Unloading Boxes

Oh wow how much of your “things that hurt” have been boxed up and never addressed, looked at or dealt with? How many boxes do you have of “stuff” that you either can’t or won’t take a look at? Which of these boxes do you think need unpacking at some point and dealing with? Are you ready now? Tomorrow? Are you procrastinating because it is gonna hurt? Yeah, I did too but open them we must.

The truth hurts, the lies hurt, the past hurts, the future hurts. Sound familiar? No one can make you even take a look at these boxes never mind go near them and lift the lid. No one, no amount of external pressure, nothing and no one but you can make this decision. The choice belongs to you – only you! But, when you decide to peep under that lid you so firmly closed, whilst painful and scary, it will also be exhilarating, making progress,  a relief, a breath of fresh air and will move you forward.

I had a wonderful coping mechanism with my hurt and pain and sad – I put it in a box and then I dug a hole and buried it as deep as I could. I thought that was enough to make it go away and I could just get on with life. How marvelously naive. No one told me that at some point and as if by magic, the universe gives these boxes some kind of magical power and they wriggle and jiggle and move and somehow they would create a nagging voice in the back of my head, or a jab in my heart or a suffocating weight in my chest until it was so overwhelming I had to make a choice of giving in or dealing with it. I chose the latter but so many do not.

I talked! I talked and talked. Once that initial thought of ‘release’ was created it gave life to words and they flowed. They flowed onto paper first, then they flowed onto your screen and then they flowed from my lips and the box lid was lifted and out it all came. The funny thing was, I thought once the lid was lifted I would lose control of what came out and the speed and the amount would be beyond me. But no. I had support, I had people who cared and I had a determination in my gut to be strong and do this in my time and at my pace. I didn’t know how, I didn’t necessarily understand why but I knew when and I knew I had to move from where I was. Staying where I was, was actually more painful than opening the boxes I discovered.

I talked. I spoke my truth. I dealt with what I could and I released the pain of what I couldn’t out into the universe and asked her to send it where it should go. Then I had to begin the journey of forgiveness. Forgiveness first and foremost to myself and then to those who had hurt me and then back to me for also hurting them. Forgiveness, I discovered, is a huge step towards emptying the boxes. In fact it is a bit like emptying the box and then jumping on it and squashing it flat, ready for recycling. It is like the satisfaction of popping bubble wrap.

This was not easy and I have to remember that when I walk alongside those beginning their journey. This was painful. This contained tears. I had to recreate and live some of the pain and I hated every second of it sometimes BUT (and there is a great and glorious BUT) I did it, I survived and I found that magical place we all want to go to – happiness. Boxes are great for storage but at some point, if you want to travel to happiness, you have to unpack them and deal with the contents. Gather around you those you trust, you care for, who love you and ask them to stand with you. Peep first or tear back the lid like a huge sticking plaster but be gentle with yourself, keep well and strong and forgive… and when it comes relish in the joy of the smile you find you are wearing one day.

 

 

 

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Suicide. The Ultimate Painkiller

” Through early morning fog I see. Visions of the things to be. The pains that are withheld for me. I realize and I can see. That suicide is painless. It brings on many changes. And I can take or leave it if I please. The game of life is hard to play. I’m gonna lose it anyway. The losing card I’ll someday lay. So this is all I have to say. The sword of time will pierce our skins. It doesn’t hurt when it begins. But as it works its way on in. The pain grows stronger. Watch it grin. Suicide is painless….”

A wife and a mother driving down a country lane. Happy, a good job, everyone’s sunshine. She looks at the road ahead, sees the stone walls to the side of her and debates with herself… “if I just put my put down and steer that way it will all be over.”

She may be a wife and a mother, have a good job and appear to everyone to be happy and always smiling, but underneath she is in great pain, has lost her identity, feels mental torture from dawn to dusk and sees no other way to stop the noise and the hurt. And no she doesn’t want to die, and no she isn’t thinking of the consequences or people who will be left behind wondering, and no she doesn’t see this as suicide; this is just the ultimate painkiller to take away her pain.

