I wish I could see myself for who I really am

I wish I could feel like I know where I’m at. I wish I could really know that the person I am, is enough. I wish I could really know that who I am becoming is a healthy wholesome being. I wish I could see I’m not becoming my mum. I wish I could see myself for who I really am. I wish I could see that I am thriving and shining and I am only going to continue to. I wish I could see how independent and powerful I am. I wish I could see that I am someone who is going to succeed, and is succeeding already.

I wish I could see myself as I really am.

I wish I could see myself as other people, the loving ones, see me.

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Healing is…

Allowing yourself to feel all your feelings – somatically, emotionally. And allowing them to come in the roller-coaster-like way they often do. Allowing tears to fall, and then laughter to follow. Allowing grief to swamp and then joy or playfulness to lift. Allowing your critics a back-seat on your journey towards deep self love and self compassion. And allowing them to be there but know you haven’t done any wrong, because the critics are never gonna completely go anywhere…motherfuckers.

Healing is, allowing for it all.

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The power of touch

I just read this article on Elephant Journal about the healing power of touch in yoga, and it resonated so much. I noticed, for a while, my yoga teacher was the only person that I would let touch me…except for hugs with friends. But even those were done with a shut-down-ness going on inside. In yoga, I felt able to be open and be held and be nurtured…there was a slight resistance but never enough to make me shut down completely and pull away. And it felt more physical – like a physical, defence, reaction, but not one I needed anymore. And almost all of me, was able to know that.

Still a part of me feared it, but I think a large part of this fear was the fear of vulnerability, the fear of falling apart, the fear of her then stopping and leaving and moving to someone else’s mat…I think I knew I was safe. To be honest, even when I felt slightly defensive, I still couldn’t get enough of it! I never felt like she came over to my mat enough. I often found myself asking questions and asking her to demonstrate or help me with something, even though I kinda could freestyle and find my way…I just wanted her support and her nurturance. I may as well have it if it is there, I always thought, rather than battle on how I used to.

It felt beautiful to read this piece to realise that is what was happening – I was healing. I really miss yoga and I really miss those classes but because of my back, I haven’t been since the summer. Fuck. But also, what’s weird – and I think incredibly normal – is I kinda feel like my journey with that class is on a temporary break. I need something new. I need a new place to take my body and stretch and explore my soul, and reach my toes.

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Something I notice, on the subject of healing and touch, is how it is so important for me to regain trust with myself…to regain, and find, the trust for human touch through my own. I give myself cuddles. I explore my body. I hold my body. I stroke my arms, my legs. I offer myself gentleness and love, boundaries and strength. I offer myself the whole package. And I don’t hold back, and I listen to the ‘no’ that comes from inside sometimes. I sit with my inner girl and I tell her she is safe, as I hold myself tight.

As someone who has continued the abuse I received as a child, so strongly and so destructively in my adulthood, this feels so fucking healing. It feels like it just makes sense. In order to trust others, I need to be able to trust myself. In order to trust that people are safe, I need to know that I am going to protect myself and keep myself safe before I allow anyone else to touch me.

For ages I have felt such a massive resistance to body therapists. There have been a couple that I have worked with the last year and a half, who I have known before everything, too. They felt safe, but even with them, there was a deep sense of unsafety. I went from never hugging, never wanting anyone to touch me, as a kid and young adult, to a few years of a stint of total affection and hugging and loving it, to then shut down the last couple of years…but, to me, it kinda makes sense. This would happen as you’re healing, right? Wounds flare up and sit on your face until it’s time for them to soften, or until they simply just fade. That’s what I feel like has happened with the subject of touch. I long for it, I crave it, I desperately need it, but it also feels desperately unsafe. And so I honour that. Whereas before I would have powered on through, I listen to my body and my defences and what my little girl is saying, now. Before I didn’t know how…I didn’t know it was safe.

It feels like the utmost gift of self love, the action of holding myself. To love myself through physical contact, not just through actions or words, but through one of the most fundamental ways of showing affection – touchThese feel like beautiful, solid, and wholesome foundations on which to build a relationship based on trust, with others on again. And it’s happening…it’s definitely happening. Cuddles are coming back in fashion, slowly.

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Natures Medicine

Natures medicine

Nature has always been one of my closest friends. The relationship is based on a sacred sense of trust, companionship, understanding, unconditional love, respect, admiration, awe, and adventure. She’s been there my entire life. She’s witnessed all I’ve been through and all I continue to experience, and I have witnessed areas of her unfold around me, and experience all she continues to experience.

