It’s All About Perspective

There is a new thing I like to do any chance I get. It’s not for fitness or in order to get to anywhere in particular, but I just put on my active wear and my sons Skull Candy army camo headphones, pump the tunes and walk. Combining three of my favourite things. Music, being active and people watching. Honestly, I could do this all day. Last Saturday, I walked for 4 and a half hours all over Melbourne’s suburbs. As I walk along, I feel like a little ray of sunshine is following me around and I may look like a mad woman, as I always have a huge grin on my face. Sometimes I even giggle to myself. But that is contained considering I spend most of the time really holding in my almost overwhelming need to burst out into full blown song and dance at any given moment. Often at the lights, my hands or legs get away from me and I’ll start to click, tap or sway to the beat but the little green man usually goes before my dance routine gets completely underway.

So I am a proud 3rd generation people watcher. My Nan used to speak of this pastime often and my mum and her best friend, my fairy god mother, used to spend hours sitting in Perth arcades just watching people go about their day. I have definitely followed suit. I just find people so interesting. How they dress, walk, multitask, the energy that surrounds them and usually I have some little story about what I think they’re up to for the ones that really catch my attention. For me it’s not about anything physical, it’s more about how they are conducting themselves or behaving, even if they’re aren’t directly interacting with anyone.

So when Eryka set us homework at my course a few weeks back, I was excited when she said part of it was to actively go out people watching. I thought to myself at the time, too easy I do it all the time anyway, but then came the catch. The purpose of the activity was to go beyond what we as people normally see. The challenge, to take away our judgements and ideas of people by the very surface and external attributes we see and to try to look past that to their souls. Her point and hope for us to conclude is regardless of anything, we are all exactly the same. We are all related, all flawed, all perfect at being ourselves and all wanting to be safe and loved. We are all humans.

My son likes to ask the big questions. So the other day as we were driving, he turned to me and asked about why sometimes people don’t believe you even though you are telling the truth about something. I was tempted to go into the old Boy Who Cried Wolf story as I have with him before, as true for many people, he can be seen to exaggerate occasionally when he isn’t getting the attention he would like. Hey, who hasn’t. But instead, I decided against it this time around as he hadn’t asked in relation to any particular incident so I didn’t want to specify. Instead I drew from my latest people watching experience.

I said, ‘Well truth is actually a funny thing to give an exact meaning to. In every situation they say there are 3 truths. What he said, what she said and what really happened.’ He sat there for a minute then said, ‘So no one really ever tells the truth then’. So I said, ‘Not necessarily, because it is all about perspective’. I lost him. ‘What’s perspective Mum?’ he asked. So to explain, I told him the following story.

The other day as I was on one of my expeditions across the city, I ended up on busy Acland Street in Melbournes beachside suburb St Kilda. The street was, as usual, packed with a mixture of tourists and locals, some relaxing, some looking for a place to eat, some busy rushing around  going about their day. There I was grinning to myself because one of my fave songs had started and I was envisaging myself just busting some moves in the middle of the crowd. Then someone caught my eye. A lady looking back at me with a huge smile on her face. We shared in that moment together as we walked toward each other in the street. So what was so different about this moment. This lady was homeless. She was a lady a bit down on her luck, with all her belongings in her trolley, very few teeth and appeared to have not showered for quite a while.

Honestly, initially I didn’t see that. I just saw her smiling back at me. There was a lady walking at the same pace as me right next to me as we approached the homeless lady something interesting happened. The homeless lady raised her hand up at face height in a fist. She pushed it out in front of her. The lady next to me was visibly concerned and jolted away and made sure her path did not have to go past the homeless women. She appeared to feel threatened. But I didn’t see it like that at all. Nope, my instinct was to raise my fist also as I walked past and give the lady with the big smile a fist pump!

It hadn’t even crossed my mind I could’ve been in danger. But the lady next to me was clearly worried. Luckily for me, I read the situation right. We fist pumped and both turned to smile one more time at each other as we walked off to go about the rest of the day. It made my day. And as I walked and thought about it, it is a perfect example  of this very human concept of perception.

