Beginning again…

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I’m typing this outside in our little back yard, enjoying a surprisingly summery day in October! I have no idea if anyone who was following me in the past is going to see this, but if you do, “Hello again!”.

Yes, I’ve been away from the blog scene since July last year (2016) due to a rather major life disruption. For some reason, even though I was hiding in certain respects, I never did shut down my blog. I’m glad because it means it’s easy just to pop back now that I’m reemerging into life. Some of the things I wrote may be embarrassing to me if I were to reread them now, but I’ll not be worrying about that. You see, I’ve discovered it really is okay to mess up.

Yep. Amazingly the world didn’t come to an end despite how much mine was turned upside down! And I’m pleased to report that my husband and I reconciled in August last year, with him moving back home in September. Last month we celebrated 15 years of marriage – a miracle considering all I put him through as a result of my illness.

Tuesday this week was World Mental Health Day and I changed my FB profile picture to reflect that. Eighteen months ago I had no idea that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in each year. Last year I was one of those. However, I’ve learned just now that only 0.7 in 100 people will experience the type of issue I did in a year…so perhaps I’m rather special after all! LOL.

Posting again today has been spontaneous and I haven’t given any thought to the direction of this blog as yet. However, in reading the blurb on my home page I still feel the same way. Plus life still has many mysteries I’d love to unravel! So here’s to beginning again and continuing life’s journey after extreme trials.

Blessings!

Elizabeth

 

 

 

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Transforming the Hard

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I’m currently reading Conscious Uncoupling by Katherine Woodward Thomas. It’s really good. I’ve just started going through her 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After. I’m looking forward to finding gems that will help me as I negotiate separation with my husband. It’s a really tough time and I’ve been crying lots of tears in the last few days. I’m glad about this as it’s clearly a healthy way to be processing this very sad ending.

While reading I came across the above quote and knew I had to create a meme as it says so beautifully what I’m experiencing these days. As I’m able to bear the hard stuff and let things go of things I cannot control I enter through into a place of peace and being able to live in the moment. It’s something that I’m having to do continually, this letting go and being willing to bear the hard.

I’ve always been one to look for silver linings, for lessons to be learned in the midst of the storms of life. BoatinStormThis current place I’m in is no exception. Yes, it’s stormy, but I know I’m safe and okay in the midst of the storm. When shopping with a friend some weeks ago I found a picture that I knew I needed to buy…it was going cheap as the artist was shutting up shop. It’s been comforting to see myself as that boat well afloat despite the storm.

I’m sure some of you have storms you are navigating right now too. I wish you peace and joy in the midst of them. And an underlying knowing that you are enough, and valuable and special no matter what.

Love and blessings,

Elizabeth

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Splashes of Delight

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Have you noticed that when on a journey of growing awareness many of us begin to realize we are all interconnected…like waves of the ocean are connected?

On early morning walks I’m finding myself mesmerized by the way waves coming in meet waves returning from the promenade. There is a splash of delight! A meeting, a jump of joyousness, excitement. That makes sense! Waves transmit energy!

Much like what I hear when listening to two women on interconnecting journeys as they talk excitedly via podcast about what they have been discovering. It’s what I feel when something resonates with me in a book or blog post, or when I’m talking with another woman and we discover a mutual understanding of each others’ experiences. Splashes of delight, exchanges of energy…at soul level.

Am I making sense? I’ll take it further. I also feel these moments of ecstasy when I see another sign that something big is unfolding in my life. I was at a writing workshop recently where I was directed to choose an object and two postcards for three different writing activities. Each time I was drawn to brightness. A bright yellow bath-toy duckling, a bright flower, a lamp shining in the darkness. I observed this brightness theme with curiosity. An inner knowing grew stronger that day – there is a great brightness within me that is strong and glowing, but this brightness has been covered over with the rubbish and criticisms from others’ pain and dysfunction. This has become my inner critic which has been saying for years that I can’t trust my intuition, this brightness, my connection to the divine – that I need to hide it or it’ll hurt people or seem arrogant or not be good enough.

This awakening has been continuing and again a week later on my counselling course this concept came up: the bright sparkly part of me was ridiculed and stamped on by people in my early years. Now that I can see this more clearly I know I do not want it to continue. With help from others I am re-writing these old stories and learning to trust my inner knowing.

