Showing self kindness.

Many people, including myself have been brought up to put others first. My Mother was the typical Martyr, working herself into the ground, not expecting consideration or praise. Even when unwell she would keep going, no-one could run the home as she did, she made herself indespensible, but at what cost?  She was constantly drained, irritable, sleep deprived & extremely low in mood. When it was suggested that she took a break, she’d be horrified. When sitting she’d perch on the edge of the chair, just waiting to jump up & continue her work. I don’t remember ever seeing her truly relax. I can only imagine how unworthy she felt. Why else would she abuse herself in this way?

For most of my life I followed my Mothers’ ethos, although illness forced me to take a slower approach to life than I wanted. Even when really unwell, as soon as I heard someone approaching, I’d jump up & look busy. I couldn’t accept that it was alright to take time out, I felt guilty. I was a failure. Maybe if I’d really relaxed in both body & mind, I might not have suffered such ill health? Hindsight is pointless, I did what I did. I followed my Mothers example.

It has taken me to reach my 60s before I accepted that I had the right to relax, to enjoy time out &  that resting was no crime.

Currently I am coping with an horrendous flare up of my fibromyalgia symptoms. It hasn’t been a surprise as I know I’ve been pushing myself too hard. I knew that I needed to slow down, but old habits die hard; I was needed, indespensible, unwilling to accept my frailties. As expected, I’m now paying the price!

In extreme pain & feeling very unwell, I am laying on the sofa with feet raised, yet still trying to figure out how I can fulfil my commitments over the next few days. Why is it so difficult to just say “sorry, can’t make it “? Some people find it easy to pamper themselves & often make the most of sick periods, having people run around & fetch & carry for them. Not me, thanks Mum. No doubt her Mother was the same.

Isn’t it time that we were taught that self kindness is as necessary as kindness to others? None of us are indespensible. If we take time out, the world continues to turn. Life goes on & so it should. I am quite good at helping people & offering advice. It is annoying when people choose to ignore sensible, well researched advice, so why  do I ignore my own wisdom? Why do I simply refuse to accept that I’m not SuperWoman?

All over the Country & maybe the Workd, there are people like me. Sufferers who will happily encourage loved ones to take better care of themselves, to rest & relax when needed, yet who ignore their own advice. It’s no less than masochism!

As I age I am improving. I do relax more. I meditate. I feel less guilty for doing nothing. I eat more healthily, exercise more, sleep more soundly, unfortunately that is only part of the picture – the remainder of the time I run round like a headless chicken.

The moral of this story is simple. I need to take more general care of myself every day of my life, not just when time allows, or pain/ illness offers no other choice.  Hopefully people who read this may look at themselves & question their attitude to self care. If you are one of the fortunate people who find it easy, look around you, is there a harassed person enabling you to do it? If so, perhaps it’s time to offer a little more considerate care. “I’m alright, I’m happy to do it!” is often no more than the hidden message saying ” I don’t believe myself worthy of self care.” Offer to help, insist on it. Make a cuppa. Let that person realise that you love them, not just as a workhorse, but as a human being with rights, needs & frailties.

We all need & are entitled to love , care & respect. Accept it from wherever it is offered & if no-one offers, then take it for yourself. You are worthy.

Rosie Thomas

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Thankyou for taking the time to read this. Although I write irregularly, everything is from the heart & hopefully offers the reader some food for thought.

I you have enjoyed my musing, please ‘like’, ‘follow’ &/or ‘share’. Blogs only really work if there are people out there happy to read our words.

I am happy to receive feedback or other communication, so feel free to respond.

Thank you. Namaste x

 

 

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Trust needs to be total.

 

Since I last wrote here, my life has changed considerably. My health continues to improve – not the pain, that is persistent, but a few months ago I took a really major decision – I needed to put my total faith in the Universe. What would be the point of fighting against the inevitable? Over & over I have been ‘told’ in my heart that I need to simplify my life, yet I am also being guided to take on loads more responsibility.

These guided paths have not been at all what I was expecting, or intending to do, but it has been like an avalanche, gathering more & more in it’s inevitable journey towards it’s goal!

As those who have been following me will know, I have been de cluttering for many, many months now. On the surface it would seem like the worst is over but actually it is getting tougher, but more satisfying. This may sound like a total contradiction, but it isn’t really.  When I began to ‘let go’ it was fairly straightforward, anything that had bad or difficult memories was sold or given away & I felt a lot lighter & quite pleased with myself ( in hindsight, being self satisfied was a sign that I had a very long way to go!)    The next step was to part with things that I liked, but didn’t need, most of these were given away as it felt wrong to gain financially over them. At this point I was also working on letting go of any emotional baggage or ties. I spent a lot of time looking inwardly, then trying to follow what I felt I was being told.   

