NEW SHOES

barefoot-new-start-mindset

I have been fiercely trying to work out my version of this thing called “life” and never have I felt a greater need to find the mental and physical space to do so. 

As much as I’ve been doing some work around this in London, it’s a pretty noisy city and it’s pretty damn difficult to keep my own head quiet for 5 seconds to get a grip on the matter.

I decided that I really needed to step this up a gear, so… yesterday morning, the pup and I packed up the car and made our merry way to Norfolk.

We’re having 3 days here doing not much at all… just trying to zen the f**k out!

I’m working on this huge acceptance that I am not the same person I used to be and it was a tough pill to swallow. 

I still haven’t quite got it down but as I’m slowly releasing the belief that I have to continue doing what I’ve been doing for evermore simply because I’ve started it (and I damn well like to finish stuff I started!) life is getting a little easier and things are looking a hell of a lot brighter.

You see, the way I have been living in business and life has been like squeezing into shoes each and every day that are a size too small but which I’ve refused to take off for fear of being barefoot with unpainted toenails – I mean, what would people say?!

And no matter how pretty or sparkly these shoes are, and how many compliments I get about them, this does not make them any more comfortable and the blisters are now impossible to ignore.

I have realised that I am not failing, giving up or throwing my toys out the pram but I have simply done what all living things do, I have grown up.

I have outgrown my shoes and they no longer fit.

And that is fine because at the moment I’m enjoying wandering around barefoot, embracing my natural unpainted toenails, not minding what others think, and reconnecting with the ground I walk on.

I’ll be putting new shoes on eventually, don’t you worry about that, it’s just there are so many pairs out there to chose from.  I want to make sure that I don’t just pick the sparkly uncomfortable stilettos or settle for the boring but cosy slippers.  For this next chapter I am looking for a particularly special pair of shoes to encompass comfort, style and durability to not fall apart over the many miles I plan to walk in them.

PLAYERS NOT PAWNS

game-of-life-mindfulness

So a couple of blog posts back I made a bold statement – “I shall be a box ticker no more!” – Only at the time, I was referring to my choice in men.

However, over the last 2 weeks, and true to form, I got a little carried away and have evidently thrown all of my boxes out the window…

Any checklists to do with work, and life the way I’ve been living it the last few years has been tossed out.

Looking back, the start of this blog saw me at the start of some big changes. 

I’d just moved so I had a change in scenery (always helpful for new beginnings!) and I was starting to make some small habitual changes with regards to work habits, eating habits, alcohol habits and social habits too. 

3 months down the line and I now feel worlds apart from the anxiety and unease that was all consuming in April.

This feeling right now, however, is not all too unfamiliar. 

Slowly, I’m remembering more little anecdotes about my past and the way things used to be for me. 

My thinking is clearer and this new positivity I’ve been waking up with most days now is actually how I used to wake up every day years ago.

I used to be completely fearless, excited each morning about what they day would bring and I used to see every new day as an adventure. 

It would appear my adventure days are returning…

Because I have remembered something very important.

Something that applies to all of us.

We are born to be players not pawns.

And although I was worried it was fleeting, I now feel confident and sure enough to say that I’ve officially got my flow back.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the word, “flow” is basically when people forget themselves in a function. 

In flow, people are living so deeply in the moment and with full control, that their sense of time, place, and even self, melts away.

During these episodes of flow I feel calm, content and ridiculously present in the moment which we all know isn’t an easy task these days and has taken me by surprise now that I’m aware of what it is.

So what changed? 

I can’t pinpoint what exactly, and at the start I was a little worried that it was fleeting but I feel so much more confident that I’m finally getting back to my old self again.

I stated at the beginning of the blog that I was pushing some work things to the side and personal ones too and by that, I meant I was taking a damn chill pill with regards to everything in life. 

I stopped flying and tearing about to meet people – in particular, the ones that added no value to my life.

I stopped planning ahead days and weeks in advance and kept my diary as free as possible to take each day as it comes.

I stopped beating myself up for wanting to make the most of the glorious weather and choose longer sunnier walks with my dog over sitting in the office staring at a computer screen.

I quietened the noise in my head and was finally able to tune in with my gut, allowing it to start taking the lead and guiding me through each day.

I have stopped worrying about what I should or shouldn’t be doing and just been doing what I truly felt like doing.

As for work, well I’ve been having the most fun here!

