of unspent emotion and uncried tears. I oscillated somewhere in the middle of these two states, never really allowing myself to fall into either one and focusing all of my energy towards ‘hanging on’ to what I had left. Although I intuitively knew I had nothing left, it didn’t stop me from trying to cling on and resist the reality rising up over the horizon within my heart and soul. Denial wasn’t an obstacle I was still expecting to meet as I thought I had overcome that years ago.
I have faced countless challenges and dark nights of the soul over recent years and I had been sure I’d reached a point of enlightenment after 2015 as I was now living in a much more awakened and connected space. Looks can clearly be deceptive as this was simply window dressing; my own way of trying to dress up my wonky reality into something more palatable for my soul to accommodate. Yet, despite knowing this, I still kept my face buried in the false chocolate box idyll of denial as it was somehow easier to live with the pain of clinging on than it was to turn to face the pain of reality.
It’s easy to feel left behind when we see and read so much about living the ‘wonderful life’; of tales of joy and happiness of living an enriched and wholesome spiritual life. Perhaps this is even harder in the ‘new age’ arena as such stories are everywhere, designed to inspire and empower us, but making us feel somehow incomplete or broken when we just can’t seem to live up to the example set. Of course, our own expectations don’t help as we bully ourselves when we feel we’re not enough and this compounds the inner pain. I had reached a point of realisation that I could no longer cajole myself into believing my fake smile any longer; even I wasn’t convinced by it.
Over the last few months, everything I had was stripped away. I was left exposed, vulnerable and raw; I had no more filters to disguise, or hide, the truth, and my rose-tinted spectacles tumbled to dust as the force of reality took a strong hold of me and shook me to my core. I still fought as it’s an inherent part of being human to resist but the harder I pushed against it, the harder reality pushed back until I finally snapped in two. The year I broke (2015) was only just the beginning, as 2016 turned into the year of annihilation of everything I held dear.
As I lay cold and bare, shivering on the floor of rock bottom, I initially spent my time with my eyes shut, trying to block out the situation I found myself in. Like a child playing ‘hide and seek’, I thought I may be able to pretend it wasn’t happening. Of course, such a strategy can only be short-lived as falsehoods can’t be sustained in the long term. Initially this irked me until I realised it was the effort involved in trying to sustain the denial that was my true enemy rather than the reality I found myself in.
It took me a while before I tentatively opened my eyes. As they began to adjust to the dimmed light, I began to truly see where I was. It wasn’t pretty. My beliefs lay shattered around me and my life was ripped into shreds; it was easy to feel as though I had nothing left as I felt empty and numb. However, after a while, the emptiness stirred and layer upon layer of deep emotion began to surface; the surprising thing for me is that I allowed it to. The intense, gut-wrenching sobs were a physical manifestation following years of living on the edge. It was as though I’d spent years holding my breath, and the emotional release allowed me to take a big inhalation of life and it shook me right to my core.
I observed the rise and fall of emotion within me and gradually became one with it as I reconnected to my deeper, and truer, sense of self. It was unfamiliar territory for me as I’d spent my entire life trying to be the person I thought I should be and I’d never really allowed myself to let go and venture deeper within. Of course, I believed I was going deeper with all the inner work I’d engaged with but, it seems, I’d barely scratched the surface.
The pain that surfaced was the most intense, profound and powerful pain I’ve ever experienced and although it felt as though it was crushing the life out of me, it was actually doing the opposite as I began to breathe consciously for the first time ever. I felt a flicker of life stirring from deep within the energetic vegetative state I had slipped into and realised I was not in a cold, sterile, hostile landscape but in a space of nurturance and nourishment. Like a dormant seed, the light of truth, along with my willingness to finally look, triggered a chain reaction that lead to a powerful awakening.
Life certainly looks interesting from ground level, it’s amazing just how few people clean their skirting boards. As I gazed up at the world above me, I also became fully aware of the ground beneath me, and, for the first time, I felt truly supported by the earth. I had reached rock bottom but, rather than spend all of my energy and focus on escaping and not wanting to be there, I allowed myself to feel the pain of rock bottom. Of course, it wasn’t love, light and fluffy bunnies, but it was real. It took me many weeks to realise where I was and to get my bearings but I had neither the energy nor the inclination to rush back to my previous life which now felt hollow and meaningless. I had reached a new layer of my existence which I still couldn’t articulate but this was because there were no words to describe it. I was in new territory and I needed to rest there for a while until my consciousness could catch up and bring me the language required to facilitate understanding or, alternatively, to reach a point of awareness and acceptance where understanding didn’t matter.
I have never felt as empty, raw and exposed. Yet, what I initially perceived as pain quickly turned into numbness and then into something beyond words. I began to feel a sense of peace rising up within me, and although this was less tangible to articulate than the peace I felt a year ago, it felt more genuine and authentic. I breathed into the moment and the turmoil quietened. My perception had altered and I noticed a shift in the vibration of every single atom of my being. At first, this was a jostle or oscillation, quickly turning into a blaze of pulsating awareness which rushed in with such force it took my breath away. I felt a brief flicker of panic with the lack of oxygen and I quickly realised I had a choice: recoil to catch my breath or dive right in.
