Love and Loss

 

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Today is my birthday, a time for celebration, happiness and being showered with love by those around me. It’s beautiful. As I have experienced more years on this planet and more of the interwoven tapestry of life I have realised how closely happiness and sadness live to each other. How love and loss are two sides of the same coin. On the happiest of days, like a birthday, wedding or new baby being born, we cannot help but be reminded of those we wish were still near.

This is not meant to be morbid, quite the opposite; being utterly present with what is, it is undeniable how love does not exist without loss from a human perspective. Any and everything we love will be at some point lost to our human selves, in the most extreme sense one or other will eventually die, with so many other types of loss in between.

From a universal perspective there is no loss, and love is unlimited; we are all love and whether our relationships change or one of us dies, our love continues infinitely. But our sweet human selves struggle deeply with loss and grief, my understanding is that grief is love with no where to go. As we travel through this life, love and loss are going to be our carriage mates, without doubt. So how do we move through and integrate these experiences?

The only piece of advice I am going to share is this; FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS. Feel them all, let them exist in you, let them move through you, let them devastate you when you are devastated, let them lift you higher than you could ever imagine when you are joyful. I know how scary and painful it can be, and how much we might want to escape those feelings by abandoning and numbing ourselves. Brene Brown, excellent author and researcher, did a Ted Talk in which she talked about the extreme version of any emotion, good or bad, is what triggers addicts to fall off the wagon. Isn’t that interesting? That really feeling the depth of our love AND loss feels just as uncomfortable to us. Which is why we see alcohol as the societal norm for all happy and sad occasions; why people get so drunk at weddings and at funerals. Different sides of the same coin.

There is no judgement for numbing, we have all done it in some way or another, at times it may even be essential. However I have learnt that when we allow our hard feelings to truly be felt, at an appropriate time, it hurts but there is hope and connection, and when we suppress and numb our feelings there is despair and disconnection.

This subject is on my mind as I have lost a most beloved soul in my life recently. At his memorial I adapted a poem, of unknown origin, which I would like to share with you in the hope these words may soothe you too in times of grief….

Am always with you

When I am gone, release me, let me go. I am safe and happy, I want you to know. You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears, but be thankful we had such wonderful years. I gave you my love and you can only guess, how much you gave to me in happiness. I thank you for the love that you have shown, but now it’s time I travelled on alone. So grieve for me a while if grieve you must, then let your grief be comforted by trust, that it is only for a while that we must part, so treasure our memories within your heart. I won’t be far away for life goes on, and if you need me call and I will come. Though you can’t see or touch me I will be near, and if you listen with your heart you’ll hear, all my love around you soft and clear. And when the perfect time comes for us to meet again, our hearts will whisper ‘I know you’ once again.

What happens when you ignore your intuition?

do you ignore your intuition

Have you ignored your intuition before? I’m sure we all have at some point or other… And what was the outcome? Did you take the job you knew in your gut wasn’t right for you, and you struggled for ages before leaving? Did you say yes to the invitation when you felt the right answer was no? But went anyway and felt exhausted and depleted, kicking yourself for knowing better?

I could literally write a book about all the times I haven’t listened to my intuition! And I am writing from experience when I describe what the results of ignoring your internal guidance system can lead to. Following your intuition will certainly pay off, and not following it will lead to some pretty painful lessons.

IMPORTANT NOTE: this is not meant to scare you or freak you out, your intuition is forever loving and we have free will to choose whether we take action on our intuitive guidance or not. If we choose not to, it may make life more tricky, but all is not lost, it’s all part of the learning process and the universe gives us unlimited opportunities to course correct.

What happens when you ignore your intuition?

