Happy Birthday Me!

Yes it is today. And its a sunny morning, the birds are singing and its spring. So much to be grateful for as I ease myself gently into allowing more joy and love in.

What am I feeling? Happy and scared too. Fear seems to accompany joy for me at the moment, and success too. Pushing past familiar blocks to new territory. I feel fear and that is alright. Compassion and understanding.

I do feel open to a new story, one less weighted on the struggle, conflict and strife side of life. More joy naturally, fun with new friends, mutual commitment with my partner and relaxed with my increasing success.

I feel anxiety right now. In my throat. My mind wants to jump all over it with reasoning, looking for problems as it likes to do. I just want to send myself compassion and ask it with a spirit of curiosity what it is telling me. Maybe there isn’t a problem. It may just be that here I am starting to do well again and get above of debt and struggle into the potential to be well off. Wealthy even. I am curious about what that would be like. I imagine it will be interesting. I have been struggling financially for such a long time, it has become my normal. And normal is a sort of comfort zone, even if it is uncomfortable.

So what am I doing to usher in this new era? I am gathering a support system around me.

  • Going to Clare’s self compassion and authentic connections group.
  • Going to the monthly woman’s meeting, women I was on a course with
  • Just completed a 6 week goal course with Aga and 2 other women
  • Attending the Women in Business monthly meeting
  • Having a once a month Skype session with Cate the life/business coach
  • Having a once a month session with a transactional therapist

I am making new friends and contacts through these activities and I feel less alone. I have let go of many friendships the last few years and a void was left which is now being filled with healthy positive new people.

So what else can I do to expand on this good feeling of connecting deeply with positive people?

  • participate in the online groups in between meetings, nurturing others and myself and developing friendships
  • suggest a meeting with one or two of them outside of the groups
  • look for further meet ups
  • meet a nice man on the dating site!
  • maybe consider letting go of further old negative friends to make space, instead of clinging on as I do, to friendships that don’t really work for me now.

I experience difficulty letting go of people even if the friendship is not working, is one sided, or characterised by a repeating negative story. I notice that this conflict has been a theme in my life. Falling in love with unsuitable characters then being in a perpetual state of conflict about it. I have a couple just now that don’t quite work. Both highly damaged people with immense struggles against addiction and depression. And it is like listening to a stuck record. One expresses anger and hopelessness a lot, and complains all the time. Its the same with watching negative shows in TV. I just watched the first episodes go the 2nd Handmaidens Tale with lots of gratuitous violence and torture. This is maybe a sort of self sabotage I wonder.

So today what is happening?

  • going to see a potential new client
  • getting my nails done
  • visiting the men at the 4 jobs underway
  • sending the new price to next weeks new client
  • birthday dinner tonight
  • listening to a motivating audiobook in the car
  • driving the car slowly, one more chance till I lose my license
  • maybe start a new garden design

Filling my days with people who inspire, bursts of hard work that take me in the abundance direction I want to go, being patient and as loving as possible with myself and everyone I meet, engaging in self care healthy habits, listening  to uplifting music and audiobooks.

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Dare to Wish

To wish for myself and intend the very best that life has to offer. I went to a goals course recently and I noticed that I felt embarrassed and ashamed of actually wanting to improve my life situation. And saying it out loud was even worse!

I am staying with this discomfort and having a rummage around with curiosity to see what is there. I notice beliefs popping up. Such as ‘don’t ask for more than you have, it’s greedy, others have it much harder than you, be grateful for what you have’. ‘Ambition is dangerous, it might lead me away from my values’.

Yet I would still like to live in a beautiful house, with space around it to grow things in a quiet area. I see that it isn’t wrong to want that. And I am very grateful indeed for what I have at this moment at the same time. It is not a sign of ingratitude or greed after all to want to improve my life circumstances, the two are not mutually exclusive.

I wish to be free of being short of money, the worry and anxiety of bills needing paid that I don’t have the money to pay. I have largely eliminated this, though recently due to having to pay back £30k to a client, I’m back there, struggling again.