Once again, I initially tried to resist and attempted to take a sharp inhalation of breath but the energy required to maintain this was beyond me and I snapped. I started falling and I felt a fleeting moment of knowing that I needed to let go so I turned the freefall into a dive. Letting go was much easier than I believed it would be but it’s so hard to articulate as it doesn’t involve doing anything, as it’s more a state of conscious surrender. The more I let go, the more I realised the dive wasn’t taking me to new depths but I was soaring. Underneath the pain and exhaustion, a tingling of elation stirred as I reached a powerful point of revelation.
I realised there were several reasons to my situation: a failure to invoke edges, a failure to express the intensity of my feelings and the need to ‘be more me’. Each one equally as important as the others and each one fairly monumental in shape and form.
My failure to invoke edges was lifelong as I’d never had the strength or courage to draw boundaries; I felt lost and I had no clear sense of self. This was for several reasons: firstly, a lost sense of personal awareness, secondly, a desire to people-please and thirdly, a distinct lack of self-love. I’d spent most of my life not liking myself very much, not feeling worthy and not knowing why I was here or what my purpose in life was. I’d managed this by wearing a façade which hid my inner turmoil and, over time, it wrote itself into my subconscious and I thought nothing of it until I hit rock bottom when the cold light of truth came knocking.
I feared letting others in. I feared them discovering the real me as I believed they’d be as disappointed in me as I was. I feared them getting close so I stayed on the periphery. Yet, an even bigger fear was the fear I had of myself: I wouldn’t gaze into my own depths as I feared the pain within would consume me if I let it out.
Which leads into the second reason: the failure to express the intensity of my feelings. I’m a world-class smiler, I’m not one for expressions of emotions mainly because I feared if I let out just a little bit then the rest of the pain stuffed inside me would flood out uncontrollably but it goes deeper than this as I’d lost my voice years ago. I felt unheard and this caused me to recoil into myself and wither. When it comes to expressing my deep emotions, I feel stunted and awkward as I can’t hide behind words or the safety of my keyboard so I’ve always tried to hold it all inside, wrapping it up in my crooked smile and veneer of calm. This strategy worked unto the day it didn’t and this further opened the floodgates to my pain, it led to an outpouring so profound and so exquisitely painful, I felt closer to death than life. I wanted death to welcome me like an old friend so I could be free of the pain and struggle. I had nothing left, I was empty, hollow and lost.
I felt broken and damaged beyond repair and, although I was still down that dark hole of rock bottom, I began to tap into even deeper layers of insight. It was at this point when I really questioned my strength and resolve, and felt my stubborn, pig-headed determination was more of a curse than a blessing as, despite the immense pain, I hadn’t given up or given in and I wanted to. I wanted to end; to draw a line under the pain. I was tired right down to my soul and I’d had enough. I wrestled with this for some time and it took me a while to realise the main source of my pain was my stoical façade as the pretence was exhausting.
This led to the third reason: to be more me. After all, who else could I be? I’d tried to be the person I thought I ought to be my entire life and that had failed spectacularly. I’d reached a point where I no longer had the energy to fake it, I just needed to be real, honest and authentic. This meant being vulnerable and open, and although my stiff upper lip fought this ferociously, I was now on an enforced, one-way ticket to openness and it was leaking out of every cell of my being.
In truth, I’m still processing all of this. I haven’t suddenly awoken to a life of rose petals and marshmallows as it’s still immensely challenging, but it’s different. It’s different because I’m different. I’ve finally ‘stood on the precarious threshold of my own heart and soul ‘(John O’Donohue) and realised it’s not a place to fear anymore; it’s a part of me – it is me. I’ve a way to go before I’m dancing carefree through the hills and valleys of life but I’ve made it through the most challenging year of my life (so far) and, despite the intensity of the experience, I feel a flicker of optimism stirring in my soul.
I’m still in that dark hole but it’s become a firm foundation for me. My eyes have adjusted and it’s no longer the dark, soul-less place I believed it to be: it’s real and it’s quite comforting in many ways as it’s womb-like and nurturing. I can still see me underneath the rubble of challenges, ill-health and dysfunction. Admittedly, I’m continuing to acclimatise to the shifts but the world is changed. Every atom has shifted and I’m more aware of both myself and the world in which I live. My senses are awakening, and every sound, every sight and every smell is accentuated, renewed and crystal clear as though I’m experiencing it all for the first time.
As the echoes of possibility create a new resonance in my soul, I am finally beginning to see the sun creeping over the horizon of a new day of a new chapter of my life. 2016 was a phenomenally hard year, even though I thought I had crossed a threshold the previous year when I broke, I have now gone deeper and shattered layer upon layer of illusion as I’ve finally fallen off the edge, faced my deepest fears and found myself as a result. I couldn’t know until I fell that living off the edge is truly the only way to thrive…

