A forever love

A snapshot of time. A moment. A forever. A captured memory. A single frame that when viewed creates a complete movie in your mind. The past, the present and the possibilities of life ahead, all caught in a stillness that cannot be described, just felt.

Love. That deepest of all connections that two people can have and all captured in a single photograph.

How much can you read from that single snapshot of time?  Everyone can see what’s there but only those in it know what the eye cannot see. Only those there at that moment in time can know the reason, the emotion, the invisibility of what is said in the eyes, the posture, the closeness, the body language, the stillness and the silence that envelopes them.

Time. Captured time. But now it is time for me to say what is inside that until now I was simply not ready to set free. I was too afraid to face my reality, too afraid to hurt or be hurt, too afraid to open up and maybe be knocked down by discovering that the photograph inside my head is wrong. Now, when I set this picture free, I have to be prepared to face the consequences.

Letting it go? I stand tall and say to the universe “here you are, take this photograph and do what you will with it. Let these captured emotions fly on the winds of energy, of space, of time and seek out the person, the place and the opportunity for them to find what they need.”

No longer prepared to hold this all inside, I need to set this free and acknowledge its existence. There can be no shame in love. In wanting someone or something. In seeking truth, authenticity and happiness. 

Once you have freed that raw, delightful, playful thought, it will manifest itself and so be prepared for the time of your life! This will become your reality and it will become your normal and it will become the greatest emotion of all time; remaining with you, just like the photograph, for all to see. 

Maybe they won’t understand, maybe they disapprove. Your dreams, my dreams, they are not there for others to understand, approve or judge. Fly with your dreams as your gift from the universe will be whatever you created in that photograph in your head.

The look in silence

If you know someone well you know how they look at you, you are aware of their reactions, you can read them like a book. It doesn’t matter what comes from their lips, if you know them you know what they say without words. 

I have one of those faces that has trouble matching with my mouth when I say “I’m fine” or “yes that’s great” or “I’m happy, really I am”. In a time gone by when my words were half truths, my face gave me away and those who knew me, watched but didn’t listen. Those who loved me knew a hug was in order when my words didn’t match my face anymore. 

There are some I have known for many years and yet I sometimes wonder why I see a different face to the one I thought I understood. What is happening in their life for this change to be so visible? What emotions are they experiencing that throw a shadow over the face I thought I knew. Something’s different but what?

Tired. Stressed. Anxious. Depressed. Sadness. Fear. Anger. To me these are all emotions I can see behind your eyes because I’ve been there and I understand what you do to cover up what’s inside. Sparkle. Joy. Wildness. Elation. Love. Peace. Optimism. These too can be seen and no words are required at all. I recognise these too because I see them in my own eyes every morning in the mirror. It is possible to go from one to the other. It is possible to lie to your eyes and yet eventually start believing in the words.

Transformation is huge. From sadness to sparkle. Words dragging emotions from deep inside until one day you hear yourself answer with “I’m fine” and realise for the first time you mean it. That one time becomes two, becomes regularly, becomes often, becomes reality.

Your words and your eyes I realise don’t always match when you speak to me but one day I know they will because I believe in you. One day you will look at me and words won’t be required. I see you. I read you. I know you. I believe in you. 

One day you will look me in the eye and I will just know how far you’ve come and pride will flash right back at you. 

Surrender

Yesterday evening was movie night. Not something I do often as I’m pretty useless as sitting all the way through a film, especially if it has a plot that goes all over the place. I like to watch a movie to simply be lost in the magic and become part of the movement on the screen, not to think too much about who is where doing what and how that links in with sub plots. So that said I went to see Dunkirk.

We all know the story don’t we? Well I thought I did but when you are faced with an adaptation of reality on the screen you begin to doubt you really knew anything at all. The sheer horror and fear but endless courage of these men and women was there in front of me and the real heart stopping moment for me was a medical ship leaving Dunkirk to take the wounded home. It was filled to the brim with the wounded and the dying, the medical staff and navy personnel. It was yards from the beaches when it was bombed and we had to watch the full horror of these already suffering men and women, as they surrendered to the sea.

Surrender. A powerful word in itself but an even more powerful action to have to endure. Surrender is the biggest thing you can do to experience who you are and your purpose in life. These men and women had no choice. The enormity of the ship, the ocean and their ultimate destiny far outweighed their strength to fight and this is the crux of surrender. How much strength do you have to fight? There comes I think, a point where there is no fight left, no desire to battle anymore and no energy left to strive to beat whatever is your enemy.

Mine was my own self and my mental health. What’s yours?

