Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sssh!

Sssh!

Don't tell Nige, but I made him this very lovely card this afternoon to show him my huge heart bursting with love and gratitude for him. It will be waiting for him this evening when he comes home from work.

I love you Nige xxx

Only the Love is real xxx

Saturday, 10 December 2011

What Matters Now


  1. What Matters Now (Inspired by Seth Godin): Think about the here and now. What matters most to you right now? How are you going to nurture what matters in during 2012?

What matters to me right now.
What matters to me right now?

What matters to me is this:
- Nige and my relationship with him. Mighty companions, soft place to land. 

- My work as a teacher. I am finding that the more I teach, the more I realise that living my 'purpose' in this life isn't about reaching or preaching to thousands of people, as my ego would like it to be. It's about the daily connections. It's about me remembering that, as the Buddhists teach, this one in front of me, this one, is brother, sister, mother, father and child to me. We are all connected. The people I am meant to reach, I will meet. I don't need to scramble around anymore, looking for some elusive life purpose when right here, right now, there are so many people who need help remembering the truth about themselves, just like me.

- My friendships. What I don't want you to know is that I feel ashamed of the ways I have behaved at different times this year. What I don't want you to know is that I believe I am a failure at friendships. What I don't want you to know is that sometimes I feel awkward and don't know how to connect, especially with women. What I don't want you to know is that I believe that I am disposable, that people don't really need me to be their friend because there will be someone better out there for them. And yet... and yet you matter to me. And despite the snide whispered evaluation of my worth inside my mind, I have an inkling that deep down, I matter to you too.

- The Clearmind community that I am a part of and the work that we do in that community to remember the truth about ourselves and each other, ACIM style. I am starting to work on the winter issue of The Ripple magazine, and I acknowledge the deep desire that is swelling up from within to create something that will have a deep and powerful ripple effect.

- Choosing to mind the gap. Compulsive eating has reared its head in my life again recently, and what matters to me right now is choosing to walk a path of freedom away from a personal hell. One step at a time.

- My sisters. Rosie, Daisy and Edie, you are so important to me.

- My mum, my dad(s), my grandparents. I intend to stay in touch more in 2012. Starting now.

- Love, love, love.

- GIVING MYSELF AN F-ING BREAK.

- Slowing way down; being here now.


  1. Reframing (Inspired by Patrick Rhone): How are you framing yourself and your life? Could you reframe things going into 2012?

I don't know if you've noticed two thought systems running inside your mind. I have. They are both available to me in every moment. One runs on fear, toxicity and shame. The other, love. On any given day, I frame my life according to one of these two mindsets. The way I am currently framing my life looks something like this...

I am heading for financial ruin. (Everything will be just fine.)

I need to find a 'proper' job, otherwise I'm going to end up thousands of pounds in debt. (I'm exactly where you're meant to be. I'm being taken care of - who knows what exciting things are just around the corner!)

I am a bad friend. I don't keep in touch with my friends enough and I don't make an effort to go and see them enough. I am too scared to even pick up the phone and just say hi. (I am kind, loving and loyal. I love my friends. I want to know about their lives. I do the best I can to stay in touch. I recognize that I am afraid to reach out some days, and that is okay. Every moment is a chance to start again.)

My relationship is falling apart. (Only the love is real between us. I can choose again... and again... and again. I am kind, caring and really, really doing the best I can. Relationships aren't easy! So gentleness and a willingness to take a risk to be intimate are vital. Especially gentleness. Being cruel to myself won't help me to be present in my relationship with Nige. Gently does it Ell... you have come from a pretty dysfunctional family, and perhaps this is a time of growing pains. Just keep coming back to love. One step at a time.)

The women's circle I started is not growing because I haven't even bothered to invite anyone else. (You do go on, don't you? Won't you ever give the poor girl a break? No wonder she's not sleeping at night! For your information, the women's circle is going just fine. I am learning with each one, and have learned some pretty big lessons very early on. For this I am grateful.)

