I Believe 10

From the Heart by Robin Davis

I believe that it’s not always easy to speak your truth.

I have been encouraged by the many articles I’ve read recently about authenticity.  About speaking one’s truth, about holding space for what is important and sacred for you, and about maintaining one’s integrity.  I want to be in a place where I can do this.

I believe that authenticity is a huge part of self love and self care.  I believe that it is about understanding what is important to you – your values, your dreams, your principles – and holding space for these things in your life.  Holding space by making sure that there is time to incorporate these things, by valuing them sufficiently that you carry them at the forefront of your mind and by respectfully giving them priority over what others might think.

But, I also believe that others, too, have the right to do the same.  We all have different perspectives, opinions and values, and we all have a right to express these in the way we live our lives.  I believe that I have a responsibility to respect the values and opinions of others – not necessarily to agree with them, but to hold them in an open hearted way that allows me to embrace all of who they are.  I want to be able to understand that their experiences of the world are not the same as mine and that as a result of this, the things that they find important may be different from mine, and that the way they express these values and perspectives may not be the same as the way I do.

Finally, I believe that words and behaviour can be used in a manipulative way.  They can be used to hurt and wound.  When someone causes you to hurt, it is human nature to lash out and try and make them feel pain too.  You want them to experience what you are experiencing.  You want them to know and understand how badly you feel.

But sometimes it seems that there is a fine line between speaking what is true for you as a means of self care and authenticity, and being hurtful.  This is something I experienced this week.  I was hurt and wanted explain my feelings based on my experiences, but also to understand where my friend was coming from, but I could see that my words were hurtful – and this was something that I did not intend.

I believe that there must be a way to speak my truth, to express my perspective without disrespecting others who feel differently.  I wish I knew how.

I Believe 9

I believe that sometimes in the spirit of self love and self care, we need to cut ourselves some slack.

I am tired.  Over the last few days I have struggled to sleep at night.  The energies around during the run up to the full moon upset my sleep rhythms.  I have a desire to produce quality blog posts and at the same time be available to spend quality time with Tech Guy on his days off work, or with Awesome Daughter Number Three who is now on school holiday.  I have made a commitment to producing three blog posts a week and have been asked by the wonderful Kathy Sprinkle to produce a post for her website, Bliss Habits, which I am totally delighted to do!  In addition I have been planning for a week’s holiday, organising the production of a variety of greetings cards and preparing for a graduation.  On reflection it doesn’t seem like I’ve got all that much to do, but when my body and head are crying out for sleep that doesn’t want to come, it becomes a mountain.

Awesome Daughter Number Two, Tech Guy and Me!

Yesterday Awesome Daughter Number Two graduated from University.  We attended a lovely ceremony and watched so many young adults preparing to move on to the next stage in their lives.  Beautiful classical architecture surrounded us.  Families dressed in their finery, bedecked with cameras to capture the moments.  Pimms being served on the lawn, followed by a departmental reception to celebrate the achievements of their own students.  Mortar boards flying.  Proud parents.

Then out for a celebratory dinner.  Joined by other family members, grandparents and best friends.  Wine, food and conversation flowed.  Plans made for the summer to come and reminiscences about times past.

But this week, it’s all taking its toll and as a result I am completely washed out.  I have enjoyed, or am looking forward to each and every one of the above activities, but because I have been so tired they have become more difficult than they should.

However, rather than beat myself up about all the potential failures, I choose to be kind to myself.  I choose to prioritise and order my tasks, to do the important ones and to leave the others or find a way of making them easier.  Today I show myself some self love and cut myself some slack.  I’ll be back tomorrow energised and ready to go!

embrace of a rose – http://www.ladiesat11.com

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

I Believe 8

Photograph by bell wether interiors

I believe that we are meant to be happy.

We were born happy and I believe that we are meant to stay that way.  Unfortunately, layers are put on top of this – expectations, societal standards, parental/family influences – and it’s easy to lose sight of where our happiness lies.