Friday 29 April 2016

It Is What It Is

As I continue to tenderly caress the scars and wounds in my soul whilst continuing to learn to lovingly accept my (seemingly many) frailties and imperfections, I’ve reached a point of compassionate assertion within. It’s hard to describe ‘compassionate assertion’ and the phrase doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it’s the best I could do given the somewhat limited nature of words.
For a long time, I wholeheartedly believed in the concept of ‘cause and effect’ when it came to illness and ill-health. The new age, modern spirituality world in which I lived for many years frequently reports of the notion that repressed emotions causes physical ill-health and imbalance. I’ve no doubt there’s truth in these words but it’s far too simplistic a perspective for me. There is undoubtedly a connection between body, mind and soul; imbalances can manifest physically, spiritually and emotionally. Yet, ‘cause and effect’ leaves little room for the grey and smudged edges of being human.
In my personal and professional experience, ‘cause and effect’ can create layers of guilt as it can create a sense of self-blame: ‘I did this to myself’, ‘Why did I do this?’, ‘Only I can fix this?’. As a result, the cycle can intensify as we buckle under the pressure of trying to fix what’s broken, after all, everyone wants to live well so we feel compelled to do all we can to achieve that.
I did this for years. I felt a huge burden of responsibility for everything that was wrong with me, but this perspective wasn’t helping nor was it instigating change; it was simply making me feel worse about myself. I’m the first to admit I’ve got plenty of repressed pain and emotion stuffed inside of me. I’ve soul-searched and dug deep, I’ve also healed on many levels, but, despite being spiritually robust, I’m still physically fragile. I still have repressed ‘stuff’ within, and I always will, but the ‘cause and effect’ belief cycle was more damaging than the repressed emotions themselves.
One day as I sat in a grief-induced and broken haze, feeling a sense of despair and immense guilt for still not being able to heal, I broke. My beliefs shattered. I’d reached a point of realisation that whilst any ‘inner work’ would always help bring equilibrium into my life, my strategy of focusing so hard on trying to untangle the knots within was causing me more suffering rather than alleviating it and I was the only one suffering as a result. I was getting worse and feeling further away from me, and I realised that it was the very nature of looking for a ‘why’ in order to be able to fix it, that was at the heart of the destructiveness. My desire to heal and to work through the concept of ‘cause and effect’ had stomped on me good and proper as I’d managed to tangle myself up in well-intentioned, but highly destructive, knots.
My realisation was simple and succinct:
‘Sometimes things are the way they are because that’s the way they are’.
Okay, I’m the first to admit that this isn’t a particularly revelatory statement but it was for me as it was a sign of a profound inner shift. I could spend the rest of my life trying to unpick and untangle the knots and trying to heal but the cost would be a life un-lived. By accepting my realisation, I wasn’t giving up but I was stopping the violent and bloody battle going on between me, myself and I. So I put down my armour, I sent my trusty steed off for a well-earned graze and I let go. I stopped trying to make sense of my ill-health and I instead chose to start living once again. Instead of trying to heal and fix, I embraced my ‘what is’ and chose to live anyway. It’s not pretty: my ill-health isn’t discrete or polite, but it’s present whether I acknowledge it or not.
I haven’t given up, I’ve simply stopped looking for a why all the time. Nietzsche once wrote: ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how’, but for me it was letting go of the need for a why that’s given me courage and strength, reconnecting me more wholeheartedly to life once again.
I’m not a puzzle to be solved, an imperfection to be fixed or a blemish to eradicate; I’m me. I’m not solely a result of my repressed pain and emotion (and I have lots), they’re an integral part of me and no matter how much work I do on myself, I will always have more inside of me as they are a part of being human. Trying to fix them in order to become whole suggests I’m not whole now and I no longer accept that’s the case. Shit happens all the time. A full stop just begins a new sentence, not always one full of challenges and ‘bad’ stuff of course, but we are never immune. Acceptance lifted an immense weight from my shoulders and my soul finally found some room to breathe.
Acceptance finally allowed me to turn to face all the pain, the un-cried tears and the grief within head on. I stopped trying to fix it, heal it, understand it or eradicate it and instead decided to love it as a part of me. I’m learning to wholeheartedly love myself exactly as I am. Compassionate assertion, or perhaps assertive compassion, is loving myself by being myself, warts and all.
These days when someone suggests my genetic condition is a result of repressed pain, emotions or trauma, I smile. Obviously I know the words come from a good heart but I’m in a very different space in myself these days. When I reply with my new mantra: ‘Sometimes things are the way they are because that’s the way they are’. I feel a deep sense of freedom within me. Living in the here and now leaves me nowhere to hide but isn’t that exactly how life should be? Our quest to fix and mend is a distraction from the here and now, sometimes graceful acceptance is the true key to freedom.
In this perfection-seeking world, it’s hard not to feel the pressure of trying to be perfectly perfect: to be one of those who appear to glide through life smiling, emanating a vibe of ‘Everything’s perfect in my world’, seemingly without a care in the world as they have mastered the art of denial. The smiley, happy, wholesome veneer of the new age is, on the whole, well-meaning, but it also presents a falseness that can lead to disempowerment and guilt when we can’t live up to the façade. We feel ‘less than’ because we are not one of those ‘shiny, happy, hold it all together’ people.
These days I’m keeping it real. I still work on my repressed emotions but I love them as they are a part of me. I don’t necessarily like having them in my life but we can’t always have what we want. I’m just me, but I am no longer trying to be the person I think I should be nor am I constantly chasing the horizon of ‘getting life right’ all the time, I’m just living it instead and I’m being myself. Achieving balance and equilibrium is a work in progress but I take each day as it comes and approach it with an open heart and mind.
Disability and illness (whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual) is a part of my ‘what is’ and I’m finally allowing it to bring me some joy and enrichment. I have met some incredible people on my journey through life and I have discovered so much about the human condition. I’m finding peace amongst the chaos and discovering tranquillity in the storms. I’m not a fan of so-called illness inspiration but I see no point in being angry or bitter about it. It is what it is, after all. Of course I have days (even very recently) when my resolve falters and I slip into those deep and painful emotions within and the strain of the daily struggle gets too much but I take a deep breath and it passes. I’m far from perfect! Yet I am no longer trying to eradicate these as they remind me I’m human.
Many still offer me condolences when they hear of my illness but I don’t want that. Maybe their response is more down to their own internal struggles than it is to do with me? I’m learning to live well as me and that includes my many conditions. I don’t want pity or sympathy, just love and compassion. I don’t want judgment, just acceptance. I’m finally learning what happiness truly is, don’t try to fix me…

