Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
I spotted this image this morning, shared by a friend of mine on Facebook. The words were unknown, but struck me, resonating with my current musings.
The last few days I've played a game. It's my 'What would Lara (Croft) do?' game. I am seriously loving it. I stand taller, things are a little more elegant - instead of feeling like a gangly giraffe - I've walked taller. I've had a kind of inner amusement, more purposeful movements. More mindful I suppose in a way. More conscious instead of just doing. Being in the present.
My game was inspired by a friend's comment and I asked if she'd write more for a blog, which is actually the bit that fully inspired me. If you've not read it, it's here.
I forget Lara all the time and just be me. But when I remember there's something quite special about it. Often I have a hurried shower, clean my teeth in there and out. When I'm playing the game, well, Lara wouldn't clean her teeth in the shower. Surely she'd do that in front of the mirror before or after with some kind of positive bad ass affirmations?
So no teeth cleaning in the shower. That's after. Or before. The bad ass bit I've just realised now, and since I'm writing this in PJs having been called downstairs by the cat's 'I'm about to be sick' noise, following my inspiration - yes I'm sure Lara would go with the flow - but probably her man servants would have sorted the cat. Or she wouldn't have one. Too messy. Anyway. A shower, noticing the water on my skin, appreciating the water as it cascades over me. Yes I do that 'oh look, I'm gorgeous' thing with my hair too. When I'm being Lara. It makes me smile, and damn it yes - makes me feel good. Instead of rushing through the shower on my way to the next thing.
I'm going to try the bad ass affirmations out this morning when I'm done here. You know - 'Thou shalt not mess with me'. 'I am strong'..... You know, that kind of thing. I'm not a big affirmation girl and tend to agree with Mark Manson - if you're standing there in front of the mirror saying 'I am beautiful' over and again it's probably because you don't feel it. I know many who love them, so please check out both thoughts and go with what fits for you - we are all so different. I'm going to play with some. And see how they go.
Play. I talk about play a lot I notice at times. I think we've forgotten the art and would say, if you're reading this, perhaps take a moment to think whether you're still playing. I love the quote...
You don't stop playing because you get old; you get old because you stop playing.
Taking on new things for me often feels like a game - a challenge, let's explore this with playful curiosity. Let's see. There is no fail, only if you don't give it a go. If you hate it, well, no worries, you tried something different. I had a slightly different view with my daughter when she'd try out a new activity, decide she loved it, got the uniform then decided after all maybe not... looking back though - great thing to get out there and try. Perhaps I was a little too quick with the uniform buying. Give it a go for a time - maybe set a month or a year or a certain number of lessons. Anyway, playing with something new I think is awesome. And life changing potentially. It has been for me. Learning to be a beginner I think is important - though not always easy, but both good for our brain and our ability to dive in, be useless (some are brilliant first time but not me) and get better.
Which brings me to my other musings for this blog, on our perception of life. We can change this so many ways - one that I see in clinic is using homeopathy - clients return, and whilst in some ways nothing has changed, in others, everything has changed. Their perception of events can shift dramatically, making life flow easier, they're often more centred, happier. But there are so many other ways. I'm playing with mindfulness and gratitude with a daily journal. Same questions morning and a similar set in the evening. Focussing on what has gone right, as well as what you can do more mindfully, and setting intentions.
An incident occurred to me on Saturday, and whilst initially I though 'gosh that's very weird' and kind of got on with things as we were hanging out with a friend, I recognised later it classed as assault. Which really shook me. To the point I slept badly, felt anxious, was really concerned about it all. It's been reported as is entirely inappropriate behaviour, and I'm OK with it now, back to my centre. But what I recognised was about the stories we tell ourselves around events. Lara would probably have shot them by now... which possibly wasn't the best comment to mention whilst reporting it. Damn, Lara would be more discrete. I'm learning. The game continues.
