Thursday, 27 June 2013

Finding calm in the chaos

I visited my daughter and son-in-law in Brighton last week. I had a lovely time.
Brighton is a vibrant, busy place full of arty shops and arty people. The noise, the colours, the smells, so much busyness can exhaust me in a very short period of time.  I'm like a child on their first trip to the fair ground. Over excited, over stimulated -  I soak it all up but can quickly become saturated. So, by paying close attention to what my body is telling me, I slow down, narrow my vision and stop my mind racing in circles as it tries to understand all that's going on around me.
The photo on this blog is one I took in a vintage shop during my visit to Brighton last week - you can see why the products for sale on this shelf sent my mind in a spin!
When you step into an unfamiliar setting pay attention to what your head is doing and what you're feeling as you observe all the newness around you. Enjoy the experience while also being careful not to allow it to consume you.
"Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." - Author unknown

Friday, 14 June 2013

All that you see is you, and all that I see is me.

This morning when I woke up, the bright sunshine was beaming in through the gap in my curtains, my head lay peacefully on my familiar pillow, but my arm was completely numb.  I pushed myself up with the other arm and looked at my feeling-less arm. The lack of feeling in that one limb had an affect on my ability to recognise it - it could have belonged to anyone. I had the thought that after 45 years it should be more than a bit familiar to me. 
I lay back down with my numb arm lying flat on top of the duvet waiting for the positional change to aid the feeling to come back - which it did.
Once, several years ago, I had a big, flat section of tree trunk positioned for me in my garden to use as a chopping block to enable me to split my own logs. 
It had been too heavy for me to move on my own.  One day, I took a phone call and was given some devastating news.  Crying, I walked outside and, without effort picked up that chopping block and threw it over the fence into the recently harrowed field that formed a boundary around my cottage. Later when I thought about what I'd done, I didn't recognise the person who had suddenly displayed immense physical strength.
Sometimes, you may catch yourself trundling through life, no fuss, no upset, no bother, no drama. You might surprise yourself when you respond (or react) to a life event in a way that leaves you reflecting and asking, "Was that me?!"  
Don't underestimate, and certainly don't block, your body's ability to express itself!  
If we practise speaking up and saying what we really feel on a daily basis, then it'll be less liable that we are ever faced with a stranger in our body venting, shouting, screaming out in a way that feels completely alien to us. Constructively expressing what you're feeling now promotes physical and mental health and helps you get your needs met.  All aspects of who are you should never come as surprise - you should be able to recognise yourself from the inside out, in the calm and in the turbulent times.
"Have the confidence to step into yourself and step out as the one and only you." - Hussein Nishah

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Handle with care.

A trauma can feel like a paper thin, fragile, egg being carried in our hands.  Cupping it gently, believing that we owe it to ourselves to protect the memory of the trauma, burdened with the responsibility of remembering every detail of the event or events, the strain starts to tell, the trauma tightens its grip in our head, and we tighten and clench our grip around the memories.
Another crack appears on the egg.
Panic sets in. 
What if the egg shatters?  What if all that happened during that time is forgotten?  
The traumatic event may feel as if it forms your identity and the idea of living without it can cause anxiety to rise.
Look inside a box of eggs and you will see some are speckled, some are paler than others, there may be some dirt on the shell of one, a slightly strange shape or mark on another.  The details, or distinguishing marks on the exterior of the shells makes no difference to the contents contained within the egg.
Stop staring at the external events that have marked you, and start focusing on yourself from the inside. 
Be still.  
Ask for help and seek support if you need to - changing your focus can start right now!

"The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that." - Eckhart Tolle
"The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday." - Steve Maraboli 


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Keep growing!

Last week I planted out my sweet peas.  There were several seedlings crammed into one small pot and as I gently upturned the container,  I tapped the bottom of the pot and the seedlings, with their roots crammed and twisted in and around the compost, almost sighed with relief at being released from the restrictive holder.
During the early stages of the sweet peas life the pot and nutrient rich compost was essential for the vulnerable little seeds.  Now however, the rapidly growing seedlings need space to stretch and grow,  as they crave new nutrients to nourish and support them in order that they can flourish and reach their full potential.
We were, and still are seedlings.  Most of us have, at some point in our lives, recognised when it was time to leave the familiar surroundings where we received the support and nourishment we needed in our early years.  Our need for a change of "compost" doesn't stop for us when we leave home and start our independent adult life, we need to pay attention to any signs that the nutrients that once fed us need replaced or replenished.
Don't allow your roots to become stunted through an apathy for change. What could you do now that would enable you to feel replenished and ready to grow again?  You owe it to yourself to become all that you can be.  Small steps make a big difference.
I could add a fertiliser to the pot of sweet peas, but keeping them in the same tiny container would still restrict their growth - so in order to support them fully they need room to grow and the nutrients to sustain them.  Be as kind to yourself as I am to my sweet peas and watch what happens!
"I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy." - Og Mandino
"Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new." - Brian Tracy
"People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die." - Plato