And aware that I create this situation. I forgive myself and understand that moving into the new territory of love, joy, abundance is terrifying at times, and the pull back towards struggle, conflict and hardship is something I need to watch out for.

So some affirmations.

  • I allow myself to receive and I enjoy receiving
  • I feel much joy and happiness
  • I allow myself material abundance
  • I allow myself to be loved
  • I love myself
  • I feel free
  • I enjoy taking responsibility for my whole life
  • I spend time with positive people who want the best for me
  • I do not make excuses
  • I am honest with myself
  • I am kind to myself

The Choice

Long lie on a holiday Monday, what a joy. A long sunny day in a beloved part of the country with a friend yesterday, and lunch outdoors. Also a joy. A refreshing rest from business concerns.

Then I get up, and notice as I do that somewhere in my mind I’m working out what to focus on. A problem pops in to my head, and another, then an appreciative thought about the quality of life Im experiencing right now. The phone goes, I feel a twinge of anxiety. Who dares to burst into my private day off. I listen to the message, it is.

Anxiety twinge again, someone else wanting me to do something. I allow the anxiety, acknowledge the feeling of it. I see I don’t have to let it weave some story and build on itself with associated thoughts. Back to appreciation. Gratitude. Just noticing that I’m experiencing happiness and joy recently. And noticing that I’m afraid too even in that joy. It’s taking me into the immediacy of experience, being in it, allowing it. Unmasked.

I am worthy I say to myself. I feel safe. I give myself the gift of kindness and patience as I enter this new world. I am able to navigate change with ease, even with the doubts present about that. Even while allowing this little scared part of me to feel afraid. It is not the whole story though, and I see how I am so large and expansive that there’s room for allowing every feeling in here. When I remember the love that is my true nature I feel big enough to contain all, allow all, admit all and accept. And it’s okay even if some feelings are uncomfortable. It doesn’t last. Especially when I acknowledge the feelings kindly and give them a little space to arise within. They pass on.

So I’m getting used to this new happiness and success I’m experiencing, and the fear that arises with it. I don’t have to sabotage the positive developments. I can notice and welcome them as they arrive, and let them go too. No need for aversion and no need to try to cling on.

“Learning to contact and provide safe passage for those parts that are terrified of healing is an act of profound kindness and mercy. In ways that are paradoxical and bewildering to the mind seeking control and the maintenance of the status quo, this radical act of befriending all parts of ourselves is what makes true healing possible.

Our avoidant strategies—those historically configured ways of organizing our experience and staying out of too much vulnerability and the nakedness of unguarded immediacy—arose to serve a very specific function, to protect us from overwhelming anxiety that threatened the survival of a ripening little brain and nervous system. ” Matt Licata

10 Ways I’m handling New Territory

Yes I’m constantly finding myself in new territory as I continue on this journey of learning to love myself completely. I watch as anxiety arises often and a part of me looks to grab something familiar. This new territory is an increasingly positive place to occupy, and ironically it is this very positivity that is alien and because it is unfamiliar, it can be scary.

I have to be very very kind and gently with myself as I navigate further into the land of joy and love, and away from a life of constant struggle, pain and sabotage. I am going beyond the familiar and I regularly have to take steps to comfort and reassure myself.

Here are 10 actions that have become part of my everyday life. Many of these are tiny little actions, and I have found that the smallest step towards self care can help lead to establishing new habits

  1. I go to bed early and hug my pillow at night as I am going to sleep! And I have the best sleeps ever since I started that a year or so ago.
  2. I buy myself flowers often to make myself beautiful. When I see them in my room the colours cheer me up and I am reminded that I am worthy of having the most beautiful space possible.
  3. I mix with new people and attend groups or courses at least twice a week. At the moment its a goal setting group and the self love club.
  4. I ask for help and support when I need it. A coaching session or two, a therapist, a business coach, (and sometimes my mum!).
  5. Regular walks in nature, submerging myself in the beauty regenerates me, I forget myself for a while and it makes me feel at one with the universe
  6. Eating really good quality food – occasional treats allowed!
  7. I take rests between work activities and I listen to what my body needs so I lie down when I am tired and work when I have the energy.
  8. I read and listen to empowering encouraging books and audiobooks (on Learning to Love Yourself by Gay Hendricks right now)
  9. I write lists of what I am grateful for in my life and lists of what I love and appreciate about myself, or what I have achieved if I want business encouragement.
  10. I do things to help others, to circulate some of the abundance I am enjoying. I feel good about myself when I do this.