My son loved my story. I had a yep nailing this parenting thing moment and we then went back to listening to the Macarena on repeat 😬….

So there you go. I don’t know what made me feel safe in that encounter and I don’t know what made the other lady not. I don’t know what she has experienced in her life time and she may even be unaware as to her reasoning for assuming the worst. But the point is our difference in opinion. Our very different perspectives. And other perspectives are vital. I am glad I saw the whole thing as an enjoyable experience but I do need to be reminded at times that there are situations in which the intentions are not so pure.

We all have had different experiences. We all have different perspectives. Keeping an open mind and listening to others points of view is key to life. Let’s all be open to sharing and listening so we can encourage a world of understanding, compassion and growth.

And go give the people watching task a go. I promise, it’s so interesting! You might even get to see this super funky mum with her uber cool army camo headphones taken straight from her sons bedroom, cruising the streets and grinning all the way.

Hey, it’s my perspective 😝

Much love, Michelle xxx

Letting Go…Or At Least On The Way

And so it begins. The efforts of my new course starting to take shape.  It’s all happening exactly as it’s supposed to. Unravelling, unfolding all the constructs I hold close to me. All that I do and have used to define myself for so long is starting to move past just being looked at and discussed. It’s moving toward proactive dissolution.

Exciting right!? Not exactly. It’s terrifying at this minute. For a couple of days now, I have felt under a weight I can not seem to shift. A heaviness in my whole body and the energy around me. A silent but strong grip over my whole consciousness that I can’t quite put my finger on. Nothing key or different has happened so why do I feel like this?, I asked myself. And it was not until I started to type that a feeling of knowing washed over me. Not all knowing mind you 😝…. But a glint of why this may be the case.

I am beyond blessed to have come into the path that I have. It would have been easy for me to have missed this opportunity and kept stumbling along through life, making unfulfilling choices and finish another incarnation (my belief) without gaining too much more understanding. But to me clearly it is my time. And when it’s your time to have a breakthrough it doesn’t matter what you are doing or where you are, as long as your mind, heart and soul are open and allowing, real change will find AND serve you.

So now I want to work back through my week that was…..

It was one of those weeks were you can’t quite put your finger on it, but everything seems like it’s a big deal. Some good things, some bad things but definitely nothing indifferent happening. Everything felt like it required a full blown emotional reaction. Each day was very conducive to ending with a big fishbowl of red wine regardless of whether it was to celebrate or commiserate. Blasts from the past took me by surprise and a few hiccups on the financial front got me thinking about my future. But in the present was the gift as always and that was my mother coming over from the west for a visit. Couldn’t have come at a more ideal time.

So I don’t know about you lot. But I am lucky with my mum. I can be hard on her at times for not being as overt and loud as me and therefore seemingly not “being heard” but what she does do like no one I have ever come across, is when she is with you she just knows exactly what I need. She knows exactly what my kids need to and I feel like I actually get to revert a child myself. If only for a few hours here and there. But here in lies the issue.

I am a pretty reactive little soul. I consistently get feedback in life where it would possibly have been beneficial for me to stop and think before I act or speak. The father of my kids calls me the queen of foot in mouth disease. So I stroll out of my course on Sunday on top of the world, completely ready to immerse myself in the idea of breaking free and loving everyone really truly unconditionally. So reactive me goes and invites the past back in by letting down my guard or as we call it in this day and age, I unblocked the blocked people on my social media accounts. Then I go and sit down and try to sort out my future by planning and budgeting. These are things I do not normally do. I am a bit of a fly by the seat of my own pants kind of gal and honestly, it just caused me extremely unhelpful anxiety.

Just normal life stuff really. But then my mum rocks in. All comforting, nurturing, concerned and loving. And all it took was for her to say, how are you and I caved. I am strong. I have been through a lot and I still always try to make those around me smile but this time I couldn’t hold it together. I just let it all out. I sobbed. Like a baby. I just completely broke down. I surprised even myself. I am emotional but I thought I had this all figured out way more than this. I hadn’t felt like anything was that wrong. Every aspect of my world is going well. So where are all these heavy emotions coming from?

