Tag Archives: life your life and love it

Following My Fear

Simons Town Lighthouse

The grip of fear. It is something we all feel at times and it literally chokes the zest of life out of us and keeps us standing still in a thick bog of self doubt at times. Can you remember the last time you felt that way? Are you there right now? I certainly am.

It is the madness of my mind that one day I can be full of life and belief that anything is possible and then, the very next day, nothing is possible. Suddenly I am standing in a smelly, wretched bog of fear and my creativity has flown away into the distant sunshine. How does the mind play such tricks when nothing, absolutely nothing has changed to cause that fear to rise in the first place? That alone is a reminder of just how powerful a tool the mind is if we harness it correctly. It certainly is a master of chaos when left alone.

So, I am standing in the middle of my fear at the moment and, as the mud is seeping into my boots, I have been struggling to set myself free. I have been fighting against my fears, wriggling this way and that to get away from it in a fit of huffing and flailing arms and then giving up until I get my breath back. I have been feeling lost and unsure of which way to turn to rid myself of this state of mind.

But then it occurred to me this morning what the real problem is. Instead of allowing my fear to exist and following her to see why she is here I am fighting her. Since when did fighting get any of us anywhere other than into trouble?

I need to stop that right now. Instead of fighting my fear I am going to allow her to sit there quietly next to me and see why she is occurring in the first place. Fears are based on irrational lessons we have learnt at some point and, to our subconscious mind, those fears make sense. Perhaps by getting to know my fear instead of batting her away, I will set myself free. Perhaps simply by knowing that it is okay to feel fear, by allowing her to sit quietly at my desk as I write and watch as I show her an alternative life of joy and laughter, fear will in time settle down.

When fear loses its significance and power over me and becomes an acceptable, perhaps welcome, visitor I can transform her. I can mould her gently into something new that need not hold me back as I pursue my dreams in life.

 

Fear can become my friend, my way of knowing when I need to look deeper to heal old wounds.

Isn’t it sad that we allow our fears to hold us back instead of them being a tool of discovery and investigation? Each of us has fears, whether we choose to admit it or not, and we hold ourselves back from our true power and beauty in life by sitting in the shadow of fear. We all have dreams we didn’t pursue, talents and passions we thought were second rate and not good enough to be shared. How different would the world be if each of us allowed ourselves to shine and let fear fade away?
That is my work at the moment, allowing myself to reconnect to my peace and begin to shine again in my own small ways. I am starting with a healthy dose of play this weekend amongst nature, my favourite breakfast and a reminder that I am doing my best to transform. I am trying every day to follow my dreams fearlessly, I am trying to make a difference and it is okay that right now I feel a little lost as I stomp about in the bog.
Today I am going to sit in my mud pit of fear, eat my marmalade on toast and raise a big steaming mug of English tea to the sunshine. I am going to make it a comfortable place to be, hope the mud doesn’t ruin my clothes and see what the day brings.

Inspire Me

Endless Light and Love – Life is so ironic

Prose over Bros – Relax

Miss Centsible – Speak quietly to yourself

Totally Inspired Mind – Do It badly, do it slowly

Bourbon Tea – Hooray for play

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The path that is true to you

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This week I have been reminded of the importance of following my own path and creating a life that has meaning for me.

It is all too easy to get caught up in others expectations of what they believe to be right or wrong in life, success or failure in our endeavors, and to make life choices based more upon others than upon ourselves. I should know this, as I spent the best part of a decade living in a way that I thought I ‘ought’ to, that I ‘should’ do for the benefit of society and it wasn’t right for me. That chapter of my life didn’t contain the fulfillment of my own dreams or wishes, it contained mostly me trying to find acceptance at work, with peers and at home by conforming to their ways of life. Throughout it all I forgot one simple fact (that is true for each of us) – I am unique. I had absolutely no sense of self or belief in me and I spent my days trying to blend in as a sheep in my relationships, my career and home life. I said ‘yes’ so many times to others demands and opinions that in the end it made me miserable and I became destructive within a reality I had created and yet did not want. There was nothing wrong with that life as such, I had a lovely home and career and I met many wonderful people, but it wasn’t the path that is true to who I am. I always knew something was missing but assumed it was me being greedy and dismissed the niggle in my mind. I ignored the loneliness I felt inside.

