Letting It All Come Out
There is a beauty within you that runs so deep
If only you would open your heart towards yourself
You would see then what I do
and truly understand just how magnificent you are
There is a light that shines so brightly inside you
I am blinded by its presence
Stand from behind the shadows of your mind
and let us all bask in its beauty
Now is your time, your moment, your everything
Free yourself from the binds of your past
Let the world rejoice in the gifts you have to offer
and no longer fear that which only resides in your mind
~ Day 1 to 6 ~
When I was a child I was forever on the move, a 'fidget' my Mum would call me, not able to sit still for more than a few minutes. As I started this journey, contemplating sitting in the same place for my first meditation, I found myself concerned with how I was going to sit still for any prolonged period.
I knew enough to be kind to myself and was prepared to consider different options for spending time with myself, in silence.
I had picked up some adult colouring books before I headed out to France so I decided that these would be a way I could initially sit with myself and my thoughts, for at least an hour, without getting restless. Having always been creative and one who loves doing anything involving my hands, I figured sitting and submersing myself in the colouring would help to clear my mind so that whatever needed to come to me, and through me, could.
By this point I had watched almost all of the '100 days of meditation' videos that had sparked the idea for this book and I had an understanding of what I might be about to experience. Described as 'opening the floodgates', I was to find myself incredibly grateful for the foresight that the first week or so of submersive meditation could bring about torrential thought download.
I settled myself at the little wooden kitchen table, just under the canopy of the mezzanine floor of the little gite I got to call home, for a few months at least. A small vase of roses beside me drifted their scent under my nose and the warmth from the wood burning stove, which softly flickered and sparked in front of me, ensured that I was perfectly relaxed as I spread the multitude of rainbow coloured, fine felt-tipped pens across the table and opened the little colouring book, with all of it’s unseen promises, to its first page.
On that first page sat the most ornate depiction of a peacock, all majestically feathered. I caught myself not wanting to spoil its beauty, what if my colouring didn’t do the picture justice? But as I placed the first strokes of jade within the body of the birds blackened outlines, I shook aside those feelings of self-deprecation began to lose myself within the creativity.
It was in that moment of focus that the whispers started, the slow rumble of the impending avalanche of thoughts, feelings, judgements, considerations and opinions. I grabbed a notepad and there I sat, for an hour, caught almost robot like between the creative colouring and the annotating of the words that flooded through me and onto the page of the notebook beside me.
Day one rolled into two and by day three I began wondering if this was ever going to end. I had forgotten what I had learned about the clearing out of everything when we allow myself to truly open up to whatever needs to come out, and I became concerned if would ever find peace through this practice or if this was it. Was this what was meant by meditating? Did the brain just take over and go crazy, hurtling thought after thought at you like some sort of internal machine gun on auto fire? Or was I in fact going crazy?
On day four I changed tack, chose to no longer sit colouring, to just sit in my own space and see if that brought some peace. But no, still the seeming assault on my desired harmony continued. So I decided to accept what was happening, started to understand this must be the process I had to go through. I sat and let it all flow through me, as best I could.
What a week, I was exhausted! But, the sense of peace had started to drift into my consciousness. It was all perfect, it was all supposed to have come out, to make space for the beauty that had only just started to express itself.
Written as it came out of my body and followed up by my understanding of it, later in the day, this was the beginning, the process I clearly needed to go through, and not an example of the unbelievable enlightenment that was to come during the later days, weeks, and months.
~ Day 1 ~
Meditation through colouring
This is the first time I have tried this and the words that came to me like a bolt of lightning were 'Que Sera Sera', What Will Be Will Be. Apt, I thought, considering it’s my first full day in France.
Whatever will be, will be.... what does that even mean to me? Well ultimately that no matter how hard I push, the universe has my life mapped out for me. If I follow the path that speaks to my soul I will be happy and fulfilled. If I push for the life I think I ought to have, I find myself in turmoil, wanting for more, or for something different and being 'taught lessons' along the way, time and time and time again.
I speak from the experience of having grown up with the idealistic view of being married with 2.4 children, living in a house in the country and living 'happily ever after'. Their perfect Fairytale ending? Sadly, rather than listening to what felt right and what didn’t, I’ve pushed at every relationship, believing it 'would be alright in the end' even when when I was being treated less than appropriately.