As someone who isn’t in touch with their family, and was never properly mothered, nature nourishes the parent within me and offers me a safe place to take my grief and allow parts of myself to heal. She reminds me I am part of the Earth’s family, and helps me feel a valid member of it too. When I don’t feel able to connect with anyone outside of me, I know I can with her. And at times of loneliness, when I feel like I am the only person in the world without a family or intimate relationship, my heart can still open to her. My heart knows the Earth is always with me, offering unconditional support and the opportunity to have my experience witnessed, without judgement.

The last five months I’ve spent the majority of my days tucked inside my bedroom because I’ve been – and still am – recovering from two slipped discs in my back. Fuck, it has SUCKED. This whole time, nature has been at the forefront of my mind. But she’s been there because she’s been missing. I think of her with an aching heart and feel a desperate grief. But also a crippling guilt. I have felt like I have abandoned my oldest friend, because – for the first time in my life – I haven’t been out, truly enjoying, her. And I haven’t been able to proactively support her. Instead, I have become addicted to screens. Nature always provided me with inspiration, comfort, reassurance and connection, but because I haven’t been able to be with her intimately and completely, this has temporarily been being provided through holding my i-phone…not the place I wanna try and get it all from. And not the place I CAN get it all from.

I have still connected with the Earth regularly throughout each day – through my window or in mindfulness meditations; lying on the grass outside in the garden; ritualistically; watching wild films; or simply from the birds, the stillness, the rustling trees, and the life, I can hear from my room. But this doesn’t cut it. Parts of me have felt neglected and almost forgotten. And I have noticed that a sense of being un-parented and totally alone has felt deeper than ever – I need my sacred time in, and with, the Earth. I need my relationship.

It has felt so easy to forget that my spirit is wild, too. So easy that I seemingly almost have. There have been creative ways I have made sure that I haven’t lost this wild spark completely, but it’s been fucking hard – my heart and soul needs nature’s wild spirit in order to keep it alive in me. I need the chance to be in nature’s magic and beauty, every day. I need the playfulness, the vibrancy, the aliveness she offers, as well as the stillness and the beauty that I can connect with when just lying in bed.

My body, as well as my psyche, has been aching for more. It’s ached for physical contact with her. Without my body moving with the Earth, in the way I have always known, I feel painfully lost. My compassionate mind-body connection that I was beginning to cultivate, has felt cut-off and replaced with one of frustration, hate and distance – my body has felt foreign. In nature, it feels like mine. I remember my body again. I feel like I’ve come home – within me and around me.

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The times my back has begun to mend and I have managed to get out into nature, even if to just cuddle a tree in the nearby park or lie on the grass and gaze at the sky or a quick swim in the icy sea, my pain has dissolved. Or I have been able to sit with it and offer it my compassion and my breath. The health that has felt a million miles away during my time in bed begins to come back immediately – my strength starts to flood my system, my body feels held, and my mind feels vibrant and open again. Parts that were seemingly forgotten, greet me like an old friend. They just needed nourishment.

I remember someone telling me that in times of struggle, we get insights into what we need…it couldn’t feel truer. I have always known I need my time with nature like I need my food, but this experience of being so confined to my bed and unable to move with her in the ways I have always known, has given me a deeper and more intimate insight into this need – I now know what happens when I don’t get it. I get depressed, anxious, and so lost. I feel ungrounded and out-of-my-self, and my imagination and inspiration wilts. And as for screens – they have been nourishing but they have also been incredibly draining and disconnecting. I know excessive time with them, just ain’t me.

To have had this experience and to have been feeling all these feelings has been incredibly hard, but it has also shown me I am human. A wild human. And by being human, wherever I am and whatever I am doing, I am part of the rest of the Earth’s family. The family in which we all, unconditionally, belong.

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The storybook of fault

The concept that things aren’t my fault, feels beyond foreign. (Things, as in, everything and anything that goes wrong, or is hard in my life and my life around me.) Like, the fact that it could even be something I need to ‘work on’ feels so seemingly impossible that I can barely type it. It’s a concept that, before therapy, I didn’t even realise I believed…I just thought it was true. It wasn’t even in my awareness as a thought/thought stream, I had. I wasn’t even aware I was thinking it.

It was, and still often is, the norm that fuels my greater belief system about my daily life.

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I then suddenly get moments like I did just now, that leave me in floods of tears. The latest whirlwind of critic chatter in my head, bombarding me with shit about all that’s going on and the theories he has about it all, came to a head. Imagine he was on a treadmill at the Gym For Inner Critics…well he whacked up the speed higher and higher, and then fell on his face. Bam.

The theory that its all my fault is the undercurrent to his story. I hadn’t realised. Sometimes the belief pops up, and I see its face – kinda like a seal in the ocean, merrily playing around beneath the surface and then suddenly you catch a glimpse of its head. That’s how this belief feels. Once in a while, it shows its head and it lets me read its story.

