This year, 2018 is a milestone for me in many ways – I left my good reliable steady job 10 years ago to join the circus (not literally!) and I also turned 40 (a whole other post). Even though I’m not a big follower of celebrating society’s milestones, I felt it was important to mark this turning point. I also hope that my ramblings might serve as some support for you or others navigating life at present.
The task: Write a letter to yourself 10 years ago. What do you know now that you wished you knew then.
It’s me or you, whatever way you see it. It’s 2018 and I wanted to find a way to acknowledge the last 10 years – all of it: the good, the bad and the ugly.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet – you still haven’t learned the art of conciseness 😉
I’ve two words for you: SATURN RETURN. Saturn helps you learn through contraction and oh boy, you’ll feel it. It brings some tough love as it invites you to go back to the root of issues and kicks your ass if you are way off track as it wants you to move to the next level i.e. to be more of who you truly are.
It’s June 2008 and you know what is coming next – you’ve already handed in your notice and by the end of the month you will leave your role as an Audit Manager. You’ve been there 7 years – I won’t get into the gory details but you survived a workplace that had many challenges and personalities. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ was one of the things you said to yourself since setting foot in that place. Now it wasn’t all doom and gloom though you met some fabulous people and had many many laughs.
It was the people that kept you going during those long nights working, the days that started in tears or the hours spent studying. If someone gives you figures now to sort out, it still makes you a happy little bunny.
Remember the ‘team building’ meeting where they brought someone in to boost staff morale and find out why everyone was leaving? Do you remember from quietness in the room someone voiced ‘it’s not exactly as if we are saving lives here’? Yes, that was you – you shocked yourself as much as everyone else! The facilitator asked ‘do you want to be saving lives?’. You never replied but I feel this was bringing you closer to the truth of your values but also your innate nature. You wanted to give something to yourself, others and the world you inhabit.
And so the next chapter of your life began…
What do I know now, that I wish I knew then.
I’m not even going to pretend I have all the solutions at this stage. I’m still learning to ask myself the right questions so that I can hear the clearer answers. There are days I flow and float and days I trip over my size 8’s. I’m still learning and I would not have it any other way.
But if I could share what I have learned over the past 10 years with you it would be as follows:
1. Don’t leap unless…
I heard someone say ‘jump if you know a) how to fly b) how to build wings on the way down or c) you don’t mind hitting the bottom’… You leaped without really thinking it through – just say it as it is. You threw yourself from the frying pan of accounting into the frying pan of starting a business.
It definitely didn’t help that about 4 weeks after you left your job the ‘Economy Crash of 2008’ happened. Remember to Breath!
Spoiler alert: What happens next – all your shit comes up! You leap but you’re foundations are shaky with fear and worry about what is coming next. You carry the guilt of leaving a ‘good financially secure job for life’ the kind of security your parents dreamed for you. The guilt of letting them down, burdening them with having to tell people or avoiding telling people what you do for a living…. Accountant V’s Healer – complete opposites!
You’ve some work to do before you even begin to see that you’ve lifted yourself of the ground. Go easy on yourself, Roseleen. You are one stubborn woman (which I know acknowledge as resilience). You won’t and don’t give up even though you feel like a boa constrictor is constantly squeezing you. All this inner work will lay the foundations for your life in the future.
Take your time in deciding where you want to focus your energy. Don’t think you need to be doing it the way everyone else is. Get the support you need, it’s worth the investment. Don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from your mistakes. Dream and think big – you’ve nothing to lose. You’ll find your feet in a couple of years and eventually get used to the change that is constantly happening.
You’ve already leaped so start building your strong foundations to support you.
2. You don’t plant the seed and eat the fruit the next day
You think there is somewhere to be and you want to get there now. Wherever ‘there’ is! There is no where else you need to be other than where you are. Looking for ‘there’ will only distract you, move you further from you path and drive you crazy.
Rebecca Campbell has a beautiful phrase ‘create a life’s work, not a season’. You’ll get trapped in the comparison cycle, thinking everyone has it sorted and knows exactly what they are doing. They don’t…
You’re work will change and evolve over the course of the years as you shift and change. Let it change. Let it die and be reborn. You’ll plant a few seeds along the way that aren’t for you. You’ll learn to trust your feeling and ideas that come to you. You’ll learn to put your energy into projects that feed and nourish you.
Some projects will take time and maybe even years to blossom. Trust in the timing. You need to grow into the person who can hold these teachings from an embodied and integrated practice. Mastery takes times but it will be worth it.
3. Remember the small things add up
“While I do believe in thinking big, I don’t think it’s the big things we achieve that ultimately make our life worth living” ~ Kate Northrup
It’s the little things that count. How you can make a difference to someone’s day and your own day – the walk in the park listening to the birds, the eye contact with a shop keeper, the hugs welcoming home your partner, the laughs with your friends, the ‘ready steady go’ game with your nieces and nephew, the drive across the Derry bridge as the gateway to knowing you’re near home in Donegal, the ability to sit with your partner and be honest, open and vulnerable in how you can’t see a way forward.. for them to hold you and ask you the questions to help you find your way out.