I am a total bitch. Look how I treated Nige in the gym the other day. I can't even control my moods. I am worse than a teenager and a toddler. I should know better. (I am innocent. In those moments when I act out, I am simply afraid. I can choose to do it differently. Besides, not every workout has been like that. There is something here for me to see and learn. I am doing the best I can.)

This is how I'm framing my life. This morning I have chosen to give a lot more space, time and thought to the second thought system. Sometimes I feel like the only one that exists is the first one - the one that batters me, tosses me about, hurls me against the same brick wall again and again, slamming my face against concrete and leaving me feeling utterly desperate. But then... then... then I find just one moment of freedom: I glance at the sky, or out to sea. I take a long, deep, conscious breath. I stop and reassure myself. And even if it doesn't sink in, I know this - that somewhere, it does. That love is real, that the fear I feel is of my own making, that it's all make believe inside my head. It is not the outside situation that determines the meaning. It is me who gives meaning to everything that happens in my life. And I am committing to continuing to allow my life to mean one thing: that only the love is real in any situation. 

Only the love is real.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Blog of the year

Dec 5: Blog Find of the Year (Inspired by Gwen Bell): Share the love — which blog did you discover this year?


I discovered - although I can't recall quite how - and subsequently completely fell in love (and, let me be honest, envy) with Goddess Leonie's Goddess Guidebook.


This blog has everything that I love - eccentricity, colour, beauty, love, support, creativity, bundles of fun, and the most gorgeous little creature in the form of Leonie's gorgeous daughter Ostara (who is hilarious!)


You know, the thing about discovering something I love though is also watching that part of my mind which goes to a place of envy or jealousy. I can practically hear the whingeing in my head. A wise friend once guided me to look at jealousy as a roadmap indicating where I possibly want to go, rather than letting it simply eat away at me inside, which it does if left untended to. It starts to fester and turn icky, making me a not very nice person and really not in touch with the beauty of my life.


My personal growth quandary aside, her blog is amazing - she writes about meditation, spirituality, mamahood, soulful business, healing, and creativity. In fact, she's one of the most ridiculously prolific creators i've come across. I am in awe of her. Head on over and check her out!

Dec 6: Local Love: Tell us about a local business you discovered this year. What makes them stand out from the crowd?


Moving to lovely Steyning this year was not at all influenced by the presence of one of the best tea rooms in West Sussex at the top of the high street. Oh no; I was and am completely immune to its quaint charm, delicious savoury cream teas (cheese and apple scones, yum), great coffee, wonderful Assam, cute cute cute nick knacks available to purchase, beverages served in china teapots and crockery, and the brand new vintage shop upstairs. Doesn't get me excited at all. 


*Seriously though, this place is just gorgeous! Check it out here while I await permission to use a lovely photograph of it.*


Heaven has heart-shaped scones and tea in it. Definitely.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Enough already

I am enough.
I am enough.
i AM ENOUGH
. I AM ENOUGH.
I am enough.
I AM ENOUGH.
I ... am ... E-NOUGH
I
am 
enough.
I am enough.
I am enough!
I am enough
i am enough... enough enough enough
I am enough!
I am enough!!
I am enough!
i am enough, enough, enough.
Just the way I am.

And so are you.
Can you let that in today? Let it sink deeply in. Because it is true.

Friday, 2 December 2011

One Word & Community

Two Reverb 11 prompts for you today!


One Word (Written by Gwen Bell): Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?


Community (Written by Cali Harris): Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2011? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2012?


One word
Hm, encapsulate 2011 in one word? That's tough. I've been thinking about this for about 36 hours now (not constantly, mind!), and the word that has come up for me is 'Kaleidoscope'. This year has been a whirlwind of colours, emotions and experiences. I've lived through desperation, exhilaration, connection, isolation, newness, longevity, times of breathtaking beauty and others of bleak greyness.


Many months ago, whilst immersed in the middle of a process centred around my purpose and how that might manifest in my work in the world (an ongoing process, I might add), I made this picture.



I think it pretty much sums up what my year has been like. 