So today when I caught sight of its head and the story book in its hand, I realised that this belief has been bopping along to my inner critics music, and fuelling the fire. The idea that this is all my fault. That I’m not doing enough. That I could be doing more. That I have made my back happen. That I am continuing to make it worse. That the fact it’s not getting speedily better, is my fault. The fact that my body is just like this…the fact that it is how it is, is my fault. It’s because I’m wrong, I’ve done something wrong, or I’ve not done enough. That the fact I still haven’t got a permanent home, is my fault too. The fact that my emotions seemingly run the show, is my fault. The fact that my life looks like it does, and the fact that I struggle feel like I’m keeping afloat, is my fault too. I am (supposedly) the one to the blame for it all.

Fuck, keeping afloat feel like hard work. I’ve got a complete arsehole yelling at me in my inner ears, and this core belief has a really old storybook in its hand. One that wouldn’t be published anymore. Anyone would feel like shit with that going on in their head. Taking simply just the body stuff, the concept that that isn’t something to do with me, and that I still deserve love with it going on, is (almost, note the almost) beyond me.

In mid-whirlwind of booming critical chatter, the beliefs head popped up and I burst into tears. I hadn’t realised this story, this metaphorical seal, this core belief, had been running the show. So I wrote this, below. I wrote this to myself, I wrote this to my little girl, and I wrote this to you:

It’s not your fault.

It’s not my fault.

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Growing up in and with abuse, it’s a well known fact that as a kid you absorb it all and believe it’s you. You believe it’s your fault and you believe that because of you, the abuse is happening. So as you get older, this naturally carries over with you, and spills out into parts of your life. I had no idea just how much it is part of my life and my beliefs and what I say to myself and what I think I believe. I believe I don’t deserve support and connection and love because it’s my fault that I’m in the situation I am. It’s my fault I’m needing, and to need is not okay…(I am now begging to differ). I believe and tell myself that I’m a fuck up and I’m a mess because of something I’ve done, or something I haven’t done – and could be doing, but am not. I tell myself these things almost all the freakin’ time.

It’s such a massive concept, the idea that it isn’t true – it isn’t my fault, I didn’t make it happen. I still feel like I’m getting to grips with the idea that this is just a belief…and that it’s even a part of me. It leaves my mind a bit blown. But one thing I do know is that one day, I’ll know – and truly believe – it wasn’t my fault. And it isn’t my fault now. It really, really, isn’t. I held myself and told myself that, softly. I still hold a puzzled frown, and I can still feel my insides squirm at this concept, but there is a gap in my heart that’s open and willing to take this as truth.

That’s the gold dust.

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I’m meant to know…that I am home.

I’m meant to be upright.
I’m meant to be moving.
I’m meant to feel blood in all of my system.

I’m not meant to be lying,
and screaming from inside.
I’m not meant to be lying there,
wondering how I got left behind.

I’m not meant to hold my energy
as a stranger,
I’m not meant to leave notes for myself,
reminding me I’m not a stranger.

I’m not meant to feel distant,
from the entire human race.
I’m meant to feel connected,
and like I have a place.

I’m meant to feel a sense of living
inside my weary chest.
I’m meant to be using my body
at it’s ultimate and its best.

I’m meant to
– most of all –
have inside of me,
A sense of purpose
and belonging.
I’m meant to have still,
inside of me,
a sense of everything
and a sense of nothing.

I’m meant to have the sense of creating,
a future of everything
I continue to dream.
I’m meant to have everything
I continue to feel.

And I’m meant to know
that I am whole.

I’m meant to know,
That I am me

I’m meant to feel
that I am strong.

And I’m meant to feel
that I am home.

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Throw it up and outta here

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on this earth as though I had a right to be here.”
— James Baldwin

Looooove this. And brings a heck of a lot of hope, reassurance and validity to all that I’m experiencing and all that I’m craving right now. And for a while.

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Healing is…

Learning, adopting and practising the art of mindfulness. And weaving it into your daily life and how you connect with your body and daily surroundings.

But…sometimes, I know with ptsd, to be able to actually be in a place to practise mindfulness is healing In itself…sometimes our bodies and our minds just can’t go there. There’s something else in the mix: severe adrenaline overload and trigger-ville.

I’ve learnt to be gentle with myself in times I can’t actually do mindfulness or when dropping into myself sets off triggers left right and centre…it’s during these times that the healing comes from not dropping into myself. But once the anxiety softens – through herbs, supplements and time – when I can catch my breath and practise mindfulness, a deeper sense of healing – and connection – has begun again.

