Forgiveness and self-acceptance, to Sympathetic Joy…

Hello and welcome,

I’d love to share another cuppa together while we ponder sympathetic joy through the art of self-acceptance through forgiveness…

I’m contributing this piece to Debbie, of Forgiving Connects and her ForgivingFridays initiative, where she kindly invites us to ponder the steps we can take towards self-forgiveness, a huge leap towards self-acceptance and love.

 

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Accepting ourselves involves all the traits we deem unworthy of our acceptance.
We cannot begin to see ourselves as whole until we acknowledge those parts of us we are hoping no one notices….

Take jealousy for example…

I’ve been the worst at being jealous of everyone and everything they’ve achieved.
It’s only recently I’m beginning to get a grip on this.

I can see where these intense feelings were coming from now….
I wasn’t happy with myself. It was like life had become one huge race, where there was one set of rules on how to be successful, how to live a happy life…

I was living according to everyone else’s idea of what that should look like.

As a result, I’d allow myself to gravitate towards traits, experiences, material things that I associated with a successful life.

Perhaps I was running away from being myself?

This realisation began through the critical journey towards self-acceptance…

Learning to explore what those intense feelings were trying to teach me, began the journey to accept it as part of me.
And like a naughty child, once some attention is given to them, they don’t feel as desperate to create havoc…

Becoming more comfortable with myself enabled me to reach a point where I can now be happy for others’ successes. Any residual feelings means there are more lessons for me to learn.

As part of this acceptance, I discovered there is a term in Buddhism for this…the wonderful world of Sympathetic Joy.

Once I discovered I could cultivate this by focusing less on ‘eradicating’ jealousy, and focusing on learning how to be truly happy for others, it became a new way of thinking, like a mindful mental workout.

That doesn’t mean that little ‘green eyed monster’ won’t rear its little head any more.

But I’ve made peace with who I am, what I believe are my strengths and can laugh at the ‘rest’ of me now. Believe me, there are plenty of those occasions….

It helps negate the desire for the worst kind of comparison…the type that originates from those feelings of unworthiness, as opposed to being inspired to reach a level we wish to attain, coming from a place of love, or simply just being happy within ourselves for no particular reason.

The act of self-acceptance means when we have our buttons pushed by others, we have a greater capacity for seeing that person with compassion and understanding, knowing where they are coming from….after all, at any given moment we can also be in that place of discomfort and need to lash out in our own way.

In our wholeness, we can also at times be belligerent, jealous, thoughtless…

I forgive myself for feeling inadequate when I compare myself unfavourably against others, or display emotions that I have deemed ‘unworthy’.

A spiritual journey isn’t so much about ignoring  or attempting to ‘mend’ all those parts of us.
It’s about diving deep into our messiness, understanding ourselves, going ‘within’ in order to have greater capacity to emerge, with greater awareness of the impact we have on others.

In a way, it can become the essence of our purpose…

It begs us to ask the question, ‘How can I be more loving in this situation?’

We learn to respond rather than react.

When we return to the world in a state of non-judgement towards ourselves, we can offer this gift of peace, of being fully present and compassionate towards everyone we meet, including revelling in their joyful moments.
In other words, we see ‘us’ in everyone….

Everyone becomes our teacher, helping us forge deeper roots to anchor our growth…

It embraces the power of connection, and is my new interpretation of the expression ‘we are all connected’…

…when we can delight in the joy of others, because we too understand joy,
and also…

…when we can sit with them in their pain, because we have also known pain.

That’s when the beautiful magic between us and others begins…

The quote by Teal Swan is from the link I’m including here, titled ‘Self Love – The great Shortcut to Enlightenment.’
If you have a desire to listen in your own time, I hope you enjoy it too. There are some amazing pearls of wisdom in her teachings.

As always, I thank you for being here,
Much love from Di 💜

 

Time for us all to bloom…

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Image by Di

“Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” Brené Brown

Hello and welcome to the good news…it’s now time to reveal the person that’s been there all along, that for some of us, shame and fear of vulnerability became The Way. I hope you have your celebratory cuppa to share with me as you read…

Firstly,
I’m never going to say I’m a done deal, but with time, I can see that a different way of thinking beckons.
I’m using the second person terminology but this is for me as much as it is for you…🌹

Ok…

now it’s time to be unashamedly you! Quirks and wobbly bits galore as only you can do. You’ll see some glimpses of a different, but not new, you, so please choose to love and accept them. It will feel strange to begin with when you start to live the life you have wanted to live, no longer feeling like hiding yourself.  I became a paradox, in a way… on one hand the urge to appear as if everything was flowing smoothly and not admitting to having any ‘issues’ of my own, whilst on the other hand, I’d happily tell you about my short comings, almost as if to apologise for them. I think being a young mum, I began a path to appearing like I was the perfect one and ‘no…my children can do no wrong’…
Begin today to be real and authentic, and don’t apologise for being who you are.’ Di

Radiate joy and excitement when you feel it, almost with childlike enthusiasm. It’s infectious, as are all emotions. Being ‘over-excited’ was always directed towards me as a criticism… no longer am I attempting to contain this part of me.
I have things now that ignite me like never before and I’m not going to hide what makes me feel this way any more…you have my blessing to also become excited and show your passion for what matters…it’s a GOOD thing!