One thing I can't say about 2011 is that it's been dull. Whether it's been cycling over the top of the Yorkshire Moors at 3mph in crazily strong head-on winds with my beloved Nige or cycling downhill at 45mph, assisting conscious connected breathing exercises in a life-changing workshop, teaching English to people from all over the world (including, I admit, a country I had never heard of before - Turkmanistan), or the myraid other experiences I've had, I have, despite all my fears and worries, lived a colourful, multi-faceted, explorative, delicious year. It's been pretty f-ing wonderful, to be honest with you.

And my word for 2012?

I have been so busy trying to think of a word for 2011 that I'm not quite ready to reveal my 2012 word yet. You'll have to wait and see! (Um, so will I). 

Community

Communing, being in community, is something I've craved in the last couple of years of my life - and I am delighted that looking back on the year, it's been there in many different ways.

- Henfield Theatre Company has provided me with a really down-to-earth, fun way of connecting with people from all walks of life. Being in two shows plus a concert gave me a place to connect with people twice a week.
- This lovely blog, and the blogs I love to readPainted Path, Inner Bliss, Backdoor to the Moon, For-giving For-getting and Everything In Between, aLifeness, What We Create, Lori Portka, People Like Us - are just some of the wonderful places I adore hanging out.
- Moving to the village of Steyning and beginning to get to know people has given me a tangible experience of community.
- Teaching English as a foreign language - EFL schools are like mini communities in themselves, and I've worked at two different schools which I have loved.
- Doing the Screw Work Let's Play 30 day challenge was like taking steroids for community building. Wicked experience, but really intense (not sustainable for me in the long run - I was online, connecting with people and their projects, for way too long for it to be something I could've kept up for longer than a month.) John Williams in his wisdom closed the community after the challenge finished, and now a bunch of us continue to connect on Facebook.
- Cycling and meeting other cyclists. It's like being in a club with no official membership card, but discovering that other people are in it is very exciting to my inner child. Just yesterday I learned that one of the teachers at school is also a road cyclist and I wanted to jump up and down, swap stories and compare routes.
- I hope that the women's circle in Steyning will continue to grow and provide a point of connection and community for the women in the village and the surrounding areas.
- Working at the editor of Clearmind International's online magazine, as well as assisting on The Awakening workshop, is quite simply the most incredible experience of community. I would love everyone I know to try this work. It is heaven on earth.

In 2012, I intend to continue with the above, but particularly to strengthen my sense of community and communion with women (we are unreservedly amazing, every single one of us, and I have learned so much this year about being a woman), both online and face to face at the women's circle. 

I promise myself and you that I will get the mailing list up and running. I've been suffering a bit of writer's block around this... But I think the solution is to be real, authentic and honest, pretty much how I try to be in my life.

I am going to grow my work with women in a number of exciting ways, including my first ever women's one day workshop in London (email me for more info! elloabarbour@gmail.com) and at least one e-course to be launched in early 2012... more on this soon!

Your turn!! What is your one word, and where and how have you experienced community this year... and what's your vision for the next 13 months?! xxxxxx

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Let's Reverb!!

Kaileen Elise has this to say:


"December 2010 was memorable. Alongside Gwen Bell and Cali Harris, I poured my heart into a passion project we called Reverb 10. It was an online community initiative with daily prompts for the entire month. 
The month’s focus was on sharing stories, featuring inspired authors, and diving deep."


Things are different this year; Gwen, one of the founders of Reverb 10, has chosen not to participate this year. The initiative is in our hands. I am going with a lady called Meredith's prompts (below) to make this December a time of reflection, completion and diving deep as I love to do.


I would love it if you'd join me.


So, here they are: the 31 prompts I'm using this December... (thanks to Meredith!)





