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.

The healing of an open heart

It feels like a weird old time at the moment. I feel like my life’s exploded – in a good way but I also feel exhausted and overwhelmed and worried…and incredibly excited. I keep getting these bursts of natural highs as I’m being published on a site – a very cool and very popular online journal/magazine – that I recently got an apprenticeship for, as an editor.

That feels bonkersly cool. Like so cool. It’s the first time I’ve felt this excited in freakin’ ages. And happy – actually warm and happy when I’m working and editing.

The other thing I’m feeling loads of at the moment, is grief. So much grief. Like a loss, a hole, that’s in my chest. Like a well of sorrow open wide and sitting deep. I feel able to hold it, though. My heart feels so open at the moment. Like, so open. It feels beautiful. Within the pain, I have so much warmth and tenderness for myself and others. And an openness too. But an openness with protection, with boundaries. That’s not like before.

My openness I think used to feel wide open without limits, or protection. I used to shower love and really believe I meant it – which I did – but now I see that I was also hurting like a motherfucker, and the openness was raw and too painful. It was excruciating, and the love I gave, and could give, from this place, was without boundaries or protection of myself. It never went inwards first.

But now it does. I feel like I’m continuing to master the art of loving number one, and then loving someone else.

And this last year or so, I feel like my hearts been somewhat out of protection for myself. I’ve needed to go inwards, because I was afraid of over giving, of over loving, and getting depleted. So I tried to limit my giving and my openness, my love and my warmth, because I was afraid. And, I needed all I could get.

I totes think this is fair enough, and incredibly healthy. And, even within that, I know I still gave. And loved. A lot.

But something’s changing. My heart feels open and it feels safe. It feels safe to love again, and love from a place of depth and protection, of boundaries and compassion.

It feels safe to tell someone I love them, from a place I really really mean it. It feels safe to hold protection and fierce care for those I hold close to my heart.

It feels safe to hold my power by the hand, and walk with it by my side. It feels safe to step into it and allow it to help me shine.

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Gently breathing love,

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Lately, I’ve been finding mindfulness really difficult. I still do it but I end up swamped and in my own thoughts, memories or feelings or impulses flooding my system. But I kinda roll with it. Sometimes I enjoy it – that bursting with indication, grief, pain, joy, beauty…but sometimes it frustrates me because I never come out of the process of breathing and being mindful, feeling that peaceful. I feel knackered. Or like a wound is right there, raw and open – even more than before. That’s the thing that keeps happening the most…I kinda dread just being with my own thoughts and feelings, and mind and body, yet I crave it too. And at the moment I’m getting a lot of it.

I think I feel so swamped with ‘stuff’…my stuff. This isn’t new, and I think it feels accompanied by exhaustion and MIND fatigue…in other words, brain fog. That must be it. I kinda can’t ‘come to’ unless for short bursts. Doing something in nature or really connecting or really outside myself and requiring a lot of concentration, then I quickly ‘wake up’ and drift from my innards and feel present, in daily life. It sorta feels like my brains just really knackered and it’s on Sleep. Maybe it sorta is…maybe it’s its way of coping. Our bodies, after all, are the queens and kings of knowing what they need. I just sometimes (I used to all-the-time) wish for different. Instead, I kinda long for it. Wishing hasn’t ever solved anything and once I realised that I stopped doing it so much…but there’s something beneath the wishing that probably needs to be felt. And I think it’s a longing. Like, a longing for it to be different – a longing for my mind and body to feel fighting fit. I’m allowing myself to feel the longing for other things in my life, but I hadn’t realised that I’m not really feeling it for my body. God that thing deserves my longing to be felt…I deserve to feel these feelings.

I used to think feeling feelings meant you BELIEVED the feelings and felt them entirely, and maybe that by feeling the feelings you are writing Fact…writing history. Like, by feeling angry, I AM angry. By feeling sad, I AM sad. But what if I’m just feeling angry or feeling sad, and they’re a feeling and they’re here to pass through on their way somewhere else? They’re not writing history, unless my history is a history of what I’ve been feeling…the. holy fuck, my history of just today has been long!

So back to mindfulness. In a way, this makes sense. What I’m trying to do is learn how to feel the feelings I’m feeling beneath the story my mind is telling. Beneath the ‘stuff’ is a story of feelings – a story that only needs to, and can be, told through the process of noticing…noticing qualities, noticing how the feeling feels in my body. It’s such a different experience when I do that. My daily experience and my momentary experience is completely different. I feel more AWAKE. My eyes feel open and my brain feels cleared.

