Monthly Archives: August 2013

Growing Pains at 27?

I came across an old diary entry last week which I had forgotten I had. The entry was over 18 months old and at the time of writing it, I was in Australia meeting my partners family for the first time. We were there for 3 weeks and there was such much stuff going through my head at the time. I was quite emotional while we were there; it was really unnerving that I wasn’t able to put my finger on why I felt so raw and just not myself! I was able to blame jet-lag for a few days but after a week I knew that couldn’t be the reason anymore so I went off for a long walk on my own, took my diary and a pen, grabbed a coffee from a little coffee hut and I plonked myself down and began to write.

 Here’s what I wrote:

“I’m very aware that a change is taking place. I’m holding onto the past I suppose. I’m growing up and it’s quite bittersweet. I don’t really want to – but at 27 years old, I have to ask myself is it not about time? Am I being overdramatic? To be honest, I don’t think so. I think that this is another part of growing up. It’s the in-between-y stage.

Obviously I’m not a child anymore but I really don’t feel like an adult. I have a bank account, pay bills, live with a boy, drive a car and have my own business which is all very grown up but the next big milestones and major events of my life –the traditional markers of adulthood like buying a house, getting married and starting a family are coming soon. I wonder if everyone experiences these feelings of apprehension and uneaseiness?

It’s kind of scary and I find myself looking back an awful lot. Being carefree, having fun, playing with bubbles and going to amusement parks and parades has always been a big part of who I am and what makes me smile but it’s all very childish- I mean does that all get left behind now?? I think it’s scary because I don’t know who I’ll be as an adult.

But in saying all this, I know that something great is coming- I feel like a caterpillar entering a chrysalis- she may know that she’ll emerge as a butterfly and be able to fly but I bet the caterpillar is frightened of losing herself in the process! I think that’s where I’m at.

When I think back on how far I’ve come, all of the changes I have made in my life so far, how wonderful things have been- there really should be no reason to be frightened so why am I?

I think it’s because I’m not focused on the future, I keep looking back instead of forwards. I know if I look forwards and direct my focus on where I want to go, it will feel lot more secure. Who do I want to be? “

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 I find diaries really fascinating! I had no recollection of writing that until I actually read it again and immediately I was brought back to that moment! At the time, I really did feel nervous and anxious about growing up! I was having growing pains at 27 years old which may seem ridiculous, but at that particular time in my life, it was real and it felt scary! I had to accept it, embrace it and decide who I wanted to be as an adult! Interestingly, I got engaged less than 3 months after writing that diary entry and less than 12 months after writing it, I had bought my own house. Very grown up indeed! At some level, I must have been aware that is was on the horizon!

But anyway, I was very grateful to have stumbled across this last week and I thought I’d share it with you! I honestly would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Have you ever experienced anything like that? Can you relate to it? Please get in touch and share your thoughts and stories!

Until next week,

Look after you,

P x

How the real you says No!

I know that you’re reading this or following my work because you know that there’s something 484318_10151361617128460_1077609347_n else, something more that you are meant to do, have or be but you can’t put your finger on it right now. I know this because it’s exactly how I felt as well and how most of my clients describe their feelings.

It’s like there’s something inside you that is reaching out, longing and yearning and sometimes you feel like you could just explode! What I’ve learned is that there is something inside you. That something is YOU– also known as your authentic self. You see, through my own journey and exploration over the past number of years, I have come across many teachings, books and articles which talk about us having different ‘selves’. The concept that resonated most with me and with most other women in their 20s & 30s is the idea of the ‘authentic self’ and ‘the social self’. Let me introduce you:

 The social self is that part of you that has been influenced by your culture, your environment, your peers, your family and society as you have grown up and throughout your life. It has taught you to value the same or similar things to most other people in your circle such as stable job, being financially secure, owning your own home, meeting a partner, having a family, having a pension, looking after your parents – being a ‘good girl’ shall we say!

 The authentic self is the part of you that knows your preferences for everything; it knows what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about, what brings you joy and what you love to do. The authentic self knows that you want to order dessert in the restaurant whereas the social self will tell you not to be a piggy as no one else is having anything! The authentic self is that part of you that is spontaneous, curious, fascinated with the world and playful.

 Our authentic self is great because when we tap into it, we can use it a bit like a compass and it will let us know when we’re moving in a direction that is completely out of sync with the ‘real and authentic’ us. The key is to learn how to read the compass! The following examples are a few ways in which the authentic self says ‘No’ and this can tell you whether you’re truly happy with the path you are on.

