The Life Coach Crisis

WARNING: A lot of people will not like this post, and may be offended – not my intention. I’m simply expressing my opinion, as everyone is entitled to do. And apologies for the swearing (but complain and I’ll direct you to an article that claims those who swear are more intelligent haha). Namaste.

.        .        .

So my sister just made a video (check her out on YouTube ‘Blondeteaparty’) about the ‘self-help epidemic’, and I’d like to add to that. Not a day goes by without someone popping up on our social media, claiming they have the keys to success/cure for loneliness/secret to happiness…the list goes on. There are so many self-professed ‘gurus’ out there that it’s almost like a contagious disease.

Let me tell you something – it’s all bullshit. Now, you might say ‘Yeah but you write blogs giving out advice, aren’t you doing the same thing?’. Nope. I’m not selling you some ’10 Steps to Happiness’ rubbish, I’m just sharing my personal experiences and what I’ve found has helped me through certain situations. I’m not claiming to be wise, to be a ‘guru’ or to have some profound knowledge that you don’t that will unlock the doors to eternal happiness. That is where I differ.

lauren-peng-43963.jpg

I see 20 something year-olds acting as if they’re Buddha reincarnated; not just that, a Buddha who’s been through the fires of hell and has now seen paradise and wants to guide you there. They’ll say they trained in the school of Yadda Yadda SoulSearch 300X or some shit, and now have the qualifications to guide you through your life. IT IS RUBBISH. How do you train to be a ‘life’ coach? Life, by it’s very nature, is an unpredictable, fluid entity, that is entirely unique and separate for each and every one of us. You cannot go to school and train to be a ‘guide’ – you don’t even know your own path in life, let alone someone else’s. Experience is our best teacher, and I’m sorry but no matter what you have gone through, when you are in your 20s there is no way you could ever be ‘qualified’ enough to ‘guide’ or ‘teach’ someone…whatever age they are.

But age is just a small part of this. Self-help is one of the biggest money-making machines out there. Americans alone spend 10s of billions of dollars every year on self-help materials, all desperately searching for the answer to life’s questions. Will they find them? HELL NO! They (gurus etc.) don’t want you to – the money-making machine would break down if you did! That is the plain truth. Every book, YouTube video, seminar and course is designed to give you just enough hope and encouraging material to keep you interested enough to buy or watch parts 2, 3, 4…ad infinitum. Moreover, you will never get your answers because no. one. knows. them.

emily-morter-188019.jpg

Because that is life. It’s about tumbling through it with no prior experience, learning as you go and, for the most part, making it up as you go. Self-help books, and these guides and gurus, can actually be detrimental because they can make us feel like they have some amazing gift that we don’t, and that we’re inadequately prepared to make it through life without someone else’s help. Bull. Shit. We’re all just as clueless as each other, so don’t ever feel like you’re missing a puzzle piece that will solve the game called Life.

The best guide you can possibly have is your gut instinct, along with some help from your friends and family. Look to the people who know you, and get to know yourself too. Do that in whichever way works best for you, whether it’s pampering yourself, working out or meditating. Sure, read some self-help books and watch some of that hot life coach’s videos if you want, but don’t take it as gospel – they’re probably reading someone else’s self-help book too.

jazmin-quaynor-106654.jpg

 

Advertisements

The Other Side

Following on from my last blogpost, I’d like to take a look at the other side of the coin. Don’t take this post as my contradicting myself – I simply want to explore the other aspects of love and relationships, and areas I’ve touched on in other posts.

While it is definitely a good idea to take your head along with your heart when you fall in love (easier said than done, I know) and to use your friends and family to keep your wits about you, in order to find true love a leap of faith is required – and this is often a leap that no one else will understand.

blake-wheeler-61115.jpg

As I mentioned in a previous post, no one will ever truly understand who, why or how you love, and efforts to make them do so will often prove fruitless. Friends and family are great guides, counsellors and support systems, but there is only one person who can make the decisions in your life: YOU. By the same token, there is only one person that you need to please with your decisions: YOU. We can often become so worried about the opinions of others, and about pleasing our friends or family, that we don’t pursue the things that make us the happiest.

