Tuesday 17 July 2018

The Loneliness Birds

It's just over a month since I read the news that fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain had taken their own lives. I wrote this blog at the time but am only just sharing it.

Because I've felt suicidal too.

For anyone who knows me it may come as a surprise that I've wanted my life to end. I mean, I'm the girl in the tea room who chats to everyone. I'm the chick who smiles at people in the street and as one friend put it "could have a deep conversation with someone I just met at a bus stop."

I like talking to people, finding out who they are, what makes them tick. I tend to go from "Ooh you put the milk in first to, wow, your mum passed away this time last year, that must still ring in your ears like a bell that will never stop."

As were Kate and Anthony, I identify with being a creative. I'm not just creative, I'm A Creative. Ask anyone who's forged a career out of the arts (of any kind) and you'll find we're a highly emotive bunch who wholeheartedly identify with our preferred expression, be it words, images, film, dance, whatever.

Not that people who work in other areas aren't creative, but by the very nature of our work and the fact we've often forefeited higher paying jobs for a career in the arts (and the fact that most of us would rather die than work for a bank – albeit not literally) we feel things deeply. More deeply than others? Possibly not, but I would definitely say that I, like most creative types am ruled by my heart not my head.

I recall saying to a friend who'd mentioned she was once diagnosed as being bipolar that in my opinion, anyone who lives by the creative laws – i.e. couldn't possibly live, breathe or work unless they were being expressive through their art, are all bipolar to some degree. Maybe not in the clinical sense, but certainly in the way we tend to swing from high degrees of passion to deep feelings of hurt, and for some, depression, when … that layout, brief, article or project wasn't quite would it could or should be.

Being an "artist" comes at a price.

For me it means I absolutely cannot and will not abide by any rule other than the one from my heart. So when my heart lost its mojo and needed some Time Out I was completely at a loss.

And that's when I began to see life very differently.

For 40-something years I have defined myself as positive, happy, optimistic, able to see a silver lining around literally anything. I've experienced sexual abuse, domestic violence, I survived a fatal car crash that took my friend's life when we were just 18, moved to the other side of the world aged 26 away from everyone I knew with nothing but a backpack and £500, and through all of it I remained steadfastly positive.

Life is for living, right?

Naturally I have also grieved, felt sadness, hurt, pain and worry, but overriding all of it was a belief that things would be OK. That life was my most precious commodity and that no matter what happens, I could get through it.

Not because I'm resilient, although I am also that, but because I believed in the power of Love. The kind of Love that makes the world go round. The life force that has its own destiny and that we are merely part of. You might call it God but I prefer to call it The Universe, or that magical mystery tour that is Life.

So hopefully that paints a picture that tells you I consider myself a survivor.  At least, I did.

Because last year, things changed. Last year was the first time in my life that I no longer wanted to be here.

It didn't happen suddenly. I'd say my apathy towards Life was a slow burn. I didn't really notice it coming, I just started feeling less and less happy. Did something trigger it? Yes, probably the demise of a couple of relationships, one in particular, but I wouldn't say that was the cause, simply that it was a catalyst that lifted the lid on something that has potentially been brewing for a long time.

I say brewing because it wasn't like I woke up one day and decided, That's it, I've had enough. No. Over a period of about two years, certain areas of my life became "exposed"– as in, I began to see where I was lacking wisdom (around money and intimate relationships) and those areas became both highlighted and ruptured at about the same time. And in equal measure.

I went from earning the most money I've ever earned (what I had previously earned in a day I was earning in an hour) and fell in love the most deeply I'd ever fallen. I fell in love with The One. You know, The One That Got Away.

Contrasts are a grand and wondrous thing. If it weren't for winter, summer wouldn't look so good. And what about those backpacking trips where your only bathing option is a bucket of cold, communal water and travelling on buses precariously hurtling around knife edged bends (with spectacular views) and more passengers than an A380 airbus. The recognition of how luxurious it is to turn on a hot tap and hop into your car when you return from somewhere like that is precious indeed.

So maybe my 40 odd years of positivity was always going to herald a downward spiral at some point. I mean, isn't that the law of nature?

Who knows, but when you're on (or in) one of those dizzying spirals you don't care. And actually, my downward track wasn't dizzying at all. It was more slow. And steady. And tedious. And very, very lonely.

I'd felt heartache from grief before but up until last year I had never experienced the gut-wrenching, heart-wracking pain of loneliness that felt like my chest would actually crack open. It was so physically debilitating that it would stop me in my tracks sometimes. I would literally clutch my chest as the pain ripped through me. It was coupled with a desperate feeling of being alone, disconnected and hopeless.

I called that feeling the Loneliness Birds.

Those Loneliness Birds had little to do with how many people were around. This wasn't about friends not being there. I had plenty of people I could have called. This wasn't about being alone in the physical sense, it was a spiritual breakdown. A sense of feeling separated from Life.

Life was over there being lived and I was trapped in a cage with a flock of Loneliness Birds who were ripping my heart out.

Fortunately for me I've learned enough about grief and pain to have a veritable toolbox of emotional and spiritual resources. And I used them all. Mostly the ability to Be With It. When the feelings hit I would make room for them. It wasn't easy but I knew it was the only way. If I had any hope of "recovering" from the pain I had to deal with it and that meant staying.

And crying. A lot.

So I did.

As for the Loneliness Birds, they hung around daily for about 5 months but for now, they appear to have journeyed on.

After the loneliness I entered another new state: despair and hopelessness. My life felt utterly joyless. Even things that would normally provide me with a lift – a walk on the beach, a cup of chai tea, listening to a podcast – did little more than make the grey shades slightly less dull. I was 50 shades of grey alright but not in that way.

My life had always been a technicolour, surround sound, 5D IMAX experience. Now, it was a b-grade movie with the sound turned down.

