It’s okay not to be okay.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

I so loved this. It reminded me it’s okay to be human and say I can’t do it. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to tell the world you’re struggling. It’s okay to tell people, to tell the world, of your weakness.

It’s okay to not be okay.

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That last line reminds me of the song I literally had on repeat last week…my poor housemates. So loud, and in my ears  or in my speakers at every opportunity:

I have never been a fan of Jessie J, except for when she was on The Voice…in fact, I don’t think I’ve even ever heard her sing, except for snippets. But the other night, I was at a friends making sauerkraut (it’s lush!) and she played this to me. I almost cried then, and then on the walk home I cried properly…and then when I found it on youtube, I sobbed.

I love it the way a song does that. I love it when it hits something inside you, and makes it – you – burst open and let go of any worries about being seen. Or it lets you just notice those worries, rather than be all consumed.

I love it the way music is like a gift, that resonates with every moment – it’s just a case of finding the right one. Song, not moment.

In times of loneliness, music resonates so much more…picking the right song connects to my heart. I don’t feel so lonely anymore. In this case, I had someone telling me “it’s okay not to be okay”…I had Jessie J telling me to “be who you are”…that’s pretty rad. A superstar but also another human, who feels the same feelings and shares the same pain. She just puts hers into music, and I put mine into words.

I love that. And it never ceases to bring so much solace, song.

This song, for this last week, came at such a perfect time. It powered me through the beginning of getting published on a super cool online journal/magazine. I feel like Jessie was yelling into my ear and drowning out my critics. I’ve gone cold turkey and haven’t listened to her for a bit, but the couple of times I have, I’ve remembered the power and the spirit that I soaked up from this song.

It helped me feel less isolated on the beginning of another stage of my journey with writing and getting my voice out her. I feel like she helped me see that I can kick the shit out of the voices telling me I can’t do this, and she helped bring comfort to the worry and the fear and the doubt and the uncertainty…all through a song. I’ve been feeling so much vulnerability lately, and perhaps that makes sense because I’ve been putting my words out there, so bravely. But I feel like my heart is on my sleeve. I feel wounded by the slightest wrong look or slightest wrong touch. I just want cuddles, I don’t want any difficulty or confrontation. I just want peace.

I want to be nurtured and I want to be held. So I have been doing that for myself, and I think it’s been working. I’ve been on my period and I think that’s hit extra hard, sensitivity, tenderness and exhaustion wise, so I’ve been listening to my body. I’ve been keeping her close, and keeping her safe. I’ve been wrapping myself up warm and not going far away. I’ve been listening to the need to just love and keep gentle. I’ve been listening to the need to just be connected to the ones I want to.

I’ve been listening to the joy that’s been singing, when I’ve been doing all these things.

I’ve been listening, and saying it’s okay. I’ve been telling myself I’m proud of me. I’ve been telling myself I’m listening. I’ve been telling myself I deserve this, I deserve this life – I deserve comfort, safety, happiness, joy, nurturance, comfort, acceptance, peace, stillness, stability. I deserve it all. And I can have it all.

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I notice that voice is so here, so there, lately – the voice telling me “You can have this”, when I see something I long for or feel something I love for even more. Rather than jumping to the feeling and voice and belief that I can’t have it, or won’t…I tell myself I will. And immediately, my body fills with relief and a smile comes across my face. Because in my heart, I know it’s true.

I can have this. I can have stillness and peace and stability and calm and consistency. I can say goodbye to crazy chaos, and just have fun stuff instead.

I’ve also been noticing so much fear around this. So much fear. That I can’t live like this – I can’t live comfortably and calmly…that it’ll disappear in a second. That this is just pretend. That I don’t deserve it. That I can’t actually have it – that this life can’t actually be for me. That it’s a bit of a joke. That it’s tempting me and then it’ll be taken away because it’s not something that can sit, or be, underneath my name – stillness and stability, consistency and calm, love and connection, homeliness and safety.