My Mother, for the 51 years I’ve been alive, seems to have been permanently in a bad mood.  She complains all the time, is very negative, imposes her own standards on others – and objects when they aren’t met and appears to delight in nagging my Dad.  He puts up with it – even seeming to accept it – and I’ve always wondered why he never left such a nagging woman who seemed to find fault in everything he did.  But then again, she seemed to find fault with everything I did!

So I spent my life trying to be the person I thought I should be based on her standards.  Actually, I believed that her standards were the only standards.  Her dominance was so far reaching that I had no conception that life could be any different.  I got a job when I left school and met the man who became my husband.  I had a daughter.  All the things a girl like me was expected to do.  I knew I wasn’t happy.  I shifted furniture around the house.  Bought stuff.  Got into debt trying to sort what was wrong.  Then suddenly, like one of those focus pull cameras, my perspective changed and I realised that the one thing that was wrong was my marriage.  It took three years and another child before I plucked up the courage to announce that I was leaving – and even longer to tell my mother!  Once I had moved out, I was on top of the world.  I was 32 and a year into a four year Psychology course at University and I felt like I had the world at my feet.  But the remnants of the expected standards were still there, and because I felt that I could never meet them, my work suffered.  I gained my honours degree, but at a lower class than I expected.  By now I had met my soulmate and things should have been wonderful, but we were short of money, struggling to find jobs and then within two years of graduating we had a baby.  A hungry baby who didn’t like to sleep!  Five of us were squeezing into a one bedroomed flat – life was not easy.  All I could see were the things that were wrong.  We moved into a bigger house (provided by our local authority), but the area wasn’t the most salubrious and there were times when we didn’t like to go outside – incidents with guns, knives and baseball bats occurred among our neighbours.  And so we moved again.  A lovely big house with room for us all, in a nice neighbourhood.

But I couldn’t see it.  Still all I could see was what we didn’t have – the highly paid jobs, the nice cars.  Then depression reared its ugly head.  Treatment sorted it and I went back to University to study Nursing.  I qualified as a Mental Health Nurse and went into a job that I enjoyed, but Tech Guy was travelling lots for his job so we moved to the town where he worked and I transferred to another hospital where I felt excluded and undermined.  My health deteriorated further – both physically and mentally and once again I was not meeting the expected standards.  This time medication didn’t work and the depression didn’t shift.  I lost my job.

And found my life.  When I re-read the above I realise that my life has never been as bad as I’ve made out, but I was unable to see it – I was so busy focusing on what was wrong that I was unable to see what was right.

I hadn’t been able to see that we always had a roof over our heads and food on our table.  We may have been five living in a tiny flat, but we were a family together.  I was unable to appreciate how lucky I was to have three beautiful, clever, funny, loving daughters and I believed that I needed ‘stuff’ to make me happy.

When the medication I was taking for my depression wasn’t working I realised that I would have to find some other way to get better – and so began my spiritual quest – my journey to find myself.  I understood on some level that things could be better – I just had to work out how.

I searched for like minded people on the internet.  I explored my psychic side (with not a huge amount of success) and bought loads of self-improvement books.  I tried affirmations and I bought (still blank) journals.  I had tarot readings and Reiki and Angel Healing treatments.  Then, one day I had an experience that taught me that I could trust myself, that my judgement was ‘good enough’.  If my judgement was good enough then maybe I was.  I found out about Gratitude and began looking at the good things in my life.  I tried keeping a journal, but it kept falling by the wayside – it felt like I was just writing lists of the things I should be grateful for rather than actually feeling the gratitude in my heart.  But slowly, as I allowed my heart to begin opening I could feel this gratitude.  I still compared myself to others, but was able to use this in a constructive way – they may have had a big house or fancy car, but I had wonderful days with my Tech Guy and was home for my youngest daughter during school holidays.  I was learning to appreciate the birds, nature, the sunshine and the rain.

As time went on, I realised that I was no longer depressed.  Things still get me down – usually about lack of money, but not that ‘black, hide in my bed, run away from it all’ kind of down, and it is relatively short lived.