A failed marriage before I was 21, a long-term struggle with a man who ultimately couldn’t give me, or I him, love in the way we each needed and a rebound to a much younger man who I allowed to control me in more ways than I care to admit to. These along with many other short term, yet somehow no-less painful encounters along the way finally taught me to stop pushing.
It seems to me that perhaps had I listened when I was in pain, mentally and emotionally, perhaps things wouldn’t have got to where they did a few months ago? I’ll never know that and know not to punish myself for past decisions made. I must learn from them all though.
I wonder what happens next.
~ Day 2 ~
Allowing my mind to be free
Concentrating on the job in hand while putting no boundaries up to the words entering my head enabled many thoughts to come to me. It was as if the floodgates were beginning to open and everything I had bound up inside wanted to come out, at once! So I let it all flow out, headline, after headline, like bullets from a gun, shooting from my mind onto the notepad to which I added my understanding to later that day.
Don’t play games
Such a simple statement, yet with meaning that is so important when it comes to relationships. If I like someone, tell them and show them. If I don’t or am not sure, be true to them and to myselves. If we are meant for each other there will be no bounds to our communication. If we are not, then by showing my true self the truth of the relationship will show up more quickly, allowing me to be free to move on.
Be true to yourself
This is massive, and goes hand in hand with the sentiment above. If I choose to ignore 'the little voices in my head' then I do so at my own risk. Yes, there is always an element of fear around new adventure, new beginnings, and new relationships, but listening to my thoughts and also basing my interpretation of those thoughts on facts will ensure I am following my rightful path.
Something I have learned over the last 6 months is that when something feels right, it is, and when it feels wrong it is too. Of course I have had worries and concerns and over-analysed most things, but ultimately by trusting my 'higher self' I have started on a journey that is taking me to places and situations I would never have believed I would have been in, just a few months ago. This includes sitting here, writing this, in a dream location that feels so naturally perfect.
Stray outside of the lines!
That’s not to say throw myself off the cliff, but have the courage to venture out of my comfort zones. I have heard many times that we are either growing our comfort zone or it is shrinking; it cannot and will not stay the same. If I do nothing to grow it, it will naturally start to shrink, so push, just a little bit, every day. Take the step from comfortable to slightly uncomfortable. When I get used to doing this and it in essence becomes part of my comfort zone, then step a little further. Just 1% improvement every day will see a whole different person within a year. Wow.
You are an inspiration
This has been said to me a few times over the last few months because of the ventures that I have taken. It’s funny though, because I haven’t once felt like I should be or could be an inspiration. It is however what I wish for my life, to be able to help others understand just how amazing they are.
It seems that out of adversity and my need to change my life, I am already starting to inspire people. This is so fabulous for me as it is what I want. Yes, my ego loves the attention too, there is no denying that, but I think it feels great because ultimately, I believe it is my destiny.
Out of adversity
Looking at other’s lives, it’s easy to believe 'they have it all' and are truly successful. Putting them on a pedestal when in reality we are all just fighting with our own fight.
I had experience of this only yesterday when I sent a picture affirmation to a friend who I hold in high regard and within whose presence I am always both uplifted and inspired. She responded, quite surprised that I should feel that way because, in her words, she is 'as scared as the rest of us!'
I think it’s really important to understand that whoever we are and whatever we are doing, we are all just trying to be the best that we can be, given our own set of circumstances. The trick is to realise that I am in control of my circumstances, and with work on myself and our environment I chose to be in, I can be whoever I want to be, and have everything I want to have. Self-belief and an understanding of how wonderfully influential my thoughts are.
Look after those closest to you
Our relationships in this world are what make us human: our family, friends, loved ones, our tribe. Unless I want to live my life as a solitary lone wolf, I must ensure that I put my relationships at the top of my priority list. No matter how 'busy' I am, or what is fighting for my attention, I must allow my loved ones to break through those barriers. Carpe diem. Time is the one thing in this life I can never get back.
Look after you - first
I only get one body in this life and one mind, and I must look after them both. Treat them with the respect they are due for taking my soul through my years on this earth. I must be kind to myself: eat good food, stay active, and continually grow my mind.
