Sharing

One of the reasons I write this blog is to share my life experiences. It’s somehow akin to a diary but a little more than that too.

What I crave most is sincerity in the things that I both read and write. I’m really conscious about not writing like a pseudo-guru and pretending that I know everything.

You can’t really argue with someone’s experience though. If I share my experience and how I feel about it, maybe someone out there will connect with it in some way. It may uplift a person, or it may not. It may make someone feel less alone. And I think that’s what I want to achieve. A little less aloneness in the world.

The experience I want to share here today isn’t especially profound but I wanted to share nonetheless. I had my first Reflexology session on Wednesday on the recommendation of a fellow therapist on my Aromatherapy course.

The reflexologist I chose to treat me was lovely; calm, welcoming, friendly and I felt, very non-judgemental. I felt I was in safe hands. And she had a dog so that was another big tick on the positives list! After a consultation and a quick chat about GDPR (a necessity these days unfortunately), we went into the treatment room which was light, airy and cosy and had therapeutic, relaxing music playing at a low level.

I lay back on the treatment couch which was so comfortable. I was kept warm with several blankets on top of me and a cushion under my head. She began treatment which involved applying pressure to reflex points on my feet which are used to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism.

I felt tingly throughout my body and at times, I completely zoned out. I couldn’t resist asking a few questions as I’m intrigued about complementary therapies and their effects. She told me which parts of the body relate to the points in your feet and she was able to identify any issues I had based on how my feet felt to her. Some areas were grainy or tight which told her I needed assistance in that place.

By the end, I was so relaxed and I could easily have fallen asleep until the morning! She told me about the issues she’d found and how I could help myself heal or feel better. One thing that really stood out for me is that she said I’m still holding a lot of grief and emotion. This rings so true considering that I rehomed my sweet , sweet, beloved cat last year, and my Nan passed away. Two losses that really affected me to my core and that I’m still struggling with now. I’m so glad I had this session to draw this to my attention as it’s something I’ve been burying because I haven’t wanted to deal with the emotions.

Now I feel, though, that it’s really important for me to process these feelings so I can move forward. It’s highlighted that I’ve stopped using my self-care strategies that I’d really worked hard at and it shows. My self-esteem needs re-building and the only way I can do that is to love myself deeply. No more surface level bullshit. I need to get back to the real deal.

So this is where I’m at. Learning to love myself again. There might be someone out there who feels the same and needs to re-learn the lesson. Remember, you’re not alone. We’re all just doing what we can and it’s ok to fall- that’s how we learn to pick ourselves up again.

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And a Happy New Year!

I’ve just returned to work after a glorious ten days off and boy, did the early morning rise hit me hard today!

I’d got used to waking naturally when it was light outside, taking my time in the morning and doing only what I felt like doing that day rather than living in my usual routine way. It has been glorious!

The whole holiday period has been delightful. My Love and I have spent some real quality time together, pottering about the bus, chopping wood, doing some DIY (sister bought herself a drill to go with her toolkit! Ask me to put up ANYTHING!) going for walks in the woods and having no agenda.

We had the kids stay with us at different times over the Christmas period. I’d had Christmas stockings made especially for all of them, with their names stitched on each and filled them with gifts. They loved them! I love surprising people and making them feel special and I think that was achieved. We both loved having them to stay. They’re great kids; I like them a lot.

Christmas Day itself was a really simple affair. We visited Dad in the morning then came home and spent all day chilling and eating and watching movies. A JOY. My Love gets a bit antsy if he sits still for too long so he did a few ‘bus’ things to keep himself occupied as well, but overall it was a really laid back day. Just what we both wanted! No fuss. No drama. No people. Just us.

New Year was seen in a similarly chilled way. A delicious dinner, a movie and we were asleep by 11.30! We both work really hard and for long hours every day and so when we get some down time, we usually just like to go to bed early and be together. Another facet of bus life- simplicity.

As with every new year and like most people, I like to think about what I want to achieve in the coming year. I hate the phrase ‘New Year’s Resolution’. One, because it’s so mainstream and two, it has so many connotations. If you make a resolution but don’t achieve it, you have somehow failed. I rather just like to think about how I want to feel. This year it’s strong and free. I have some solid goals such as completing my aromatherapy course but in myself, I want to strengthen myself physically and emotionally.

2018 was one of my biggest years to date. I went through so much change in such a short period of time. I experienced love and loss and grief and I lost the habit of checking in on myself and caring for myself in a concrete way. 2019 is the year I get back on track in that respect; becoming my own friend again.

So a big happy, strong and free new year to everyone! I would love to hear if anyone else has any goals or a focus for this year. Let me know in the comments below!

Bus Life

I love how everything about bus life has a process.

It’s very different to dwelling in bricks and mortar. It encourages, nay, forces you, to consciously think about the impact you have on the world around you.

