Where’s the beauty?

warwick 2

For most of my life I have found it difficult to see the beauty in things. Especially the small, every-day, run-of-the-mill things that millions of us take for granted. The hidden depths in the rock cracks, the dry grass lining the side of the highway, the scenery as you drive over the crest of a hill.

I’ve recently returned home from a very transformative holiday and immersion in all things self-care. And since I’ve been home it feels like I am looking out of completely different eyes. Even as I was driving the scenery outside my car window looked different. The views I would previously dismiss as ordinary were now extraordinary. No longer did I need to have the super extraordinary to see the beauty. All I needed to do was open my eyes.

moonrise

 

So if I couldn’t see these things before my holiday and I could see them after it, where is the difference?

armidale july 2014

The answer is in the beauty I now see in myself. It’s in the things I have always had but never been able to see through eyes unbiased by conditioning and self-hatred. I feel like my eyes have been covered by some kind of mask and my trip away has literally stripped it away.

I can now see the strength I have always held in my legs and hips. I can see the compassion I hold in my heart, the gentleness I hold in my hands, the power I hold in my mind. I can see that I have a whole lot of character in the dimples on my thighs. I can acknowledge that the pain in my knee is a result of the need to protect myself from the angst. And the curves on my waist hold the peaks and valleys of the suppressed emotions of a lifetime.

For far too long I have held it in and denied my beauty. For far too long I have pretended I am indifferent to the image I see reflected in the mirror. For far too long I have conformed to the societal belief that beauty equals skinny. For far too long I have minimised the reach and impact that I have in this world. My body has been instrumental in keeping me whole and it’s time I gave it the credit it deserves.

terrigal2 july 2014

Every hill, every valley, every dimple, every pimple, every freckle. The parts filled with fluid and the parts filled with fat. The parts that have carried me and the parts that have allowed me to learn from my mistakes. And especially the parts that now allow me to recognise and reconnect to the freshness and the beauty I possess.

What was once seen as mediocre I now know as beautiful. As stunning. As incredibly full of character and depth and possession and precision. What was once seen as non-existent I now know as present. As full of character.

terrigal17 july 2014

And what was once ignored now needs to be nourished. Nurtured. Loved.

terrigal9 july 2014

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Self-Care is Key!

self care burnoutIt’s been ages since I have blogged on my personal page. I have lots going on right now and I have decided that I need to make some time to attempt to process some of it. I have been focusing on my career for several months, doing posts on my other blog, The Mindset Effect, as well as working and meeting university commitments for the first practicum experience of my master’s degree.

I’ve been finding that time for myself has been rare. I’m still doing personal training sessions twice a week, which is going well (and is a whole other blog post). Getting out of bed for those 6am sessions is really tough! I keep telling myself that I need to get to bed earlier and it rarely seems to happen. Something else seems to crop up. Every. Single. Time. I am making a concerted effort though.self care hardest job

With all of my commitments, and with the current summer heat, which always takes a lot out of me, I have been pretty stressed. I promised myself last year, when I knew what 2014 would look like on a weekly basis, that I would make time for me. Take it one day at a time and make sure that I spent time every day or two doing some self-care practices. And the academic year hasn’t even started yet! So I know that if I continue to do the same thing I am doing now, for the rest of the year, I am going to fall over pretty quickly.

Work has been crazy. Exciting. But crazy. As of March 1 I will be working 3 days per week even though I am employed for 4. My practicum requirements for uni dictate that I do at least 1 day at a placement. And I need to do another day on campus. So that means I really need 6 working days in the week to do everything. Doesn’t add up, right? So, I have applied for study leave. And have been told I need to keep my work output at a 4-day-a-week level. With the help and support of my colleagues we have developed a plan to make that happen. And the preliminary response from clients has been nothing short of phenomenal! Not that they know why we developed the plan in the first place, but they don’t need to know. The bottom line is that this plan will help a lot of people develop their resiliency and capacity to handle stress in the long-term. It complements the organisation’s long-term strategic plan on building up client capacity, it will keep my stats up, and it will allow me to complete my degree requirements without having to reduce my income and risk the roof over my head. A win-win all around.

self care fill cupThe stressful part of all this for me is that the phenomenal response not only indicates how our clients are craving opportunities like we are offering. It also shows me that I could spend more time implementing this plan than doing the other work I do. And it means that I run the risk of overloading myself by trying to get everything done and end up burning myself out.

So I need to make sure I take care of me. One day at a time. One moment at a time. Don’t try to do everything and be everything for everyone. Self-care is key. I need a mantra. Self-care is key. Self-care is key. Self-care is key. Self-care is key . Self-care is key . Self-care is key!!

self care meditation silence

 

Free Fall

“It’s when you stop looking that you see things that are in plain sight”.

I was watching “Neighbours” tonight (of all things) and one of the characters said these words. They struck a chord with me.

I’m not really sure why at this point, I just know that it has. And it’s related to my previous post on rituals and letting go.

I talk a lot about trusting myself, and yet I never seem to get to the point when I push myself to the edge and I need to trust. To where trust is the only option. I always head back to old habits. I get right to the edge of the precipice and never take the step into free fall.

What exactly am I looking for here? Whatever it is, it seems so elusive. Like it’s just out of reach and no matter how much I fumble around for it with the tips of my fingers, I can never grab hold of it.

I wrote a letter last weekend, addressed to all the teenagers out there who used to feel the way I felt at their age. You can find it here if you’d like to read it. The entire time I was writing and proofreading it I was calm and composed. I had doubts about how it would be received and whether people would get some value out of it, so I asked a friend to proof it before I posted it. Her response was that it was powerful and she wished someone had said those things to her as a teen.

I read it once more before posting it and this time, to see how it sounded, I read it aloud to myself. And of course, I immediately started bawling. It really hit me. I posted that letter on my other blog 3 days ago. Tonight I was talking to another friend about it and I realised that I actually wrote it to myself. The teenage self that was never told she mattered. The teenage self who needed and desperately craved love and acceptance. I wrote it so that she could feel like she had a place in the world. Because, as much as I know it as an adult, the teenager I was never understood it. And she needs to. I need her to. I need her to truly take those words on board and allow them to sit comfortably.

I need it so that I can feel ok about letting go and taking that step over the edge.

Free Fall.

free fall penguin