Learning how to feel without analysing or fixing

I will kinda be taking a hiatus for the next couple of weeks from writing the blog. I’m yearning for a slot of time to ‘go deep’ as it were, and currently i’m just feeling things without processing them or making teachable lessons out of them.

So in fact I will write about that right now!

There is a tendency for *some* of us on the path to be very self-aware, to notice what’s going on with ourselves, catch our habits, have our tools to get us back ‘in the game’. But not actually dwell in the feelings themselves – I know for myself if something comes up (a fear, anger, uncomfortable feeling etc) I will automatically go into ‘let’s sort this out’ mode, or look at it like a scientist and try to work out what’s going on, if there’s an underlying emotional ‘hot spot’ that needs working on. I like to be pro-active and make things right. If i don’t go into analysis mode, then instead I will look to my list of mood-lifters to get me back on track again – exercise, dancing, watching Glee etc.

I think that’s probably what a lot of us do, who are into the whole self-help melarky.

However, i’m now learning to sit in the space of the feeling and do nothing. To not think/analyse, and to not go into fix-it mode. If i’m scared, BE scared and breathe into the feeling. If i feel angry or hurt, to stay with it as much as possible.

At first this was scary for me, and I had a lot of resistance, because I don’t want to be ‘an angry person’, or dwell in sadness and not come out. I think there was a fear that the more ‘negative’ feelings are traps – to be avoided. And it seems strange to want to willingly walk towards a painful emotion (well, seems strange to me at least).

But this is what I’m doing. And the reason why is that the self-analysis, and the ‘oh god i feel a bit resentful, quick let’s go meditate or go for a run to get me back in a good mood!’ strategies were just ways for me to invalidate the feelings. Like, i can’t feel sad/angry/frustrated/mopey etc, so quick quick let’s get back on that happy vibe. I was invalidating myself. And how can you expect others to care about your feelings when you don’t care about them yourself?

So this week (well, potentially next couple of weeks while i listen to death metal and punch pillows) I encourage you to sit with the feelings. Honour them. If you feel miserable, go with it. Sit in the expansiveness of it. Don’t think, analyse where it comes from, judge, dwell on the reasons behind the feeling, or try to get out of it by ‘doing’ something. Just sit in the space. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel. If you don’t, you’re being mean to yourself! And boy, have I learnt how mean i’ve been towards me for not letting me sit in my ‘negative’ emotions.

Yesterday I gave it a go with the feeling of ‘abandonment’. I didn’t really wanna ‘go there’, but I just did. For about 20min. Then I naturally came out of it. It wasn’t so bad after all! The world didn’t end, I didn’t get attached to the feeling, I kind of felt resignation and ‘oh well’ afterwards. So I know that even with some initial resistance, once you do it and ‘go there’ it’s not so bad.

Right maties, look forward to reporting back with new discoveries

S xo

I can’t…?

Ladies, you will love this show; The Conversation. You can watch all episodes of it via the link. It’s a series of short interviews with women in the public eye (Lady Gaga, Jane Fonda…),  about finding their confidence, sharing their life lessons etc. I can’t recommend it enough.

This week two things have happened that have challenged me, both in positive ways, both around the idea of ‘I can’t’.

1. I had my first flying trapeze lesson. After one practice of hanging from the trapeze bar by my knees close to the ground, I was then the first in my group to go do the move up on the 30ft high trapeze.

Climbing up the ladder, all i wanted to do was get back down to the ground.

On the ledge, looking out across the big expanse of net, I was terrified.

When my instructor told me to lean out and grab the bar, I didn’t wanna let go of the safety rail next to me.

But I refused to say those words ‘i can’t’. I said everything else (out loud, too) – i’m terrified, i’m scared, i feel sick, i don’t want to do this – but I refused to say ‘i can’t’ because i didn’t want fear to win.

So I went ahead, jumped off the ledge, swung by my arms, screaming, did the move, was hanging by my knees, and that was that. I did it.

On the ledge before the jump, I had to take action despite every part of me wanting to recoil, get back down that ladder, and sneak out of the class. It took everything I had to stay on the ledge, everything I had again to reach out to take the bar, and jump. The only thing that kept me going through with it was ‘i won’t let fear win‘.

2. At work we sometimes play sports with kids in the community, and yesterday we had a 12 year old girl who was hoping to make a junior football team. She was really good, way better than me and my colleague, but what impressed me more than her ball skills was her attitude.

