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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Accepting when to take a step back.

Unusually for me, I have been forced to take a spell of complete rest ( well, not quite as complete as I should!)
I’m a hard personal task master & dislike feeling useless or inadequate but occasionally everyone has to accept their frailties.
I’ve known that I have been over pushing myself but tried to convince myself that I was Superwoman, if I kept going, I would push through the physical difficulties & emerge triumphant. Of course this was never going to be possible!

I’ve been beating myself up for not updating my blog, falling behind with paperwork, not submitting stories to editors, etc. etc.

Pride?
Stupidity?
Stubbornness?

A bit of all the above and much more.
Now forced to have total rest, I’m paying for my stupidity, but it’s been a timely reminder.
None of us are perfect, nor can we push our boundaries beyond their full stretch. Equally none of us is irreplaceable. Being forced to swallow my pride & get someone else to take over the running of my writing groups, has been hard, but hearing how well they managed without me has forced me to rethink my superwoman status. I’m no superhero. Just me. And being just me is enough.
I’m thankful that I’ve been reminded of that.

Rosie x

Apologies for the haphazard posting but thank you for still reading my ramblings. Please share the link to this blog, to encourage me to write more regularly.
Thanks all x

The busier my life, the better it gets.

There was a time, not too many years ago when the idea of being busy would have seemed abhorent to me. I had no energy & couldn’t understand those who urged me to do more – how could I? I was ill, depressed, too worn out to care. What did those do-gooders know about my life?

I ignored them.
I stayed stuck in my misery.

Today someone reminded me about a saying that I felt was very apt. I might not get the quote exactly correct but I’m sure you’ll get the gist of it.
Unfortunately I don’t know the author either, but here are the words:

If you always do what you’ve always done, in the same ways as you always done them. You will always get the same results.

Simple words, yet very true.
In those days gone by, I was doing exactly what I shouldn’t. I bemoaned that life was too exhausting, that I felt lethargic, uninspired, lacking in motivation. I wasn’t willing to try any other way. Sure I’d read self help books & listened to those ‘in the know’ but they were talking idealism, not real life. Or so I believed.

As regular subscribers will know, things changed for me quite dramatically. It took a while for the changes in my mind set to really filter through but it seems that the Universe has accepted my genuine desire for change. Life keeps on improving. The point that I’m making here is that things didn’t just fall into my lap. I had to work at it.

So how did I find the energy to do all the things that are making my life so complete? Simple really – I forced myself to put more in! It’s inconceivable that success & happiness will come for no reason. Obviously I had to play my part. I began to do things to help others,I’d always wanted to but hated the idea of being rejected, so was reluctant to offer. I forced myself to challenge that fear & began volunteering, befriending & at first simply trying to be a helpful & considerate neighbour. People expressed gratitude, I felt useful. I needed to do more.
I set my intention to be a good, kind, useful member of society. I asked for guidance. At times the ideals seemed impossible to ever achieve. I was just me, a little old woman with some pretty batty ideas! But something urged me to continue. I volunteered more, did more. I turned off the television. I stopped procrastinating. I began ‘doing’. It still exhausts me yet it’s so intoxicating that I never want to give up.

I fit more in my week than I previously would have done in a year ( or more). Although It makes me so tired, it means that I generally sleep well. I’ve become fitter, calmer & far more ‘balanced’ in every sense. I’ve also learnt to respect my body more. At times the pain rips through my body like a red hot poker, nothing can ease it. At these times I know that going out walking or working would be counter productive, so I remain at home. Here is where the difference comes – yes I’m at home, maybe, like now with my poor aching feet raised high, but I do something to keep my mind from fixating on my pain. I write a lot when I’m in pain, there again I’m regularly in pain! The thing is that keeping busy, having something to focus on, having a reason to force myself to get on with things or to drag myself out to a meeting is good. It’s extremely therapeutic.
All of my time is used usefully, even ‘wasted time’ isn’t really wasted, If my body needs to sleep, I sleep. If I need to relax, I do so mindfully or use meditation. I no longer force myself to fit into a schedule of what I feel that I have to do, I do things because I want to. I get so many rewards from helping others (emotional, not financial) I love seeing people happy, the work is it’s own reward. I enjoy everything about my life now, even the niggling annoyances of general life serve a purpose. There is positivity in absolutely everything, even though we can’t always see it at the time. If we are open to accept the good things that are offered, they will come, rarely in the form or way that had been anticipated but good things will come in abundance. At times I feel overwhelmed by the gifts that the Universe has showered on me, but I accept graciously & genuinely knowing that it is reward for what I do for others. I feel gratitude for these opportunities. The embarrassing part is that simply enjoying everything is reward enough.
I do things because I can. I can do things because I work at it. I work at it because I enjoy it. I enjoy it because I’m doing what I love & love what I do.

Wow! I’ve just surprised myself by what I’ve written. It’s late at night, I have a busy day tomorrow & a kitchen that looks like there’s been an earthquake in there but it doesn’t matter. I will sleep well & in the morning I will deal with what needs to be done. If that means the housework stays undone – does it really matter? Having a sparkling kitchen or smiling people? No contest!