But in my heart, again, beneath this shit that lies on the surface, is the untraumatised me…the me that knows I deserve this all, and can have this all, and will have this all – I just need to fake it til I make it, and let time help me do this too. This part of me notices that things have changed SO much since even a year ago, or two, or three.

When I look at, for example, my journey with self-destruct, I never thought it possible to live in a different way…it was possible for others, but I literally never ever could see how it would be for me – I knew it would be in my heart (she’s a trooper) but had no idea whether this would actually happen and how. I was so so lost. But now look at me. I am millions of miles from where I used to be, living a different life with myself to the one I knew.

So this can happen with the rest of life too – things can change and I can change, and I and things will change and are changing…even though I have no exact idea of what it’s going to look like, or how things are going to be, the fact I find myself where I am now, is proof that this change will keep on happening. I hope. I never thought I would be here, and as much of so much of me fucking hates it and wishes it was different, so much about where I’m at is healing. Me healing.

And that is what I’ve needed to do for like 24 years…and I’m doing it. At 26, I’m doing it now, and I was at 24, too. I’ve needed this since I was so young.

That is a gift I am giving myself, even though it’s fucking confusing and painful…it’s a gift that will pay off. And is already in its funny little (big) ways. I just hate it too.

Life is so fucking paradoxical, always. I love that. But part of me hates it… 😉

Go hit play on Jessie J and turn it up LOUD.

Or just go find another song that does the same for you! We ain’t all meant to be sung to by Jessie J.

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Grief, noticing, and hope

I’ve been feeling the grief I mentioned in the last post I wrote, so deeply lately. And it feels very much to do with not telling my mum how I’m doing, what I’m doing, all that I’m achieving, all that I’m healing. It feels a grief so painful that I usually end up lost and unable to sit with it. I end up scared and feeling too vulnerable. I need someone there to guide me through it. To help me grieve.

I just want to reach out to someone, to a mum, and tell them how I’m doing. The funny thing is, I don’t actually want to do it with my mum. I want to do it with a mum. It feels like a pain in my chest that hurts every time I realise I don’t do this. It’s there because I want to do it with my mum, but I think the grief has come – and is something I am able to hold – because part of me is realising I’m not going to be. This distance is essential and I think the more I realise that, the more the grief can come. And the more I realise how much this distance is bringing me – the way it’s enabling me to shape my identity and ultimately, to heal – I think the grief can come for this reason too.

I feel lost and abandoned, and hurting and open.

I feel full of grief but I feel full of love. I feel lost but I feel like I’m continually coming home, to the person I was always meant to – and going to – be.

I do feel a despite ache for things to be different. With my mum and my dad. With my

Witting about it feels safe. Thinking about it feels safe, because now I don’t over-think. I drop into the feeling and where it is lying in my body. I allow the grief to have a voice, and move. I think this is why it feels safe. I don’t get flashbacks because I am with the feeling, with my body, rather than with my mind. My mind is where the graphics, the images, are stored. My body is where the gold lies. Where the memories are stored in the place they can release from.

The place that love belongs, and the place that love and compassion can be found.

This has broken open a door in my healing process, I’m sure of it. Just what I’ve noticed in the last month, is something to go on. And so I hope that continues. I’m pretty sure it will, because I remember my therapist once telling me that mindfulness – mindfully feeling feelings – is like riding a horse (or a bike, i can’t remember which). Once you get the hang of it, you wondered how you ever lived without it or how you ever couldn’t do it before.

Mindfulness as a practise – meditation – has defo come in waves and ebbs and flows. But the practise of being mindful is different. That’s just been growing and growing the last year or so. And this way of feeling feelings in my body has been the theme of therapy for the last two years, but something that I’ve found hard to coin for myself out of therapy.

But it’s coming. Defo coming. In fact, I think it’s actually come. It’s here. It’s happening. I’m doing it, and I’m succeeding with it.

That’s pretty rad.

