I am enough

For the first time in several weeks pain woke me. Stabbed me through L3, L4, L5, like hot lava it sprayed down through my left psoas, crossed back into my right iliosacral joint and burnt a path through the back of my thigh, my calf and the base of my foot….as I woke a tear leaked down my cheek…I bit my lip and breathed….I’ve got this….next to my bed is a box of tablets and a pen. With another breath I reached for the pen. Pen first, drugs later…if at all…..if at all…..(as I’ve now taken them it seems ironic that I thought that but I did! and I’m pleased I did!)

This blog is  some of what came out of that pen this morning in the small hours, in my half-dark room, after pages of gibberish, I found a point. A thought which lifted me up and I held on to. I don’t normally even let myself re-read journalling but today I thought it important to remember it and share it, because if I do that I might start to actually believe it.

The bottom line is this; I try exceptionally hard to please people. I try so hard that I make myself sick. People say to me ‘you’re so good at staying in touch, you’re so good at ‘being-friends’. The truth is I’m not. I’m just trying to please you.

credit: Doodli-Do's

credit: Doodli-Do’s

I find saying NO incredibly hard. So I say yes. Yes I can come and visit you, yes I’ll come and stay and fly round the world to see you, yes bring your children, yes I’ll send you presents, yes I know it’s your birthday, yes I’ll organise an event for you, yes I’ll look after your children, yes I’ll cook, yes I want to come with you, yes I’m free, yes talk to me, yes it’s no problem, yes I’ll walk there, yes yes yes and then before I know it there was so many YESs that I forget to please-look-after-myself a bit and then here I am flat on my back, again, balancing a keyboard above me…..and cancelling things I originally said yes to and feeling guilty and round it goes…. It’s not that I don’t want you to ask, I do. I just need to learn that saying NO doesn’t mean I’ll ruin a friendship. No does not wreck anything worth having. Saying No is OK. Thinking of myself is OK. Doing nothing extra is OK. Silence is OK.

chronic

I am trying to make you feel special, loved and cared for because that is how I want to feel. Ultimately I am trying to show the world that I am worthy of peoples friendship. Trying so hard is exhausting, shattering, particularly when my efforts appear to fall on deaf ears. When that happens, instead of letting go, I try harder. It’s a red-rag to a bull. I think I haven’t done enough. I never think -maybe they don’t need that, want that or maybe they are busy! (wow how Narcissistic is that?!) I always think; I just must do more.

enough

I am trying so very hard to show you that I am good enough to be a friend, that I am cool enough, fun enough, witty enough, pretty enough, intelligent enough, brave enough, mature enough, interesting enough, silly enough, caring enough, glittering enough, generous enough…simply that I am enough.

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That’s it then. My work for the week. To simply really start to believe that in every moment I am enough. Right now lying here in a stained dressing gown, unwashed hair, taking this time to talk about myself. I am enough. I do not need to do anything else. I choose love. I am enough right now.

credit: Olivia-Joy-StClaire

Art work credit: Olivia-Joy-StClaire “You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” -Brene Brown

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Gratitude

I keep reading advice on Do’s and Don’t of blogs, I don’t know quite who all this ‘free’ advice is aimed at but I feel it’s not really at me! This is not a blogging EMPIRE I have here, it’s  simply my teeny tiny corner of the web to do with as I wish. So today I thought I’d ask myself why I am blogging? Why am I writing and writing, why can’t I stop? (I can’t…I wake up at night dreaming of writing…!)