Over a period of three years I have formed questions that I’m now beginning to explore and find answers to.  Answers which are helping me to be comfortable in my own skin and which I am allowing myself to write about.  I am coming to the conclusion that, more often than not, I’m happy – and I’m happy with that!

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

I Believe 7

Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack, Orkney Islands, by Patrick Dieudonne

I believe that everything is impermanent.

I read this question from Teresa Deak on Facebook yesterday.

“I’m fascinated by the story behind this beautiful poem by Kelly Letky  and I’m curious about your own definitions of impermanence…. what are your stories?”

I didn’t really answer the question because it sent me off in another direction.  Off I went for a ponder.

My definition of impermanence is, I imagine like most people, ‘not permanent; transitory’.  But when I thought about it, I couldn’t find an example of anything that is, actually, permanent.  Everything changes.  Edifices weather and crumble.  The granite boulder is eroded by the sea to join millions of others that make up the sand.  The seasons cycle.  Flowers grow, bloom, seed and die.  I am currently experiencing the joy of watching young chicks as they fledge nests and develop into adult birds.  Cells are being born, growing, dying.  Even Tech guy – who I expect to be a permanent fixture in my life, for the rest of my life – grows and changes.  Virtually every cell that existed within his body seventeen years ago when we met has been replaced.  His neural pathways have extended, increased, formed and reformed.  His hair has got greyer – and shorter, and longer and shorter again.  My three awesome daughters are not babies any more – they too have grown, learned, developed and have become accomplished young women in their own rights.  Every experience or encounter that we have changes us in one way or another.

Have you ever met someone whose kindness brightened your day?  Or found that, no matter how positive you are at the start of your work shift, the negativity of the people you work with drags you down into a depression?  Each of these experiences impacts on us and changes us in one way or another.

Sometimes we rail against change – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – and often we can’t see the positive in a change.  New technology moves forward at an, often, alarming rate and echoing in the back of my mind are the words of my parents, “in my day…..”  In my day we wrote letters, had to be at home to make a phone call, had respect for our elders, said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, wore school uniform.  We paid attention, did our duty and conformed to the standards of the day.  But we also didn’t have a voice, were ‘seen and not heard’.  We were clipped around the ear for talking back (which often was just having a different opinion to our parents) and were taught to learn facts and figures rather than critical analysis.  So, things change. No longer do people have to hide their sexuality, they can speak out about abuse and injustice.  They can leave unhealthy relationships.  We have choices that our parents never had.  We survive illnesses that past generations possibly would never have contracted because they didn’t live long enough.  Without change the world would be populated by dinosaurs instead of people.

Change brings us huge benefits as well as challenges. It serves us well to remember that since things change, when we find ourselves in an intolerable situation – this too will pass.  The pain of the death of a loved one recedes over time, broken bones and hearts mend and suffering caused by past experiences can be released if we allow them to.

The problems arise when we take these things to be permanent.  Stories that we have carried from our past.  I once asked a patient of mine why it was that when she received dozens of positive affirmations of her worth and one negative one – that was the one she chose to believe.  Is it innate that we believe the worst about ourselves – despite evidence to the contrary?  Certainly I am much more comfortable seeking evidence to support the negative idea of myself.  I learned from a very early age – at two years old, having spent a couple of weeks with my Grandmother while my mother was in hospital giving birth to my younger sister – I screamed and fought not to go home.  My Mother believed that I had been spoiled by my Nana – it did not occur to her that it was preferable to me to stay in a small, one bedroom flat with my elderly grandparents than go home to what awaited me there – constant reinforcement that I was not good enough – and here was another child just to prove that my Mother needed one that was better than me.  Experiences over the next fifty years did little to negate these beliefs and so, I hung on to my story.  It formed my identity and informed every encounter and experience I had.

Then I found the internet.  Halleluja!  I found blogs and articles from people who felt the same way I did and this gave me the hope that things could change – and more, that things could change in my favour!  And so I am learning self love and self acceptance.  But letting go is harder than I hoped.  How do you let go of something that has been the basis of your identity for over fifty years?  If that goes, then what is left?  And actually, how do you let that go?  It feels like all of me is woven into that belief – like a mat in the earth that has the roots of the grass and plants so entwined in it that it has become part of them.