Coaching Session

I looked up an old coach I had from about 4 years ago, and it was SUCH a positive experience. As I was updating her on where I and my life and business are at, I saw just how far I have come in 4 years since we last talked.

Back then, my business was in a desperate situation, close to bankruptcy and I was very stressed wile enduring an HMRC investigation (they found nothing in the end).

She was curious about what was going on now. I told her about how much money I have been making these last 4 years and how certain dysfunctional relationships have disappeared from my life. She asked me how I did all that and I explained.

I discovered self compassion and learned to love myself. The desperation I was in 4 years ago led me to take radical measures (thanks to the courage of desperation!) and really dig into the cause of my continual struggle and strife financially and drama in my relationships. I got help. I did courses in Self Compassion, and learned to apply it. I read books like Gay Hendricks book The Big Leap repeatedly. As soon as I realised that my self worth was low, I took action to learn to love and look after myself.

Automatically and immediately my reality started changing. I stopped undercharging for my business services. I let go of people who were not good for me. I started out on a new path into fresh unexplored territory. I cleared my debts. I bought an apartment after a lifetime of renting. I stopped smoking and hardly drink at all now.

This is a current process I am still very much engaged in. I attend a Self Love club on Thursdays, I go to happiness and self development courses. I invest in making these messages my new reality. I mix with positive people. This morning in bed I sent myself some messages of love and compassion and encouragement. I hardly ever have inner criticism now, and when I do hear the voice of the inner critic, I let it know gently that I hear it, thanks, and let it go. I don’t make a meal out of its input and I don’t fight it either.

I write regular lists of what I feel grateful for, and what I appreciate about life and about myself. I listen to empowering audiobooks in the car instead of the news.

I do still get stressed, and my life is hard at times, with the weighty responsibilities of running a business and employing 10 people. But now I know that I can nurture and calm myself through the hard times. I have learned to be kinder towards myself and my failings. I am in new territory now, and moving further into it.

I get scared at times and feel alone, and this is why I looked up my old life coach, for support and encouragement. And I finished the session with her feeling so energised.

 

I am so grateful for all the support that is there when I need it. Support from myself, from my family and friends, from therapists and coaches and people who write great books….and here this place to and you who read my posts, thank you!

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To my Sister

Last night once again the bad punk Susan spotlight was turned on me. I go along with it usually as it was a celebration of powerful assertion for me for the most part. It is fine to an extent until inaccuracies enter the conversation which they often do when alcohol is involved as we have very different stories, memories and different experiences of childhood, and possibly different reasons for even discussing it.

I wont have a conversation now about how awful I was back then without rounding out the whole picture. I was trying to express something important last night, and I didn’t feel heard at all and ended up going into more detail than was necessary about mums behaviour.  Mum has said her apologies to me and we have a peace now but its painful to her to be reminded about how she behaved.

I have no memory of teaching you to draw a swastika, but even if I did and its very possible being into Tibetan mysticism back then who the nazis adopted the swastika from. But you and I both know that I never supported nazis, Hitler or was anti jewish in any way and by bringing it up in front of everyone at the table one of whom doesn’t know me well, there was an inference that I did.

You have often done this sort of thing in company, is it to shock or embarrass me, I never really understood it. Alcohol is always involved though, you never do it sober. The same goes with some things I have told you in confidence which you like to reveal or jokingly threaten to reveal in company. Maybe you like that I have done some pretty shocking things, but I prefer to decide who I share them with, and its not family usually. You asked me last night if I’d ever been approached by a lesbian, knowing fully that I had, you remembered an experience that I had forgotten about. I don’t feel comfortable discussing any part of my sex life in the company of family. I am really enjoying the direction we have been going in recently and would like it to continue like that. I would like you to be more careful about what you say!