I can pass the ball, and i’m pretty okay at defending, however my ‘ball skills’ (and kind of tricks or anything that requires a fair bit of ball control) I’m just not good at. So when the girl wanted us all to do knee-ups and do penalty practice I knew i’d be struggling. There was one move in particular I ‘couldn’t’ do. I tried a few times, laughed at my own ineptitude, and say ‘i’m sorry, i just can’t’.

This girl was awesome. ‘You can do it!’ she nodded and smiled, ‘keep practicing, you’ll get it’. Egged on a little, I tried some more, slowly getting there. ‘That’s it’, my little cheerleader said, ‘you’re almost there’.

Well you can see how this story ends – I do learn, and I can do it, even though it might have taken me a while, a lot of concentration, and a fantastic teacher at my side.

It made me realise how quick I (and maybe others) can be to just say ‘i can’t’ and leave it at that. That if something doesn’t come ‘naturally’, then it can’t come at all. That sometimes our perception of ourselves can’t even comprehend that we could be possible of doing more.

And sometimes it’s easy to compare ourselves to others who are highly skilled or competent in something that we’re not, and think ‘well if i’m not as good as them, i might as well not even bother’. We can shut ourselves down and miss out on the experience of pushing our own boundaries.

My greatest life achievements have come from being stubborn enough (and having some outside encouragement too) to not stop until I CAN. When i’ve been so ready to give up yet pushed through. Which is why this week I’m encouraging all of us to push our own boundaries, and look for the things where we tell ourselves ‘i can’t’.

Sometimes sports can be a great arena for us to push our own boundaries, so maybe this week you might wanna try – doing a handstand! Learn how to spin a basketball on your finger! Do whatever it is that you feel ‘oh god, i CAN’T do that’. It doesn’t really matter what the activity is as long as you feel it’s not ‘who you are’.

Something on my to-do list is to go to a skate park and do a ramp. All i’ve ever done so far on a board is cruise along tarmac, almost like a scooter without a handle. I think i *could’ do a ramp, but it will take some bottle.

With each push of the boundary, we grow.

S xo

What does your soul want to DO?

Earlier this week I pulled a muscle in my neck/shoulder, which has given me a few days of being laid up at home, watching Salt, eating muffins and musing!

Inspired by Lissa Rankin’s articles, I want to share something with you to hopefully help anyone who is feeling in a one-step-forward, two-steps-back place.

Your souls calling

In one post, Lissa asks us all ‘what is your soul dying to create?’. And i realised that my soul does not want to create.

Creating can be quite an earthly, tangible thing. It springs to mind a business, a book, a radio show, a house, a baby, a table, whatever it is! To me, ‘to create’ implies output.

And i realised that part of me had a belief that if i’m not producing (or creating) something, then whatever it is i’m doing is worthless. If there is not tangible, quantifiable ‘thing’, then what do I have to show for myself?

That’s a terrible space to be in when your souls calling is truthfully not attached to outcomes. If you’re in the headspace where tangible, quantifiable outcomes (the book, the show, the project etc) denote how well-spent your time is, or how much value you are worth, then you will look down on things that don’t produce an obvious outcome. Things that you love to do for the pleasure of, the process.

My soul does not want to create anything. I know that for sure. My ego wanted to create EVERYTHING. It wanted an impressive bio full of books, movies, acting roles, gallery showings – tangible ‘things’ that prove i’m contributing to the world, being productive.

Nope, my soul can do without all that. For me, it’s about what my soul needs to ‘come out’ – how it flows out into the world. It’s like energy that just needs to have space. Anyone else ever feel that? I feel my soul doing it’s thing when i’m on the dancefloor, when i’m singing & playing along to songs at ukelele jam, when i’m in the flow at stage combat class, and of course sex. I have NOTHING to show for myself at the end of these activities – no souvenirs (unless someone else has been filming it) , no products, i haven’t been working towards anything – just enjoying myself in the moment.

My soul seeks opportunities, spaces, platforms, to do her thing, let her hair down, give it all to that space, then leave.

So is this true for you, i wonder? What does your soul need? And what does your ego need?

Resistance

When i opened up to what my soul really craves (spaces to be free), I hit some gnarly beliefs.The main one being that my soul’s desires are worthless.

How awful is that?! I know!!!

I’m sure it’s an accumulation of many factors – let’s face it, most of us have grown up in an education system that’s results-based, and its likely that out parents geared us up that way too. Worthiness, productivity etc is often based on output and measurable things. So the things we do with no measurable output (other than that we love doing them) are left out of the equation. Even thinking about sex, ‘How many orgasms did you have?’ can be considered more important than ‘how pleasurable was the ride?’