    1. Reverb: How did your 2011 shape up? Did it meet your expectations? Did your words manifest during 2011?
    2. One Word (Written by Gwen Bell): Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?
    3. Community (Written by Cali Harris): Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2011? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2012?
    4. Book (Inspired by Gwen Bell): What was your favorite book this year? Why?
    5. Blog Find of the Year (Inspired by Gwen Bell): Share the love — which blog did you discover this year?
    6. Local Love: Tell us about a local business you discovered this year. What makes them stand out from the crowd?
    7. Project (Inspired by Gwen Bell): What project did you start this year? How did it go? What will you start next year?
    8. Map: Imagine a map existed, guiding you towards your dreams. Try to envision the route. How are you going to map out your dreams for 2012?
    9. What Matters Now (Inspired by Seth Godin): Think about the here and now. What matters most to you right now? How are you going to nurture what matters in during 2012?
    10. Reframing (Inspired by Patrick Rhone): How are you framing yourself and your life? Could you reframe things going into 2012?
    11. Time: Time is a valuable resource. Did you spend 2011 wisely? What can you do to maximize your time during 2012?
    12. Health: How did you treat your body this year? You only get this one vessel one time around. How will you treat your body next year?
    13. Path (Inspired by Patrick Rhone): Patrick Rhone tweeted “some times the best path chooses you.” What path has chosen you?
    14. Follow Your Heart (Inspired by Teresa Deak): Where will you follow your heart to in 2012?
    15. Travel (Inspired by Tara Hunt and Gwen Bell): Think of a place, trip, or event that really resonated with you. Tell us about it, how you felt, what you did, who you were with, etc.
    16. Foodie Friday, Reverb Style: Food nourishes us. Some foods give us more enjoyment than others. Share your favorite food moment of 2011. Describe the food, where you got it, and/ or how you made it.
    17. Wisdom (Written by Susannah Conway): What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
    18. Action (Written by Scott Belsky):When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
    19. Appreciate (Written by Victoria Klein): What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
    20. Lesson Learned (Written by Tara Weaver): What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
    21. Healing (Written by Leoni Allan): What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2012?
    22. Beyond Avoidance (Written by Jake Nickell): What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)
    23. Achieve (Written by Tara Sophia Mohr): What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.
    24. Photo (Written by Tracey Clark): Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
    25. Gift (Written by Holly Root): This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?
    26. Defining Moment (Written by Kathryn Fitzmaurice): Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.
    27. Stories (Inspired by Molly O’Neill): What stories touched your heart this year? How will you find and cultivate the stories of 2012?
    28. Insightful Peace (Inspired by Kate Inglis): Describe a moment in which you felt at peace, gained insight of your situation, and/ or realized everything would be okay.
    29. New Friends (Inspired by Martha Mihalick): Tell us how a new friend changed your life or perspective this year.
    30. Letting Go (Inspired by Alice Bradley): What do you need to let go of to move forward in 2012?
    31. Resolution: Did you stick to your 2011 resolution(s)? What’s your resolution(s) for 2012?


  • Where did 2011 begin? (Wrote this and then chose different prompts to follow.. from tomorrow I'll be using the ones above)


    2011 began in a working men's club, dancing to 'Time Of My Life' from Dirty Dancing as Nige concluded a great night of DJing. There were firemen, there was a broken arm or leg (I can't remember which) and there was dodgy dancing galore. We went for a New Year's kebab and fell into bed full of hope and expectation.


    At the start of the year, I was working for Think Productive as their Public Workshop Manager and Finance Administrator - a job which came out of me asking if I could intern with Graham Allcott and which saw me become CEO in a matter of months. I starred as a vampish Temple Maiden in a local pantomime, "The Pompeii Panto" and had my first proper crash on my mountain bike, injuring my neck and putting me off of off-road mountain biking for good.


    I was still lodging at the time and was itching to move in with Nige - who had just proposed! On 1st January then, I was a fiancee for the third day in my whole life. It was a magical, heart-fluttering experience and I beamed from ear to ear for days.


    I set intentions for the year (which, surprise surprise, I didn't entirely stick to - except for the intention to spend time with my gorgeous - and very funny - friend Liz at least once a month. That one we have stuck to. Love you Liz.) 