Find a swing and go for your life on it, conjuring up happy memories when you’d sit for hours, only stopping when someone else wanted their turn….give yourself permission to be silly and have fun, once again loving sparkles, rainbows, glitter and bubbles, if they are your thing.

“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” Brené Brown

 

A Manifesto part 1.

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Created by Di

It may take some time and patience to begin to see yourself in a new light…you may feel like an imposter or that it’s not really you speaking, wearing, doing or saying things that perhaps may at first feel ‘out of character’…I encourage you to push through. Keep following your dreams and owing the things you love. Hey, you may even discover new things that take your fancy…all because you chose to start on the journey of self acceptance. Before long…you’ll notice the change in yourself, perhaps others will too. Some may think ‘you have changed’ but in reality, you are only revealing the essence of you, the part of you that’s been waiting to show up all along.

Putting yourself out there, being seen, can seem very unfamiliar, but if you have a message, a new purpose, the power to change someone’s life for the better…welcome yourself to a new way. There may be times too, when you ask ‘who am I to be doing this?” Well, all I can say is, ‘who are you not to? Who are you not to live your truth?’…

Times I would normally berate myself now transform into laugh out loud moments…basically you will free yourself from the compulsion to appear perfect. I have a sticky note on my mirror in the bathroom that states…
‘Release the need to be perfect…’ It carried me through last year and is still there. After a lifetime of being hard on yourself, be gentle as you navigate your new existence.

And what freedom that is!
When we shine our true nature, it affords others the chance to do the same, so we are doing the world a favour by being unabashedly authentic…After all, you spend more time with yourself than anyone else…

Sometimes, people or events in your life will appear that have you question yourself again, and you’ll wonder how far you’ve really come: See them as perfectly timed serendipitous moments designed to keep you focused on where you are heading.
Like taking the worn down path across the dewy grass, it will take time to forge a new route, one that seems very unfamiliar, but with daily practise through affirmations, the manifestos below, and listening to inspiring speakers, the new path becomes easier to see.

I offer you these Manifestos and if they resonate for you, please feel free to use anything as your ‘sticky note’ on your bathroom mirror…

A Manifesto part 2.

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Created by Di

I’m including two links for TEDx talks by one of my favourite thought leaders, Qualitative researcher, Brené Brown, who has created a beautiful self-acceptance movement through the power of Vulnerability and relinquishing Shame.
These mean such a lot to me and I’m offering these to you now…with my highest intentions…

Above all, enjoy being you…be your biggest fan.

Thank you for reading,
Much love,
Di xx ❤️

Releasing the little person within.

“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better”. Albert Einstein

Hello and welcome…let’s share another cuppa together this week 🦋

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Well, Autumn lends itself to much contemplation for me…

I had the opportunity of sitting in a beautiful country village nestled in the mountains, watching the golden or red leaves gently float towards the ground. As they released themselves from the tree, some would not make it all the way, but would become wedged on a branch… it was if it were not quite ready to complete its journey yet, but still hung on to the tree, as if for comfort, as if for fear of fully surrendering to its transformation.

I also wondered…
Does the tree decide it’s time to release something that doesn’t serve it any longer?
What is it about that particular instant when the leaf begins to retreat?

Or…
Do the leaves decide it’s their time to fall away from the tree…
Relinquishing to something that’s been its support and nourishment for so long?

After my last three huge posts, things were presented as if I had made great progress in accepting myself and moving forward, finally content in the knowledge that I am comfortable in my own skin…

That’s all very well to believe, until something seemingly benign pushed that big red button on my back…
It’s usually a passing comment said by someone who doesn’t know our sensitivity to that particular topic… how could they really, if we have tried to hide it or disown it…
And in the freedom of being myself, I am learning that I must also afford others the same benefit to say what they need to, remembering we are all at different stages of this journey of evolution.

Until that moment, I’d thought…’I’ve got this now! You go girl! You’ve learnt much and worked hard on yourself…’

It was a welcome gift in retrospect.

These are my beautiful new awakenings from moments like this….

🌹 You see, it enabled me to discover those things that still push my ‘big red button’, that were next in line to be healed.
🌹It taught me that there is still a little more work to be done in my acceptance of those things I was ashamed of… that there is some more love to be generated towards myself.
🌹I understood that everything and everyone is here to help me evolve, no matter how much discomfort is stirred within.
🌹That it’s ok to be stirred by something. Evolution isn’t a static thing but like a mountain where each step takes you to the top, building on each other to get you closer to where you’re headed.
🌹It taught me there are some well worn beliefs that also must become like the leaves from the tree…they have served their purpose, but for growth to occur, they need to be discarded.