We all have bright, sparkly parts which we’ve perhaps even forgotten are there because they’ve been buried so deep by pain, rejection, lies and misunderstanding. The amazing thing is we can share with each other what we are learning on our individual journeys. What one person bravely shares can spark another person’s epiphany. We can encourage each other as we move towards greater understanding and boldly living our brightness.

I’ve been following Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook since reading Big Magic last year. Recently she linked to Carrie Hilgert who is another amazing woman daring to uncover her brightness and share her gifts with the world. Last week she posted her star sign artwork and I looked through them to see which image drew me in. This one did – can you see the lighted match at her centre?

I’ve only recently allowed myself to be curious about star signs (it was a no-no in my Christian upbringing) and so I had to go looking to see what my sign is. Bingo, I am an Aries. Emotion flooded me…here was another sign that I’m on the right path…that I’m connected to something much bigger than me. It was another splash of delight, an exchange of energy!

How about you? Are you in touch with your inner brightness, your soul, your unique gifts? Do you live from a place of peace and inner confidence? There is so much to learn around all this but for now I’m so glad you’ve found my online space. I’d love to have you share one of your moments of delight! What is opening up for you, lovely reader?

 

Blessings!

Elizabeth

 

A Secure Base + Alignment

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I woke early on Sunday morning and while trying to quietly check messages on my phone I mistakenly pushed replay on a cute little video. Oops, the sound came on! I quickly shut it off hoping it hadn’t disturbed my sleeping husband and shortly afterwards my seven year old tentatively pushed open the door. “Oh, good you are awake!” he whispered as I beckoned him in.

We snuggled together for a while and then I suggested we go for a walk. We live in a lovely little coastal town and as we headed towards the sea I was wondering how to get the refreshment I needed while also enjoying the 1:1 time with my boy. It wasn’t long before he asked if he could go along a grassy bank while I walked along the promenade. I encouraged this and it was lovely to watch him checking in every now and then by making eye contact and waving. I also watched him walk calmly past a dog on a lead (he’s had great paranoia around dogs) and then proudly make the thumbs up sign to me at the exact moment I was giving him thumbs up, acknowledging his bravery. Special moment.

As we continued our walk he became more and more adventurous and while he was off I had time to reflect and breathe – my blissful happy place. There were a couple of moments of slight anxiety on my part but he followed directions beautifully and met me again twice, exactly where I had directed. Both of us have grown in confidence through this and we arrived home happy in our shared experience, but also refreshed from our times alone.

I’m loving the lesson this has given me in letting go of the pressure I’ve had on myself to be an ever-present mother. Not only did my soul receive much-needed refreshment during my walk, but my son also made progress on his own journey to greater independence.

I’ve been learning about the concept of a Secure Base recently and here is an excerpt from John Bowlby’s book, A Secure Base:

This brings me to a central feature of my concept of parenting – the provision by both parents of a secure base from which a child or an adolescent can make sorties into the outside world and to which he can return knowing for sure that he will be welcomed when he gets there, nourished physically and emotionally, comforted if distressed, reassured if frightened. John Bowlby, A Secure Base p12

I love that this is what I was able to offer my boy this morning…the opportunity to “make sorties into the outside world”. It’s made me realize how valuable my process of letting go is going to be for my children as well. As I focus on providing a secure base for them I can also encourage more independence, which will in turn give me more time to be me…without guilt!

In my last post I wrote about having a supportive environment for myself . It is contributing hugely to my growth process at the moment. I didn’t have a secure base growing up; my home life was challenging and not a safe place for me emotionally. I have struggled for years, mainly on my own, to understand my past in order to enjoy life now. I’ve loved offering emotional support to many along my journey as I’ve shared what I’ve been learning, but to finally have this kind of support for myself…it’s is an incredible gift.

What if we didn’t have to struggle alone? What if we were able to find a secure base from which we could venture out into the world, knowing that we had a supportive environment to return to or someone in our corner to connect with? What if, when we realized a lack, we actively sought this out for ourselves?