I felt like all the colour had left not only my cheeks but also my heart. I was no longer connected to my heart and I felt really flat. And really alone. I no longer had the wracking physical pain of the Loneliness Birds but what was left was equally as cheerless. Life felt so dull.

About two years in I was at the peak of what I would call a depression. I wasn't labelling it depression, and neither was my therapist, but as I write this blog it's as clear as day that that's where I was. I'd never really experienced depression before. Sadness yes, but I'd never stayed there for long. It always just lifted.

But this was different. For me at least.

And of course, the biggest struggle when you're feeling low is that Life still requires you to function. So I was still going to work, socialising (although not much), and was still having some happy, smiley chats with people wherever I went. Like I say, I wasn't fully identifying as being depressed. I was just in it. Hindsight, if you're lucky enough to pass through the pain, can be a wonderful thing.

Towards the end of last year I booked a trip to Bali for Christmas. I wanted to get away and enjoy the simplicity of island life for a couple of weeks. But rather than supply me with a ray of emotional sunshine, it was on the island that I had my first "suicidal" thought.

I had just broken up with a guy I had fallen for in a big way. The wrong guy for sure, but I was still attached to the idea there could be an "us" despite him telling me otherwise.

After going our separate ways I still had another week before I was due to return home so I vowed I would make the best of the holiday and just rest. Part of my downtime was spent reconnecting with old friends on Facebook. I had taken myself off about a year earlier but felt ready to go back online. And frankly, I wanted some cyber company to take my mind off my recent break-up.

The first thing I saw was that an acquaintance had just died.

She was the second person I knew who had died within the space of 6 months and I was shocked. Both women were in their early 50s. Not young, but definitely not old.

I lay back on my bed overlooking the ocean and scrolled through all the messages in disbelief. She was deeply loved and had left behind a devoted husband and two sons.

My next thought was one that surprised me.

I wish it was me.

I genuinely felt like she and the other woman I had known were the lucky ones. Because they no longer had to endure life. They were free from the suffering. Free from the struggles. Free from the worries. Free from work, relationships, loneliness, hopelessness.

They were free from all that and I wished it was me.

Right then I made a call to the Universe. I felt I was making a pact with Life. That if this was it, if this was what my life was all about then I didn't want to live much longer. I was by no means about to take my life but I silently prayed that if things didn't take a positive turn soon I didn't think I would be able to endure it. So I begged for God to end my life at the age of 54 as that was all I could withstand.

Why I chose 8 years in the future I have no idea, probably because that was the age of my friend who had just died, and partly because I maybe somehow believed there was a chance things could turn around and get better?

Which I'm happy to say they have.

But it didn't happen immediately. And actually, writing this has been part of the catalyst for that change, because only a week ago I was empathising with a friend about how tough "middle age" can be. How it can feel so relentless, how there seems to be so much less fun, and how joy can appear to be a commodity that nobody really talks about any more. Once you hit your 40s it's all mortgages, hospitals, death of parents and the price of health insurance.

And that sucks.

I'm aware there's positive thinking and meditation and gratitude that can steer us towards a more joyful state. But I was using all those techniques before, during (and now), and they didn't do much more than possibly keep me stable enough to not require medication.

Life was not joyful for me and not living seemed like a better option.

So many of us are going through so much right now and it's not always possible to "fix" or help or even make a dent in that. Life can be challenging and if there's one thing I've learned (am learning…) it's that our inner world is our only world. Whatever and however we're feeling is our reality. And sometimes, for all the hope in the world, those feelings can be dark and lonely and hopeless, and nothing anyone does or says makes much of a difference.

It's a sad and lonely world for many. I'm lucky enough to have passed through those grim feelings of despair, and like I said, writing this is really helping. Putting my thoughts down on paper has always helped me to process what's inside. It's like therapy for me.

I'm in no way trivialising suicide and I am absolutely not saying writing things down solves all the world's problems. And I'm definitely not judging anyone who takes their own life. What I'm saying is I get it. We're all subject to Life and none of us really has any (or much) control of what happens. The only thing we have is how we feel.

So, how do you feel? Are you OK? Do you have someone you can relate to, share your true feelings with?

Life can feel pretty joyless. The contrast is always there – if there's sorrow there is also joy – but it doesn't mean it's necessarily available to you, so if you're feeling like Life is too much, please know you are not alone. There are so many of us navigating our place in the world and it can feel really isolating and hard.

I can't take away your pain but I hope that by sharing my story, maybe someone – and even if it's only one person – will know they matter. Even when it doesn't feel that way.

Namaste x


Sunday 13 August 2017

More Selfies Please

Forgive me father for I have sinned.

It's been 1 year and 8 months since my last blog.

For anyone who's read any of my previous posts you'll know I like to communicate what's going on inside my head and heart. I'm less of a selfie girl and more of a self-development chick. I like the inner world and all the gems that reside in that space.

Since I first set fingers to keyboard (in the blogging sense) it seems to me that the world has become completely self-obsessed. You could say that's true of anyone who chooses self analysis but for me there's a marked difference. Mirror work (as in, what I see in others is really in me) is not the same as focusing solely on your appearance. They're both a form of "selfie" – and I get that both can seem narcissistic. And in some cases they are.

But I'm not here to harp on about selfies and how much I loathe the way the world has become image obsessed. The reason I raised that point was to note that although I do my best to live in today's tech age, I'm actually a luddite.

If I didn't have to use my mobile I wouldn't. If the only way to connect with friends who live across the globe wasn't Facebook, I'd delete my account for good. Except, as I've found, deleting your FB account is actually impossible. Trust me, I tried. Once they have you, they have you (and everything you've ever posted) for good. Deleting your account deletes nothing.

But enough of that.