Our true colours will shine through if we let them
Trying to be someone I am not will only result in my light dimming and my true colours being hidden. If I follow my heart and mind, and listen to those inner thoughts when things are both right and wrong forme, my true colours will shine through. From this place, anything is possible. Like a flame in the wrong environment, it will flicker and eventually die, but in the right environment it can literally set the world alight.
Good sleep is good! (for you)
Not just any sleep: good sleep. Regardless of the number of hours, continuous, uninterrupted sleep makes all the difference to my functionality. Too much sleep can also be detrimental, though. If I wake up groggy and feel I need more sleep and then end up with hours under the duvet, that were really not needed, I find the brain fog is ever greater and more disruptive.
Being active, both mind and body, during the day and shortly before bed, turning off all electrical items and not taking them to bed definitely helps. My room being on the cooler side so that I can snuggle on down into the duvet, as well as ensuring that the room is as black as possible. Then resssst… take a few minutes to think of at least 3 things to be grateful for from the day and then let sleep come.
Friendship matters – stay in touch
We can choose our friends but we can’t choose our family. I have found that the line between the two has most certainly become smudged. There are people within my friendship circle that are 100% family to me now.
Friendship, real true bounded friendship, is something never to be taken for granted. Yes, life gets in the way sometimes and the days turn into weeks, which can then sometimes turn into months, but in this age of technology it really only takes a few seconds to say hello, and that connection could come at a moment when it is really needed.
Free your mind
Living in a society where everything is given to me on a plate, I feel like there is information overload much of the time, through the PC, radio, TV, and phone. There seems to be little time to stop, sit back, and free my mind of all of the ‘noise’. I need to ensure that I make space where I can, to completely unplug and look objectively at the world, and my own life, free of any outside influence.
Time itself is the one commodity I can never get back.
~ Day 3 ~
My head was full of thoughts of my relationships, past and present what I sat down today. I decided to just allow them, not giving great attention to them and not ignoring them either I realised that to try and ignore them would have only allowed them to behave like an un-noticed toddler, growing louder and seeking attention with greater tenacity.
Thoughts of what I could have done differently, why did I not listen when things felt bad, what if I had acted sooner rather than later? I didn’t have the answers and didn’t allow myself to get drawn in either. I just let the thoughts go by like clouds, accepted their presence and when the fog cleared, the headline, like yesterday came like bolts of lightning in a superstorm, continuously and exhaustingly for the whole hour.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
If I truly desire something, anything, badly enough, I find a way to achieve it. Conversely, when the desire isn’t there, deep down in soul, no amount of ‘wanting’ will drive me to action.
The words of Rumi come to mind; 'Your heart knows the way, Run in that direction'
So often I find myself being over critical. Over analysing and spending too much time attempting to reach perfection. I need to not get bogged down with the finite detail. Perfection is a myth. I must learn to understand that the act of doing is where the magic lies. Nothing is perfect, shurely if it was, science would cease to be enhancing, our thoughts and desires would fade, and everything would come to a standstill?
I must learn to accept and move on, not allowing them to take over. Life wouldn’t be life if it wasn’t for the mistakes that we make along the way. A child doesn’t learn to walk without falling many times, won’t learn to talk without first working their way through their own versions of vocabulary.
No decision made is a wrong decision. It wouldn’t have been made if it wasn’t supposed to have been.
It’s not over until you decide
When I’m struggling to get something done, to achieve something or to learn something new, I can find myself all too often past the euphoria of the start-up phase and into the monotony of the everyday. The assumed repetitiveness, or indeed the struggle of hitting this stage of conscious incompetence, is a state my ego would much rather shy away from.
It’s my choice to either stop or carry on, to push through the perceived dullness, the mediocre feelings or the struggles, and to come out the other side to bathe in the glory of accomplishment and success.
Paraphrasing Stephen Covey, 'Begin with the end in mind'
Dedicate your life to you
If my body is the capsule within which my soul is travelling through this part of its journey, then I must appreciate and commit myself to be the best I can be. To dedicate my life to myself, to love, honour and respect who I am as my ultimate friend, loved one, confidant, and caregiver.
Make yourself the priority
Put first things first. If I don’t put myself as the number one priority in my life, I risk others treating me the same. I should put myself first and learn that I am a priority. There is noone on this planet better than any other.
Love you first
I cannot expect others to love me if I don’t love myself. I have realised that what I was misconstruing as love for myself was in fact my amazing ability to love everyone and everything around me while losing sight of who I am and what I need.