Well, I’m hanging on to the ‘everything changes’ theory and directing my change.  Sometimes it feels like I’m getting nowhere and other times (like last week) it feels like I’m making huge big leaps.  But I’m aware now.  I’m more able to understand that resistance, suffering, anger and judgement are expressions of an unmet need and I can examine them and learn from them – and you, lucky reader – get to go through all of it with me!

So, I still believe that everything is impermanent unless we choose otherwise.  And Teresa – I hope this answers your question!

Clematis

I Believe 6

Break of Dawn by Dominic Kamp

I believe that I am beginning to believe that I am good enough.

I used to wonder what was wrong with me.  I continually used to ask ‘who am I?’ Until I suddenly realised that who I am has always been here, I just hadn’t uncovered her.  I have always disliked what I saw in the mirror – and came to realise that this was because I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror.  I had the belief (deep seated for most of my 51 years) that I was not good enough or important and I needed validation from others – praise for a good job from those I worked with – pandering from my husband to prove that I am important, acquiring ‘stuff’ to prove that I was as good as other people.  I was afraid of attracting attention because if anyone ‘looked’ at me they would see me for what I am – not good enough, wanting – and then they would reject me.  I thought that I didn’t have the life I wanted.  My sisters are successful in their professions and financially secure – this is what life is supposed to be like, right?  Well, I’m not successful in my career and I’m definitely not financially secure – again, not good enough.  It’s only really since I had to leave my job through ill health (stress and depression caused by the job itself) that I began my journey to find myself – and it’s only in the last few weeks that I feel like I’ve properly moved forward.

About three or four weeks ago, I had a complete melt down about this – I was yelling, screaming, crying that I needed my husband to understand that I feel like this, that I needed him to see what was important to me and act accordingly because that was the only way that I could feel important or good enough.  I had expectations about everything – and if they weren’t met, then that indicated to me that I was not considered to be important – and at that time, the pain I was feeling was almost unbearable.  (This tirade lasted pretty much all morning!).

Bear in mind that I have been reading around this subject for around three years.  I have received Reiki to try and unblock my chakras.  I have learned meditation (not particularly successfully).  I have joined psychic groups and undertaken energy healing.  I have read books and blogs and listened to webcasts and watched videos to no avail – but somehow, this time, a wall seemed to tumble down and I was able to recognise that these feelings were not rooted in truth.

I have realised that I am completely good enough – because if I wasn’t I’d be something else – and as long as I believe that, it doesn’t matter if others think differently (though mostly they don’t) and what they think of me isn’t any of my business anyway!  The only person that has to feel that I am important is me – and just because others don’t show me that they think I’m important in a way that I want them to, doesn’t mean that they don’t think that I am.  But again, what others think is none of my business.

Much of the advice out there about how to have the life you want says to look at what our dreams are.  I have tried to consider what my dreams are – but I didn’t believe that I had dreams (on reflection, I didn’t believe that I deserved to have dreams) – I have no desire to travel to distant shores, paint a masterpiece, be famous – I just wanted to stay at home and not have to go out to work to earn money.  I wanted to have time to spend with my husband so that we could follow our hobby of birdwatching.  Once I began practicing gratitude – looking for the good things in my life, I suddenly realised that I have most of this.  Because I don’t work I get to stay at home and my husband and I have the time that we want together.  The only thing I don’t have is an income that would allow us to do more!  But, two dreams out of three ain’t bad!

Then I started to look at self care and self love.  Again – when you dislike what or who you see in the mirror where do you find self love?

But then I turned it around and thought ‘what if – if I can’t love myself – I just act in a loving way towards myself?  Be as kind and considerate to myself as I would to someone else’.  And so if I catch myself being negative I ask myself – what would I say to someone else who was feeling like this?  If someone else didn’t get their ‘to do’ list finished, would I berate them?  I realised that I wouldn’t.  So if it’s ok for someone else to be not perfect, then why not for me?  Then, as I continued reading around this, I realised that most people (or women at least) seem to feel exactly the same.  And since there is no reason for them to do so, then probably there is no reason for me to do so!