I fought myself for so very long and day in day out I was my own battlefield. My head, my heart, my physical body and my mental acuity, fighting, coming to blows, knocking one down and then being taken down by another. A constant barrage of fire. A constant alertness to avoid this enemy frontline of anger, guilt, trying to be the best at everything, being all to everyone and no one, perfection banging on the door constantly reminding me of my failings. It was exhausting and finally I simply had to surrender.

Surrender….. how did it feel? Perhaps you think difficult, traumatising, energy zapping and painful but no, in fact it couldn’t have been more peaceful, more beautiful and more serene. It was letting go of pain, hurt, emotional blackmail, fear, anger, ego, fight and just allowing quiet, harmony, reflection and serenity to come in. It was really quite beautiful. Imagine your worst nightmare day with noise, stress, anger, pushing, shoving, aggression, hurt, pain and a constant noise in your head that you can’t switch off. Then imagine silence, being wherever you are most at peace and doing the most relaxing thing you can imagine and then let go there. Sink into a warm, gentle place, where you are loved and safe and at peace with not only your surroundings but yourself. That my friend is surrender.

It will be different for everyone and its a place we should all experience in our life. Its not about giving in, losing or finality, it is most definitely a place from where you grow. These soldiers didn’t get to live but my heart likes to think at that split second of surrender they found peace. 

Would you like to find yours? I’ll walk alongside you if you do. I get you. I know you. I feel you. 

 

 

Time

What is time? We hear ourselves say all the while that we don’t have enough or it’s running short or we’ve wasted it but what is it?

Lineal time is what we live by. That clock, that watch, the routines, the structure of our work day, the tick tick tick of the hands we constantly watch, eating away at our lives second by second.

I lived by the clock for so many years and became totally dependent on it for what I was doing and where I was. At no point did I think I could stop and take as long over something as it required my attention. Never did I realise I was living by the clock, and living by the clock for others and never myself.

When I was younger and hadn’t chosen to live by the clock I danced and sewed and painted. Never did I once say I’d do this for ten minutes or an hour, I gave it whatever time I felt it needed, I needed. How soon we forget that experience. I lived then by my internal clock, the one that healed me, made me who I was and the one that had no relevance to what the clock on the wall or the external world told me to work by. I didn’t give it up for anyone out of choice, I had a husband and a family and a job and naturally felt they all needed me, so divided my time up (and therefore me) accordingly. I didn’t once think about finding time for me to make sure that at some point I pulled all the sections of me that I had chosen to divide up, back to one, to be one. I never realised that by not including myself and thinking I was being something to all, I was actually being nothing to anyone.

I lost the ability to hear my internal clock and I lost the ability to self heal, love myself, be the person inside and I stepped out of myself and dictated what and who and where and when by the hands tick, tick, ticking on the watch attached to my wrist. My heart began to beat to this new time.

Only on reaching rock bottom did I realise I had to take the watch from around my wrist and throw it away. Never have I put it back on and never have I lived by it beyond the extent I felt in control of it. It can be done. I found time again and I made new time. Time to heal, time to live, time to laugh, time to love, time to protect, time to grow, time for my family and my friends and time to do whatever I felt I’d like to do, and no longer what I thought I should do. I live within a world of lineal time but I’m alive by being in my internal time.

When you hear yourself say “I don’t have time” or you wonder where the day has gone when all you’ve done is run around for everyone else or you get to the end of the week and lie exhausted on the sofa – ask yourself why you didn’t find time for yourself. An hour or two a week – are you not worth it? You may find giving yourself an hour gives your loved ones a much happier, livelier, fun version of the person who stretches themselves beyond reach. Hmm, I wonder which they’d choose?

Finding time is about being present and that takes no time at all.

 

 

Words Create Pictures

A beautiful post this morning made me realise how we can create the perfect picture in our minds. “Rest your soul next to mine. Know that you are enough, just being you… Let’s sit and rest while together on our journey.”  These words create a picture in mind that are so powerful I can not only see it in my minds eye, I can feel it deep inside and smell the surroundings and the world around me.

I’m not going to share the picture it creates as its very personal and it may distort what you see when you read those words but trust me this is a beautiful place and the silence and soul sharing is beyond anything I could ever have wished for and yet it became my reality.

How often we see pictures on our tv screens creating images of people and countries that we know nothing about and how that causes us to create a picture about who they are, how they live and what impact they have on our world. Little of this is positive, little of this is showing all the generous, kind, loving people in the world. We are shown violence, sadness, aggression, humanity at its very worst, creating pictures in our heads of a world (other than our own obviously) who are out to cause harm, pain, and destroy the world and the people we love.