It the small changes in your ways of thinking & being that have the biggest changes. It’s easy to get lost in looking for the Big Change but it’s the little ones that add up. When you wake up one morning and find that the little harsh inner critic has decided to give up his tenancy and moved on. When you allow yourself to rest rather than pushing forward. When you do one thing everyday to move you forward in the direction of your dream. When you pause to celebrate how far you’ve come and all you’ve navigated, and when you step away from still aligning your life to 9-5 way of being (do, do, do and produce) and start creating your own flexible days (flow, rest, nourish, create, birth, experience, align).
Think big and aim big and remember to make space for all the little things that make life precious, amazing and inspiring.
4. It’s ok to think and see things differently
“Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort and letting it be there, until some light returns” – Anne Lamott
10 years ago the world of ‘healing’ was a very different place – pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows is what you’ll call it after that song of the same namesake. You don’t dismiss that ‘airy fairy’ side of healing but it’s just not what you are looking for as you are trying to navigate the depths of ‘death’ in your life.
Hear this – you are not crazy for all the feelings churning inside of you, you are not ‘too dark’ for healing as you can’t ‘positively’ think your way out of pain; you are not a fraud; you are not alone, you are not broke and more importantly you are not going to be feeling this way forever. Trust me.
All these experiences will make you You. You just aren’t a ‘love and light’ kind of girl. You’re a woman who understands the benefits of healing the inner terrain (the juicy lower chakra work) so that we can anchor down more light / love into ourselves and the world around us. Someone recently told you that groundedness is your superpower – you know that you can’t fly your way out of pain and that true change is the change we feel within and then ripples out into the world around you.
It’s ok to think and see things differently as this is your unique path. I know it feels lonely as you can’t find the people who are willing to have honest conversation around both sides of healing – the pleasure and the pain. You will eventually meet them and then a new cycle will begin.
So embrace who you are!
5. Keep Going
“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives” – Marianne Williamson
‘I am f**king done. I am going back to Accountancy’ and ‘this is too hard’ is your internal dialogue for the first few years. One of your feet is gently keeping the back door of accountancy open, just in case… Yet every part of you knows you won’t and can’t go back.
You’ll find the right guide for you and he’ll support you to open the box of ‘darkness’ and hold space for the grief to arise. It will be the start of a new cycle where you’ll hear people speak and use words that resonate with you. You’ve been holding these musings within as you thought they were ‘too dark, too heavy, too much’. In reality, you carry within you what everyone carries – pain. Yet, no one talks about it, as ‘pain’ doesn’t sell.
A whole world will open you up to were you see that others think like you, that you’re not alone. Words such as ‘cycles, life -death-rebirth, wounds, the only way out is through, feel your feelings, root down to rise up’ all speak to your heart. They give you hope as you see that pain is a sign and a part of the cycle of life i.e. every ending has a new beginning and every beginning comes from an ending.
Endings are a part of life. You see that you’ve been getting stuck in the endings. Terrified of what they will bring. You forget it’s beginnings.
Around 2016 Shadow work and talk begins trending – I kid you not! It’s great to see this happening.
On the days you feel like giving up, keep going. There is always ebbs and flows. Things are constantly changing for the better, even though it might not feel like it at the time.
6. Healing isn’t linear and the journey is inward
You already sense this but you haven’t found the words for it yet. You’ll read books where people are saying ‘once I found XYZ my life aligned and everything flowed’. As if when you find this XYZ thing, the whole world opens up to you, everything aligns and you never have to experience pain or suffering again. If only it was a simple story of Pain – The Awakening – Happy Ever After.
You’re doing the work and you’re still feeling the pain so you think there is something wrong with you. You think you’re missing some key aspect or that it’s not possible for you. Know that healing takes time – there is no handbook, no 10 step program, no one pathway – it’s a unique journey of lifting the veils of conditioning and remember our true selves beneath all the masks we wear and all the stories we tell ourselves.
It’s could be seen as a story of Pain – Awakening – Healing – Challenge – Growth – Healing – Joy – Peace – Pain – Awakening… a cycle with it’s own course and length. Growth can be painful but not always. Awakening can be painful but not always. How you approach it will make all the difference. Don’t resist the growth, surrender to it the best you can. It might not always be pretty but it will be worth it.
You’ll attend workshops and courses thinking the next tool / technique will be the one that really makes the difference.. the one that unlocks it all. Chasing all these courses keeps you outside of yourself, thinking that someone else or something else has the answers.
Here is the answer: stop, pause and do the internal work. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Sit and be with yourself and the chaos that’s arising from within. All the fancy and high vibrations won’t make the difference if you can’t sit with yourself.
