Monthly Archives: November 2016

Detaching from Love and hardening…

In the early hours of the 21st November 2002, I held my Mams hand as she took her last breath. It was 14 years ago and I was just 18. We were in St Francis Hospice in Raheny; Mam had been there for 3 weeks. She had been sick for a good while and had put on an amazing fight but the cancer had spread everywhere. The days that followed feel like a blur but at the same time are etched so vividly into my mind that it could have been just yesterday. Time moves on regardless of what has happened in our lives, the world keeps spinning and everything goes on as if nothing has changed (it’s very bizarre)

We took time, cried a lot and somehow slipped back into day to day life. As the days, weeks, months and years passed though, I changed. I hardened. I’d also been particularly close to my Nan, my mams mam and when anyone asked of my own mother and I told them she had passed, I quickly followed it with ‘It’s ok, my nan raised me’. What absolute bull. Every time I said those words, I felt guilty and then hardened that bit more. I had detached myself from my Mam because it made it easier for me when she wasn’t going to be around. I told myself that we weren’t really that close, that we didn’t know each other, that she was always busy with work- all of these stories I told myself to harden my heart and to protect myself from the truth.

The truth is I love her and I miss her. The truth is my life changed completely. I miss her running her fingers through my hair as I sat on the floor in front of the couch watching Touched by an Angel and Dr Quinn Medicine Woman on the Disney Channel. I miss our chats and our fights, I miss Lionel Richie and motown music in the background. I missed her at my wedding and it breaks my heart that Sarah will never meet her Nan.

It took me sooo long to admit this truth and I’ll admit that even writing this hurts, my throat is tight, my eyes are watery and I know there will be tears later! But I wanted to share it with you because I know I’m not the only one who does this- who detaches from love, who closes their heart,  who puts on armour to protect themselves from feeling all the crappy feelings of hurt, pain, loss, grief, disappointment, anger.

Also, it became a pattern for me in many different areas of life. If I felt like something wouldn’t work out, I would detach and harden. If myself and Colm were having a rough few days, I would detach and harden. Put on the armour and pull up the drawbridge. F**k that, I ain’t getting hurt so I’m not going to care. But I did care. I always care.

I see it all the time.

Loving other people, pursuing careers that you’re passionate about, following your dreams and trusting your heart takes a hell of a lot of courage because we know that it could possibly cause us heartache, disappointment and pain.

Love opens us up to vulnerability.

If you want to avoid the heartache, the disappointment and pain?

Then, you would have to do what I used to do. Detach. That you would have to put on armour to protect yourself. It would mean that people wouldn’t really get to know the ‘real you’ because you would be hiding under a mask or a duvet! It would mean that you wouldn’t have those strong connections with people. It would mean you are not truly honouring yourself and the other person. It would mean that your dreams and your hearts desires would be abandoned.

Over time, I learnt that this wasn’t serving me. I did care and I was tired of carrying this tonne of armour with me. Through coaching and counselling, I learnt to be more expressive, have a better connection between my head, my heart and my voice. I learnt to have the courage to be real and feel.

The bravest people I know are also the people who are the most vulnerable. They are the ones speaking their truth, following their dreams, leaning into their emotions and living and loving with their whole hearts. We admire these people. We look at people who put themselves out there, who are open about who they are and what’s important to them and we respect them.

But we are slow to follow in their footsteps because we don’t want to feel vulnerable!

To allow ourselves to be vulnerable takes a lot of courage, it means that we have to be real. It means that we have to be open and love and express ourselves. It means we have to connect with people. It’s a richness that we all desire in our lives- that true feeling of connection, of being seen, of being who we are. Real Love makes us vulnerable, whether that’s loving our partners, our families, our children or our work but you know what, even understanding that love and vulnerability go hand in hand, now;  I’d choose love any day.

How about you?

I’m going out tonight with my gorgeous sis Lyn, to a restaurant that the three of us used to frequent and we’re going to raise a glass to toast the incredible woman that we were so lucky to have as our Mam.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your thoughts on love and vulnerability so drop me a line and let me know!

Cheers x

P x

Coming out of the Broom Closet

So sadly, Halloween is over and done with for another year! I’ve always loved Halloween! I was 8 when the movie Hocus Pocus came out and I was obsessed with it! My mam came home from work one night with a gorgeous deep purple hooded cloak because I loved the witch Sarah from the movie! That’s who I dressed as for about the next 3 years straight! I loved the idea of witches, magic, casting spells and being able to make things happen!

natural-witchAs a kid I would study wise women from times past- intrigued by how different things were then. Women were different, or at least society was because men and women were both seen as equal. If anything, society was more matriarchal. The earth itself, nature was seen as feminine ‘Mother Earth’ and as women brought forth life, they were respected and revered.

I learnt about and adored the idea of sitting in circle, of sharing wisdom and the ‘moon tents’. Did you know In many ancient cultures, a woman’s cycle or “moon time” was considered sacred and she took time to rest, renew, and regenerate. Women gathered in ‘moon tents’ or ‘red tents’ because their cycle was often in sync with the women close to them and in sync with the moons cycle. In these places women slowed down, nurtured themselves and each other, took time to reflect on their lives, listened to the wisdom of the grandmothers who came to counsel and support the younger women; and looked forward to the coming births and the coming of age ceremonies for the girls. How amazing would that be? Could you imagine doing that now?