One word kept being repeated – SIMPLIFY!

I tried to analize where would be the best place to start, I was already de cluttering & trying to spend less, but still that word kept coming!

One night, out of the blue I knew that I needed to simplify everything, literally everything in my life! I wondered how I was going to do this, when I knew.

I had to let go of my illness, my past ambitions, my constant planning improvements, even my dreams & hopes.   I had to let go of trying to control my destiny!     Boy that took faith!

(*I’m unsure what has happened, but two posts seem to have amalgamated, which has made it rather confusing! I will correct it when I am able to unravel the mystery, but until then, please accept my apologies)

To begin I had to distance myself from my own pain & suffering, after all, compared to the life that so many people lead, I have nothing to moan about, yet I still hear myself bemoaning how unwell I feel at times.  I began using Self Reiki rather than relying on anything chemical. To that I added the affirmation ‘I feel great’, but I had to really work on believing it sometimes.  This is something I recommend everybody tries. It is incredibly fulfilling answering a polite question about how I was feeling with a heartfelt smiling ‘brilliant thankyou’, the reactions have been almost totally positive.    However it was difficult to maintain this belief, while still having a carer, so with a heavy heart, I let her go.   I now take total responsibility for my own life.

During this time a neighbour was very unwell so I began helping her, visiting, phoning, shopping, cooking & probably more importantly, listening.   Sadly she recently died, but despite causing myself pain, exhaustion & inconvenience I had really enjoyed it.  I believe I had made her last weeks easier, but she repaid me in ways that no one could have guessed, she gave me a sense of purpose.  I had always found  being emotional quite difficult, I couldn’t show sentimentality, I always felt too open, it was too risky!  But in helping her, it all felt natural. That was a real lesson in humility, one I hope I will never forget!I no longer feel that I need to dress up at all, or try to impress anyone, I try to be as natural as I can. By letting go of the public face, the genuine me is free to live life to the full. I began doing voluntary work, which I love. I especially love being a helper at a memory clinic. Their   Dementia makes me full incredibly humble. They are watched, escorted, their liberties & identities taken away, but still they smile, laugh, take pleasure in whatever attention they are given, they touch, cuddle, hug & talk as if you have given them everything . Yet what sacrifices have I made? Given up some of my time, yet gained so much reward.

With the realisation that helping others was my biggest satisfaction, I chose to risk absolutely everything & have set up a business as a motivational coach. I am learning to be a life coach, but in the interim I am satisfied with being able to motivate & hopefully inspire people to live their lives to their full potential. I have sunk every last penny into this venture, the pain & exhaustion are beyond words, yet I am honoured to be able to volunteer with my dementia friends as well as putting my total faith into my newfound career.    Of course it is possible that this is just another lesson that I  need to learn, however that is a risk worth taking.

I believe that I am destined to walk a path of humility & service to the world. This business is a step on that path, one in which I can become fulfilled, help others & take responsibility for my life. Any money that I earn, outside what I genuinely need can be used for positive assistance to those in need.
Rosie x

Having second thoughts?

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog about my experiences with mental health.  Although unintentional, I was actually a lot more forthright than I had intended.  I’ve had quite a reaction to this blog, some saying how stupid I have been to be so open, other, my far the majority, have welcomed & thanked me for my honesty. Well, I’ve reassessed my thoughts about the wisdom of that post & have reached a very definite conclusion – ALthough a little embarrassing, I DO NOT REGRET WRITING IT ONE TINY BIT!

Mental health problems are very diverse, affecting a wide range of people. the range of illnesses affects everyone in many different ways. There is no one pill to cure all. In many cases it is a very long road of trial & error. Depending on the type of mental health problem, some people recover reasonably quickly, some never recover.   Everyone is an individual. One thing that most people have in common is the fight to be recognised as a normal person with an illness, not some freak of nature. This is something that needs to be addressed.

I will continue to speak out…

Rosie

 

Reason to re-evaluate

Recently my health has been a lot worse than usual & I have lost a tremendous amount of weight. This weight loss has been a double edged sword, although totally delighted by the new ‘slim line’ me, deep down I have been concerned because I was sure that there was something very wrong. Eventually I knew that I needed to visit the GP, only to hear what I had expected – that there was a very real chance that I have got cancer……..

Now anyone who knows me well would be able to tell you that death holds no fear for me. In past years I have tried so desperately to bring about my own demise, that I have faced any fears that I may have had. However since I have been able to turn my life around, my outlook has changed. I am still not in the slightest bit worried about dying, but – and it’s a very BIG BUT- I now feel that I have far too much that I want to do before I go, so the possibility of my life being cut short has caused me to re- evaluate how I am living my life, albeit in an unexpected way…….

