The challenges of following my own advice

The challenges of following my own advice

It’s been almost a month since my last blog when I encouraged you not to start new things and set resolutions but, instead to follow nature, be still and direct energy deep within to recharge.

And to ask yourself the question – what does my heart want?

So how are you getting on?

I normally blog more regularly than once a month, and I wish I could say I’ve been too busy to write. In the spirit of complete honesty taking my own advice has been a huge challenge for me.

I’ve been great at setting aside time to meditate, for my yoga classes and lessons and also for reading.

And everything else has been a real struggle. I even found it hard to journal and that usually comes naturally. As for writing blogs; well I’ve started a number and honestly, writing was like pulling teeth.

Maybe this is how it is when you sit still; I guess I’m not used to everything feeling like pushing a rock up a hill. My month hasn’t been all gloom, I’ve had some intense moments of joy, spent time with beautiful friends and I’ve also unexpectedly been knocked around by a couple of waves of emotion.

There was a time when I would have pushed these waves back as quickly as they surfaced, numbing the feelings with chocolate or wine. But not these days. Because of the work I’ve done I now allow everything in knowing that it will leave when it’s taught me what I need to learn.

Let everything come and go

I recently came across this quote which I love.

‘Leave your front door and your back door open.

Allow your thoughts to come and go.

Just don’t serve them tea’.

Shunryu Suzuki

This is the key isn’t it?

When something comes up I slow down and get out of my thinking mind and into my body by taking a few deliberate and slow deep breaths. I notice what’s happening in my body and allow everything to be. If I can name the feeling, I do so. Many times I have no idea and it doesn’t matter; I lean in to it, feel it, and know that it will pass. I remind myself that it’s just a memory; I’ve been here before, I lived through the event, and I can live through this.

These days I tend not to get triggered by other people’s children; however one of those unexpected waves hit me when a friend was talking about her parents and I suddenly felt how much I miss mine. Self-kindness and compassion are key so I welcome the feelings and say to myself, ‘Ah something else is coming up for healing.’

I’ll also confess to feeling frustrated and wondering how many times will this keep coming back?

It’s a huge price though

And then I remind myself of these words from Queen Elizabeth II

‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’

Sometimes it feels like an incredibly hard price though don’t you think?

This is who I am now and because of the work I’ve done I’m so much more open to feeling everything. If you imagine emotions range in intensity from zero to a hundred, I used to go up to a maximum of maybe plus and minus fifteen. These days that range is so much bigger and is extending all the time as I continue with this work.

As Shunryu Suzuki says, the key is not to cling to whatever comes up, but to let everything come and go in its own time. Knowing of course that it WILL go if you allow it.

But there are gifts

There are always gifts in these waves if we take time to find them. In addition to releasing some of the grief I was holding on to, asking myself ‘what’s at the root of this?’ in my meditation practice has lead me to some deep discoveries. It’s also revealed a couple of patterns for me to work on should I wish to.

The biggest gift is realising just how much I’ve changed. Looking back I find it incredibly hard to put myself in the shoes of the Lesley who used to hide all her emotions in a box.

Looking back over this past month, there have been a couple of moments which have changed me fundamentally so I’m not the person who wrote my last blog. Each time I let something go, I feel like I’m shedding another layer of the armour that prevents me from being my authentic self

And that’s life isn’t it? That’s exactly why I’m on this path and willing to do the work. Today I feel I’m a lot closer to her than I’ve ever been. And I’m a few steps closer to that place in my heart which knows the way.

The truth is universal

As always I share my story with you in the hope that you’ll recognise yourself in some part of it. As I heard Anne Lamott say recently when you tell the truth it turns out to be universal.

I hope your month has been easier than mine. And if it hasn’t please know that whatever is going on with you, it WILL pass. The key is to leave the doors open whatever you’re feeling, don’t identify with it and definitely don’t make it tea, coffee or any sort of beverage, but to allow it to pass out through your house and out of the door.

And here’s to next month being less of a challenge.

How has your month been?

Does what I’ve written resonate with you? I’d love to hear your experiences of sitting still and how you’re getting on with answering the question, what does your heart want?

You can read book reviews and interviews I’ve done here.
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4 thoughts on “The challenges of following my own advice”

  1. I don’t do social media or comment on blogs……except yours as it always moves me…….A million thank yous for this blog as this is exactly the way I have been feeling…..it ok not to be ok…..from a distance you have supported me and in an instance reduced my feelings of isolation,…I am blessed

  2. I’m awake early on mother’s day just looking up your pages again for comfort and consolation. I like this blog post, it helps to know the way I’m feeling is not unique to me alone. I appreciate the fact that you were frustrated about some of the feeling a that come up. I’ve had some old ones return lately. As you say, I’m leaning into them and starting to see them as a time for more healing. Thanks Lesley for your brave and honest postings. R x

    • Thanks so much Roisin, whatever you are feeling it’s never just you.
      My life is so much better than it has been AND I still have challenges, it’s not all roses.
      And I’m glad you have the tools both to recognise what you’re feeling and work through it. Take care x

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