Rewind a few years and I was very unhappy. Initially I tried to tell myself that I was ‘fine’, or at least that I was ‘coping’ and that “many other people have things much worse than me”, but I was experiencing health problems which were leaving me feeling low, exhausted and overwhelmed.
At the time I thought that if this or that thing changed, or if this or that person would just do things differently, then ‘everything would be ok’. In short, I was looking for answers outside of myself. I tried various options, including counselling, but they just weren’t helping to make the changes I so desperately craved. I wanted someone who would really listen, and give me the advice, support and tools I felt I needed for things to feel better.
I continued searching, which led me to an online course entitled Integral Enlightenment , run by Craig Hamilton. This course encouraged the participants to view life from both a relative/duality perspective (our daily experience) and also an absolute perspective, ie the perspective that is outside of Time and Space. This helped me to develop a deeper self-awareness and a consciousness of my responsibility for my own actions, thoughts, beliefs and feelings, while also knowing where this responsibility ends; that is, to discern the things that are not mine to take on board. (Having been a first-born child, a ‘fixer’, a ‘control freak’ and a ‘perfectionist’, this was a big step for me!)
I started to see – and accept – that the only thing I could change in my situation was me! I had been trying to ‘fit in’, and to go along with others in order to ‘keep the peace’, thinking that this was my only option, but each time I said ‘Yes’ to something that didn’t feel right to me – either verbally or through my actions – I was effectively saying ‘No’ to myself. This was causing me high levels of stress and deep unhappiness. It was part of a pattern that I had learnt as a child, but it was no longer serving me. Something needed to shift in me for me to feel better. The answers had to come from within, not without.
Far from making me feel helpless, I suddenly felt that I had the power to choose which direction I would go from there.
For me, this naturally led on to exploring:
- Who am I, and what do I want in my life?
- What are my values, and how can I be more aligned with these?
I began to understand that when I am honest with myself about my feelings, reactions and responses – and I take responsibility for these – then life is simpler, and feels more authentic and less overwhelming.
Also, when I was able to get clearer on my values and how I could express these with integrity, I felt empowered and recharged.
I came to realise that when my thoughts, values, beliefs and actions are congruent, it’s a very peaceful– and also powerful – place to be. It brings new clarity, insight and energy, and allows me to feel comfortable in my Self. That is, I feel ‘at home’ in my own skin. And, isn’t this sense of knowing who we really are, and feeling safe and able to fully Be that Self, isn’t this what we really want from Life?
I came to realise that although I had thought I needed advice, support and ‘tools’ in order to change my life, what I really needed was a safe space to explore who I really am and how to Be that more fully. I worked with a couple of therapists along the way who helped me to do this exploration. They mostly just held that safe space and walked alongside of me, sometimes asking me questions or helping to shine a light for me to find my own steps. I discovered that this was actually what I wanted and needed, rather than advice. Their support was gentle, encouraging and offered with a ‘light touch’, mostly just allowing me to see that the wisdom and resources that I needed were already within me, all I needed was a way to connect with them.
I’m sharing a little of what my journey looked like, not to say that anyone else should take these same steps, but to give hope to anyone who is struggling right now. I know that everyone is an individual and so their journey will be unique to them. There is no ‘one size fits all’, but that is the wonder and beauty of Life in all its richness, variety and colour. That’s why I don’t have a fixed programme for people to follow and my work is always tailor-made to the person and their situation.
I am now honoured to share parts of the journeys of some amazing people, holding space and shining light for them as they find their own path and reconnect with their inner power and beauty. Each one of them is an inspiration and a joy to me, and I love to watch as they find their feet and step into their ability to continue on without me, or to return periodically for a bit of self-care.
If you’d like to know more about this process, please see my website.
And if you were wondering about how my health is now:
- I haven’t had a migraine in years
- My eczema has cleared
- I haven’t had an episode of IBS either
- We now live on a Welsh hillside and I care for 2 horses which means that I’m pushing barrow-loads of hay up and down to the fields and poo-picking a couple of times a day, so my energy and fitness levels are also much improved!
Having reached a very low point myself, I know how despair can suck all the Life and fun out of everything. But having found my way back I can tell you that the sun shines even brighter now, because I appreciate it all the more 😊