Thursday, 26 June 2014

Real beautiful

Some days there are so many revelations and insights that I don't know which one to write about. Or the story is so big that I think it'll take too long to tell - and I don't want to bore you. And sometimes I just want to share it all...but I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.

These past few days have been like that.

So rather than 'not post' because there's too much to post about, I've chosen to share this one quote I read that had quite an impact on me.

The issue of perfection is one I struggle with as you know. And it's been on my mind a lot this past week - how to shift the beliefs and habitual patterns that have me acting in judgemental and self-punishing ways.

I was sitting at the hair dressers, flicking through a magazine that had been left on the bench in front of me. I can't remember who said the words I am about to quote but I know it was a make-up artist. She was obviously talking about the wearing of make up but I took it as the beauty within.

"I don't like anything too perfect.
I think we're most beautiful
when we look real."
What struck me was the idea that beauty - true inner beauty - isn't perfection - it's being real.
Your true self.
The real you.
Honest. Vulnerable. Authentic.
When I read this quote my idea of perfection was again shattered - for the better.  I can honestly say that being real matters more to me than being perfect - whatever that is!
So I'm kicking perfection out the door for good - no more demanding unattainable ideals about myself or ridiculous expectations loaded with 'should'.
The crazy thing is that deep down I already believe that being authentic is more beautiful than being perfect - I've just always applied to others...never to myself.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

So long longest night

It's the 22nd of June.

The day after the Winter Solstice - the longest night.

In Friday's yoga class we paid homage to this very special event. Our divine yoga teacher explained that this is a time for celebration.  From the darkness and reflection comes renewal and rebirth as the sun once again emerges to brighten our days, our existence, our life.

Goose bumps.

Relief flooded through me when I heard her speak of such things, and a sense of hope was instilled within. I felt like my long dark night of the past few weeks was over.

I was also reminded that we are light and dark. The goal is not to eliminate one aspect and illuminate the other, but to allow all the parts of us to exist. Yin and Yang. Masculine and feminine. Active and passive. Giving and receiving.

And I'm happy to say there's already been a shift. No longer is winter something to endure.

Since our enlightening yoga class on Friday I intend to pay homage to the increasing sun, no matter how gloomy the weather may be, and all that it represents - light, opening, awareness, growth, love, possibilities.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

More than a feeling

I have this thing about hearts.
I love them!

They're hanging off things...

and decorating things...


They remind me to love.

I also love the word love.

I wear it...

I see it...


It too, reminds me to love - to feel love and be love.

The other day I was unexpectedly invited to see love differently. I was searching on my mobile for more of Louise L Hay and stumbled across this author. This was the screen I got...
Make love a verb.
This notion of love being a verb is not new to me. Several years ago I toyed with the idea of making another card set, this time centred around love. It was to be called Love is a verb.  Because love is more than a feeling - it's also a verb; a doing word. Our actions - our 'doings' either stem from how we are feeling or how it is we want to feel.

Lately I have been focusing on 'feeling' love but not necessarily following through. This jolt from Cheryl Richardson reminded me to turn the 'feeling' into a 'doing'.

Funnily enough, the actual lesson wasn't about 'doing' more love for others - I already do plenty of that!  It was about the love I need to 'do' for myself - cos I know I definitely don't do enough of that.

Monday, 16 June 2014

I now see clearly

You know how all you need is love, well since that wake-up call I decided to immerse myself in the love that is Louise L Hay. She has been a firm favourite for over 20 years. I dip back into her books time and time again - her wisdom always spot-on in its strong yet soothing way.

I have a deck of her Power Thought Cards on my writing desk. I consult them when I feel overwhelmed or stuck or when I just need a gentle push toward positivity.

Thursday was one of those days. I held them close to my heart and then shuffled them while thinking about the difficulties associated with my physical pain. When the time was right I drew a card at random. This was it ...

I willingly forgive. I breathe love into my vision, and I see with compassion and understanding.
My clear insight is reflected in my outer sight.

I read it over and over, hoping it's powerful message would soon sink in.  I see clearly... I see clearly. I really wanted to see clearly, cos I felt like my head was in a fog. Nothing was clear. Just a lot of confusion. I got on with my day which saw me deteriorate - the pain and distension proving too much to bear. An early bed-time beckoned - I couldn't wait to fall asleep to escape the discomfort.

Friday morning came. I woke and did the first thing I always do - checked-in with my belly to see if it had eased.
Verdict : minimal. I was devastated.

I showered and while the house was still quiet, made a cup of tea and sought refuge at my writing desk. I wrote my standard three pages and then sat pondering what to do about my 'belly situation'.

The cards called.

I picked them up, re-read yesterdays card one last time before adding it back into the deck and then started to shuffle.
What am I going to do about this?
What do I need to do about my belly?
What is it I need to know?
I asked these questions over and over, praying for the answer to my debilitating situation. The shuffling eventually ceased. It was time to 'choose'. I separated the deck, my fingers following the sage's subtle voice advising me how and when.

Just one card she said... Here is what I drew...

I couldn't believe it . 60-odd cards and that was the one I got! Obviously my question had indeed been answered the day before and I just hadn't taken it in.

Thursday, I thought it was about my vision - my picture of what I wanted my future to look like. Friday, I read it and read it until I realised what it actually meant. My vision - my sight...the thing I see with, NOT my vision of the future! And then I realised - it was about seeing myself and my situation with love and care - compassion and understanding. Not through the eyes of a perfectionist fault-finder who was always so quick to judge and condemn herself.