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So what did I do to comfort myself when I was triggered?

✨Firstly, I sat with my feelings of sadness and disappointment. It was what it was, and denying it would only keep my truth even further from me.
✨I searched deeply to work out why it hurt so much.
✨I spent some more time alone in nature, where I feel she accepts me as I am.
✨I discovered I treated myself gently during times like this… I’d walk slower, drive slower ( oh dear! Those people behind me, I’m sorry!) It was like I was cradling myself towards healing.
✨I decided that progress had occurred, in that I wasn’t beating myself up for becoming upset over the triggers, congratulating myself on this shining breakthrough.
✨I decided I was proud of my traits and next time, I’ll be more able to make light of a situation and perhaps again laugh at them too.
✨A serendipitous conversation with a friend eventuated very recently. It provided the  opportunity to search for photo of myself when I was a little girl.

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The mere sight of this innocent little thing with her life ahead of her.. tears effortlessly rolled down my cheeks while I was looking at the image of myself… I imagined wrapping my arms around her saying ‘I love you, gorgeous girl. You are precious.’ I told her she was beautiful, had a kind heart, just wanted to be understood and I reassured her that I understood her and had done so all her life…’but those pesky outside opinions and hand-me-down beliefs somehow had you all confused and unsure of who you were or had to be’.

Last week, I remembered this little girl…
…and just nurtured her back to love, by love. ‘It’s safe now to show your hyper sensitivity, it’s safe now to say you’re a dreamer, it’s safe now to show that child-like sparkly excitement over things that you are passionate about…’

I found this a very powerful part of my journey to acceptance…and now, the more layers I peel back, the more I’m realising I haven’t changed that much at all. What was required of me was to find those things that mattered to that little girl and let them shine, let them be used as a force for good for others. And to be proud of who she has become.

“I am worthy of love and acceptance as I am.”

It’s said that the path to self-forgiveness and acceptance is releasing shame and guilt. I realised this piece is really about these, so it’s with my pleasure that I offer this as part of Debbie’s ForgivingFridays

May you also feel you can love that little person in you…
Tell yourself the words you wished you could have heard back then, especially if you are finding parts of yourself difficult to accept or if certain things repeatedly push your buttons.

I wish you well in your journey, and please remember, we are all in this together. As always, you are very welcome to contribute anything here that has perhaps been on your mind.

Thank you for reading,
much love from Di ❤️

Curiosity and the Blessings of Back pain… Part Three

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Image by Di. Captured during some alone time last year.

‘Before you can love yourself, you have to BE with yourself.’ by Matt Kahn.

Prophetic words indeed….

So after I read Dr. Sarno’s book, it resonated strongly with me due to no pathological reason for my back pain… So deep diving into what was really going on in my mind was something I wanted to explore. It came quite naturally when I remembered I possessed the healing power of Reiki in my hands.
Giving myself the time to slow down, I could allow emotions to rise that I hadn’t addressed before…what I believe my body was craving was firstly to grieve and then accept.

During the time of an afternoon I’d spend on the floor because my back wouldn’t allow me to be upright any longer, the Reiki promoted permission to lie still, with beautiful angelic music playing in my darkened room.
May I share a beautiful piece of piano music that I hope you find angelic…
‘Maybe’ By Yiruma

Whilst lying there, the tears flowed freely, realising the fact my children had grown up and left home leaving me with this huge hole to fill. I’d also cared for and lost, ageing parents during my children’s adult years as well.

In my mind, they were the best years and now they were over…So you see  I’d been quite busy before last year and had thought I’d moved on quite well…

So that this post isn’t another very long one, suffice to report to you that within a week, both of my health issues had begun to subside noticeably. Perhaps my dear friend was right and the two were connected to my feelings of loss and grief in that part of my body. To this day, there has been no recurrence of either issue. I was able to join a yoga class and still attend weekly.

This is my story and I’m just happy to share what worked for me.

So, what were the beautiful blessings from my back pain, and indeed, the events leading up to that experience?

Here are my reflections…

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‘Who am I when no one is looking?’       *Words by Matt Kahn.       *Image by Di

🌟 It taught me to slow down long enough to listen to my heart. You don’t need to perform Reiki on yourself, but to lie or sit in the presence of music that may bring you to tears…to really feel it’s resonance through to your very soul… Incredibly nurturing and healing itself.