Now, while I’m not at all saying we should disregard the opinions and feelings of those around us, I am telling you that you have the right to do whatever makes you happy. Those who truly love you will be by your side even if they don’t agree with your actions, because they want you to be happy – in whatever way, shape or form that may be. In my life, I’ve done a lot of things that people haven’t agreed with, but I am happy to report that I still have all my friends and family beside me…and I hope that will continue to be the case.

josh-applegate-327763.jpg

What’s hard when you’re as open as I am is that you open your life and relationships up to myriad opinions which, whilst being helpful, can often muddy the water and make it hard to listen to yourself and what you want. Moreover, I’m the sort of person that needs to vent when something bad happens, which can sometimes heighten the negativity of a situation and make it hard for others to see the good in a situation or person. Now, whilst I’m not saying that I exaggerate these situations, or that I turn a blind eye to bad events, there can be a snowball effect when you add others’ emotions to yours, which makes it hard to add positivity back into the narrative.

So what can you do in this situation? Well, I’ll give you the advice that my chiropractor gave me whilst cracking my bones: ‘In tough situations, your best guide is your gut instinct. Your heart can be fooled sometimes, but your gut will always tell you to do. That’s why you can’t really follow what others tell you to do – they don’t have your gut. Of course, some people won’t like what you’re doing, your parents might disagree, but if they love you’ll they get over it. They’d rather hold their tongues than push you away and upset you by interfering too much’.

I hope my life continues to prove him completely right.

kevin-delvecchio-273275.jpg

 

Love Is The Drug

‘THE LATEST: Love is like cocaine: The remarkable, terrifying neuroscience of romance’

That’s right, love really is the drug. In the above article, a scientific study likened the chemical reactions that occur in your brain during drug addiction to that of being in love. And it totally makes sense. The rush of falling in love is euphoric, much like a high, and even when it goes wrong, you’d do ANYTHING to get another hit. Your brain blocks out the bad, and forces you to go back for more, no matter how deep the hurt was. I’d truly suggest you read it, because it’s fascinating.

freestocks-org-126848.jpg

I’ve seen this pattern in my own life. I fall in love. It’s amazing. Beautiful. Then I get hurt. For a while, I swear that I’ll never do it again, never fall in love again and go through that pain. Soon enough, however, I’m searching for my next love fix, just like a junkie after a hit. When I find it, my brain dons its rose-tinted glasses, papers over any cracks, and ignore any red flags in a potential partner, so desperate am I for that rush of warming chemicals again.

Don’t get me wrong, the rational part of my brain is still working deep within during this time. It desperately calls to me to keep my eyes open, not to fall so fast, and tells me that I do not need the love of a man to validate me. But an addicted brain has powerful powers of avoidance. It will do anything it can to silence the rationality, just so it can get it’s next fix, and that’s where the danger can come in. Blogging has become so useful for me in this way, because my writing out my feelings, I’m able to unearth that rational corner of my brain, and force the addicted part to read what’s right in front of it, and not just go blindly into situations that may not be right for me.

michael-mroczek-199379.jpg

Friends and family can also be useful in reawakening your sensible side. As outsiders to a situation, they can help you avoid falling deeper into a love addiction that could be harmful to you, and provide the shoulder you need to cry on through the pain of addiction and/or getting clean. By the same token, however, the success of getting over a love addiction lies in finding the strength within yourself. By developing that power inside yourself, you will have a powerful resource to take you through the rest of your life, and you won’t have to rely on others – they’ll just be an added bonus.

The articles I’ve read recently just go to show how powerful a force love truly is, and how it actually physically (and chemically) affects our brains and the way our bodies function. Whilst I truly believe that we can’t help who we love, feeding our rational mind as we fall can help to avoid some destructive situations. So keep your friends around you. Write. Walk. Work out. Meditate. Whatever it takes to truly get in touch with yourself, and actually listen to your thoughts and what they’re trying to tell you. Love can be incredible, just don’t forget to ask your heart to buy your brain a ticket for the ride too.

andrik-langfield-petrides-270368.jpg

Heartbreak Healing

I read an article the other day, where it stated that a scientific study has found that heartbreak can be as painful as a heart attack, and how one can actually die from it – and I totally believe that.