  • I love Oprah’s explanation of how the universe, or God or your guides (intuition) whisper to you, she says ‘life is whispering to you all the time’ and you need to listen to the whispers. She says if you don’t listen, the whisper gets louder, it starts off as a pebble, then a bigger pebble, then a thump on the head (when it’s become a problem), then a brick to the head (a crisis) and then the whole house falls down.
  • Not listening to your intuition, and acting on it, can lead to living parts of your life out of alignment with your true self and your true purpose. This can result in health issues, emotional crises and in extreme cases the life you’ve built crumbling down around you. This is what happened to me; my old patterns and codependent behaviour drowned out my intuition in a long term romantic relationship. I built a whole life around him and eventually my body was the first to literally stop functioning as a massive sign I was in a hugely toxic situation. Reconnecting to my intuition, and making it priority in my life, was an important part of my healing process.
  • Our intuition is our best inner GPS or sat nav: by connecting to our guides and higher selves we have access to information that is impossible to attain through the 5 senses. Using our sixth sense by listening to our intuitive nudges, and acting on it, allows us to be in the flow of our lives, flowing with the divine. When we are not in flow, or making all our decisions from the thinking mind and/ or the ego, it can be really hard work. Feeling like we’re constantly pushing and striving and clawing our way forward. Whereas being in flow feels energising, inspiring and full of ease.
  • Living without being relationship with our spiritual selves, with our higher selves or our intuition can feel like we’re in this alone. Like we can only achieve success through our own mental and physical work, that when the chips are down we need to figure it all out on our own. This is 100% not true, we have a whole team of angelic and spiritual guides to support us and who want to see us fulfilled and happy. They are available to us 100% of the time, it is up to us to get quiet and tune in, to learn how to hear the whispers, and to trust them.

To help you tune into what your intuition is telling you I created this short video – click here to watch it now.

 

What they don’t tell you about manifesting…

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I’m sure you’ve heard of the Law of Attraction, or the book The Secret, which is based on the Law of Attraction. Manifesting what your heart desires is a spiritual process, to which an understanding of these universal laws is extremely helpful.

I use manifestation practices in my life every single day and the results constantly amaze and delight me. However there more to it than ‘think positive thoughts and all you desire will fall in your lap’.

For the purposes of this blog I am assuming you have a basic understanding of the manifestation process, as rather than write another book on how to manifest (there many wonderful books out there!) I want to share 3 tips which are little talked about, but crucial to getting the results you want.

  1. There is often a gap between setting your intention, taking action and the result actually appearing in your life. So many people do wonderful work of setting up their manifestation, then it doesn’t appear immediately and they lose hope and faith. Holding your intention, and your belief, that what it is you most want is true for you, in that space in between, is crucial. You can imagine the universe is responding to your desire, has started moving to give it to you, in line with the action you’ve taken towards it, then you stop and start to doubt, and the universe gets the message that you maybe don’t want it so much after all. This is meant in no way to scare you into never having doubts, it’s to make you aware of the importance of maintaining your level of commitment and belief, even when it may seem your heart’s desire is no where to be found.
  2. What limits our ability to manifest is so often to be found within ourselves, our thoughts playing a big part. Thoughts lead to feelings and actions, which lead back to thoughts and so on and so on. Being mindful of our thoughts is our job during the manifestation process. For example, say you are wanting to create more financial abundance in your life and you have got clear about how much money you want to make and doing the work of taking action to create it. Great start! But if you are going through your days saying to yourself, or out load, ‘I can’t afford that, I’ll never be able to afford that, I am destined to be struggling financially, I don’t deserve more than I have’ you are negating the process. The universe only says YES! So if you are offering those thoughts of lack, the universe will respond with ‘YES, you can’t afford that, YES, you are destined to be struggling financially…and so on’. The first step in overcoming this limiting factor is to become aware of your thoughts and whenever you notice a lack thought you consciously step in and change it. For example; ‘I can’t afford that’ could be flipped to ‘I can easily afford to buy 5 of those if I really want to, and give the rest to my friends’. I’m not saying go ahead and buy it if the money has not yet landed in your bank, however changing the thought will change your vibration to one of abundance resulting in the universe saying ‘YES!’
  3. When we delve a little deeper from the level of thought, we find ourselves at the level of beliefs. I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘limiting beliefs’ and our beliefs can empower us to wonderful experiences, or keep us stuck in realities we dislike. The tricky thing about beliefs and our brains is that our brains are programmed to filter what we experience to actively support the beliefs we have established. For example if you were doing a presentation to a group of people and you had a belief that those people would not enjoy, pay attention to or support you. You would be looking around the room as you are speaking and your mind would focus in on the one person who is on their phone and barely looking at you, your mind would say ‘see, I knew it, they don’t care and this is a waste of time’. What your mind wouldn’t see is the rest of the room who are hanging on your every word and looking at you with encouragement. The result this can have on your manifestation process is you don’t even see the opportunities that the universe has placed right under your nose! The good news is you can absolutely re-programme your beliefs to support your dreams, the bad news is it’s not always easy. It is your job and your responsibility to do what it takes to break down old, limiting beliefs and create new supportive ones. Whether that involves reading books and self study or working with a coach or therapist.