I don’t know if this is to do with living in a masculine-skewed world, and i don’t think it matters too much if it is – what matters is that we start to change our minds. The fact is, for some of us, we have to start unhooking ‘worthiness’ and value from productivity/outcomes.

The main reason why this is so important is that if you don’t feel your soul’s desires (to express, rather than to make something tangible) are worthy, that they don’t matter, that they’re not good, then you are pretty much telling yourself that you aren’t worthy, don’t matter, and are no good. And how the fuck can you live your life from that space?!

This is hard work. For me, i’m finding it hard work. To know that when i hit the dancefloor at class, just ‘doing my thing’ is enough. That my unique expression in whatever arena is enough. No-one ever told me that. Rarely has anyone ever said ‘just bringing your spirit into a space is valuable in itself‘.

Holy crap

Have you ever been valued for who you are, rather than for what you can do for another?

You’re not ‘of worth’ because you produce an outcome, or fix a problem, or make someone else’s life better. Your value doesn’t come from being measured in terms of output or meeting anothers needs.

Your value does not come from output. Not from metrics. Not from what you can provide another. Not from what you can physically go out and change. Not from anything measurable or quantifiable.

Your value comes from your being. When you walk into a room. The way in which you make pancakes. That your presence alone can make someone else feel safe. That’s your significance. Not the trophies, the certificates, the goals met, the number of followers – not that, none of that. Just your presence, your existence, and what your essence brings – which you carry with you all the time.

That’s the value, the worth, the gold.

And I raise a valiant middle finger to the world that has distorted things so much that we don’t feel worthy unless we’re being over-producers, over-achievers, constantly looking to prove our worth.

The sting, the rub, the beginning, and now the end

I know a lot of this stuff isn’t ‘new’ – god knows i’ve read it before. But i’m having a proper bing-bing moment so please bear with me.

Where does this split occur, where we start to believe we need to prove our worth & value in the world by going after external things? Even those of us who have let go of material things (fancy cars, job titles etc) still probably have other things we believe we need to have or do or be in order to be considered of value – whether that’s creating output that others need, or doing something that we believe will have an impact, in order for us to feel valuable.

I can pin it down.

God bless my parents.

What did you have to do to get love? What did you have to do, who did you have to be, to feel recognized, valued? When you were a kid – did your parents project a role or their needs onto you? Or did your parents allow you to just ‘be’, getting their needs met from others or met by themselves in a healthy way?

Let’s just say that both my parents were unable to provide themselves with the happiness and healing they needed, so I had a lot of stuff projected onto me.  I lived in a world where my value, worth, came from what i could provide these people with – that i met their needs that I shouldn’t have met. I wasn’t valued for simply being me – messy, hanging from the trees, plastering-barbie-with-punk-make-up me. I was valued based on what i could do for others – be that fan their social status, or be an emotional rock.

And i guess I’m starting to crack that idea that i’m valuable just for being me, not for my output or for what I can give or do for others ( I enjoy helping empower others – i’m talking about enabling and/or martyrdom…).

So my big ol’ Q’s for the week for you are: What are your feelings, memories, ideas around ‘being of value’? What do you value, what have people made you feel valued for? What’s your lifeblood, is it different to what others value from you? What does your soul want to do, and do you value it? If not, why not?

And with that, I’m done. High fives to all who made it to the end of the post.

Your value is in your happy glory

S xo

Passion. The.

My younger brother is graduating uni soon and is, like most twenty somethings, feeling pretty unsure about what to do next – which career to go into, what his path is etc.

I have done a LOT of research on this stuff myself to help direct my life choices – finding your ‘life purpose’, finding the ‘right career’ etc. And whilst I could have sent my bro a big ol’ reading list and a tonne of action steps, the most urgent and pressing thing I wanted him to know was ‘find and follow your passion’.

Passion can be easy to find, it can be hard to find. Sometimes you already know what it is, sometimes you lost it along the way, sometimes you have to go out into the world trying new things out til you finally hit on something that hooks you like a drug.

You also have to start being discerning when it comes to sorting through passing interests, things you enjoy, and gut-level passions. Often passions are things that you can’t live without. Passions are things that compel you – it’s like being in love. And you’ll break through barriers to make sure you can do your passion – whether that’s saving money in other areas of life so you can afford to do it, or willingly take the two-hour bus ride to do it, or whatever other sacrifice you have to make. You no longer care about those kind of inconveniences because you.must.do.it. Passion (a little like anger) can carry you through any bullshit excuses or reasons ‘not to’ because you inherently NEED to do whatever this passion-filled activity is.