🌟 I learnt life is too short to continue with something just because you started it. There are always benefits to beginning something that perhaps you won’t see through. We’ve all heard the expression to finish something we start. Why not see it as having an attempt at something to see if it’s for you? When we really think of it, it’s perhaps the fear of failure too. Grab it head on and give it a go, I say. Fear of beginning something that you may not complete could prevent you from a short period of something beautiful that contributes to your growth and new ideas. It’s like the glass half full… ‘well, it didn’t work out but I sure as anything met some new friends, learnt some new skills’, to name only a couple. That is certainly the case for me after leaving my university course.

🌟 Resistance of issues and suppressing emotions does us no favours. Keeping busy and not affording ourself the space to really process a life changing time is not actually moving on at all, but more like closing the surface on a gaping hole hoping it will hold. Exploring emotions is nothing shameful and releasing them can promote a clear view and renewed vigour for life.

🌟 It taught me to give meaning to every event that occurs in my life, especially those that on the surface appear unlovable.

🌟 I discovered Self- appreciation by acceptance and nurturing myself. We all have those stories that were told to us about how we should be, how we could be better, stronger, smarter, less this and less that. In time we walk around with everybody’s baggage in our heart and on our mind. True freedom is living the life you want and to come to accept all those perceived ‘weaknesses’ as strengths. I wrote about here it in Autumn leaves and forgiveness

🌟  Spending quality and necessary time alone, preferably in nature, afforded me breathing room to catch up with myself. I liken it to growing pains whereby I had to be stretched in order to become more aware of the person I was…and being cracked open to make room for new growth…

🌟 I discovered I’d been on this spiritual quest in the hope of eradicating those undesirable traits… but in reality, the journey I’d taken only helped me realise the key to contentment… ….Is loving what is, and loving who we are already. That in no way means I’m not striving to be more loving, kind, compassionate and caring… these are noble traits that involve a spiritual growth and evolution, all part of our expanding inherent nature. Just as in Mother Nature herself. We already possess all of these things and  becoming more aware of opportunities to share and cultivate them are my goal.

🌟 l learnt that Photography and words have now become my new life, thanks to the powerful kindness from my friends, family, Photography Facebook, and Instagram friends. I now feel something very profound when I post an image and write some words to accompany it.

🌟 Oh, and also…
I learnt I must stay curious…
… Because we’ll never know what’s on the other end of our curiosity.
…. all because of that hot Summer’s day with my new iPhone…

Thank you so much for riding alongside me on my journey. I hope you found some goodness out of my sharing this and remember… you are worthy, you are enough, you are love…

I’d would like to feature some more images captured during last year that were part of my healing journey. I hope you enjoy a little explosion of nature🌹

Wishing you peace and happiness,

Di 💜

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Adding some magic to the nature wonderland where I spent much of my time.
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After my back was almost healed, we travelled to Tasmania, which consolidated my love of landscape and reflection photography. This is Cradle Mountain lodge.
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Having some fun with Macro photography to highlight the beauty of flowers. Not to mention loving raindrops and fully appreciating them for the first time…

Curiosity and the blessings of Back pain… part two.

 

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Image created by Di

Hello and welcome!

Let’s take our journey into part two. I’d love it if you would brew a cuppa, so we can share one together as you read, as it’s a long one. But there is a part three to come nevertheless…

….So, I was curious about my new iPhone.

That warm summer’s morning, I thought perhaps I’d find some information on the web about how to properly utilise the camera app.
I googled and the iPhone Photography School site appeared, with a few short free videos on how to take a great iPhone photo…
I was totally absorbed from the first few moments of that first video and had an overwhelming feeling that this was going to be my new next thing to discover. It was so captivating, learning about the top ten rules of good photography. I chose to take notes before setting out to put them into practise. I’d always been interested in painting more as an artistic pursuit but discovering good photographic technique overtook the painting side. Ah, I’m sure all those canvases and paints will be put to use eventually!

I signed up to purchase the video classes!

It was one of the best things I’ve done, and at that time, I had no concept of how it would take hold of me or how much it was going to become my best friend.
As I began to fall more in love with photography, I joined the Facebook private page to connect with the other students and critique each other’s photos. This gave real meaning to sharing our photos and gave us an outlet to encourage the various genres of photography. So that had been going really well for a couple of months in between planning the wedding of my daughter in the March.

In the meantime, since leaving the University year, I’d visited my acupuncturist for a niggling issue that actually became an exploration into the connection between our mind and our body. Sohial would spend a good amount of time teaching me about emotions, how they relate to different parts of the body and how physical issues are connected with the stresses of daily life. As someone who would dwell on things, and at that time, I was in the midst of my ‘what next’ phase. He knew about my passion for sharing tips and methods of healing that had helped me along my journey. I was lacking confidence to do anything about it.