I have genuinely been rocking up to see clients like I am their best friend and the connection that I’ve had with them has been unreal – work, once again, does not feel like work at all.  Hurrah!

Instead of taking any angst or outside mental baggage into appointments, I make a promise each morning if I’m seeing anyone that for the time I am with them we are going to laugh lots and have tonnes of fun and I am going to be 100% present with them in that moment.

It’s actually how I used to work at the beginning before I became such a stress head, worrying about where the business is going and all the things I needed to do to push it forward. As well as stressing about everything else in my personal life too.

A while back I stopped asking internally what I could do for my clients and instead selfishly began asking what they could do for me.  I think it’s fair to admit that I began doing this with people outside of work also. 

I stopped giving so freely and began living my work and personal life with ulterior motives.

I have now reminded myself that it’s okay to play – It’s the best and perhaps the only way to truly learn, discover and evolve.

Which is a bloody good thing as for the last year I have been seriously considering jacking in my entire Hair and Makeup Artistry career –  I just wasn’t having fun with it anymore and I was running out of drive and purpose to keep pushing on and continue.

Think about this for a moment  – Children are in flow constantly.  They use their brains and bodies to endlessly explore and take information from the environment they live in.

But, at some point in their lives, they stop.

They start to get ashamed that what they are doing is childish.

And this is perhaps our biggest mistake. 

When we stop listening to our gut, try to think only with our heads and stop living from a place of joy we are on a sure path to angst and misery.

It’s a fact – When we are in flow, self-conciseness dissolves and time passes quickly – It’s one of the most satisfying experiences in peoples lives.

And if you think you can’t be in flow in the workplace like I did, you’re wrong.  It’s also a fact that people are much more likely to reach a flow state at work than in leisure as work has a structure such as clear goals, immediate feedback and challenges matched to our abilities.

It’s why more and more people are taking on volunteer work as it’s nourishing them in ways that paid work simply is not.  

My daily checklists and routine have been a burden now for more than I care to remember.  They served a purpose at the start – Working for myself, I had to create a system to comply with to hold me accountable to get things done.  I also needed a personal checklist to ensure I kept myself fit, healthy and generally kept my home and personal life in order.

What people believe shapes what people achieve, however, and while complying can be an effective strategy for physical survival, it’s a crap one for personal fulfilment.

Satisfaction depends not merely on having goals but on having the right goals. Misunderstanding this leads sensible people down self-destructive paths. (Ahem…)

As for working your way up the career ladder and chasing after promotions or materialistic things, I’ve got some news for you. 

The science shows that the secret to high performances isn’t our biological, reward-and-punishment drive, but our deep desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to LIVE A LIFE ON PURPOSE.

We are all in pursuit of mastery of something or another.  But when it comes to mastering that activity, career or even personal relationship, you can approach it, you can hone in on it and you can get really, really close to it but you’ll never touch it.

It’s the source of frustration but also the source of allure – Why reach for something you can never fully attain?  But why not reach for it?

The joy is in the pursuit more than the realisation.

And that is why I will continue to play.  If it’s not making you happy and you’re not having fun with it, whatever it is, then what’s the point?

MANIPULATION GAME

deceive-blog-manipulate

I find it ironic that we’re in a particularly strong age of mental health awareness and politically correct body positivity yet the “Body Perfecting” industry is still peddling empty promises now more than it ever has! 

We are constantly bombarded with the latest technology, treatments, procedures and products to fix the body issues that both society and the media continues to riddle us with.

Our insta feeds feature heavily edited “results” leading us to believe that we’re only a few credit card transactions away from having our body hangups banished for good.

But it’s all BS.

Even if all this breakthrough technology worked, which the majority does not, we’d still be forced to feel inadequate by the media in other ways – Because how else are these guys going to sell us stuff that we don’t actually need? 

The advertising companies are the worst at playing on our insecurities and creating monsters out of them.  As if we didn’t have enough demons of our own!

Instead of embracing our true selves, we’re constantly trying to change our appearance and thanks to a whole host of influencers, we’re all after cookie-cutter results.

We’ve forgotten how to think and want for ourselves, we just get swept up in lust for the “next best thing.”  We want what “she” has or “he” has and are striving for perfection that doesn’t exist.

So we’ve learnt ways in which to bend reality to some degree to get what we desire – From likes on Facebook and Instagram to bagging a date on Tinder or even nailing that job interview.