So, there's been a lot happening in my world since Jan 2016 (last blog) and I'm at a point where I'm compelled to write again. As per my luddite confession, writing is somewhat similar for me. I go through phases when I can't put my pen (or keyboard) down, and other times when I would rather not. Although, to be honest, it's really only the cyber version that ever stops. I have a library of journals. I do actually put pen to paper every single day.

But writing this blog is different. It's a gateway to a deeper understanding for me. So is my journalling, but there's something about publicising my thoughts that holds me to an even greater accountability. Don't know why but by pressing "publish" it's like my thoughts get a chance to move through the collective conscious, and by touching other people's minds my own experience becomes more solid.

So what has driven me to pick up the plastic again?


This wonderful, crazy, sometimes painful thing we call Life.

Life has a way of doing its own thing and what I noticed recently is that the more we resist that natural unravelling, the more pain we feel.

Take my work as an example.

Two years ago I was running a race to be the best and most amazing Life Coach I could be. I was studying coaching. I was receiving coaching. I was writing, talking and dreaming about coaching. In a very specific way I was focused on building my own practice that involved personal clients and a revelry of workshops. Many of them focused on how to experience the greatest love, garner the most money and do it all in the easiest fashion possible.

And in among all that Life was there. Waiting patiently for me to stop thinking I was running the show so it could show me what it had planned.

It took a giant slap in the face and a crumbling of the ego before I was really able to hear that.

I went from earning $350 an hour to nothing. I got to a point where I couldn't pay my rent. I had to call the banks to put a hold on my debts. I had to cancel pretty much everything because Life was on the other line and I needed to take the call.

Fortunately, although my bank account was completely dry, I had an emotional and spiritual bank that was thriving. So I withdrew from that instead.

I sat in my reality and I listened to Life.

Slow down, it said.

Stop focusing on the money you think you should have, it said.

Listen and trust.

So I did.

And by doing that I began to hear a new way. Within a few weeks I got a call from an old colleague asking if I was available to do an 8-week stint back in publishing while she recruited to replace a copy editor who had just resigned. The "coaching" me would have said no. The coaching me would have said she had to focus on her plans and stick to them. But something in me felt that this option was slightly lighter. It had a slight sense of ease to it. And it had an end point – 8 weeks – which gave me enough grace to say yes without feeling like I was turning my back on my grand plans.

Yes, I still thought they were grand plans even though I had no clients at that point.

So I said yes.

And when I turned up, the team were so utterly lovely and the work so incredibly easy and enjoyable that I took the job on a full-time basis.

Meanwhile, my ego gulped.

But from what I'd learned in my coaching studies and even though it seemed to be turning away from the grand plans, a greater part of it felt right.

That was when I began to distinguish that my ego, and not my higher self, had been running the show. But listening to one over the other isn't easy. Because the ego is loud. And very convincing.

The ego is the voice that tells you you're not trying hard enough, that you should be further along than you are. That taking the easy road is weak and gutless. That stopping before you've pushed yourself to failure (crossfit, anyone) is the mark of a quitter, and quitters don't succeed.

But I have a different theory based on my experience.

In my view, stopping or continuing has nothing to do with anything. Trying hard enough, or even just hard, has nothing to do with anything. Taking the low road or the high road is no business of anyone's.

Except Life's.

Life is what determines our path, and we can resist it or we can accept it.

Whichever choice you make doesn't really matter but it can be the difference between happiness and suffering.

Suffering is merely the result of us listening to our loud and pushy egos. Nothing wrong with that. But when we're able to discern the difference between the ego and Life then that's where the real magic lies.

Because as soon as I quit listening to my ego – the voice that passed judgement on my choices (and believe me, if there's ever judgement – that's the ego) – then everything began to get a lot easier. And not only did it get easier, it became sweeter, too.

Sweeter in the sense that once I let go of my version of how things should play out – that I would have a coaching practice full of clients, producing a 6 figure income – that very same thing materialised, only it showed up in a far more suitable and uncomplicated way.

It may have taken 18 months and it may not look the way I'd planned it but in no uncertain terms, Life has certainly delivered.

My career is thriving. I am thriving. All that studying and self-reflection is paying off.

And all I had to do for that to happen was let go of my version of things. But that's far, far easier to say than it is to do. Because very few of us are willing to really sit and look at ourselves and face our shit. In fact, if the world is our gauge, then as a global community we seem far more interested in what's on the outside than what's lurking on the inside.

But even with all the cosmetic intervention in the world, and no matter how beautiful you may be deemed to be, the only thing you can ever really rely on is Life. And that will change right under our noses and it will consistently pull the egoic rugs from under our feet.

So while the world continues to embrace this ever-evolving cyberlution, I will, I'm proud to say, be firmly fixating on the other kind of selfie. The one that tells me where I'm at and shows me the difference between my ego and Life.

And if you like that idea too, feel free to follow me on Instagram.


Monday 4 January 2016

The 7 Steps To Happiness

Hello and Happy 2016! I hope this year has started well for you!

If you've been following my blog you'll know that 2015 was an interesting year for me. I had some astronomical highs and then ended the year on a bit of a bum note career-wise. But overall it was a good year and I learned a lot.

This year however has already taken a massive turn for the better (more about that in another post) and it's down to a few key reasons, so I thought I'd share some of those insights as a starting point for the new year.

This is basically what I have learned about happiness…

1. In order to be truly happy you have be prepared to feel like shit sometimes
Yeah, I know that sounds counterintuitive but one thing I've learned from being on the spiritual journey (in other words, life's journey) is that happiness is not a stable emotion. In fact, it's not just an emotion; happiness is essentially a choice. But it only becomes a choice once you can separate yourself from your emotions long enough to accept them and come to realise that feeling unhappy/sad/angry etc is just a story.