This happened some years ago now but only this week did an incident bring the memory coming back to the fore of her mind. How, once upon a time, did she find herself in this situation and why did she never see this as a suicidal thought? Why until now did it just seem ‘normal’?

Why? Because when you are in that frame of mind this is not necessarily a thought out process – it is for some, and they meticulously plan, prepare, write farewell letters and out their affairs in order – but, for many this is just a painkiller – the ultimate painkiller. They will take whatever opportunity is open to them and not think of anything but the silence they will experience when it’s done. Bliss at last but too late to turn back.

We are living in a world (thank goodness) where mental health is finally open for discussion. Mental health, suicide, depression, bi polar, PTSD, schizophrenia and so on are words we all know – we may not understand them all yet or have the power to recognise in others or know how to deal with them if diagnosed in ourselves or our loved ones, but we are finally talking about every single one of them. Those who are suffering are now more aware, can openly stand up and be the person on the outside they know they are on the inside. They can do this, in most cases, without shame, without being shunned or locked away and with avenues open to them to heal. For others they hide it well as they may be shunned, labelled, ostracized or locked away and for them we must talk more, educate all of our society and let them know they are safe.

Was suicide ever a thought process? Was she aware she was suffering with depression? Did she think this was just normal and how everyone felt? How could she possibly tell someone she wanted to just drive into a wall at speed for the noise in her head to stop? How could she ask for help when she didn’t know the cause or where to begin? Why didn’t she see it through? Who knows. That is a thought and a memory that didn’t come back. I am just thankful she took her foot off the gas and lived to see another day.

She was hurting. She was in fear or her own thoughts. She was desperate for silence inside her mind. She could no longer cry, there was nothing left inside. She was brave. She was determined. She knew there was something more to come. She had faith. She believed there was something better if she just looked.

She grew. She blossomed. She smiled. She experienced good. She made choices. She never gave in. She survived….. I survived. I never took that painkiller and I live life every single day and I am happy.

Suicide is painless….? Be observant. Recognise. Act…

 

 

 

Metamorphosis

I have a tendency to live in a world that is beautiful, kind and innocent – why? Because it is nicer than reality BUT this makes me very naive at times and when faced with the ugly truth of others lives and how they have to get through their day, it makes me realise I need to change.

I do not need to live their lives to understand how they see the world, I do not need to even walk in their shoes. I do need to open my eyes, listen to them, hear their words, hear their pain, hear their reality that is life outside of my small cocoon and play my part in making that just a little more palatable for them.

Metamorphosis “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one”. That is a big ask of anyone and may be impossible or even unnecessary, but to grow we must change. To improve our understanding of others and our world we need to be able to flex and bend and alter how we see and hear things, how we process them and ultimately what we do to play our part in our and its growth.

Change on the other hand really, really hurts. It is hard. It is painful. It is rarely fun. It makes us uncomfortable and we rarely have control over the outcome. What if it’s worse than where we are? What if we don’t fit into this new place? What if people don’t accept us? What if we let go and realise we were already where we should be and now we can’t go back? What if, what if, what if…… what if we always convince ourselves that change is bad, we never do it and then we miss out on a more enjoyable, beautiful, fun, loving place in time and space. What if by changing we actually become more, become better, become nicer humans, become a catalyst for change for someone else, an inspiration, a light that someone else is guided by….

What if we lose the greatest love of all time in the hope for something we cannot see, hear or touch but we believe in. What if we lose ourselves in the process and end up in a dark place where we see no light. What if we become isolated and alone…. What if ,out of giving up love, it comes back ten-fold; what if we lose ourselves but realise the one found it a better fit; what if by being alone we look inside and find our peace, away from the noise and expectations of life. What if is a game we can play until it is too late and the opportunity is gone forever and life no longer is…

To change you must let go. To change you must experience what makes you uncomfortable. To change is to take opportunities and play them out and trust that what you are doing will work. To change is to live and to live is to be happy and to be happy is all we ever really ask of life….