Well the epiphany I feel I had as I started writing is, they didn’t come from anywhere. The emotions have always been there. Whatever outside circumstances that are part of the story now is no different to any of my past experiences. The situations are re-creating and re-creating throughout my life, increasing with intensity until I actually do something about it. They have just been brought to the surface for me to feel, look at and if I am diligent and purposeful I can finally let this shit go for real.

So this space I have been in. This seemingly heavy load. Isn’t dark and terrifying at all. It is a powerful space. A place where I can choose to take a path that will nourish me in my soul. It is all about perspective. Time to turn it around for real.

Then I remembered this quote one of the other beautiful humans in my course sited across the table….

Living in the past can lead to depression; living in the future can lead to anxiety; thats why we should always live in the present. For in the present is the gift of life.

Enjoy your gift of life

Much love, Michelle xxx

 

Free To Be Me

There is a cafe near my house, that has been a feature in some key moments of my life here in Melbourne. Without it meaning to be. Without any orchestrated effort. Key life events have occurred in this very spot that I am typing from right now. I like to write here so I feel out and about. Like I am part of the world that is going on around me. That, and the WIFI in my house is ridiculously slow and intermittently non-exinsistant. Also, I don’t make great coffee.

This cafe is a place I had my first breakfast out when we moved over. The place I had my first breakfast with my now ex. The place I sat and wrote my first ever blog. The place I was sitting out the front of in my car with the rain pouring down and my tears equally as flowing, on Wednesday night to access their internet so I could get some important documents off for my next venture in life. The place, I am sitting in right now writing this piece to you before I head off for my first day at my new course.

Considering it starts today, I thought I would get up early, treat myself to breakfast and write down how I am feeling. Then I wanted to add to that the aftermath of my first day, just like I did for my first ever blog. Reflection is key to growth as is gratitude. Right here, right now I feel so much gratitude. For my waking up this morning. For my ability to start the day feeling warm and safe in my home. My freedom to be able to attend the course and be encouraged and free to learn. For my porridge with poached pear and pistachios and most of all for COFFEE;)

I am actually surprised. I do not feel in the slightest bit nervous. Maybe that will kick in as I pull up out the front. Or maybe that is because I am finally on the right path and my whole being knows it. I am feeling calm and confident on my ability to be the best I can be. And if/when there are hiccups along the way, I am feeling calm and confident in my ability to realign and learn and grow from those experiences. I mean if I have survived everything I have and still come out winning thus far, things can only get better.

I read the most amazing blog post last night I want to share. About a different way of looking at our wounds. Everyone has wounds. And what may really affect one soul could be brushed off my another. But you can never discount how something affects someone as it is all relative to their experience. The beauty of this article was to look at the hurt from a different perspective. To look at it from a place that within the wound lies your treasure. Your gift. On the deepest level, everything, even seemingly bad experiences, happen for a reason. Anyway, take a look. I thought it was beautiful.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/is-psychology-making-us-sick/201607/healing-our-wounds-finding-the-gold-within

Ok. Fast forward 9 hours and I am sitting on my couch at home after my first day of training to becoming a Consciousness Coach. And can I say, I was BLOWN AWAY! On every level. Firstly, the instructor. She is just the warmest, sweetest, kindest, funniest lady you could come across. At no point in the 7 hour day did I zone out or lose interest in what was happening. She was so interesting and engaging and I am beyond privileged she is my mentor. Secondly, all the other people in my group. Just beautiful! Thirdly, the content. Sensational. It really is a game changer and a new way of looking at healing ourselves to realign with our true selves in a real and tangible way that is able to be integrated into every day life. Because it comes completely from within.

