Love your own uniqueness

Every single human being on this planet will have strengths, weaknesses, talent and skill. Some of us will embrace those elements, some of us will try to hide them perhaps for not wanting to be seen. Perhaps our talent and skill was not encouraged growing up and we were made to feel they were wrong in some way. I definitely fit into the “not wanting to be seen category.” From growing up the more I tried to “fit in” to what society thought I ought to be, the more unhappy I became. Resolving that unhappiness meant that I stood out and I have not always been uncomfortable with that.

I think the uncomfortableness stems around from the isolation and loneliness I have felt following my own path. I have often felt that path has led me away from some of the experiences that my heart so desires and it has been painful. For that I am guilty of not always loving my own uniqueness, I have not wanted to be seen.

Yet, I feel so grateful for all that I have experienced and learnt, that through what I do I am able to share that growth and learning with others to help them on their own unique journeys too.

Over time I have learned to embrace my own uniqueness. I know myself enough to know that sometimes it is best to do what does not seem logical to everyone else and just do what feels right for me. Of course not loving that part of me is only hurting me and is restricting and limiting my own potential, opportunities and dreams. So I have chosen to overcome it and learn to accept, embrace and love my own uniqueness. Never be afraid to be you, bringing your own uniqueness, talent and skill to share with the world can only make it a better place. Have the confidence to be you.

All my love

Andrea

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Sliding Door Moments

Recently I shared a story on my yoga page about how I became a yoga teacher. It was one of those sliding door moments. I had completed an application form for a University Lecturers post but something didn’t feel right and so I decided to sleep on it. The following day an email appeared in my inbox from my yoga teacher saying he would be starting a Yoga Teacher Training school the following September and I just knew that that was the right thing, I knew it was time for a change to do something different even though the lecturers post just seemed the next logical step for my career at that time.

From that moment of making that decision my whole world started to open up and open my mind to doing something new. I left my Health Protection Job and moved into Quality Improvement role, working with care providers and also on the Dementia Strategy. We did some great work, won awards and achieved a lot of recognition for the work we did. We had some amazing collaborations, it was so much fun and a real joy to work there. I guess what I would like to share or what I have learnt here is that sometimes a fork in the road appears, what is in front of us can seem the most logical step to take but if we take the path that scares us the most, the one that we know our heart strings are tugging at it will open us up to experiences that we could never really imagine. Over time I have realised that the more I take a risk the more I meet and work with the right people, have the right experiences and learn the right lessons too.

All my love

Andrea

An act of self care

Earlier in the year I promised myself that whatever was coming towards me I was going to allow myself to have some time off. I recognised that it was very much needed on all the human levels, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Work wise it had been a tough year and I was exhausted, permanently had brain fog, wasn’t engaging in what I loved and even on the few occasions I did, it wasn’t lifting me up, I just felt flat all the time.

With the thought of some time off my thoughts quickly turned to what I should do with my time. I started to pull my lonely planets out, had my passport renewed, I could go and do some travelling. My mind was racing with thinking of what new lonely planet book I could buy, I am such a tourist geek I get excited by their itinerary suggestions and follow them to the “T”. Where have I not been? Canada, New York or perhaps I should go back to Australia, I have always wanted to go back to Sydney, travel the bits I haven’t done so Tasmania and the West Coast, Perth to Broome. I had to think about booking my cats into the Cattery. I was totally in my travel element and so ready to get the ball rolling when I heard myself say “STOP! Stop right now and think about you are doing.” Travelling is amazing I love it, I have always said it has been one of the best educations I have ever had. I love being away, love exploring, love taking pictures, the museums, the beaches, the cultures….I love the adventure but was this what I needed? No not really. I thought about where I had been the past few months, I hadn’t slept, I think I had lived on cereal and toast and sandwiches, I hadn’t exercised much apart from yoga, my hips and lower back were tight from the 17, 000 miles I had clocked in the car and there was no denying I was exhausted, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I had hardly spent any time with my family what I needed more that anything was home and the time and space to heal.

