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Entries in choice (30)

Friday
Aug222014

We All Want to be Seen.

How can someone sit in a group of strangers and feel more calm, connected, heard, loved and seen than they do in their normal every-day life waiting outside the doors? 

The fact is that many people do. The company of strangers becomes a place to heal from "normal" life.

Many people feel alone, isolated, lonely, "different" - particularly when surrounded by friends and family. Even those who have large numbers of familiar people in their lives are more open, calm, comforted and less alone in the company of strangers - sharing their deeply-held and closely-guarded secrets, exploring their most challenging feelings and simply learning to be themselves in the absence of the expectations of others. 

Perhaps, with a group of strangers there is nothing to prove; we are not even sure what we should be hiding from them so we don't bother raising the facade we use with everyone else?

Maybe we recognise that there, we get to test-drive or at least explore a "new" version of us - one that feels better and fits better, one that is less exhausting than the version we currently show?

Could it be a sign that we no longer have the energy to raise that well-worn facade for yet another group of people - leaving us with no place to turn where we can truly be ourselves? 

It is when we choose to be what others expect of us that we are the most disconnected from ourselves. In living up to the expectations of others, we abandon our relationship with, and knowledge of, ourselves.

In the absence of these expectations, we are free to make other choices about how we behave, think, feel.

It's one of the great paradoxes of life that there, in a group of strangers, we are more at "home".

Sarah xx

 

 

 

 

Monday
Jan272014

Noticing the noise.

These days, I wake up at 4am and savour the moments of bliss before watching, noticing, observing my Mind fill with noise. 

When I had small babies, I would lie awake for hours worrying about getting enough sleep, raging against the lack of sleep I was able to get, fearing the daylight hours, fearing the night hours too. Getting up to a child in the night meant being awake at least 3 hours ... and it was making me sick. It wasn't the lack of sleep, it was my Mind keeping me awake and making me sick with worry, rage, frustration, fear. 

By accepting my being awake in the early hours, I have come to treasure it as a moment when my Mind is clear and less noisy than "usual". I get up and write, or read or research or listen to the gentle silence in my mind. 

Of course when the noise begins to take over my Mind, I notice I feel the need to get moving, do things, start on the list I want to get through for that day.  That noise is what I now recognise as anxiety in my Mind

Notice, I don't say "anxiety in me"?

My Mind and my Self are different: my Self is calm, centered, clear.

My Mind is full of noise: crazy stories, thoughts, judgements, ideas, fears, conversations had, conversations that need to happen, to-do list items, random sounds.  That is what I observe... when I step back from my mind and notice. 

This morning, for example, I noticed how I think about my ability to speak French as "intermediate", "it will never be more than that" and "I am intermediate or average at everything I do and have always been". I noticed these thoughts and wondered  "Really? ... where does this stuff come from?". 

These limiting thoughts are fairly benign: they relate to a skill that does not make or break my day - although has definitely led to all manner of frustration over the years!

But what if this kind of thinking is prevalent in other ways in my Mind ... and even more crucial, what if I am actually listening to it, believing it, holding it to be a truth, and living my life as if it's true?? What are the consequences of seeing that noise as a real part of me? 

These days I notice the noise and see it as separate from Self. These days I label it as noise, acknowledge its connection to the anxiety I feel, and accept that it is something I carry with me that does not define me. It is NOT me (Self), it is my Mind - that is all. 

Naming Mind and Self as different is a freedom we all have, if we choose.

Noticing the noise is a significant step to seeing the separation between Self and Mind and to reducing both anxiety and depression. 

When you listen to your noise, what do you notice?

Sarahxx

Monday
Nov122012

A call to action.

By focusing on what did and what might have happened in your childhood or in your past you are giving it power - the power to stop you in your tracks, to hold onto the old, to forget about living now, creating now, parenting now, loving now.

You want so much to live NOW ... not back then, not in the corner cowering below upraised hands, ashamed, frightened, helpless.

It's time to choose a different approach ... to choose what you focus your attention on. 