I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have not gone through much debilitating physical pain, but I have had my heart broken, and that hurts like a mother. Now, I’m not writing this because I’m currently experiencing that pain –  it’s quite the opposite really. I’m beyond happy,  so I thought I’d talk a little about how I found ways to cure that pain and get back to happiness.

There’s a reason it’s called heartbreak: in that moment, you can physically feel your heart splitting in two, and it’s hard to breathe (in my experience, anyway) – which leads me to my first step….Breathe. It’s the most basic of bodily functions, but often the best thing to do in hard times is to go back to basics, and focus your mind on something simple and repetitive – in this case, breathing in and out. This helps to regulate your pulse, ease the nausea, and stop the lightheadedness, which are all common side effects of a heartbreak.

tim-goedhart-334149.jpg

Next, call or text someone you’re close to. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is especially applicable here – hearing a friendly voice will serve to further calm you, and they’ll remind you that you won’t be going through this alone. If you can face it, actually seeing friends or family face to face is even better: hugs have been scientifically proven to calm us and increase serotonin levels in our brains (which will be in short supply during a heartbreak). So hug it out.

In the days, weeks and months post-break-up, the best thing you can do is to keep busy. Cut all contact with your ex – I’m talking block and delete their number, Facebook, Instagram, the whole shebang – and get out and see your friends. Go for brunch, watch a movie, get out in the fresh air, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. Remind yourself that there are a whole heap of people around you that still adore you.

Nevertheless, however busy you are, don’t block out the pain. In order for it to pass healthily, and not fester and grow, it needs to be confronted and dealt with, however you can. Take it at your own pace. If you need to have nights where you put on some Adele and cry your eyes out, do it. If you need a Saturday morning of punching a pillow, go for it. But then move on with your day – don’t sit in that feeling. See your feelings as aeroplanes arcing through the sky: acknowledge them, listen to them, but then let them go. There will still be a trace of them left behind, but over time this too shall fade. It’s not an overnight process, however, which leads me onto my biggest piece of advice…

photo-nic-co-uk-nic-170887.jpg

Give it time. I could insert a 1000 quotes here along the lines of ‘time is the greatest healer’, not to be trite, but because they are all true. Everything in life in transient – remember my post about the ‘ebb and flow’ of life? Well, it’s applicable here. Nothing is here to stay, not even the pain of heartbreak. So take it one day at a time. One step at a time if a day is too much. But just know that just as the time passes, so too will your pain. Little by little, it will drift away, until suddenly your 6 months down the line, looking back at that heartbreak and seeing that you made it through.

It’s an unfortunate fact that you cannot experience love without experiencing heartbreak – that’s just the ying and yang nature of this thing we call life. I could write 100 blogposts about how to cope with the pain, but the truth is nothing and no one is going to get you through it but yourself, and time. But I’ll tell you this, if heartbreak can come, then so too can your next love. If pain can knock you for six, then strength can come to fill it’s place when it dissipates. Take it from someone who knows – you will get through it, and you will not be single for the rest of your life. Your douchebag ex just left your life to make way for your Prince Charming 🙂

azrul-aziz-14815.jpg

 

Ebb & Flow

I’ve been thinking a lot about the illusions that gradually fall away as you reach adulthood. The first, and most profound in my eyes, is realising that your parents are *shock horror* HUMANS TOO. They are not these god-like beings in your life – they’re just like you or I, they feel like we do, and they too have flaws to embellish their attributes. But secondly, and what’s been most prominent in my life recently, is how friendships you thought would last forever can fall away as the years pass.

dylan-gialanella-45728.jpg

When we’re kids, even teenagers, there are some friends that we feel will be with us for all of our lives, no matter how much you might bicker. When we’re at school, friendships are fairly easy to maintain – you see them almost every day, you share so many aspects of your life, and the realities of the real world haven’t come bounding in just yet. The changes start to this state of affairs start at uni, when you realise that friendships, no matter how close, need effort and communication to thrive, much like any other relationship. Still, for those friends you’re truly close with, that’s not an issue, and the links remain.