2. Letting go of our stories is a choice too (and not always an easy one…)
A friend asked me last week what I meant when I talked about "stories". A story is the padding we build around an event. It's the assumptions we make about why other people are doing things or why situations have played out the way they have. Those assumptions can seem very real, especially when society or your culture or your family can back-up and justify that same version of the truth. But stories are dangerous things and they keep us stuck in our misery. However, the hardest part of letting go of our stories isn't the actual letting go, it's the ability to see them and know them as stories in the first place.

Unfortunately, stories will seem real until a) you can grasp the concept that you are choosing to create your own reality and b) once you grasp the concept, you then need to learn how to catch yourself to know that you are distorting the truth. Those two things would take 20 blogs or more to explain, so I'm going to take the risk here and assume that you either know what I mean or that you can at least understand conceptually what I'm trying to explain.

3. The ability to let go of stories doesn't guarantee happiness
And then, as if it's not already complicated enough… The ability to recognise stories doesn't necessarily create instant happiness. It's not spiritual NescafĂ©. One of the most frustrating things about the spiritual path is that the further along the path you travel, the more you are able to unravel your own bullshit. But… it doesn't actually stop you from creating bullshit (i.e. stories) and neither does it excuse you from becoming frustrated with people or situations even though you know that ultimately everyone is doing their best with the resources they have. So, purely being "spiritual" or having an understanding of your stories doesn't guarantee happiness either. There's more to it than that…

4. Happiness is dependent on your allowing yourself to feel like crap
After reading the above I wouldn't be surprised if you're confused. The upshot of happiness is that you have to be willing to fall down emotional holes, to feel your worst and "forget" that you are making up stories. But that doesn't happen overnight. No matter how evolved you are, you will repeat the same mistakes. And when you're repeating them you'll forget what you know about happiness. So, in order to really be happy, you have to be willing to feel like crap. But that's not happiness you might say. Well, actually, it is. Or at least it can be…

5. Happiness is available even when life is what you might consider to be shitty.
The happiness that most of us talk about is conditional, a bit like love. We consider ourselves to be happy when things are going according to our plans. We say we love people but only if they love us back. We consider ourselves to be happy when people are being nice to us or when we've got money in the bank, or we're on holidays. But that's not real happiness – that's just a story – it's conditional. And stories can be shattered – even the good ones.

6. Conditional happiness is never lasting. True happiness is infinite. So how do you tell the difference and how can you create the latter?
True happiness is available by getting comfortable with things that you don't like. By coming to terms with the truth. Truths such as: money comes and money goes; that people will love you one day and hate you the next; that today life might be full of joy but tomorrow everything could change, or that life also comprises of death.

All of those things will happen to each and every one of us at some point in our lives, and the downside is, we'll never know when. But if we are prepared to feel sad and if we can accept that we might feel angry or bereaved then we're at least one step closer to true joy.

7. True happiness doesn't mean we can't feel all the other emotions too. 
True happiness is not dependent on things going well. It requires a much broader and spiritual perspective because it's not mutually exclusive to anger, fear or sadness, it can actually sit right alongside them. But it takes the ability to have a dual perspective – or in other words to see the bigger picture as well as the details.

So if you want to make 2016 a happy year, start by making a pact with yourself to be willing to feel all your emotions and to be willing to stop categorising them as good, bad, better or worse. The best way I have found to establish a firm and lasting sense of joy is to be at peace with All Of Me. And that means the good bits, the shitty bits, the bits that cope well and the bits that crumble under pressure.

If you are willing to accept All Of You as simply a small part of the whole then you're on the road to true happiness. Because once you can be OK with being angry or upset, or moody or frustrated then you're beginning to form a duality perspective – the ability to feel your feelings but be the observer at the same time.

It's a deep and complex subject but if you start today by picking your least favourite trait (i.e the one that drives you mad or the one that other people are always pointing out to you) then start making friends with it. Start becoming OK with having that side to your personality. It's not about dissolving it or changing it, it's about literally accepting it as it is. No matter how big, bad or ugly you (or anyone else) believes it to be.

Just let it be what it is. From there I guarantee you'll begin to see that happiness is possible even when you're acting out or being your "worst".

True happiness is about perspective (choosing to allow yourself to feel all your feelings and not label them as good or bad) and acceptance (being OK with feeling something other than happy).

Theoretically it sounds complicated and counterintuitive but the gift is in the experience. So give it a go. Spend the next couple days or weeks examining your "worst" traits. Get to know them. Stop avoiding them or shoving them in a basement with a sign that says Don't Go There. Get all of your emotions out on the table and Set Them Free.

Once you make that choice, the rest i.e. True Happiness will simply begin to unfold.

What have you got to lose?

Choose happiness… Choose Love…

h xx

Thursday 5 November 2015

I Can't Do It!

Helloooo! Well, here I am, still alive.

Breathing, eating, sleeping = tick. Life is good!

After posting my blog Growing Pains I've had messages and emails from friends asking if I'm OK. The past few weeks have been some of the most powerful and awakening weeks I think I've ever had but they have involved parts of my world (and Self) falling apart.

But I see that as a good thing and I'll tell you why…

If you've read some of my other posts you'll have an idea about who I am and how I go about my business. My version of that is I'm a coper. By that I mean I can cope with almost any situation and still end up happy. Doesn't matter how bad the scenario, I might have a meltdown in the middle but it doesn't usually take me very long before I spot a silver lining or three and I'm back in Happyville.

And that's great.

However, part of my being an eternal optimist is my uncanny ability to solve problems. I mentioned in a previous blog Save Me that I'm a rescuer. One of my main archetypes is the rescuer/healer which has its upside (I'm really good at helping people/myself see a way out of their/my problems), and a downside (I have a tendency to "fix" things [things being people/me]).