I also realised that not only did I speak to myself unkindly, but I also treated myself poorly.  I believed that I was caring for myself by giving myself time to watch tv, browse the internet, spend hours on facebook – but I became aware that none of this was constructive – and it just gave me another excuse to call myself lazy and good for nothing.  I’m coming to understand that self care is about things like – what I put into my body, how I make my body move, nourishing my soul and how I spend my time – and this only comes from feeling like you deserve to be looked after.  I no longer try to block out unpleasant feelings of pain – I feel them – look them in the eye and ask them ‘where have you come from?  What do you mean to me?  What lesson can I learn here?’

When you feel like you’re not good enough, you think that you are the only one who does – my hope is that this will show that you are never the only one – and that there is a way through it when you are ready.

Please know that I’m by no means there yet – this website calls me ‘A Work in Progress’ – but that now, when that voice says ‘you’re not good enough’ I can say ‘actually I am!’  And when someone asks how I am, I can say ‘good thank you’ – and mean it!

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

I Believe 5

Image by Karen Blackburn

I believe that the desire or need for control comes from fear.

For me, the fear is that if I have to deal with the spontaneous or the unexpected I’ll be found wanting – I’ll be seen, attention will be focused on me and I’ll be found out as not being good enough or important enough.  I am aware that this desire resides in me and I think it was born when my Mother retained all the control in my life (friends, money, social time) – right up until I married my first husband at the age of 21. Thereafter, being away from the controlling situation, I needed to have control myself. I needed to be right.   I needed to know where things were going and what would happen. I planned things to death, lists were the order of the day and so were tantrums if things didn’t go my way! Over the last year or so – since I began my spiritual journey – I have come to understand that we have no real control over anything other than ourselves (though I do frequently still experience this desire to control, just as I fear being exposed as not being good enough). When I get into this place of resistance (need to control or opposition to what I believe), I feel it as tension, both physically and in my soul. It feels like there is a large, strong, solid fence resisting the wind, and the anxiety, anger, frustration and hurt that I feel is the turbulence caused by the wind hitting this immovable force. When I visualise it like this, I can imagine the fence changing into a tree with beautiful pliable branches, thus allowing everything through. The turbulence stops, and it really does feel like softening, and the anxiety, anger and hurt can dissipate. My soul feels gentler and more able to allow love in.

Photo from http://www.mysticfamiliar.com/library/treelore/willow.html

This really is a work in progress – it’s not easy to break down the walls that I have taken 30 years to build up, but brick by brick I am dismantling them.  Ultimately, they will go and the ‘me’ that I have been afraid to show the world will be there in all my glory – with no need to control, because I will understand that I am good enough and I am important!

This post was inspired by Julie Daley’s post ‘Softening into the Silk of the Soul’. You can find it here –  Unabashedly Female by Julie Daley

This was originally posted as part of Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project at Sunshine on a Rainy Day on 6th June 2012.

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

I Believe 4

I believe that I am one of the luckiest women alive!

I am not financially wealthy. I don’t live in a mansion. I don’t drive a fancy sports car. I don’t take expensive holidays. My bank account is overdrawn and I sit on a second hand sofa. But my life is perfect. I am married to a wonderful man whose mission in life seems to be to ensure my happiness. I have three beautiful accomplished daughters and a son-in-law whose mission in life seems to be to ensure my daughter’s happiness. I have two cats who can be cuddly when they want to be fed and haughty once they’ve eaten. Who entertain us when they are chasing rainbows or hunting hair bands. I don’t work, so my husband and I have time – time to spend together, time to watch the birds out of the window and time to get out in nature and wonder at her bounty.

I get to enjoy the sun shine and the rain fall. I love it when I’m being blown over by a blustery gale and when I can be warm and cosy indoors when it’s cold and snowy outside or when the hailstones are stinging my cheeks on the way to bouncing off the path. I love to watch the butterflies flitting among the flowers and I love to catch sight of a deer in the distance when I’m out in the country.