My Acupuncturist could see what ignited me by listening to me and he stated some lines that I will never forget…
‘It’s time to just stop the constant learning and start sharing…’ and suggested that ‘I’m being selfish by keeping this knowledge to myself…’

They hit me right in the heart and as part of my treatment over a few weeks, he had worked on my self-confidence through the balancing of those relevant energy systems. He asked me what was stopping me from going home and creating a new Facebook account? ‘Just start….Post something’.
Well, I knew the time had come to take his advice. This quote came to me, one I’d hear so many times on podcasts…

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Image created by Di

And so a new Facebook site was created with a first post. I’d treated it like a blog and was very proud to be able to add my own images to it.
I used it as my means of sharing what I’d learnt so far and as a means of expressing things that were truly important to me. Things many people didn’t know about me and frequently, I would feel those niggling doubts, ‘What will my family and friends think of me speaking up?’ I was and still am, the ‘quiet one’ and finding that voice to negate those old beliefs was a challenge…I had to remind myself every day to push through them. I was feeling very content sharing things in that way and I felt like I’d really found a place I was meant to be…to share positive stories, inspirational thoughts and vulnerability, along with giving my captures of nature a real home.

And I loved it… but it was mainly people who had known me for a long time that were making the comments and I understand this may sound strange, but to be fully able to explore this me that was waiting to show, it became difficult with so many people who knew me watching on.
I craved to be a new arrival, with the newness not being seen as ‘out of character’. Perhaps this wasn’t being thought, but in my head, this is how it felt.

That’s why the Photography Facebook group became so important. Very important.

The wedding day came and was a beautiful day. I hadn’t realised how much emotion was invested on the actual day and the months leading up to it. I still had my purpose, and it gave me a wonderful excuse to be in regular contact with my daughter.
At the end of the evening, my hubby and I retired to our room and I began to cry… And I really didn’t stop for much of that week. There were so many feelings that the wedding had stirred and I was a little slow to truly learn about them…

So, this is where my dear back decided to step in to become my new teacher.

It decided, late in April, that it was time to spasm. I was convinced something dreadful had taken place…I was utterly immobilised. I said goodbye to putting on my socks for the next two months. Everything was a chore to manage and it was impossible to sit for too long.

Sorry gentlemen, but at the same time, and since the wedding in March, my cycle had continued and was oblivious to the fact it was supposed to actually stop at some point!! I was living in fear of what may have been wrong but trusted that it was a natural thing for you know, the Big M, Menopause.

For my back pain, I consulted physios, did some exercises at home that were prescribed, attempted Pilates class, was told that just as many people with bulging discs don’t have pain as the ones that do, so pain is not necessarily an indicator of a major injury. It was not an automatic thing to take x-rays.
As I waited and was anxious about my cycle, I basically withdrew from life when I could, happily escorting myself out during the daytime to discover beautiful gardens and capture landscape images. This fed my passion and began a new discovery of self… I was spending so much time alone, I could really hear myself think. ‘How am I going to get over this back issue?’ ‘What is going on for me?’ and generally pondering my life and my purpose.
One thing I knew was the futility of fighting  the situation… it is was it is, so I was quite at peace with the surrendering side of it. ‘What about my cycle?’ That terrified me totally, as I was going to be the one with the easy transition and I was utterly disappointed that it appeared to be eluding me.

A beautiful 92 year old friend encouraged me to have it checked out, under the proviso that I didn’t have to act upon any treatment that didn’t resonate with my alternative view on healing. She suggested that perhaps the two issues were linked…

And so I did. Thankfully nothing abnormal was showing. So if I can share with you one main take-away for you here, it’s that this can be normal during this time of our life from a physical perspective. There was no medical procedure to be done, but I saw a wonderful newly graduated doctor who could see my fear and provided much reassurance that nothing was necessarily wrong and we agreed upon the ‘let’s just watch and see’ approach, a more common theme, she commented.

I consulted an amazing book ‘The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr Christiane Northrup. Dr Northrup delves into the emotional aspect of this time in a woman’s life and is also a wonderful resource for holistic as well as the more conventional interventions.

One fine day, I ventured into the city seeking more photo opportunities, which also provided me with constant motion.
I’d planned to visit a bookshop called The Theosophical Society Bookshop in Melbourne. It was full of so many Spiritual, Alternative Health Healing, Mysticism, Eastern Philosophy books, to name a few. While browsing, I came across the section about Back pain.

There it was…

The most inconspicuous paperback book caught my attention.
It’s called ‘Healing Back Pain. The Mind-Body Connection’ by Dr E. Sarno

It was an urgency now to jump right in and see what Dr Sarno had to say.
I’m going to include three links below of some interviews with him, discussing his reasoning and philosophy about certain types of pain.

Dr Sarno includes this to include many other types of pain from Fibromyalgia, headaches, neck and shoulder pain. Thanks to his findings, there is much more of a shift to the power of the mind, and accepting the brain’s way of protecting us from emotional pain is to create it in our bodies. It’s potentially a paradigm that may become more accepted for many mainstream treatment protocols.

