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!