    All in all, 2011 shaped up to be a pretty massive year.
    Here are some key highlights:


    - Got made a CEO. Then quit my job.
    - Became Editor of a quarterly international personal development magazine, The Ripple.
    - Starred in Annie! as a baddie alongside Nigey :)
    - Started a women's circle
    - Assisted on a life-changing workshop
    - Got a road bike
    - Went on my first proper two day cycling tour with Nige
    - Rode 45 miles and hour downhill - aaaaarrrrrrgggggghh!
    - Watched - and fell passionately in love with - Le Tour de France
    - Returned to English Teaching
    - Moved in with my beautiful soul mate
    - Got a stunning engagement ring
    - Got paid to write for the first time in my life
    - Witnessed a birth
    - Became a Godmother
    - Saw family every month
    - Did the Best Year Yet process (amazing)
    - Took singing lessons and sang a solo in a concert
    - Finished a diploma in Life Coaching
    - Got careers coaching
    - Started gardening
    - Started weight training consistently
    - Said Yes to choreographing a musical in 2012
    - Gave blood, found out my bloody type and started eating right for my type (A, the vegetarian type, if you're interested)
    - Did the Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge
    - Made amazing new friends (Lian, Anna, Helene.... you rock)
    - Strengthened and deepened other friendships (Brooke, Julia, Liz, Alia, Nige, Lisa Marie)
    - Let go of other ones... Sending love your way
    - Rode my bike a LOT
    - Was angry a lot, sad a lot, joyful a lot, in love a lot, fearful a lot, alive A LOT
    - Started to slip again around binge eating
    - Grew my hair from a crop to shoulder length (but I think I might get it all chopped off again... ssh!)


    All in all, not a bad year at all :)


    Love,
    Elloa xx

    Friday, 25 November 2011

    Wake Up Call

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honourably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door
    and invite them in.

    RUMI

    Funny how we stumble upon things sometimes. This poem says far more eloquently than I could have what I have been going through - what I am going through. This, it seems, is some kind of dark night. I am beginning to acknowledge that I have been feeling weird for a little while in my life. Something not sitting quite right in my life. 

    So often, I make that something a thing external to me - a situation, relationship, work, project, or behaviour. But those things, those conflicts and troubles, are simply reflections of what is happening within.

    A number of years ago, I began to extricate myself from a framework that I had built my whole life within and around for a number of years. That framework was 'recovery', as described in 12 step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous. I spent a number of years using this model, which says that addiction is a disease and that recovery is a process that is ongoing throughout life. Freedom, happiness and joy are available in recovery, but be very clear that once an addict, always an addict in the sense that you will never be totally free of the illness.

    I am a student of A Course in Miracles, which states that in this world there are two and only two thought systems - a thought system based on love, and one based on fear. ACIM teaches unequivocally that only one of them is real - love; the other (fear) is an illusion, however convincing and real it might appear to be. It also says that 'Everyone teaches, and teaches all the time', and that in every single moment, we are either teaching love or fear to ourselves and to one another. What I teach, I reinforce in myself. What I put out, I make stronger in myself.

    I came to a place a number of years ago where I got really fed up of 'teaching' that I was a broken person with some kind of illness or disease, rather than simply a child of God who has, on a cosmic level, deeply forgotten the Truth of who I really am. I began to see my life and my journey differently. I felt trapped rather than empowered by the 12 step model. And so I walked away, contradicting the key message which is to 'Keep coming back' - initially to keep your own recovery going, and secondly, and crucially, to carry the message of recovery to the addict who still suffers.

    For a number of years, things have been really, really okay. Yes, of course, I've overindulged with food at times. Yes, sometimes I've been obsessed with my weight. My body size has gone up and down. And, I have experienced freedom, joy and peace that is simply unattainable in active addiction. I haven't missed berating myself for 'being an addict'. I have really had time and space to question, explore and remember that first and foremost I am a person. At times when I was very involved in 12 step fellowships, I found myself unable to relate to other people. I felt different. I thought I was in a unique group of people who were strangely superior because of their extreme responses to life - the highs, the lows and the irrational and self-destructive behaviour so prevalent in active addiction - and dare I say, in addicts. I experienced a sick kind of arrogance about still having 'crazy' relationships, head or family interactions, about never being able to move beyond my brokenness. It was a burden, being an addict. It plagued me and I started to believe that certain things in life would always elude me, such as a loving, healthy relationship.