The stories. We can build ourselves up as victims, or we can choose not to take that role on. I'm not referring here to serious incidents, and don't want to negate anyone's experience, but I do see we do this in small ways all the time. Someone pulls out in front of us - we can go 'oh that was stupid' and move on. Or 'why does this always happen to me, everyone thinks I'm such a walkover, this is terrible'... Perhaps a slightly dramatic example but I hope you get the drift. My favourite comment I think I've mentioned before is 'isn't that interesting'. You can apply it to so much, and I think it diffuses a whole load of potential sh1t.
There's a story I keep coming upon, from one of the books I've delved into this year and have a feeling it was either Shirzad Chamine's Positive Intelligence or Mark Manson's The Simple Art of Not Giving A F***. Whichever - I recommend anyone read them both anyway.
If a man is crossing a river
I'm sure you get the point - but if you want a fuller explanation, there's a great one here by Osho.
Boundaries are important, I believe, self respect, but not taking home the story works for me too.
So back to the image I started with. I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday - on my way into my Lara shower, which does have to involve cleaning the bath so I don't break my neck on the leftover teenage conditioner. Not, I'm sure something Lady Lara Croft would have to do, but hey, with the serious lack of man servants around here... yet I clean as Lara would clean. With pride, elegance and a great posture. Ha - you don't have to only do what Lara would, you get to do anything as she would if she did. Who knows, maybe she does clean the violet conditioner blobs out of the bath tub pre shower after all.
Wow tangent. Mirror. Saggy parts of my body, somewhat child ravaged. More wrinkles than there used to be. Fat where it didn't used to be. And I looked back with love. With pride. A journey we have been on. Physical, emotional, mental. How I have grown. The two stretch marks above my belly button, from having by belly button stud at 16, then being pregnant with my daughter at 28. In the past I've regretted - if I hadn't had it pierced that'd be two less stretch marks. But yesterday, a real shift. Pride. I did that. They are reminders of my big swollen, about to burst, inny belly button had become an outy... no more space, daughter is pushing it to the very last minute (thank goodness for reflexology and homeopathy persuading her out of there!)... she still pushes it to the very last minute, but these marks, they remind me, as I write this, there is always help out there. Brilliant people are there for you, even if sometimes you don't feel it, don't see it in the moment. You can build your tribe and they will come. Call for help. So many of us forget to ask.
The breasts that had got me free beer (sorry feminist readers - it's about honesty this morning apparently and whilst I wouldn't do it now, at 21 I was all up for dancing topless on the table for a free jug of beer in Byron Bay), that had breastfed my daughter for 2 years and a month to the day. I don't regret a minute of that. So grateful for the opportunity. To breastfeed that is. The topless table dancing can do one. And whilst there'll be no beer winning (seriously, far more likely to go give them my thoughts on that idea than a view of my body now), they are a prize within themselves. A reminder of the amazingness of the human body, of my human experience. We can feed our own. I know it's out there in nature all the time, but how often do we stop and wonder at the amazingness of it? Even if we don't individually do it, should we be unable to do or should we choose not to, the fact that as a species this is possible is just remarkable. So yes, they're older. But wow - we are amazing. I am amazing.
These hips are wider than they used to be. Somehow I felt to be comparing myself to my 16 year old body... who is supposed to have that at 43? I'm still wearing the same jeans I was 14 years ago. Cut into shorts, subsequently patched and now needing some more TLC if they're to continue a little longer. I like the patching idea. We change, the wrinkles, we adapt to what we need to with the life challenges we encounter, but we are sometimes softer, more open hearted, more accepting, more colourful - well the shorts are definitely some of those, but I like the idea I may be too. More boundaried too, more accepting of what can go, what needs to go and how we will be around people. I'm not sure how my shorts that were once jeans til they wore out at the knee playing on the floor all the time with my toddler represent that. I'll work on it.
There is work I can do. There is work I want to do. I want to be fitter.. My dad at 71, is probably around the fittest he's been. Age is a number, but doesn't need to define us. But first, today, I want to appreciate, to see with love, pride, and dignity.