 

 

Who’s Giving Who

I’m tired. I’m lacking in energy. I’ve done too much.

I hear this all the time when speaking to my clients but when I spoke to a very good friend of mine yesterday and heard myself say the same thing, I was a little taken aback as that is not normal for me. She came back with a wonderful statement “where are you giving from? Are you giving from yourself or giving yourself – a big difference”.  Oooh boy did this make me stop and think.

My work means I give my time, my heart and my energy – it’s how I create space for you to step into and feel safe to breathe and release – but what am I giving away? Am I giving the wrong thing? Am I giving too much and leaving myself with nothing? Am I giving me instead of what is inside me? What exactly am I left with when you are gone?

 

Just take a second to ask yourself the same thing – firstly how many times did you say last week “I’m tired”…. that may have been physically tired, emotionally tired, spiritually tired, mentally tired, energetically tired or just plain tired of others in your life who drain you. You have control… You can say when enough is enough. You can replenish. You have the choice and ability to step back and say “no I’m sorry I can’t do that”. You have the courage inside to move away from those who feed from you like leeches. You are in control…

“I haven’t even the energy to begin….” yes I heard you, but I ask how much longer can you carry on before your body gives up, your mental health is damaged, your emotions overflow and you lose control. If you haven’t the energy to begin, now is exactly the time to take back control and decide whether you give from you or give you. The only person who deserves you right now, is YOU! Without that gift to yourself you have nothing to give anyone else – that could be work, your family, your friends or your community.

If you are an avid list maker, then make a list of all you need to do and decide which are the only ones you can do today. Write down who in your life is draining you and then really think how you manage things differently with them so you share energy, not give it. Listen to your thoughts and the words that leave your lips. Have you just committed time that you don’t have? Where are you stealing it from to give it to them? Who just lost out? Listen to your child – did you hear them asking for help or did you tell them off for whining?  Stop and hug them – childhood lasts for such a short time. Imagine what life will feel like when you wake refreshed. Do you need to attend that meeting – is it value adding to your day? Are you saying yes because you want to or because it looks better or are you obliged to say yes because they have a hold over you?   See the world about you and say thank you for all you have. Look at the most important person in your life and love them – yes look in the mirror!

Do this right and you will soon have enough and be enough and then you can start to think how you give, love, laugh, but from you, and not you as a whole – then you begin… to live!

 

I Can’t Fix You

18 months ago I wanted to fix the world. I wanted to take all those broken people and put them back together. I wanted to stop them all hurting. I wanted to make them feel better about the world and about themselves. I was naive and stupid. I was frustrated when I didn’t see results or those I was supporting just didn’t seem to want to do the work needed, especially when they said they wanted better, more, different. Then it dawned on me…. I cannot fix anyone, but me.

Nowadays I take a totally different approach to what I am born to do – I simply walk alongside, hold the hand of and create space for, those who are ready to fix themselves.

When people come to me, find me, appear on my doorstep (virtual or otherwise) they come because they are ready for change. That may be a change in their lives, a change in their outlook or a change within themselves. When people come to me they don’t have to tell me – we just connect and begin. When people come to me I know, even when they aren’t certain, that we will grow, step out and step forward and we will achieve. When people come to me we create magic in their lives and we enjoy all the excitement and joy this brings.

The day came when I realised that if people want to change they will and that is where I can support them but I cannot fix them. The only role I have is to support, encourage, inspire, protect, wipe away the tears or balance out the frustrations. I cannot take away their pain for them. I cannot promise everything will be fine. I cannot undo all that they have experienced. I cannot give false hope or promises. I can show them, through touch, through listening, through encouragement and through teaching them to breathe and create time, that they can heal, grow, be, feel a better human and be happy.

Once upon a time I wanted to heal the world and fix the broken wings of those who I felt should fly, but soon I realised that it wasn’t about what I wanted, it was what people wanted to do for themselves. It was about how they wanted to make a difference, to them, to their families, to their world. It was all about them. My only job is to create the space for them to explore, let go, discover, and so that is what I do. It makes it difficult when people ask me what I do….. a massage therapist? Yes. A listener? Well yes. A healer? Yes. A facilitator of change? Yes.