Something shifts, however, when you hit your mid-20s, and journey towards 30. It’s a time of immense growth and change, and one that will inevitably affect the closest relationships around you. For me personally, it’s taken me until this point to really come to terms with who I am as a person, as an adult, to accept and love her, and it’s also taken me this long to find my path in life. I feel that throughout my life I’ve held onto various security blankets – be they my home, family, an actual blankie (don’t judge) or, as is pertinent to this piece, friendships. There have been certain friendships that I’ve held onto simply because they’ve been in my life for so long, and they’re familiar and comfortable. I’ve ignored problems within those friendships, or the reality that our personalities and paths are diverging, because I felt that losing them would mean I would lose a certain stability to my life. I’ve come to realise this just isn’t the case.

jens-lelie-15662.jpg

I first started pondering this last September/October, when a very, very close friendship of mine disintegrated. It was honestly one of the most painful break-ups of my life. As with most horrible separations, I didn’t think my life would ever be as happy as it had been again, or that I would ever find a way to fill the hole that she’d left behind, and I was devastated. I properly grieved. Fast forward a couple of months, and I was starting to wonder why I wasn’t in pain anymore, why I didn’t miss that relationship – and it came to me. We were different people. The pain didn’t apply to me, because we were simply chapters – beautiful ones at that – in each other’s books of life that had come to an end, and rather than be sad, I had to cherish and accept that fact, and move on.

Now, I don’t want this to come across as heartless, and as me simply washing my hands of her, but what I want you to understand is that you cannot and should not live in that pain. The nature of life is a constant state of flux, a constant ebb and flow, and the biggest lesson we learn (or need to learn) while on this earth is how to let go. Nothing on this earth is ours to own, or hold onto, forever – not even our loved ones. When you reach a point where you can be in the moment, appreciate it, then let it go, then you have truly grasped what we’re here to do, and how we’re meant to live. Now, that moment can be just a ‘moment’, or it can be months, years – the span of a whole relationship. I reached that point with that friendship that ended, and I’m truly at peace with it. It’s freeing, rather than being depressing.

oliver-pacas-191069.jpg

Since that happened, I’m much more receptive to signs that something it’s reaching its end point in my life, and thus the grieving period when this comes to pass is shortened, as the evaporation of a relationship – friendship or romantic – doesn’t take me by surprise as much. As I’ve come to know myself, and begun to figure out my path in life (it’s still very much under construction, though), I’ve also become more ruthless with who I give my energy too, and how I allow to affect it. There is no space for toxic waste in my life anymore, no matter how small it may be or seem. Policing your energy and who influences it is not easy, because there may be people who have been in your life for years, or even family members, that you need to remove from your energy field, and it will be painful. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna feel like you’re cutting pieces of yourself out, and you are –  to a certain extent. But try and look at it this way; it’s a wardrobe clear-out. Now, again, I don’t want to come across as a cold-hearted bitch, but I’m trying to explain it the best way I can – so bear with me.

We all have clothes in our wardrobe that we love. We’ve had them for years, they’ve been with us through good times, and their sleeves have mopped up our tears through the bad. However, they’ve got holes in them now, they’re a little faded and they just don’t fit us anymore. Maybe they just aren’t our style now, or they represent the ‘us’ from a few years ago, or maybe they’re just no longer with us through so many happy times – whatever it may be – but it’s just time for them to go. It’s sad to get rid of them, but you’ll always have fond memories of them, and they’ll go on to bring joy to someone else’s life. Now, you have two choices. Do you mourn those clothes forever, and vow to never buy new ones again because the pain of losing them is too great? Or, do you appreciate what they brought to your life, let them go with a smile on your face, and look forward to welcoming new ones into the space they once held? I know which one I’d choose.