It is something I have truly delved into and now experienced as you will see in part three. From my time learning about Biology, reading profusely about the mind/body connection, I cannot withhold this information from you any longer. Today, I’ve revisited these videos and it’s time, in the hope it may relieve some of you who are suffering in pain. It’s real pain, not ‘imagined’ and has a real physiological pathway. So no one is suggesting we asked for it. Life is comprised of feelings, thoughts and emotions and often, things are buried and the brain gives us the pain as a means of protection.

So in using my blog in the way that I’d always desired, here are the links and if by some chance they don’t open for you, there are countless videos on YouTube if you just search for Dr E. Sarno.

I wish you all the best if you are suffering from an unexplained, consistent pain, because I now know how utterly debilitating it can be when you can’t seem to find anything that works to relieve it. My deepest wish is that this way of thinking may be part or all of the answer you are looking for.

Until next time, thank you for reading. I really wanted to make sure we had detailed the history and lead-up to my story to help you understand what was going on for me at the time. So for the gory details, you may scream ‘too much information…’ but you will see the connection and why I couldn’t omit that as part of my journey.

 

****This is my story and not to be seen as medical advice but rather a sharing of my strategies and resources. ****

Until part three, much love from Di

https://youtu.be/wqtPNy18VvA
https://youtu.be/Zla1COFuqKc
https://youtu.be/FAqJjCtrZPI. 

❤️❤️

Curiosity, and the blessings from back pain… Part One

IMG_1198.JPG‘Whichever path you take, you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.’ Di

Hello there,

I’ve been on a personal development journey for many years now, reading, listening, learning and using myself as a crash test dummy if you like, by experiencing many modalities for emotional and physical healing.
…Last year, from the most unlikely experience, it became more of a concentrated spiritual path to self-acceptance. A happy journey in retrospect but firstly I have to set the scene for you.

I define my spiritual journey as an awareness of myself, lessons I’ve learnt, tools for personal evolution, where I fit into the world, what I believe is my wider purpose.
It’s not about becoming elitist or superior. Absolutely not. It’s more about how I can become a better version of myself. Does that mean finding perfection and eliminating my ‘flaws’ and imperfections?
Please come, as we uncover some universal truths.

For most of my adult life, I’d been on a health and nutrition path and dreamt of attending a university here in Melbourne dedicated to all matters of Health. In between times, I’d taken myself off to study alternative health certificates. But still I ached for a Nutrition or Naturopathic Degree. Perhaps this Degree was my means of validation and showing myself the acceptance to quell my feelings of inadequacy.

Part of this ache was to write for one of my favourite health publications, Nature and health magazine. My intention was to become published and share important health information. Blogging, and writing was always at the back of my mind. I’d scribble down blog post ideas in the quiet spaces. It became a gentle dream for ‘one day….’

So, at the end of 2014, with the support of my husband, I decided it was now the time to leave my job and pursue this dream of becoming a Naturopath or Nutritionist. Perhaps I’d made peace with the fact the fair thing to do for us all was leaving my job if I was seriously going to follow my dreams. Time had arrived to be true to myself and stop wondering ‘what if…’ and that other big one…’if only…’

I enrolled.

Excitedly, I began study in 2015. I adored the science and learnt about research papers, how to put together a paper myself, including references. It was the most intense year I’ve ever experienced but unfortunately it took every minute of my being to stay up to speed with the work.
It was meant to be fun, which it was in its own way, but at the expense of everything else I loved…and I had five more years of living like this…
So at the end of the exam period, I made the difficult decision to walk away…which in effect, also entailed walking away from my dream…

Over the ensuing weeks, I became crazed at finding my new path.
…I now had no job,
…No study.

And not long after, a funny thing happened…I suddenly stopped being so fanatical about health and watching everything I ate, as I realised that emotional health and contentment is a huge part of being well and healthy. I just didn’t feel as intense any longer about scrutinising every mouthful I ate.

I hadn’t yet received my opportunity to connected the dots…

My satisfaction level towards myself was really now confined to having only passed Year 1 of university. I based my self-worth on achieving that piece of paper because that’s what society expects from us…to have some formal qualification and to participate actively in the workforce.
The anxiety to fill the void grew….

People were suggesting I just take some time out after bringing up the children and simply enjoy being an empty nester. It’s not that easy when hedonistic pursuits are not your main driver.
I strained and forced to find a new purpose, often pushing myself at things hoping to find a path there. I met dead ends.

This is when a little seed began to grow about thoughts, affirmations and positive psychology.
I know! I’d heard about these things forever and attempted to use them before to become more confident and overcome my flaws and become well…’normal’, whatever that was for me at the time. Most likely becoming the life of the party, standing up giving talks and presentations as effortlessly as how everyone else appeared, not being so easily wounded about simple things. In effect, getting that thick skin that people had been suggesting I acquire for much of my life…
I had no idea how I could grow that thick skin to be more acceptable in the world.