: /

Being a natural healer (both of myself and for others) I'm very good at understanding the bigger picture, empathising (i.e. figuratively putting myself in the other person's shoes) and coming up with a creative and practical solution.

And I do this for myself All The Time.

Seriously, put me in a fatal car crash and I'll see it as an opportunity to grow, take away my job and I'll carve new pathways into my career, reduce my income and I'll come up with five new recipes that cost next to nothing but are still healthy and delicious.

Really, it's almost ridiculous how I can maintain a positive outcome. But there is a converse reality to my apparent ability to cope with everything, and that is, that I can't.

I'm a human being so there's absolutely no way I can cope with everything.

No. Way.

And that's where I've got to in the past few weeks. I've started allowing myself to not cope. I'm not falling into a ball of tears and unable to get out of bed – that's not my style. But I am allowing the part of me that cannot and does not want to cope (small as it may be) to underfunction.

Underfunctioning and overfunctioning are terms I first heard when reading The Dance of Anger and The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner. Harriet is in my opinion one of the western world's leading psychotherapists and her books have literally helped change me.

Upon reading her books I quickly identified with being an overfunctioner: I get things done, I always seem OK, people rarely offer to help me because I don't appear to need it.

But anyone who identifies with that will agree that even those of us who seem to always have our sh*t together, sometimes don't. And in those times we'd really like someone to ask us how we're doing. Only, it's probably easier to know when an octopus is ovulating because overfunctioners give off such a strong vibe of being OK, you'd have to be Harriet Lerner to know when we're not.

And as a classic case I can also vouch for the fact that we're usually not very good at asking.

Guilty as charged.

So, during the past few weeks as my client list and bank account shrank, I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to learn how to underfunction. Optimism = tick!

Yup, instead of rushing in to "fix" my problem (my old pattern), I have used this recent experience to get to know a new part of myself. And I gotta tell you, it feels fantastic!

Previously, I have had such an automatic response to solving problems that I've never given it a second thought before shifting into rescue mode. I think I had the notion that underfunctioning was a bit like an old cardigan that you might find in an opshop. It would have had holes in the elbows and missing buttons and probably smelled a bit musty.

But, I'm thrilled to say, the complete opposite is true! Underfunctioning (for an overfunctioner like me) is like a fur-lined jacket that actually feels super soft and relaxed.

Who knew!

Now I'm not saying that lying in bed, doing nothing and feeling sorry for yourself is going to soothe your Soul. I'm still taking action towards finding work and getting my cashflow back on track. The difference is I'm letting myself ask for help. I'm no longer pretending I've got this. I even had a conversation with my mum where I explained my situation and asked her if I could come and stay with her if things don't get better in the next couple of months.

I would never have done that before.

And to be frank, I don't intend to do it either, but it feels really good to have sat in the underfunctioning seat and asked for help. Really, really good.

Truth is, that conversation has undone a lifetime of (unaware) inauthenticity on my part. I mean, I didn't even know that I was continually putting on a brave face and presenting a facade that was impossible to upkeep. Well, it lasted 44 years so that's not bad, but now I know I can let my guard down, I feel so much lighter!

Because now I can be All Of Me. Even the tiny bits that I was previously locking in the basement because I was telling myself it was not OK to "fail" or need help. Like ever.

Wow! Imagine trying to keep that up! But I hadn't even realised that's what I was doing. Coping and overfunctioning were so ingrained in me that I had absolutely no idea I was simultaneously denying a whole side of me that wants to take her hands off the wheel and let other people help.


And the greatest change that's occurred though all this is that I am now looking for a job! Gasp!

For 10 years I've resisted looking for solid, lasting employment because I was so hell bent on doing it my way (see above) and was in denial that actually, it would serve me to have steady work because then I could focus on my other pursuits without the underlying (and unconsciously overwhelming) need to sort my sh*t out so that I can eat.


And the best part is I'm actually excited about finding a job! Because now I realise it's my choice and not just a reaction to needing money.

Although it may sound counterintuitive, my letting go of needing to have it all sorted (especially in business) has allowed me a whole new sense of freedom to seek work that is meaningful to me.

I'm not going to go back to what I know, I'm going to move forward into something I can grow into. I have a multitude of skills that I can make great use of and I no longer need to make it hard for myself.

I had no idea that choice and freedom lay at the bottom of the ability to Let Go and simply wear a new emotional wardrobe. In my case, permission to not know how to fix my own problem but to simply let it unfold, which in turn is enabling me to find new choices and an incredible new sense of inner peace.

All I ever needed to do to find that was to be completely useless! Well, not completely, but you get what I mean. I just needed to give myself permission to Be All Of Me, not just the bits that I thought were "good" and that deserved a pat on the back.

No, true inner peace lies in allowing ourselves to be Everything We Are. Including the parts that can't cope, have no idea about budgets and who simply want to let go and ask someone else to sort it out for us. (Well, at least sometimes!).

: )

Choose love xxx

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Paradise Awaits

If you've read my last two blogs Growing Pains and Love or Money? you'll be familiar with the fact that I have been through a major financial breakdown in the last two weeks.

The breakdown was really a breakthrough in my ability to see reality vs the fantasy I'd created around money. Namely, that I could carry on doing exactly what I'd been doing for the past 10 years and somehow get a completely different result.

Yuh, I know, right…

So, for the past two weeks I've been collecting my new thoughts and cementing them with new actions and behaviours. Firstly, I had to meet myself where I was at. By that I mean I had to see the truth – that my current way of operating was never going to get me into the 6.5 million dollar house on the Sunshine Coast that I have in my vision box.

It's a house that I've seen in my meditations for over 8 years. I didn't even know it really existed until I found it while doing some research about 2 months ago.

Yep, really.

So, let's talk about the Law of Attraction for a minute because that's really what this blog is all about.