1. Sick as a dog!

 When you are forcing yourself on a particular path, struggling to repeat exams, trying to fit in and basically saying yes to things when you really want to say no; you’re not happy. There’s a general unhappiness, tense and anxious state that after a while becomes even normal. Bottom line, you’re under stress but you’ve probably been under it so long you don’t even realise it. When you are suffering with stress, your immune system is affected and its functionality decreases leaving you open to all sorts of illnesses. People with an over developed social self who keep putting other things and other people ahead of the needs of their authentic self can be under immense stress for years without realising it. They never consciously and deliberately recognise what’s going on- they may not even get to the point where they can say that they they’re unhappy in their career or with something else in their life but the authentic self is very aware and the effect on the immune system is disastrous. The result is what clients describe as overwhelmed and burn out.

 2. Vibrancy Vampire

 This is a really interesting one and something I know you have experienced! It’s 3pm and you’re sitting at your desk wishing that you were back in school in the baby class when your teacher would say ‘Put your head on your desk and go to sleep’- How I wished for those moments when I was working in my last job. I would be staring at the screen like a zombie, zero energy, trying to shake myself every time I noticed I was nodding off and terrified that I would be caught! So, I’d reach for the coffee and biscuits to give me a pick-me- up but even being stuffed with caffeine and sugar it didn’t help.I’d put on two stone in my last job as well  ( I kept snacking because I was so bored and or unhappy!)

 I had dragged myself out of bed that morning, dragged myself through most of the day and as soon as 5.30pm came- I would be heading straight home and crashing on the couch forever if not longer (possibly getting a take away because I had no energy to cook). This is what I call the vibrancy vampire- when we are way off course it’s like there’s a vampire that sucks out all of our vibrancy and passion for life. This is really one of the best tell tale messages that your authentic self can give you! As yourself ‘when do I feel drained and when do I feel vibrant and alive?’

 3. Feeding the ‘Nothing’

 I don’t mean for this to be as scary as it sounds but when your authentic and social selves nothingare disconnected, you will feel a void. Everyone describes the feeling slightly different as everyone experiences it in their own unique way. Physically, I felt it in my chest and it was like an anxious clawing feeling. Some describe feeling it in the pit of their stomach and others describe it differently again! For me, it reminded me of the film The Never Ending Story and how their world was being threatened by the ‘Nothing’– that’s how it felt- like nothing. There was nothing really wrong but nothing really felt good either- everything was just bleh, -grey, dull and boring. The feeling of nothing or void or emptiness was always there and I tried so hard to feed it, fill it, and do anything to make it go away. When it was really intense, a cigarette helped for about 30 seconds! Some people, they’ll go out and have a few drinks to try and numb it, others will exercise excessively, others will sleep around, some will eat excessively, some will shop, and some will hide from the world.

 Everything that we do, we do because we’re trying to change how we feel and feed this nothing! If we did manage to find something that dulled the feeling, it easily became a habit and something we would do on a regular basis- we all know that some habits are good but others can actually ruin your life. For me, it was cigarettes amongst many other self destructive habits- I believed that they took the edge off the nothing or anxious feeling.They made me feel better but only temporarily, pretty soon afterwards I’d be feeling pretty lousy about myself again! The reason I behaved that way was to try and change the way I felt, and the reason why I wanted to change the way I felt was because I was so miserable and the reason I was so miserable was because I had gagged my authentic self! I wasn’t allowing myself to listen to what I truly wanted, I wasn’t trusting myself and I wasn’t being kind to myself.

 Over the years, I have learnt that it’s quite difficult to break free from bad habits and addictions until you start acting more loving towards yourself, until you feel that you are worthy and good enough. I could only do that once I aligned my two selves and came back to the path of my deepest sense of purpose.

 I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your feedback so get in touch!

 Until next time, notice when no means no!

 P x

 To read more on this topic, check out

http://myquarterlifecoach.com/feeling-a-bit-disconnected/

Making some space…..

About 3 years ago, my sis, Lyn and I had to sell our family home- very quickly! I think it was about 4 months from being told it had to be sold to walking out the door for the last time. Needless to say, it was very stressful, especially for Lyn who was 6 months pregnant at the time! We moved in with my Dad for a while until we got ourselves together, refocused and were able to figure out the next step. Life goes on and the past is the past but last week, we were brought back there!