I try to live my life to the full, still trying to make up for all of the years that I wasted, wallowing in depression and self imposed isolation. I am acutely aware that I cannot make up the 17 years that I  lost through agoraphobia – but I’m certainly trying!

My mind buzzes with ideas & inspirations, to such an extent that I find myself actually wasting my potential, trying to find ways of fitting in more challenges & attempting to  cram 30 hours into each & every day, 8 days a week!  This has the unfortunate effect of actually acheiving far less than I really am able to.  Also of course, due to my fibromyalgia, M.E & assorted other health issues, I push myself far too far, with the resulting physical energy crash.  It really is stupidity!  So in a way I have a lot to thank this possible ‘big C’ for.  Because I have no way of knowing if my time could be cut short, I realise that I need  to prioritise (& organise) my use of time.

One of the things that have hit home has been my lack of happy memories, of course there have been some, but most have been over shadowed by bad ones.     Simple things have been foremost in my mind, memories of taking my children blackberry picking, walking on the moor, making cakes & pies by the score!  Kite flying, bulding snowmen, rummaging at jumble sales,taking my goat for a walk and being dragged on my bottom down the hill when he decided he was heading for home! That memory in particular still makes me smile!   As  I said, simple pleasures. Life was hard in those days, there was no money,but there was lots of hope, tomorrow was always going to be a new day. Unfortunately the new day tended to be filled with problems, but I coped because I had my little brood – my 5 sons. As long as I had them, I felt safe, fulfilled.   But life moves on, as did my children, my dreams faded, the harshness of life cut like a knife.   For so many years I felt totally at odds with the world, but mostly with myself & my bad life choices.  Maybe there were happy memories, but they have become assigned to the trash can of my mind, some were probably deleted, maybe even unintentionally, but self protection causes us to do strange things!

Nowadays I try very hard to live in the here & now, no longer dwelling in the past recesses of my mind. My possible illness has made me  realise what is important to me -now.

I need fulfillment, I need happy memories to warm my heart if it feels chilly, I need to feel proud of my acheivements, but that will be impossible if I don’t actually do something positive & make steps toward my goals – so I have started.

For too long I have wasted time & money as a reaction to having been controlled previously. I have no real use for money, nor for possessions, but never the less I buy, just for the sake of it, then give it away through guilt at my wastefullness.  Well, no more!  Okay maybe that’s a bit idealistic – I have promised myself to try to change my ways.

I have a few challenges to myself – I want to write a book, or two, or more..  I want to lead others to find happiness,    I want to gain qualifications,  I want to be able to look at my life & be proud of what I’ve done but to do that, I have to start…………….

To gain new happy memories, I have booked a few short breaks away with a friend and have decided that lack of money, or confidence shouldn’t be a stumbling block.   I am going to book onto a short trip to Iceland next year, I’ve no idea who with, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve always wanted to look for the Northern lights, so I  am going to go & try. It doesn’t matter if I don’t see them – I’ll know I’ve looked! as far as affording it, well I have plenty of unneeded items that I can sell!

My dream of becoming an author has long bothered me. although writing is a passion, I lack a lot of know how, so yesterday booked onto a creative writing course & a publishing workshop. again I may not ever get published, but I am improving my chances by increasing my knowledge.

Helping lead others has taken an unexpected direction.  I always believed that I would earn my reputation through my Tarot card reading, or laterly through healing ( Reiki, Crystal & energy healing are incredibly important to me)  But I realise that although these things may happen, my path is through teaching, inspiring & generally making people happy. Because being with vulnerable people gives me a sense of purpose & exercise helps me cope, I have decided to combine both ideals & use my new found skills as a flexercise leader & become an older persons’ party organisor ( mad possibly, but exciting prospect!)

I have also decided to enrole in a Tai Chi tutor course – something I had to give up a while ago when lack of confidence got the better of me! This time I WILL complete it! Even if I never use the skills, I will have the qualification & the choice.     My choice!

Finally & maybe most importantly I have offered to help out at the local community college,volunteering with a group of people with learning difficulties, doing whatever I can to assist them. I need to help others & can’t think of a better way!

As for my diagnosis, I am going to Hospital in a couple of days for tests, but really it is not important.  Whatever the outcome, I intend to fill my time doing what I can to improve my life.  I don’t need to live my life filled with regrets. Of course there is a lot that I would have preferred not to have happened, but it did, I can’t change that.  I can’t even change the future, because it’s not yet here to be able to change, but I can change ME. I can live everyday fully, not punishing myself, being kind to myself, being mindful & aiming to fulfil my dreams & find contentment.

I will shoot my arrows of intent at the targets of my dreams  –   & if they fall short of the target?

At least I will have had the courage to try.