 

I had blinkers on and I didn’t realise that there could be another way to live that would be more fulfilling for me. I had no idea that there could actually be a way in which my opinions, my likes and dislikes, my dreams and aspirations actually mattered and were worth following and voicing. No matter how wild and outrageous they seemed to my fearful mind and to those around me who laughed at my creativity and at my habit of daydreaming in meetings. I thought everything would stay the same because I didn’t know how to make a change.

 

And then I read this quote two years ago. It gave me a huge wake up call.

 

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Actually it really does matter, more than anything else, that we LOVE wholeheartedly what we do each day. There is only ever right now in life and there is absolutely no point in delaying following our dreams for some other time in an unknown future, because there never is that tomorrow. We work hard and we bank our lives for a retirement that may never happen and some of us spend years miserable at work because we hope it will be worth it. What if you die before even reaching that age? Will delaying your dreams and working so tirelessly at something you were not passionate about have been worth it? Of course not, for it never is. We only have now to take a risk and make a change, to have a positive impact, in this world. We only have now to smile, to laugh, to love and to be thankful for the incredible gift of life – and to do it justice by following a path that is true to each of us. For only then can we spread more happiness across the globe and impact positively upon society.

 

The world doesn’t need more money, more order and people worked to the bone in jobs they hate. The world desperately needs more people that have come alive.

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The death of my mother shortly after her retirement highlighted all of that for me and it is in her honour that I strive to live a life that has meaning for me every day. I was absolutely terrified when I walked away from a well paid and stable career a year and a half ago to pursue what a lot of people dismissed as a low paid, pointless adventure that would go nowhere. In my time overseas I have worked extremely hard at times, I have often felt the fear of ‘what on earth am I doing?’ and yet I have never laughed more and that is because I love the path I am on. I have learned more about myself during the past month than during the past thirty plus years of being me. I have discovered a drive and passion I didn’t know existed, found my spirituality deepen and found abilities and talents within myself that I had failed to even notice before. Oh and I have also realised that no matter how many times I work on a boat I will always get sea sick. Damn.

In spite of injuries that have left me a little bit broken and still recovering a few months down the line, I am truly excited about the future, about today, and leaping into the unknown is bringing me such joy. I may not be earning a great deal (yet) and yes I wake up in cold sweats wondering how I will make this work but I am creating my charitable cause Friends for Sharks and I am proud of that. I am writing articles and books that I hope will propel me forwards (more on that in the months to come) and that I hope will inspire others to follow their dreams fearlessly. I am living proof that, whilst it isn’t easy at times, taking a leap and following your dreams is absolutely worth it and anyone can do it.

I wouldn’t change a moment of what I have done and I urge you to take a step towards the dreams that set you free. Do it right now and smile all the way.

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Life Zipped

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As I packed each item into my suitcase, I thought about the past year and how my life has turned around. In went my socks and I reminisced about the steps I have taken, both literal and metaphorical, towards realising my dreams. How I arrived in Cornwall just over a year ago, a tired shadow of my former self, due to events that no longer matter. In that year I walked forwards and believed I could create a life that sets my heart and soul on fire. In that year I learned how to believe in me as I walked with my head held high to the sunshine, to believe in who I am and to dream.  In went my scuba diving equipment and, as I felt the flex of my fins, I was reminded of how I have pushed myself hard to overcome my fears. I never imagined I could become a scuba diver, I cried my way through my first diving course. Now I am on my way to becoming a professional instructor. Yes I still have my fears but they don’t own me. They join me on the journey and teach me compassion and empathy with others.

In went my five t-shirts and oh how I laughed…I realised each one has a picture of a shark on it. I was reminded of how privileged I am to be going to work with my beloved sharks. I have dreamed of this moment since I was a little girl aged four taking a shark book to ‘show and tell’ at school.

Hat went in next. ‘Hat’ is a wonderful creation of wool and fleece and he has kept my head warm across the world for the past eleven years. I am reminded of the laughter and love that Hat has brought into my life. On more than one occasion he has been loaned to people in need of warming up and started friendships and conversations I treasure.  I am reminded of the love I confessed as I looked up with Hat on my head. Who knew that moment was on the way, that I would be so lucky as to find, feel and express something so beautiful.

My Ipod, my laptop, my journal and my creativity are all tucked deep into my bag. Last year I didn’t even know I had a voice to share. I hadn’t the courage to write a blog, to sing for others or to consider painting or playing the piano as things I could do. I look back over the year and smile as I see I have found and expressed myself within each one. Through the artist inside me I have discovered my voice. I have set myself free.