shanna-camilleri-190745.jpg

Learning to let go has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, and I’m still learning. I used to genuinely fear people leaving my life, even if they’d treated me badly, and thus I held onto a lot of negative energy for much longer than I should have. As I’ve got older, however, instead of seeing these losses as terrible tragedies, I’m come to view them as inevitable parts of the human experience. In turn, that’s helped me to live so much more in the present, and to appreciate each moment all the more too. While there can be pain in knowing that nothing lasts forever, there is also joy, for no pain will last, and happiness is just around the corner.

 

Galeforce Goodness

‘You never know what’s around the corner – it could be everything.’

Life is a funny thing. I’ve come to realise that it works in such a random way, that you just have to trust in its timing and GPS, and that any attempt to control it will ultimately be fruitless. This has most certainly been the case for me this past week, and it’s had me thinking. Boy – it’s been a whirlwind.

Light Painting: FireStorm

Albert Einstein once said ‘Success belongs to the persevering’, and he couldn’t be more spot on. If this crazy week has taught me anything, it’s that the minute you feel like giving up – in whatever area of life that may be (work, relationships etc.) – is often the very second that your luck will change. Perseverance is often what separates the ‘lucky’ ones from the rest of us; that, and a dash of hope.

It can start as simply as getting out of bed tomorrow and taking a small step back towards happiness in whichever area of your life has been weighing you down. Take, for example, dating. You’ve had a string of bad dates, heartbreak and drunken disasters, and you’re just about ready to head to the cat shelter and do some serious shopping. But, instead of buying some new furry friends, wake up, and do something that makes you fall back in love with yourself. Do a yoga class, get your nails done – whatever it is – and remember that your dates do not reflect your value.

catherine-mcmahon-10118.jpg

Once you’re a little bit more back on track, remember that life is working with you, and things are not happening to you, but because of you. What I mean by this, is that in every instant, the energy you create and emanate is creating the life around you, and life can only work with whatever you’re giving it. Ever noticed that when you wake up tired, or on the ‘wrong side of bed’, everything seems to go wrong or annoy you? Or when you’re in a rush all the lights turn red? It’s not a coincidence. Negativity, stress, anxiety are emotional pros at transforming into negative events, and  life is just getting creative with the energy you’re giving out – there’s nothing else for it to use.

Now think about when something goes well for you. You get that ‘good morning’ text. You get that promotion. Suddenly those grey skies are actually dotted with bright sunshine, right? You get your coffee for free. Everything seems to be working out. Your energy is turning into reality, and let me tell you, life WANTS things to go well for you – that’s why positivity is so powerful. Even more powerful is the ability to live with that positive energy without expectation of anything in return. Life is yet to be created, so to expect (think of ‘expect’ in the sense of  ‘demand’, not ‘hope’ – totally different) great events is presumptuous. Instead, remember the rule of karma, and trust in it – whatever you give out will come back to you – and go about your days expectation-free, safe in the knowledge that you’re taken care of. Life is about creation, vibrancy, vision and hope, so when you exist in that vein, without expectation, the cumulative effect can be amazing. 

lori-m-sousa-24797.jpg

I know how hard it is to have hope. Trust me. The amount of times I’ve cried hot tears over school, men, work, life…everything…is innumerable. But, my one saving grace is that after I’ve let myself feel down and hopeless, I don’t stay there. My friends always comment on my seemingly endless ability to continue believing in love and dating after endless disasters and heartbreak, but that’s because the alternative is to live in despair, and have life forever feed off of that negative energy. That would get me nowhere fast.

So feel low. Feel despair. Feel sad. But then let these feelings go. You are in a state of perpetual motion anyway, but positivity will propel you through those low moments faster than tears and tequila will (trust me, I’ve tried it). It can be hard to find your rose-tinted glasses at times but, like any skill, it just takes practice, and with time it will get easier. Stay positive, relax, and just let. life. happen.

josh-adamski-116665.jpg

Views.