You think hard about how much water you need to use because you know that you’ll eventually have to refill the water tank which is a 45 minute process. The water doesn’t simply come out of the tap- when it runs out, you have to unravel your hose, attach it to the outdoor tap over the way, trail the hose across the grass, put it in the tank and leave it to fill up for about 30 minutes. Then once it’s finished, you have to detach it, wind up the hose on your arm, return it to it’s place and rewind it round it’s hanger.

As the weather gets colder and the nights are darker, we have to plan when we’re going to chop wood for the wood burner so the bus doesn’t get cold. We need a constant, dry, supply available. We need coal on hand so that the burner stays warm overnight and we don’t freeze when we get up in the morning. 

It’s about remembering to always, always make sure the gas is turned off when we’re not using it.  

It’s about not having a surplus of “things” on the bus because we simply don’t have space for them. Every inch of space is valuable. We are constantly reinventing ways to hang things, take up less space and make more space available.

For me, these are the best things about bus life. I feel satisfied knowing I’ve put my time and effort into filling up the water tank and making water available. That together, we gather and chop wood so we can make a fire and cosy up with each other, feeling all toasty and warm in the evening. That we have everything we could possibly need in life- not more and not less. 

My very favourite thing is the evenings that we eat our dinner by the fire in our backyard; a glass (bottle!) of wine in hand, we eat, drink, chat and cuddle. Wrapped up in layers and staring into the fire until it dies down and we head back onto the bus to watch a movie. This is what I love about bus life.

The Light Creeps Back In…

Since writing Grief, I had to really take a step back and start practicing the nurturing self-care that I’m always encouraging others to do but rarely do myself.

I spent more time at home, my happy place, and My Love took a load of “things” off me so I didn’t feel any additional pressures that were making me feel worse. He cooked for me. He hugged me when I cried. He reassured me. He loved me. I’m so thankful for him.

Being in nature has been immensely healing. Connecting with my surroundings, finding stillness and taking a breath. I wonder now how I spent so long living in a city, but maybe that’s why I appreciate nature more now. Nature is medicine.

I can see the light now. The heaviness has gone, the darkness lifted.

I still have to remind myself that I’m human and it’s normal to feel low when we go through difficult times in life. Maybe it’s because my younger days were so hard, I don’t want to feel anything other than safe and happy. That’s not realistic though. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s a journey and we’re all doing the best we can with what we know at the time.

Grief

Grief is fucking hard. It has knocked me sideways and left me feeling like I don’t know who I am or how to cope.

Grief doesn’t care if it’s inappropriate to cry regularly at work or whether I would like to not be feeling these feelings. And so I resist which makes it worse. If I could just sink into it, let it feel it’s way through my body, mind, emotions and my life, maybe it wouldn’t feel so strong. But along with grief, I feel fear. I am scared I will always feel this way. I’m scared my chest will always feel tight or that I’ll cry every day for the rest of my life. I know this will change; it has to, but right now I’m in the thick of it, I’m in the dark and I can’t see the light yet.

I keep thinking: something in my life needs to change. I feel like I can’t find space to feel the grief because I’m always commuting or working or just DOING and where is my time to be and to feel? I am tired and I need time to rest and breathe and heal. Modern life doesn’t allow this I think. Or at least the life I’ve created.

I don’t feel like myself and yet, I’m exactly myself. Myself in grief. There’s a part of me now that isn’t the same as it was before and never can be. But that’s a natural part of the process, right? If these things don’t change us then what have we learnt?

What I’m learning is: let go. Don’t be afraid to fall. You are safe. And you will survive.

New Life

My last post was back in February and I had just been to Morocco with a group of girlfriends. Life changed pretty quickly from me being a London Person to being a Kent Person and I really wasn’t sure what to expect or how my life would be moving forward.

Well, let me tell you… leaving London was the best decision I ever made. I now have a man that I love with all my heart. He makes me laugh and he makes me feel loved. I’ve been on a juicing retreat in Portugal, a climbing holiday in Vallouise, France with said man. I’ve started teaching yoga again. Life is moving in the direction I’ve wanted for so long.

That’s not to say it’s been without difficulties. My grandmother passed away two weeks ago, 15 minutes after the end of her 91st birthday. She had been in a hospice for a few weeks due to chronic kidney failure. She went peacefully in her sleep which is all anyone can hope for in death. A peaceful passing. The hospice was absolutely incredible. I’ll take a chance here to mention Hospice in the Weald. Everyone there, from volunteers to nurses to doctors to any other staff member, made my Nan and our family feel welcome and cared for. Her room had a view of the gardens and a pond with a waterfall. So calming and beautiful. Nan is at peace now, no longer in pain and no longer on goodness knows how many types of medication she was on before entering the hospice.

There have been other challenges that have knocked me sideways and I’m trying to accept that life does that sometimes and you just have to roll with it and look after yourself. I’m just grateful that I have a man that I love, a job, a roof over my head, and wonderful family and friends. Living in Kent has made me realise that I like the simple life and I don’t need much to be happy!