A simple 7-letter word with such power behind it.
I have found that forgiveness affects me, more than it does anyone or anything else. I need to continue and build upton being able to look at a situation from both sides, to understand that we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got, and to send love to those who have hurt me. This frees me from the binds of negativity, allows me to move forward, lays to bed the constant nagging in my head about how my past is affecting my current situation, and leaves me free to write my own next chapter.
I guess this includes forgiving myself too, and understanding that I was only ever doing the best I could with what I had, in that moment.
Just when you think you have nothing more to give.
The next time I feel like I can’t do it any longer, that I have given all I can give, or it simply hurts too much to continue, I must push myself just a little bit further. One more step, one more phone call, one more squat, one more paragraph. It won’t be long before I will be able to look back and see just how far I have come, despite my initial fears.
Are you still awake?
When I’m lying awake wondering what it’s all about, sometimes just reaching out to someone can be all it takes to make the difference. Whether it’s a partner, a friend via a simple message or even those on social media, the most important thing to remember is to not isolate myself. There is always someone who will care that I’m OK, and sometimes in the darkest moments, that someone could well be a stranger.
I must remember to reach out to someone who perhaps I haven’t spoken to in a while, just to let them know they are thought of.
Trust your instincts
Wayne Dyer put it perfectly when he said, 'First be a good animal.' I love this quote. It’s perfect on many levels and as with the best teachings, so very simple. I must learn to trust my instincts. I do already have all of the answers.
Finish what you started.
I don't think this necessarily means complete a task to the very end, but to let it be over when it is over. To not leave any unfinished business in any area of my life. From my relationships with people to the mundane day-to-day activities, and everything in between.
~ Day 4 ~
Try something new
Variety is the spice of life, they say. Well whoever 'they' are, I think they may be on to something!
It’s all too easy to get bogged down with everyday life: work, chores, commitments. All of which are important in their own right however there are an indeterminable amount of things to do, places to go, and people to meet that will broaden my horizons, enrich my life, and feed my soul.
The limits I have or see around me are almost always self-imposed.
‘I can’t possibly do that’, ‘What would my friend / Mum / partner think?’, ‘I can’t’, ‘what if’, ‘I’m not good enough’.... How many times have I thought or spoken these words? This has to Stop It. I mean really, just stop.
I need to remove the self-imposed limitations, one shackle at a time, and see then how much I can truly grow.
Expect the unexpected
When I can learn to do this I will remove the dread and worry from any given situation. I guess this isn’t about over-analysing or procrastinating; it’s about considering all the possibilities, working out the solutions, and then going and doing, with the confidence that whatever happens, I am ready for anything, and it is meant to be.
Make time for your loved ones
Hours, days, weeks, and months go by in the blink of an eye and I will then I haven’t spoken to some of the most important people in my life. I have make time for the loved ones in my life.
Love - friendship
Over the last few years I have come to understand that I am so full of love. It’s like it is literally seeping from my pores, especially for the people who have been there for me, seeing me through those dark days. The love I have for them holds no bounds. When I talk of the many different ways that they have been there for me, my heart overflows and runs down my cheeks.
I am beyond blessed to have the people that I do in my life. Though I choose to follow my own path, which sometimes takes me far away from them, they are always in my heart.
Love - Stranger
I am learning to be much more aware of the plight of those less fortunate than me, and to also becoming more comfortable in the knowledge the man sitting next to me on the tube, the lady crossing the street, the teenagers sitting around a park bench, the mums taking their children to school, the taxi drives, farmers, businessmen, artists, performers, homeless people, are all just people, like me.
Taking a moment to look around and see the world, with all of the amazing people in it, sending love out to everyone feels amazing, like a mirror shines the love back to me.
Some things, just have to get done, but I think I would be well at times to slow down and take the time it takes to get the job done well. Sometimes actually taking myself away from any given situation or task, just for a moment to allow my brain to rest, and in so doing enabling me to give more than I would previously have been able to, if had we just pushed on through with no regard.
If it hadn’t been for my ability to literally break down and cry, those huge heart-wrenching tears, when there have been dark times, I know I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this. I’ll take the lows to experience the highs that are now ever present since I have learned to forgive and to be grateful for everyone and everything in my life. My hope is to be able to express those high emotions as easily as I have done the low ones.