I’m back. I was MIA for a while because, as Sod’s Law would have it, the minute I made my commitment to go travelling, and started planning in earnest, work became super busy. I was also struggling with certain relationships in my life but, underneath it all, the desire to spread my wings was still burning  – so here I am.

ben-white-137375.jpg

In a way, I feel that all that’s happened recently has taken place to test my resolve. It’s as if life is saying ‘Oh, so you think you’re finally ready to go? Are you finally gonna put some actions behind your words? Well, let’s see..’ And you know what? I truly am. Being busy at work is great, but I’ve realised there will never be an ‘ideal’ time to leave to go travelling. I just have to do it. To that extent, the planning is now back in full force.

Another factor that’s helped confirm my feeling that I’m on the right path is that I’ve now got a few travelling buddies to accompany me on certain parts of my journey, and I couldn’t be happier about that. As I’ve mentioned before, I find it incredibly hard to not only be away from home for long periods of time, but also to do so on my own. If I can take a piece of home with me, (preferably in the shape of a friend), then it will make the travels so much easier. I used to be ashamed of admitting that I didn’t like being away from home, but I’ve come to realise that that’s just a part of who I am – it’s what makes me ‘me’, and I accept it wholeheartedly.

cathal-mac-an-bheatha-208192.jpg

So. Back to the planning. At the moment I’m planning a mixture of self-planned travels with friends, and guided tours/expeditions, which I feel like will give me the best of both worlds, and help me to experience lots of different places and situations. The most important thing is that I want to be surrounded by people, and get properly immersed into different cultures, rather than just being a traditional tourist. From learning Spanish for so long, and studying Aztec/Inca/Maya culture at uni, I feel an immense pull towards Central/South America, hence why they’re at the top of my list! Pinterest pictures just won’t do anymore – I want to see it for myself!

All in all, my excitement for my travels remains just as strong as ever. It can be so easy at the moment to fear the world, to want to stay in the safety (as relative as that is nowadays) of your bubble, but as long as you’re vigilant, I don’t think we should let the actions of a few affect our plans. The only way to stop more barriers, physical or figurative, being created is to leap over them yourself, and see what’s on the other side.

Until next time…

sophie-keen-215085.jpg

Blooming feathers

Some very interesting things have happened lately.

Work had been quite quiet recently; I had my regular steady stream of clients, but not many new ones. Since I’ve decided to go travelling, however, the tides have suddenly turned. I’ve had an influx of students and business opportunities, my LinkedIn is poppin’ (just like Lil Mama’s lipgloss, circa 2008) and extra hours of work. At first, despite being happy at my new success, I took this as an ominous sign – am I not meant to go travelling? Is this a sign to stay and grow my business? But, with a little more time, I’ve seen it differently – this is all working towards me saving up and having the time of my life travelling, and I couldn’t be more excited.

austin-schmid-37423.jpg

In a similar way, the boys have been buzzing around my milkshake in the yard (I’m really on my early ’00s vibe tonight). I recently decided that I was spending too much energy looking for love, and instead chose to work on myself and my travel plans. Lo and behold, the minute this decision was made, old familiar male faces appeared out of the woodwork, popping up to say ‘hey’ and see what I was up to. In the past, I would have dedicated my time to reigniting flames with certain people, but now, this turn of events has only gone to show me that keeping busy building your best life is one of the most attractive things you can do.

Both of these sudden shifts have gone to show me that my decision to take the travelling leap has brought a lot of good energy into my life. In that vein, I’ve been throwing myself into planning my trips, and I’ve adored every second of it. My preliminary itinerary is something like this:

Dec/Jan – Central America

Jan/Feb – South America

Feb/March – Australia

March/April – New Zealand

April – Bali

sebastien-gabriel-13681.jpg

Obviously this is all dependent on travel partners/tour groups I go with, and of course my available funds (eek!) but I’ve done some really good research into the best times to go to each place, and I feel pretty content with this plan so far! I want to add Fiji in there somewhere, but that might have to wait until later in the year. Just making the lists of the top sights to see in each place has had me wanderlusting all over the place, and dreaming myself out of my Surrey bedroom – I can’t wait!