I was expressing last night that the angry punk persona was my way of protecting myself, and expressing the fury I felt at the long term physical and emotional abuse from mum. I feel you don’t really get my experience of childhood, your was very different.

I feel compassion for you all and towards that angry teen I was and I have forgiven myself fully for being the rude, unfriendly character I was for a couple of years. I know it wasn’t easy for you all, but at the time I didn’t feel much loyalty to any of you really. I had a sense of betrayal growing up in that family and didnt feel anyone was an ally really, the only person who ever took my side or stood up for me as a kid was Gaga (who used to apologise to me for mum’s behaviour, that helped me recognise that I didn’t deserve it).

I remember many times as quite a young kid looking at dad pleadingly to intervene and he walked away every time even though he knew, and worse, I could see he knew, that it was wrong what was happening. He supposedly had such a strong sense of right and wrong. I was angry with him that he didn’t say anything even though he knew it was unfair that I was being blasted for nothing I had done. She she was furious with him, hardly ever with anything Id done. Such aggression was abhorrent to him and he wanted away from it understandably, and fled for the sitting room. And left me to take it. Only once did he ever try and intervene and his words were ‘Sally, come on now’ in a low rather unassertive tone when she was having one of her outbursts at me. I loved that, but it didnt work and he walked away to hide as usual.

I wouldn’t have expected you to stick your neck out for me really, you were even younger and it was scary stuff and you must have been afraid of the potential of having her vicious attention turned in your direction. Totally understandable. You did try and offer me comfort when we were young kids. I have many memories of you waiting for me  sitting at the top of the stairs. I would run up crying with the red handprint which we would both examine and you tried to offer some sympathy and care. I was too upset to really acknowledge much or receive it. You probably didn’t even witness a lot of what went on either.

I never felt safe in that house. I became hyper vigilant from a young age for sounds, listening out for signs that her temper was rising after their arguments. I’d notice how noisily or not she was putting away the cutlery, or laying the table or doing the dishes – these were clues which alerted me to potential coming danger. I was terrified of her anger. I never knew how she was going to behave, and I knew that her anger could arrive anytime with no cause for it from me. And there were the endless tearful guilty apologies after and big hugs and ‘I love you so much’. I felt stiff as a board during those hugs. And also there was a constant confusing confiding in me about what a bad guy dad was, how I would end up with someone like him, and the expectation that I would comfort her in her regular tearful hysterical states and behave like her parent or carer.

That was until I stood up to her at about 13. I took my power back in no uncertain manner and that was a time of asserting myself, in a way a celebration albeit highly traumatic too. I had the confidence at last and the physical size to stand up for myself. I wasn’t going to be a victim any more, and after that was all over with I felt a lot safer knowing that she wouldn’t dare to come near me aggressively again. I had turned the tables on her and she was afraid of me. I made sure that she knew not to dare say a single angry critical word to me, or shout at me or tell me what to do.

I maintained a very unfriendly demeanour around the house. I was retraining her to behave in a much more careful way towards me, to even tread on eggshells around me, otherwise I would bite her back and it would be very unpleasant for her. She didn’t like that at all and attempted to crush my little rebellion many times before she stopped hitting. I used to joke later on with my friends that I’d retrained my parents to behave themselves while they were still having to put up with crap from theirs, mine by then were leaving me alone mostly.

I took on an angry highly defended persona which punk was perfect for expressing. And she did learn to behave with more respect and most importantly to value harmony with me eventually. I did this by making it extremely unpleasant when she turned any anger on towards me. But eventually at a certain point the unfriendly defensive behaviour could be dropped as it wasn’t necessary any more. I didn’t need to be so aggressive to protect myself. I could relax and the anger had run its course.