I can meditate – even though I’m still just learning and not very good at it yet – and I love my crystals. I love reading and learning and sharing what I’ve learned. I love quiet time to myself and I love noisy time with my family (sometimes!). I love that I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect at everything at the same time as being perfect because I’m unique. I have the privilege of access to the blogs and websites of many inspiring women who have helped me on my adventure and of the friendship of others who have supported me in the establishment of my own.

All of this and so much more enriches my life and demonstrates to me that I am, indeed, one of the luckiest women alive!

This was originally posted as part of Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project at Sunshine on a Rainy Day on 30th May 2012.

If you would like to know more about Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

I Believe 3

http//:thesmugcloud.wordpress.com/20120112/acts-of-kindness

I believe that I am becoming more accepting of myself.While this is a post written for Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs project, it was inspired by a post in Bliss Habits.

In today’s Bliss Habits, Sandi Amorin talks about her ‘lizard brain’ – you know, the one that tells you that you can’t do things, you’re rubbish, you’ll never be good enough, you shouldn’t try that it’ll all end in tears.  She calls hers ‘Lizzie’.  I prefer to cal mine ….’Mum’!  I guess some of you might know where I’m coming from here.

My lizard brain has done a great job over the last fifty years of making sure that I don’t get above my station.  It tells me that I’m stupid and not as good as my sisters – they have well-paid, responsible jobs that they have done for over twenty years, whereas, here am I, unemployed and feeling pretty unemployable.  Oh, don’t get me wrong I’ve had my share of jobs – I’ve worked in banks, call centres, the hospitality industry and I’ve been a nurse.  I’ve supervised schoolchildren to pay my way through university, had three beautiful daughters and two husbands (one of which I still have!).  I have two degrees, and I volunteer in my local wildlife centre and Cat Protection centre.  I can knit, I make cards (I even made my eldest daughter’s wedding stationery) and I have qualifications in some complementary therapies – and yet, my lizard brain tells me that I’ve really accomplished very little.  It still tells me that I’m not good enough.  It compares what I should have accomplished with what I’ve actually accomplished – and it appears that I fall short!

This is a common theme in my life – the theme of ‘not enough’.  I don’t earn enough, I don’t have enough, I’m not slim enough, I’m not pretty enough, I don’t call my daughters/sisters/parents often enough.  I don’t clean the house enough, I don’t cook healthy enough meals, I don’t do enough to stick within my housekeeping budget.  Basically, the message is that I’m not enough.

Now, much of the reading I have been doing recently has been about loving oneself and I have always questioned how you can love yourself when you don’t even like yourself much, but I’m realising that just being kind to yourself is a way of loving yourself.  Because loving doesn’t have to be that full-on, gushing, heart filling feeling that you get with your children or your partner.  It can be just acting in a kind manner – just like you would with anyone you meet.  When you act with compassion towards another person – opening a door for them because their hands are full, giving up your seat on the bus because the lady that just got on is pregnant or is struggling with a young child – you are acting in a loving way.  When your child finishes half way down the field in the race at school sports day, you don’t say, “well you didn’t come first so you’re not good enough”.  You say “well done you for doing your best”.  You say “99% in your maths test, fantastic!  You must have worked really hard!” not “what happened to the other 1%?”  (Unless, of course you’re my mother which I guess is where all this stems from).  You act in a kind and loving manner.

So, my aim has been to find ways in which I can act in a kind and loving manner towards myself, in the hope that this will develop into the self love which I believe I deserve.  And yesterday, I saw this in action.  It was a beautiful day here in Scotland – sunny and warm – so I decided to go outside and do some gardening.  I mowed the back lawn and trimmed the edges.  Cut back a couple of bushes that were encroaching on the path and cleared a small area of weeds (dandelions, mind you, that fight back!).  A couple of hours later with sweat dripping off my brow and a strained hamstring from stretching too much, I decided that I’d done enough, packed away my tools and went inside for a well earned cup of coffee.