It was then that I came across this quote…I wrote it on a sticky note and attached it to my bathroom mirror.

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And so I worked on allowing myself to become comfortable with the unknown…
that meant to some extent, I was to hand my future over to the universe who, I trust, has plans for a person with my traits and dreams.

I have to admit I found it challenging at the checkout, if someone would ask me what I had on for the rest of the day…that became another source of embarrassment and angst…

And so I cooked, devised new recipes, even offering my local greengrocer some recipes…tried to keep busy any way I could. I began to take photos of the dishes with my iPhone after a friend showed me a beautiful cake website… the images of the cakes were inspiring…
My daughter was being married the March of 2016, so I was able to become more fully engaged in the details for that special day, doing what I could to help out with last minute planning.

Christmas time, 2015 arrived, and my husband presented me with the new iPhone…

One hot, quiet afternoon in January last year, I became curious…

‘How does this iPhone camera work?

Thank you so much for reading part 1 and coming along for the ride. I hope you will come by again for a visit and a cuppa for part 2 next time.

With Love,

Di

Autumn leaves and forgiveness

Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” Dr Desmond Tutu.

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Walking through the mountains with the freshness of a new Autumn kissing the air, I paused to reflect on the leaves scattered over the dewy early morning forest floor. What could they teach me about life, and why did they manifest within me such a connection with forgiveness?

You see, I’ve always compared myself to everybody, and I mean everybody, and always came up short in my opinion. There were always people who were more of everything…self-assured, confident…knew how to be themselves… if only I could be a little more like them.
I’d be telling an untruth if I said I never became jealous…but not of material possessions; it wasn’t about that, unless you’d call someone embarking on a world trip a material possession, then no. It was more about the traits of a person really.
I would speak badly to myself when I failed to live up to my, and others’, expectations, or found myself in the middle of those pesky little ‘brain freeze’ moments …the EFTPOS machine is constantly yelling at me to remove my card from the machine while I’m ‘off with the fairies’ for which I was oft accused.
‘But it’s always such a happy place there…’ I would reflect.

Did any of this chastisement make me happy with myself at all?
Or aid in rectifying my shortcomings?

Not for one minute.

All it did was consolidate more of what I didn’t want through spending energy on my lack. Frequently, our perceived ‘lack’ has been pointed out to us by others too, on a fairly consistent basis.
Being a bit of an anxious and sensitive person, I wrapped them up and carried them with me wherever I travelled…they became who I was.

Where were my gifts?
How could I find them?

More feelings of inadequacy grew to become the elephant in the room….I knew it was there but didn’t quite know how to approach it.

Once I eventually discovered two tiny seeds labelled ‘forgiveness’ and ‘acceptance’ with my name on them, I planted them, watered them and nurtured them to life until they were able to reveal their elusive mysteries. As I began to inhabit these new thoughts through daily reminders such as affirmations, intentions and words from wise sages, they began to disperse their seeds, creating more growth. In time, they left no space for the weeds in the garden of my mind to continue to cultivate those negative beliefs about myself.

I now understand that discussing world affairs isn’t going to be something I will comfortably engage in, that team sports and competitiveness in the arena are not interesting to me, that parties and large gatherings frequently have me running for cover unless I can hide in a quiet corner with someone else who feels the same way, where we share our personal stories.
Acceptance of ‘what is’ creates space for new growth and is a necessary contribution towards self-love.

When we choose to focus on our positive qualities, we watch them grow, awakening to how beautiful life can become when we no longer admonish ourselves.

The freedom it affords us is empowering.

After deciding to focus on my strengths and realising I could re-write my inadequacies as positives, I discarded those detrimental beliefs and gave them permission to ‘fall from the tree’, like the leaves of Autumn that have served their purpose, slowly drifting to the ground, returning their nutrients to the soil…making space for the new growth.

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What if our evolution meant simply loving those parts of us we were trying to conceal?
What if our evolution meant we could see possibility instead of lack?
What if we forgave ourselves for those feelings of inadequacy and just said thank you…

So now the time had arrived…

Thank you anxiety, you showed me how to control my fear,
Thank you inadequacy, you showed me I AM enough,
Thank you over-sensitivity, you showed me how to feel for others,
Thank you worry, you showed me greater peace,
Thank you emotions, you showed me to release my fear of vulnerability,
Thank you solitude, you showed me how to listen to my deepest spirit callings,
Thank you pain, you slowed me down long enough for my heart to catch up,
Thank you, ‘too quiet’, you showed me how to listen,
Thank you jealousy, you showed me what’s important to me,
Thank you ‘day-dreamer’, you showed me the possibilities,
Thank you fear, you showed me how to push through my doubts,
Thank you inferiority, you showed me we are all equal, and all worthy of LOVE,
Thank you self-criticism, you showed me the way ahead can only be LOVE for myself.