Friday 5 February 2016

The Day I Woke

In truth, I’d never really acknowledged just how challenging it would be for me to put my struggles down in writing and then share them openly and wholeheartedly with others. I had no idea how it would feel to become completely vulnerable and transparent leaving myself nowhere left to hide. I had no idea how my confession of brokenness would be treated; in this world of ‘love and light’ spirituality, would acknowledging my fragility and lack of robustness be seen as ‘less than’ and I’d be dismissed as damaged goods? When I pressed the send button I had no notion of just how many people would read ‘The Year I Broke’ nor could I comprehend how many messages it would trigger. However, hearing the words of love, support, compassion and unity of so many from so many different places on the planet, warmed my heart and soul to it’s very core.
We often suffer and struggle in isolation and disconnection; we pull back from life when things get tough which leaves us feeling awkward and disjointed like a misshapen piece of the universal jigsaw puzzle we call life. We all have times when we feel fragmented and broken; unable to reach out to others through a fear of judgement or rejection. We try to present the façade of being whole and complete as we know that many don’t really want to hear the truth when they ask how we’re doing or feeling: ‘fine’ is all they want to hear. We also try to kid ourselves that a smile and ‘keep on keeping on’ approach will fix and heal. After a while, we begin to assume that no one wants to truly know our pain and we smile stoically trying to keep up the pretence, trying to fool everyone – including ourselves – that we’re coping. And yet, the more we try to hide away the truth of our pain and the depths of our feelings, the more they intensify and grow as we begin to buckle under the strain.
Last year I reached a point where the intensity of my disconnection, desolation and despair grew even deeper as life events exposed, and then trampled upon, the delicacy of the fine-line I walk when it comes to ‘holding it all together’. I tried desperately to rush around picking up the shattered pieces before anyone noticed but I couldn’t muster the energy; there was nothing left. I was struggling to breathe, my mind was unravelling and my spirit shattering as the raging torrent of ‘stuff’ inside me whipped up into a frenzy. It was hard to know what to do with it as it was so intense and powerful; it consumed me. I couldn’t keep trying to contain it as it split me open and tore me apart.
In truth, when I feel this fragile, all I want is to return to the safe place from my childhood: under the kitchen sideboard resting in a basket of freshly dried washing listening to the reassuring sound of the whirring washing machine. I felt so safe there. I wanted push the world away, weep uncontrollably and get back into the safety of my own little world and stay there. But I couldn’t, I’d nowhere left to hide anymore as every corner, nook and cranny had been used already. I didn’t even have the language to navigate and articulate myself away from my pain as it all felt too raw, my emotional core was exposed and exquisitely sore and I was drowning.
When I go into that desolate space I’d previously only ever sensed two options available to me: 1) box it up and push it back inside or 2) end. I have never opted for the latter, obviously, but I have felt perilously close at times. Yet, I know there’s a third way: to talk about it, express it and to stop stuffing it all inside of me. After all, how could I have a healthy relationship with life if I didn’t have one with myself? Yet, I’d always fought hard to keep it inside and hold it together; I feared I’d shatter if I let it out.
I’ve pushed the pain away; I wouldn’t acknowledge it, allow it or accept its presence in my life. Of course, it’s hard to face reality when it’s so painful, and it’s hard to bring acceptance or grace into every day when every day feels so heavy and arduous. Yet, it is my reality, and it’s ultimately my perception of this that flavours it. So, if I continue to carry these burdens, how will I ever set myself free? Indeed, I wonder if there is such a thing as being totally free. Of course, intuitively I know that freedom comes from within, but as my within was so choked and suffocated with repressed pain, grief and emotion, freedom felt a million miles away. It wasn’t a million miles away, but as long as I continued to believe it was, it would always be out of reach.
So, the time came to stop spending my days simply using up perfectly good oxygen and creating greenhouse gases. I became ready to open up my heart and soul in order to step beyond my pain, to admit my failings and fragility, to accept that I’m not perfect, to be willing to be vulnerable, and to not be afraid to falter in the presence of others. My stoicism wasn’t fooling anyone any more, well, other than some of my hospital consultants who still take my smile at face value (although I must admit I do wear it well after so many years of practice).
Yet, wanting to break free and change isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. I was aware of the changes I needed to make but until life pushed me to the brink of collapse I didn’t know how to implement them. It was only when I broke that I realised I was over-thinking the situation. I didn’t need instructions, I just needed to let go and be real.