Not only has the planning been a light in a busy tunnel of work, but it’s helped me get my head out of Cupid’s clouds and focus solely on myself, and what will be best for my growth. I finally feel completely confident in my decision to go off travelling, which is in turn already helping me to feel more settled in myself. I can feel the wings starting to bloom with feathers…

jaime-handley-44725.jpg

On fear & letting go

‘Change is never easy. You fight to hold on, and you fight to let go.’

I’m been thinking a lot about fear and letting go recently.  As I start to truly plan my travels in earnest, there has been a lot of excitement, but also a lurking sense of fear and trepidation. Although this is completely normal, and comes with the territory of change, for the first time in my life I’m truly taking time to sit with the fear, understand it and face it.

josh-adamski-116665.jpg

All of my life, I’ve adored my safe little cocoon of home. It’s comfortable. It’s happy. It’s familiar. Only recently, however, have I come to realise that my fear of leaving it is not so much ‘fear’ in itself, but the fear of letting go. As anyone in my immediate family can tell you, I like to be in control, I like things done a certain way, and it find it hard to let situations that upset or anger me lie. When people leave my life, be it a best friend of 14 years, or just someone I’ve been on a few dates with, I yearn for the reasons ‘why’ and struggle so hard to let them go without answers. This has always been with me – I still can’t ride a bike to this day because I am too scared to let my feet off the ground and trust that I’ll be okay. And that’s exactly how I’ve felt about travelling, until now.

Now, here’s a little warning: I’m going to get a bit spiritual. So, if this sort of ‘hippy-dippy’ shit is not for you, then I urge you to skim past these next few paragraphs, and continue reading unencumbered by my spiritual sentences. A few years ago I went to see a spiritual teacher, as I had a few questions as to possible sources of my behaviour in this life. It was eye-opening. One of the areas I focused on was attachment, and my fear of letting go and, to cut a long story short, the struggle reaches lifetimes ago. Through past-life regression I learnt that I’d been abandoned in various ways and forms in my past, I’d been left on the streets, I’d been beaten by those I loved, and I was carrying this pain and fear into this lifetime. I referred rejection. I feared loneliness. It made so much sense, not only in my fear of leaving home and my loved ones, but also as to why I end up in relationships time and time again where I get SO much less than I deserve.

hailey-kean-111977.jpg

The ghosts of our pasts (and here I refer to the recent, and more distant, past) can haunt us if we choose not to face them. It’s easy to forget that we are not just solely ‘humans’ living a life where spirituality is a choice; we are spirits and souls living a uniquely human experience. We bring each lesson, scar, and memory to each life we incarnate, but when we bury them beneath human experience, they are destined to repeat themselves until they’ve made themselves heard. The confronting of these ghosts is what first brought me to the practice of meditation – of not only connecting to myself (and past selves) but also simultaneously grounding myself in the here and now. You see, another source of my fear surrounding travelling came from fear of the future, of the unknown. It came from not living in the present. It came from pain rooted in the past that needed to be dealt with and moved along, so I could live in the moment. In happiness. If you focus on the entire climb, a mountain appears insurmountable, but if you just approach it one step at a time, you’ll soon reach the top.

deniz-altindas-38121.jpg

With this in mind, although planning my travels has brought up fear of the unknown, fear of leaving behind the familiar and fear of losing certain relationships, my approach to the fear has changed. I enjoy the process in its present form, rather than worrying about its future. I enjoy spending the afternoon, coffee in hand, researching the best places to visit in Central America, rather than worrying if I can spend months away from home without longing for my own bed and blankie. I have fun hanging out with my girlfriends, rather than stressing about whether the guy I like will turn out to be something more and I’ll have to leave him behind come January. I enjoy the now. I don’t fear the then.