No 10 steps to happiness with no thoughts to your individual circumstances, no formal must do or you fail approach, just working on you, with you, completely for you. Eryka Stanton is her name. She has collated so much knowledge and personal experience in her time on this planet and she has brought it all together  with the intent to share it with likeminded individuals looking to help people heal themselves from a very core, soul based level. That is right, teach people how to heal themselves. Not to do it for them, or give strategies to follow in order to structure your life to get what you want. No you do it yourself through the guidance offered. She teaches how to integrate it into your day to day life to allow you to not only realign with your true self but to maintain the changes and continue the growth. To strip away your ego and who you think you are, lose your need to be seen a certain way by others and allow yourself to be truly yourself and therefore truly happy. I think this is amazing. So many of us want quick fix approaches to feel better but the truth is you have put a lot of time and energy into sitting with the feelings you experience. You need to put just as much time and energy into changing the patterns that don’t work for you. If you’re interested in her work, check her out at http://www.empoweredliving.com.au

For me, it just resonated. I was not expected to act in any particular way, talk in any particular way or think in any particular way. In fact I was encouraged to speak before I thought. This is one of my strongest skills so I nailed it in that aspect lol. But really I just think it is so exciting. Not just for me but for the world. We need it. So many people are looking for it. For some understanding and guidance without feeling like they have to lose themselves and their likes and preferences in order to fit the mould of the people guiding them. You are just free to be you and find your true purpose.

For me, this is actually beyond mind blowing. If you remember, that is exactly what I said I wanted to find through my journey. Something I felt safe in that was from within myself, to guide me to be true to my true self. My soul. And here it is. Presenting itself to me on a platter. More proof that if you put it out there with love and good intention, things come full circle and help guide you through life. For in those darker hard times, we learn the lessons we need to learn in order to grow.

And the best part. It will never end. My journey is infinite. So if I get to have these wins now, imagine where this mindfulness will take me!

Be kind, love strong, be curious, be brave, be you:)

Much love, Michelle xxx

 

Let It Flow

Breathe Michelle, breathe…

Sometimes, I catch myself forgetting to do that. Something as essential, as life giving, as calming, as soul cleansing as breathing and I forget. How can this be so? I practice a lot of yoga and have learnt about our ‘relationship with the breath’ but I still have to consciously remind myself not to hold my breath, sometimes often, in my day to day activities. Not surprising really. The over-thinker has to think about what is normally deemed a subconscious process.

Recently I have been attempting to not use the ‘S’ word. A beautiful friend of mine brought to my attention recently about all the negative connotations that come along with the word ‘stress’. Such a commonly used word in today’s society, as we rush around trying to fit 50 million things into our work or study day, maintain our relationships, look selfie ready always and follow whatever food fad or intolerances we are currently living by. Many of us profoundly pronounce often, just how undeniably ‘stressed out’ we are. I know I have definitely been an avid user of the term in the past. So how can using the summation of a bunch of arbitrary symbols, be so bad for our health?

Well put simply, what we think – we become. Think happy thoughts, you feel happy; think angry thoughts, you feel angry; think stressed out thoughts, you feel stressed. But what is stress? What is it that you actually feel? This was how my girlfriend put it to me. This was how it was put to her. A motivational coach was bought into her workplace by this major cooperation she stands in high regard for. So this speaker stated that collectively as a society,  increases in ‘stress levels’ have shown a strong positive correlation to our societies use of the term ‘stress’. Basically stress didn’t exist as we know it until we felt the need to coin it with a term and attach all the psychological turmoil to the term that we do.

Interesting to say the least. Until we created it, it simply didn’t exist.

For me personally, the term caused some events in my life that I had to learn a great deal from. It was scary the extent this term had on my health. And I experienced the ramifications of the word in the form of panic attacks. Scary, overwhelming and at times, frequent panic attacks. It felt debilitating. The feeling of being unable to draw enough oxygen into my body, would leave me feeling like I was going to die. Honestly, it was terrifying. And to anybody who has or is experiencing this please know you are not alone.