    I stepped away from 12 step and began to rediscover myself as a woman, as a dancer, as a shaman, as an explorer, as a writer, as a lover, as a soulful, creative being. I made mistakes, sure, but over time, I let go of a lot of the terminology and practised what I study in ACIM. The lack of love in my life wasn't down to me being an addict or 'ill' in some way - it was just an area where I'd forgotten who I really was and where there was a lack of love.

    Which is all well and good, and has been so important for me to experience.
    But today, I sat by a pond and looked at the sky and admitted something that I've been denying and denying - that I am having some kind of a relapse with binge eating. If eating disorders are an illness in the way that eczema is, then this period in my life is one in which I am 'flaring up'.

    Here are my 'dirty' secrets.

    I have been eating secretly, getting closer and closer to the cusp of the No Man's Land that is bingeing. Not quite bingeing, but beginning to slip and slide towards that awful, deadening, horrendous territory that kills my spirit and cuts me off from life. It was just the odd thing for a while, sneaking chocolate while my beloved was out or ordering the most sugary piece of cake on the menu and eating it even though I didn't really want it (this is key), but I can't deny that prowling the dessert aisles in Tesco or eating a full packet of chocolate biscuits on the bus home or buying and hiding food and then eating it when I'm in the house on my own is happy, joyous and free. 

    I have been trying to comfort myself, and trying to hurt myself. Food is one of my oldest and best ways of doing that.

    While I think that it's the external stuff that concerns me about my behaviour - namely that I'll start to put weight on, that I will waste a lot of money, and time - what is truly frightening is the effect it has on my spirit. Very quickly, I come to a place of thinking about death. A lot. And not wanting to be here, in this body. Life begins to feel pointless, exhausting, devastating, lonely. It begins to feel this way and then a huge wave threatens to engulf me and I don't know how I'm going to be able to keep going.

    It has begun to feel this way recently.

    I so related to this piece of art when I saw it a few years ago.
    I lived in this place, experiencing relief from it only on days when I was so cut off and shut down, or stressed out and consumed by perfectionism, for days and days and days that sprawled endlessly into months and years. It is hell. It is torture. And I do not want to go back.

    And yet... I find myself acting out, and each time I do, that awful place begins to seep into my life a little bit more.

    So it seems that there is work to be done. I want to welcome in this guest, as Rumi so beautifully said, allowing it to come in and clear me out in order to make way for new delight. If there is something I need to get clarity on, know, understand or express, let it surface. If there are beliefs I am dragging around, let them emerge. I have seen too much of life in the last few years to truly want to re-enter active addiction. But I must be doing all this secret eating for a reason.

    Today I wore an elastic band around my wrist (a fucking great tool that Nige thought up. Sorry to swear but despite my resistance it is so helpful). Every time I noticed that I was having a fear-based thought, I twanged the band. This has so many brilliant effects. It brings me back into my body. It brings me back into the moment. It reminds me that there are my thoughts, and then there are my Thoughts. I do not have to listen to every thought. I can stop and challenge and question them. As I twanged away, catching myself over and over, I began to feel myself come to life again, a sugar hangover having left me depleted physically, spiritually and emotionally.

    Questions need to be answered at this time - honestly, in the cold light of these November days.

    What am I committed to?
    What, truly, is my goal?
    Am I willing to do whatever it takes to move through this and return to love?
    Am I ready to ask for help?

    Today, realising the seriousness of the situation I am in - last time I started to sink into binge eating, it swallowed a couple of years of my life - gave me a humility and a willingness to surrender that I badly need.

    Addict or not, I need help.
    I accept that for today, there is an urge in me to seek oblivion through food.
    I realise that the result is that I become cut off from myself and others - and crucially, so crucially, from God.
    I remember that I have a choice, and that even though I must eat, I can definitely choose loving, safe foods.
    I can pray and ask for the desire to binge to be removed.
    I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.
    I can choose to be honest, despite the huge resistance to posting this and to being seen to be in a mess, weak and not a teacher to anyone.