Sending love xx

 

What is FREEDOM?

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Ooh – it’s a big questions isn’t it? What is FREEDOM? The dictionary says:

  1. the power, or right, to act, speak and think as one wants
  2. the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved

A lack of freedom in the extreme is literally being in prison, or being in a family or community where you are not allowed to be your true self. However, to me, freedom is not just not being in prison or being able to speak your mind…it is something we feel at a cellular level in our bodies, it’s how experience each day and each moment, it’s what our thoughts and beliefs are and the reality we are living.

So the real question is, what is FREEDOM to you?

What does it feel like? What does it look like? What does it smell like, even!? What and who are surrounded by? What are your daily actions? Where are you in the world? What do you give to yourself and to others?

I freaking love the term in the image, eleutheromania: a great desire or obsession with freedom! This has been a theme of my life, and I think for so many women in these times.

What does FREEDOM mean to me?

Freedom is waking up in the morning feeling excited for the day. Freedom means having an abundance of money, of loving friends and family, of beautiful things, of opportunity… Freedom is dancing naked. Freedom is swimming in the ocean. Freedom is living my life’s purpose. Freedom is success. Freedom is the ability to choose how I spend my time. Freedom is creativity and self expression. Freedom is nature. Freedom is moving my body in a way that feels amazing. Freedom is the ability to choose my thoughts. Freedom is manifesting my heart’s desires. Freedom is health. Freedom is happiness. Freedom is allowing the full range of human experience into my life and body. Freedom is healing.

I invite you to take a moment to ponder how free do you feel you in your life, what would make you feel more free and how would you feel if you had/ created/ were experiencing that right now?

Sending love xx

Photo credit: Canva.com

 

Valentine’s Day – Self Love

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Firstly – Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Secondly I wanted to write you a little note about all this ‘use Valentine’s Day to love yourself’ chat that’s flying around social media. Don’t get me wrong, I 100% agree with this message and support self love everyday as a priority. However not all of us find it easy to really love ourselves, in fact for me it has been a long and painful journey of discovery to learn how essential it really is. My concern is that the self development tribe, while expressing an incredibly worthwhile sentiment, might be causing some people to feel inadequate because they find it hard love themselves. Potentially adding another reason for us to doubt ourselves…you see where I’m going with this…?

I am here to tell you if you find it hard and icky and weird to show yourself love and tell yourself that you love yourself, you are not alone, you are not weird and you are not missing something!

When one of my mentors first suggested to me, years ago, that I stand in front of a mirror and tell myself I loved myself I literally couldn’t do it! I tried, I really did, the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth, and when I forced them I didn’t believe them in the slightest, I found it embarrassing (even though it was only me in the room) and it actually made me feel worse because I was ‘failing’ at something that seemed so simple.

What I’m saying is often, especially for us ladies, the process of learning to really love ourselves, and allowing ourselves to put ME first, is a journey. At times it can be a painful journey because in starting the practice of self love all the parts of us that we don’t love, or all the aspects that block that love, come right up to the surface and stare us in the face.

My experience in the mirror all those years ago was actually a real turning point for me, I realised I really didn’t love myself and I needed to delve deeper into what was going on there and do some course correcting. My personal experience of learning to love myself was incredibly painful and involved huge life changes, perhaps because I only really learned the lesson when there was absolutely no other option. I’m in no way saying this needs to be the case for you, or anyone. But I do feel it’s important to say this is not a subject to ‘pour pink paint over’ as Marianne Williamson says, that is to gloss over and make it look pretty with insta posts about rose petal baths and heart shaped cakes. Haha – I’m sounding like the Valentine’s Day scrooge 🙂 Which is funny because I actually really like Valentine’s Day!

My point is, yes, please do love yourself as much as you can, especially on Valentine’s Day when many people feel left out if they are single or hurting. However please don’t be down on yourself if you find it difficult to love yourself today, it’s normal and it’s OK. You’re absolutely OK and wonderful and we’re all in this together.

As Prince said ‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life’. Whether we are feeling loving to ourselves, or not, loving to others, or not, lets hold hands and do this thing together.