I know this is true for a minority but I have to ask why we aren’t shown the good, the caring, the generosity, the lovers, the children, the laughter, the peacemakers? Why? Because that is not what those who rule want us to think, believe or feel and the media certainly don’t seem to think they can make money from good. I’m not normally passionate about the government and how we are fed what we are expected to think but I genuinely feel this is becoming more and more prevalent and how our world as a whole is being fed. Their words create pictures and we see what we are fed. Their pictures create emotions and we feel what they want us to feel. That is not what words should be for.

Words are tools to create inspiration. Words are tools to create authenticity and fact. Words are tools to create truth and allow the human race to draw its own conclusions. Words can be manipulative, words can be cruel, words can bring out many negative aspects of the human persona but this is not how words should be used. I take you back to the quotation I began with, “Rest your soul next to mine. Know that you are enough, just being you… Let’s sit and rest while together on our journey.”  Those words for me bring a sense of peace, they bring caring, love, support, nurturing and they bring my soul to rest and for that I am grateful as I begin my day.

I don’t interact with the news very often as it creates pictures in my head of an evil, harsh and dangerous world that I don’t wish to be part of. No I am not so naïve that I don’t think there are places and people like this, but I know we still have a world that is mostly filled with good, kind and generous people who want only a place to live and bring up their families in a peaceful society. This is the world I live in and this is where I will stay, trying to share what I have in my heart as I sit with those who choose to sit alongside me.

I wish you well today, I wish you good health and happiness and I wish all souls well. I cannot impact the world by myself but if I live my life this way maybe, just maybe, the ripple effect of my words will begin to create pictures for the whole world to see.

 

 

 

 

 

Burning Bright

On my desk is a small card and I glance its at every morning and it reminds me of a few things. My beautiful friend far away in America, how light is one of the most beautiful gifts we have and how words can bring peace to even the most troubled of hearts.

Candle Prayer at a Time of Distress – Beloved and gracious God, I am in need of your presence in my life. I know that you are hidden in the midst of my daily activities but I need some sign that you are with me at his difficult hour. You are the light eternal, may this candle be a sign of your presence, as I place myself in your hands. Amen”

I am holding this until I see my friend as I picked it up after leaving a prayer in Ripon Cathedral, for her, her husband and her son Jake who is hand in hand with angels. As some of you will know I am not a religious person but I do have faith and I do believe there is more to us than this body and mind that we live in and when the urge takes me I will enter a house of God and stay a while, light a candle and enjoy the peace these magnificent buildings can provide.

The candle seems to hold me like a moth who is drawn in by the warmth and light, offering solace, protection from the dark, sustenance and peace. Light. It’s just light and yet how powerful that light is. As a child afraid of the dark, a small light would calm me from all I thought lay in the shadows. As an adult is brings that sense of calm and yet something more that I struggle to put into words. I light candles every day as I prepare my massage room but why do I do that? To symbolise hope, love, faith, warmth, nurturing, protection? The lighting of a candle is important and as each one is lit I say a gentle hello to those I love, some here, some gone, some far away and some walking alongside me.

We as simply mortals can be a light. Some shine brighter than others but always shining. We guide, inspire, attract like a moth to a flame and sometimes aren’t even aware that we do this. It is a beautiful thing, to show another human who us struggling, lost or hurting that from their darkness comes the dawn and it begins with a single light that they can choose to follow if they so desire or are ready to bask in its glow.

How often do we knowingly hide our light? How often do we let it fade, as if blown by a breeze? How often do we allow others to extinguish it or let it die? Shine, shine bright. Shine as if there is only you to light the world around you. Glow like a beacon and draw in those moths who need your energy, your light and your warmth. Live your life as if you are the only one left to shine and never let your light die because with its death you die inside, as do those around you who need you.

We all live lives where our light fades and dwindles, though stresses, life drama, failure, bereavement, mental health decline or sickness and yet if we each day take a few minutes to find what we have, rather than focussing on what we haven’t, that light will burn a little brighter. Find time to look inside and find your glow. What keeps it burning? Knowingly take time to reignite the flame and allow it to shine, if not for you, do it for others who seek its life giving power.

Today I light a candle and it is for you.

 

 

Balancing the World on Your Head

It’s a well know phrase “work life balance” and we know what it means without any explanation but I fear few truly live it and that concerns me, for no other reason than I care. I care that people have balance in general but I care that they truly get why they need it and the consequences of it tipping one way or the other.

I read many posts on Facebook, Linked in and other social media that states “love my job, its 2am and I’m still going” or “my products/services are….” sent out at the weekend. This to me smacks of people not living their work life balance. You may love your job, you may think you will get a more attentive audience at the weekend but what’s it saying about you? That you are committed? Love your job? Not to me. It says that you are desperate for sales, it says you are clambering for business, it says that you are working too hard on keeping your audience. Is it just a sale or building relationships for long term business you want?

