Time for me to make a new map

I’m writing this shortly after turning 60 which, I can tell you is not for the faint hearted. Before stepping forward into the new decade, I had a long, hard look at my life, what’s working & what isn’t, what brings my joy & what doesn’t.

And the decisions I’ve made mean that I’m ready to keep moving forward & make the most of what comes next. I’m excited to discover where my path will take me, to make new discoveries & to get back to living my life on purpose after what feels like 2 years of hibernation.

My path so far

I’m married to Roger, & we live in London. You can read more of my story here & the highlights are that we went through 6 unsuccessful rounds of IVF & in the following years I lost both parents. The work I did to process my grief resulted in my book, Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness, published in June 2018.

When I published Finding Joy, I wrote that one of the gifts to be found in the pain was finding my true self’ & also that I am now, eventually the true, authentic Lesley.

And I’m pleased to report that I was wrong.

I realise now that once you step on the path to finding your true or authentic self, it is one which, if you want it to, will continue for the rest of your life.

Time to move on

It’s 20 years since we had our last round of IVF & my website has supported childless women for 9 years. I am not the same person I was even a year ago.

I always write from my heart & over the years both my writing & my heart have evolved. In many blogs I’ve written about the differences between women with children & those without. And the more I explore & talk to friends, the more I realise that what I write now applies to all women looking live authentically in accordance with their values, whether they have children or not.

I’ve known this for a while & continued to support childless women (eg through my writing & my support for World Childless Week). At first this felt Ok, however, on a recent yoga training course we were discussing the importance of letting go of what’s no longer serving us & I realised how much hold the specific childless support has on me.

So, I’m letting it go.

And to start drawing a new map of my life

I’ve often described myself as an explorer & to quote Brené Brown, I am both a map maker & a traveller’. When I look ahead at the life I’d like to make there’s no specific route before me, instead, it feels like an exciting partly completed canvas; there are features (such as yoga, creativity, travel, time with family & friends) & I will enjoy drawing the contours & adding more to the map of my life with each step I take always using my values as my touchstone.

My destination

Taoism says that we’re born with a unique gift & it’s our responsibility to search for it, know it & care for it. So, if I have a destination, it’s to find this gold; my true or authentic self, my centre which feels like home & where I’m supposed to be.

The paths I’m following

My Yin Yoga & meditation practices are the porthole, my way in. I always practice for the adventure & the enjoyment of the process & I love it so much that it doesn’t matter how long my journey takes & whether I ever reach my destination. Each day I continue moving forward, knowing that there’s always more to explore & believing this will always be the case.

It is the space where I notice the patterns & stories which are getting in the way, & once I’m aware of them, I can work with them both on & off the mat. Over time I’m becoming calmer & more peaceful as I let life be as it really is instead of being pulled & pushed around by these unhelpful patterns & stories.

Creativity is also a big part of my life. A few years ago, I rediscovered embroidery & making cards & other gifts brings me a lot of joy. I love to challenge my embroidery skills & to try other crafts, always exploring & pushing my comfort zone. What I make isn’t perfect, but always made with love.

Curiosity is an inspiring guide, & when it asks a question I follow it, knowing that it may lead somewhere, or it may not, & following it is as permanent or temporary as I want it to be. It is encouraging me to try new crafts, to cast new eyes over books I’ve read in the past & to continue learning.

Spending time with family & friends is hugely important to me, as is walking in the countryside, either with my Nordic Walking group or in my beloved Yorkshire Dales. And hopefully we will be travelling again soon, exploring other countries & cultures has brough us so much joy in the past & we hope to do this again. The bottom line is I’m doing more of what makes me happy & less of what doesn’t.

Who I am now

My inner compass knows the way & it is always leading me on this path to wholeness, to who I truly am. This path has already brought me a level of peace I never realised was possible & I’m a lot less reactive to people & events than I used to be.

I’m excited to fill in the gaps in the map of my future, exploring each contour of my life, my body, knowing that there will be dead ends, U-turns &, if it’s like the past few years, more joy (& challenges) than I ever thought possible.

My lovely teacher Emma says that ‘we practice Yin Yoga to discover who we are at the deepest level, to find our natural alignment, feel it & follow that feeling.’ However, this philosophy extends beyond my practice & my path going forward is to discover who I am at the deepest level, to find my natural alignment, feel it & follow that feeling.’

And it’s undoubtedly the most important journey I will ever make.

What I believe

Whatever the map of your life looks like now, I firmly believe that;

  1. You & only you can change it. Others can & will guide & support you, but YOU must be willing to make a new map.
  2. There is a path to your happiness, joy, authentic self (whatever you wish for). Mine included therapy, yoga & creativity, yours may include elements of mine, or most likely it will be different, because we are different. And you will only find it by exploring.
  3. We all have scars, mine include childlessness & the loss of both parents. Just like my physical scars, they will always be there, but, as the tissue round them grows stronger, and because of the work I’ve done they no longer define me.

As I wrote above, I am an explorer, map maker & traveller, I don’t have the answers, but I am curious to explore the questions, so I’ve given myself permission to widen my writing to those areas I’m exploring.

What you will find here

Thank you for reading so far. I’d be honoured if you would join me in undoubtedly the most important journey we can ever make.

What you’ll find here are:

  • Over 200 blogs & almost 50 Inspirational Childless Stories.
  • Articles & blogs promoting my book, Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness .And although the stories within in it are about being childless, the writing & exercises apply to all of us searching for joy.
  • My newer blogs about the areas I’m exploring, not specifically about being childless, but always being sensitive)

If you’d like to join me, you can sign up to my email list below (& I’ll send you extracts from Finding Joy).

And if any of this resonates with you I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment below.

14 thoughts on “Time for me to make a new map”

  1. Oh yes yes please keep me informed Lesley on your new journey which can be ours too in an inspirational way. My heart sank. At first as I thought you might be giving up:-(…but then I read you are still going to be blogging but in a slightly different and sounds like very lovely way:-)!!! Thank you for your years of support. I know I said before but it has been the hugest comfort for childlessness for me. It has helped. Also, your a 1962 baby !!! Like me!!! Im in June!!! Lovely to share that. So looking forward to the next chapter Lesley. Thank you for everything xx

  2. You are — as always — an inspiration, Lesley. Bon voyage as you begin the newest adventures. I look forward to following/joining you. xooxo

  3. You have been an enormous support to me both with your blogs and of course your brilliant book. I too am of a similar age and began my childless life over 30years ago & have recently felt a real shift in my focus. So I wish you well and will continue to follow your ‘journeys’ with interest.

  4. Thank you Lesley for your writing and sharing your experiences, it has been such a comfort to me as I also navigate life’s path. Please do keep sharing and wishing you every happiness and contentment.

  5. I’m turning 60 this year too, childless and now retired from corporate life. I’ve just discovered your story and work, and I’ll be following your new path with interest. I’m a part-time carer for elderly parents now, but to celebrate being 60 I’ve written myself a bucket list of 60 things I want to do in the next decade to ensure I’m still finding time, and fun, for me.
    Good luck with this next phase.
    Annie X

    • Thank you Annie, I love the idea of 60 things to do & especially that you’re pacing yourself. It’s 6 new crafts for me this year, I couldn’t manage 60!
      Good luck too, Lesley

  6. Just catching up. Yes I would like to continue to be on your mailing list and follow your journey, you are such an inspiration.



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