But what do I really do? I create space for you to take a breath and begin….

 

 

Acceptance – the key to life?

So many times I have looked in the mirror or at the shadow on the ground and have been appalled at what I saw. This wasn’t me. This was suddenly some middle aged woman who looked sad and angry with the world and that body…. when did that get that shape – where was the bright, happy, beautiful, giggling, young woman? Where did those 30 years go?

So many times…. but no more. Acceptance was the key. When someone stands before you and all they see is that person you felt you were, just a little older, a little wiser, and just as beautiful, they give you permission to love yourself again. You shouldn’t need another to point it out or give permission but sometimes it is all you have – someone else being the mirror you no longer look in.

What comes with acceptance? A fire in your soul that reignites. Laughter, with others and at yourself when needed. Wisdom to know what matters and what doesn’t. Passion for all you can be and the ability to lose the tight grip on what you no longer are. With acceptance you fall back in love with yourself and all you can be today. Yesterday no longer has the same level of importance and tomorrow will be whatever you decide it will be.

“Wise men say only fools rush in but I can’t help falling in love with you. Shall I stay? Would it be a sin if I can’t help falling in love with you? Like a river flows surely to the sea. Darling so it goes. Some things are meant to be. Take my hand, take my whole life too. For I can’t help falling in love with you.”

Acceptance doesn’t make you blind to your faults and flaws, it simply allows you to accept that you have them and move on. No one is perfect – not the models in the magazines, the celebrities living the life you wish you had or the man or woman down the street who seems to have it all. They all have their faults, their weaknesses, their anxieties, their pain and they too need reassurance, confidence boosters and the need for acceptance from those around them. They are people on their own journey and yet you look to them and wonder why you can’t look, be or live like they do…

People on their own journey – just the same as you – this life, this journey, this huge fast moving learning curve that sometimes you wish you could slow down or even put on pause, this is your opportunity to love who you are, who you have become and you have the choice of what happens next. The future, your future, is written only by you and the choices you make. How marvelously exciting to hold that pen and begin to write your own story. To be able to pick up the pen and open the book at a clean page is the ability to know who you are today, accept yourself for what you are, today, and then begin to write….

What’s your first line going to be? Tell me… I really would love to hear your story…

My Tribe, My People

There is much to be said about finding people who just ‘get you’, but finding those people is a process and one which comes with many trials and tribulations. To discover them you must discover yourself.

Your tribe may change as you change and that alone comes with worry, decisions that are difficult to make and a sense of not belonging to anyone or anything. It is all about letting go, acceptance that this is a necessary part of growth and having enough belief in yourself and who you are, to be able to trust your decision making. Your tribe will be made up of all those like minded people who can build you up and you them, who stand by you as you learn, pick you up when you fall and encourage you to be better then yesterday.

But, people grow and develop at different rates, with different needs and in different directions and this is where you need to recognise that you cannot hold onto people, meaning the only place or person or emotion you have control over, belongs to you. You must also remember that because these belong to you, and in return for your giving others their freedom, no one else has the right to dictate who you are, where you go or what you do. If you do not change you, life, circumstance or opportunity there is no one else to take responsibility for the outcomes.

I have chosen my tribe for this chapter in my life and I love and respect them even though we don’t know each other well yet. How can I feel like this with very little to go on? I trust my instinct and I know when an opportunity lands me in a place and with people that I need to walk alongside.

Do you know your tribe and walk with them seeing, growing, expending our horizons, having fun and laughing? Do you love them enough to let them go as they need to move on? Do you trust that you know yourself well enough to move on when the time is right for you? Think about it…. really think and be honest. Are you holding on to people and places who don’t serve you or you them? Are you in a place, job or role that you know you have grown out or away from? Can you dig deep and find the courage to make a difference to your life?

Take a quick look at the people you surround yourself with right now. Why these people? What do they mean to you and your life? How important are they to your growth, your future? What are you to them and how do you fit into their growth, life, future? Do you even have those conversations with each other and see what you each/all need?

