Stuck.

Do you ever feel like you’re not really living life? That you’re more letting things happen and tick along without making any progress – or relishing in experiences that will be the memories you’ll look back at when you’re older? That’s where I am right now. I feel stuck.

Here’s the tricky thing. I know I’m not. I’ve done a lot in the past year: become a freelancer (yay!) working on a long-term contract (boom!), gained the weight I so foolishly starved off (boo), become better at shutting down the negative self-talk when it creeps in (oh yeah!), allowed myself to have experiences my younger, more frightened self wouldn’t dream of (YASSS), and managing to stay in a neutral mood more often (is this what most people feel like?). And yet, I feel stuck.

How you ask? Despite knowing that I’m doing pretty well all things considered, there’s this feeling – like a dull pain that’s not really noticeable yet strong enough to annoy you – that I’m not living the best life I can live. I’m not being the best person I can be.

But what can be done?

Have you ever felt like stuck like this?

Change your story. Change your life.

Do you ever stop and consider which story you’re telling? Take a moment right now. We have time. Ready? Now think about this: is your story holding you back or helping you thrive in your life?

Listening to an episode of the Tony Robbins podcast on my way to work today – it’s become a habit of mine this whole podcast thing – he spoke about three steps to a breakthrough in life – and how we can change things in our life, be it relationships, finance, health, career, and take them to the next level. One of these were the story you tell yourself. Your beliefs about your life.

“Give up the story that limits you.” – Tony Robbins

We all have a story, created by the multitude of experiences we have and choices we make every single day.

I’ve met a few people during my 35-years on this planet that have been telling tragic tales of woe me’s. Now, I have my moments of “life’s pretty shit right now”, but oh-em-gee some of these people: always something negative, or “I’m tired”, or “my family didn’t have much”, “I can’t deal” and so on. Truth be told, there’s no wonder nothing good seem to happen as long as you keep focusing on the wrong thing. If you’re focusing on what you’re missing at all times, instead of what you have, then you’re in for a rough ride.

You might be telling a story that’s not beneficial for you. It keeps you stuck in the state you’re in. It keeps you from growing. It halts your potential to be brilliant. It crushes your ability to live the most glorious life you can live. Or it simply keeps you at the ‘average, kind-of-ok’ state you’re in at the moment. And that’s ok if that’s where you want to be, but…wouldn’t it be amazing to live your life in the best way possible?

I’m not trying to make this a BE POSITIVE ALWAYS-kind of post. Life’s not that. It can’t be that. We have our ups and downs, successes and failures. But what differentiates what happens next in your story is how you choose to look at things and the decisions you make.

“Decisions, not conditions determine your destiny.” – Tony Robbins

Which story do you choose to tell?

From life thinking to life doing.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been planner. I have ideas of what I want to do, what I want to make and where I want to go. I like planning it. But, more often than not, I end up not doing the fantastic things I’ve planned.

Terrarium making. Painting with watercolour. Life drawing class. Language lessons. Going to a meet up. Cooking more. Making pottery. An Instagram feed dedicated to one thing. Archery. Eat more vegetables. Take up photography. Go hiking somewhere exciting.

It’s as if I have an invisible rope tied around my angles, holding me back – not allowing me to move forward and actually do the things I think of doing.

This invisible rope I know is all in the mind. It’s a blockage somewhere which is not letting my life doing emerge. Truth be told I don’t know how I can unblock it. I don’t know how to reach down to untie the rope. But I’m going to find out.

First, I need to do some more life thinking. Oh the irony. Yet I feel this is an important step. To get to the life doing part, I have to do some life mapping – and that requires some thinking! I’ve never been one to have a 5-year plan, not in work, not in life. As my mid-thirties are looming, I’m starting to think (there’s that bloody word again) that a roadmap of what I want to achieve and do over then next 5 years isn’t such a terrible idea.

When I’ve completed my life mapping session, and set out some near and far goals, it will be time to get on to life doing. The key will be to not try to do all at once. This is one of my problems. I end up with analysis paralysis because I have so many things I want to do, that I can’t decide which to do first, and end up doing nothing…

OK, I have my sharpies and paper. Wish me luck!