Whatever this passion thing is, you have to treasure it and stoke it. You might only be able to do it once a week for an hour – so be it. You might not get paid to do it – so be it. Passion is your vibrancy, your soul’s colour. It MUST be done.

So if you aren’t feeling passionate about anything in your life at the moment, commit to doing the work to find where the passion is and to stoke the fires. Be discriminate – an interest of ‘something nice’ is not enough – we’re looking for head-over-heels compulsion, where you feel you are ‘meant’ to be doing whatever it is, wherever you’re doing it.

Here’s a couple of blog posts I received today that can help you on your quest:

http://passivepanda.com/finding-your-passion

http://www.thechangeblog.com/your-passion/

Yay passion. Can’t be faked, bought, analysed, or talked-into.

S xo

P.s I’m gonna list mine, to show you the differences in interest/passion levels. Try working out your own ones. Passions really are the ones that make you feel alive & that keep you coming back for more

Interests (stuff that keeps me occupied, that is fun): learning new languages, trying new sports, philosophical/spiritual/motivational stuff, organic/natural products & health foods

Things I do to live well, that i ‘have’ to do to maintain a decent life (+when i don’t do them i feel out of sorts): meditate, work out, have baths, get fresh inspiration (magazines, books, movies), manage my cashflow, live independently, share life lessons on my blog & as a mentor

Passions: dancing (waacking, voguing, the hustle/lindy hop, flamenco), sex & sexuality, making large-scale paintings & art experiments, communing with others in a shared activity (like playing music or acting) with lots of laughter, crazy life experiences like flying a plane, going on a trapeze, swimming with sharks etc

Valuing Anger

There are so many perspectives on ‘anger’, and i know i’ve had many different opinions/feelings towards it through my life. Yet as i’ve grown, i am also falling in love with my anger.

I am not a particularly angry person in general. laid back, have perspective, rarely hold grudges. I can be pretty accepting of people’s behaviour in general.

However. There is something to be said for having some healthy anger.

I’ve been noticing that it points you in the right direction, at times. that anger can be an amazing clarifier. If you feel lost or stuck in any area of your life, get in touch with your rage, what pisses you off, and you’ll find some clarity there!

Anger is also an amazing sign that something or someone is flagging up a boundary or self-integrity violation. For me, anger flares up when i feel someone is not honouring or respecting my independence, my right to have a differing opinion, or literally not respecting my physical space. That doesn’t mean i then go apeshit – it can be as simple as ending the conversation, saying no, calmly telling the other person that they’re making me feel uncomfortable, or walking away.

Honouring your anger means standing up for yourself. If you can’t take a stand for yourself, then you are not ‘for’ yourself, and that is not very loving. Anger can be a sign that you deserve much better, and that if you stay in this angry-making situation you are doing yourself a disservice.

Recently i watched the latest Batman movie. Without giving too much away, there’s a part in the film where the only way Batman/Bruce Wayne can motivate himself enough to save his life, as well as the lives of others, is to get angry. By tapping into his anger, this also spurred him on enough to move past his fear and ultimately be successful. He was so angered by injustice that he didn’t care if there was a chance he might die on his crusade. Without the anger he was in a malaise, and nothing was ‘worth’ taking action for – without his anger, Batman was in a slump.

Most of us aren’t caped crusaders, but i think we can learn something from this. How often do we talk ourselves out of our righteous anger? Maybe you’re in a relationship with an utter dingbat that pisses you off, yet you swallow your anger and put up with their crap, disempowering yourself and letting a cad get away with less-than behaviour. What would happen if you tapped into that anger? Might it propel you out of the relationship?

I remember once seeing my mother get so angry at my dad, after years of a bad relationship, that she stormed home one day and pulled her wedding ring off. Whatever doubts, fears, justifications for staying might have been swirling around her head, pure energy surging through her body prompted her to say enough is enough. That was the beginning of her shifting out of that destructive relationship.

That’s what can be so great about anger – not the ‘that guy cut me up on the road’ anger or the ‘my friend spilled red wine on my white rug’ anger. But the anger that clearly cuts through all your personal bullshit that keeps you disempowered, keeps you in a dead relationship, keeps you in a job you hate, or that keeps you quiet.

Anger can make you more visible. You will be making waves in the world – whether that’s through marching in the streets for a cause, standing up to your parents, saying ‘no’ to someone who expects you to be compliant. so you have to be kinda brave to be angry.

