It has been an exhausting few days and I have struggled physically to keep up with it all. But I kept up with my yoga schedule (despite me protesting at the intensity). But since I love rainbows I have bought and worn my nee rainbow shoes that bring me a little smile and saw this little rainbow strip on the train, that also made me smile. Last couple of days, I have been crippled with anxiety, although there has not been anything obvious causing me anxiety. So next few days I will focus on trying to relax my body. It’s annoying when the unforeseen happens, but it does happen and so I know it is a case of managing it as and when. I’m hoping it will be better tomorrow and I will lay off the caffeine. Still I try and find the small things that bring me joy and rainbows it is today. I have always loved colours.
It is mental health awareness week this week and well there are topics I have already written and some that are yet to be written. Once I will have some time to relax and be able to sit in front of a computer I will type away. In the meantime I share this quirky photo that I saw en route on the weekend. Who doesn’t love a bum bag!?
There are those who would view some things in my life as failures. Like the time I started my law degree and dropped out, my relationships that have ended, the many turbulences of arguments endured, leaving the UK, the many nights of drunkenness that ended up in black outs, the end of friendships, the many times I have not persevered with a project or stopped learning something I had set out to, my family, forgetting someones birthday, my childhood turbulences, my weight, my breakdowns, depression. The amount of times I banged my head against the wall from my unhappiness at work and not getting anywhere. Photography is also right up there too. The agonising thoughts of how much I could have done with my talents and even writing. I mean the list goes on and on.
One of my favourite poems from many years ago, is printed on a card that I carry in a wallet with me every day which quotes the following: “Success is failure turned inside out”. This had stuck out from the poem, the moment I first read this. It is one of my favourite quotes and as cliche as it is… there is something so meaningful to me behind this.
I have seen many things in my life given to me in my life as a gift and a curse. The gift of insight, of understanding, learning and seeing many different things that for some are completely unfathomable. I truly believe this lead me to being more open minded, less judgemental, more understanding and the ability to connect with those who likewise have endured difficult moments in life. The curse of many things not working as I had wanted them to. With all my will and it still not working. I don’t give up easily and so when things, usually out of my control do not work out or shatter into different pieces, it really affects me.
It has becomes second habitat to see things that did not work out, nit as failures but as successes even when the success may not have come into fruition. This is of course easier said than done. Most recently in my break up, I could not help but feel the whole ending was a failure, that I failed love, that love failed me. That the past 18 months I let myself down, prioritising the things that may have not even needed prioritising, that I let go, that I disconnected from myself and the things I care about. For as painful the last 18 months have been and I have experienced death over and over again, be it my own mum, my relationship, my beautiful Wispa and Bella, the surroundings, my job, everything I was used to seeing and doing. It felt each time a thousand cuts inside. And more often I focused on all that was no more, but I had to try to consciously focus on all the beautiful things alongside and many did happen. The birth of the beautiful girl of my cousin, the new surroundings, the new towels, the new furniture, new friends, a new job and completely new focus and the joy that brings me.
I cannot even begin to write in words how much the pain, and sometimes this pain is so difficult to describe in words, cut me up inside. I could not understand why this pain was brought to me and felt like it was brought to me again and again. But the pain reminded me of the strength, the inner strength I possess I have to endure and accept what was given to me and to unearth layers within me I never knew I could tap into. I still ask myself within this process, how much I let go of myself, and still feel this voice of failure. How distraught I allowed myself to get. But there in lies the acceptance, I did get this way and in a way this allowed me to feel the many shades of pain. And ignoring this sort of pain, trying to overshadow it or doing else other than be confronted with it, I know would have not allowed me to see the many lessons I did learn. Most notably the understanding of love, that love is not always straightforward, that life has so many shades of colour and never is rarely so black and white or straightforward. Moments present us with choices we make, such as how to deal with pain, the pain of others, prioritising people and things, how to respond in arguments, to reach out, the fear of fear. Leaving things unsaid or said. These are all choices and before you know sometimes the choices are no longer there, that it is too late. For most part it is not too late so the choices are there to respond differently. To be brave and to try a new choice.
Even if there is not another direct opportunity, for me it is important that whenever the opportunity arises, there is a choice that could be entirely different to the one before and to try is to be brave and try differently.