You’ll do the work and this personal experience and learning will allow you in turn to sit with others in their challenges and relate to them.
7. Be Happy Where You Are
“Beware of Destination Addiction – a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are”. – Robert Holden
When.. when… when?
This is a pattern that floats beneath the radar for a long time. It stems back to the ‘not enough’… where you are isn’t enough, what you are doing isn’t enough, who you are isn’t enough and thereby as a knock on effect there just isn’t enough – time, money, fun etc… Practicing gratitude doesn’t nip it in the butt as it’s so deeply ingrained in you. After a healing session it eventually shifts and everything is different. You are actually happy with where you are.
All the external things are the same however, how you perceive them has changed. As you move towards what you want, you’ll learn to be happy with what you have whilst moving towards your goals / dreams.
8. Do Less, Be More
healing yourself will ask more of you
more self love
more letting go
more time for learning
more space for transformation
more honesty about how you feel
more time developing good habits
more courage to try new practices
more time cultivating your inner peace
more faith in yourself and the process ~ Yung Pueblo
Pushing and striving isn’t going to get you anywhere faster. You’ll see that those periods of time where you are nourishing yourself are actually the times when things flow and you feel more connected and happier with yourself. Yet, you’ll forget and go back to pushing and forcing. It’s okay, you’re learning to be comfortable with slowing down and feeding the feminine energy within you.
You’ll learn that having boundaries will actually support you in being more. Saying you’ll fit in ‘rest, self practice, yoga, nature, art’ after everything else gets done isn’t the best way to feed your soul, your creative energy or energy levels. You’ll learn to decide that Being is a non-negotiable, it’s equally as important as fixing the website, replying to emails or creating new projects. You’ll find that when you shift to that mindset you’ll have more energy and will be kinder to yourself and others as opposed to being resentful of not getting to do the things that are important to you.
9. Go out and explore
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” ~ Jonah Lehrer
You thought that being an accountant would be a good idea as it’s a job you can take anywhere in the world. You imagined a world of accountancy – flexibility, freedom and being able to travel. As you know, you didn’t get to travel the length of yourself whilst working.
You’ve made up for it since. You’ve been privileged to travel to different places and sit in many ceremonies over the world. Travel fills you up – you always come back with a new perspective.
You go to places that spark a call in your soul and some you’ll return to many times such as Bali, Mexico and Glastonbury.
A little part of you would like to live abroad until you begin to truly see the deep healing in knowing your own roots and the land upon which you are living. The wildness of Ireland is something that you can’t find in many places – the untamed land, the blustery wind of the west, the healing sound of the sea crushing against the rocks.
You’ve always seen the beauty in the land but you will eventually hear her speak and call to you. You’ll trace the leylines through Ireland and some in England with your two partners in crime. The sacred sites and mountains will be a source of inspiration & healing for you.
So pack your bags and go explore…
One Final Thing
“It’s your road, and yours alone, other may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you”. ~ Rumi
I won’t give it all away but you’re going to be fine… more than fine. I know you and I know you’ve the strength, willpower and resilience to get through all that is yet to come. Your kindness and groundedness are superpowers remember! You don’t need to be anyone else besides yourself.
Life is a spiral to be danced – clumsily, awkwardly and sometimes gracefully!
It’s was your 40th a few weeks ago and you’ll be treating it as a new cycle – so thank you younger Roseleen for all that you have taught me. I am who I am because of all the ebbs and flows and the ups and downs that you’ve experienced along your journey.
May your heart be open to this next cycle and what is yet to come!
Believe in yourself. Love yourself. Be Yourself.
For those wishing to leap who are reading this
I’d say go for it but don’t leap blindy (unless you enjoy it and fair play to you if you do)… have faith and some sort of plan as that plan will inevitable change along the way as it’s meant to… I’m all for ‘build it and they will come’ but it might take them a while to come so a little dash of common sense goes far.
Know that you will meet challenges and will be invited to grow as that it is the purpose of life. It’s not a leap, find a spot and stay there forever sort of storytale… it’s a reclaiming of yourself and your life. It’s deciding that you are the driving force in your life. It’s knowing that you only have one life here so who or what are you living yours for? We are taught to consume, to do, to push and strive but what if we were to also listen, be still, go inward and nourish our inner world and soul.
The buts… yes there will be the buts.. but all buts can be sat with and worked through. It’s usually our terrified mind clinging onto a sense of security as you wish to unravel all that we’ve been told we ‘should’ have and ‘should’ be doing. You can learn to live differently if you wish.
Make a plan, get the support systems in place, do one thing everyday that moves you in the direction of your intention, create space, learn from trial and error, dust yourself off and try again, do your inner work…. and then bit by bit you’ll find you’ll feel much more like yourself and see the beauty in life.
And remember, bring the blessings out to the world around us – family, friends and community so true change can happen. What’s the point of it all, if not to share it.