Your life is what you are creating. In order to create what you want you need to be here NOW. To be here NOW you need to stop looking back over your shoulder at what has gone before, at what the past tells you happened.

Release the past, stand in the present, create your future as you want it to be. 

Do it with self-care and love. Do it with determination and a willingness to do things you find tough - simply because they are the stepping stones to a new way of living. 

Don't want another minute. Don't wait another minute. 

sarahxx

Sunday
Oct212012

How to stop going mad.

You know that moment … where you start to wonder if you are going mad or “losing it” because you no longer appear to be able to handle the pace of your life, you feel like crying or hiding away somewhere dark and private? It's a sign that your self-care needs ramping up. 

What you are trying to manage right now, what is on your jobs list, what are your responsibilities, what are you carrying with you from the past too (because the more you are carrying from back then, the heavier the load right?).

We might even write it all down … to see it all there on paper, to recognise that it takes a while to get it all in print because there is so much of it.

And let’s be expansive about this. For example, if you are simply going to work each day and coming home, eating dinner and going to bed then perhaps you are assessing your life as pretty much what it's always been. But to get the full story you will need to go a step further and write about whether you like your job; you are eating in a way you want to be eating; you are sleeping a full night; you are waking up feeling refreshed from sleep and so on.  

Once you have your list and have expanded on it, take the time to look at the list and ask yourself “what else is going on?” – this will help you understand that while the day-to-day activities may not have changed or increased a great deal, your response to them has. 

Start by doing just this, for now. It’s enough.

To begin being conscious of what your life involves (not just the activities but your feelings and responses to them) is a step in sorting out why you feel like you are losing it/not coping. 

It’s a step towards self-awareness and self-care. 

Any step in that direction is life-changing. 

sarahxx

Tuesday
Sep112012

It's spring ... somewhere.

After more than 7 years in the northern hemisphere, I appear to have suddenly reverted to living my home (southern) hemisphere’s seasonal pattern. The planet’s south has passed the magical date of 1 September and launched itself into spring. That means the north is on it’s way into autumn – not exactly the traditional time to begin the behavior of ‘spring cleaning’.  It appears to be part of an elaborate plan of resistance to taking back my “old” life in an effort to have more of what I truly want and less of what I have settled for. 

I am clearing, cleaning, culling, washing, airing, tidying, and making space between the stuff. I am recycling all manner of work-related paper that I was sure I would ‘do something’ with one day. I am vetting carefully the social engagements I accept.

I am choosing nothing over 'something' ... instead of settling for less-than. 

I have to admit that, aside from a few attempts in the area of spring cleaning (even on-season), I haven’t done this properly in years. I put it down to a recently restorative two week holiday where I didn’t cook, clean, grocery shop, do laundry, organise a babysitter, follow a routine attend social events or work.  The holiday created space for awareness and reflection – for detaching from my life.  

Post-holiday, I feel a strong resistance to falling back into the old way simply because it was “the old way”. An automatic response that pre-holiday was simply there – perhaps even something I would have labelled ‘natural’- is no longer the leading force in my actions. 

Instead, there is a delay … a moment when I find myself thinking “umm is this what I want? Is there a better way/different response/alternative thinking I could be using? Do I need this in my life? Is it bringing me closer to Self and the ones I love? Am I living my values” 

Of course it’s not a sweeping change. It will come as no surprise to you that there are times when I just do it the old way because it doesn’t feel like there is time to suddenly create a new one. Other times I choose to do nothing instead of just doing the same ole, same ole.

There is a very strong sense of coming up for air – from daily life, from habit, from a kind of sludgy place where I always felt I was struggling to keep my head above water. 

For years, when asked what I want I would respond “a simpler life”. Now I feel like I am creating it. 

Why did it take me so long?

I suspect it comes down to letting go – to just simply having the chance to STOP and step back. Doing nothing of the normal allows us to reflect on the ways we normally spend our time and energy.

It's spring somewhere ... 

sarahxx