Now, bear in mind that, while not huge, our garden is a bit bigger than a postage stamp and it generally gets weeded completely about once a year.  In addition, we allow our dandelions to flower and seed because the goldfinches like the tiny seeds – so you’ll have an idea of how many weeds there were – probably three full days of weeding’s worth.  And I did a couple of hours.  My lizard brain began to kick in.  “You’ve not done enough.”  “You should have stayed out longer.”  “Everyone else’s garden is neater than yours!”  But I managed to stop it before it took hold.  I was able to recognise that completely tidying the garden in one afternoon was an impossible task and was able to acknowledge my achievements.  The lawn was tidy with neat edges.  The path was clear enough to walk on and there was a small weed free patch just under the kitchen window.  Add that to the shopping, laundry, visit to the dentist and cleaning in the house that I had already done and it didn’t seem quite so much ‘not enough’.

I am aware that this is a small move forward, but it represents the culmination of much studying, reading and practicing towards self love, and it is a move forward – the beginning of a new habit of accepting myself and of being as kind to myself as I am to others.

At this juncture, I’d just like to say that having written the words ‘not enough’ so many times, the phrase appears to have lost it’s meaning!  Oh if only it were so in the real world!

This was originally posted as part of Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project at Sunshine on a Rainy Day on 23rd May 2012.

If you would like to know more about Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

You can also find out more about Sandi Amorin here.

I Believe 2

Ring Ouzel – Photo by Richard Blackburn

I believe that I can change.

The weather forecast said it would be nice so we packed a picnic and headed off into the Angus glens to do a bit of birdwatching.  For those of you who don’t know, birdwatching is a passion of mine and Tech Guy.  From the exotic mandarin duck to the common house sparrow, I love them all, their gorgeous colours and markings make my heart sing!

A long leisurely drive through the countryside rewarded us with the company of mistle thrushes and their young and a couple of quick glimpses of red squirrels and after about an hour we arrived at our destination.  Above us was a blue sky and in front of us loomed the magnificent Scottish hills, patchy with heather and bare of trees, topped with cairns built over time by the people who marked their achievement of reaching the summit with the placing of a stone.

Passing the lovely old buildings from cottages to a castle we walked towards the woods and the river.  Elusive birds, their cries in the trees, teased us in a game of hide and seek, darting past and hiding again, then suddenly a beautiful redstart glowing deep coral in amongst the leaves.  Mr and Mrs Chaffinch chased one another up and down the river, beaten only by the dipper, bobbing on the rock as he looked for cadis fly larvae for lunch.

Then suddenly, on this beautiful day the pitter patter of rain – but no, not rain hailstones!  And so we huddled under a nearby tree listening to the swishing of the hail through the leaves and the drumming on the grassy ground, all the while the sun shining brightly.

Then it stopped as suddenly as it started and we moved on out of the trees, passed the fields and continued on the path, swallows and martins swooping overhead, catching the flies in a dazzling display of aerobatics.  As we approached the loch beyond the old cemetery, common sandpipers posed on the crumbling walls for photographs and a young horse galloped across the field for some company.   And then the find of the day – sharing with our new equine friend, a ringed ring ouzel and a very pretty wheatear!

As lunchtime arrived so did the hail again.  A quick dash to the nearest farm building saw us, backs to the wall, picnicking under a veranda watching the hailstones bouncing off the grass and blanketing it in speckled white.  Buzzards soared above us over the mountain tops and young thrushes called to their parents for dinner, and still the sun shone.

It was time for us to retrace our steps and head home.  Peace and tranquillity enveloped us as once again we sought the singing birds among the leaves, enjoying the company of wandering mama sheep and their lambs.  Back at the car we were greeted by cheeky chaffinches who were happy to entertain us inches away from our feet, in the hope of some crumbs from our snacks.

I had a wonderful day which illustrated how much I have moved on in the last few months.  Then I would have ignored the beauty surrounding me – the sights and sounds, the contrasts of warm and cold, the shining sun and the peace and quiet – and focussed on the discomfort, the tiredness in my legs, not seeing all the birds I would have hoped and the weather forecast being wrong.  Now the resistance is diminishing and I’m learning to see the positive and understand how blessed I am and how rich my life is.

