Facing a fear

Today was a learning curve, taken way outside my comfort zone, but aim was achieved. Sometimes pushing our comfort barriers way out is a good thing, growth!

 Namaste.

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I posted this status to my face book page recently.  It was typed and posted at the end of a day which was particularly stressful for me.  This stress was personally inflicted upon me by myself and was so powerful and all empowering I was physically sick from it.  Early in the day all the breath works and meditations in the world were of no benefit to me as I physiologically freaked myself out.  Habits of old were allowed to rear their ugly heads bringing with them more stress as I tried to prevent a panic attack from setting in.

What was the reason behind this stress?   Fear….  Plain and simple, I became afraid.   I lost belief in myself and in doing so slipped back into old familiar habits and mind sets and quite simple fell off the band wagon of healthy well-being.

What caused this fear?  Fear!!  Fear of the unknown…. Fear of something I have no control over.  Fear of my destiny, my life path.  I am a perfectionist by nature so everything gets planed, checked and rechecked.  Plan B’s get put in place and they too get checked in case plan A fails!!  I guess you could say I am a control freak of my own life.  Except life at the moment has other plans for me, and being in control of certain elements just isn’t on the cards.  Life is nudging me in directions where I have no control and where all I can do is trust.  Trust and hold onto the belief that I am exactly where I am meant to be and doing what it is, I am meant to be doing. For a controlling perfectionist like I, that spells fear.

I am launching my business All Round Yoga locally in the next week and the following week I am holding a celebratory launch in grateful appreciation to those who have kindly encouraged and supported me making this business of mine possible.  This is something which in some people’s lives would be considered to be child’s play and I can hear you say “what is she afraid of? Cop on?!!”  You’ve got to understand where I’ve come from to understand this fear.  I’ve been a PAYE worker all my working life and now suddenly I am standing up and taking ownership of a business I have personally created from nothing.

This business, yoga, has molded  protected and been a source of enormous strength for me personally over the last while and launching her publicly has made me feel very open and vulnerable.  Yoga has been my fall to and retreat strategy when things in life go wrong or when things get complicated and tough.  Right now she appears to be taking on a life of her own and as I stand timidly on the side-lines watching her growing and developing, I am afraid of both failing and succeeding in equal measures. Something I find difficult to comprehend and understand, as my dream is unfolding before my eyes.

With yoga, meditation, breath work and I will admit to a couple of Hennessy’s thrown in there also, I finally found clarity.  I learnt we grow, we spread our wings and we work at developing ourselves so that we may be better people.  We move forward, we progress.  We create and develop goals in a bid to improve ourselves and our lives.  But old ways and old habitual habits have a way of creeping back in when we least expect them too.  I allowed this darkness to seep back in.  Travelling back in under that cloak of darkness was fear.  This time however, I was aware that I was unsettled and insecure but most importantly I was also aware I was vulnerable.

What has changed?  I moved back to what felt safe and secure, what always remains steadfast and infallible in my life, my yoga practice.  In doing so clarity became more apparent, stillness set in, and tranquility flooded my veins. Taking on board the wise words of some very intelligent friends and practicing yoga Asana’s brought back the light of belief in me.  Trusting in that belief allows me to realize I am doing and achieving exactly what I initially dreamed and desired.

This blog takes life to show you, that with the best will in the world, with steps forward in the right direction, you can end up back in habitual old ways.  I stupidly harpooned from the present moment way out into the future of next week and beyond, and those moments in time have yet to materialize and may never even do so.  But in travelling out there I gave power to my fear, I made it real.  I, made it real!!   But it’s OK.  It doesn’t mean I’ve failed because I’ve met the fear head on, I gave my interview to the local newspaper and I duly had photographs taken for that same feature.  I’ve sucked up and drawn in the fact that I am now in business and in business you need to promote yourself publicly and locally. In this week I have traveled way beyond my own personal comfort zones but in doing so I managed to achieve something very positive and I’ve grown.

So don’t give up when you have a relapse or lack of judgement.  Don’t beat yourself up with an imaginary stick.  See it as a learning curve from which you can develop and grown from.  Sit with your fears.  Ask yourself, what it is you really fear.  Study and look at those feelings in a non-judgmental way.  Be honest with yourself and don’t try to sugar coat it.  My clarity finally came when I openly admitted to a friend the real fear behind what it is I am doing.  By allowing yourself to recognize your fear, you take the power and trepidation away.  Doing so allows you to move forward onto the next stepping stone in the story of your life.

Your dreams are worthy as are your goals and desires.  You matter.  Do not allow yourself to step in the way of your own dreams, by being afraid.

Namaste & Om shanti.

Irish Brown Bread

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This is a simple recipe and is a great accompaniment to soup.   It is quick, easy to make and I love it as everything goes into one pot and is mixed all in one!   I personally love it served with lashings of real Irish butter and is especially delicious served warm.

PS!!    This is a recipe you can fiddle with e.g. if you don’t like linseed’s you can substitute pumpkin seeds instead. Raisins, sultana’s,  goji berries, apricots or dates can also be added if you wish to turn this into a healthy sweet bread.

Oven Temperature:      200 o                                                                  

Baking Tin:   2lb Loaf Tin and liner                      

 

Ingredients:

1lb of brown spelt flour

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

2 tablespoons of linseed’s

16 fl. ozs of Buttermilk.

