How Yoga Can Improve Your Running

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Yoga is a great complement to any runners’ regular routine. Regular running will create tightness in some areas of the body and leave other areas relatively week. Yoga can help to loosen out those tight spots and strengthen weak muscles – making you a better less injury prone runner.
Studies have shown that yoga reduces stress, improves strength and flexibility, eases pain, helps people to stick to an exercise routine and even improves running times. Below are some of the key benefits that runners can expect to experience.

6 Ways Yoga Benefits Runners

  1. Improves strength and efficiency – Builds strength evenly in muscles, joints and ligaments. Strengthening the core will help to improve the power you receive from each stride as your foot strikes the ground meaning that you will get more bang for your buck. Who doesn’t want that!
  2. Helps prevent injuries – Helps prevent injury by increasing flexibility and strength as well as awareness of the body. Yoga helps you to find the balance between strength and flexibility and have happy muscles with a good range of movement. Increased body awareness will mean that you are less likely to push your body beyond its limits and risk injury.
  3. Enhances breathing – Breathing exercises will help you to optimise each breath and potentially increase lung capacity. Becoming conscious of your breath can have a profound impact not just on your running but your life in general.
  4. Mental strength – Cultivate improved focus and awareness through mindful movement and meditation. Allowing you to run with a greater sense of self belief and push through mental barriers while still being able to discern when you need to pull back.
  5. Loosens tight muscles and facia – Simple movement and supported held stretches help to rehydrate and release restricted muscles and facia. Increased flexibility can help to relieve nagging aches and pains.
  6. Improves energy – Helps to reduces stress and improves sleep allowing the body to get better quality rest. And really everyone needs a little less stress and better quality sleep.

 

 

Don’t look back in anger

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When my father passed away unexpectedly on Friday 3rd July 2015 my entire world changed forever. I remember the most intense feeling of disbelief, as the ICU doctor explained that he was not able to be revived, my brain when into overload.  I had been with him an hour and a half before hand, they had said he would be out of hospital next week. My brain screamed how can he possibly be gone, it wasn’t meant to happen this way, he shouldn’t have been on his own, it’s too soon, he needed more time, I needed more time, this can’t be happening, he wanted to live.

Losing a loved one in any circumstance is traumatic, losing them before they’re ready to go is the sort of heart break that will stay with you for life and losing them under questionable circumstances can steal part of your life too if you’re not careful.

My fathers death was referred to the coroners court for investigation because there was so much confusion surrounding this death and a cause of death was not known. At first I was relived that our concerns around the level care he received were being acknowledged with an investigation. But that quickly turned into anger as I began to form the opinion that somebody was to blame.

For a long time I blamed myself, I was the last person to see him. If I had of stayed another hour and a half maybe things would have been different. I remember clearly the first time I said it out loud, in a session with my psychologist through my tears I told her that I should have saved him, he always protected me and looked after me, I should have done more. I truly believed that it was somehow partially my fault even though I wasn’t a medical professional. There were so many memories that  haunted me; I would constantly repay moments in my head that I thought may have changed the way things ended.

With the support of great friends I managed to ease up on blaming myself but redirected the blame straight on to the hospital and all the staff who I felt could have done more. I believed that we had to fight for him so that some positive came from losing him.  The hospital failed him and things needed to change to protect other people. No other family should live through our hell.

Coroners investigations don’t happen quickly, we’ve spent the last 18 months waiting to here any sort of update on my dads case. Then last Friday my family received a letter from the coroners court saying that after considering the circumstances the coroner had decided not to proceed further with the investigation into my fathers death.

I never saw it coming. I was completely blindsided. I didn’t really know how I felt about it. My brain started to process; so they’re saying that no one is to blame, that’s bullshit, I’m not giving up.

As I revisited all the mistakes and the distressing level of care my father received, all the anger and pain I’d been storing in my heart began to pour out. I didn’t even realise just how angry I still was. For the first time I could clearly see just how much I’d been holding onto and I started to see the impact it had been having on my life.

As I took all of this in and became fully aware of my anger I knew there was no other choice. Fighting and holding on to this anger was having a terrible impact on my life. It was time to let go, to accept that no amount of blame will bring him back and make peace with the circumstances that he left us in.