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Is it to become a good writer? (whatever a ‘good’ writer means’) To create some kind of career path? Is it to tell the world what kind of floss I use on my teeth? Is it to share my MASSIVE wisdoms? Is it perhaps, purely a place to selfishly be the centre of attention and shout, across the interweb-waves Look at ME! Is it a place of healing? Is writing part of my therapy? To give me something to do when my body won’t co-operate. To distract me from pain? The answer is I don’t know. I suspect I write for a mixture of all the above reasons. I write to clear my mind, to help make sense of the chaos within.

via Progressive Parent

I write to help me see the beauty in the world. It is easy to drone on and on about all the problems I have. It is far harder to sit and think of all my blessings. Harder still to turn those positives into coherent sentences. It is a process which cannot be rushed, nor can it be stemmed. It flows out of me (struggling to control my tourtured-poets-soul-metaphors-of- crashing rivers here…!) and I need to have somewhere to put it. Helpfully the C21st has provided me with the perfect outlet – blogs.

lamaa

Over the last few months I have dedicated myself to my health, wellbeing and happiness. I have written and written, teaching myself to talk the talk and now I am beginning the walk! Part of The Talk, is an idea first suggested by my Chronic Pain Specialist  that I begin a GRATITUDE book.

gratitude

With this in mind, every night for the past three months, the very last thing I do before I go to sleep is write a list of what I’m grateful for that day. Initially I started with small things, such as being grateful for a cup of tea being bought to me but I quickly realised that a list like that was firstly pretty easy to create and secondly could go on a long time. So I took a step back and looked at the BIGGER, overarching gratitude I can muster for each day. Each night I start and end my list the same way;

I am gratefull that I am ALIVE…. I am gratefull I can access amazing food, I am gratefull I am happily married, I am gratefull I own books, I am gratefull we live by the sea I am gratefull that I am learning more each day, this makes me stronger and I have less pain.

via Sea Shells

Since I have started doing this I have not only had less pain, I’ve slept better and I find joy easier to see and beauty more frequently around me. It has become one of the happiest parts of my day. However hectic, painfull, stressfull or easy a day might’ve been to lie next to my husband and share this daily gratitude is one of the greatest lessons I have so far learnt on this path.

Brene Brown

I suppose this is ancient wisdom, not dissimilar to a prayer-at-bedtime, simply re-structured and re-kindled for a more secular audience. Now I have learnt this talk, really learnt it. I am excited to keep practicising gratitude, I’m convinced this simple task helps you to simply think less and live more and ultimately will lead me past the talk and on to the walk!

think

 

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The swamp land of my soul

I begun today with a Skype session with my SIRPA practioner. It was by far my most intense session on this journey so far. Now that I have healed my pain to a point where I can walk and talk the majority of the time, I have the energy to begin to really face up to the root causes of my pain and hopefully prevent it ever returning! This is something which is a) Unpleasant and b) FUCKING SCARY! Today, I had a BREAKTHROUGH, a horrible one, but a truthful one, a necessary one and a courageous one. I realised that whilst I have dealt with various stress-inducing events in my past, I have not dealt with or faced the underlying fact, which catches in my throat and burns my eyelids, with its complete stupidity and its very existance. The fact that,

I AM ASHAMED OF MY EPILEPSY.

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Irrationally, intelectually I know it’s irrational, I feel that it is intrinsically my fault I am epileptic and that perhaps if I’d done something else, not taken drugs, taken other drugs, saved my virginity, done more sport, done less sport, perhaps if I’d tried harder to fit in, to change, then perhaps I wouldn’t have it and I would somehow be a better person. I talk the talk and even walk the walk of ‘being OK’, I am the MASTER of being open about epilepsy. But let me confirm now, that is BULLSHITE. I am FULL of Shame and embarrassement and self loathing,- and that, that right fucking there, is what creates my pain……………………………………………………………

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This is my most courageous blog-post yet. It is balls-out. This is all I have, this is my swamp-land and I am throwing it out here into the web to expose it, acknowledge it and let it go! Whilst on this topic of Shame, I thought I’d look up one of my new favourite people Brene Brown on TED and see what insights she has into Shame- alot it turns out! Brene describes shame as the swamp land of the soul. Brown talks powerfully about how we need shame, how crucially Vulnerability is not weakness, rather it is the most accurate measure of courage that we can access.

the_man_in_the_arena

Most powerfully for me Brown explains how empathy is the antidote to shame and how in order to exist Shame needs 3 things;

  1.  Secrecy
  2. Silence
  3. Judgement

I hope that this blog goes some way to begin tackeling the existance of my shame. I hope it will cultivate more empathy and allow me and those I love to live more mindfully, more presently and more peacefully.