We had left boxes of our ‘stuff’ in my Dad’s house for the past 3 years. He had been very patient with us, but there were two whole rooms in his home taken up with boxes and he had started to remind us every time he saw either one of us! Anyway, we agreed and we set a date- we would tackle our stuff and get it sorted!

As I tore the brown tape off box after box, there were loads of ‘ooohhhhs and aaahhhhhs’ but mostly I was wondering why I still had all this stuff! I had boxes of notes from college courses I had done almost 10 years ago, I had clothes that I hadn’t worn in about ten years (it was a bit depressing to see how tiny the tops were and perhaps a bit embarrassing as well!). Basically, I had piles of crap and so did Lyn.

It was a great lesson for me in how much I have changed in the past few years. When we had to sell the house 3 years ago, we had been so reluctant to let anything go and we had packed up box after box, clinging to our ‘precious’ stuff. Scratched cd’s, old clothes, old cosmetics, broken ornaments & videos! Now, I will admit that I am sentimental and that I do have old shoe boxes with pictures, cards and keepsakes that mean something to me but what we found in those boxes was really pure shit!

But this day was to be a major overhaul and de-cluttering initiative. There would be no mercy and we had three options: Bin, Charity Shop or Keep.

It really got me thinking that when we embark on a major de-clutter, what we are actually engaging declutter_life_2in is a complete re-evaluation of our lives.  We’re letting go, paring down, purging, prioritising, re-evaluating, discovering, risk-taking by letting things go and even developing a new level of trust in ourselves. So this de-cluttering day actually became an extensive tour of our entire lives — past, present and future. 

Our mam died ten years ago and we had a lot of her clothes packed away. Clothes that we would never wear but 3 years ago, we had thought that if we threw it away or gave it to a charity shop, it would be like snipping the umbilical cord and letting her go, shoving her off into the cosmos saying ‘Thanks a mill, see ya around! Bye!’ There was so much guilt at the idea of getting rid of ‘stuff’- especially stuff that we feel connected to in some way.

But what we realised during that day was that we had fused together our mam and the jumper that she used to wear.  Putting her jumper into a bag for charity doesn’t mean we love her any less.  The emotional connection and sense of closeness we have is to our mam — not her old jumper with the holes in it! And of course, we have so many other keepsakes which we enjoy so much more than a bag of clothes gathering dust in the attic. We were ready to let a lot go and as I said, it was a great lesson for both of us in how much we had changed in the past few years. After the realisation I had with being able to let go of a lot my mams’ ‘stuff’, I was easily able to let go of my own stuff aka crap!

And on the other side of the clutter purge was…a wonderful sense of freedom.  I really think that the more we let go, the more space we open up for new stuff to grow in our lives.  At the end of the day, we only have so much emotional, psychological and physical space.  But clutter and holding onto ‘stuff’ represents so much more than just that — it’s symbolic and energetic too.  The ‘letting go’ forces us to trust that the unknown or the future will be ok.  We can’t let go of boxes of old college notes unless we trust in our own decision that we aren’t going to pursue that particular path. For example, last week I sent very expensive law books to a charity shop and recycled a huge box of notes. I had been holding onto them just in case I lost my mind and went back to law but this time, I was ready to acknowledge that there was no going back for me! Onwards and upwards! Consequently, each box I packed for charity was an exercise in deepening my confidence in myself and in my future.

Each time we choose to get rid of a possession, we are taking a symbolic pair of scissors and cutting the energetic connection we have with the item.  To do that, we have to make some choices in our life and examine who we were and what we were about in the past, who we are and what we’re about today and about who we want to be and what we want to be about in the future. The more we trim down all our stuff, the closer we get to living in the present moment and being comfortable in the current reality.  You see, the more we purge, the less we attach to the past and the less we attach to the future.  We’re making the decision to live in the present moment.  The past is over and can’t be changed, the future is ours to make of it what we will…and we trust ourselves to blossom without a backup supply of jeans that no longer fit you, broken suitcases, videos, scratched cds and 12 half used bottles of perfume!

We felt so energetic and lighter at the end of our de-cluttering day.  We really hadn’t realised how much we had changed in the past few years, but we were able to acknowledge it that evening over a bottle of wine! Now, we’re living more in the moment! We were able to let go of a bunch of stuff that represented old dreams, unfinished projects as well as stuff that caused guilty twinges from an impulse buyer’s heart! I actually felt much calmer and freer from clearing all that space in my Dad’s house that I’m already pondering tackling the junk room in my own place next week!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your feedback so get in touch!

Until next time,

Make some space!

P x