They were wise women, wild women and empowered women. They drew strength from within and the natural world around them. They worked with the earth and paid attention to their bodies and intuition. They were in touch with their power and they shared their wisdom.

Sadly, over the millennia things changed and because of war, greed, religion- women lost their place as sacred and became seen as property and subordinate. The passing of ‘wicce’- meaning ‘wisdom’   between women would see them hung, burnt or tortured for witchcraft -meaning ‘craft of the wise’. It was no longer safe for women to be powerful, to speak up or share their wisdom so we didn’t and so it was for generations after generations.

I’ve always been fascinated with this because I’ve always been scared to allow myself be myself. Always playing small, hiding part of myself, scared of what others may think of me if I allow people to see the real me. Through my personal development work over the past decade, it’s getting easier but even sharing with you guys my fascinations and interests is a bit scary.

But the truth is, I do believe that women are incredibly powerful. I do believe that the majority of us are playing small. I do believe the majority of us are afraid at some level to be ourselves, to fight for ourselves, to look after ourselves (in case someone calls us selfish). We spend so much of our time, energy and resources on morphing ourselves into what we think we should be, how we think we should look etc. Or maybe we don’t do that anymore, but we used to and the memory remains.

When I was pregnant with Sarah in 2015, I was LOST! I was terrified, I was scared- I kept being told what I had to do, what I couldn’t do, I was SO tired and uncomfortable but societies message to me was ‘you’re not the only woman who’s been pregnant’ – basically ‘man the fuck up’ so I tried that, I dug in deeper, pushed myself harder and ended up having a panic attack outside the hospital on the day of my big 20 week scan. I wasn’t allowing myself to be a woman- strange as that sounds! I was pushing myself with masculine energy instead of allowing myself to be softer, gentler and more nurturing with myself.

My saving grace was going to a Women’s Circle on the Hill Of Tara where a ceremony called the ‘Mother Rites of Danu’ was being performed. I had NO idea what to expect but I went and for surrender to supportme, that experience felt like coming home. Finally! It was different, it was a rite of passage into the role of ‘Mother’. I sat in a circle with a small group of women (complete strangers!) and each of us spoke about what ‘motherhood’ or ‘birthing children/ideas/businesses’ meant to us. We spoke of our hopes, our fears, our expectations and we were heard by each other, we were seen by each other and we were simply held in a safe space by each other. We laughed, we cried, we drank tea and had some biccies and it was an amazing few hours of my life. It changed a lot within me as it showed me a different world- it showed me the world that I craved does in fact exist in the here and now.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve been exploring it more and more deeply, allowing myself to be more myself. Allowing myself to tap into my natural wisdom and intuition that bit more. Knowing if I feel unwell or have cramps, that lighting candles, putting essential oils in my bath, making tea, going for walks- all with an intention of healing and self care- makes a huge difference. This is our natural wisdom- our instincts, our self trust, knowing ourselves and allowing ourselves to be who we are. A few hundred years ago, saying these things would have had me hung as a witch. I went to a women’s circle talk in the RDS last weekend and the facilitator Karen echoed the same sentiment- that a few hundred years ago anyone of us sitting in that room listening to her words would have been hung, burnt or tortured.

Thankfully, times have changed. It’s never been a safer time to be a wise woman. So why then do so many women still feel powerless? Why are we fearful that we won’t be supported, why are we so afraid to be ourselves, why are we holding back, not speaking up and not coming close to reaching our full potential? And why do so many of us struggle with the concepts of ‘self-love’, ‘self-worth’ and ‘self acceptance’ and yet constantly carry around the weight of feeling ‘not good enough’?

I believe that it is because women have lost touch with their natural wisdom.

We keep seeking approval and validation from everyone but ourselves, so much so that we’re unsure of our own minds, we don’t trust our own intuition and we’ve forgotten how to tap into our inner strength – in short, we’ve lost touch with our feminine side.

I’m still learning how to reconnect with that part of myself but it’s been an incredible journey so far. I’d love to help teach you parts of what I’ve learnt so far, I’d love to hold a safe space for you to talk about this, I’d love for you to explore who you truly are at the core and allow your wise inner self to come out to play. Do you need to come out of the broom closet too?

I’ve put together a 30 day programme called ‘All You Need is Love’ and it’s the foundation piece that needs to be in place for everything else. We’ll be exploring what proper self care looks like and how it differs from self comfort. We’ll be looking at the inner critic – that voice in your head that makes you hide, play small and hold back and we’ll be learning how to relate to that voice from a more nurturing perspective. We’ll also be looking at how to tap into that wiser part of you- that’s deep within and teaching you how to recognise her voice. We’ll be exploring the idea of ‘confidence’ and what that truly means. We’ll be looking at how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to confidence and that is why a lot of what you tried in the past hasn’t worked. Finally, we’ll be looking at how to integrate all of this new knowledge and wisdom into your day to day life so that you get to experience lasting change.

It is ‘hard/heart’ work but I know you’re ready for it.

Love always,

P x