May we find forgiveness in our lack of unconditional love towards ourselves.

I’d be honoured to offer you a small affirmation if this post resonated with you…
‘I AM loveable as I AM…I AM enough.’

Sending love,
Di 🦋❤
**Prompted by forgivingFridays challenge, through the beautiful blog ForgivingConnects

A train journey to self acceptance.

IMG_0426.JPGHello beautiful!
I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve been watching some gorgeous English documentaries about train travel, but recently I woke up thinking how similar a train journey is to our discovering our calling, becoming comfortable in our own skin and simply just arriving at the stage where we can say the we love ourselves, including those parts we have found a challenge to love in the past.

You see, I think of the ‘passengers’ that enter and exit a train as our thoughts and the people who enter our lives …some climb aboard, stay for a single stop, or a few stops, and then depart, leaving us with only memories, experiences and their spirit…while some will stay aboard for the entire journey.

Sometimes, we can feel like we are stationary, like the train at a stop, and it can feel like we are there forever, as we peer outside at life passing us by… …as if we are by-standers in a life that’s not entirely of our making. We easily forget during these times that the engine is always running, ready to proceed towards our destination as soon as the new ‘passengers’ have begun the journey with us, and the ‘passengers’ who don’t further require our services have alighted.

There are days when we are flying with the wind in our hair, taking in the beauty that surrounds us, charging over beautiful old fashioned bridges with a view as far as the eye can see, all the while gathering momentum to sustain us between the stations.

From time to time, when we are busy thinking of other things, we jump on the ‘wrong’ train, but it becomes the gateway to an entirely new way of seeing the world…so in reality, there can rarely be a ‘wrong train’. We are able to change trains at the next stop should be still choose to, and continue on the journey we anticipated all along; but now we have seen a different route…and a seed is planted.

When we have no preconceived idea of what the destination may look like, this can often become our greatest journey of discovery, consisting of new worlds that hold our fascination and allow us to be fully present in the moment, brimming with wonder and awe.
Other days, the train trip becomes so predictable. We can still find beauty in these trips because of the comfort found in routine, and the familiar ‘passengers’ who commute alongside us. We feel safe there with them by our side…

And of course, there’s the good old express train…it seems to have it all worked out, with its correct combination and amount of ‘passengers’ to enable the journey to take place. It speeds through the stations, without stopping, not collecting those ‘passengers’ waiting to board, content with its fill for the moment. Meanwhile, our train is battling the rush hour ‘passengers’, and taking forever to reach its destination, stopping at every station. It seems like we will never make it to central station. Sometimes, just sometimes, we wish we could be the express train…

Occasionally, because many lines converge onto a central point, we must wait out in the rail yards. Patience is required while the train whose turn it is to arrive next at the central station has their moment. The trains have learnt to accept that they cannot all arrive at the central station at the same time. Some trains are slower, some have engine troubles, some signals are unreliable and the journey may become hampered, as too the lines become hampered with trees or other debris. But the point being there’s a time for all the trains to arrive safely and on time, with each one sturdy in its purpose to simply follow their own line and timetable. Naturally, they carry varied ‘passengers’ with many stories of their own, all with a set purpose, and the trains come from far and wide.

Finally, the signal is given for us to enter the tunnel and approach the central station…
We notice that there are lights shining to show us the way ahead…they emanate from the train. As well as this, the inside of the train seems to have become brighter, even as it’s enclosed by a dark tunnel…now we cannot see outside, only reflections of what’s taking place inside, as we gaze towards the windows. It’s during this time that we observe our companion ‘passengers’. They become more vibrant and we notice more. This affords us the time to really look at them…to take everything in, discover how they may teach us, merely by their presence.

All these lights have been shining the entire time, but until we entered the darkness, we weren’t able to see that we were the source for creating our own light. It’s so easy to forget this and we need reminding from time to time… but they were always there throughout the entire journey.

The last task on this train’s journey is cleaning, washing the windows and decluttering…but it cannot be done with passengers on board…it must be an empty train for the cleaners to enter and make the space comfortable for the new arrivals…again, some will stay for only a while… some will remain for the entirety. And thus, a new train journey commences, emerging from the dark tunnel, replete with new ‘passengers’ brimming with vitality and vigour, anticipating new adventure, and surrounded by beautiful scenery. The train is overwhelmed by its awareness that it created its own light, that it was always present, but not always easy to see. And grateful for the dark tunnel to highlight this awareness.

This time, it will remember…it has evolved…and sees its light leading the way for others, but above all, for itself first.

I do hope you enjoyed this little analogy that came to me, and my wish is for you to remember you are a bright light, that you are always being looked after and guided, even when the train is crowded and stationary. The dark times can deliver you the brightest light…and there is a time for us all to pull into central station, as we cheer on other trains from the sidelines while we wait our turn.
May you all be blessed wherever you are in your journey.
Di xx