I am happy.
My heart is light and full of joy. Everything around me is beautiful and my life feels truly blessed. I feel deeply connected to my true self, to the people around me, to nature and to the Universe (whatever that means).
As my previous blogs show, this is not always the case. To be brutally honest, it was not often the case over most of my life. Yes, of course I had many happy moments, joyful days, blissful times – but rarely were they just there for no particular reason. You know, just there happening during a normal day, with nothing specific to trigger them except an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for being alive in this moment; for this life that I’m blessed with. The joyful moments usually happened because I felt I had ‘achieved’ something. This joy for nothing particular is not normal to me.
This year though, I’m experiencing this lovely, loving state much more easily. It’s like I can take a deep breath and step into it, like stepping into a sunbeam streaming through the window. This ‘skill’, ‘ability’, ‘gift’, ‘talent’ whatever it is, seems like it has just appeared overnight, like a present bestowed on a small child after she spent a year wishing to the stars for it. It feels wondrous, miraculous yet also so normal and easy. A small voice in my head is asking: ‘Why haven’t I been able to do this before?‘
But it didn’t just happen. It has come from a life of striving, of searching for my own truth. It’s something I’ve been working on for years and years and years. My diaries when I was 13 were full of soul searching, and have been ever since. This soul searching has brought me to my knees several times when I’ve been in dark pits of despair because I knew that there was this truth out there for me to reach, but I just didn’t know how to. All this soul-searching was eventually soul-destroying.
Because when it comes down to it that’s what I’ve been searching for. My soul. My truth. Myself. Me. The ‘true’ me.
And I could never give up. I could never settle for a ‘normal’ life, and do what was expected. I had to keep searching for my soul because it was dropping clues that I needed to live life and love life my way, that I should follow this dream forever.
However, because my ego has been in charge all of my life, I never befriended my soul. I kept searching and longing to find it inside me, but I could never really get it to stay around long enough to recognise it. My ego would always come in threatening this new friendship and persuading that this sparkly new life was too dangerous. So although I occasionally I got to dance with my soul, my ego always put it back in a cage where it was protected by layers of armour and heavy chains.
Just in case.
Just in case it got out and people would see it.
Now, though it seems like I have found it. We have yet to get to know each other well, but we are friends. What have I done differently to finally be reunited with my soul? (Wow! – it feels a bit weird to write that. A bit woo woo. But what else do you call that inner part of you that is really you, untainted by the demands of ego?) Over the last 6 months I have done 5 things that have helped me to reconnect to my inner self. I didn’t know at the time that these were the answer, rather I knew that it was a case of ‘I’ve tried everything else, this is really my only choice now.‘
Here’s what I did.
I Let Go
I finally let go of who I thought I should be. This shadow self who has been with me for as long as I can remember. I had to say goodbye and release this wonderful woman who has been almost in my grasp for over 30 years. I fought it til the end, resisting, resisting, resisting but deep inside (my soul) knew it was the right time. So I took off my armour and showed my naked self to the world. No, I don’t have a business. No, I’m not ‘doing’ anything at the moment’ (apart from the not-so-small job of looking after 3 children), ‘No, I’m not sure what I’m going to do‘ ‘I’m a mum‘. This is me and I am proud of myself. This is me, and I’m OK.
I had to admit to the world that this was me. I am a mum and a wife. And that is all.
Sounds simple doesn’t it, but it was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I am very proud of myself for doing it. Finally. About bloody time, Thea!
I Started REALLY Writing.
I have been writing on and off since I was 13. Getting things out onto paper really helps me make a sense of my world. It’s the way I express myself. I’m an introvert who thinks a lot and words are my love, my drug, my medicine, my enduring pleasure.
Last September on my birthday I decided to start writing everyday. I chose to write Morning Pages, as recommended by my coach Joanna Martin and by legendary writer Julia Cameron. And boy did it open me up! That 30-60 minutes everyday grounded me and showed me to myself as nothing has ever done before. I felt connected to myself and the peace (though often fleeting) that came with is was manna from heaven. Essentially it woke me up.
I Used my Mindfulness Skills
Did I mention that letting go of who I thought I was meant to be was hard? Yes? It was. Because my ego came out to play big time since this shadow self was it’s biggest weapon, and it definitely didn’t want to say goodbye to it. Any time it felt threatened it just had to wheel out this ‘perfect Thea’ and off I’d go into self-hatred and Should Land. So I battled my ego with awareness and kindness. I allowed myself to be scared and imperfect and to be me, by showing myself compassion and completely leaving judgement outside the door. Judgement has been my constant companion, like, forever, so I was quite happy to see the back of him. I never judge other people, so why did I give myself such a hard time?
Being mindful of what I was feeling, and why these feelings and thoughts came up, while also being non-judgemental and compassionate is the core of mindfulness. I used these skills to get me through the resistance, vulnerability and nakedness of freeing my true self from it’s heavy armour.
I Got Outside in Nature with Music
I chose to be more active this year. I stay in my house too much so I made myself go outside. I take my headphones and music and go walk outside. It’s been nothing short of amazing for me. It loads me up with inspiration and connects me to the world, to Mother Nature, even the Universe. It has made me feel like I’m not alone, but instead have a gournded link to the earth through my footsteps, but also a strong link of light up into the trees, the sky and whatever energies are beyond. This is where I feel like I can channel joy and energy and motivation. This is where I feel it. It’s becoming like a temple for me. I haven’t been out today and I’m getting ‘itchy feet’ so to speak.
I Said Thank-You, Thank-You, Thank-You
I have long believed that Gratitude is the foundation of happiness, because happiness cannot be accessed without it. (I am giving it a capital G on purpose!) Writing gratitude journals is a great habit to have because it does get you in the habit of noticing what you are grateful for each day. But this year I’ve stepped things up a little. I’ve said Thank You out loud when good things happen. I’ve danced around the kitchen table with my arms in the air saying Thank You to what ever is ‘out there’ (if anything at all) for providing me with such wonderful things, feelings, experiences and people. I have smiled and laughed with gratitude and I have been humbled by it too, especially when it comes from my children. I lie in bed at the end of the day saying Thank You to whoever and whatever is listening.
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Written: In my office in the garden with a hot water bottle warming my feet, listening to Muse: Aftermath, The Globalist, Drones and Follow Me on repeat.