Living in the Present Moment

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My life is full of challenges at the moment. Here are a few:

  • Due to the situation surrounding my breakdown in May I am still separated from my three lovely children.
  • The above is also because I’ve chosen to separate from my husband of nearly 14 years. This is not a decision I’ve made lightly, in fact it has been excruciatingly difficult and the emotional stress this has caused contributed to my mental breakdown.
  • I’m living in a bedsit on my own. It’s lovely and light, but my children aren’t here and every time I spend time with them and then have to leave I find it really hard.
  • One of my children is particularly troubled by all that’s happening.
  • I have many hours to myself and when I don’t have much booked I’m find having so much free time can be lonely!

I’m managing fairly well by learning to truly live in the present. A friend of mine recently posted this quote and it’s really stayed with me.

7012f24f9828f81e813341418dbd2a80I am learning that I can be at peace in every moment even in the midst of all the hard. I have an underlying peace and knowing that I am enough, I am loved and I am and will continue to be okay.

This way of living in the present moment is truly amazing. If I feel upset, or angry, or sad, or joyful, or frustrated…whatever I’m feeling I know it’ll pass. It’s okay and very healthy to be feeling these emotions considering all that is happening. Sometimes I need extra help to get in touch with these emotions and so I’m grateful for my relationship with my therapist, in particular.

I’m also very grateful for friends who are choosing to be available to me during this time. The majority of these are local and fairly new friends seeing we only moved to the UK 10 months ago. I’m amazed and blessed. I make sure I reach out and ask for contact as I know that I will get through this season much better with their support.

One revelation that has been really consolidated through my breakdown experience has been The Power of this Present Moment. If we really slow down we will realize that in each moment we have everything we need. In this moment, even though I may not feel it, I have everything I need.

I have everything I need within me. You have everything you need within you. We don’t need to go looking outside of ourselves for validation and proof of our worth and value. We are enough and valuable just because we breathe.

Relationship breakdowns don’t mean that there is something defective within us. I have said I cannot stay married, but this doesn’t mean that I am a failure. In fact, as I’m learning, being able to say that I choose not to continue being in a relationship that does not nurture my soul is actually a sign of courage. It takes courage to be honest and say when a relationship isn’t working. It takes courage to leave.

I’m not even sure if my ramblings in this post make a complete post, but I offer it up in hopes that it’ll touch someone out there. I know I am far from the only one going through this brand of hard. And so, dear reader, if you can relate and are going through something similar know that you are not alone. Reach out if you like as I’d love to hear from you. I may be a blogger, but my life is far from perfect right now.

I take heart knowing that it will get better.

Love and blessings,

Elizabeth

P.S. I have a small but growing group of women in a closed FB group where I am trying to post most days. If you’d like to come and check it out and it resonates with you I’d love to have you join.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1082731435124092/

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On Magic

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I’m experiencing magic every day! I’m living a magical life. Two months ago I only dreamed that this way of living was possible. I’ve caught glimpses of it for years, had a knowing it was available, but didn’t know how to get here.

I’m still so amazed and in the process of discovering who this me is, this real me that I’ve always been. From my understanding of my process I can see that we have an eternal part of us that is perfect, bright, shining, incredible. But when we come into this world we are born into our parent’s stories. Often they have not worked through their life stories to a place of acceptance and understanding and so we endure a lot of rubbish, untrue messages and conditioning that puts a block around our brightness and leaves us confused, sad, doubting and stuck.

Until we start waking up. And then we start to realize that it doesn’t have to be this way! We start questioning everything we have learned and start looking for answers that feel good to us. We start dismantling the old stories and truths that we were surrounded by as children and often have stayed with us long into adulthood. We start setting boundaries with family-of-origin. We start reaching out to other people for support and help. We start investing in ourselves and our own growth. We start prioritizing ourselves.

AND. EVERY. STEP. COUNTS.

Every SINGLE step.

Little things matter:

  • Like taking panadol and water for a tension headache.
  • Buying pretty nightwear.
  • Creating a space in our homes that is all our own.
  • Taking a walk out in nature…listening to the call of our souls to breathe.
  • Taking time just to stop…and breathe.

It’s really okay to start listening to our own emotions/feelings instead of constantly worrying and taking care of others’ emotions. We matter. We really, really do.

What is your soul crying out for? Can you hear it? Can you feel it? Our emotions are the language of the soul. What are your emotions telling you?

  • Feeling resentful inside towards someone likely means you are giving too much to them. Perhaps a boundary is necessary?
  • Feeling suffocated and under a heavy cloud likely means you need personal space to rediscover you.
  • Feeling bored in a relationship could mean you aren’t able to safely express your anger. Finding somewhere you can unpack it would be healthy.
  • Feeling sadness can be about letting go of people or situations that no longer serve you. When we move through stages of our growth we end up having to leave some people behind. It can be really painful. Allow yourself to grieve the loss. Sit with it for a while.
  • Feeling anger can be about not feeling like we have choices or that choices have been taken out of our hands. Letting that anger out in a safe way is very important! Reaching out for support in this process is key, initially. When we let it out, we can then move through to realizing that we do have choices. We can choose to accept the situation or we can choose to change it.