I think for me it was a multitude of things that occurred in my life. Moving interstate, feeling unsupported, parenting two small children, a relationship breakdown, a new unhealthy relationship, an unhealthy lifestyle of partying to try to deflect from my real issues, not succeeding like I had previously been at my studies, financial changes… The list goes on…. And I am very aware I was not in a unique situation. For all of us have times in which we feel a bit down on our luck in life. A bit beaten down. However for me, I was struggling to see the light. The out. The up. How was I going to get back to good. And to be honest, the pressure of getting better or over it, just made it even worse.

The attacks would come on and I couldn’t control when, where, how or why. Often something would trigger it, but it could something as small as opening another bill in the mailbox or even just thinking about all the cleaning jobs I had to do around the house. I had attacks at the shops, at uni, in therapy – blessing in disguise – , in bed, basically everywhere. But the biggest and sadly the worst was witnessed by my son. His face is something I will never forget.

He was seated next to me in the car when it came over me. Another relationship argument had preceded and I couldn’t control my body. I felt my body go numb, my mind begin to spin and the massive lump rise up in my throat. My body tensed and I began to gasp for breath. I could feel my whole body go hot and I began to panic. I looked across to my son and the fear on his face was heartbreaking – but that guilt only made matters worse. It seemed to go on forever. He was bawling and I couldn’t do anything to let him know I was going to be alright. At the time I honestly didn’t know if I was myself. But to not be able to comfort your child is the worst pain I have ever endured. I felt I failed him.

Eventually, I gained control of my breathing and managed to calm him down too. He told me he honestly thought I was choking and was going to die. The whole thing broke my heart. We spent the rest of the day curled up at home together with me trying to explain to him what had just happened. Things beyond his years, that I wished he hadn’t been exposed to. But for me it was the trigger I needed to change my unhealthy lifestyle. My unhealthy dynamics. My lack of self love and care. I was a real shake up. I just felt terrible it came at the cost of some of my child’s innocence.

We all make errors in judgement however and I no longer beat myself up. Amazingly, I think my son took good from the experience. We have very open communication at my house and have spoken about it on several occasions since. His care and empathy for people is truly beautiful. I learn from both my children’s pure hearts on a daily basis. But what did I do to try to overcome my panic attacks?

Firstly, I spoke out. To my GP – who found my thyroid was all out of whack too – my therapist, my family, my friends, and occasionally to people I did not know well at all. And do you know what struck me. Many many people had been there too. It was not that I was so broken or fucked up, it was purely just my lack of ability to deal with my life pressures in a more positive way. To learn what was causing it, what brought them on and preventative ways to deal with the build up.

I wrote a list of things that calm me. Hot showers, long baths with candles, yoga, anything to do with the ocean, time with girlfriends, music even giving myself a cuddle are now all things I actively do to reduce any build up of intense emotion.

Also very importantly, I try to define exactly what the emotion is. I try not to use the umbrella term ‘stress’ as it does not exactly define what the problem is. And if you don’t define it, you can not actively deal with it. I try to figure out if I feel sad, confused, angry, disappointed, frustrated, doubt, despair, guilt and in what area of my life. It is very easy when something is getting you down to tell yourself that everything is going badly. When in fact, it is just one aspect of your otherwise very joyful life. I know I have definitely done this and acted out the woe is me. In fact I would say that was me all last week. I’m human after all. I won’t beat myself up. But I will use this post as a way to also remind myself how far I have come.

I have not had an attack for almost 5 months now. I no longer live in fear of when the next one will strike. It’s a great feeling. But I also know if it does, I am not a failure. I am not letting any one down. I simply need to work out what I should be doing differently to nurture myself. Sometimes, the emotions get heavy and the breathing becomes a little erratic but with a little mindfulness and a lot of love I have been managing to calm myself down before I lose control of it. And I am really proud of myself.

I just want to live my life the best way I can. And every direction points to loving myself as being the most important part.

I also hope by sharing my experiences, others can know they are not alone and that they deserve to love themselves too:)

All is well in my world.

Much love, Michelle xxx