If you are in any kind of malaise at the moment – if you feel emotionally dead, or psychologically stuck – tap into your anger. What fires you up? What makes you want to bark like a snarly dog? Sometimes feeling angry can tap you back into your true self again – it awakens vibrant life energy in you and forces you to take a stand.

Have a great week. Be healthily angry

S xo

How much do you cherish your capacity to feel?

Let’s start with a quote!

“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.” – e.e.cummings

I noticed recently I’ve been a little off-kilter, particularly in two ways: 1. preoccupied with food (thankfully it’s just become lots of snacking on toast and cereal rather than anything too bad!) and 2. feeling a little disconnected from my creative force.

Moreover, through my new job and the little extras it brings (the London commute, weaving through crowds,  dealing with the public in a fairly functional manner) I realised – truly realised – how easy it is to be disconnected from your feelings and even your soul when you are operating in a world which wants procedure, ‘professionalism’ (which includes stuffing your feelings and going into robot mode), efficiency, facts/information, and results.

My feminine creative expressive deep-heart self was miserable as sin tonight! It took me a good while (and some art making) to revive her. And I wondered - is this the assault all our feminine hearts have to endure frequently? Is this the struggle, really, that wears women down?

I had believed for a long time that I had quite a masculine core – a tomboy, that likes adrenalin activities, thai boxing and never wears heels (okay, maybe once a year with skinny jeans). Yet the more I step into spaces or situations that demand more masculine ways of ‘being’ (linear, fact-based, 1+1=2, less feelings and more info) the more i’ve been feeling empty and unheard. Because my feminine heart has nothing to say in those conversations. And I think that my feelings are my strongest link to being alive, and being human.

The spaces I thrive in are deeply rooted in the feels! I think I like adrenalin activites because of that feminine need to feel deeply, rather than because i am necessarily masculine in my energy. Creative expression, to me, is all about feeling and the senses. The conversations and blogs I contribute to are mostly around perceptions, feelings, life experiences, philosophy and spirituality – from a heart-space. Being in the flow often means being in a present state of feeling, whether that’s playing sports, meditating, painting, dancing, or watching Lars and the Single Girl (which I watched the other night and *highly* recommend).

This may or may not be a ‘women’s problem’. I’m sure there are also many men who feel like they have to stuff down their feelings and become a little robotic at work, or out and about living life. It really sucks. If society is built and made up from both men and women, both types of energies, from both functional linearity and feelings-based creativity, then how come the vibe overall feels so antagonistic towards being human, real, with feelings, with connectivity?

I’ll be spending the next few days stoking my personal fires around what’s important to me, and how to ensure my soul light remains shining. I didn’t realise how important being in a deep-feeling state was to me until it started to be overtaken by the demands of linear living.

Some interesting Q’s to think about for you:

  • How much do you value your capacity to feel, express, create, select, and connect with others at a fundamental human level? If you didn’t have feelings, only thoughts, what would that be like?
  • How do you handle (or don’t handle!) moving between linear, masculine spaces/situations and more emotive, feminine ones?
  • Do you think in your town/community/workspace/family/peer group that there is more of an encouragement or expectation to be linear, logical, fact-based, ‘masculine’ OR more feminine, based around feelings, self-expression and flow? Has that affected the choices you make and your level of personal happiness?

Would be intrigued as to how you feel, so pop a comment below and let’s get a discussion going!

Have a splendid week

S xo

Your gut sometimes speaks loudest in darker times

This weekend was pretty emotional and big for me. I moved out of my family home (I’ve been staying with my mother and brother) to lodge with a friend, and I’m the first person in my family to have done this – none of my cousins, aunts or uncles, or parents ever moved out from living with their parents to live independently. All of them went from family home to living with fiances/partners. It’s common in my family for kids to stay with their parents til their mid-thirties when they get hitched, so to have flown the coop under thirty and be a single girl is almost pioneering.

Many of you reading this probably left home after college, or are married, and probably wonder why is this such a big deal.

Well, everyone you meet has their ‘area of challenge’. For some people, it could be an eating disorder. For others, it’s debt. For others, it’s being in bad romantic relationships. You know an area of challenge – that part of your life you wish you could change, but for some reason you keep replaying the patterns and habits? Well for me, my area of challenge that has taken a long time to handle has been moving out to live independently. That’s why it’s a big deal.

In this area of challenge I have had the fear, I’ve had the emotional issues, I’ve had habits that stopped me from taking a risk to change. I’ve had resistance – both within me and from my family. And I’ve had to make tough decisions and draw on a lot of inner reserves to stay the course.