So you see, it wasn’t just as simple as Susan all of a sudden arriving one day and turning nice, there’s far more behind that myth of a bad person suddenly becoming a good one overnight. I am to this day always very on edge though around her though, ready to stand up to any aggression which occasionally still comes out especially after a drink. But mostly we maintain and adult to adult interaction now.

You had a different experience of childhood in so many ways, assigned a different role to occupy and you stayed quiet, away from trouble upstairs in the quiet of your room at the furtherest part of the house reading a lot. Very wise. So you have different memories too and don’t share some of mine which is why at times you question my memories as you did last night when you said you didn’t remember me being hit. This is troublesome for me, as people think your memory is generally better than mine, and it sounded like I was lying. I have diaries full of it and you were witness to it too as were many others, Una Steph too, dad.

Lesley reminded me recently of one such occasion that I had forgotten even, in the kitchen she witnessed when we were 13. Mum was hit me across the face and I shouted at her to stop hitting me and hit her back, it didn’t stop her and she hit me back, then I hit her back and this went on several times. It took maybe 5 or 6 occasions of hitting her back and full fights before she eventually stopped.

The way I rebelled was inevitable really, it was my way of protecting myself and stopping the physical and emotional abuse. It was something important I was sharing, a truth that hadn’t been told. I wasn’t planning on embarrassing mum with such detail, but when you said you didn’t remember me being hit, I felt I had to.

I have had years of therapy about this stuff. I thought for ages that I must be just a bad person, the ‘bad little bitch’ I was called so often by mum. I thought I deserved it otherwise why would I be treated like that by my own mum. And so I thought I must be unlovable and not deserving of my own or anyone else’s love. Why would anyone decent ever love someone like me, I wasn’t worthy of love. The consequences of that were played out in my life and my choices. I am clear now though that I didn’t deserve it, that I wasn’t a bad kid. I’m sad I was forced into having to assert myself in such an aggressive way, these are not happy memories, traumatic actually. I have learned now to have a much kinder relationship with myself over the last few and I wont be treated in ways I have allowed myself to be treated in the past. I like to be around those who don’t humiliate or behave in a way that isn’t respectful and loving.

I have faced mostly every bit of me positive and negative now, and I fully embrace both. I am fine with admitting to my faults present and past but I will not tolerate any attempts at old myths about me being resurrected. It suited our family for years to have me as the black sheep, the one to blame, the bad one…and others get to feel more virtuous.

Joy of the Ordinary

I would love to appreciate my life more. Ordinary, normal, every day life. Im haunted by the idea that in my twilight years I will wish I had appreciated my amazing health and mobility.

When I take the time to look at how we are walking about in these incredibly bodies on the surface of a planet it really isn’t ordinary or boring, its actually incredible how miraculous it is. And how much we have! But it doesnt take long for me to go back to getting used to it all and taking it for granted.

I was in the shower today wondering how much more I would appreciate each moment if I was told I was going to die, or told I was going to become paralysed at a certain date. I wondered how would that would change my perception of my normal everyday life?

Imagine you are given one month to live. Once you had processed and accepted that, what would every day be like?

Would making a cup of tea become a hugely enjoyable experience where you would revel in the joy of having boiling water at the click of a switch, the sounds of the water going into the cup, taste? Would I appreciate everything so much more? Would a walk through flowers in the park become an ecstatic experience? Sitting here alone here, would I start to enjoying even that more? Is this a pointless hypothetical exercise?!

My friend B was paralysed from the neck down last year. I visit him every few weeks and witness the excruciating predicament he is in, nearly constant pain and discomfort, cant do anything much for himself, needs help to even go to the loo or eat or drink. And the others in his institution, all with various high dependency conditions. I do have a good time with my friend and he does too, we laugh and chat and cry and share our life situations. His is so much harder though of course, and my problems seem measly in comparison.

So these people cant do all the things we take for granted, eating a meal, going to a restaurant, making love, walking across a room to make some tea, a walk on the beach, having a shower, get dressed themselves even.

I just wish I could appreciate so much more the joy of the ordinary.

How to do this? Take the time to notice everything, and breathe into each and every experience. I am experimenting with this.

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