Little by little, I’m learning to find peace in letting go. In loosening my iron grip on life. Because as hard as I may try to mould it to my will, life in its essence is fluid and constantly changing, just as we are. If we spend every second fearing what will happen if we let go, we’ll never experience the freedom of freefall. If we spend every second searching for someone to love us, we’ll never learn to love ourselves truly and wholly. And if we fear leaving behind the familiar, we’ll never experience the wonder of the unknown.

joseph-barrientos-11131.jpg

The Voice Within

To start this post, I want to share a quote that really resonated with me this week:

“Nobody can understand you, no one will ever really get you. Give up trying to get them to get you. You’re not going to make them understand. You cannot explain yourself to anybody, because nobody can get your point of attraction, and the harder you try to explain to someone who’s not getting it, the less you will BE who you are.

You let them train you into THEIR awareness of you. But you don’t want THEIR awareness. You want YOUR awareness of you. Your warm, loving, appreciative, wellbeing version of you – the one that your inner Being holds and tends to, the one that knows and flows to you.”

dingzeyu-li-773.jpg

Whenever something big happens in your life, be it an event or a decision you’ve made, the people in your life will always be there with opinions and comments in hand. And that’s great. You want a peer group that takes an active interest in your life, and is on hand for advice and guidance. However, there is a limit to how helpful this advice is, and to how much it should be internalised, simply because they are not YOU.

When I was younger, people’s opinions really mattered to me – as they do for most youngsters figuring out the world. I wanted to be liked, and I also thought others were more intelligent than me, wiser. I didn’t go down certain paths because of the opinions of others, and choose different ones because I thought it would gain me a wider circle of friends. Even up until recently, I compromised my standards and values in relationships because I was so desperate to be loved. But no longer.

mayur-gala-487.jpg

This quote struck a chord with me recently because I’ve entered a period of unrest, of uncertainty, and of pondering and decision-making. Often the hardest step of starting a new chapter is the actual decision to start  – that takes some bravery. Nevertheless, after this comes the onslaught of chatter from those around you, ultimately sending your head into a little spin, and making the way you just chose hazy once again.

That’s where this quote really comes into the fore. Listen to the comments. Handle them. Let them ruminate. But do not let them become your way, for your way is unique and can only come from you. There will be people that will question your plans or your actions, people who will tell you the best way to do them, and people who want every detail of the road you’re yet to travel on. As these arrows fly onto your newly polished shield of determination, use the armour of self-certainty to protect yourself. Not only do you not owe anyone an explanation for your actions, and such an explanation would only go so far anyway, as no one will ever understand you like yourself.

igor-ovsyannykov-217315.jpg

Whilst some may thing this is a bleak notion, I find it entirely freeing. Gone are the days when I felt I needed to have a bullet-pointed list of reasons I was making certain plans to present to any question-askers. I now know that doing so is time wasted; time that could be spent making my plans a reality. Bring clarity and action to YOURSELF. Explore yourself, and your own reasoning for making certain decisions. Junctures in life such as the one I find myself at are made specifically for this purpose – to make you face yourself and discover little corners and crevices you never knew were hiding inside you. What could be a more thrilling adventure than that?

As I begin to plan my travels, and actually totally rethink my aims and goals in life, I’m learning to take more time to sit and connect with myself, and less time worrying what other people will think. As I mentioned in my previous blog, my one biggest worry has been my Dad – he’s always found my changing of paths to symbolise a lack of determination and motivation. I worried that he will consider my travelling an excuse to get out of working, when actually it’s the complete opposite – I’m going travelling to help me discover what it is I really want to do, and to come back with a renewed vigour to do it. But, as is the point of this post, he will not ever be able to truly understand it, so I cannot worry about something I cannot control

roya-ann-miller-28639.jpg

So, if you’re at a point in your life where you desire change, new challenges, or some new scenery, consult the most important voice and decision-maker in your life – YOU. If you spend your life worrying about the opinion’s of others, or following in their footsteps, no move you make will ever be truly fulfilling, because it was not truly made with yourself in mind. The future is fluid – you can bend it to your heart’s desire, but only if you move forward with passion and conviction! So GO!