The Law of Attraction (LOA) is a well documented phenomena. Most of us on the spiritual path have heard of it and probably tried it – and hopefully had some success.

But, I'll bet on that $6.5m house that even those of you who consider yourselves to be conscious and/or "awake" or spiritual, have equally suffered from a sense of WTF when it comes to the LOA.

WTF is this LOA that only seems to work sometimes and not others? Surely by aligning our thoughts with what we want, we should be able to manifest it, right?

Even if it's as big as a $6.5million dollar house on Sunshine Beach.

Because if you've been reading or listening to the same material as I have, the LOA does not hold one thing bigger or smaller than another. Correct?

Well, after seeing my reality about money in an entirely new way since my breakdown/breakthrough over the past two weeks, I'm going to add what I can now understand about LOA and that is that there is a necessary requirement that I was previously overlooking.

So, to use my example:

1. I asked the Universe to align me with the $6.5m house on the Sunshine Coast.
2. I KNOW I'm going to live in that house because I've seen it in my meditations for over 8 years, and whenever I've envisioned things before I actually saw them in real life, they have ALWAYS come into my reality. Alignment = check.
3. So, feeling like I'm completely in alignment (see above), I firmly believe that I'm on the right path to manifesting said house.
4. And I'm right.
5. But, in order to manifest that house, I need to clear out any unsupporting beliefs and thoughts that are currently preventing that house from being in my immediate reality.
6. In comes MAJOR BREAKDOWN #1.
7. In order to be in purest alignment with that house, I need to change. The biggest change is that I need to meet my reality head on. And that means I can no longer continue operating the way I've been operating for the past 10 years, because if I do that, there's not a hope in hell that I'll move into that house in this lifetime. No matter how creative I am with the fantasy of that.
9. I have to change the way I'm doing things.
10. In order to get into a more pure alignment I need to breakdown my fantasy so I can breakthrough to reality where I can create an entirely new reality that is in far greater alignment with what I want than I currently realise. In fact, I must entirely let go of my belief that I know how to manifest that house and hand that job over to the Universe. Which doesn't mean I completely take my hands off the wheel, sign on to social services and keep fantasising. It means I must learn to TRUST that I am being guided in a new direction that may (or may not) seem congruent to my desire of buying that house, but that is MOST LIKELY to be leading me to an exact match to the feeling I want when I envision myself in that house, which is basically that I feel happy, safe, successful and financially secure.

Are you still with me?

In short: all the while we are clinging to our fantasy version of life, whether that be around money, love or owning a house on the Sunshine Coast, we are completely UNABLE to manifest the very thing we want.

Until we meet reality we are unknowingly keeping ourselves from the very thing we are continually saying we want.

For 10 years I've either been working part time as a freelance writer/editor or I've been working full time setting up a new business, be it a healing or coaching practice or an online business. So I've got 10 years of cold hard evidence that what I've been doing for that time does NOT align with me manifesting a $6.5 million house in Queensland.

And yet I have insisted on believing otherwise.

I have refused to see the truth in the situation. So on the one hand I've been utilising my amazing skills and talents as a writer or healer and I've been motivated and driven enough to set up buinesses and had some success from that, but have I come anywhere near to moving into that house?

Not even!

And yet, I've continued believing that if I just keep doing what I'm doing for a bit longer (another 10 years??) then SURELY that house will be mine.

Well, here's the rub. Through questioning my thoughts in a whole new way during the past two weeks I was able to hear the Universe saying "Sweetie, we really, really want to give you that house, (and anything else you desire), but you're so busy sticking your head in the sand, that we're finding it impossible to get it to you."

Yes. I was so busy believing my own fantasy that I was completely (and unconsciously) ignoring the reality (which btw is always in alignment with the Universe), which meant I was STUCK.

And so STUCK is what I was getting back via the LOA.

You see?

The turnaround for me was seeing the reality: I needed to change the way I was looking at my situation. And I could only do that by first accepting the truth. That what I was doing wasn't working.

Humble pie alright! I call it more of a humble crumble because in order to see the truth my ego had to crumble to nothing so that I could be clear enough to see a new way.

And now, amazingly, that's where I'm at.

From that place of truth I've been able to create a new agenda for my work life. And although I'm not going to tell you exactly what showed up (only because I don't want to mention the roles I've just applied for), I can tell you that the situations that have landed in my lap just 24 hours after creating my new agenda are INCREDIBLE opportunities that I would not have been able to see if I was still stuck in my fantasy.

So you see the LOA does work.

I could already see that because I'd manifested outstanding results in both love and money in the past 12 months alone. And yet, I was unknowingly limiting even bigger results because I was staying in a place where good stuff happened, but HUGE stuff was being blocked (by me).

So, if you're finding yourself stuck in a world where the LOA only works for you sometimes even when you KNOW it works and can FEEL the thing you desire, I invite you to enter into a new level of self enquiry. I used Byron Katie's four questions which you can find in her book Loving What Is, but there are numerous ways to deliver yourself from your own prison, so I'll let you find your own way on that one.

Suffice to say, after spending two weeks in one of the shittiest self-inflicted breakdowns I've ever had, I can absolutely attest to the fact that if you're willing to question yourself, especially on the things you really think you know for sure, then on the other side of that enquiry you might just find an overwhelming paradise that you couldn't see before.

And if you do, then I welcome you to a whole new world and an incredible new level of trust in the Universe and the Law of Attraction.

Choose Love xxx

Friday 16 October 2015

Love or Money?

In contrast to my previous blog and at the risk of sounding schizophrenic, today I first want to say that no matter what you do in life, you'll always be in the perfect place for you.

You can't be anything other than perfect. Ever.

Yesterday I blogged about sharing your personal development journey with another person. How if you don't, you won't change as much as you hope. But the truth is, the opposite is also true.