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The thing about this grief that’s here, is that I feel able to share it with others. I feel able to feel it when I’m with others and not always say something about it. Or I just need to say ‘I feel sad’ or ‘I feel alone’ or ‘I’m feeling a lot grief at the moment’, and that is often enough. I really notice my communication has become a lot clearer and from the heart.

I don’t need as many words as I had to, to say what I need to say, or to feel connected and supported. That’s beautiful and so so healing due to how lonely I have been feeling lately. That loneliness can be soothed with just one heartfelt connection rather than a few connections in which I’ve tried and tried to speak from a place I can be heard, but never ending my feeling really heard and seen, and ending up feeling more pain and more loneliness and isolation.

The trick is I also notice who I pick to connect with, to talk to, to open my heart to. This has been coming for a while, and still is growing – my ability to notice and nourish myself with people that notice and nourish me. And picking the people to talk to about whatever topic – knowing my crew, knowing my resource, and sticking with the guidelines, the boundaries, of each friendship. That used to always piss the stubborn part of me off, because I want someone to be there for the whole of me, and so I would step over these boundaries and into the limitless love area…but would rarely feel met and would generally feel raw and open for hours afterwards. And lost, too.

I think it’s the art of noticing. That’s the puppy in healing, it seems. Noticing, not attaching. Noticing, not describing. Noticing, not telling. Noticing not rejecting. Noticing, not missing. And noticing it all – the bits that piss me off, the bits that make me rage inside that are part of me or feelings I’m feeling, the parts of me that I just fucking wish weren’t there sometimes. The parts of me that hold so much pain it’s seemingly uncontrollable.

The parts of me that pretend to not need me, but so do.

It’s noticing it all with an open heart and a compassionate warmth towards myself and the world around me.

Noticing. Noticing. Noticing.

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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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Get lost

This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth, what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something will eventually happen.”

– Joseph Campbell

I loved this quote, this morn. I spend so much of my time either lost in my world, with a strong tug of guilt because I should be ‘ON IT’, doing something else or doing something productive. Or I spend a lot of my time ‘ON IT’ but not actually really getting anywhere, and being too afraid to settle inside myself out of fear of losing my grip on the present. So I kinda feel like I don’t fully go anywhere – there’s always a part of me tugging for the grass on the other side of the pond I’m swimming in. I always feel stressed.

By drifting into this room, this sacred place Campbell talks about, where I don’t know what anyone owes anyone or what I owe myself, I am so afraid of disconnection. I’m afraid of failing because I’m not paying attention. I’m afraid that I’ll lose the person I could be, because I’m drifting away from clear reality.

When in actual fact, I reckon the opposite actually happens – by creating that sacred space and that sacred time, I can have the refuelling and the energising inspiration, and independence, that I so desperately need. That my soul so desperately needs.

Instead I just wear myself out, constantly trying and constantly being a little-bit-alert. Agh.

That is hypervigilance and that is trauma. But it is safe to let it go, or purely to notice it. The best days are the days where I lose myself, because when I come back, I always get things done. I always know I’m safe. Life has a funny way of looking after me, but trusting that entirely, is difficult. But trusting it a little bit seems do-able…more realistic. So I’ll aim for that. And I’ll aim to allow myself to drift and not come back until my soul has been filled with the adrenaline of inspiration and the quietness and calm of solitude, and peace away from the attachments and the responsibilities, and the worries. I’ll take myself there, please.

I can lose myself for a minute and find this peace within myself, so maybe that’s what I need to aim for too – not the big twenty minutes hit. Small steps for starting.

When I connect deep into myself and find the sacred place in there, the connection that comes awakens everything and brings me back home. Trusting this is where the magic happens, trusting this is where I can find me, trusting that this is the roots of productivity, is where I wanna be. And where I hope I’m going.

Trusting that by not being ‘on it’, I am actually more on it. This feels scary to me, yet I know it’s 100% true.

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One of my most fave films – 180 degrees south, watched last night and this morn. Talk about nourishment, and inspiration, and a sacred space.