My tribe currently? A group of amazing woman, like minded, strong, courageous, and determined to make a difference to not only their lives but are there to serve others. To do this they have all realised and accepted self love is the only way to do this and feeding their own soul enables them to walk alongside those who need them. It’s not just women though – we are only a small percentage of the world – we need balance – I need balance. I need the male figures, ideals, humour, viewpoint and strength. I need them to hold me up, nurture me, stand up to me and for me and I need them to need me.

Who are your ideal tribe? Look around you….. are they stood by your side?

 

 

When the Universe Changes Your Path

You can be strolling along through life, quite content with how it is all going when the greater, higher you, decides that you have walked that path long enough. Sometimes it just pushes you gently in another direction and sometimes trips you with a hump in the road and occasionally it destroys what you see ahead like a car crash. All of which, if you are in a positive frame of mind, should simply encourage you to step swiftly on….

Years ago I would have found myself in the car crash and stayed in it and yet now, after much hard work and personal development, I find myself well and truly looking from a viewpoint where I acknowledge, learn and walk on down the path lit for me…. never looking back unless it is to see how far I have walked.

How you deal with life’s curve balls as we love to call them, can be the difference between living right inside your dreams or one day wondering “what if”. The fact that you can ‘mourn’ for a few days to get over the chaos that a curve ball brings is important, in fact, crucial. To believe you are on the right path and this is finally the one you are to be walking to reach the dream you have been working on, and then it is all taken away from you is totally devastating. To realise that this simply means you have to go another way round is priceless.

There are some things we are just not meant to have or know or experience, no matter how much we want them. The universe has a knack of knowing more and knowing what is best for us. This leads to either heartbreak or the ability to adapt and enjoy the new journey. We are sometimes sent to experience things, places, people and relationships just to learn and once it is learnt we are moved on and away. This can be devastating or it can be a huge step to the next level of being you. I wonder how you would feel?

Once in a lifetime, if we are blessed, we can go back to something we thought we had lost and not necessarily relive it (otherwise we will repeat history) but take what we had, see what we have learnt or how we have grown and then create something even more beautiful.

Whether you learn and let go or revisit and grow, you definitely get to walk a new path…. if you dare to tread. Everything is connected….. what you do with it all is called choice.

 

 

Remember to look up at the stars

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” ~ Stephen Hawking

One of the greatest minds of all times and yet the body around it was so very limited. When you only have a mind that you can do something with, you use it. Why then, when so many of us are able bodied do we forget this one important gift that the universe has provided. Thought. Ideas. Creativity. Inspiration.

This tremendously important man has left us in body but now he joins the his beloved universe and gets to see it all from a different angle. Now he gets to roam in all that he so wonderfully philosophised over in his lifetime. What a perfect gift to a man who gave this tiny particle of the universe so much.

We can through choice and circumstance, trap ourselves within ourselves and yet when trapped beyond our control we begin to use the other parts of ourselves that we dismissed before or didn’t even know existed. When we no longer have the ability to investigate this planet on a physical level we can investigate in our minds eye and create thoughts, discussion, inspiration and ideas beyond that of the average man. We are inspired to use what we have to see what others are blind to and then we share it with the world.

“Without imperfection, you or I would not exist” – On Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking, The Discovery Channel, 2010

We battle with imperfection every day – why am I not perfect? We give so much time and effort trying to be perfect that we don’t even begin to look at what those imperfections give way to. I look at my son in a crowd of others teenagers his age and wonder which he is – they have cloned themselves in their hairstyle, their image, their body shape, the brand of clothing and so on. Whatever happened to being an individual and standing up tall to say “I am different and I am proud”.  We fear individuality and we fear imperfection and yet this man embraced both and spoke his truth – I just hope we as a planet listen.

He once wrote that he had motor neurone disease for practically all his adult life but said that it had not stopped him having an attractive family and being successful in his work. “It shows,” he said, “that one need not lose hope.”