Do absolutely nothing, and you'll still end up in the perfect place anyways. Because even when things are completely out of control, the bigger truth is that it's all exactly right for you.

Even when it doesn't look or seem that way.

Action plays a role in our experience for sure, so yes, take action towards anything that takes your fancy, but rather than force that action, if we can come to a place where we simply flow with the easiest option, then our lives will unfold anyway and we'll be able to enjoy it, even when it "stinks".

And that same theory applies to the concept of Love and Money.

Can we believe in both?

For the past few days I've been in a panic about money. Nothing new there. I've spent my entire life struggling with even the concept of money. When I was 16, my parents and siblings were each investing in an insurance plan that paid them out after 10 years (or something). The insurance dude would turn up at our house every second Thursday (or whatever it was), and every time he'd ask me "When are you going to sign up Hannah?" I would shrug him off and go to my room and get lost in music. My sanctuary.

One day, I answered the door to the insurance guy and he flat out asked me: "Hannah, if you don't put money aside now, what are you going to live on in the future?"

My answer?

"I'll live on Love."

It astounds me that I said that back then, and as much as we do live on Love because we are Love, money is the currency of the world and it definitely has a place. But the point I'm making here is that I have never understood money.

The very idea of handing over cash and coins in exchange for something has always baffled me. Why can't we all just give and receive and not worry about money? I've often thought to myself. What is this craziness that we all get so wound up about? Why can't we all just live in peace and love each other?

You might think this is the idealistic thoughts of a teenager, but I still have those thoughts today.

I can see that having money can be a good thing. I get it. Travelling is a big part of my life and I require money to pay for my flights and accommodation. I also spend a lot of money on personal growth: courses, books, coaching, it all costs money.

But what I have recognised in the past few days is that all the while I was spinning my Love Story, underneath it I was unconsciously resisting money because I saw it as "bad".

When you peel back my overriding philosophy that Love Is All There Is, I was also kidding myself into thinking I didn't also buy into the global money story. I did, but I had hidden that belief because it didn't match the identity I'd created for myself that said Love is all there is.

I had been deceiving myself for years!

A couple nights ago, I woke up at 2am and spent about 2 hours writing down some of my money beliefs. It was certainly eye opening. Some of the notions I'd held about money were so incongruent with my Everything Is Love beliefs that it was laughable. I had given money SO much weight and yet I thought I was viewing it as insignificant.

Truth is, my up-until-then unconscious beliefs about money were the complete opposite of insignificant.

Money was the biggest thing there was.

Money had SO much weight that I couldn't handle it. Yes, my conscious mind told me it was less significant to me than Love, but my unconscious mind had created one helluva story that meant no matter how much I sang my Love Song, money was there, lurking in the corner wearing a dirty overcoat, ready to flash at any time.

And now I can see that.

And because I can see it, I can now change it.

Until we shine a light on the very thing we're avoiding – which is often so unconscious to us that it's impossible to shine a light on it without the awareness of how to become aware of our hidden beliefs – we're basically living a lie.

I know, that's a lot to take in… read it again.

But the crazy thing about our unconscious beliefs is that even if we don't know how to shine a light on them, our experience is perfect anyways.

So, in complete contrast to what I wrote yesterday: even if you do absolutely nothing to further your growth and expand your consciousness, it will happen anyways.

Even if you believe in Love and think money is just a joke, you will realise the truth for you anyways.

Even if you think money is what makes the world go around and Love is a futile concept, you'll realise the truth for you at some point anyways.

Unless you don't.

Which is the even bigger head f*ck of this whole experience.

So, what am I saying here? Essentially I'm saying Do Whatever You Want. Do whatever feels right for you in this moment and if that feeling changes in the next moment, change what you're doing to match your new thought or feelings.

It doesn't matter.

I'm letting go of a big story I've held about money for my entire life, but did I need coaching or all those other courses to get me here? No. Would I be where I am today if I'd done nothing other than eat, sleep and work my whole life? Who knows. Point is, it doesn't matter.

I chose the path I've chosen and I love it. It feels right for me. Until or unless it doesn't.

Once we let go of our attachment to an outcome, nothing matters anymore. And that's where joy really comes in. Have money, don't have money, meet your soulmate, don't meet your soulmate, hire a coach, don't hire a coach, it doesn't matter.

Just follow your own path in the moment: follow the path of least resistance and just let the Love or money flow in.

Or not.


h xx

Thursday 15 October 2015

Growing Pains

OK, I'm gonna come clean.

I am completely f*cked.

A couple months ago I waved goodbye to a 22 year career as a magazine writer and editor. I publicly announced it on Facebook because I absolutely knew that being a coach is my life's purpose and at the time, the money was rolling in, I had a healthy repertoire of clients and life was buzzing along.

The prior 6 months that I'd spent working with my own coach had lifted me to incredible new heights both work/money and love-wise. I was in a space I'd never been in before. So I did the obvious thing and hired my coach for another 6 months, then I joined a coaching group where more amazing lessons came thick and fast on a daily basis. And it was even more amazing!

But then, all of a sudden, the Shit Hit The Fan.

And not only did the shit hit the fan, but my emotional faeces sprayed long and wide and appears to be on a mission to take me down.

My insides feel like they're covered with shit. My belief system has turned into a sewerage pit, I can barely hold a cup with my right hand, my back feels like it might crumble if I make any sudden moves, and my bank account, well, that's the best part. I can't even pay my rent.

Awesome, huh!

And why would I write about this you might ask? Because it's the truth. So, here goes…

If I were to look at my current situation in a linear way (what I call Mass Majority thinking), then I would seriously be fucked. The straight lines that our current operating system has been built on say that I should go get a job. That I should be more sensible. That I should spend less money on travel and save more for my future. That I should be married with kids. That I should swear less. That I should wear shoes. That I'm too old to sit on the floor, I should sit in a chair.

You get the picture.

But I'm not doing any of that. I live by my own rules. My mum says I'm the butterfly in the family (a nice way of saying I fly by the seat of my pants). But there are consequences of living this way and they are huge.

The consequences of living what I call a Curly Existence mean I don't have social norms to fall back on. I don't have a savings account or a day job to prop me up when life gets tough. When it rains, I get wet. When the money runs out, I don't eat. Or, I get creative.

Before I go completely off point here, what I'm trying to say is that what's really happening for me at the moment is Personal Growth.

And growth hurts.

In fact the more you grow and the quicker you grow the more it hurts. Think of a baby. We wonder why they're crying sometimes, but think about it, their bodies and awareness are growing rapidly every day. No wonder they bawl at "nothing", huh!

And that's where coaching comes in. At the point of growth.

Before I became a coach I thought coaching was about helping people feel better about their lives. I thought it was about motivating them to feel like they can reach their goals (even if they don't). And I thought Wow, I'll be really good at that, that's what I do anyway.

And that's absolutely where I started. Both as a coach and as a client of my coach. I felt all the nice stuff that was missing for me. More money, deeper love, being paid to support people and having someone who was there to support me no matter what.

But as I travelled deeper into my journey that path opened up so wide that I no longer had the right vehicle to go any further. My emotional capacity was no longer in alignment with where I am heading. My beliefs no longer held enough weight to keep me where I'd been for the past 44 years.

And so I needed to change. To grow.

But it fucking hurts.

There's a tendency for us to run away from pain. Who wants to feel pain? Makes perfect sense to shut that shit down, turn around and go back to the "safe zone". "Normality". What we already know.

But if you really want to change your life, then you gotta grow. And it will hurt. No exception.

Anyone who is truly committed to change will experience a version of what I'm going through. In order to break my old habits I gotta learn new ones. But until I learn them there's a transition. There's a whole lotta I Don't Knows to navigate.

And that's where many of us stop.

We're halted in our tracks when we get to I Don't Know. We want to hire a coach but we can't afford it. We want to find our soulmate but we don't want to open up first. We want more money but we're not willing to have less first.

But as long as we sit on the current side of change there's only one truth. We Don't Change.

Well, we do a bit, but ultimately, we become another member of the herd. Society says don't take risks, play it safe, save for a rainy day, play by the rules, do your homework…

But I say Fuck That.

Live Your Life. Take that risk. Spend that money. Make your own rules and never ever do your homework unless YOU want to.

If you do that you'll be scared sometimes. You'll have less money than you think you should sometimes. You'll have friends who will look at you like you're a lunatic sometimes.

But you'll be free. And on the other side of that pain you'll find a new life. A paradise that you can call your own. And your friends and colleagues will wish they had the freedom you'd created. Because as much as it can feel nice to have money, a wife or husband and a steady job, without the freedom to be yourself you have nothing.

All that other stuff can be taken away from you. At a moment's notice. And you might never see it coming.

As a coach, I work with people to find themselves. I no longer motivate people to feel good about themselves. I encourage them to feel their pain. I even take them there. I push my clients' buttons to the point that they say they hate me.

And I'm glad when they do.

Because it means they're really growing. When they give me that look that says "Really? You want me to tell you what I don't want you to know about me?" Then I know we're getting somewhere.

And the reason I know that is because that's my journey too. I don't have all the answers. I have no idea what it is you really want, and from what I see in my clients neither do they. But I do know that if you don't go to that dark and shitty place that you've been avoiding your whole life then you might have a nice life, (and I hope you will), but you'll never become the most brilliant version of you that you can really be.

Because there will always be a fear lurking in your unconscious that is urging you to shine. Or a fear that the money will run out, or your partner will run out.

Going to that new place is fucking hard and it fucking hurts, but on the other side of the pain is a life that shines brighter than any diamond. And that's where I'm heading. I'm done playing small. I'm done pretending to Be Me while I run a tape that says I can only do that for a while. Until the money runs out and I go back to a day job again.

But you know what, this time I'm sticking it out. This time I'm gonna step right into the septic tank and stick my face in it. I'm gonna ignore the "reality" and spread that shit all over my body. I'm gonna feel the pain. Inhale it. Smother myself in it until I stink.

And then?

Well, I don't know what then.

I've never done this before. I've always stopped at this point. The point where it gets sooooo tough and sooooo scary that I revert back to "reality".

But not any more. And never again. I don't know what's on the other side but I'm willing to find out. Because if I don't then I'll never know. Which means I'm buying into the story that I've been saying I don't agree with for my whole life.

So today I'm willing to hurt. I'm willing to Have No Idea what's on the other side. And I'm willing to take the biggest chance I've ever taken. To stay. To feel the pain that's taking over my body. To crack the "reality" that I've bought into even when it looked like I wasn't.

Are you willing to do that too?

If you are, then I'm here, not just as a coach, but as a fellow human being who's doing it too. I'll help you. I'll sit by you while you weep in fear at what's to come. I won't know the answers but I'll support you.

If you know deep down that there's a greater version of you that wants to be set free, then talk to me. Come show me your pain. I promise I won't judge. I'll simply guide you through it.

And I might not be the right coach for you. And coaching isn't the only answer. But choosing to stay the same is definitely not going to set you free. And knowing that it's scary and knowing you  haven't been able to do it on your own, then think about it. Are you living your best life? Are you willing to move through I Don't Know to have what it is you REALLY want?

If you are then I sincerely encourage you to find someone who can travel that journey with you. To take the risk that feels too big. And if not, then that's your choice too, I respect that. Kind of.

But I know there's more that's available to you. I just know it.

Meantime, I'll see you on the other side.

Choose love xx