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of bread soda

1 egg

1 tablespoon of molasses (optional)

1 and half tablespoons of Irish Rapeseed oil (or you can substitute olive oil instead).

Method:

Place all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and gently mix together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and then add in the buttermilk, egg and oil.  Mix all ingredients together and then pour into a lined or well oiled 2 lb loaf tin.  Bake for approximately 1 hour until golden brown.   Remove from tin and wrap in a clean tea towel and leave to cool on wire tray.

Enjoy!!

Letting Go – Meditation

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A few months back my family and I spent time some time in an airport restaurant pushing food around plates while we waited for a specific boarding call.  When the dreaded time arrived carry-on bags were gathered and we moved towards the gates.

I gathered Jack my 5 year old nephew into my arms and almost smothered him in a bear hug, with me savoring the moment.  His huge smile infectious and he was beside himself with excitement.  After a month of being separated from his Dad he was leaving to join him in Kuwait indefinitely.  My Mum said goodbye to my sister Lisa.  I turned and looking into my sisters eyes, both of us realized there were no words in that moment only pure emotions spoken from our hearts via falling tears.  Hastily we completed our goodbyes and made to move away.  A five year old outburst floored us all, “NO!!!!” he said, “Ye have to go behind the glass and wave goodbye to me and Mom just like we did for Daddy”.  Jaws openly crashed to the ground, but dutifully we took up position behind the wall of glass and waited for them to clear customs. Eventually my sister slowly approached the glass, Jack holding her hand bouncing along in glee totally ecstatic, living out a big boy’s moment just like his dad.  He waved enthusiastically, we forced huge smiles and blew kisses, hearts openly breaking.  When it became no longer possible to hold in, we “let go” and cried.  Lisa continued without faltering to stride past the window, tears visibly flowing down her face.  Jack clearly wondering why we were crying and not deliriously happy like he was.  In that moment I longed desperately to be consumed with the innocence of a child.  They continued walking to a new life.  Jack looking back, his Mum unable to do so.

On the journey home lost in our own thoughts, I contemplated the sorrow we felt.  I knew personally it would be my sisters physical presence I was going to miss the most and I realized that a very physical cutting of ties or “letting go “ had just taken place.  I couldn’t help but compare the experience and emotions to that of a toddler breaking free of its parent’s hand, taking its own tentative first steps into the world.  There is fear involved, fear of letting go, fear of holding on and fear of not moving forward.  Realization is though, once that connection has been severed there is only growth, with that growth comes strength and joy for a new beginning and a new way of life. We too had broken free with Lisa & Jack’s departure and all of us were progressing independently each creating new experiences, new adventures.

I wasn’t very good company that evening, things played heavily with me, so I took myself off to meditate.  It was a major challenge for me.  Tears and thoughts were abundantly present and I struggled to seek solace from my relentless mind and thoughts.  I tried a mantra which normally works “I am breathing in” and “I am breathing out”.  It lasted for all of….. 3 breaths!! I tried another couple of techniques to no avail.  Then yoga took over and I realized I needed to look at exactly what it was I was experiencing.  I needed to acknowledge what I was feeling.  Swallowing emotions and pretending it hadn’t happened wasn’t going to solve anything.  So I continued to sit and I finally acknowledged what it was I had been feeling…… loss…… and I cried. 

Why are we so afraid to cry?  Is it because we feel it shows a sign of weakness a sense of being unable to cope?  Why do we opt instead to choke back the emotion and not set it free?  We don’t stifle our laughter or our joy, so why stifle our tears?  Tears cleanse the soul.  They spring clean our emotional baggage and help us to let go.  Cleansing, real cleansing where you sit and take a good look at what it is you are feeling, brings with it awareness and an acceptance of what is. It allows you to live in the present moment. I was once told in a reiki session that “once you are aware, you can never again become unaware”.  It is so true.

As you meditate allow yourself to see the full picture, allow yourself to become aware.  Aware of how you feel and aware of what those experiences are doing to you. Give yourself permission, take time to sit and observe.  Look at the emotions that are being brought up for you.  Acknowledge them and then let them go.   Do this without judgement.  Accept what you are feeling and accept the reason for it.  Allow your new beginning to take place.  Endings are new beginnings.  New beginnings are stepping stones to personal growth and development.  Think about it, if the  toddler didn’t release its parents hand “letting go”, stepping into their future and life purpose would have been seriously hampered.

I didn’t manage to sit and meditate myself into bliss that particular day or for quite a number of days after that but I did take a major leap to the next stepping stone in my life.  I recognized my loss in a sister whose physical presence I will deeply miss at coffee mornings, family occasions and shopping trips.  I allowed my breath to find its natural balance and allowed my sense of calm to return and in doing so I realized I was now living in the awareness of how I was feeling and it was OK.   It is ok to feel loss and pain when someone you love leaves you or moves on.  It is ok to allow yourself to express those emotions, to acknowledge them and to let those tears flow.  It’s cleansing.  Cleansing is freeing and being free gives you strength and courage and allows you to grow as a person.  Moving on doesn’t mean you forget, in fact it’s quite the opposite.  Moving on means you remember, you remember with love what you felt, you recognize the emotions involved but you also recognize the potential for growth and development. 

So sit quietly.  Breathe, meditate and find the stillness and serenity that is deep within you. Then give yourself permission to feel the experience, feel the emotion.  Remember tears are cleansing, so give yourself the permission to cry and allow your true self to “LET GO” and grow.

Om shanti.