When I open up my chest and my throat and breath real deep, and breathe in love to myself – strongly and gently and commitedly – I get a break. The above happens. Whereas before when I’ve done that, I’ve tended to breathe in with force rather than compassion. Like rather than breathing in YOUWILLFEELCONNECTIONCOMPASSIONLOVEDAMMIT, I breathe in love connection compassion right down, deep into my belly. Strongly but firmly. Gently and compassionately. Then it all falls away. My stuff is there to just notice, rather than cloud.

Maybe this is my ticket to vitality. My ticket to my own inner coffee shop. A coffee shop that serves up cups of Noticing, and mugs of Breath. Rather than triple shots of Ethiopian or cafetiers of Venezuelan.

That’d be nice. I’d defo have a loyalty card there…and maybe I’ve already got one, I just forget to trust that I can – it’s safe – to use it.

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We are not them

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Just a little realisation I made this evening after a shed load of cartooning and journaling…this old chestnut. I am not them. We are not them.

I AM NOT MY PARENTS.

Go tell that to my inner critic for me, would you? Shut the fuck up, Imaginary Storyline maker.

Every time I realise I’m not them, it goes/hits a little deeper. Like the daily little moments I tell myself I’m not them, in the midst of storylines playing out in my head and them filling me with terror. But then I sometimes get these mammoth waves – a huge fuck off hit of realisation that I’ve spent the last few days or weeks with a theory (one that’s been causing havoc with my inner sense of happiness, stability, and peace about the future) that’s all based on the assumption and core belief that I am them I AM FUCKING NOT.

The end. Period. Full stop.

If only it was that simple…but I’m glad this realising continues to go deeper. It’s like layers are being shed and I’m continuing to find my own skin away from them, away from theirs. These realisations, even though they always sound the same and consist of the same four words, the impact is always really different…or actually maybe the impact just goes deeper. To the next layer. And this thrill of celebration when I come-to, wake up, and find myself beneath the crap that’s been flying around my Inner Room all week or month or day or maybe even year, is the shedding of another layer.

That’s pretty beautiful.

Today, I need someone there

Sometimes I just want someone to hold me. To tell me it’s going to be okay.

I want their arms to lie where I usually put mine.

I want their mind to know how to read mine.

I want them to feel all that I feel, and neither need to go searching for words.

I need them to tell me they won’t desert me.

I need them to tell me they’ll do anything for me.

I need them to tell me they’ll offer me bread, in times I’d rather think than eat.

I need them to nurture and nourish, and nestle into, my tender and in-need-of-love feet.

I need them to tell me it all will be over and I will know myself and the body I miss, again.

I need them to hold me and to tell me they’re grateful that they get a chance to know me, and share this.

I need them to help me make arrangements for my visits to osteopaths and herbalists and things.

I need them to arrange me lifts.

I need them to do for me, what I do every day.

I need them to take an inch of the responsibility away so I can break down a piece of my hypervigilance, and let peace in.

I need them to share what’s mine and what’s theirs, with clear cutting boundaries of what’s mine and what’s theirs.

I need them to wash me on days I cannot.

I need them to shop for me, on days I cannot.

I need them to hold me and tell me I’m going to be okay.

I need them to be there so I know I can let go.

I need them to be there, so I know I don’t need to be strong.

I need them to be there so their arms melt into mine.

I need them to be there so I just know someone’s there.

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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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A pretty cool review

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Half a thousand

Today I hit 500 followers on the blog. That’s a real nice Christmas present. Thanks folks – for the support, for the witnessing, and for the clickings of the ‘like’ buttons. I appreciate knowing my words resonate, and have resonated.

Sharing my story and sharing my words – however they come or whatever they look like – is still one of the most healing things I’ve ever done, and continue to do.

Christmas Love and Christmas Gratitude.

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The wild power

Sometimes I write and the words just come. Sometimes I try to make sense of it, other times I don’t.

And other times I do a bit of both…

Nature is the only time my pain
– emotional and physical –
feels bearable,
feels breathable,
feels part of me.
Feels safe.

The wild,
it brings me power.
It brings me freedom.
It brings me a sense inside myself,
that I will be okay.
That I am okay.
It tells me secrets of survival
and stories of success.
It tells me a place I can always reside
and a place I can always find,
a path to the process from which I leave behind,
the sense of disgust,
with my world around
and the world inside myself.
The world that I have known
and the world
that I have tried to hide.
The world that wishes slowly,
the world that wishes I would die
and leave my soul here…
The world that leaves my side of destruction
as a place I no longer reside in.
As a prayer that I can hide in.
As a prayer that I can be found in.

As a prayer
that lives inside my heart.
As a prayer
that lives always on.
As a prayer
that I will always live on.
That my spirit
Will always live on.
That my spirit
Will always be a part of me.

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