My 30-day Reflection challenge

Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling to focus my mind, feel good about life and process things as they’ve come along. It feels I’ve shifted into autopilot – a feeling I know too well from my darkest days. Wake up. Go to work. Check Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Work more. Check Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Oh and what about Tinder? There might be a new match that I’ll never talk to and who will never talk to me… Get home. Feel tired. Go to bed and listen to podcasts meant to inspire. Only to not action on them whatsoever. The only difference is that this time, it hasn’t been accompanied by that deep dark feeling I know from the past The abyss within that’s waiting to swallow me. Not yet at least…

To mix things up, and in doing so, switch off the autopilot of my life and take back control of the steering wheel, I’m intending to write down daily reflections every evening before bed. To consider what I’ve done, said, and felt that particular day. I want to reawaken my thoughts, make them find themselves down onto paper – YES, pen on actual paper. Not tapping things onto a screen.

What will I learn? Time will tell. All I hope is that it’ll break me free from the dreary path I’m on. I’m standing at the cross roads. Ready to narrate my own life. And not simply be a story told.

 

Time to embrace my femininity

As a little girl, I loved wearing pretty dresses, tassles and being ‘girly’. Then as I grew older, and chubbier, I started shying away from this image, as I began hiding away the curves that nature had decided to gift me. I developed my figure pretty early on, and anyone who’s been a girl growing into a woman knows how uncomfortable this can be, especially when you’re one of the first ones in your group of friends. I became aware that the other girls were slimmer than me, less curvy. With this I started to feel like I needed to hide. Too afraid to be different. Afraid of my femininity.

As I grew, so grew my interest in sport. It came naturally to me. I wasn’t afraid to go in for the tackle on the pitch, I had the power in my arms to throw things far. I had co-ordination. But with this, I also slowly ‘lost’ more and more of my femininity. I wore baggy clothes, didn’t dress with joy. Black trousers and ill-fitting sweaters became my uniform. I became harder, less willing to speak about emotions as well. Then again do any teenager do that?! I became more aware that to ‘make it’ in the world, women who embrace their masculine traits seem to succeed.

Navigating my way through university, my early career and love, I spent most of it being scared of appearing vulnerable, to be seen as too ‘girly’. Quite sad really as I was never in any danger of being seen as too girly.

Now, as a mid-30 something woman, looking back at her adolescence and twenties, I can say that it’s only really in since going into the 3rd decade of Me that I’ve started embracing my curves and emotional being more. It’s only now that I’m actually feeling good in my own skin and mind. I’m by no means feeling good all the time, but the good days are outweighing the bad days.

Maybe it’s because with my 30s I also started giving a lot less fucks about everything. I think less about what people think of me. I’m aiming to shine and be as good as I can be each day. Not everyone will like me. That’s OK. I don’t like everyone so it’s only fair. I’m no longer desperately trying to fit in where my soul tells me I don’t want to be just because it’s the cool thing to do or place to work. There was a point where my body was actively rebelling agains me and my life choices by making me ill. I can see that now.

Both men and women have feminine traits, women usually more so, but it’s there in everyone. It is a strong power within us that’s been around since the birth of humankind. It shouldn’t be seen as a negative, as something to not aspire to. So, I’ve decided that I want to embrace my femininity.

I want to wear more skirts; I own pretty dresses and feel great while walking around. I want to be ‘girly’ if I want to without it having a negative connotation. I want to be able to go kick ass at a boxing lesson or build a wardrobe from IKEA, then put on makeup, feel wonderful about it and ready to take on the world!

You might be thinking “What utter bollocks. No-one’s stopping you from doing this. You’re free to wear what you want. And besides, there’s nothing wrong with wearing jeans and t-shirts.” All of this is true. And I wish for everyone is to wear what they feel great in and live the life that brings them the most joy! But truth is that being overtly feminine is often seen as being weaker and something that shouldn’t be aspired to. That’s why we have terms like ‘run like a girl’  or ‘the weaker sex’. Exactly when did being a girl and a woman actually become a negative?!