Now, I’m not saying all millennials are internet addicted, narcissistic “snowflakes” that are too self-obsessed to quit posting doctored selfies or “perfect posts” and start living in the real world.  But I think we all struggle to some degree to fully accept our own reality.  Because of this, we have cleverly crafted our own way of manipulating the truth.

You know, my single greatest reason for disappointments and annoyance these days is when people make out to be someone that they are not.  

BUT the truth is, If we are manipulating our own truth how can we be surprised when others manipulate theirs?

I’ve heard a few times over the years that what annoys you most in other people does so because it is a direct reflection of something in you that you dislike. 

So it would appear that I am in fact solely responsible for the annoyance and disappointment I feel about others.  But to be honest with you I find this new realisation quite comforting.  We have no control over others, but we do have control over ourselves and the ability to change what we don’t like.  

So I guess it’s time for me to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

As the saying goes “you should never judge a book by its cover” and now more than ever, we shouldn’t take everything at face value…. including our own reflection that stares back at us.

DREAM TIME

dream-catcher-blog-life

I stopped dreaming, that’s where it went wrong.

As life picked up pace and workload and social engagements filled my calendar, my quiet thinking time got less and less. 

I stopped allowing myself the necessary time and space to dream.

I was hurtling through life and energised to build my business and get the most out of everything. 

I was on a mission to put myself out there as much as I could.

I had a one-track mind – to be the best that I could be, to do all that I was capable of and to learn as much as I could. 

I was striving for success on a daily basis, and at the time… I was loving it!

Everything was new, exciting and I was wide-eyed at the scope to utilise all my skills, explore all my abilities, learn from all around me and build something that was all mine.

I conditioned myself to say a huge fat “YES” to everything and just figure out how to do it later. 

I worked hard and celebrated harder when I pulled shit off.

I was untouchable, surfing the waves of wonder and I had completely turned my life around.

I was light years on from that broken 21 year old who spent her Christmas that year in rehab.

I was 100% not going back to the painful years I had put myself through and I had no desire to!

I finally had a vision.  I had a purpose.

I knew with every bone in my body that if I could dream it and I then believed it, I would 100% achieve it.

And I was right. 

Whatever I put out to the universe, it came back at me two-fold.

I “kept my side of the street clean” – made sure I was doing the right things and the rewards just kept coming.  Work came in, ideas materialised, I bumped into the right people and I was presented with amazing opportunities. 

I was content, I was vibrating at a high frequency and life just flowed.

Some years down the line, however, those waves took hold of me.  Somewhere along the way while I was riding my ‘surfboard of glory,’ I got knocked off.  Those waves took me under, churned me around and have spat me back out on the beach – exhausted, weak and half drowned.

I veered onto the wrong channel and I’ve certainly been vibrating at the wrong frequency for some time now.

I didn’t go on holiday for a couple of years when starting my business, I didn’t need to.  I was too excited about making shit happen here and I didn’t want to go away and miss a thing!

Mini breaks and holidays soon became a great little recharge zone for my mind and body. 

In the early years, they really gave me a chance to come away from it all, gain some perspective, work out what needs to change and what I need to do. 

I used to come back rejuvenated, with a clear plan of action and ready to put it into practice!

Over the last couple of years though it seems my mental rubbish and negative thinking has been sneaking itself into my luggage. 

I’ll gain a fraction of the perspective I used to and then have to busy myself abroad to distract my mind from whirring around anxiously with the same problems and not finding a solution.

It’s pretty shit being miserable on a beach.

I’ll recharge marginally and have some ideas but then as soon as I’m back, my familiar surroundings trigger old behaviours and thinking and I’m back staring at the same shit heap with no plan how to tackle it.

I’ve got a trip coming up to Israel in a couple of weeks which I am (now) mega excited about! 

It nearly didn’t happen. 

I was supposed to be going this week but a work opportunity presented itself and then I felt I didn’t deserve a holiday anyway so was going to forfeit the flights and just get on with things here.  THANKFULLY after a few days and a bit of soul searching I came to realise that I needed to get away now more than ever!

I’m going to be just me in another country. 

Apart from the clothes in my luggage and some toiletries, that’s all I’ll be taking from here.

3 days alone, just me, myself and I.  I will do as I feel, feel as I do and hopefully rediscover what lights me up.