So, post-move-out, I’ve been learning a lot of things about myself already. I’ll share one with you now: It’s funny the things that can bubble up when you walk through fear. Fear can be an amazing clarifier. When the true survival-instinct kicks in, it can guide you without you even having to think what your next steps are. For example, on my first night at my new digs I felt homesick and worried, and I had a headache, and I was trying to adjust to not being part of my family household. But I just couldn’t think. So I let my body go into autopilot, and listened to my gut. It would tell me what to do. “You need water” “Go buy some bread” “Read your book” “Wash your hair”. It was SO clear. I was in an emotional place where I didn’t know what the hell to do with myself, yet there was this powerful, clear ‘voice’ guiding me through it all. After I’d carried out my inner guide’s ‘instructions’, instead of feeling sad or anxious or overwhelmed I just felt exhausted and crashed into bed.

I’ve been learning that you can be as scared or confused or tearful as anything, but you can still get your ass to work, or cook dinner, or take care of yourself. You can walk through the fear, feel AWFUL, and still function. Fear, sadness, confusion, all those ‘negative’ feelings can affect you hugely but they will not kill you. And alongside all these feels, you’re bound to bump into your inner guide to anchor you while you meltdown.

I’m settling in okay now ;) More lessons from this to come…

This week’s question: When do you hear your gut / inner guide clearest? Has it guided you through difficult times?

Have a great week, see you the other side of fear!

S xo

 

Lesson from Fear:Going around the houses

Today I read an article by an actors marketing coach about how fear can create the same ol’ pattern of behaviour: you get an idea, you get scared that it won’t work/you’ll get rejected so you overanalyse it then you either trash the idea, or use it in a highly diluted, un-fun way that is a million miles away from the original idea.

I see this often. Not just about creative ideas but decisions in life, too. Do I approach the guy I fancy? I want to do this (insert wildly outlandish activity), but will it lead me anywhere or make me successful? I want to create a blog on this topic, but will people read it and what’s the point of it anyway?

Personal story.

Years ago when I first got the idea that maybe I’d want to do acting, in my mind what I *really* wanted to do was be in action movies – anything from Kill Bill to Batman to Lara Croft to the Bourne series. Running around, kicking booty, helicopters n motorbikes, yes please.

Me, yesterday

But what happened.

Fear stepped in. Instead of me taking the most obvious step, the step that would have me doing what I REALLY wanted right from the get-go (take stunt acting classes!), instead I listened to my fear which said ‘you have to be a “serious’ actor”. This lead to a winding road of theatre acting classes, Shakespeare, falling asleep whilst watching plays at the National Theatre (true story), and going to networking events trying to hold conversations with actors who wanted to discuss plays.

I hate going to the theatre.

But my ego kept telling me ‘if you wanna be an actor, this is what you have to do, else no-one is gonna give you a break, no-one is gonna take you seriously, and you have to compete with all these theatre types who have theatre training.’

As time went on, I started to feel like I wasn’t really ‘an actor’ because I didn’t wanna talk about Chekov or the more academic side of things (which is crazy – if you enjoy acting as an activity then you’re an actor). My passion waned, and possibly worse, I felt frustrated and lost. I thought I enjoyed acting – so why did I feel like a fish out of water?

I took a break. I didn’t act for about a year. I took up freestyle dancing, and through that re-connected to my passion for self-expression through movement. And the call of acting came back.

This time, I’m gunning for what I want and love. I refuse to let my fear or ego trip me up. No more going round the houses. Just direct.

I took a ‘dramatic violence’ class last week and I was completely in my element – grappling, fake-strangling, punching ;) It felt RIGHT. There is much more of this to come, so brace yourselves.

This week’s takeaway:

If you identify something that you want to do, or something that you love, ACCEPT it and take the shortest, most obvious route possible towards bringing it into your life. Don’t listen to the BS that says ‘well if you want to do this, you have to do XYZ first’ or ‘you’re not a proper ____ if you don’t do XYZ’. Don’t let fear take you on an unnecessary journey away from your core desire. Don’t negate your desire to make it more ‘acceptable’ or seemingly less ‘risky’. Because

  1. You may waste a lot of time, money, effort
  2. You may begin to question if you really want what you want in the first place – self-doubt
  3. You might start to even dislike or become jaded about your original passion
  4. You might find yourself amongst people who are NOT on your wavelength, feeling pretty isolated

All bad beans.