I think most importantly I’ve accepted that my stoical smile isn’t fooling me as I can’t believe the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ positive thinking anymore. It’s not that I don’t believe in the power of positive thought; I’ve just decided to opt for realistic thinking instead. I’m turning to face myself with honesty and authenticity, I’m beginning to acknowledge my pain, my grief, my anger and my fear. I’m finally allowing myself to experience them as they are important facets in the spectrum of my life. I can’t push them away any more, I need to face them, befriend them, and find a way to live well with them as they are an intrinsic part of me.
Whilst I may have a way to go before I start loving these difficult emotions, I’ve realised the importance of trying not to fight or resist them. The residues of grief and pain have etched deep engravings into my heart and soul; they have helped to shape and define my essence. They are no less a part of me than joy or love and they make me, me. When I finally acknowledged the truth that I was the biggest obstacle holding myself back, I began to see a deeper and more enriched picture of the intricate and tangled web I’ve weaved over the years in a seemingly futile attempt to stay ‘safe’.
I feared letting others in. I feared them discovering the real me and feeling so disappointed as I wasn’t ‘Miss Everything’s Wonderful in My World’. I feared them walking away as a result. I feared them getting close. Yet, an even bigger fear was the fear I had of myself: I wouldn’t gaze into my own depths as I felt ‘less than’ because I wasn’t the superwoman I thought I should be. Of course, in hindsight, I now know there was never anything to fear, but hindsight is easy with the benefit of hindsight! Whilst in the midst of turmoil and disconnection, it’s hard to think rationally about anything much.
The Day I Woke was a powerful one for me. I had just been told I needed major high-risk surgery. My consultant mentioned death a few times and, during the conversation, I realised that I no longer held any fear of death; although I wasn’t (and I’m still not) overly keen to die, I was at peace with myself. I have much I still want to achieve in life and I have a rich enthusiasm for the preciousness of life but I had found peace with the only truly inevitable thing: death. It was only when I reached this point, I realised that when death holds no fear, everything changes including fear itself. I refused the surgery which has potentially created an even bigger risk but I’m at peace with my choice. Intuitively I know I’ve made the right decision for now.
I felt a profound and exquisite peace rising up within me as the turmoil quietened and I re-connected to an essence that danced and laughed within every single one of the billions of cells in my being. I had woken and I felt as though I had been given a new chance at life. I am still processing the somewhat profound shifts within me as I grow accustomed to the giggling, dancing sprite-like energy within me as it feels at a tangent to the somewhat fragile and broken figure I see looking back at me in the mirror. Yet, my eyes are bright and the fire in my soul is radiating brightly. Finally, I feel alive, tantalisingly awake and exquisitely connected to life (and to myself) exactly as it is.
Someone once said ‘to find real peace you have to let the armour go’. Mine fell away during the year I broke and rather than trying to find replacements or welding together the shattered fragments into some kind of Frankenstein-esque armour, I’m finding strength in my vulnerability and open-heartedness. I have no idea what tomorrow, next week or even today will bring but that’s okay. Whilst I can’t pretend that everything’s now rosy and perfect in my world because it isn’t. I feel more awake than ever before but I’m still fragile and delicate. Breaking may have been a gift but it will take time to restore a true sense of equilibrium in my body, mind and soul.
My world turned upside down and tossed my spirit about like a ragdoll and it continues to do so. As I continue to peel back layers and make peace with myself there are still violent lurches as life continues in it’s own unpredictable way, yet, it’s okay as although I still have no idea who I am becoming or where I am heading, I am me and that is enough and it’s incredible because it’s exactly as it’s meant to be. I’m finally learning to love the inherently unpredictable and confusing nature of being human and, most importantly, I’m learning to love myself (imperfections, frailties and quirks included) with every ounce of my being…

Sunday 6 December 2015

The Year I Broke

This year I’ve fallen apart. Everything I once held dear has been torn down and ripped away. My beliefs have been shattered, my sense of spiritual connection has disintegrated and turned to dust, and my physical self has crumbled with ill-health and disability. The story of my life unravelled as everything fell apart; I broke. It's not easy to admit any of this as the truth is rarely easy to face. Yet, I've reached a point where I'm no longer able to hide behind the relative safety of my keyboard or to wax lyrical about the joys of pain and struggle. Life isn't all fluffy bunny and marshmallows; sometimes it's gut wrenchingly difficult.