With all my love xxx

Image from movemequotes.tumblr.com

 

Loosening your grip…

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I have been noticing an interesting fact recently – we can hold more in our hands if they loosely open than when they are gripping tightly. In a practical sense, this is true. I noticed it when I was preparing my epsom salt bath, I tend to add epsom salts to my bath almost every day, I find it clears away the stagnant and cluttered energy and soothes my body – I love it! So I bought a HUGE tub of epsom salts which is a couple of feet from the bath, so to add the salt to the bath I pick it up in my hands. To start with I grabbed a handful closed my fist around it to carry it to the bath. After doing this a couple of times I realised I wasn’t being effective (I like a lot of epsom salt in my bath!). So I tried to hold my hand in the gesture of receiving, as you can see in the picture, and pick up the salt this way. I could hold so much more and was much more efficient! Hallelujah!

I know what you’re thinking..wtf is she talking about?! And why do I care about her ‘salt tub to bath’ life issues? Well because it struck me that it was such a good lesson for our lives as a whole; when we grab at the things we want, when we try to hold onto them very tightly, the amount (abundance) we can hold is much more limited than when we open our hands to receive in an open and relaxed way.

We can apply this to so many areas of our lives, when we hold on super tight in a relationship for example we often experience the other person moving away a little as the energy we are putting out is a little grasping. If we are in sales and we are hounding people to commit to a call or a purchase, as if our lives depended on it, they tend to back off because the vibe we are giving out is off-putting and annoying.

Similarly if we are working on manifesting and creating what our heart’s desire in our lives the more we hold on tight to the specific outcome we want, the more the universe backs away because our energy is pushing it away. However if we keep our intention strong and our vision consistently clear AND allow our energetic hands to be open, we receive even more abundance than we had imagined.

This is a lesson for me, as much as it for you. It seems counter to so much of what we are taught and what’s in the media in the West ‘hustle, hustle, hustle’ and ‘chase after what you want’. But it’s such an important lesson to learn and practice in order to allow our dreams to be made manifest through us.

The magic is in setting your intention, clearing the space to receive it (e.g. getting rid of old negative beliefs and thought patterns), taking inspired action and letting go of your attachment to the outcome; holding your hands out to the universe in a gesture of receiving, having faith that what you seek is seeking you, rather than grasping at what you want and squeezing the life out of it.

Photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

Your heart knows the way…

Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction. – Rumi

I remember my aunt telling me how beautiful and raw I was very soon after my marriage ended. I felt like I was on fire and like a total mess; sleep walking through each day and at times being in so much pain that I felt like I could spontaneously combust or break apart into little pieces. I had an inkling of what she meant then and now it’s much clearer; she was talking about the inescapable open woundedness that leaves ones heart completely bare and undefended during a very painful experience. Quite simply a heart and a soul that is open and raw allows a level of connection that is usually not available. It is beautiful and also magnetising.

It is this that people are referring to when they talk of the most exquisite beauty being found in the midst of the most unbearable pain. We are cracked open and the depth to which experiences are allowed to penetrate us is far greater than when we have our day-to-day, must get things done, ‘everything’s fine’ armour on.

I’ve recently been very busy and caught up in the day-to-day, I have been aware that my current day-to-day feels like it requires relatively hefty armour. By armour I mean the layers we feel we need to protect ourselves with in order to remain upright, functioning and achieving. Today I took some time to lay my armour down, to allow what usually must stay under wraps to have the floor. It didn’t feel comfortable and it didn’t feel good in the moment, because what I feel I must hide behind my armour is my pain and sensitivity and suffering.

However what I’ve noticed is that when we armour up to hide the parts of us we feel are not pleasant or acceptable to the wider world, we also shut out what could touch us deeply. The armour hides our dark shadowy aspects, but also blocks the exquisite beauty of deep connection to our hearts. It’s only when we put the armour down and allow all of ourselves to be seen and felt, that we are fully able to see and feel the majesty that surrounds us.

In this armourless state I read the Rumi quote above and my breath was caught by the simple beauty and meaning of these two lines; Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction. I was touched in a way that most other days I wouldn’t have been, I would have scrolled on past without much thought or presence. It felt good.

I’d like to leave you with my favourite Rumi quote, one that has been my constant mantra in very difficult times:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.