In the past couple of years I’ve learnt that when you ACCEPT what you are truly passionate about, and stick with it, your passion will grow, doors will open, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who you love and who support you, and your sense of self will start to feel more solid. When I really got into waacking (the dance form I do), even if other elements of my life felt turbulent or unsure, I knew that at least one thing was true; I am whole-heartedly a waacker and I had that to hold onto. And you know, if I had let fear lead me round the houses when it comes to dance, I’d probably be a jaded unfulfilled ballerina, missing out on the passion, friendships and competitions I get to do with waacking.

I think something I was prone to doing was looking at how I could ‘maximise my chances of success’ by picking the most popular or mainstream area, even if I wasn’t lit up by it. And aiming to be the ‘all-rounder’ rather than an expert. Being an action actor is quite niche, waacking is a very niche dance form, even the things I write about in my blog (life lessons) is kinda niche.  But you have to love what you do, not try and alter it so it fits into what ‘most’ people like or ‘respect’. It’s unsustainable. Passion is pretty much the only thing that will keep you going the long-term. So don’t let fear rob you of falling in love with your passions and missing out on opportunities for success! And when you follow your niche, you’re bound to become an expert in it much much quicker.

Can you relate to this? Have you let fear lead you on a merry dance, rather than just dive in to what you really love and want to do? Are you doing that right now, and if so, what do you truly want and what can you do to move towards it, rather than away from it? Leave comments!

Off to practice my bad-ass action girl swagger,

S xo

It’s not about you. So dump the issues!

Woot! Last Friday I was interviewed by my good friend Clari who runs the website Inner Ambiance, about all things FUN. Check it out (and my pink wig) here!

And now onto this week’s topic.

So this weekend I had a huge 180degree shift in how I’d been interpreting a relationship, and I want to share this as it may help you if you have any issues with a parent or loved one. Let’s face it, that’s probably most of us.

My father wasn’t around much when I was a kid. He worked fairly long hours, came home around 8pm, and wouldn’t hang out with me or my bro. At weekends he was busy with a personal project. When he was around, he had anger issues, kept himself to himself, and could be very controlling. Lord knows he had his issues, but unfortunately at the time didn’t deal with them. I’d interpreted this as ‘my father doesn’t want anything to do with me’, or ‘he doesn’t care about my feelings’ etc. I think it’s pretty common for children of ‘absent’ parents to start to question their own self-worth and if their parents really loved or wanted them.

Whilst I’d acknowledged that he worked hard to provide for us financially, and I could understand on that level why he did what he did, I just still had those issues of thinking ‘you know, if he liked me as a person then he would have wanted to have spent time with me and treated me nicely. Issues or no issues, why did he behave the way he did towards me when i was a cute bundle of joy?’ :o !

Then I had this recent light bulb moment which was like blasting clean white light into the past. It pretty much rocked my world.

My father wasn’t deliberately neglecting me emotionally (I,e not spending time with me) because he didn’t want to be with me.  No, he was avoiding being present in my life because he was scared of being an inadequate father, and scared he might screw me up.

If you’re scared you might hurt someone, what do you do? You probably avoid them! If you’re scared of screwing up (as a parent, as an employee, as a spouse etc) what might you do? Shrink from the relationship, or try to avoid that role altogether. You don’t think you’re worth being in relationship with that person.

When I saw this situation from this perspective, I realised none of what my dad had done was ‘about me’ – meaning, he didn’t choose to stay away or be controlling because I was bad, or smelt funny, or wasn’t good enough to have his time spent on me. It was about his fears, which manifested in avoiding his kids and using control to ‘manage’ the situation rather than create emotional bonds.

I felt waves of relief with this insight. All the ‘was it me? Wasn’t I loveable?’ BS is fading fast. It’s liberating. Good enough? I always was! I didn’t do anything wrong, durr.  And I feel more compassion towards my father because I can see that even though oftentimes it was hard for me, in his own way he felt he was protecting me from himself and his issues, the best he could. His actions, whilst hurtful, didn’t come from a malicious place. He acted on his own idea that he wasn’t good enough to be a good parent :(

So, my takeaway is this: Is there someone significant in your life, maybe a parent, that didn’t treat you the way you deserved to be treated, or even hurt you? If so, what do you think their biggest fear was, that was driving their behaviour?

It could be anything from the fear of being an inadequate parent or failing as a parent, to the fear of feeling empty inside and needing meaning in their life, to the fear of abandonment, to the fear of not being loved back.

It could even be based on this person not wanting you to go through something they did, to the point of unhealthy behaviour eg. a mother who was bullied for being overweight as a kid might now be obsessing over her daughter being slim, because she’s scared her daughter might get bullied if she’s not slim. And this can then manifest in the daughter getting body image issues or eating disorders. – not because the mother is mean and only values her daughter on how she looks, but because the mother has a deeply felt fear around her daughter being picked on due to how she looks, and wanting to protect her from that.