We are pretty amazing really when you think about it. We can grow life in us. We seem to have an intuition, a sixth sense, call it what you like to know when we’re being fucked with or lied to (just ask the boyfriends & girlfriends, husbands, wives and partners out there!). Yes we might coo over cute puppies and cry for no apparent reason when watching films, but we are tough as hell when needed.

Why should we have to power dress and be less emotional to get ahead at work and in life? I want to be an emotional and caring human being. I want to switch my inner light on, and shine like a bright star.

I want to be feminine and empowered. Who’s with me?

A gift to my future self

 

Looking for new podcasts to get into I came across Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. In one of the episodes she interviews Liz Gilbert of Eat Love Pray and Big Magic fame. And in this Liz notes that we should give gifts to our future selves. And she’s so right!

With mindfulness and being in the present being all the rage, we shouldn’t forget that what we do today will impact our future selves in some way. I’m all for living more in the now, because quite frankly the past is somewhat depressing and the future…well the future is unknown. You just have to live it when it comes around!

That said, you should give your future self a thought every now and then. Because the positive steps you do today, will probably be amazing for you at some point – a day, a week, a year from now.

This got me thinking.

What can I gift to my future self?

I want to gift her a healthy and happy life.

To do so, I can, today, feed myself with nutritious and delicious food.

I can do stretches, sign up to a couple of classes, and move that body!

I can embrace my female curves and accept what makes me unique.

I gift myself nutrition. I gift myself movement.

I gift myself self-compassion.

I invite you to share what gift you’d give your future self in the comments. It would be wonderful to hear.

Listen to your body. Feel its needs. Hear its desires.

I’m on a journey to listen more to my body – the vessel of my self on this planet – and not punish it though diets, silly exercises and plain simple beating it to a bloody pulp with my mind.

For as long as I can remember my body and mind have been locked in a furious battle. My mind wants to improve my body and sends it on a gruelling diet, restricting it from the very source of energy, the fuel it needs – that I need – to survive. In return, my body rebels, throwing off the mind at a time of weakness (when it’s been tired of holding up the force field of being the best), going on an epic binge fest, saying FUCK YOU MIND while devouring ALL of the food its been denied and more, the mind silently allowing this as it tries to soothe emotions it’s struggling with and fill the hollow spaces of the soul.

Having been ok for a month or so now, being more positive, working on reducing the negative self talk and appreciating me for me, the past two days have seen me spiral down towards old habits. I’ve been snacking, eating more than is necessary. Choosing cake (carrot if you want to know) over less sugar-coma-inducing snacks around. I’ve been treating myself as I’ve allowed the self-hatred to bubble up again. And as I’ve hidden away and disliking my body more and more, I’ve heard the gremlins knock on the door.

I know one of the reasons, if not the reason, for this has been that I ran out of my happy pills – something I don’t recommend at all! Not taking these, if only for a couple of days, have seen the gremlins grow stronger, telling my body it wants and needs sugar, fatty foods and other things to feel better. And my mind has not picked up the battle. So I chose carrot cake. And crips.

This affected my energy levels immediately. All I’ve wanted to do is sleep. To get away from the thoughts and feelings bubbling underneath. Today has been much of the same. My body has craved sugar and food. It has wanted chocolate. Sweet fruit. And now I feel huge, like beach ball that’s been filled with too much air. I’m at bursting point.

My mind has been equally frazzled. It’s been thinking about stuff that doesn’t matter.  It’s been easily distracted. Unfocused. It’s engaged in conversation with the gremlins. And it’s become needy. It has wanted attention, from men especially. I’ve felt I needed to know that I am capable of being interesting to men, I’ve needed reassurance they find me attractive. Because my body and mind are both telling me that I am not these things…

I now have my happy pills again, and I know that in a few days time I will be back to ‘normal’ service. What scares me the most is how quickly the gremlins appeared and managed to make my mind and body turn things negative. And it makes me wonder what I need to do in order to be able to maintain a positive and happy me without the happy pills.

For now, I’m going to listen to what my body is telling me right now while I wait for my mind to get back on point. I’m going to rest.