I have always considered myself to be quiet a patient person but recently I have opened my eyes to just how untrue this has been at times. A source of frustration for others in my life and something I am acutely aware can most certainly be improved. Especially when it comes to love.
Having spent my whole life chasing a fairytale, to be somewhat dropped in to the reality of life, I still find myself allowing old baggage to tarnish new experiences. I am learning, though have a long way to go before I can be considered anything less than a little uptight.
Where did that go?
What is it with putting something down and forgetting where it is just a few minutes later? I can all too often walk into a room and not have the slightest idea what I went in there for? I guess the trick is to not get frustrated, decide to focus on something else, and allow whatever it was to come back to me.
You are amazing
Do I know how amazing I am? How unique, a one of a kind? That there is no one else on the entire planet, quite like me?
The silence between the notes
The pauses in conversation, the background of a painting, the space between the lines. Sometimes it is in these places I find I can make sense of things, see magnificent beauty and feel great peace.
Don’t think, just do
Procrastination and overthinking has got to be the number one killer of my dreams. Perhaps to weigh up the pros and cons of a decision is good practice but I must not over analyse, for fear of losing the creativity of the process.
Dreams really do come true
I guess not necessarily by magic, more with hard work and dogged determination. They really do come true though, when I put my heart and soul into what I desire.
I already feel like I’m finding me.
I am so much more at peace than just a few days ago. The location I find myself, in this beautiful, tiny little gite, is helping. The younger me would have already been anxious, bored in many ways and wanting to go home.
With no ‘home’ of my own to go back to, I guess finding peace in the here and now is perfect. It’s not that I don't have anywhere to go back to, I know I am welcome at my parent’s homes, as well as with the my amazing friends I was staying with before I came away, but the freedom I feel, not tied to mortgage or rental payments, for now, is beyond anything I could have imagined.
I have spent my whole life searching for the stability of a 'forever home', realising now that the feeling of ‘home’ has been within own heart all along. 'Home is where the heart is'. Only now am I beginning to fully understand what that means. It’s not about who I have given my heart to, or about the house that I live in; it’s about home being inside of me. Wow, what an amazing revelation.
If this is how I feel on day four, I really cannot begin to imagine how peaceful I am going to become over the next 86 days!
~ Day 5 ~
Today was simply sitting, breathing, hearing, but not getting drawn into, the sounds around me. It was everything I believed meditation should, connecting me to the moment, and it brought a great amount of peace with much less gunfire like thoughts.
To love an animal
I don't have children so I cannot compare the love I have for my animals to the way people feel about their children, I know it is very different to any other love I have experienced though.
There is an element of need from an animal because of having taken their freedom away by containing them within our chosen environment. Done out of the need to keep them safe of course, but am I really doing what is best for them?
I don’t have the answers. I know obviously that I couldn’t allow my horses or my dog to roam freely, but while I am in this place of questioning everything in my life, I wonder if I will chose to have animals again in the future.
Like a muscle
Learning new skills and creating new habits is, I feel, much like building new muscle. Stretching myself a little bit every day, creating consistency, and never giving up is what will bring me the rewards I am looking for.
Like today, it’s only day fine and I almost didn't meditate. I had to take the easiest route to complete my task for the day. Which for me was to just sit on the sofa, without expectation, and the result: I got it done! I then got words down on paper and I felt the sense of achievement while affirming how good sticking to the plan feels.
This is something I am currently enjoying learning more about, and beginning to understand the meaning of each area, colour and what it all represents. Plenty more to learn yet though.
It truly feeds my soul. I read a quote recently that I loved; 'Music comes from the heart, it’s why it has beats'.
The sound of music stirs memories and emotions in me like nothing else. It can teleport me back to a different place in time, make me laugh and cry, it can invigorate me, or pull me down into sadness.
What is it I don't love about myself?
Whoa, that came out of left field. The question evokes emotion in me before I even start writing. The short answer is, I don’t really know.
I know that I like myself, that I am a good, moral person whom, if I met, I would really like, I would get along with, laugh with and want to be in my company. I would look up to my strength of character and help me see that I am a perfect human being.
