for your complete wellbeing & lifting you up on the more difficult days
It was a gloriously sunny morning and I was sitting in the cemetery talking to a friend in London. The weather in London had been beautiful too and my friend was telling me about the pretty daisy chain she'd made the day before. It wasn't the beauty of the daisy chain she lingered on, however, but the fact that, the next morning, all the daisies in that chain looked pretty much dead.
Of all the things in the world that could have triggered me this time, it was a comment about salt that got me. Specifically, a note about how perhaps I should stop putting so much of it in my cooking. Whilst he was already moving on with the conversation, I could feel the familiar fire of having been triggered bubbling away. I was outraged.
The rain batters the window and the wind howls. There is a storm outside, but there is one inside too. Thoughts of your weakness, failure and inadequacy swirl somewhere in the space of you.
I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and agitated. By the time I'd had a shower and got dressed, I was positively boiling over with tension.I put two blocks on my yoga mat, sat down and closed my eyes. Almost immediately, a phrase rose up:
"I feel overwhelmed right now, and that's ok."
A flurry of fine, soft snowflakes are falling as I write this morning, a thin layer of white already on the ground. It doesn't snow often where I live but when it does, I fall in love all over again with that still silence that always accompanies snow.
Some days I wake up tired, you know. Like I just can't quite get going. And others I'm brimming with energy, impatient to get up and get started. Sometimes I feel grumpy and would like the whole world to leave me alone. And other times I want to embrace every little thing.
It was the middle of an afternoon and I'd sat down on my yoga mat to close my eyes for five minutes of stillness. No sooner had I closed my eyes than an image formed in my mind's eye. A weary looking little girl wandering by a stream, a heavy-looking backpack on her back.
You may have made many mistakes in your life, too. Likely, I'd say. But dear goodness, if you could see yourself through my eyes, if but for a moment, their weight upon your shoulders would be nothing more than the gentle breath of the breeze on a summer's day.
We all get into a funk sometimes - totally normal human being stuff. So first and foremost, it's important we don't beat ourselves over the head for feeling that way. Being a human being means we get to experience the full spectrum.
Having said that, there's one thing I've noticed over time will always help lift me out of a low mood, help me see things differently, or get new creative ideas flowing in response to a problem. And I'm sharing that one idea with you in this short video.
If love came in a pot, like a facial moisturiser or cleanser, this is how I'd write the label:
Ingredients: Pure Love*
Directions for use: Apply generously, daily. Allow to sink in and reapply as many times as required, being especially liberal in your application to areas in need of special attention. If you notice improvements after several days or weeks of use, do not cease your routine.
How much time, on average, do you think you spend worrying about the future? Anything from worrying about how you'll pay your bills at the end of the month, to why your boss wants that meeting with you on Friday, to how you'll cope if you get sick.
The sky never yells, "get out".
When the rain comes, the sky rests in peace. Spacious. Open. Welcoming.
When the thunder comes, the sky turns towards, not away and says, "okay".
How to get better sleep: A journey into essential oils with Zane Zillner
I woke up feeling a little anxious. I'd gone to sleep in a worried state of mind about my website, of all things. I'm in the process of re-writing a lot of the content to better reflect how I see my work following the profound shifts and insights I've had over the last year. However, I've been in that process for months because the insights just keep coming and part of me senses that I simply need to wait.
Sooner or later, if you're lucky, life will help you see that the goal isn't for everything to go the way you'd planned or hoped. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't. The goal is to know that both in succeeding and failing; in rising and falling; in gaining it all and losing everything; in making enough and not making ends meet - in everything and all of it you're still ok.
I woke up to it pitter pattering on the skylight at 5:16am. I smiled. Today the rain felt good. Today, when I looked out at the rain, I felt cosy inside. Snuggled up in my bed in my little rooftop apartment. I didn't long to be somewhere warm and sunny. I didn't long to be somewhere that wasn't blanketed in grey. Today the rain was beautiful and peaceful and delightful.
My emotions used to rule my world. Sometimes, my sadness and down periods would overwhelm me for days or even weeks at a time, drowning me in a sort of hollowness I felt helpless to escape from.
I have an image of myself curled up on my bed in my old flat in London, crying all the tears and wondering why life was so hard. So many times I lay on that bed, the emotions sweeping over me like titan waves in a never-ending storm.
And the mantra I carried around? "I'm just an emotional person."
A few days before I collected the keys to my new apartment and officially completed the purchase, I was given the opportunity to meet with a member of the sales team to do a visual inspection. I asked my dad to come along as an extra pair of eyes.