Recognising what I needed and what was best for me at this moment in time has had to have been one of my biggest personal growth moments. If I am being truthful with myself I rarely stop and seem to move from one project to another without giving myself much thought in the process or my time. As a result I have found my needs have come way down on my own priority list. So the past the past 5 weeks have been spent in quiet contemplation, making good nutritious home cooked food, catching up with friends, practicing yoga, reading, spending time with my family, being in the garden and spending time with my two cats. I have made sure I have engaged in activities that have been healing and put my well-being first. I am sure looking from the outside in I am currently resembling some sort of recluse but it was needed. I had to give myself that time and space. I had to return to myself.

There have been times over the past few weeks that I have felt guilty over how I have been spending my time, I could have done so much more with it but that’s the problem isn’t it? We put so much expectation and pressure on ourselves about what we should be doing and not doing what is right for our own health and well-being, everyone and everything else comes first. I honestly don’t know where I would have been if I hadn’t taken this time for myself, I dread to think. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish sometimes it is necessary for your own survival.

All my love

Andrea

The Willow Wind

Hi, so I took a couple of hours this afternoon to sit in my garden and enjoy the sun. We have seen a lot of rain over the past few weeks and I have noticed that the flowers have struggled to bloom. It was lovely just to sit here quietly with very little sound apart from the wind blowing and the rustling of the leaves of the trees and plants. In these quiet moments I am usually relaxed enough to create something. I don’t have to do much, I just sit and listen to the words that come to mind and I just fit them together like a puzzle. This is what I wrote and I thought, well actually a friend thought it would be nice to to share it with you all. I was just being a bit shy about it but of course I don’t mind sharing with you at all ….

The Willow Wind

There are times that we can fall into despair

Broken hearted we will say that life is not fair

For all the hopes and dreams we held so tight

We used our strength and resilience to put up an almighty fight

Did you not know you had to let go?

Just surrender and let the willow wind blow

You didn’t need to hold so tight

You didn’t need to put up an almighty fight

It was about recognising your limitations and your fears

It was about dismissing those stories that brought you tears

It was about releasing the pain and all that anger

It was about releasing all that made you a stranger

As you sit and watch the willow wind blow

Observing the flowers and leaves in flow

However things may seem to appear

This is not a time to give up or disappear

Sitting in silence we want you to hear

That uncomfortable feeling is just fear

It’s always been that old familiar story

Now allow yourself to feel the sunshine’s glory

We never know which way the willow wind will go

We never know when the harvest will show

Allow the heart to release it’s grief

And restore your faith and magical belief

All my love

Andrea

Facing the Adversity of Fear

How often do you find yourself facing and listening to your own fears. Currently from a personal perspective it is an everyday occurrence. That constant, I cannot do this, I am not good enough, I will never do it, imagining the worst possible outcome, is so draining. The thing is I am usually quite a positive person, look on the bright side of things but I am still struggling. I am trying not to judge the circumstances and I am just viewing my tendency to look at the dark side as an opportunity to learn, my light will return and it’s just the cyclical nature of life. It will pass.

The problem with fear is that it prevents us from moving forward, from seeing what is good in our world and our fears are not a true reflection of how the situation is. We start to undervalue our own contribution in our worlds, it distracts us from what we want to do and achieve in life. Things stop being joyful. This is usually the time when I put myself on the yoga mat and reflect, breathe and meditate. It may be I ask someone’s opinion, someone I can trust, someone who has a positive outlook or at least a balanced outlook. Someone who can provide a true assessment of the facts.

We should not pull away from the idea that this person may actually be ourselves. We all know the answers we are seeking. Sure, it’s okay to ask for advice and support, we all need that in our lives, but if we can just look beyond the self doubt, lack of faith and trust our inner light we can move the toughest of obstacles standing in our way.