    I am in the business of saving my life here. If that means I am 'not ready' to coach, teach, lead workshops or circles or anything else, then so be it. I will not wear a mask and pretend that everything is fine. I see this happening so often in the world, and it breaks my heart (there are people in my orbit with awful, awful things happening and they will not take the risk to reach out and ask for help). I will show them and myself that it is safe to be vulnerable, by being real, transparent and honest.

    And you know what? It is actually a relief to have written this tonight. Despite the overpowering thoughts I had earlier about sneaking cake and biscuits, I didn't do it. Here I sit at twenty to ten, and although my head is aching, I feel clearer. I know I am going to bed tonight proud of me, more connected, in a state of surrender rather than self will, and feeling grateful. I want to be here in the land of the living with you.

    Will you walk with me awhile?

    Love,
    Elloa xx

    Tuesday, 22 November 2011

    All Over The Place

    I feel all over the place today. I am struggling to settle.

    I woke up and my beloved wasn't in bed next to me. Immediately, a wave of sadness and aloneness washed over me. I padded into the living room expecting to find him in a standing meditation. I was greeted by a lit tealight burning in stillness, an angel statue and soft music - but no Nige; only the afterglow of his presence.

    Anxious, I headed down the hallway to our second-bedroom-come-office, wondering if he'd gone out on his bike and realizing that I had a real sense of needing to connect with him this morning. Last night something happened which really upset me, core beliefs and deep wounds engulfing my body, heart and mind. I felt lost, alone, unworthy, unloveable, and ashamed as Nige and I drove back home, and it took a long pep talk with myself to coax me into sharing what was going on with him.

    I wanted so much to be reassured by Nige this morning, to be held in his arms until all my fears and doubts melted away. Feeling very vulnerable wasn't on my agenda as I headed home yesterday afternoon; I spent the weekend assisting and supporting at a deeply transformative, life-changing, mindblowing workshop and had experienced, given and received so much love that I really wasn't expecting to conclude the whole experience with a sense of overwhelming brokenness.

    As I stepped through the doorway into our office, there was Nige sitting at his computer, dressed and ready for work, a poem in front of him on the screen. I stopped, hoping he would stand up and come over to me, give me a hug and say good morning. He turned and looked at me, his face unsmiling, deep in thought, and he didn't get up.

    I froze.

    A moment of abandonment jolted in my stomach, and I said good morning. He didn't come over to me and I didn't go over to him. He told me he was working on changing a poem he'd written the day before, and read the new final stanza to me. Rejection burning in my solar plexus, I listened and put away socks, jumpers and the last few bits and pieces left over from my weekend. My head felt jarred, and his words hovered emptily in the room. I couldn't connect with them. I retreated into the kitchen, a storm brewing in my body, wondering how I could feel so crazy and disconnected after the utterly incredible weekend I had just experienced.

    And all morning, this feeling has stayed with me.

    What I don't want you to know is that I feel frightened today. I feel out of control in my life. I am having doubts about everything - about who I am, about what I have to bring to the world, about my worth. I am believing that I have nothing worthwhile to offer, that my contribution isn't wanted, impactful or valuable. I believe today that I am at the bottom of the pile, that I am last on the list, that I am one who gets forgotten about, missed, not seen, heard and loved.

    All this despite - or perhaps in spite of - the soulful, authentic, overwhelming connection I experienced this weekend. I belief all this about myself today, despite being in this place just two days ago...

    Beautiful Angels whispering words of truth to me - and me believing them
    Coming back into my home environment has felt awkward, foreign and scary. An urge to bolt, to run away has risen up from inside my belly, and I have found myself thinking it would be easier to be dead, that somehow I need to be away from this life I am in. That some kind of peace or answer or solace is somewhere other than right here in my life right at this very moment.

    If you know this place at all in your own life, you'll know that it is paralysing. Here, there is no breath, no room to create, no flow. Just fear, anxiety, shame, loneliness and sadness.

    My very best thoughts and judgements on the world and what I experience in it have left me here - bruised, frightened and paralysed. And yet I know I have a choice. That's what prompted me to write this today. My resources feel depleted and yet I know that a different choice is available to me today, that somewhere inside of me is love and that I can depend on that love. 


    So I pour out my worries and fears and know that if peace is my goal, they will dissolve, because my investment in believing them will be less than my desire to return to love.