This was originally posted as part of Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project at Sunshine on a Rainy Day on 16th May 2012.

If you would like to know more about Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

I Believe 1

http://poisonedshadow.wordpress.com/depression

I believe:

That depression is a coping mechanism.  Having worked for seven years as a mental health nurse, I believe that for people with mild to moderate depression, it’s how they escape from difficult situations.  For me it’s a choice – a conscious choice.  When things are difficult (and for me that seems to happen quite a lot) I go and hide in my depression.  It serves me.  That makes me sound like such a manipulator – ‘things are difficult so I’ll get a bit of sympathy, or I’ll get out of doing what needs to be done by being depressed’.  I don’t try to use it as a manipulation – actually, if I’m honest, that’s exactly what I do.

I have done much reading recently around life, what it is, how to get the best out of it, what my place is, etc.  “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, “Life is that space outside of your comfort zone”, are themes on which much worthwhile, and intended to be helpful, advice is given.  But I live my life in overwhelm.  I feel that so many things need to be done, and I can’t possibly get them all done in the time or to the standard that I feel I should (note the use of ‘should’), so I don’t get them done at all.  So the untidy craft room remains untidy, the journals remain unwritten, the bank account update remains out of date and I remain overweight and in my pyjamas.

And so I’m depressed – depressed because I fear venturing out into that world that will be wonderful, full and exciting.  Oh, I visualise.  I visualise the life I would like to have.  I visualise getting up at five in the morning for an hour of yoga followed by a long relaxing, inspiring, enlightening meditation.  I visualise being dressed and breakfasted by the time my daughter gets up to get ready for school so that I can have the house sparkling in time to write my blog post before lunch.  Then an afternoon of crafting, or dealing with a number of Indian Head Massage clients (or life coaching clients – insert as required) and working a bit on my website leaves me time to cook a healthy, organic meal for my family coming home for dinner.  Then the evening is my own to spend knitting, cross stitching or sewing.  I use the computer briefly only to check emails and keep up my business networking.  And at the end of a fulfilling day, for which my heart is full of gratitude, I head for bed where I make love with my husband and the fall into a deep slumber, only waking at five in the morning, fully refreshed and ready to start all over again.

But then reality kicks in.  My world is still my ordinary world.  The alarm drags me from my sleep.  Bleary eyed and sluggish from the sleeping tablet I had to take to help me escape from my husband’s snoring and the racing thoughts the night before, I make my way downstairs to my first cup of coffee of the day.  As I wait for it to cool, I reach for my laptop – aaaaand…..my day is gone!  No crafting, no writing, no knitting, just lots of status updates and one million, eight hundred points on bricks breaking.  With dinner time looming, a quick rummage through the freezer provides our meal.  And I’m depressed.  Because if I’m depressed I have an excuse for not doing all the things I believe I should be doing.  It removes my personal responsibility and I can blame external forces – just as I blame external forces for being the way I am – my experiences as a child, my experiences at work, my first marriage and its breakdown – they are all the fault of someone else.

While I know logically, that my life is in my hands and that I am the only one who has the power to change it, I’m not sure that I want to take that responsibility because if it doesn’t work out, it will be my fault.  And so, when life gets challenging, my way of coping is to be depressed.

However, all is not lost!  I now recognise that this is my response.  I can feel when the choice is there to be made – to be depressed or not to be – and I can choose which way to go.  Sometimes I still choose the depression, but I acknowledge that this is what I’m doing and I can then look at why.  What is it that I am afraid of?  Sometimes I can work it out and sometimes it’s too scary to go there.  But it’s progress, it’s self awareness, it’s being kind to myself by not beating myself up about it and this is the beginning of self love.

So I believe that I use depression as a coping mechanism.  But I also believe that I do it less frequently than I used to.  And I believe that one day, I won’t need to use it at all.

This was originally posted as part of Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project at Sunshine on a Rainy Day on 9th May 2012.

If you would like to know more about Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!