I’ve been standing precariously close to the edge for quite some time looking into the murky depths below, wondering what’s hidden in the mist and trying not to let my imagination run riot. I clung tightly to the edge until the day I couldn't and I fell. This year I’ve been falling, just like in those nightmares of my childhood when I’d suddenly lurch backwards into freefall, waking up in a blind panic, feeling nauseous and trembling. It felt like the nightmare had shifted into reality as I turned to face my ‘what is’ head on. Yet, this makes it sound like a conscious and willing choice, but I was dragged to this point and pushed into a corner leaving me with no escape route; I’ve had to face my reality as there was nothing else left as all of the facades, false beliefs, hopes and various levels of denial fell away. In hindsight, reaching such a point was inevitable, after all, no one can keep putting on a brave face, smiling and pushing on forever.

As the storm clouds kept coming, their relentless and tenacious determination ensured there was nowhere left to hide. There was no shortcut around the storm, the only way was through. This meant facing my shadows, facing my reality and facing up to myself with a lot of brutal self honesty. I guess I'd always believed that life is a journey, and, as we evolve, we step from one room to another, carrying with us new insights, new wisdom and new awakening. Yet, in a slightly whimsical kind of way, I hoped my point of breakthrough would be akin to walking in to a new room, turning the light on and starting afresh. I thought I would simply start seeing the world with fresh eyes and a new perspective, and keep striding forth as I've always done. However, life had a very different plan for me. Admittedly, I tried hard to cling on to what I had, even though I intuitively knew I couldn't carry on as I was. I felt a kind of safety in denial, it was an uncomfortable comfort zone to me, yet I didn't want to let it go. 

There is a lot of wordage given to the concept of awakening, breakthrough and acceptance. I myself have written a great deal about this, feeling a deep sense of awareness of the process of my own personal evolution, as well as a sense of collective awakening. Of course, I, like everyone, am on a continual path of growth and learning, but it has always been a more palatable option to believe that breakthrough and, indeed, breakdown, were, ultimately, immensely positive experiences. Who was I kidding? 

As I gazed around at the debris scattered all around me in the aftermath of the storm, it was undoubtedly hard to feel a sense of positivity. In that moment, I felt grief, anger, despair and desolation; positivity was conspicuous only by its absence. I had been forced to a point of breakdown and surrender, and yet, although it took me a while to see through the blurry haze of my tears, I was aware that my perception had shifted as everything looked different. Every sound, colour and smell was somehow more vibrant, as though I had opened myself up to a new layer of awareness. Initially, it felt as though I had no skin as I couldn't filter out the intensity of the shifting vibration all around me and within me. However, despite sensing a shift, I kept on resisting and denying as I couldn't bring myself to face the truth that everything had imploded and fallen apart. I kept on resisting until my resolve was smashed and there was nothing left standing between me and, well, me.

By being forced to a point of surrender, I had stripped back the facades I had clung on to for so long and I was left naked and bare facing my ’what is’ with total honesty as there was nowhere left to hide. The intensity of the chill in the cool air was undeniable, yet, at the same time, it felt refreshing as I could breathe freely for the first time in years. Spiritually, emotionally and physically I felt able to expand and, although the pain of falling apart was exquisite, the sense of reconnection I sensed would rise up within me stirred my curiosity and spurred me forward. However, reconnection wasn’t the default setting that emerged at the point of breakdown as I found myself in a kind of numb voidal space: not quite here, there or anywhere.

I felt as though every atom and cell of my being had been shocked and broken open; like an egg being cracked apart. Through those cracks poured a lifetime of ‘stuff’ and it was immense. Perhaps breakout is a better description than breakdown as although I definitely fell apart, I sensed a profound and intense feeling of indescribable release at the same time. 

I've often pondered why this was the year for my falling apart. I’ve faced a lifetime of challenges, so why now? I’ve spent my life trying to be the best me I could possibly be, I’ve embraced self-healing and spiritual teachings, and I’ve worked so hard trying to heal myself in order to free myself from the ties that have bound me to ‘ought’s’ and ‘should’s’. Yet I’ve pushed my own self-destruct button as I wouldn’t pause; I wanted to keep on keeping on just in case everything fell apart if I stopped (even though my fragile house of cards had already fallen apart, I wouldn’t accept or acknowledge it). My head became a logjam of thoughts, beliefs and fears, and my soul became saturated as I built layer upon layer of facades. I stored up years of uncried tears for all of those experiences I wasn’t fully present for and I allowed the cracks in my physical health to become a gaping chasm as my body buckled and crumpled. 

