What keeps you on course

It’s all getting a bit hectic in the Pyne household as my dream of holding my book in my hand comes close to being a reality.

One moment I find myself feeling wildly excited and wanting to forge ahead, and the next I want to curl up and hide.

Do you know this feeling?

I believe partly it’s the time of year. We’re on the cusp of Spring, but winter hasn’t quite left us yet, so in one moment my Spring energy is ready to burst through, and the next, it’s back to hibernation (a bit like the weather here in the UK at the moment).

Just like your life. You want to move ahead, you’ve had enough of feeling sad and you’re making small changes. Some days everything is moving along smoothly and others it all seems too much. Am I right?

I understand. Where you are now is familiar and change can be scary, especially when things become challenging.

I also believe this is how the change process works. Change happens first on the inside, and as you become stronger you start expressing things differently on the outside.

This is where some of my resistance is coming from. Last year, writing was about digging deep into healing my grief; a very internal process. Now I’m starting to talk about my book and clarify my message which is very external. One minute I’m ready to go out into the world and share my message, and the next I want to scurry back to my desk.

Each time this happens I have two pieces of self-awareness which help me, and I hope they’ll help you too.

What might pull you away?

What do you usually do when things get hard? Do you keep going or, do you (like most of us at some point), have avoidance strategies. These are things you do to distract yourself from the task in hand and to avoid the hurt. It’s often called numbing because it’s something we do to temporarily avoid or numb the pain.

Examples of these strategies could be social media, food, drink, or shopping. For example I’m really good at distracting myself with social media when writing gets hard. Also when I feel challenging emotions such as anxiety or stress, instead of leaning in to them I want to eat a whole bar of chocolate. I eat quickly, I don’t enjoy it and I feel bad afterwards.

Becoming aware of these patterns helps me to notice and then to do something else.

Ask yourself: What do I usually do when things get hard and how can I become more aware of this?

And what will help you stay?

There are also those things that will encourage you to stay the course, to stay with change when it becomes hard. Here are three:

Connect to your reason why.

Reminding yourself why you’re doing this is the first step. So take a couple of deep breaths and imagine the life you want, without the sadness and negative feelings you experience now. Spend a few moments connecting to this and really feeling it in your body. And know you can come back to this any time.

For me, imagining holding my book in my hand, fills my mind and body with positive feelings which encourage me to keep going.

Small pleasures.

There are small things which nourish you and you can use to keep you on course. On the wall behind my desk I have a list of what I call small pleasures, things I do which bring me joy, and steer me back on course. Most of them are free, such a pausing to look up at the sky, meditating, reading, looking at photos, singing along to a favourite song or a long bath. Others cost a small amount; such as a small piece of chocolate, a yoga class, or buying a bunch of flowers.

These days I’m better at noticing when I’m getting pulled away or distracted and I do one of these things to re-connect me. They make my day more fun and pleasurable and remind me that my aim is to enjoy myself.

Connect to your roots.

There are bigger things too, things that centre you, or connect you to your source, your roots. Think about a tree, having strong roots holds it straight and gives it the firmness and connection to the ground and its surroundings. They hold it up; it may sway in the winds, and if the roots are strong it won’t fall over. They also give it a sense of permanence. The stronger its roots, the taller and stronger it can grow. So it is with you. If you get rocked about, connecting to those things that make you feel stable will give you a sense of solidity and steadiness and give you the courage to grow further. Examples of this could be your spirituality or faith, your connection to a particular place or with specific friends.

What helps me stay.

When I’m challenged several things that bring me back on course are being in the Yorkshire Dales, Yoga and spending time with friends.

I grew up on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and there’s something about those green fields, the limestone walls and open skies that are very special to me. I love to stand and pause, take a few deep breaths and feel the stillness deep within me. This landscape connects me to my source, to something bigger and solid and I draw strength from the timelessness of the place and those who came before me. Any walk in the countryside leaves me refreshed and renewed, and the Dales are special.

This connection to my source on the yoga mat is slightly different. It’s more internal; a connection to me, my body, my soul and my heart. It’s about slowing down and pausing, and realising, yes this is me and I accept myself in all my wonderfulness and foibles.

Spending time with friends brings so much joy to my life and as I’ve worked through my grief as I’ve been writing my book the connections I have with many friends have grown much deeper.

There’s something really special about being with those who know the real you and love all of you and you feel the same about them. You are naturally yourselves, you talk, laugh and cry and you come away refreshed. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been incredibly lucky to have several times like this, some with childless friends, some not. For me, these times are the most special and strengthen my roots more than anything. And they are when memories are made, those special memories which stay deep in my heart.

Being aware of these now and taking opportunities to strengthen my roots is really helping me, and I think I’m going to need all of that strength in the weeks to come.

Ask yourself:

  • How can I stay connected to the life I want?

  • What small things (small pleasures) can I do to keep me on course?

  • And what are the bigger things which connect me to my roots/source/me?

Having an awareness of these things will help you to keep going in challenging times.

Hot off the press.

Here’s the cover of my book – it will be called: ‘Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness: Inspiring Stories To Guide You To A Fulfilling Life’ and will be published in mid-June. I’m slightly biased, but I think the cover is beautiful.

I’m working to update my website and I’ll have an information page up very soon. In the meantime, if you’d like updates on the book and other news, please sign up to my email list below.

If this resonated with you please leave a comment below (you don’t have to use your own name).

2 thoughts on “What keeps you on course”

  1. I truly love this post, Lesley. It came at the perfect time, as I’m feeling a bit out of balance at the moment. So, I think I’ll take just a second to answer the questions you posed…

    How can I stay connected to the life I want? I have to remember to focus on the positive, look at things with a different perspective, and let go of the negative. I have some deep worries at the moment about friends and family, plus I’m struggling to feel connected (even within the CNBC tribe). I need to take a step back and cling to the joyous, for those moments are always there…

    What small pleasures will keep me on course? Normally, I would indulge with chocolate or comfort food, but I’m trying really hard to eat healthier. So, I will indulge by watching my favorite shows on TV while sitting in my snug, give my fur baby some extra cuddles, and make sure that I take an aerial dance class as soon as possible!

    The bigger things that connect me? Well, friends and family bring me the truest sense of joy. I’m looking forward to talking with a canbace friend this Friday, and I’m going to do better at texting/calling/messaging those I love.

    Thank you for allowing me a moment to simply be… I love your perspective, Lesley!

    • Thanks for your lovely reply Brandi.
      Yes absolutely ‘cling to the joyous,’ they are always there, tucked away in our heart.
      That’s a great way to keep on course. as I sit here having been at my desk almost all day I think getting outside for a few moments would really help me.
      Enjoy your time on Friday, connecting with those who ‘get’ us is always helpful.
      Thanks, Lesley


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