All my love

Andrea

Endings

Endings are very much new beginnings in disguise but the range of emotions we feel at the end of something will depend on the circumstances of that ending. For example in the past year I have left two work posts. The primary post was a job that I loved, created and enjoyed with the latter being a post that I struggled with for a whole host of reasons but then left to focus to start a part time post whilst working increasing the yoga and coaching work that I do. With the first post I felt so much grief and I certainly felt myself work through the 5 stages of Kubler Ross’ grieving process, denial, anger, bargaining , depression and then finally acceptance. An acceptance of the fact I was leaving something behind that I had loved with all my heart and invested so much energy and enthusiasm into and not to mention all the lovely people I had worked so closely with. However with the latter post because I had struggled so much with it and the enormity of the it had on my work/life balance, health and well-being the ending could not have come quick enough but it didn’t go without emotion. I left to be nearer home, to be able to create space so I could put more consistent time and energy into my business but that meant leaving my financial security behind and those fears started to kick in, what if it goes wrong, what if I cannot do it. There was also an element of excitement and just being at peace with myself for making such a big decision that carried risk but also felt so right.

Over the years I have noticed that how I react to an ending is very different. I think after years of yoga practice and meditation I have learnt to just sit and observe my feelings/emotions and just let them flow through, I am less likely to react. I know though this is easier said than done and there are times when like any other human being I will react and forget to just observe what I am feeling. The loss of a loved one is so painful isn’t it? Or reading something horrible that has happened in the world these circumstances will trigger a reaction that is so difficult to sit back and observe.

When time has passed, whether that is a few hours, days, months and years we will look back at our endings and see their beauty, their lessons, even the loss of a loved one can leave us a legacy that we can take forwards and share with others. They will live on, not only in our hearts but with what they taught us. My endings I have shared today we’re not easy but I already see the lessons and the purpose. I can see now that I had to leave the job that I loved to take me out of my comfort zone and place me in a situation that made me so uncomfortable I had no other option to look at all that was holding me back and make a decision to live the life I truly wanted.

All my Love

Andrea

Love will win out in the end

I woke up this morning at 3.45 feeling slightly unhinged, an anxiety gnawing away at my insides, I feel too tired for this, too weary. I feel overloaded, overwhelmed by the media coverage over recent weeks of the EU Referendum and as I check the time on my phone, I immediately catch sight of the newsfeed. The headlines increase my anxiety and I know I am not going to get back to sleep. I make my way downstairs to get myself a drink, hopefully by the time I have finished drinking it my anxiety will have shifted and I will be calm enough to do some meditation or even some yoga. I make a pledge to myself that today I won’t turn on the TV, I won’t look at my phone, in fact I am going to turn it off. Why? Because I will not allow myself to be subjected to the hatred and negativity that is being portrayed in the media, whether that is social or mainstream, it’s untenable.

In the peace and quiet of my home and maybe in the garden (if the rain stops) I will remember that despite everything that is being bounced around the media I am still a human being, who loves being part of Earth, our amazing beautiful universe and I still see its wonder no matter what happens, I feel lucky and grateful to be able to experience it. I love my fellow human beings there is so much talent, so much skill, so much knowledge between them I admire and I am inspired by them all. I love listening to their stories, challenges that they have over come, their ability to love despite hardships, trails and tribulations. We are as humans amazing capable of so much love, care and kindness, that is our common goal. From all the places I have travelled around the world over the years and the one thing that struck me the most is that whatever country you are in we as humans are all the same, we have the same fears, worries, problems, we love the same, we care the same and we can be kind. I found it so comforting to see that, that no matter what country you are from, gender, race, colour as humans we are the same, the barriers are not really there if you don’t want them to be.

I am heartbroken we have left the EU, and for the divisions that seem to have appeared across Europe, amongst the countries of the U.K, the hatred and the scaremongering, the fighting talk, the exaggerated press talk, the spin. It is all too much.

I voted to Remain in the EU because when I finally turned off the constant noise of the media spin i realised that my reasons for staying had nothing to do with what the politicians were saying, it had nothing to do with what my friends were saying or the newspapers. I realised it was about being true to myself, it was about sticking to my roots. With Italian and Polish Grandparents and Welsh and Irish Great Grandparents it just felt right to be part of something bigger. My genetic makeup is wider than being English. It was about what I loved about myself and my friends that are English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, French, Italian and the rest of the world.

I like everybody is feeling uncertain at this moment in time, I actually feel displaced. I do admit to feeling frightened of the future. However what I do know is that as much as I am fearful I know that it is love that wins out in the end, it really doesn’t matter what the fear is and over the coming weeks, months, years I will be focusing on just that.

Love Andrea