You have escaped the cage. Your wings are stretched out. Now fly. Rumi

This week my husband and I made our bed (mostly my husband). It is the most romantic thing I think I’ve ever seen. It is made from scrap wooden pallets and old doors we salvaged. I washed the grime off the door, under the blazing sun, sanded it and polished the old key hole. I wondered how many hands have opened that door? How many feet have walked over the threshold it guarded? Was it a bedroom door, guarding a sleeping babe or perhaps a frontdoor keeping a family safe and a home warm. I love the thought of all those stories hidden in its wood. I love to lie in bed and think of all the door’s previous owners. I will never know their faces or their stories. But I do know that they were all human and I also know that they all will have felt shame for one reason or another. We do not like to talk about it but shame is just another part of our shared human experience. One Love.Our Bed

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Embracing vulnerability

Long before the heat of today got going, I was up and headed seaward. The sleepy streets just stirring as I passed, a bit before the morning-rush-to-school/office/money-making. The beach was hazy and still, the sea flat as glass, barely a ripple, already a shimmer of heat over the pebbels, a promise of the swelteringness to come! I could hardly tell sea from sky and sky from sea. Just me, the fishermen coming home and the gulls. RUBBISH for surf, wind, wave action. But today, I wasn’t looking for that. I was there to simply be.

To submerge into the clear-but-possibly-not-so-clean…cityside-sea to float in the salt water. To breathe and LET GO. That was my morning wish and it was WONDERFUL. Floating out there on the edge of the deep, I had no pain. British waters aren’t the warmest……….but that was irrelevant. I was, in that moment, at peace, free and alive. How wonderful that is. The fact that I found a way to achieve that in my day I think is worth celebrating.

Over  lunch I watched one of the most wonderful TedTalks I’ve ever seen. Recommended to me by my SIRPA therapist.  It is by Brené Brown and called The Power of Vulnerability. Not only did I relate to it personally I also found it amazingly affirming regarding much of what I have been working with recently. Brene studies human connections, she puts forward the idea that Connection to others is the core element of what it means to be human. One of the biggest barriers to human health and happiness is our universal FEAR of disconnection, human beings are always asking  but I’m not…fat,thin,clever,tall,pretty..adjective enough this is otherwise known as SHAME. An uncomfortatble thought, but an essential one.

connect

The major challenge of connectedness is that in order to connect, truly, deeply, meaningfully we have to put ourselves out there, we have to BE SEEN. This makes us VULNERABLE. Brene states that people who feel true love, peace, belonging, all have one simple thing in common. They all feel that they are worthy of it. They all have COURAGE (different to bravery) – originally derived from the Latin Cour- heart- literally means; telling/living the story of your heart. I love that idea!

courage

According to Brene we feel connection by Letting go of who we think we should be for who we are. Connected people embrace vulnerability and acknowledge that it is this which makes them beautifull too. It is the willingness to say ‘I love you’ first, investing in a relationship that may not work and living with no gurantees.  Vulnerability is KEY, it is our core and the birthplace of Love, Joy, Creativity and Happiness.

key

Brene ends with hope, for despite our shared fear of our individual vulnerabilities there are ways to manifest more joy and happiness in our lives;

  • To let ourselves be seen
  • To love with our whole heart without gurantees
  • To practice real joy & gratitude
  • Finally and most importantly to say I AM ENOUGH.

Enough

Hearing this made me smile. I think that I am doing well embracing my vulnerability, this blog is a way of being seen, telling my truth and letting my real self be seen. I am courageous in writing it and I practice gratitude daily. I am working on the ‘enough’ part. I have noticed how some of my closest relationships have been born out of the most vulnerable points of my life. I can see that without vulnerability those connections may not have happened. Embrace vulnerability, being vulnerable is to be alive. One Love.

fwend

 

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