After all, what would Lara do?
Mentally there is work I want to do too, but, and I'm afraid I wear this with a badge of honour, when I heard myself referred to as 'the silly bitch at the end' this week in an earlier non-assault related incident, I took it and laughed, and laughed. Not fake laughter, real, bubbling up from my belly, the most delicious laughter. I can be whatever, whoever, in other's perceptions, but my bad ass monk work this year has certainly been paying off. Playing with something different has helped me grow in ways I didn't expect.
With love, Em
It's fair to say I'm a little obsessed with resilience. I've taught on it this year, I've gained more of it, lost all of it at times and am focussed on learning, growing and being more resilient, in particular this year, but all in all that's just a step in a bigger picture.
So when a friend made a comment on a Facebook post this morning, my ears pricked up and I said I'd love her to write something for a blog if she'd be happy to. Well, imagine my surprise to find a brilliant email from her just a couple of hours later. I was pondering creating a podcast to chat about resilience and lots more before seeing her initial comment this morning, and who knows - we'll see. But I really love what she says here and am super excited to share.
If you've tips, tricks and thoughts on a similar line I'd love to hear. Read on!
I love Lara
So, for as long as I can remember I’ve never really been good with heights.
I think it started from doing rock climbing at school and just never feeling safe and having a panic attack on the rocks and crying everywhere.
Over the years Ive kept forgetting this quite important bit of me and have found myself in some tricky situations.
I like to say yes to things and have adventures, so when I find myself at the top of York Eye suddenly remembering my fear of heights as the dizzy scared nausea feeling kicks in, and I start full on sobbing I remember it all over again.
The same when I wanted to get to the top of the hill to see the church that was in Mamma Mia and we had to climb these teeny tiny stairs right on a sheer drop and I was pushing grannies out the way so I could get to the top as soon as possible as I was so scared and crying.
Then there was the time when the kids were playing on some rocks (trying not to pass my fear on I let them explore) and the little darlings got stuck up high and I had to go on a one woman rescue to get them whilst crying and snotting and screaming at them as I was so scared but I had to get them down safely.
Then the game changer happened. I had said yes to doing a Go Ape experience (why why why???). I was fine with the harness and the climb but once up there I remembered again and I could feel myself start to panic and the tears of fear start. Then I somehow my brain changed. Id just watched Lara Croft tomb raider and I loved her strength and courage and intelligence and I thought, ‘I bet she could just leap through these trees’. This was my first imposter experience. I pretended I was Lara Croft. I knew I was safe as I had the harness on and I knew I actually did have the capability to do the challenges it was just the confidence I was lacking. I just played a game in my mind and pretended to feel what she would feel. Lara would feel strong. She would feel confident. She would relish the challenge. So that’s what I decided to feel. I held my head high and actually changed my stance to be lara (I don’t look like her at all but in my head I was!). I then just went all out and did it. Not only did I do it, I wanted to do it well and to do it fast and to really push myself. You know what, it bloody worked!! I flew through those trees and even went down the zip drop at the end. There were still nerves there but pushed so far back they didn’t control me anymore. Lara was the main character in this and she was tough and resilient.
Since my Lara breakthrough, ive done parachute jumps, held tarantulas, snakes, swam in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (I had a crazy shark/ megladon fear here!) and just generally been able to push myself more by borrowing the Lara character. She is now just a bit of me that I call on when I need to dig deep in a scary situation and I know I can get through these fears. This is how I worked on my being resilient.
Of course, as Ruth and I chatted later, it doesn't have to be Lara for you. It could be Martin Luther King Jnr, Mahatma Gandhi, Aristotle or any number of cartoon, real or imaginary characters.
I hate being held back by fears, and love to push myself so I'm not restricted by my mind. Sometimes though in the tough times I forget this and am super excited to have this brilliant blog by Ruth to look back on and remind myself.
Happy to feature other guest posts on resilience (or other health related issues) get in touch!
With love (and increasing resilience),
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition