Lifestyle

More than Mind

My dear readers, I have been absent from blogging and writing for far longer than I am comfortable with. Life got a bit crazy (read abso-bloody-lutely awful) and I lost faith and interest in everything, reduced to simply going through the motions day by day, waiting for something to happen. Yesterday I reached rock bottom, had an avalanche of rejections and bad news, and dealt with it like an adult by hiding in my bed and having a cry about how crap my life was.

Then something hit me.

Lying in bed crying about how the Universe hated me made me feel better for about ten seconds. Then I just felt sorry for myself, had a blocked nose, and looked like crap, which made me feel worse (like Helen from Bridesmaids, I am definitely an ugly crier). It didn’t actually change my situation. It didn’t magic a job opportunity into my lap. Or a one way plane ticket. Or even the winning lottery numbers. It didn’t get rid of my hideous bosses or screechy customers, it didn’t make my workplace treat me like a human being, and it didn’t make anyone appreciate me more. I wasn’t suddenly chilling on a beach in Thailand, riding through a sunlit forest or having the freedom to run my own life.

It achieved absolutely nothing.

And that’s when I had a second wave of realisation.

(This all sounds very profound but in reality I was hiding under the duvet with birds nest hair and snotting all over the place: transformation is not as glamorous as it seems)

I had zero control over the things which were happening to me. I couldn’t make people respond to my emails with Yes’s. I couldn’t magic up my dream job just because I want it. I couldn’t help the way customers and colleagues treated me. I had (and still have) absolutely no power over any of these things.

I do, however, have absolute power over my reactions.

I can choose whether to stay in bed and cry and wreck my very nice overpriced (but oh so with it) Egyptian cotton pillowcases with mascara.

Or I can put on my big girl pants and deal.

We are more than our minds.

The only thing we have total control over is our mindset, and our response to situations. Once we know this, we get our power back.

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Now trust me, I know this is easier said than done. I can hear you right now, arguing, “Oh it’s easy for you to say! I’ve got x,y and z going on!” I’ve been there, I am anxiety’s bitch more than I’d care to admit. And I’m not saying its easy. Nothing worth doing is easy, according to dear old Teddy Roosevelt. And that sucks, I agree. But it is what it is. And that’s exactly the crux of what I’m saying.

On occasion, life sucks beyond the telling of it (thanks Buffy, you do good quotes.)

You have power, even when you feel powerless. You can help yourself even when you are helpless. The way you respond can make or break everything.

Think of it hypothetically. You and a loved one are having a nice time. You’re chilled, having a laugh, all in a good place and it looks set to continue. Then they do or say something that gets right on your nerves, sets your teeth on edge, and you go to kick off. You snap, they snap back, one of you storms off, and that lovely day you were having is ruined until someone apologises and you move on. Or, you could look at the bigger picture. Does what they’re doing really matter? Will you remember it in 6 months? Or can you choose to let it go, accept it as one of their irritating quirks, and carry on having a nice day?

Your choice.

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Obviously I’m not trying to minimise other people’s crappy behaviour. If someone is way out of line, you need to tell them off. But this is also part of it: own your power. Be assertive. If someone is treating you like a doormat, you can choose how to respond to that.

In that moment, you have a choice.

This feels like it’s escalating into a power ballad, so I’m going to wrap it up there. This is something I will definitely be returning to, but I just wanted to dip your toes into it whilst I remember how to write again.

Mindset can be everything, and you are the only one with the power to use it.

Deep stuff. Go and eat some ice cream to digest (Ben & Jerry’s now do vegan ice cream, so the world is a good place.)

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(This is not Ben & Jerry’s, but it IS Northern Irish ice cream, which may be even better.)

Thanks and love and stuff

J x

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What is Anxiety?

According to the NHS website, Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Just a feeling of unease, like nerves or uncertainty. Just a niggling worry, an underlying fear. Something easy to deal with, to brush off. Take some deep breaths, pop a Xanax and get on with it. Keep calm and carry on.

If only it was that easy.

What about all the things that definition fails to tell you about anxiety?

Anxiety is walking into your favourite shop, only to immediately have to leave because you think you’re going to throw up.

It’s automatically looking for the exit whenever you enter a room, and positioning yourself at the edge of a crowd, to allow you to bet to safety when you need to.

It’s overreacting at the tiniest, most insignificant things (my personal favourite recently was a full on breakdown over a toothbrush), because you start panicking about absolutely nothing.

Anxiety is cancelling the plans you were desperate to attend, turning your phone on silent, and sitting in your room because you’re too scared to leave the house.

It’s being late to work, meetings and appointments, and putting up with disapproval or warnings because you’re too embarrassed to admit you couldn’t leave the house.

It’s switching from chill and relaxed to sweaty palms, pounding heart, and the overwhelming feeling that some has put your chest in a vice and is squeezing, to the point you’re convinced you’re dying.

It’s replaying conversations, scenarios, messages and looks over and over and over in your head, overthinking every glance, nuance and suggestion, seeing the bad in everything.

Anxiety is having people you thought understood telling you to simply take a pill, man up and get over it.

It’s isolating yourself from those you love, because even you don’t understand your feelings.

It’s a sense of inadequacy, overwhelming self doubt, negativity, and the assumption that things won’t ever be better.

It’s a ‘glamourous’ illness, appropriated by everyone who has ever had butterflies, and turns us into drama queens and overreactors.

Anxiety is a battle. But it’s not the war.

It’s overcoming adversity. It’s facing situations you thought you never could. It’s being in tune with your own thoughts, feelings, emotions and mind. It’s finding strength from deep inside yourself. It’s finding out who you really have on your side.

Anxiety is a battle. But it’s definitely not the war.

Stay strong,

Namaste.

J x

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“It’s Not Supposed to be Easy!”

My dear followers, I am writing here in order to make myself accountable. Lent has begun, and will end on March 29th. This is a period in the Christian church which involves giving up something you enjoy; traditionally, alcohol or meat. Now I’m already a vegetarian, and I don’t really tend t drink enough for it to be a sacrifice. The one thing I do love, however, is chocolate.

Guess what I’ve given up for Lent?

I don’t know if I’m particularly religious. I’m baptised, and I am defiantly a big believer in there being SOMETHING out there. I’m just still in the process of figuring out what it is and what to call it. But more on that later.

For me, Lent is not only a traditional fast for 40 days. It is a challenge, a commitment and a period of sacrifice to reflect and think. If I can do it, I will be so proud of myself because it shows I can set a goal and stick to it despite MASSIVE temptation (Lindt Easter chocolate in EVERY shop anyone???) I think it does us good as humans to take a break from indulgences and luxuries we enjoy every now and again, as a sort of personal challenge and goal. In a world where we can access pretty much what we want whenever we want, it is interesting to see how strong we actually are when put to the test.

I’m not a saint, so we shall see. Putting it on here makes me feel like I have more accountability for it; I have made a public statement, and promise to do my best to stick to it!

Namaste,

J x

Lifestyle

Love Yourself

Today is the day I came back to myself.

That might seem a bit dramatic, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

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I’ve been stuck for a while in a rut, feeling like I’m trapped, suffocating, at the mercy of other peoples timelines and decisions, running like a demented hamster on a wheel but not actually making any progress. I’ve been smiling when ordered to, calmly putting up with being treated like nothing from my superiors, put up with accusations and passive aggressive comments, throwaway remarks and thoughtless opinions. It seemed I was going nowhere, gaining nothing, and all the while standing and screaming at the top of my lungs whilst the room filled with water, only for everyone to glance over, shrug and return to what they were doing.

Then today, for some reason, out of nowhere, I got back on the mat.

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Yoga is a huge part of my life, and has always been my go to when I’m stressed, confused, anxious or just really need to stretch. I have always turned to it in my hour of need, and it is the one thing I have always made myself do even when not really in the mood, because I know it will be worth it.

For some reason lately, I’ve dropped the ball. “I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m too tired. I’ve got work. My leg hurts…” all excuses, and all, frankly, bullshit.

The real reason? I started putting myself at the bottom of the list.

I started listening to the doubters and the naysayers, the ones who said I’d failed and the ones with barbed comments. And to punish myself, I stopped putting myself first. I stopped loving myself, and that was really really crap.

Yoga for me is more than an amazing exercise regime. It is a chance to stop, to catch yourself. To marry breath and movement and transcend the physical body to tap into something much greater. To access that power which lays dormant in all of us, and to have a chance to check in with the subconscious mind, the one which holds the key to manifesting and shaping our very existence. To push yourself beyond your comfort, and to take pride in integrity and truth. To connect to an energy way beyond yourself, and to see how everything in life is connected to that energy. It is not about mirroring a picture perfect pose; it is instead about making sure the foundations of that pose are true and honest, and that you are giving it everything you have from a place of love. It is valuing yourself enough to take 20 minus out of your day to put yourself first, to be alone with yourself and your thoughts, and to give yourself as much time as you give others.

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My situation hasn’t technically changed (though fingers crossed things have started moving now I kicked all the stagnant energy out of my body!) but my mindset it totally different. I can see a bigger picture, look forward and, most importantly, am back to putting myself firmly back at the top of my list. It’s not selfish, it’s self love and that is what we all need to be the best, most badass versions of ourselves.

So thanks more than you’ll ever know, Adriene Mishler. (For those of you keen to start yoga but who have never found the time, opportunity or money to take a class, check out this woman on Youtube; she’s incredible and inspiring and I think I’m in love with her. This isn’t sponsored or anything, I am just genuinely in love with this woman! 😀 ) And thanks to myself, for giving myself some time and some love. Lets push through this and get stuff started!

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Love to my badasses,

Namaste

J x

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Liebster Award

I am beyond honoured to have been nominated again for a Liebster Award! This time from the wonderful floatinggold, whos site is full of creative and inspiring posts which you should definitely check out!

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Rules Of Accepting The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers, whose work they find interesting, to motivate them and promote them as well. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The instructions for accepting the award and passing it on are as follows:

•Create a new blog post on your blog thanking the person that nominated you, link to their blog and put in a graphic of the award.

•Answer the questions that were provided, and then share some facts about yourself.

•Create a new set of your own questions for others to answer.

•Nominate 5-11 others and share your blog post with them so they can accept their awards

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: 

  1. How much do you follow the news?

I am very interested in global politics and current affairs, after being hugely inspired by my A Level Politics teacher (shout out to you Nick Cowell!). I do find it hard to follow the news too closely however, as the constant 24 hour rolling broadcasts and focus on suffering can make the world seem like a very scary and sad place sometimes. Instead, I make sure I am up to date with headlines and key events around the world, and then research and read up on topics which have particularly caught my interest. I do feel we all have a responsibility as global citizens to keep up with what is going on, as to be uninformed seems quite a dangerous place to be at the moment!

2. Are you currently living in the city you were born in?

I am not, and I am very happy about it! As anyone who has read my post Relocate will know, I have a complicated relationship with my hometown which largely involved trying my best to leave it! I am very happy where I am at the moment, but I am a bit of a wanderer so we shall see!

3. Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to in the near future?

Firstly, the opportunity to have a future – every day we get on this Earth is a huge blessing. I am also in the process of beginning a new job involving lots of travel, so very much looking forward to that, as well as possibly going back to Uni in the Autumn. My brother is also performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, so lots of exciting things to look forward to!

4. What makes you laugh?

I have quite a dry and dark sense of humour, so quite odd things! I have some friends who make me absolutely howl on a daily basis at the most random things, and I find silly things like someone pretending to be a sheep absolutely hilarious! I probably spend more time laughing than anything else, especially when I really shouldn’t be!

5. What do you stress about the most?

Unfulfilled potential, and missed opportunities.

6. If you join the circus, what would you perform and why?

I’m not a huge fan of circus’s using live animals for entertainment, so it would have to be something like the trapeze or aerial hoops. I’m currently training myself in silks, so that would be cool!

Here are my nominations, wonderful bloggers who inspire me every day!

Thru Her Eyes
Sincerely Alice
The Introverted Book Nerd
CharlieJaneLyne

And here are my questions:

  1. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
  2. What is your life motto?
  3. If you won the Euromillions tomorrow, how would it change your life?
  4. If you could magically have any skill, what would it be and why?
  5. Where in the world would you most like to travel?
  6. Who are your top three dinner guests, living or dead?
  7. Describe yourself in three words?

Once again, thanks so so much for this award, my readers mean the absolute world to me, and I’m so glad you like my random thoughts!

Love and light

J x

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Learning to Let Go

I recently had the incredible experience of having my article published on one of my favourite lifestyle sites ever: Your Zen Life. This is an amazing resource run by brilliant women to support, nurture and celebrate our physical, spiritual and mental selves, and it is really really exciting to see my name on their site!! The article in situ can be found here : Learning to Let Go, would love to know what you guys think!

Also, apologies for my absence: life is crazy. But good crazy, and beautiful crazy, and hopefully I’ll have lots of super exciting news to share with you all crazy! Your support means the world to me, and I appreciate each and every one of you; you’re why I do this!

Peace and love and stuff,

J x

 

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Silhouette

I noticed her standing by the window when I woke up.

Ethereal, bathed in the moonlight streaming through the open window.

Her back to me, all I could see was her outline silhouetted against the light.

Only ever a silhouette.

Expressionless, wordless, free from responsibility or expectation.

A blank canvas, with the freedom to give nothing away.

I had noticed it before. Sitting across from me on a table. Beside me in the car. A trick of the light, something you saw out of the corner of your eye and turned to look at.

If you turned your head too quickly, it was gone.

Only ever an outline.

And what right had I to expect more? What right have any of us to demand more? To inhibit the elusive freedom which comes from mystery, from outline, from silence?

What right have we to join the dots of someone else picture? To fill in the crude outline with our own interpretation of the image? Would you draw on the Mona Lisa because you didn’t like her smile?

What right have we to demand answers from a soul unwilling to give their secrets up? To scratch our own itch, to satiate our own curiosity? Would you rave at the priest for not giving up the deepest secrets of their faith? For explaining in black and white the essence of their very core?

Sometimes all we get is a silhouette.

When I woke up in the morning, she was gone. As I knew she would be. A visit in the moonlight, brief, fleeting, yet eternal.

I did see her once more in my life, silhouetted against the sunset on a hilltop. This time, she half turned. Was it a smile? It was impossible to tell. The whole truth was still denied to me. I had no way of knowing the intricacies and mysteries which hang in the air around me, thick like smoke. Despite myself, I smiled.

Sometimes, all we get is a silhouette.

And sometimes that has to be enough.

This was a post inspired by the Daily Prompt: Silhouette