And then it really sank in - the card's message became crystal clear: I needed to look at myself and the past choices I had made with compassion. With love. I needed to understand that everything I thought and did came from the need to protect myself ; to stifle the fear. I no longer needed to beat myself up for the choices I had made - I just needed to see myself differently; clearly ; compassionately.

I started then and there, unpacking my old suitcase of beliefs and behaviours but for the first time ever, gently and with kindness. This was the beginning of me finally forgiving myself.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

No end to learning

Last week over a cup of tea, a dear friend asked me about the self-development road, wondering will it ever end. I contemplated this thought, my answer reflecting the reality that we all live with - 'stuff happens'. Life is full of loss. There will always be suffering. And so, there will always be 'stuff' to work on, work through, process, unravel and make peace with. That's life.

After our cuppa I raced home to start cooking dinner. I noticed that I hadn't yet revealed Monday's wisdom from the fridge door - you know the little calendar I have?

I was actually two days behind! Have a look at what came next...

This is what I was eluding to when I answered my friend.
That life is all about learning.
There is no end to it.
And nothing is wasted.

Monday, 9 June 2014

All you need

It's been a big week.
A lot of sleeping and resting in bed recovering from a little procedure I had last Tuesday - hence the long gap between posts.  I knew I was feeling better last night when I started thinking about what this next post would be.  
There's been plenty of  reading and revelations these past few days - too many for one post! So I will share the one that shook me the most.
Saturday morning I woke feeling quite upset. There was still too much pain for my liking and I was struggling with some old beliefs that had resurfaced. Negative beliefs about lack and unworthiness. The kind of nasty beliefs that can keep you imprisoned in a world of fear where your choices stem from trying to prove that you're 'enough'.
I got up for breakfast and was laying on the couch when my phone dinged. It was an email notification. It said I had sent myself an email. I hadn't. I was still half asleep! I opened the email. This is what I saw...

I was stumped.
It blew me away.
How did it get there? And who had sent it?
I called out to my daughter. It was her. She had made it for me on the iPad and somehow sent it through : ) 
I don't know if she sensed my despair or if it was just a case of perfect timing. Whatever it was, it was exactly what I needed.
It's true - ALL you need IS love. But how easily we forget.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Seek on!

Sunday was just another day...another day of dealing with pain.
Persistent consistent debilitating abdominal pain. The kind of relentless pain that seems to have no end.

I spent most of the day feeling miserable. And wishing it was different. Very different. This I know creates more suffering. Suffering on top of suffering. I gave in to it for a change, and practised 'easy does it' to the point where I spent all day in my favourite pyjama pants. I rested. I read. And I read some more - the seeker desperately searching for something to hold on to, some hope when she felt like there was none.

And just when I felt like giving up, just when I was feeling fed up with words - which rarely happens as you can imagine - I saw this...

It was just what I needed. My anguish and turmoil was transformed as a sense of peace and hope washed through me.

Everything IS possible, to those who seek and persevere.

I love this man's work. His words are truth and love and empowerment.

And just look at the book's title...

LETTING GO of the person you used to be. Shut up!

I had a little surge of enthusiasm, the seeker in me wanting more. I threw caution to the wind and sent my beautiful daughter to the bookshelf to find another of Lama Surya Das's books, knowing that which ever one she picked would be the right one. I knew there were a few to choose from but she couldn't find any at first. Eventually she came to me with this...

But this time it wasn't his words that struck me. I haven't looked at this book for at least year, but check out what was in there - this affirmation card lodged between two pages marking the place I had last visited...

 Again - just what I needed to know.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Then I went looking for the book on mandalas

Remember how Thursday was all about the kangaroos and the butterflies, and how I went to the library to pick up a reserve and then went searching for a book on mandalas? ( I know it's a lot to take in, but bear with me ...)

Well I eventually made my way to the 740s - the home of the the mandala book. I crouched down to find it and in the process discovered  Leunig. I took in an awe-filled breath. His work has touched my heart many times over the years. This is the book I saw...

I was so excited to have stumbled across this collection!
And I did what I do - I opened it randomly, and this is what I got...

It probably won't mean anything until I tell you that that exact picture is hanging on the wall near my front door. Four hundred plus pages and that's the one I opened up to.

And guess what else? Take a closer look its message...

Remember my post from last Thursday about letting go?  Well the very person who gave me the print was so inspired by that post he made me a bunch of badges to honour that post's message and dropped them on my front doorstep Tuesday. This is them...

Gena...I said to myself... for goodness sake, let go !!
I have been, as you know from that post last week.
But there must be more to let go of... to let out, to let unravel, to set free and let be a path on which I can travel.

A few things come to mind today... I need to let go of fear, especially the fear that messes with your head and stops you from going after what you want. I need to let go of judging and criticising and punishing myself for stuff I did and didn't do in the past. I need to let go of worry cos it takes me out of the present and into a future which doesn't even exist. How ludicrous! There's no room for joy when I'm doing any of that. No room for peace. Or contentment.

No room for love.

That print has been in my life for almost a year (Thanks Eddie xx) I walk past it daily - countless times. And I can tell you it's already had a positive impact on me -  it reminds me to keep on that journey of unravelling and let it be the path.

It's not easy, but is anything that's really worthwhile or valuable?