I fell apart this year as I could no longer keep on keeping on, trying to cling on, trying to push on. I fell apart as I tumbled into the gaping chasm I’d created and landed in a heap on the cold ground below. It wasn’t a soft landing but, in that moment, everything stopped, frozen and raw as I saw the truth of myself in all it’s glory. It wasn’t pretty, yet it was also beautiful at the same time as my awareness was fully in that moment and I realised that, despite my best efforts, I’d spent most of my life focused on what I hoped was ahead of me; I'd never allowed myself the opportunity to step fully into the present moment, and it was this denial and resistance that finally broke me. 

My overloaded mind, body and soul needed to fall apart in order to fully get my attention. It was time to express the pain, sadness and the disconnection, and it was time to allow my true self to step consciously into the here and now. I found myself staring into that big hole, so beautifully described by John O’Donohue as, ’the precarious broken threshold of my own heart and soul’. I needed to let those uncried tears flow freely and I needed to let myself breathe, rest and take stock of my reality. 

I guess it is somewhat ironic that in the process of trying to find myself, I actually lost myself. I looked so hard for the truth of me, I failed to notice my reality. I have long been dealing with health issues, but it was only when they escalated and I fell apart, I realised that I wasn't accepting my 'what is’, I was doing quite the opposite. Integrity, authenticity and acceptance are crucial steps on the path of awakening, yet all three involve a willingness to see beyond the facades we've created in order to stop trying to be anything other than what we are. Although I believed I was in a space of acceptance and surrender, I wasn’t. Of course, I would have preferred a little nudge to show me the error of my ways rather than a devastating tsunami tearing me open and ripping me apart, but, in truth, I’m rather good at ignoring nudges. 

I’d love to say that the sun then rose and everything was well in the world as all the pieces suddenly fell into alignment and I felt a deep sense of peace. Entering the chilled darkness in the depths of my heart and soul pushed me to the point of extinction as every ounce of foundation fell away. There was nothing left to cling on to as hope was absent as I was made to truly face everything I had denied, repressed and ignored for years. My sense of spiritually, of inter-connectedness, shattered and I felt so angry and abandoned. The intensity of the pain rising up from my depths left me feeling isolated and alone, scared and confused. At the time I needed my spirituality the most, I turned my back on it as it felt hollow and without sustenance. This was of course a reflection of how I felt: disconnected, desolate and barren. 

Although I’ve spent my whole life in the dark believing I was already in the light, reality shook me into consciousness and I remained fully awake and aware in that dark, cold place for months. I had days when I longed for death and I had days when I longed for life. I felt frozen in paralysis, not having the energy or strength to do anything other than be fully aware of where I was. Denial takes a phenomenal amount of energy but acceptance takes much more. I stayed there until the day I didn’t. I can’t say I had a powerful moment of revelation or insight, I just felt a weight lift from my soul and a light re-ignite from the core of my being. It was as though someone finally flipped the light switch on in that room I’d been pushed into on the next stage of my journey of evolution. It took a while to adjust my eyes and, in truth, my soul still feels jaded as I recover from the devastation. Yet, I find myself grateful as I feel as though I’m finally home: I’m present and the facades and falsehoods have fallen away. Of course, more will surface as that’s a part of being human, but, for now, I feel a glimmer of hope rising from deep within me as I'm tentatively exploring a deeper and more enriched connection to my mind, body and soul.

I'm still coming to terms with my physical ill-health and disability as its changed my life from the inside out and this involves grieving, anger, compassion, allowing and accepting, all of which churn up layers of emotions and belief patterns. Of course I have days when I'm angry about my reality but it passes as I know I'm the only one who suffers as a result. Awakening is an on-going process but I finally feel ready to be here now. Maybe ‘awakening’ isn’t the right word but it’s hard to extrapolate an apt description that suggests a positive to a period of utter devastation. I think I’ve been awakening for years and I’ve realised it’s not ‘being awake’ that matters, it’s noticing or paying attention. It’s the same as being alive: being alive isn’t the same as feeling alive as the former suggestions existence but feeling alive suggests a conscious interconnectedness. It’s only now I can say, hand on heart, that I actually feel alive. It’s painful and raw, but I’m wholeheartedly feeling every emotion, feeling and sensation. I’m feeling a growing sense of the true essence of me as I breathe deeply into my heart and soul. The threshold of my heart and soul that I’d feared for so long is still fragile but I’ve dived in and now fear isn’t the force that’s holding me back or shaping and defining my life. 

I, like so many of us, have experienced breakthrough over the last few months after years of spiritual, physical and emotional upheaval. I had to breakdown to reach a point of surrender and I had to have every one of my many escape routes cut off in order for me to stop trying to out-run and out-wit truth; not to deliberately live an ‘un-truth’ but in a somewhat futile attempt to relieve the discomfort of being human. It’s taken a while for me to assimilate the process in order to articulate the essence of the changes within me as I find myself with a brand new vocabulary and a brand new perspective as a result. 