Beginning to let go wasn’t some simple ahhh I’ve decided to let it go and now I feel great moment. It hurt like hell. I spent almost my entire Saturday crying, journaling, meditating, listening to inspiring talk about life and then crying some more. I let myself fall into habitual patterns of beating myself up. I spent time agonising over the way I had let my anger and victim mentality drive my life and damage relationships. Then I found the awareness to see that thought patter for what it is and with kindness reassured myself that I did the best that I could in the place that I found myself.

Sunday morning I woke up and my eyes went straight to a quote I have stuck on my wall. It simply reads “you are entirely up to you”. I felt myself filled me a new sense of purpose, I got a bunch of jobs done, went and ran along the beach and decided to end my Sunday with a delicious yin and meditation class.

As soon as I slowed down all the memories of my dad’s last few days began to flood back into my consciousness. The usual story was playing then the strangest thing happened I began to think about one particular nurse in a way I had never even contemplated before. She was the one person I felt really made the wrong decision at a critical time and I had hated her more than anyone else. As I lay hugging my bolster I was overcome with a deep sense of compassion for her, for the very first time I thought my god she must have felt awful. Tears ran down my face and I began to wonder how many times she may have questioned her decision. I was deeply concerned about the impact my fathers death may have had on her and in the moment I knew something profound had shifted in me.

It’s been an unbelievably challenging couple of years but with the challenges has come some of the biggest lessons of my life. The most important being the value of acceptance.  I would of course give anything to have more time with my dad but longing for a reality other than the one I have is a recipe for deep seated suffering.  From here I make the commitment to try and live in a way that honours the amazing person he was by making courageous decisions, actively choosing happiness and believing in endless possibility.

 

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A little boost of self love for valentines day

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The stories we run in our heads often don’t provide the most compassionate perspective on who we are and what we have done. We are often our own biggest critic and when we rerun stories of our perceived inadequacies we begin to believe them. These stories and negative viewpoints can lead to really miserable situations and ultimately hold you back from the greatness that is you. The mere fact that you are on this earth and breathing means that you have immense value and have something extraordinary to offer the world.

 

This valentines day I want to offer you an affirmation for love and acceptance; a new story to replace the old rubbish. Whether you’re loved up in a relationship or flying solo, give yourself a little extra love today! Because you just as much as anyone else you are worthy of your love and affection.

 

I am enough. I completely love and accept myself just as I am. I recognise that I have always done the best I can in any given situation and I expect nothing more from myself.  I am grateful to all the challenges that helped me to become the person I am today.  I let go of the need to criticize myself or replay mistakes of the past. I replace negative thoughts about myself with positive ones.

 

I love and value my body. I treat it with respect. I let go of any insecurities that I have ever felt about myself. I am strong and empowered. I am beautiful and amazing. I appreciate my health and I nourish my body with good food and exercise. I am worthy of all things wonderful. I release any self-sabotage that holds me back for living my life to its greatest potential.

 

I free myself from the things that do not support my sense of worth. I do not judge myself. I am not a victim. I take great care of myself. I am patient with myself. I allow myself to go with the flow of life.  I take this journey of healing one day at a time.

 

Happy V Day beautiful souls

xx

Easing into life

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The year just past really challenged me to start taking some personal responsibility for the state of my life. I realised just how much of a big difference there is between knowing something and actually putting it into practice. Putting things into practice requires self-awareness, a willingness to let go of current ways, a healthy dose of courage to take action and determination to keep trying. It’s not a easy thing to do and it often isn’t until things fall apart that we’re forced to stop and look at how we’re living.

These are my big lessons for the year:

Respect

In a class recently I was reading out a poem I’ve read many times before but this time one passage resonated with me more than ever.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

My first though was my god Clare what have you been doing to yourself and to one of the most important people in your life. I’d been walking around for the last few months with zero respect for where I was at in my own journey and where my partner was at in his. I had all these ideas about what our relationship should be like and who we should be within our relationship. My expectations put a huge amount of pressure on both of us and caused a lot of damage.

I always had good intentions but I’ve come to realise that even the best of intentions are no excuse for not respecting who someone is and where they’re at. You can’t simply ask someone to be ready and expect them to step up accordingly. In fact, trying to hand someone one of your lessons is essentially stealing from their experience and saying to them I don’t trust you to figure this out on your own.   True growth and change come naturally when the time is right and the person is ready. Needing people (yourself or others) to be different so that you can then be happy is setting yourself up to suffer.

Accepting someone else really starts with completely accepting yourself. For me accepting myself means reminding myself every day that I am enough just as I am and there is no set of circumstances that will make me more complete.