My dad is brilliant with numbers, amazing at making and fixing things and doesn’t do anything unless he’s going to do it properly. He takes care over every job - whether that’s tending to his favourite cyclamen plants, cleaning a pair of boots, or researching our family history. Everything is done with thought and meticulous attention to detail.
My twin nieces turned a year old just before Christmas. Being an aunty is better than I imagined it would be. The twins are ridiculous amounts of fun and provide endless hours of entertainment.
I wrote to a friend the other day telling her that when I look at them, everything is clear. They're perfect. In their eyes is nothing but pure life. I can’t imagine anyone being able to look at them and judge them in any way as wrong, bad or somehow defective.
We’re all waking up to different realities. When you really see that this is the case - that everything you’re experiencing is just the thick fog of a story, a possibility opens up. A place where you can step back and view the fog from behind and see it for what it is: Weather passing through.
When I sold up and left London five months ago, there was very little I was certain of. But one thing I had absolute clarity on was that I wouldn't make my life in the UK. No more grey. No more wet. No more winter months of eternal darkness. "It makes me miserable", I'd say. In fact, I've been whining in true British style about the endless grey for most of my life.
Tomorrow I collect the keys to my new apartment. In the North West of England it's colder, wetter and infinitely more grey than London ever was and yet my problem with the grey just seems to have...gone.
It's 9am. The fields are white with frost. Yesterday's wet muddy footprints fossilised in time until the great winter bauble of fire rises a little higher in the sky. The skies are blue, the sea a lake of glass and the last of the leaves lie on the ground patterned pretty with frost.
I see her coming over a little mound in the distance. A colourful woolen hat upon her head, a pole in either hand, and a little terrier dog by her side.
Responsibility. It's yours.
Complaining is never productive. Shut it down and walk away.
Spend time on the important stuff. Ditch the rest.
Know that the important stuff might mean embracing a little guilt. Remember, time out for you is an act of service to the entire freakin' planet.
The mind just doesn't know its way to the answers you're looking for. The intellect doesn't know. But the mind is what you know to use, so you go there. You have a problem in your life, a dilemma, something you really need to figure out. So you go to thought. Go to the mind. Go to intellect.
And you find it's just not giving you what you need. No answers. Just more frustration and more circular thinking. The quality of it all spirals down. And the more you look to the mind for answers, the further you travel from those answers. And the further you get, the more desperately you go to mind. Vicious circle, see.
There can be a lot of fear in slowing down, doing less and changing routines and rhythms that have actually been working pretty well for you in your life. Fear that maybe you might lose something and never get it back.
But I've come to look at this period through a lens of seasons. Summer doesn't cling to itself in the fear that in giving way to autumn it may never get another chance. All seasons come and go, knowing that they'll return when the time is right. There's a knowing. A trust. This is just the way it is.
When I left London two months ago, I came back up to the North of England, to Lancashire where my parents live. It was supposed to be a pit stop, a breather, a temporary blip whilst I figured out where I actually wanted to go.
That somewhere would involve light and sunshine and mountains and forests and adventure. It would not involve a fast approaching Northern winter, nor the tiny market town where I grew up. My life was going to be bigger and more important than that. People destined to do deep, impactful work in the world do not live in Lancaster.
I spent actually a great deal of time writing a post yesterday. Having not written for a full week it took more effort than usual. I had to think about it. I had to find the words. But I got there and it was ready to go.
And then I woke up and there was just this.
Messy, spontaneous, in your face life.
Dear little Leah,
You are not bad.
It was not your fault when the adults around you argued. You were not responsible for their feelings. You must not hold yourself responsible.
You are not stupid because you got B and C grades in a school where most people got straight As. That doesn’t make you stupid. Can you understand that? Can you see that?
There was anxiety when I woke up this morning. In my chest. In my short, shallow breaths.
And then...gratitude. For:
A few quiet moments of meditation.
The tears that came and went whilst journaling, releasing wounds of the past and allowing new energy to enter in.
My fingers swell up like crazy when I'm hiking in the heat. They look like Michelin Man fingers.
This weekend's hike with Keijiro was no exception and, as I always do, I took the ring off not long into our walk. If I don't, it gets uncomfortable and eventually just gets stuck. This morning, as I left the apartment, my thumb reached instinctively to the finger I normally wear my ring on. But instead of the familiar metal, all I felt was skin. I'd left the ring in my backpack.