The third way…

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I have been thinking a lot about ‘the third way’ recently. I was listening to a podcast a few months ago and the subject was about complex loss, such as when a loved one goes missing and there are no answers as to what happened to them. Dealing with these traumatic emotions and grief is somewhat different to more clearly defined loss, like a death from natural causes. During the conversation they discussed closure, whether it can be achieved after a complex loss, they said closure is not necessarily the aim or the end result, that there is a third way. The third way in this instance was rather than be swallowed by the grief and stay in the obsession of the loss, or shut it out in an attempt to reach ‘closure’, there is a messy, uncomfortable, but more authentic, third way. This third way is acknowledging the suffering and feeling the painful emotions, along with reaching for and moving towards the future without necessarily having a sense of closure. Can you feel in that description the third way feels vulnerable and messy, and yet honest and real?

In so many cases the third way is the way of healing and most true way to move through challenging times. In my case I have been trying to reconcile, in my mind and heart, a failed marriage; it was toxic and painful, but there was deep love and connection. The first way to process it could be; it was toxic therefore it was bad and unhealthy so chalk it up to a negative experience – put it in the ‘bad’ box. The second way could be; the love was so deep that I may never get over it, or feel that way again, the love of my life is lost, wallowing in the loss. And then there’s the much messier, but more authentic third way; there were parts that were unhealthy and toxic, they were bad. There were parts that were magical and loving, they were good. There is no box to put it in, it moves between the two extremes. This means there is no closure per se, it’s an ongoing organic process; there are happy memories which can hurt because it’s over, and there are painful, angry memories which can bring relief that the situation isn’t current anymore.

The third way runs between the first and second ways, which are both the more extreme options. The third way combines the two, it’s therefore a meandering path that traverses both sides without a pre-planned route or destination. This is what makes the third way so uncomfortable for us humans; we like to know exactly where we’re going and how to get there. I feel it’s so important to honour both the beauty and the pain, to feel the full spectrum of the feelings and flow with the third way.

This concept of the third way is applicable in so many facets of life; politics, health, the environment, day-to-day experience. For example when it comes to drinking alcohol, we have a growing binge drinking problem in the UK; large numbers of people don’t drink during the week then drink as much as they can at the weekend. Both of these are extremes; no alcohol and all the alcohol. The third way is the way of moderation, in this case it might be having a few drinks a couple of times a week. You often hear people say they find it possible to either not drink at all, or binge drink, that the discipline of moderation is the most difficult. You see the same when it comes to food; people yo-yoing between eating whatever they want, often to excess, then going on very restrictive diets in an attempt to counter balance the excess. When in actual fact the balanced approach of listening to your body and eating what you need, with some treats thrown in for fun, is the healthiest approach.

In Buddhism it is called the middle way; The Middle Way refers to the Buddha’s enlightened view of life and also the actions or attitudes that will create happiness for oneself and others. It is the rejection of extremes, which is depicted in the story of Shakyamuni; he first lathered himself in luxury, then deprived himself of everything, he realised neither extreme would take him any closer to spiritual enlightenment. ‘In his rejection of both self-mortification and self-indulgence, Shakyamuni awakened to the true nature of life—its eternity, its deep wellspring of unbounded vitality and wisdom.’

The Cambridge English Dictionary explains ‘the third way’ as a political movement in which the development of business is balanced with the needs of society. It is proposed to be the third way between capitalism and socialism. Taking the example of American politics at the moment, in some ways its easier for people dehumanise President Trump and his followers, and even hate them, than it is for them to have their own opinions and at the same time have compassion for, and see the humanness in, the opposition.

The tricky thing is choosing either extreme can often feel more exhilarating; there is usually adrenaline associated with the high of excess, and there may even be a sense of accomplishment in the extreme of denial. Taking the third way can feel unstimulating, boring and overly measured. There are of course circumstances which require an extreme response; a high level of adrenaline and life or death commitment to a cause. For example it took a World War to neutralise the threat and horrifying atrocities committed on behalf of Hitler.

I’m sure you can think of many circumstances, in your own life and globally, where navigating a third way between the extremes would bring more peace and healing. However as we have seen it’s not necessarily the easy option for us, in most cases it takes discipline, vulnerability and radical honesty. Cultivating this third way in our own lives, in our own struggles, and on a global scale, is a worthy practice. It will feel messy and uncomfortable, the path may not be clear, but it is where we find wisdom, acceptance and true healing.