We give up so easily – on life, on people, on society and on ourselves. If it isn’t instant, doesn’t work to absolute perfection or is in some way damaged, physically or mentally, we cast it aside – it doesn’t matter whether that is animal, mineral or vegetable. We do not see worth in someone or something that doesn’t give us this so called “perfect” state of existence and yet here was a man who was told he would be gone from this earth in a number of short years after his diagnosis – he never gave up hope and fulfilled his purpose. Not only did he hold a light for himself, he held a light for the world to see each other and all our potential as a human race. We better not disappoint…..

So, to Stephen Hawing I raise a glass and bow my head in total respect. For his strength, his courage, his bloody mindedness, his humour, his desire to live every second as if it was the only one he had and his absolutely stunning mind. We have so much to be thankful for every day but today we should add Professor Stephen Hawking to that list – he lives on in books, on screen, in science, in us and now…. in his beloved universe.

RIP Professor Hawking.

 

 

 

 

 

Abuse in its Rawest Form

“I stepped away from my children because they were better off without me. I allowed depression to rule my life. I am less of a woman than I should be. I couldn’t hold onto a much wanted child. I shunned those who held their hand out to help. I am worthless. I didn’t grieve properly for my mum for 15 years – how could I be so heartless. I couldn’t make or didn’t try to make my marriage work. I am useless. I didn’t do enough to help others. I am unworthy of love. I am unworthy of life”

OMG this used to be, how I thought of my life but really it was all about me – every minute of every day I was self indulgent in my wallowing of self pity and victim mode. I beat myself verbally and in thought all day, every day. I abused the one person who could save me….. ME. This was self abuse in its rawest form.

“I am bold, I am intelligent, I am beautiful. I am enough. I have discovered my purpose and I live that each and every day. I love and breathe my values – trust, honesty, authenticity and integrity. I am blessed to have a gift I can share with anyone who needs it. I love my family. I love my friends. I love life. More importantly – I love me!”

Those are my words from the here and now. How did I get there?

I forgave myself….

I forgave myself for how I was feeling – it is okay to be low, to feel sad, to feel worthless or to feel unworthy of others love and attention. Are you mad I hear to say – it is most definitely NOT okay! Actually it is quite okay and quite normal and many people, in many parts of the world feel like this every day. What is not okay is staying there. What is not okay is wallowing in it for so long that you lose all you are. What is not okay is inflicting that on those around you by making it their issue, their fault somehow. What is not okay is allowing yourself to live this lie that you have created. What is not okay is hurting everyone who trys to stand by you.

You have to forgive yourself.

Only when you forgive yourself can you begin to see through new eyes and begin to be grateful for what you have and what and who you are. Only then can you begin to take a baby step into yourself. Only then can you surrender and give up control and breathe. It will be the longest, deepest, most gorgeous breath you will ever take. For me it was red, it was rich, it was velvety and warm and it made me feel alive for the first time in many years.

As I write I realise that I have just described blood – and I guess that is what it was like – a blood transfusion that takes away all that I had poisoned myself with over the years and what was fed back in was new, it was another chance, a life saver.

The surrender was terrifying – I don’t deny that – the surrender was letting go of all the dark, the negativity, the bad taste in my mouth as I spoke, the not being able to look at myself in the mirror and smile, the vitriolic sniping I gave to myself as I tried to get through my day and the hate, the absolute hate of who I had become.

and yet…. the surrender was magical, uplifting, magnificent, and I felt fresh, bold, courageous and inspired to become the person I had locked away to protect her from myself.

Being unforgiving is the highest form of self abuse! If you cannot forgive yourself for your thoughts or feelings or lack of ability to get through the day without crying, you will never, ever have a better day.

We are only human and humans are not perfect, we are not invincible. To feel is to be human and to feel is to know you are still alive and to feel is to know that there is more to life than where you are. To feel is to be human and with being human comes the ability to choose, to forgive, to love. To stand in front of yourself and say “do you know today you did okay” is an amazing beginning to being a happy human and that is all we all really desire from life I think.