This is not to say that their behaviour is ‘right’, instead it helps to understand that their motives probably came from a ‘good’ place underneath it all – wanting to protect you from something, even protecting you from themselves or their own fear.

I hope this helps. It’s really helping me. It’s like a whole new paradigm shift.

May your perceiptions shift massively,

S xo

Need some coaching for the summer? Have an issue that keeps repeating itself that you want to blast through before 2012 is out? Get in touch, let’s shift that perceiption and clear the way for you to move forward! Email me at s_l_byrne@hotmail.com

How Bad Does It Have To Get? (this is a positive post!)

Well. A parable.

About six months ago my laptop started to have ever-so-slightly-irritating malfunctions. The left-hand mouse button had to be pressed quite hard to work, the integrated webcam stopped working, and the screen would flicker if it wasn’t at the right angle. I could still use my laptop, there were just these minor niggles. Because getting it repaired would mean being laptop-less for potentially 2 weeks (noooo!) I just put up with these things – I’d rather have my not-quite-right laptop than be without for a couple of weeks.

This week the mouse button situation had got so bad that I had to use all my strength to even make it work. My fingers were aching, even my shoulder was starting to strain. Enough is enough! I called repairs and they’re gonna be taking my laptop away tomorrow to be fixed.

This little episode made me think about how I, and perhaps others, let things get to the point of unbearability (hope that’s a word) before we take action or get things fixed.

Some of us may be so good at ‘putting up with’, enduring, living with low-level inconvenience for a long time (rather than going through a higher level of inconvenience for a short burst), that it takes great ‘pain’ to make us tackle the problem.

Rather than ‘stopping the rot’ earlier on, there’s a tendency to endure until it gets so bad that action is unavoidable. Does this ring true for you at all in any area of your life? Finances, living conditions, relationships, health/wellness? What are you putting up with and how bad does it have to get until you make a change?

I took a very quick scope of other places in my life where I had let this happen – from the minor (putting up with an old bed til I started getting backache) to the major (living in debt til my available credit ran out). Clearly, some part of me in certain areas likes to avoid sorting things out until forced to – until ‘the last straw’.

Where does this tendency come from? It’s not true for everything, and I’m sure if you can relate to this behaviour on some levels it’s not true for all areas of your life either.

I did what any good gold-digger does – got out my flashlight and looked to who/which situations early on gave me this idea that the best way to handle things is to ‘put up with until dire’ rather than ‘tackle head-on as soon as trouble arises’.

Not wanting to name names but immediately one person in my family springs to mind. They stayed in a long-term relationship for way.too.long, a relationship that was damaging, because they hoped things would one day get better. Despite all the dysfunctional behaviour and pain, they held on. The only reason they got out of the relationship was when their partner left them!

This person also suffered a chronic health issue which they, to an extent, ‘put up with’ – they received medication for it but did not explore alternative measures to try and help. Decades passed. It took a recent accident to motivate them to reach out for alternative treatments, physiotherapy, psycho-sematic inquiry etc.

I know of another family member who worked a job they couldn’t stand, suffered from behavioural problems, and wouldn’t seek outside help (therapy) until they lost everything (their job, financial security, their partner etc). It took a major life upheaval for them to turn things around – rather than sorting out their work situation and getting therapy earlier.

So my ‘put up with til super-bad’ behaviour is likely to be learned behaviour (these people are close relatives). That makes me feel a little more peaceful – learned behaviour can always be changed.

So if you are ‘putting up with’ some sort of BS – big or small – where did you pick up this tendency? Who taught you that it’s better to put up with low-level discomfort until it turns into a bigger problem? Once you’ve uncovered that, you can then start to create a new script for yourself – one that says ‘if I see problems, no matter how small, I will intervene to prevent them turning into a chronic problem or turning into a major problem’. This could be through seeing the truth for what it is, enquiry into what options you have, then taking the best right step to change, remedy, or leave the situation.

I hope this helps you in some way. I think for some people it’s quite common to stay in a situation until it gets unbearable. We suffer until we are literally pushed. This is of course learnt behaviour, and once you bring awareness to that, you can decide for yourself that you are no longer willing to make this behaviour your chosen behaviour anymore.

If any of this resonated with you, if you have stayed in situations waaay longer than you ‘should’ have, or if you have learnt this lesson the hard way and have tips on how to ‘stop the rot’ early, please leave a comment below :)

S xo