I sit here in this mini gite, with only my little dog to keep me company (He’s snoring by the door, in the sunshine) and for the most part, I’m happy. I yearn though to be with someone, to be held in their arms and feel the love and warmth that can come only from a lover’s embrace, when two souls connect and unite.
I feel so strongly that I am but one half of a whole unit. It is here that the lack of love for myself sits. I know logically though that I must first learn to be happy in my own skin and not rely on the energy of another to complete me.
I guess the strength of feeling I have means that when our souls unite, together we will be greater as a whole than we are currently the sum of the two parts, and that makes me smile from the inside out, while realising I may well still be chasing that fairytale afterall.
What do I not love about myself? The part that is missing, that is all, and that is a true revelation in itself.
~ Day 6 ~
A tough day
I spent a short time on my meditation today and admit to falling asleep, which while on many levels I think is ok, with the amount of sleep I am currently getting, I don’t believe it's necessary during my meditation time. Tomorrow I am committed to taking the time in the morning rather than leaving it until the late evening when I am tired and unenthused.
Make me feel important
This makes me think of a wonderful book a friend recommended to me a few years ago called The Five Love Languages, an easy little read, written by Gary Chapman which takes the reader through the different ways we each give and wish to receive love;
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
My highest priority is a mix on ‘Physical Touch’ and 'Words of affirmation.'
I want to hear that I am loved, thought about, cared for. That I am pretty, sexy, wonderful. I want to be thanked for things that I do but I also want to talk, about everything and nothing. Conversely, I want to sit in silence and just be in each other's arms. A touch on the hand or shoulder, just because, speaks a million words to me.
The book helped me to realise where I could have behaved differently towards previous partners, but I also began to understand that, unless you are both willing to work at the relationship by understanding what the other person needs to feel fully loved and adored, then I could just be fighting a losing battle.
I don’t understand
Sometimes, I just have to accept that I can’t understand every given situation, motive, or act of another person. I must realise that we are all different, unique in our own ways, and love everyone for their own uniqueness.
Will I ever find true love?
Yes, I believe I will, with more belief now than I have ever had before. Through this process of self-discovery, with the books I am reading to help me understand how I can break the old patterns and through the self-development and self-worth that I am building by creating something here that is mine and mine alone, I know that I am becoming the person I want to be. I will attract the people into my life with whom all of those dreams can come true.
It sucks. The effect the chemical imbalance has on the brain is quite ridiculous. For me, it is like having a negative gremlin come and take over my thoughts, where I struggle to sift through the fog and back into the realms of reality. There is a positive side to it too, though, knowing that my body is still functioning in a way that, if I am blessed, will hopefully mean I am still able to have a baby. I can cope with a few days of freakish behaviour; I hope my partner can, too!
I wonder where life will take me next.
I still think it may be to LA. When I found out that my writing buddy was also in LA, I felt then it was meant to be. Perhaps it’s time I looked into other reasons why I would want to visit, aside from chasing another fairytale, to see if it is somewhere I would be interested in going regardless.
You can be anybody you want to be.
Understanding this completely is helping me to change the patterns in my life. Though it does feel like I’m turning a huge vessel in a small dock, it is going in the right direction. Writing these notes from my meditations is certainly helping.
Putting intention into meditation
As I come to the end of the first week, I feel that it is appropriate to put some intention into my meditations. This is, after all, a voyage of self-discovery. I don’t know that the results will be any different but I hope that by meditating in the morning and writing the notes up in the evening, I will be better placed in my day and on a more spiritual track than the way I have worked this week. We shall see!
Wow, what a week! Sitting here now, the 90 days well behind me and with the benefit of hindsight, I am so glad that those first six days were not what meditation, as I know it now, is all about. It was all supposed to come out though, to clear the way for what was to come and I have a huge amount of appreciation of myself for sticking with it, at the beginning of the whole process.
I heard it explained a couple of months later that, as you follow a mediation practice for a longer period of time, the noise starts to dissipate, the clutter gets tidied up, put into boxes, labelled and stacked neatly into its rightful place. But you can only get the clear space inside your head by sifting through all of the clutter first.
Was it completely over? No, but the worst was. It felt as if the fan that had been whirling around in my head had been turned off and the thoughts were able to settle, and start to be made sense of.
I was certainly incredibly grateful as the overall tempo of my meditations slowed, and peace began to ascend.