I Suck

Well that title could be taken many ways couldn’t it! Or as my friend’s friend would say: “zat is what she saaayyyyyssss” (a French take on “that’s what SHE says, with the emphasis on “says” and not “she”).

This is one of my more borington posts but I really, really suck at writing consistently. I nearly forgot I had a blog until I commented on one of my favourite bloggers posts and it highlighted my own.

Life updates: I’m now a country dweller! I no longer live in the City of London, I’m officially a Kent-person again. I love commuting from work back into the calm, quiet countryside and I’m enjoying having the best of both worlds. Some things that I’ve noticed since moving back home are that I can hear birdsong – clearly – in the morning when I wake up and that it’s noticeably colder in Kent than it is in London. Buses turn up when they turn up and they don’t accept contactless payments. We’re spoiled in London in this respect.

I went to Morocco two weeks ago with a small group of friends and the trip has taken the number 1 spot in my list of favourite places to travel. Here are some photos. Aren’t these colours gorgeous? So vibrant. They make my heart sing.

 

 

 

In Which I Leave London

I can’t quite believe it! I mean, I can, because I’ve spent the past couple of years periodically wanting to leave London, then changing my mind, then wanting to leave again. But now I’m really doing it.

I’m still processing a lot of thoughts, feelings and emotions around this decision and my impending move. London has been my home for seven years. It’s where I found swing dancing and made some fantastic new friends. I’ve changed jobs, moved house, practiced yoga, had therapy, grown in so many ways. I studied massage here and now I’m soon to leave. I have so many happy memories from my London life and I will never forget any of it. The other day, I was walking to work and thinking about my relationship with London and this is what it feels like; the natural change and progression of our time together. It’s not the end but it’s time for me to step away and make the relationship less intense.

I dream on a daily basis of what I want for my life in the future, and that is to become a bus/van dweller with a much longer term goal of owning a place in the countryside where I can keep animals. Moving out of London is the first step in realising that dream. I’d also like to travel again- this year marks the tenth year since I went to Australia for a year and I think about it regularly.

Leaving London is moving my life in a new direction. I can’t wait!

Happiness

It’s the cardinal error of blogging to post more than once a day isn’t it? Especially more than once an hour. But today I’m eschewing that rule because I had a desire to share this video that a friend posted on Facebook, and also to pick out a sentence from it that really struck me.

This is a brilliant short documentary by Donal Moloney, an Irish photographer, on a homeless man called Martin. He has developed a trusting and respectful friendship with Martin over a number of years and there’s an interesting interview with Martin at around the 6.35 mark on the topic of happiness.

At one point, Donal asks “what do you think makes me happy?”

Martin: “I don’t think you could ever be happy.”

“Because you’re looking to find happiness.”

Sometimes, someone will say something that gives you a light bulb moment. This was mine.

Stop trying to be happy and just be happy.

 

 

Life Coaching

I have begun a series of life coaching with Ariadne Kapsali of ariadnekapsali.com

We don’t need to go into the whys and the wherefores of the need for life coaching (it’s self-explanatory, right?) but we had our first session last Thursday and here are the pertinent points that I took away from it, along with the homework that helps me to move forward.

The two focuses of the coaching sessions are: relationships and career.

Relationship

  • Concentrate on the relationship with myself; how I show up for myself, treat myself and how I feel about myself. Look inwardly rather than outwardly.
  • Focus less on what I think the outcome of a relationship should look like and instead enjoy the journey.
  • Focus on manifesting and the law of attraction. Practice gratitude and focus on what I have not what I don’t have. Ariadne sent me some practical guidance on manifesting which I will be implementing imminently!

Homework

  • Take myself on a really lush Self Date! (Ariadne’s words :D)
  • Reconnect to my physical body (self-massage, self-pleasure, affirmations, tracking menstrual cycle, how I feel etc, dancing)

One thing this session re-affirmed about me is that I struggle to let go of control – I feel I need to know the outcome of most situations. It stems from a need to feel safe as the unknown can be a scary space and I know this is linked to an uncertain childhood and emotionally unavailable parent. Identifying where emotional habits come from is freeing and incredibly helpful in understanding oneself and moving forward.

Career

  • We discussed honing my career vision and how I can connect with feeling content, connected and purposeful in my career.
  • In my mind, I’ve separated my current career, debt and future career into different “lanes” and we discussed whether there’s a way I can somehow combine the three so that I don’t limit myself. The idea of a Venn diagram immediately popped into my head although I don’t know if that’s very helpful!

Homework

Ariadne has sent me a summary of our session and really useful debt free and savings plan, money clarity and career and work values workbook. Completing the money clarity sheet has been really eye-opening into my relationship with money and where it comes from. I almost can’t believe I didn’t think about it sooner.

My experience of life coaching so far has been really positive and I can’t recommend Ariadne enough!