I don’t see any of the events as failures but rather steep learning curves and yes there are some regrets although not a lot and if anything I had learned everything I didn’t want to do and things I know that don’t serve me well, and from this comes the eventual things I do want to do and things that bring me joy. I don’t believe in failures altogether and when I do, time shows me why it was a failure. But eventually there is the success in the very thing that didn’t work out. Whilst I type this I know I am yet to find the reasons why some things didn’t work out in recent history and I am curious to find out what the universe has in store for me instead.
I know there will be future instances where I know that feeling of failure will come up again but I will try and remind myself that time will tell you otherwise.
Little daydreamer me
I remember a school report stating that I often like to daydream and drift off into my own little word and 20 years later that is still the case. I caught myself drifting off during class the other day, with my mind wondering in an alternative universe, my own little universe. I have always loved and loathed this ability. In one way I have always loved this about me, this little mind being able to wonder away and visualising many different stories playing out, what could have been, what if situations. In another way this vivid way of being, sometimes visualised things and felt things that may not have been helpful and sometimes caused me pain, though nothing in actual reality had actually happened.
In the past few months, this narrative of staying present has become more and more of significance, especially as I am becoming more conscious how often I drift off and I am not at all entirely present with what is around me, with what is currently happening in the moment of time. I would like to deepen my time more with meditating but I do find it hard to set aside 10 minutes to be entirely still but work hard to set focus on my body and mind. I do have already sensed the benefit of this though. If anything I am becoming more and more aware of my body, my breathing, the tension, the anxieties stuck in places not wanted in the little body of mine. So mediating and more consciousness is needed to help me be more present in the moment.
I do love to daydream though. I daydream about the future me, the past me. I think of all places I would like to be, the people I want to see and talk to, the love I want to feel, the love I want to give, the world that may be one day, the happiness and peace that could be. I do not think I will ever stop to daydream. In a way it has been and is my passage to writing (not that I qualify myself as an actual writer), but it is my outlet, the place I want to place my thoughts and wonders of this world. And this is the place, where I can consciously try and fill my stories with happy endings and positive affirmations, rather than negative thoughts and visualisations. It is a place where trauma may reside but in limits, not to relive but a place to process and reflect upon.
One of the places I daydream of and do day dream whilst being there, is the sea. I love to be by the sea. If there is no sea, then there are places where water resides. And more of often than not, you will find me in those places. Here is a photo from a sunset in Portugal. I loved Portugal and I aim to go back to explore more of this beautiful country and spend more time by the sea.
Here is a toast to little daydreamer me. I will forever daydream and I am proud to be a dreamer, and for anyone who is a daydreamer and a romantic and a life thinker, absolutely embrace this side of you. This is part of who you are and I see you, hear you and feel you.
I am still exhausted but hoping this weekend I can share some more of my thoughts around mental wellbeing and health. It is mental health awareness month and this is giving me a kick to try and share some of my stories.
I am too exhausted to even begin to write any sentences. I am looking forward to some time off and away. But one of the things that brought a smile to my face this week was seeing this rainbow en route from the dentist with sparkling clean teeth.
Mental health. Two words that for most part is combined with issues and problems. But mental health should be thought of the same as physical health. And physical health is not always about issues but literally the physicality of your health. So if there is nothing wrong then you probably would not think twice about it.
This month is mental health awareness month and there are a few things I can share and would like to share. I think I have had my fair share of issues with mental health. It’s not all been plain sailing, but I do believe that these experiences have taught me that I am equipped with far more strength and resilience I thought of. But equally I have also learned not maintaining your mental health has a way of biting you, and reminding that perhaps you should not take your strength and resilience for granted.
For I do plan to share more of my story, my steps and my thoughts throughout this month. I am not even sure one single person will read it, but the fact that I have written and published is far more than I have done before.
Here is a photo I took last year on a walk I took in one of my favourite areas. Being in nature and taking walks has completely changed me or rather I have changed in that I now actively want to be within or around nature. In doing so it has such a profound effect. Especially with the people I love. But I am happy to go solo too. Coincidentally writing about this photo has reminded me that this particular walk was the last time I got to spend time with someone I had loved very much. Just like nature reminds me of its cycle. We say goodbye to the old but also say hello to the new.
