What are you settling for?

Do you ever suddenly realise you feel great and it surprises you because you didn’t realise how lousy you’d been feeling?

This has happened to me a couple of times; most notably a couple of weeks ago, after a yoga class I suddenly realised; now I feel great, I’m back.

Riding the rollercoaster

I used the words ‘I’m back’ because honestly these past couple of months have been a real rollercoaster of ups and downs. I came back from the India retreat in a really good place and thank goodness because since then the Universe has thrown just about everything at me.

The highs

Like any rollercoaster, there have been incredible highs; several dreams come true moments which came to me out of the blue.

I did the BBC Radio 5 Live recording, attended Fertility Fest, Yoga Magazine published a whole chapter of Finding Joy, and I was interviewed for a National UK newspaper about being childless and parentless (fingers crossed it will be published soon). Then I completed a 50 hours Yin Yoga teacher training course. Whew!

The lows

And with these highs also came the lows, also out of the blue. I had pain in my leg which turned out to be Sciatica caused by Piriformis Syndrome. Until then I didn’t know I even had a Piriformis (or 2), & apparently the ‘syndrome’ is common. I digress; the bottom line was I was in a LOT of physical pain. And as we know, there’s an intimate link between mind & body, so I felt emotionally very low too, especially when the pain flared up. I also had other things going on which contributed in pulling me down.

I’m sharing this with you because I want you to know that my life is not all a bed of roses, I guess the positive and negative of doing this work is that I’ve both become much more sensitive to how I’m feeling and I feel so much more. 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 write in Finding Joy, my decision not to feel grief meant that I was numbing myself to feeling everything. As Brené Brown says, ‘when you numb the dark, you numb the light; so by deciding not to feel grief, sadness, disappointment – all those dark emotions – I also missed out on the light emotions such as joy and happiness.

Opening myself up to feeling much more has brought incredible richness into my life, although next time I’d rather not have everything thrown at me in the same few weeks!

And the spaces in between

In all of the ups and downs I tried to find the still point. When you think of a rollercoaster, there’s a pause at the top & the bottom, a moment of stillness. I guess you could also call it the eye of the storm, the calmness right at the centre when you’re aware of & experiencing everything moving round you. My aim with both the ups and downs was to find this still point so I didn’t become engulfed by what was happening.

I was settling for less than

But that’s not the point of this article.

The point I want to make was that I believed I was ok, the physical pain had mostly subsided & I thought I was better. Then as I said, after a particularly great Yoga practice, I thought, no NOW I feel better. And at the same time I looked back & realised how lousy I’d been feeling.

This was the case before I started this work. Several years ago I thought I was happy, that my life was great and I’d dealt with everything I needed to.

But I was wrong.

I love this quote by Mandy Hale because it describes what I’ve done (and what you can do to). It’s only by looking back that I saw I’d settled for a half-life; a life in which I was numbing both the dark and the light. And I don’t want that for you. 

The work I’ve done was a conscious choice to explore whether I could find happiness and who I could be, to choose my life. I’ve actively chosen to open myself up to feeling every up and down of the rollercoaster of my life. All of it. I guess I’d rather not have had the physical pain, but if that’s the price I have to pay for the highs; that’s Ok with me. So I have absolutely no regrets.

What are you settling for?

So here come the inevitable questions

  1. What I want to ask you is this; are you standing still, settling for a life in which you’re not truly happy, where you still get triggered by other people’s children and you’re still wishing and hoping to become a mother?

Be honest, is that what you’re settling for, is that what you’ve chosen (because, as we both know, settling for a half-life is also a choice.)?

What if you were to actively choose to move forward with your life instead, how would that feel, both now and in 10 years?

  1. And are you settling for this because it’s easy & comfortable and, for whatever reason you don’t want to do the work because you know it will be hard?

Because we both know that there is absolutely more to life than this and you CAN find joy. But you won’t find it if you’re settling for the half-life you’re living now.

Now I can touch real joy and I know myself more than ever. Maybe this is true joy, or maybe there’s more to come. All I know is I’m going to keep choosing and not settling & see where life leads me.  And it’s not just me, there are many childless role models available (you can read stories of them in Finding Joy), we found our joy and you absolutely can too.

It’s a daily reminder, I still have physical pain & with it, feeling low. I’m not going to settle for even a small amount of pain, physical or emotional. I choose difficult & uncomfortable & will do whatever I can to move through it & live a life of joy.

I know of course that there will always be rollercoasters in life, I have the tools to find the calm place & in the words of the wise Elizabeth Gilbert, to make a glorious scene. Will you meet me at the lemonade stand?


Over to you

What do you think? Will you meet me at the lemonade stand & create a glorious scene, or are you happy to settle for less than? I’d love to hear what you think, (you can use another name).

And if you leave your email below you’ll be the first to hear about more articles like this and, as a bonus you’ll get the e-book.

You can read book reviews and interviews I’ve done here.
And you can order your copy of Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness on  Amazon UK  and Amazon USA

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