 

Reconnecting

This year for the first time I was challenged about my use of Instagram. When I was asked why I posted all my yoga photos I began to realise that I didn’t really have a great reason. I was quick to defend my daily habit saying that it makes me happy and a lot of people have told me that they like reading the quotes. To that I got the response so you like the attention. And that struck a definite sore spot with me.

The likes, the comments, the shares I loved it all. The instant little hits of gratification really had become addictive without me even realising. My life had become so focused on my Instagram. I would spend entire days thinking about what I was going to post for the day and looking for the perfect quote. Whenever I would go somewhere new I was always looking for the perfect photo opportunity.

At first I went into heavy denial. People like the quotes I share, I enjoy taking all the photos and so what if I like the attention. But there was now a sense of guilt with each post. I was now stopping and asking myself why you are actually doing this.  From there I started to get pretty depressed about it. Something that used to make me feel so happy with now making me feel pretty miserable.

I felt miserable and struggled with this sense of guilt for months. It just didn’t bring me the happiness it used to and I felt like I’d lost a huge part of who I am. That then started to make me feel awful; that a social media account felt like such a huge part of my identity and it became a pretty negative spiral from there. It wasn’t until I really hit rock bottom that I started to get some perspective.

I decided it was time to do away with the negative frame of mind and time to think creatively. Which brings me to the opportunity cost (the accountant in me comes out). The things you choose not to do, the stuff you miss out on. Basically I began to ask myself what are the alternatives, what can I now do with my time. What does less time on Instagram give me? It gave me a lot more than I expected but the most precious thing it gave me was more space to tune into life and  be mindful. Mindfulness has always been important to me but I had lost touch with what it meant to actually live it.

While it was hugely confronting initially and I was quite angry, I now see this as one of the greatest gifts I could have been given. It’s balanced me out and helped me to realise what’s actually important to me.

Uncertainty

One of the biggest things that brought me undone this year was a fear of uncertainty and change. After having lost my dad this fear got a lot bigger and more real. Having to confront the fact that life is always in flux and the only certain thing is that things will change…well I just wasn’t ready for that. I invested a huge amount of time and energy trying to control things and focusing on what I thought I needed to be happy and secure. In that pursuit I started to lose perspective on the bigger picture and the smallest things became huge issues.

Things that I knew would help me felt too hard and out of reach.  I didn’t want to accept that I was the only one who could calm myself down and refocus my perspective. I thought that the answer sat with getting certain things in life. Thinking if I just move in with my partner and get a cat then I’ll be happy….really seriously that is what I thought. I need the house, I need the cat and then everything will clam down and I would be happy. I got so stuck obsessing about these life conditions that I stopped being able to see the good things in my life.

In the very narrow world I created for myself I began to get super anxious whenever I felt like things were out of my control and my needs were under threat. In fact I began to get super anxious about everything, my mind always went to the worst possible scenario, everything was a threat, the smallest things made me stressed off my head and I felt like I had no control over my reactions.

As it got worse I started to get really overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure what I should do anymore, I just wanted it to stop. I was desperate for some sort of quick fix so that I could get control of my life again. I investigated every possible reason for why it has gotten so bad. I tired changing the pill, quitting coffee, reading self-help books, doing online courses… you name it I was looking into it. I briefly tired a few yoga classes and meditated a few mornings in a row but when there was no instant fix from these things I dropped them again.

I was impatient as impatient could be, it had been months of things building up to this point and I wanted to find something that would make me better in a day. I wanted there to be one simple answer. In the end it took things falling apart and losing what I was trying to protect for me to see the root of my anxiety.  As is the case with most emotions there was never just one simple thing, there was a complex web of things that contributed to my anxiety and while I hated the place it took me to I value what it has shown me.

It showed me how trying to control things in order to create a sense of security was actually driving me insane. From there I was able to loosen my grip on trying to control things and ever since then I’ve relaxed my need for certainty and have been able to enjoy life a lot more. Accepting that life will change and I won’t know how or when has made me a lot more engaged in everyday moments. I now feel more able to simply to appreciate life and all it has to offer without expectation or promise.