May The Fourth Be With You
Today is a day to truly reflect upon the last year. May the fourth be with you. I always think of strength when I hear this on this very day, every year. Force, which in my head equals strength.
Another year older, and today I do feel another year wiser for it. It is no understatement that the last year, has proven to be probably one of the most challenging in my life, but in a way that I can’t help but feel will show in rewards in the future and to some extent already has.
For as the last year, there was nowhere for the deep pain and sadness together other than to immerse itself deep within me.
It had nowhere to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It is an insufferable feeling, to be confronted with, as well when you are the least mentally or physically prepared for it.
I am no stranger to emotional pain. I know when I feel it, but this pain was a cocktail of different kinds of pain jumbled into a single body together, getting tangled up. This tangled pain is still in large tangled up, for which I am still in the process of untangling. Nevertheless this experience has really been a deep learning curve and continues to be so. In the midst of all this pain, lies the very anchor of it : love. And my god, has love been the source of so many things this past year.. joy, tears, celebrations, frustration, anger, denial, fear, happiness, smiles, butterflies, appreciation, gratitude.
I see pain as the gift and the curse. The curse of anguish, despair and hopelessness but the gift that it irrespective of the circumstances, there is always something to take away from the experience that will help you grow. That unearths layers of you, that you didn’t know existed. This is a process and one which takes time, patience and self care. And indeed plenty of time, patience and self care and of course more mistakes in between.
I have learned that the kind of pain I felt, stemmed from my deep love. Love that hurt, love that brought me to my knees, love that knew no bounds. The kind of love where you didn’t want to say goodbye but had no choice but to and in the end I accepted to.
But more than anything I am learning and continuously reminding myself how important the love for yourself is. The mantra of to be your own best friend. And your relationship with your best friend has dips and flows, but that maintenance of your relationship is so important. But also to learn to forgive yourself (truly forgive yourself) and to keep working on feeling inner peace and contentment. Happiness will not always be sunshine and rainbows, but the days where it storms and rains, to also be grateful for what you have and accept the uncontrollable and that is naturally the part of your life. And inevitably part of your journey, what the universe may lay out for you.
I don’t have a magic answer or proclaim to know anything more about right and wrong. In fact I am starting to understand that right and wrong are not significant at all but that understanding and compassion and empathy are the very things that enable me to lead a more peaceful life. And sometimes just standing on the lines and not allowing the dark muddy spaces interfere or take over from the very essence of me, which is love.
I’m no expert and for once I know I have so much more to learn and embrace.
Love has taught me a great deal and for once and probably partially thanks to lockdown circumstances, I don’t have grand plans for the next year, other than to continue to enjoy the things that truly bring me joy and to embrace the very unknown. With this I am sure there are many many more lessons to learn. So bring it on.
Alongside this post, I have shared a photo I took last year from what was such a beautiful unexpected sunset, after experiencing grieve some months and before another set of storm clouds gathered. I was blessed with the opportunity to share this moment with a love and holding the hand of someone I never knew I’d learn to love deeper and more soulfully, even long after the physical love evaporated. And although there was no happy end, this was one of those beautiful moments in life captured on an iphone with long lasting memory of the kind of love that felt so raw in the moment. I know I was truly in the moment, knowing despite all the events before, that I lived and felt an immense amount of gratitude and just felt so in the midst of that very moment. Love hurts. But love also gives you the most beautiful moments in life that I know in future to soak in and be completely in the moment.
Here is to another year. May it bring you all the love, health and smiles you know you deserve. Here is me telling my own best friend Renée.
From reading Pema Chödrön’s book “When everything falls apart”:
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.”
I once again have met the time when one thing so dear to me fell apart in quick succession. Revealing itself quickly and coldly. But I reminded myself of the above chapter in the book and that sometimes if not more often things need to end, to begin again. And so with all my mighty, I am trying to believe this and not force myself to stop or fix something. To let it be and tap into the wider unknown. To let go of the attachment that has caused me joy and happiness but now is causing me pain more than anything.
Goodbye. You may leave for today but tomorrow you may be back. You give warmth, strength, energy and light, where there is darkness. For that I am grateful.