I gently placed my small collection of crystals; my rhodochrosite, my quartz and fluorite in their place. I added my two miniature woolly Airedales and other personal treasures. These are my reminders of the goodbyes I have said, the tough times and the reasons of why I am doing this. How through my own losses I will burn more brightly, I will set the sky on fire with my passion and I will give it my all to make a difference to other peoples’ lives.

As I zipped my case closed, I stepped back. I took a deep breath and I dusted off my wings. I flexed them ready for flight. As I looked at my world, condensed into a suitcase, I realised that none of this would have been possible were it not for the people that have believed in me, inspired and supported me, shown me what I am capable of. There is so much goodness in this world that we don’t appreciate or even notice. Do you realise the difference each of you makes through your words, your kind gestures and actions? It is through a thousand small actions of yours that I am here today, ready to fly free. It is thanks to you that I can step forwards and smile. Thank you. This is for you.

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Always You

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It is Mum’s birthday today, something which won’t mean a lot to you but it means the world to my family and I. Our mum is the glue that draws us all together, especially at this time of year, as we remember her unique gifts, her tranquillity and love of life.

An old colleague of mine once told me that when you lose a parent you are changed forever and that, if you are not careful, you family fractures apart. He was right and I can’t deny that losing a parent is utterly heartbreaking. It is a path we must all walk and it is something we all dread, a painful scar that each of us has to carry on our hearts. A scar that can break open and leave you raw and bereft when you least expect it. It brings you to your knees. But what the expectation of such a loss and the grief fail to capture is that which lies beyond losing your loved one. That for every tear cried, for every moment where you fall to your knees knowing you won’t see your dear friend and confidante again in this life, there is a reason to keep on living. There is a strength that comes from walking through your grief with your friends and family by your side to dry your tears. There is a compassion towards others that grows within your heart from knowing how it feels to lose a part of you. There is an understanding of how short and precious life is. What I am trying to say is that there is always a reason to lift your face to the sunshine and be thankful that you have life. You have a chance to wake up tomorrow, to tell someone that you love them and become the very best of who you are. To live on, inspire and lift someone else that needs their tears wiping away. I have been reminded of that today by the love my family and friends have shared as we pulled together once more and celebrated Mum’s life.

In the time since we lost the light of our family, we all changed a lot. My beautiful sister and her family made their dreams of a country home and rural lifestyle come true through their hard work and determination. My wonderful big brother and his family had the courage to move overseas and start a new life on the other side of the world, the sun shining down on them. And my ever strong Dad is rebuilding his life as we speak and in so many ways that I can’t put it all down on paper. I am so proud of them all. And me, well I had a bit of a rocky time with losing my fiancé and career, letting go of my dogs. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I am building my future, following a lifelong dream of moving overseas to work with sharks.

My colleague was right in that losing a parent did fracture our family but not in a negative way. Instead of lying down and giving up on life we all stepped back, took time to grieve and then put our best feet forwards again to life. We pulled together, held one another up and despite the geographical distance remained very much a family. It isn’t easy and there are days when I crumple and miss the open arms that comforted me when life seemed hard. The wonderful, magical laugh of Mum’s that made me smile from ear to ear. She had a wicked sense of humour and a sparkle in her eyes that lit up our world.

But you know what? It has been worth getting up each day when the world seemed full of darkness, just so I could remember those moments. So I could grow a little more. It has been worth it for the opportunity to practice becoming a better person by trying to be more like Mum. She was a truly beautiful soul and, with that in mind, I will leave you with my favourite memory. To me this says it all about how each of us could be a little more thankful for what we have and see the beauty in the simple things that make our lives so precious.

I remember one New Year’s Eve before Mum was ill, when the family were all together to celebrate the start of the coming year. We had spent an evening eating good food, laughing and sharing stories, playing games. It was noisy, fun and colourful and then this one question left us all silent. The room went quiet as we pondered the most appropriate answer. What would we choose to be? We took it in turns to answer as we drank our wine and came up with choices such as ‘I’d come back as an eagle’ or ‘an oak so I could live a long time’. Basically each of us went for the grand, the long living, powerful choices. My Mum, she simply said she’d come back as a chaffinch. A regular garden chaffinch, because they were pretty and had a nice life living in her garden, eating bird food from the table and being in the sunshine.

May each of you take a moment today to appreciate the view from your bird table and smile.