It’s been a big year and the biggest lesson of all has been to compassionately accept that I am imperfect and there will be times that I will fall back into old habits, there will be times that things don’t work out and there will be times where I am not my best self. Letting all of that be okay is hard but amazingly liberating. Accepting that I will stumble and it won’t be perfect helps me to cultivate the courage to show up just as I am and keep trying in the face of uncertainty.

xxx

There will be days like this

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There are days where the pain hits me so hard I could almost choke on it. A song will come on the radio that reminds me of my dad and I’m gone – tears are immediately rolling down my face, I can hardly breathe and I find myself doing that loud childlike crying. In the privacy of my car it’s a good release, it helps me to bit by bit comprehend what happened.

While my brain knows full well what happened, it’s taking my heart a while to catch up, that was until a couple of weeks ago. It was a good girlfriends wedding and the first wedding I’ve been to since I lost my dad. I really hadn’t even contemplated it being a hard day emotionally for me, I was so excited for my girlfriend.

It started in the church that sinking feeling, the lump in the back of my throat, the first realisation that my dad will never walk me down the aisle, we’ll never share that final smile that says here we go as the doors open. My mind started going to a thousand places but I have quickly reeled it back in not wanting to take away from her amazing day.

For the next few hours of the night I managed to drop back into normal mode, enjoying the champagne and hanging out with some of my best friends. But then the father of the bride and the father of the groom both got up to do speeches. There was so much in their speeches that I know my dad would have said. All the things that I was going to miss having him around for began to flood in and my heart started to grasp the reality of not having him here.

My girlfriends took me outside and I let myself cry a little more but not wanting to be so miserable at such a joyous occasion I forced myself to push my feelings back down and went back to an old coping mechanism for numbing. I began to drink a hell of a lot more. I did such a good job of excessive drinking that everything after 9:30pm is completely gone for me; I was proper blackout drunk.

The next morning, I woke up on a girlfriend’s couch because I’d been too drunk to get my own way home. Not only was I feeling devastated about my dad but I hated myself for having gotten so drunk.  I hated that there was so much of the night that I would never remember and more so I hated that I’d slipped back into something that I’ve worked so hard to stop.

There was a time in my friendship group I felt like I was the drunk, the liability, the person you couldn’t trust to just have a few drinks. On the outside I played up to the party girl persona but on the inside I hated myself. It became a self-perpetuating cycle; the more I had these completely out of control nights the more I hated myself, the more I hated myself the more I wanted to get blind drunk so that I could disappear and not face myself. It wasn’t pretty and it took my dad getting sick and hitting rock bottom to really force myself out of the pattern.

For the next few days I hardly slept. I found myself constantly tossing and turning, anxious and upset. I hated the idea of having to really face any of it, it felt too painful to willingly sit with and so I continued with my regular routine and simply hoped that everything would just settle back down in a couple of days.

To a certain extent it did settle down a little, I stopped feeling like I was going to burst into tears at my computer but it still sat just below the surface and began to manifest itself in different ways. I found myself less able to cope with life, more easily stressed by work, more emotionally reactive to people and quite scattered in general. Still I persevered through the mess not wanting to acknowledge that perhaps I needed to unpack what the wedding had brought up for me.

But you can only let things sit below the surface for so long before something gives. I thankfully already had a session booked with my psychologist and when I found myself crying on the way there I knew I was in for a tough session. We talked at length about what had happened that night and how I felt. She asked how my dad would have felt about my wedding day would he have been excited? What might he have said in his speeches? Just thinking about it was heartbreaking not only from my perspective of not having him there but also from his perspective. I hate that he doesn’t get to be there, that he doesn’t get to be part of something that I know he would have loved.

I was finding it hard to answer her questions honestly because the answers felt so painful then she asked me if my dad was excited about having grandchildren one day. I could hardly speak, the thought of him missing out on that part of my life hurt more than anything else. He loved children and was beyond excited about future grandchildren. He would often talk about the things he planned to do with my future children. In that moment my heart broke for him and his dreams that he will never get to live out in this life.

As I was finding hard to speak my psychologist suggested that I journal about how I felt. She asked me to fully explore what I expected these major milestones to look like with my dad, to go into detail about the part I envisaged him playing and also come up with ways that I could still include him in the future. She suggested that maybe on my wedding day I might like to keep a seat reserved for my dad, acknowledging this presence in a different way and I have to say I really loved that idea. She told me that it would be hard and would bring up a lot of tough emotions but I needed to give myself the time and space to let that pain come out. I agreed that journaling about it sounded like a good idea but when I got home I just felt so emotionally exhausted that I decided that I really couldn’t deal with anything more right now.

