Saturday, 19 February 2011

Explorations revisited

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a platform for exploring all the different parts of me. For many years in my young life, I utterly despised myself - physically, emotionally, mentally - and in some unspoken way, carving out a bit of cyber space for myself was an act of atonement. Out of this place, 'Explorations of Elloaness' was born, and I envisaged in its emergence a place where I could write, express, and be myself without reservation, and perhaps where others could come and read and see a little of themselves reflected back to them.

In this space, and in my life, I have learnt - and relearnt, many times over - that who I am is okay, and that I am enough, just the way I am. These words, so easy to write, are perhaps the most profound lesson I have ever learnt in my life. Being okay with who I am is a state that a few years ago honestly seemed to be less achievable than finding a pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow. Funnily enough, one of my first moments of spiritual awakening involved a humungous rainbow and a sudden awareness that the pot of gold was inside me.

Today, nine and a bit years after attending my first ever 12 step recovery meeting, it is the same fundamental issue that I meet on if not a daily, then at least a weekly basis. I am continually presented with notable moments in which a different choice is needed if I am to be at peace. These moments are usually intense, supercharged with ancient emotional baggage, and it matters little whether I'm in the northern or southern hemisphere, whether I'm single or engaged, whether I'm fat or thin - I've still got the same ranting, lunatic ego mind. (!)

Over dinner with friends a few nights ago, I learned that there are people who go into a period of silent retreat for three years. Three years?! "Bloody Nora", as Nige would say ('tis a northern saying, so I'm told). I have often wondered whether a complete and total escape retreat would solve all my problems, tying myself up in knots by fretting about my life, thinking it is supposed to be far more spiritual and exotic than it is (note the polarity in those two descriptors!). Recently, for perhaps the first time, I have begun to settle into the idea that my life is just right, just the way it is, that all the conditions that I need in order to grow closer to God - in other words, to remember the Truth about myself and others - are present right here, right now. 

I think it was sometime in the process of Nige's Experiment in Conscious Dying that an acceptance dawned on me that the quality of a life well lived is not how many countries you've seen, or how many dreams you've realized, but simply how present you have been to the everyday moments, the seemingly inconsequential acts of ordinariness: a smile offered to a stranger; a hello to a passerby; really listening to your partner, your friend, your colleague; a risk taken; a pause taken as I sit on the train home to just breathe a full lung's worth of oxygen into my body; a commitment made to pray and connect.

Exploring Elloaness has tonight brought me to this moment - a moment of gratitude and, yes, happiness! I am truly, truly blessed to be me, because for some unknown reason, I've been given the gift of awareness, and with awareness comes choice. And with choice comes freedom - the one thing I always wanted, having not known very much about freedom when I was a child and a young woman.

So I will continue to explore, unravelling the layers of unforgiveness, until all I am left with is the pure, the innocent and the beautiful - in other words, until I remember that "only the love is real in any situation." (A Course in Miracles)

I expect I'll make a few blunders along the way, sing a few bum notes, tread clumsily here and there - perfectly imperfect - but if you care to walk a while with me, I would love to share some of this crazy, wonderful journey called life with you.

Elloa xxx

Monday, 7 February 2011

Breaking the Rules...

Julia at Painted Path just wrote the most beautiful blog. I have decided to actually answer the questions she posed...

What would you create/do today

if there were no rules?
I would use clashing colours, dance in the middle of the street and take a two hour lunch all for myself.

if you couldn't screw up?
I would say to my boss, "ah jeez, I f**ked up! How cool am I?!"

if you/it didn't have to be good?
I'd let my tummy be bloated, because today it wants to be, and me tensing up and trying to hold it all in isn't helping!

if you weren't worried about what others would think?
Then I would sing my heart out in rehearsals tonight and be as outrageous as I feel.

if you weren't afraid?
I'd be so excited that my beloved and I are going to look at a flat tomorrow afternoon!

if you felt the fear and did it anyway?
I would say fuck it and just love everyone with abandon. Yippee!

if there was no one to impress?
Boy oh boy! Then I would look my boss right in the eye and admit that I made a mistake. I would work according to MY own pace, timing and sense of what is right. I would relax at work. I'd take breaks! I'd land back in my body and mind, and I'd pick up the conversation with the One Who Really Matters....

if there were no shoulds?
No shoulds.... Maybe I'd just spend a day playing instead of working...

if you didn't need to know what comes next?
I wouldn't worry about whether I will be able to pay the rent, or whether I'll need to go running to mum for some cash, and I'd step back and marvel in the beauty of this ever-unfolding life, remembering that when he or I is on my death bed, only the love will matter.

if you weren't afraid to be free?
I would give myself the gift of a big adventurous adventure somewhere amazing...

if you listened to that little whisper?
I would.... r-e-l-a-x... ahhhhhh... I'm listening and it's telling me how lovely I am.... ah.......... bliss....... I am perfect.

if you couldn't fail?
What's fail? No comprende..

if you trusted the process?  If you trusted yourself?
I'd be in this place, remembering that I and everything are one and perfect and just.... right.

if you followed the joy?
I'd make a GOD CD and listen to it in the car and sing and celebrate this beautiful life.

if you simply let yourself begin?
I would SMILE and smell my lovely new scented candle...

Ah.... this has made ALL the difference (and the candle smells lovely! Sweet bergamot, in case you were wondering)

Thank you Julia... your words have grounded me, utterly transformed my day...

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday running...

My wonderful new running trainers (I had my running gait analysed so they're designed specifically to match my style) ...

... and after a 2.5 mile run to gently break them in, a delicious post-run snack

Ah, life is good when I'm active :)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Just a little check in on where I'm at...

Every once in a while, I just like to check in with myself about where I'm at. In coaching terms, this has a specific name, such as the "30,000 feet view", but for me, it's just a natural urge that ebbs and flows, surfacing once every so often and then settling again like sand in a churny sea.

Life is changing. Well, when isn't it changing?! It's always changing!

I'm being promoted at work, which is scary and wonderful and pressurised and an opportunity to play and learn and grow.

Nige and I both know that the time has come for us to move in together, and this is scary and wonderful and a beautiful opportunity to play and learn and grow.

Rehearsals are well underway for Annie, and it's scary and wonderful and... well, you get the picture.

What's felt challenging recently has mostly centred around me transitioning back into full-time work. I haven't worked full time in a 9-5 for quite some time. My last full-time role was in a care home, so although the shift work was exhausting, finishing some days at 11pm and returning to work at 7.30am, I also had the benefit of either starting at 2.30pm or finishing at 3pm.

Working full-time is hard! Who on earth invented a 40 hour work week? Were they clinically insane?! It just seems so unnatural to me to sit in a chair facing a computer for that many hours a week, no matter how much you love what you're doing.

I'll be honest - I haven't wanted to come online again once I've arrived home in the evening. I've felt depleted, angry and a little bit desperate at times, experiencing a very old, very familiar sense of trappedness and stress. Doing a clearing last night with Nige was really helpful in reminding me that the feelings, the tension and the perspective are not fixed, immovable experiences; with a change of mind comes a change of experience, and a sudden rush of nourishing wellness and a sense of expansiveness. Suddenly, I can breathe again.... ahhhhhh.

And tonight? I've read emails (all 125 of them!). I've replied where my heart has spoken. I've spoken to a girlfriend on the phone. I've reached out to someone who's struggling. I've heard my beloved's heart as he shared on the phone to me. I've committed to connecting with a local community meetup. The result? I feel connected.

And that is the most lovely feeling of them all....

Life is simple when I remember that only the love is real in any situation, and all I need to do is look for and answer the call to Love. Happy weekending!