    What I don't want you to know is that I don't know what my next step is. I feel overwhelmed and worry that I'm spreading myself too thin. I am sensing that I need some extra support right now in my life, perhaps in the form of coaching or therapy. I need somewhere I can go and pour out all my worries and fears and confusion. I need some time and space just for me. I need to be able to receive, so that I can continue to let God work through me.

    What I don't want you to know is that I have so much inside of me I want to share with the world - with you. A suspicion lurks inside me that I am not ready, that I am still too broken, that I am not capable of teaching or leading, and that I need the approval of certain people in my world before I can have faith and confidence in myself. Last night I looked for that approval and didn't find it - because my secret motive was to prove that I am indeed inadequate and not good enough yet. I have a blossoming mailing list and haven't written a single word to them yet. I have people wanting to collaborate and a sense of deep inferiority. I see how my ego is trying to lure me into failing, as 'proof' of its evaluation of who I am.

    And yet... In the middle of this, there is a persistent voice whispering to me that now is the time and I am the one. 


    So I am committing to transforming these beliefs, and remembering the Truth about myself.

    And the Truth is...

    I have a right to write whatever I want to and put it out into the world.
    I am enough, just the way I am.
    I am safe.
    I am exactly where I need to be.
    I am a blazing light.
    I am beautiful.
    I am an incredible teacher.
    I am gifted.
    I belong.
    I am abundant. 
    My contribution is valuable and valued.
    I am inherently creative.
    I am important.
    And I am so, so, so loved.


    I wonder what all these feeling and fears are really for, then? Deep breaths, and realising that as I take this step in articulating myself, I can in fact rely on myself for soothing, nurturing, reassurance and connection. I don't have to look outside of myself for validation. I don't have to rely on my partner to meet my needs - leaving us both free to actually be in relationship with each other. I know exactly what I need and I am able to ask for that and support myself in moving through fear and returning home to love.

    And now, I am feeling grounded, present and peaceful again. So grateful for this space. So grateful I listened to the urge to write this morning. So grateful for you.

    Love,
    Elloa xx

    Wednesday, 2 November 2011

    Wow - I am a writer!

    For when it is quite, quite nothing, then it is everything.
    When I am trodden quite out, quite, quite out,
    every vestige gone, then I am here
    risen and setting my foot on another world
    risen, accomplishing a resurrection
    risen, not born again, but risen, body the same as before, 
    new beyond knowledge of newness, alive beyond life,
    proud beyond inkling or furthest conception of pride,
    living where life was never yet dreamed of, not hinted at,
    here, in the other world, still terrestrial
    myself, the same as before, yet unaccountably new.
    D.H. Lawrence

    Recently, I have gone through a crisis; I have been trodden quite out, quite, quite out. I am just emerging from it, still feeling delicate.

    And somehow, Spirit knew that it would be healing for me to write about it, and an angel in the form of Hattie B invited me to guest post over at People Like Us - published today.

    Today, I have also been published over at SABBSLondon.com.

    Oh, and I edit and put together and write for The Ripple every quarter. I love this magazine!

    Other writing-y things are happening without me even trying to 'make' them happen - proofreading and copy editing not one but perhaps two books, and a possible job in a bookshop even! I have plans to interview local actors for the Theatre Company I'm part of, and somewhere in the depths of my being (dare I say this?) I think (whispering) that there might be a book in me. Yes! A whole book!

    So, six months after leaving a full-time job and setting an intention to get paid to write... things are happening. For a while, it looked pretty bleak and I became almost paralysed with fear. Keep stepping forward, one step at a time, I heard again and again in myriad forms. Today, just for this one beautiful day, it's as if my life is knocking on my forehead and saying to me, "Wake up Ell - you already are a writer. See! I'll show you!"

    My new playbook. Mmmmm!
    Also notice the gorgeous scarf in the background
    - a gift from two beautiful friends who stayed last week.

    I am so immensely grateful.

    What is it that you dream of being? 
    Where are you already living that in your life? 
    How can you bring just ten minutes of that dream life to life today?