In truth, I’m still adjusting and I’ve given up trying to condense and distil the experience in order to try to make sense of it as it’s beyond my logical and rational comprehension. Thinking about it gives it structure and it has none. My wounds are still raw and my soul feels weak and, although I intuitively know that falling apart was what I needed, I know it’s my willingness to be vulnerable, genuine and real that is setting me free. My essence shattered, but spiritually I feel more whole than ever before. It's  certainly complex and confusing!

So, this was the year I fell apart but it’s also the year where echoes of possibility began to ricochet down the long corridors of my soul, tickling my consciousness and re-igniting my desire for life. I haven’t, as yet, given shape or form to these possibilities but I can feel them stirring within. For now, I’m resting in the moment, allowing myself to breathe fully as I slowly begin to open wholeheartedly to the process of healing; I feel weary from the battle, but the whisperings of hope keep the flames of my optimism flickering gently in the darkness. 

The definition of healing has changed for me as it no longer means ‘being fixed’ as that's unrealistic in terms of my physical being but I haven't given up and I now acknowledge I'm not broken or 'less than'. Healing is re-establishing balance as an imbalanced person in an imbalanced world. Perhaps healing means ‘coming back together’ again but I’m changed; altered forever. I cannot go back to the person I used to be and I don't want to. I have no idea who I am becoming, but for now, in this moment, I am me; not only is that enough, it is exactly as it’s meant to be…

Saturday 31 October 2015

Embracing Our Fragility

It’s not always easy to accept being the author of one’s own life, after all, that means taking responsibility for choices, decisions and paths followed. It also means taking responsibility for our unlived lives as well: those choices we didn’t make and those paths we didn’t walk. Life is rarely a case of either/or as we are constantly faced with a plethora of choices at any given moment, including the choice of ‘non action’.
The incredible John O’Donohue once said that: ‘our unlived lives travel with us in a world of implicit, latent, held over possibility’. Of course, we do carry it all with us, sometimes in the form of regret, sometimes ‘what if’ or ‘if only’. Often we’re not even aware we’re carrying it at all, its only when we reach a point of challenge in life that we usually go within seeking answers and come face to face with a lifetime of ‘stuff’. For some, such points create an atmosphere of overwhelming emotion, others reach a point of emptiness. Some try to push it away, trying to keep on keeping on, others buckle under the strain, some seek resolution and others become lost in a kind of ‘in-between world’ which lies in between the spaces in life.
There is no set place that one reaches where it can all feel too much as we are all unique individuals, each with our own perspective on life and each with a unique collection of coping skills. Despite our tremendous resilience as a species, the result of being strong for too long can lead to an imbalance within our hearts and souls. Yet, despite living in the twenty-first century, it’s still so hard for so many to admit to struggling, as showing any apparent signs of weakness is still frowned upon by so many. But why? We are sensitive, complex and in a state of constant flux and change. We are inter-connected bundles of life, filled with emotions, thoughts and a sense of being a part of a seemingly incomprehensible whole. Isn’t it only natural to experience highs and lows, too feel fragile and to feel a teeny bit broken at times? Isn’t that a part of being human? To deny this is to deny our humanity and to therefore live in a state of disconnection from the full spectrum of life. We can’t have the sun and no rain, day and no night, joy without pain.
Many spend their lives asking what the point of life actually is. Many more, never even consider the question. We live, we love, we cry, we rage, we pray and we grieve, and sometimes when we leap wholeheartedly into the pit of rampant uncertainty and unknowable destiny called life, we can get lost and slip into the cracks in-between the cracks in the pavement. Yet, when we fight it, we get stuck in a falsely created world of disconnection and denial which often leads to collapse. This seems to be at the root of what’s wrong in the world. Instead of accepting our fragility, vulnerability and fallibility, we fight it and try to convince ourselves that we can buck the trend. Yet, if we face it, love it and accept it, perhaps we can realise these are not weaknesses to be fixed or pushed away but a part of being human?
Loving and accepting our weaknesses is not the same as giving up or giving in but it’s a willingness to gracefully lean into life rather than pushing it away or trying to fix the unfixable. If we were able to change things we would but when we can’t it’s important we don’t bang our heads against the brick wall of life in denial or resistance, raging at the inherent unfairness. Life often doesn’t make sense and sometimes things happen that are unthinkable or unspeakable and out of our control. The only thing ever in our control is our response. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to feel vulnerable and to experience difficult emotions as this is the pathway to home, to our middle ground. Living on the edge and pushing our boundaries is important for our evolution but there are times when we need to rest, recover and rebalance.
It’s a part of life to experience ups and downs, highs and lows, but its important to honour these in order to move through them. Each moment passes, nothing is permanent. Yet to fight or deny the lows denies us the full experience of life as they are no less important than the high’s. In fact, perhaps they are more important as they give us context and reference enabling us to truly savour and give gratitude for the highs when they come.No one ever said being human was easy but when we stop fighting ourselves and instead embrace compassion, love and tender kindness, although the experiences themselves don’t change, we do and this allows us to accept the completeness of the human experience and to thrive as a result. Whilst we will inevitably have periods of challenge, disconnection, fragility and of despair, those are a part of life but intuitively we know that, like the day follows the night, these too shall pass…