Getting CURIOUS about our feelings, without judgment, can start to revel some very interesting things! Learning to give all our emotions space (joy and love are important too!) and feel what we feel can start us on a wonderful journey of rediscovering who we really are and even discovering heaven on earth.

Magic is real! You’ll find it within you!

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

Singing Our Own Song

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I am sitting at my little desk with a new song in my heart. I am on an incredible journey at the moment; one of change and growth. Yes, I know I’m always writing about that(!), but this is even more so. As well as my Counselling Course and required therapy I have also signed up with an Enoughness Coach for March and April. I’m only ten days in but already I have received so much clarity and support.

In my last post I wrote about curiosity. One of the things I’ve been really noticing lately is the robins that are appearing on my nature walks. I got curious enough about this that I looked up what they might be saying to me.

He [Robin] signifies stimulation of new growth and renewal in many areas of life. He teaches that any changes can be made with joy, laughter and a song in your heart. Robin shows you how to ride the winds of passion within your heart and become independent and self reliant through this change. Robin will teach you how to move forward with grace, tenacity, perseverance and assertion. Are you letting go of personal dramas? Ones that no longer serve your higher purpose? Are you exercising compassion and patience in mental, spiritual and emotional areas? Robin will teach how to incorporate new beginnings with faith and trust in the process. It is time to believe in yourself and use the inspiration that is given. Listen carefully. It is time to sing your own song for a new period in your life. Source

What does it mean to sing our own songs? This week I’m realizing I’ve never before truly prioritized getting to know myself. And now that I know I can I’m craving lots of time to do so! I’m talking walks, journaling and digging deep. I’m realizing that it’s okay not to devote 100% of my time to my family, which to me has meant being on-call 24/7 if I’m home. I’ve had fears around not wanting to damage my children emotionally…but now see that not being there all the time doesn’t mean I will. What interests me is that I have known this for more than a few years in my head…or I’ve known it in my heart but it hasn’t translated in how I act.

I’m learning that this is because of old stories: as a child I learned how to live life as my mother dictated, as a Christian wife I prioritized pleasing my husband, as a mum I’ve poured myself out for my children, often running on empty. Now, at nearly thirty-eight, I’m in a place to really learn what my song is and I’m looking forward to fully knowing both the words and music. This feels exciting, amazing and like treasure to be uncovered. I am moving forward in faith and trust in the process and knowing that I have great support around me. And of course not forgetting that this will be a forever process as there is always more to learn!

Have you already discovered your song or are you still singing someone else’s tune? Get curious! Do you have support? Yes? I’m so glad. No? I’m here if you want to reach out via my contact page,  I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings!

Elizabeth

Rising Strong

 

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I’m often amazed by how a book I’m reading speaks right into what I am living.

In January I shared what I encountered during my first Counselling Course weekend: On Finding Our Unique Voice. During the following three weeks I began to realize that yes, I am strong, but I can also hide behind my strength. And that is not such a good thing!

At this month’s workshop, almost immediately, the returning students were all speaking up and I soon realized that I don’t have to be strong in that room. I can be vulnerable and allow myself to feel things that I haven’t felt in years. During the course of the weekend I experienced sadness (tears rolling down my cheeks), vulnerability and even intense shame. Some of this shame was triggered by everyone laughing (in enjoyment) over my strange vowel sounds: think New Zealand accent in a room full of English ones. I knew in my head they weren’t laughing at me, but my body responded as if they were and it felt like déjà vu. The incredible thing for me was being able to stay in that room in that vulnerable state and then later share my vulnerability with a few of the others and feel totally supported. For the first time. Ever.

After the weekend I continued reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown and I just happened to be in chapter four, The Reckoning.

CURIOSITY is a SHIT-STARTER. BUT THAT’S OKAY. Sometimes we have to RUMBLE WITH A STORY to find the truth. p44

“One of the truisms of wholehearted living is You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness. Walking into a story about falling down can feel like being swallowed whole by emotion. Our bodies often respond before our conscious minds, and they are hardwired to protect – to run or fight. Even with small every day conflicts and disappointments, physical and emotional intolerance for discomfort is the primary reason we linger on the outskirts of our stories, never truly facing them or integrating them into our lives. We disengage to self-protect.” p46

Brené also writes: The rising strong reckoning has two deceptively simple parts: (1) engaging with our feelings, and (2) getting curious about the story behind the feelings – what emotions we’re experiencing and how they are connected to our thoughts and behaviors.

I realize that on my journey to where I am today I analyzed my painful past in my head and then moved on. Now I understand that it’s time I walk back into my story again, allowing myself to feel my emotions, get curious about them and integrate my past more fully into my present. I know it’s not going to be an easy process but I am rather excited about it.

Would you like to join me? Next time you feel strongly about something how about stopping a moment to get curious about your emotions and ask yourself some questions about what you are feeling and why. It might feel a little daunting but I believe the price of stuffing our emotions is much higher.