This has been a bit of a ramble tonight. I hadn’t intended to write anything so it has all tumbled out, totally unplanned. I hope that you can follow my line of thought.

Until next time, look after yourselves & those around you.
Be happy,

Rosie X

If you have enjoyed this blog, please ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘follow’. Tell your friends about it. Let’s see if we can get this blog a wider audience. Not for glory, not for egotism, simply to share my love of life & gratitude to have been given the chance to make a difference, no matter how small.
Imagine how good this world would be if everyone tried giving instead of taking?
Bye for now X

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

Oh what a day

I have always been very much of a morning person, but over recent months I have been finding it a struggle to get started each day.  Fibromyalgia doesn’t help, as one of it’s kind gifts is feeling unrefreshed as if you haven’t slept at all, regardless of how many hours of sleep you’ve actually had.  Apparently it prevents the body from getting into the deep level of sleep that is required – hence fibro sufferers always feel totally washed out.  Unlike many people, I actually have very little trouble with getting to sleep & apart from the inevitable trip(s) to the toilet in the small hours, I sleep fairly soundly. It wasn’t always so. I  used to cope on two hours a night, without any daytime naps either !  I was totally unable to sleep.  I hate using sleeping tablets so read all that I could about sleep deprivation & have implemented a lot of the suggestions that struck a chord with me. Now, as I said, I normally sleep well. Unfortunately this hasn’t helped me wake any more refreshed but I try to get up as soon as I wake, that is until recently!

Yesterday was a really enjoyable day & my head was buzzing with what I had learnt at my writing class so I found myself still writing at silly o’clock , even then having  to force myself to retire.  Finally I crawled into bed, head throbbing from eye strain, legs hardly able to carry me the few paces to my bedroom. I literally fell into bed & went out like a light, stopping just long enough to realise that I didn’t have any commitments today, so I could sleep as long as I needed.

Nobody told my cat!

A couple of hours after collapsing into the world of dreams, Chi ( my cat) decided that it was time to get up.  NO!   After a difference of opinion he accepted that he wasn’t able to win, so we both went back to sleep.  Only to be rudely awoken by a speeding cat, bouncing across my body in his haste to hide away from the person who was ringing the doorbell!   It’s extremely difficult to pretend that you are still asleep, with the trail of blood from cats claws crossing my body.  Too bleary eyed to read the clock, I expected it to be the postmen. I pulled on my dressing gown, bare feet, with hair that would have been a credit to a scarecrow, I dragged myself to the door.

“Good morning, can I come in & fit you new intercom.”   I mumbled yes but my mind was certainly not using that word!  Being a lady, I will not tell your what I wanted to say, but it wasn’t very polite!   By now my cat was sat under the chair, growling at the workmen, glaring at him for daring to disrupt the morning rituals.  As for me – I  wasn’t  sure if I was even in the land of the living,  but my need to use the bathroom told me that I was.  However I couldn’t use it because the man was working there ( I should point out that there are emergency pull cords throughout the flat, not that I need to answer the door via the bathroom😄)   A second workman came in, cat flew elsewhere, I shuffled uncomfortably , needing the bathroom, needing a cuppa, needing to dress, but above all, wanting to go back to sleep……….

Eventually of course, the job was done & normal day should have been resumed, but no, I dragged myself around, as if I was weighed down, legs like lead weights. My head was pounding, I couldn’t snap out of it at all.  Poor cat wanted to play, I wanted to make cat kebabs!   He was safe – I’m vegan.   I bent to pick up his food bowl & lost my balance, reached out to find support, which unfortunately came in the form of a glass dish,  which smashed into a million pieces.  Grrr!   Not what I needed today!    Once I had cleaned up the glass, fed the cat & my fish, I couldn’t face feeding me.  I decided that today was going to be a right off.  I trudged towards my bedroom & caught sight of myself!  What a pathetic sight!   I looked so sorry for myself, it was ridiculous!   I had a frown so deep that I hardly recognised myself.  I stared at my reflection,  Chi was staring at me.  Suddenly the absurdity of it all struck me.   I burst into laughter.  Chi came over to see if I was okay.   No I wasn’t, but I soon would be.

Now approaching lunchtime, I finally got myself washed & dressed, followed by a deep & meaningful conversation with my deity through prayer. After which I gave myself a long relaxing Reiki session.  I had intended to get some pain killers but of course found that I no longer needed them.  I turned on the radio & began to sing along.      Cat purred.  We played.   I forgot breakfast & went straight onto lunch.  Tiredness gone,  I did a lot of de cluttering, letting go of many possessions that I had been reluctant to give away.  Finally, exhausted but excillerated,   I collapsed onto my sofa in the late afternoon.  I began to think about my day.  It had been such a strange day yet turned from negative into positive, simply because of the absurdity of my reflection.

There is certainly a lesson there for me.  No matter how rubbish I feel, allowing myself to wallow is a disastrous move.  I know that if I take a step back,  take a  quiet time in prayer &/or meditation, All negativity dissolves.  Every problem  doesn’t disappear, but they stay in their right context.   I had stayed up far too late,  I had woken badly,     I  had smashed  a dish,   I had a very bad headache.   And?   And nothing!    Nothing dreadful happened,  the world didn’t fall apart, in fact I ended up having a very good day.      All because of those few peaceful moments.