Harsh? Yes. Asking for people to bite back at this? Yes. Critical? Yes. Challenging? Absolutely yes. Why? Because I care. If you’ve read my background you will know this was me and my world imploded and I lost it all. Job, marriage, respect for myself, my mental acuity and friends. Was it worth it? The work/work balance that I was living on? Never. The challenge this left me with to make it balanced again? Oh god yes. I wouldn’t change the challenge, the hard work, the tears or the depression I had to experience as they combined and created this strong, independent woman I am today but would I want someone else to experience it when I can help them side step it? Heavens above no!

I am in no way suggesting we all do Monday to Friday 9-5 because life isn’t like that anymore and I am in no way telling you how to work or when to work. I am simply trying to get you to stop and review how you work currently and just see if its giving out the message you want to your customers and ultimately those you love and love you. What’s your balance (or lack of) saying about you – not your company – not your products or services – you? What’s it saying about your personal brand and lifestyle? In your industry it may be the norm, it may be appropriate, it may be what everyone does – does that mean you have to do it the same? What makes you stand out above everyone else around you? That you are passionate about what you do, work well and work hard but look the part, don’t look, act or sound stressed, don’t look exhausted and have enough energy left at the end of the day for you, your family, your friend, for fun.

We carry the world around in our pockets and our handbags these days – we are contactable if we allow it, 24 hours a day and that means we forget there is an off button sometimes. I’ll just take this call, I’ll just answer this email it’s urgent….. you know it’s never just that one! Sorry kids, mummy/daddy just has to take this….. I will only be a minute…… an hour or so later! I know its your birthday but this meeting is really important….! It’s okay I’m in the theatre watching my kid perform but I have a minute…. Sunday afternoon? Yes of course I can…. no don’t worry I don’t have anything else on….

When we aren’t balancing it physically we are balancing mentally and the world continues in our head. So many times my kids, my husband would talk to me but I had no idea what they said as although I nodded or responded I never actually heard anything. I missed important information – not important to me but boy was it important to them and I let them down by not being present. I have managed to forgive myself but it has taken six years and only because I know I can’t go back and change what I did. I can however make sure I live a life where it never happens again. I am now present. Don’t try and balance the world on your head – there simply isn’t enough space. Give it up. Give it up to a piece of paper or notebook, record it on your phone to revisit when you are back in work; decide and make a choice of whether it is important or not. Do anything but don’t give it like a gift to yourself. Learn to return to sender before you’ve opened it and lost your time and sanity and maybe worse, yourself and your loved ones.

 

 

 

 

To let go to begin

Today is the first day of a whole new chapter in my life. Unofficially its been going on a few weeks now but today, the start of a new month, the gathering of like minded souls, the official start….. that is today.

Beginnings…. hmm to get to the beginning you have to have come from somewhere and to arrive you must have let go of where you were and to begin you must take a step forward. Easy said I hear you say; that alone is difficult, time consuming and can make you feel like an emotional train wreck. Well yes I have to agree but surely all those so called obstacles are just part of learning, experiencing, feeling, moving, preparing, growing, believing, doing?

We continually do all of this but sometimes it is all far bigger and emotionally and physically consuming that usual but for me looking back, that is the fun of it. To see where I was, who I was and now where I am and who I am is the most exciting, inspiring, pat myself on the back feelings ever. I did it. I fell. I faltered. I tripped. I limped along. I began to get stronger, steadier, braver and from crawling to walking to jogging to hop, skip and jumping I have arrived at the start line. Fire that starting gun because I AM HERE, I AM MORE, I AM FABULOUS, I AM UNCONQUERABLE, I AM LIVING MY DREAM.

I am quite simply the happiest, most content, peaceful and optimistic I have ever been but above all that I AM ME. No more do I wear a mask. No more do I hide myself away. No more do I apologise for who I am, what I think or more importantly, what others think of me. I don’t shy away from how I live or care about how much I have. I have enough. I am enough.

Every day I learn something new because I am continually meeting like minded souls who want to be more than who they have allowed themselves to become. I am thriving on giving what I have learnt from my own story. I am peaceful because I know this is right, I know I have found home, I know I have more to give and that is where this becomes ever more exciting. This journey, this story, this cycle of life – it doesn’t matter what you call it – it continues and it continues like a stone rolling down a hill, gathering speed, gathering momentum, gathering energy.