Then the stomach pain started – really severe stabbing abdominal pain that would almost stop me in my tracks. After a week of relentless pain, I went to my GP who cleared me of anything serious and gave no real other explanation expect that sometimes this happens and if it’s still happening in a week come back. I’m a strong believer in emotional issues being connected to physical issues in your body and after that GP visit with no other real explanation I decided that the pain in my gut was perhaps about what I wasn’t emotionally digesting.

As much as it hurt there was a feeling of disentanglement as I slowly loosened my grip on my shattered dreams. At first I was hardly able to get a sentence down before I fell apart but then slowly as I began to let myself soften into the pain I was able to read back over things and find a sense of peace. I was slowly letting go of the attachment to what I thought my life would be. It won’t ever be what I thought it would be and no one will ever take his place but it will be wonderful in its own way and that I am sure of.

And as for my stomach the next day it felt about 80% better and it’s almost back to completely normal, you can draw your own conclusions from that…

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I thought a lot about not publishing this post. Part of me worried about how people would take the honest account of my pain. My initial thought was that I don’t want people to feeling sorry for me and that is the old person who thought that strength was about putting on a brave face for everyone, sucking it up and moving on. But really strength is about vulnerability it’s about being real, talking about the struggle and owning your story. So I give my story a voice here in the hope that it provides a source of strength for others as I believe we are all made stronger by sharing our truth.

Love and Blessings

xx

Old habits die hard

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What happens when you fail; when you regress back into an old habit that you’re trying to kick. Do you give up, wave the white flag and tell yourself you didn’t really care that much anyway or do you dust yourself off, reassess and get back in the game.

Let’s face it we all fail at things from time to time. We’re not perfect nor should aspire to be. We’re absolutely not meant to get everything on the first go and yet most of us are pretty hard on ourselves. What happens when we don’t meet our self imposed, often unrealistic expectations?

Perhaps you beat up on yourself and begin running through past events, telling yourself you should have this and why didn’t you just do that. Or perhaps you begin to feel really defeated, like all you ever do is let yourself down. Maybe you even put on the I don’t give a shit mask and then make yourself really busy so you don’t have to confront how you feel. Or maybe, just maybe you respond to your failure with kindness, you tell yourself that it’s okay and you re-evaluate the situation.

In the past I’ve been a big fan of the I don’t give a shit mask and getting real busy but over time I’m really starting to appreciate the lessons that come with things not working out on the first go. I’ve found that in working on my ability to stop, accept failure and identify opportunities for growth my whole capacity for living has expanded.

So when I set myself a goal to not buy any new clothing for a whole year and on the 24th of January walked into a little boutique and bought myself a hat I was at first pretty disappointed with myself. Not even one full month in and I just couldn’t stop myself.  I thought about just never speaking about it and pretending it never happened and I thought about just completely giving up…I’d failed challenge over. But then I stopped myself and began to try and better understand why I hadn’t been able to stop myself.

When I was in the store there was a little voice of reason that asked what the hell are you doing besides the fact that you don’t need any more hats you’re actually not supposed to be doing this! But then my old mate piped up – the voice that hates to say no and can justify anything – and simply said if you like the hat get the hat, you only live once.

The first thing I recognised was that clearly I don’t like to tell myself no, I don’t like to feel like I can’t have things. This way of thinking can be both useful and problematic. It means that I take a lot of risks and I get a lot of what I want in life but in this situation it meant that I had no self control. I began to question myself further, so I can’t say no but why do I feel like I need the hat in the first place? Why do I always want so much material stuff?

I believe the answer lies in the fact that I was completely ignorant to how much I really owned. I always wanted more because I had no real concept of excess in my wardrobe. Just the other day a girlfriend was talking to me about a beautiful dress that I own and I realised that I had totally forgotten that it even existed. It sits in a dress bag at the end of my wardrobe saved for a special occasion and it had completely left my mind.

With this realisation I decided that in order to stop buying things and live more simply I had to take stock of what I already had and more importantly let go of some of the excess. I knew I needed a little help in this department and so it was time to get myself a copy of the Life changing magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. I’d been told before that I needed this book. In the past I would often go to clean out my wardrobe and just end up reorganising things, never really getting rid of anything. In order to have some sort of lasting change I needed more from myself than a little reorganisation.