It’s now midnight, I have some writing practice to do.  Goodnight to one & all.

Rosie x

 

 

Praise where it is due

like so many people, I always had difficulty in accepting praise, I’d mumble something about not being very good, or else rather than embarrassing myself by blushing, I’d make a joke, or make fun of myself.
I’d been brought up not to show pride in myself or my achievements. Pride is on par with lust, gluttony or avarice ( although to be honest, I never truthfully understood quite what avarice was.) I grew up believing that it was wrong to be pleased with myself – so inevitably I stopped showing my talents – became a mediocre nobody.
I hated having the spotlight on me, even to the extreme! One painful memory involved winning the first prize in a theatre draw. I was mortified! I begged my Father not to make me collect the prize, but I was ritually marched through the theatre towards the stage. I could feel myself burning up, tears pricking at my eyes as I made my way past all of the envious spectators. Why Me? I didn’t deserve to win, I didn’t even want the prize! Surely everyone must believe that I’d cheated? Why Oh why did it have to be me?
I’ve never forgotten that day. It acted as a blueprint for the rest of my life. I would never claim any further prizes, even at Bingo ( which I hated then & now) if I noticed hat I was close to a full house, or winning line, I stopped crossing off any more numbers. I couldn’t bear the humiliation of having everyone stare at me.
I stopped doing the Lottery because I dreaded winning a fortune but not being able to claim it!
Bizarrely though I felt comfortable being on stage, be it as an actor, dancer or singer, I guess that it felt safe because I was playing a part – it wasn’t really me that everyone was staring at. I wasn’t there, I’d stepped back to allow the ‘other me’ to take front stage, I was invisible. Safe.

How different things are now!

Since living alone, since finding out who I really am, I’ve come to understand that there is no shame in being proud of my achievements. I have no need to be embarrased when someone offers praise.   I’m only an ordinary person but like everyone else – I am unique. You are unique, we all are & we all have positive attributes as well as weaknesses. I am learning to feel quietly proud when praised & now am able to say a simple “thankyou”.

Recently, in a moment of madness I decided to do something positive, to show gratitude for the abundance that the Universe has bestowed on me.   My health was reasonably stable so I took part in Care Internationals’ campaign ” Walk in Her Shoes”, which involved walking 10,000 steps a day, every day for a week. This was to represent the distance that Women & girls in the poorest parts of Africa need to walk daily, just to fetch water.

Although the daily distance wasn’t huge ( approx 5 miles) for a fibromyalgia & angina sufferer who was usually only able to totter for a few steps before collapsing in pain, this was way, way out of my comfort zone!    However the cause is very important to me, so I duly proceeded to train myself to walk, with the aid of my pusher, a few metres more each day.

Naturally for this to be a success I needed to gain lots of sponsorship, but as I haven’t lived here for very long, I didn’t have a lot of people that I could call on to support me.  Therefore I decided to enlist the help of the local newspaper to highlight my endevours.    I wrote a letter, hoping that part of it would be published, what I hadn’t expected was to have an entire article and a full length photo of myself published!  Not much chance of anonimity anymore.

At first I was dreadfully embarrased, but soon realised that I needed to embrace this publicity if I wanted to raise awareness of this cause.  Good job really because shortly afterwards I was awarded a beautiful bouquet of flowers as that weeks’ most inspirational story.

I soon discovered that being recognised had it’s advantages. I found the courage to ask people to sponsor me & even had my photogragh taken again with my carers’ company, along with a very decent sponsorship.

I began keeping an online account of my training, difficulies & successes, this involved regular updates, photos etc.  I admit that I found this quite daunting – taking ‘selfies’ may be the norm these days, but not for me!

By the time the challenge began ( 23rd March 2015) my health had deteriorated but I knew that I needed to carry on – I had invested too much effort & time, besides I needed to do this for ME!  I had to prove to myself that I am able to hold my head up, I am able to succeed!

And succeed I did!

I raised quite a substantial amount of money & although now one month later, I am still suffering from the ill effects of pushing myself too far, I AM PROUD of myself. I did what was seemingly impossible for me, I did it without worrying what other people thought.

This has opened a whole new chapter in my life.  Why shouldn’t I continue with this positivity?

I have also realised that I was taught wrongly.   Being proud is good in the right situation.  I now know that I have the right to create my own life rules, as long as I don’t cause harm to anyone.

I’m no longer that terrified little girl.

It no longer matters if people doubt my motives, as long as I know my intentions are good, why should I justify it to anyone else?

There are millions of people on this Earth, most of them stumbling along trying to find their role in life, many of them apologising for their existence.  Hopefully they too will one day realise that it is GOOD to hold your head up & say  ” This is me, I’m not perfect but I’m proud to be doing the best that I can”

We’ve all got a role to play, never forget that.

Be unique

Be yourself

Be happy & proud of who you are.

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till next time, stay strong,

Rosie x