One of the big prices we pay for not rumbling with our story can be in our relationships with our children. Our theory for the second workshop was attachment styles and my tears were flowing as I realized how much I have let my children down because of what I haven’t known. If we didn’t receive what we needed emotionally from our parents then we will end up parenting in the same way. UNLESS we choose to go on a journey to find deeper self-understanding. So I’m choosing not to beat myself up for my failings because I know there is hope for me and for my children because I am choosing to invest time in both myself and in them in order to find healing together.

I can really recommend getting a copy of Rising Strong as Brené does a wonderfully gentle job of leading us through this challenging growth process. If you are intrigued as a parent or a future-parent-to-be and want to research further here is a little introduction: How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Parenting. I can also recommend another book I’ve just begun but already feel like raving about and that is: Parenting from the Inside Out – How a Deeper Self-Understanding can help you Raise Children who Thrive. I don’t know about you but that has always been the desire of my heart – to put wind under my children’s ‘wings’ to help them to fly far!

So, have you walked into your story yet? Or are you living outside of it and still hustling to find your worthiness? I am passionate, not only about walking this journey myself but also about supporting others on their journeys. I welcome you to contact me via my Contact Page. Looking forward to meeting you!

Elizabeth

The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending-to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends. p50

On Finding Our Unique Voice

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I’m writing this post for myself as this is something that has been very much on my mind since the weekend. As you will know, if you are keeping up with my blog, I’ve just been to the first workshop for my counselling course. It is a unique course (so I’m told) as there is just a smattering of theory with lots of hands on practice with our own very real issues. It’s a small group made up of returning students and new ones and almost immediately we had the opportunity to share what we were thinking and feeling with the group.

Very soon I felt like I had things I could add, but I held back as the returning students weren’t saying much. Eventually one of the other new students was irritating me so much that I couldn’t help but say, “I am feeling very irritated by you.” It felt wrong to speak this out, but if my intuition was right I was not the only one feeling that way. I was able to ask this student, “Why are you here?” In the answer that came I actually felt that I could relate a bit to where they were coming from and I felt my irritation fall away.

I continued to speak up in the group through the course of the day. I would have an urge to speak and would do so, but once I had I began to judge myself quite harshly. “Perhaps you shouldn’t have said that!” “Everyone’s quiet, what are they thinking about you?” I even spoke up at the end of the day and said how judgmental I was being about myself. I headed home, excited about the day I’d had and the people I was getting to know, but still unsure if I should have been speaking up or not. What were people thinking about me?

The next day I felt even more nervous as I walked up the hill from the train station. I found myself talking under my breath to myself, encouraging myself that it was going to be okay.  I found I had more courage to speak up in the group and less judgment for myself afterwards. I started to see the effect my words were having on those around me as well. The returning students began to add their voices. As more began sharing about things that were issues for them I felt more and more connected and empathetic towards them. I could relate, I could understand. I had been there.

It came home to me again how we are all walking wounded. We all have stories we were born into that we are still trying to figure out today, well into our adult lives. None of us have escaped suffering and pain. In the normal world we are taught to put on masks, pretend, strive to be “perfect”. In that room on my course we were given the space to be who we are, without judgement. As I spoke up past my insecurities I began to realize that I do have a lot to offer others. I began to see the value in the unique contributions I can bring.

And that is the wonderful thing: we all have unique contributions to make to the world and to those around us. No one else has experienced what you have. You are one of a kind and so am I. The world needs to hear what we have to say.

I was so encouraged to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s update this morning. It was spot on for me today.

By the third day of my course I felt like I was in my element. I was listening more, holding myself back a bit to make room for others to speak, but I was also more confident that when I spoke it was okay for me to do so. I began to see that I was playing an important part in the whole. I was finding my voice, and I was seeing “magic” happen as I did.

That doesn’t mean that I have been without fear since. I’ve felt desperate for feedback that what I contributed was okay. I’m working on that with my therapist and already know that I’m going to have to bring those insecurities up in the group next time. Eek! But I am encouraged too, as I know that as I feel the fear and do it anyway I am going to grow, I’m going to encourage others to risk being vulnerable too, and I’m going to learn even more about myself and what my unique voice looks like. Hooray for growth, even when it’s scary!

Here are a few related quotes that have encouraged me:

We’re always being told find your voice. When I was younger, I never really knew what this meant. I used to worry a lot about voice, wondering if I had my own. But now I realize that the only way to find your voice is to use it. It’s hardwired, built into you. If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share. Talk about the things you love. Your voice will follow. Austin Kleon

In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard. John Grisham

Listen to your voice. No one else can hear it. Tell your story. No one else can speak it. Run after your passion. No one else can catch it. Being true to the person you were created to be is the best gift you can give yourself, your family and the world. Joel Boggess

It’s not about finding your voice, it’s about giving yourself permission to use your voice. Kris Carr

If you feel that you are not strong enough to let your creative voice become heard, start with a whisper, your voice will come. Unknown

Are you using your voice? I’m looking forward to hearing it!

Elizabeth