So has this one little book made much of a difference? It most certainly has. It’s reframed the way I look at the stuff I keep, given me some perspective on how much I have and more importantly made me assess how much I want to have. To feel like I don’t need more, that is a luxury unlike any other. I honestly couldn’t recommend this book more highly and I’d like to share some of my favourite little quotes from this magical little book.

  • “Visible mess helps distract us from the real disorder.”
  •  “Relieving yourself of the burden of excess is the quickest and most effective way to put your things in order.”
  • “The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
  • “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence? If things had feelings, they would certainly not be happy. Free them from the prison to which you have relegated them. Help them leave that deserted isle to which you have exiled them. Let them go, with gratitude. Not only you, but your things as well, will feel clear and refreshed when you are done tidying.”
  • “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future not only govern the way you select the things you own but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life, including your relationships with people and your job.”
  • “The act of folding is far more than making clothes compact for storage. It is an act of caring, an expression of love and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle.”
  •  “From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.”

 

With a fresh perspective, a few garbage bags for the salvos and more knowledge on tidying up than I had ever considered possible, I embark again on my challenge to not purchase any additional clothing for the rest of year.

 

 

A whole new year

Without letting go there can be no new space. Without space there can be no change. Without change there can be no growth.

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People often set new years resolutions in the hope of achieving some sort of self improvement. Whether it be a health goal, a financial goal or perhaps just an all round I’m going to sort my shit out goal, it all comes back to the desire to make some part of your life better.

In concept it’s a great idea; pick something out that you’re not happy with and make it a goal to change it. So why do new years resolutions almost never last more than a couple of weeks or if you’re lucky maybe a couple of months.

I think firstly when people set out to make changes they don’t invest much time exploring and trying to understanding why they actually want to change, what the change would mean to them and what has been blocking them from making it happen in the past. So when they begin to set the change in motion it’s really only a surface change which looks good on the outside but fails to break into the deeper, more hidden aspects of their soul; the only place where real change and growth come from.

The other thing is that when people refrain from habitual behaviour it often brings up uncomfortable feelings. It may stir up sense of anxiety or uncertainty. It may show them parts of themselves that they were trying to avoid. It may even leave them questioning who they are without their old habitual patterns. It is these feelings that often drive people back to their old known ways; there’s a certain safety in that place.

With all of this in mind my challenge for myself this year is to stop one habitual behaviour with the intention to see what I can learn about myself in the space that is created. For me I knew straight away what I wanted to try and stop. I want to not buy any new clothing for the next 12 months. It may not sound like a bit of a weird challenge but for me I think it’s perfect.

Firstly it will most certainly be a major challenge for me. Many years ago a boyfriend challenged me to not purchase any new clothing for a week and to my horror I only lasted 4 days before I bought something without even thinking. It’s been a habit I’ve had for so many years now that I really can’t wait to see what comes up for me when I’m just dying to purchase something; to see what I have perhaps been trying to escape for years.

Secondly I think that it will be a good chance for me to recalibrate and take stock of all that I already have and begin to realise that what I have is enough.  I’m super excited for the element of simplicity that I hope this challenge brings to my life and I welcome the uncomfortable as a special kind of magic.

Here’s a fabulous new year filled with new goals, new focus, new adventure and lots of magic.

xx

 

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2015 blog review – what a year it has been

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Sunrise

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The last time I watched the sunrise on this beach I was standing next to my dad. We marvelled at the moment by moment transitioning beauty that was unfolding before us and then before we knew it the marvellous colours had faded and the sun had risen for another day. As we sat on the beach with our morning coffees, dad talked about how sad it was that some people could go their whole lives having never woken up to see such beauty. I knew in that moment that we weren’t just talking about the sunrise anymore. While today is such a tough day to not have you here with us I still choose to wake up and see the sunrise; to wake up and see the beauty in the world. For all the amazing lessons, perspective and sunrises thank you dad. It truly is another brilliant day to wake up and be alive.
I love you forever and always dad xoxo

 

Lessons of 2015

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With great challenges come great lessons. While this year has been one the most heart breaking and challenging periods in my life thus far I can honestly say that I have also never felt more alive, capable and on purpose.

I want to share my big lessons from this year in the hope that they enrich your life in some way.