Oh gosh she’s sounding evangelical…. actually that is a possibility but again it’s how I feel and won’t apologise for exuding happiness and excitement. I believe in who I am and what I am doing. For the first time I truly believe but beware, I am contagious, so if you don’t want to catch this love for life then step aside and let me through. If you have the desire to catch something that fills you up, makes you glow, inspires you to keep going especially when things are tough, helps you help others and costs nothing but your time and effort then welcome in.

To let go is to begin and in letting go and being present in where I am and what I am doing right now is allowing me to take that ever important step to move forward. Today is August 1st 2017 and the next chapter in my story begins here. I invite you to turn the page and if you like jump in and travel with me through this emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, energetic story I call life. Chapter one…. I Am….

 

 

 

 

Playground Capers

I’m sat watching the children playing on swings and climbing frames and whooshing down slides. What joy. 

Joy for them, sharing space, laughter, a few tears but mainly friendship and fun. Joy for parents having space to breathe, chat, taking time to enjoy the few minutes of freedom. I’m not sure who’s enjoying the freedom the most. 

These moments of pure joy and freedom are short and should be treasured. As adults perhaps we should take lessons from these noisy, excited and free spirits. 

Their boundless energy should be an example to us all. They live in the moment, live it to the full and take every opportunity to have fun. 

When do we lose this ability to just enjoy life? If I hear anyone say well they don’t have responsibilities, they don’t have stresses, they don’t know how hard things are I will scream back at you that these are self made issues and at no point are they forced on us. It’s choices we make and how we interact with life that provides these. 

We could learn from these little humans. They make friends easily. They fall out and make up without grudges or hatred. They don’t see colour, creed, religion or disability, they see someone to play with. They give all they have to the moment and they don’t worry about tomorrow. 

Picture yourself on a swing or roundabout or maybe sliding down a slide. How does it feel? Feel the air rushing past. Experience the exhilaration of freedom. Hear your own laughter and scream of joy. Taste the tears running down your cheeks as the wind makes your eyes run. Touch the hand of the person next to you and share the moment. 

Live for today. I’m not suggesting you don’t plan or work for the future. I’m not saying don’t learn from your past. I am asking you to be aware of where you are right now, how you feel, enjoy the company, laugh, love, cry, feel and live because today, right now is actually all you have that’s certain. 

A moment of meditation?

Meditation. What’s that all about then? Sitting cross legged like some monk with your eyes shut, humming? Far too difficult, time consuming? Doesn’t really work does it? I hear these sorts of comments often but think about it…..

Taking time to sit, bring your focus into your own body, checking how you are feeling, breathing, enjoying the quiet of the moment and feeling refreshed afterwards, still, at peace, ready to get back into the busy we call living. Is it such a bad thing to do? Is it so weird to be still and regenerate your energy?

Yesterday I did a meditation in the shower, washing away all the negativity I’d felt around me during the day, the weariness of my own body and mind, the noise and stresses of being around too many people. Today I walked. Never really thought about walking as a meditative practice but with my headphones on, the sun shining, the quiet country roads I stepped forward. 

I didn’t hum, I didn’t om, I didn’t ahhh. I just stepped one foot at a time and felt every step. I felt the movement under my feet, I felt how the gravel felt in comparison to the Tarmac, I felt the soft movement of the earth beneath my foot as I stepped onto the grass  verge when a car came by. I heard every songbird, every moo from the cows, every buzz of a fly as it zipped past my face. I felt the breeze gently caress my face, teasing my hair and brushing across the back of my neck as I stepped on.

I felt every single drop of sweat run down through my hair, my neck and soak into my t-shirt. The music lulled me into a rhythm, interrupted every five minutes as my walking app updated me as to how I was doing. Determined to beat yesterday’s time I increased my pace and then came back inside to how I was feeling, listening to my heartbeat through my headphones as a the music swapped and there was a silent pause. It wasn’t long before there was nothing but my breath, a beat from the background music and my feet as I pounded that Tarmac road. No birdsong, no trees, no traffic, just the inner me creating its own rhythm to walk to.

I was aware of how my muscles felt, how my arms were feeling heavier and I had a slight pull in my right shoulder. I was aware of the blister forming on my toe as I wasn’t wearing socks. The occasional thought of the outside world popped in, I acknowledged it and let it go. My dreams and ambitions flashed in but I just moved them gently to one side for later as now was time for me, my here, my now, my present moment was all that I wanted to enjoy.

As I took my last few paces I began to recognise the outside world again and thanking myself and thanking the universe for the walk, I stepped back inside and back to… life. Much refreshed, rejuvenated, alive again. If this isn’t a form of meditation that anyone can do, I don’t know what is.