It’s a motherfucking process. A long, intricately beautiful, confusing, and profound one.

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Trusting the process and grasping for solid ground

“As human beings we share a tendency to scramble for certainty whenever we realize that everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground-something predictable and safe to stand on-seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps changing, whether we’re aware of it or not.
What a predicament! We seem doomed to suffer simply because we have a deep-seated fear of how things really are. Our attempts to find lasting pleasure, lasting security, are at odds with the fact that we’re part of a dynamic system in which everything and everyone is in process.”

– Pema Chodron

Oh god these words feel so incredibly relevant to my living situation at the moment – going between houses, subletting until I find the right one. It feels like I need a giant dose of wisdom to let me know how I can discover the stability and wisdom within. Or more like, know it’s safe. Thing is, I have this instinct and this true knowing that things will be okay and that I am okay, but because my life doesn’t look like how I want it too, or how I think it’s okay to, I have such a mega mega mega resistance to trusting both these elements – my instinct and the fact that I’m okay. Everything in my body says I CAN’T BE OKAY IF MY LIFE LOOKS LIKE THIS. I CANT RELAX IF MY LIFE LOOKS LIKE THIS. I CAN’T RELAX AND TRUST IF I DON’T KNOW WHERE MY MONEY IS COMING FROM OR WHERE I’M GOING TO LIVE.

It basically yells this at the top of its voice. Truth is, in a way I guess noone really knows any of that, even if where they’re living is seemingly permanent, it never actually is. Everything comes to an end or shifts or move on at some point, and often when we don’t want it or least expect it…but generally when we always need it, I believe.

Fucking needs.

I feel like in all this resistance, there is an ability to trust despite not knowing it’s safe, it’s just that I feel like I need permission…I feel like I need permission from someone else who knows what they’re talking about.

I feel like I need permission from a mum.

Something I never had.

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This feels so present lately – this desperate desire for someone to just tell me what to do. For someone to tell me it’s okay to spend this money on that, to continue paying for therapy even when I don’t know where my next batch of dollar is coming from, to continue looking for the right house and following my instinct and not just settling for somewhere I don’t feel safe… I just want someone to tell me that what I’m doing is okay and for someone to tell me that I am going to be okay…that I am safe.

It feels like grief on the deepest level – beautiful but heartbreaking grief. And what makes it beautiful is that I can sit with my inner child and listen to her sing, cry, yell and scream…I can give her what she needs with many things. But this permission and this wise voice to tell her, tell me, it’s okay to trust and that it’s okay to continue on as I’m going, feels out of my reach. I don’t feel able to because its something I’ve never known.

I wanna say that I don’t hold proof that things work out this way, but I do. I’ve for so much proof that life looks after me and that things come to me when I need. So much proof it scares me because if I sat with it, I would feel truly safe to the deepest level. Thing is, I also have so much proof that shit gets messy, and I find this hard to let go of too. But maybe I don’t need to – maybe this is life. Two pieces of a giant puzzle – the shit and the beautiful. The safe and the crazy. The pain and the joy. The destruction and the beauty. It’s in it all, always. And there’s never just one of those things – there’s never just the good and there’s never just the bad. Although I hate the use of those words, I just can’t think of anything else.

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I ask nature for guidance and I let her mother me. I ask trees questions, I muse with the mud beneath my feet. I can find this mothering, it just looks a little different to what I thought it would/did, but it’s still full of beauty and its still what I need. It still enables me to trust my instinct and find what I hold inside of me. I feel held and I feel able to let go – I feel safer with her than I do with anyone else. And she knows her shit, too, so I feel like she’s got proof.

I also feel like wise women are what can bring this need for reassurance and guidance as to whether how I’m living is ‘safe’ and okay…the permission I need to trust feels greater that one I can actually meet, but fundamentally I know it comes down to me believing it myself. But I am someone who needs proof from outside – I need books of research to show this way of living is the future…this way of trusting, even when things are in ‘flux’ or go to shit and you have no idea how things are going to be okay, or you can’t see a way out except to trust…and what’s funny is there is. There are millions of books that say this, I just don’t know how to believe them. Because if I believe them, that makes life easier. And if I believe my therapist, who yabbers on continuously about me trusting and listening to my instinct and who advocates for me giving myself a break and letting go and being with what is…if I really take this as truth it scares the living crap out of me. And it makes me angry, because I don’t know it safe.

Thing is, what if it all goes to shit? What if trusting, makes it all go to shit?

But what if it doesn’t…? What if it all is okay? And what if I’m okay now?

Gosh that’s scary. 😉

And what is okay, really anyway? I feel like my definition of that is changing slowly too. But that’s a whole other blog post 😉

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