 

  1. Let go of all the ways you thought life would unfold. Letting go of the plans and expectations you hold for your future is extremely liberating and allows you in live in flow with the universe. I realised the more I agonised over the loss of the future I had always dreamed of the harder life was to stomach. I had never even imagined a life where my dad wouldn’t be around to simply talk to and one day walk me down the aisle. Letting go isn’t a simple little choice you just make one day and then you’re done. It takes self awareness and consistent choice. When you begin to let go and allow things to just be as they are you’ll be blown away by the possibility that stands before you. Sometimes things better than your wildest dreams can just show up but you have to be open to the possibility that you don’t always know where life is taking you. You can fight that and try and control things or you can dance through the journey…the choice is always yours.
  2. Don’t fight with hard emotions. When you’re sad and you go into overdrive trying to shake it off and make yourself happy again you can wind up doing more harm than good. I never really realised until this year how much I truly loathed feeling sad. We’re all probably guilty of trying to numb or suppress undesirable emotions from time to time but doing it repeatedly not only means that you’re living an inauthentic life but it also dulls down all the good stuff. You can’t selectively numb emotions. When you let yourself experience sadness and pain the happiness and joy in your life also intensify. Allowing yourself to really sit with and feel your emotions grows your ability to experience the full spectrum of human emotions.
  3. Don’t get addicted to emotions. This is a follow on from my last point, while you should always let yourself feel what you need to, you also want to have enough self awareness to discern when you’re dropping a little too deep into an emotion or spending a little too much time there. I talk about this mainly in relation to pain and sadness but know that excessive emotion of any kind can be damaging to your body. It’s important to honour how you feel but you don’t want it to consume your life. Know the people, places and things that bring joy to your life, that make you laugh, balance and ground you, restore your calm and heal your heart.
  4. Don’t compare the beginning of your journey to some else’s middle. When I first lost my dad I’d often to talk to people who had been through a major loss and I’d find myself getting jealous of how well they were doing. There were times where I got insanely frustrated and felt like it wasn’t fair that I had to go through all of this, why couldn’t I just get back to good. It wasn’t until I got comfortable with pain and sadness that I began to realise how much I had to learn. Don’t cop out on the lessons in the challenges. As much as possible try and live in your own life and embrace your precious journey.
  5. Slow Down! Time will pass regardless of what you choose to do with it so don’t be in such a rush to get everything done yesterday. You never know when your time is up so be micro ambitious. Care more about short term goals and the everyday things. The only time you have to be alive is in each moment so live for your moments and enjoy each breath. And if you find that you’re living for future goals and wishing away your days I hope you find the courage to make some changes and take back your life.
  6. Know your worth. When I started telling myself “I am enough” each day I was amazed by all the things that came up. I was able to really clearly see all the areas that I didn’t believe I was enough and that awareness began to create a shift in my thinking. The stories I’d been subconsciously telling myself about my shortcomings we’re getting replaced with this new story that I am enough. All the crazy expectations that I pushed on myself in a bid to reach some dreamed up ideal fell away.  I began to believe that I don’t need more in order to be my best self…I was already there. I can’t even begin to tell you how much easier life got.
  7. Get help when you need it and don’t be too proud to accept it when it’s offered. I’ve never been overly brilliant at asking for help or accepting help when it’s offered but I’m so glad that all of that has changed. I knew this year that old habits and ways of coping were just not going to cut it. Accepting and asking for help from family and friends made me feeling so supported and really reassured me that I was going to be okay.  Getting professional help made me feel a bit sick at first but it was truly one of the best things I’ve ever done. There were sessions where I felt like I was making heaps of progress and then there were sessions that felt a bit pointless but it’s all contributed to bringing me into an amazing space.
  8. Make it happen; sort it out. All those things you’ve been putting off – the hard conversations, the mess and clutter, the mile long to do list – just do them. Previously I’ve been a pretty big fan of sticking my head in the sand when things have felt a little too difficult, unpleasant or overwhelming. All the things that I knew I should deal with would buzz around in the back of my brain creating a mild anxiety that I could usually balance out with a bit of yoga and meditation. But when I lost my dad I realised that I just didn’t have the capacity to carry the mild anxiety that lingered in the back of mind and I started to learn to deal with things. It didn’t just happen over night but like learning any new skill bit by bit I got better and better at dealing with things when they came up. I slowly stopped letting things run out for weeks and started taking action.  It feels absolutely brilliant to live in such a bold way.

 

Take the time to figure out what your challenges have to tell you about yourself and find the lessons hiding in your experiences. You hold the answer to all of your questions you simply have to look within.

 

Love and Blessings

 

xx

 

 

 

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