When I think about my process to finding the support I have now I realize that it’s been intuition + action that = the alignment I’m feeling. Rian Kerfoot has been writing about this in her Facebook group, Own Your Magic. She is one of the wonderful women that has been a shining light on my recent journey. Megan Hale, my Enoughness Coach, is another amazing influence. I love looking back at the way I was led to her work at just the right time for me. I could say that it began with reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic last year, which led me to be brave and start this blog, which led me to Rian’s blog, which led me to Megan…but I’m sure that there were plenty of intuition+action=alignment points well before then.

Intuition + Action = Alignment

All this to say, follow the signs that are showing up in your life! Read that book, write that post, watch that Ted Talk, connect with that person. As you follow the promptings of your inner knowing I’m absolutely sure you’ll be led on a journey that will rock your world and set your soul on fire!

From my heart to yours,

Elizabeth

Rediscovering Balance

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Two nights ago I picked up The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown again, my own copy purchased with Christmas money. Yes, it’s worth buying! As I read I felt my soul climbing out of the slump it’s been in lately. Feeling the lift in my spirit reminded me that to thrive I need to be learning and growing. I’m going to make sure I’m reading a learning book every day.

That night I was reading Guidepost #6 Cultivating Creativity, Letting go of Comparison. Looking back now nothing really stands out as being what inspired me so much. I think it was more the thoughts I was having as I was reading that were really inspiring me. Does that happen to you? I had already been thinking lately about how I want to encourage my children to have balance in their lives.

I recently bought The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey, recommended by another blogger, to read with my son. The seven habits are simplified for children, but important for us all. I wish my husband and I had been taught things like this when we were children.

Habit 7 is Sharpen the Saw: Balance Feels Best. Sophie Squirrel spends all her time reading (using her mind) and becomes really tired. Her mother tells her it is important to also use her heart, body and soul. “You use your heart when you play with your friends. You use your body when you exercise. You use your soul when you find something quiet to do that makes you feel fresh inside. You need to do all those things to get balance in your life.”

I love that advice. Don’t we all need to ‘feel fresh inside’? I believe that including creativity in our lives is an important part of balance.

“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity. If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing – it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.” p 96, The Gifts of Imperfection

I want to model balance for my children. Children are naturally creative – I want to support mine in the creative outlets they express interest in. I also want to show them what creativity looks like for me as an adult. Taking pictures and writing are the activities I’m most interested in these days. And walking out in nature (exercise!) with my camera is an activity that makes me feel fresh inside.

During a conversation with my Dad yesterday I realized that another part of the imbalance I’ve been feeling (the feeling like I’m under a cloud) has been that due to my illness I’ve not been keeping in touch with friends. Connecting with friends is vital to my sense of well-being.

In summary, I have realized that the following things are necessary for me to feel balanced, happy and at peace:

  • Reading inspiring books = learning and growing
  • Making time to connect with friends
  • Exercising/walking in nature
  • Being creative – with words and photography

It’s amazing the difference a few days can make to one’s outlook on life. I’m feeling so much more positive and at peace with where I’m at.

How about you? What ingredients are important for your sense of balance and peace?

Elizabeth

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It Takes Courage…

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings

I’m needing some courage as I continue to face the challenge of settling into my new life. Perhaps I’m dealing with delayed culture shock? Or something. I’m going with it for now, choosing to believe that things will get better.

We all want certainty, don’t we? I’d like to know that my husband will get a job in the next few weeks. I’d like to be sure that I’ll do well on the counselling course I’m starting soon. I’d like to be able to tell my daughter that she will soon have a great girlfriend or two. But the fact is that none of us can be certain about anything. We don’t know how things will turn out.

And so I’m trying to rest…in the midst of all this uncertainty. I’m endeavouring just to be, to be content in the now. I’m finding it’s not easy. I’d rather be on cloud nine, ecstatic that everything in my life is perfect. I’d rather not feel like I’m under a cloud…especially when I have such clear memories of being really happy (the happiest ever) not that long ago.

I know I’ll look back on this time in the future and better understand the lessons I’m learning now. I’m choosing to believe that I’ll get through this challenging patch. I’m choosing to hope. And I’m thinking that being okay with things not feeling okay is part of growing up.

How about you? Are you in an easy patch right now? How do you get through challenging times? Do you agree with E.E. Cummings’ quote? What does it mean to you?

Elizabeth