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The Attitude of Gratitude – week 17

These are the things I’m grateful for from the last week:

Monday: Watching the solar eclipse in the USA live on TV, and doing a fire ceremony to release and let go.
Tuesday: Personal revelations that will help me on my journey towards better emotional responsibility.
Wednesday: Creating my Facebook page for She Holds The Bowl.
Thursday: Walking in the field and seeing all the Hawthorn berries, and playing on the swings to indulge my inner child.
Friday: Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen – archetypes within women explored through the Greek Goddesses.
Saturday: Going to Lincoln for the afternoon and seeing all of the Steampunk people in their fabulous outfits.
And: Seeing the Domesday Book, Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest at Lincoln Castle. This is the only time in recent history the Domesday Book has been displayed outside of the National Archives, and it will be returning in a matter of days.
Sunday:  Beautiful sunshine and warm weather.

Post-it note positivity

Sometimes when I’m struggling I need a little reminder that I am making progress, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

My beloved Penguins provide the perfect inspiration. No matter how long it takes, no matter the terrain, no matter how many times they slip and slide, Penguins keep going.

So I made a little Post-it note doodle to keep me uplifted. Enjoy 🙂

Learning Acceptance through Surrender, & exchanging Fight for Drive

Note: this article is purely about personal development and is not alluding to wider issues in the world.

When something happens that has a profound impact on our life, or the way we live it, we can start to rail against it. We fight it. And this is the normal reaction for the majority of people, because we fight to reclaim what we have lost or feel we are losing. When we’re faced with something like illness, but especially those conditions that are chronic, lifelong or terminal, a certain ‘battle’ terminology prevails. But, ultimately, ‘fighting’ is refusing to accept what is.

When I was diagnosed with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at 17 I felt like my whole world fell apart. I fought constantly against the thief that stole my energy, my life, my dreams and my hopes for the future. I fought it desperately, trying to cajole it and my body into cooperating with the life I thought I wanted to live. I felt like if I stopped fighting I was just giving up, giving in and being weak.
It took me years, until I was relapsing again and on a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ‘course’ for people with M.E./CFS, that I had my breakthrough. I finally realised I didn’t have to keep fighting or give up, I had to learn how to Surrender.

Surrender doesn’t mean letting go of dreams and hopes. It isn’t giving in. Surrender is learning Acceptance; accepting that, for now, this is how things are. It means giving less weight to the expectations of what we feel should be and learning to live with what is. It means learning to live more in the present, comparing less to what once was, and stopping the fears of what-might-be in their tracks.

When we learn to be friends with Surrender we free up all that pent-up energy that was engaged in ‘the battle’ and ‘the fight’. That energy flows back into us, and while our condition/illness may not necessarily improve that change in mindset helps a great deal.
It takes practice and work to maintain it, and sometimes we relapse and the old urge to fight and rail against the unfairness and injustice of it all rears its head again – the Valkyrie donning her battle armour once more. But, after all, we’re only human. It takes time, patience and dedication to our health and wellbeing to Surrender. It isn’t always easy, but it does ease the process.

The other side of Surrender is giving up, and I have fallen into this myself. It is one thing to Surrender to the process, but if we forget what our passion is, who we are at the heart of ourselves, then we can become lost. We then forget what it is that drives us.
The flipside of Fight is Drive. Drive is driven by passion, not desperation, fear, anger or a need for control. Drive is our inner spark, that creative fire that burns inside even when all around us seems to fall apart. Drive is what keeps the flame of hope alive within the heart. Drive is what allows us to surrender to what is without giving up on what may yet be. Drive is the healthy need for fulfillment of our Self. It is what keeps us going even when times are tough or dark or scary. Drive is the light that burns even when our past seems but a fleeting memory and the future but a dream.
Drive is a steady force that keeps us ticking over and moving forward in our Self without giving in or giving up, and without the need to ‘struggle’ and ‘strive’ like when we’re stuck in Fight mode.

Learning to Surrender while maintaining that sense of drive is a fine balancing act – each can fall into its flipside of giving up and fighting – but it is worth it.
Do you constantly fight against what is because it feels like you’re just giving in otherwise? Perhaps you can try to look at why you’re afraid to Accept and Surrender. It takes courage to let go of the need to Fight for what you think should or ought to be. Accepting what is can mean letting go of ‘shoulds’, and maybe even putting what you think you want to one side.
Surrender is looking at where you are in the here and now, and finding the best way to be at peace with that while keeping that spark, that inner Drive, alive and kindled within.
It takes work, it can take time, and you may have to face grief over loss, but it means you are no longer constantly in battle with your Self and your body or mind. It may mean making drastic changes for some, but it is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and for your wellbeing.

Surrender, while holding on to Drive, is a major act of self-care.

The Attitude of Gratitude -week 16

These are the things I’m grateful for from the last week:

Monday: The book I won in an online competition arrived.
Tuesday: An interesting video on Shadow work by Kelly Ann Maddox.
Wednesday: My new set of oracle cards arrived today – Soulful Woman Guidance Cards.
Thursday: Tasting some of the plums, apples and blackberries from our garden – yummy!
And: Playing my viola for the first time in years – see here.
Friday: Receiving some messages of support and encouragement.
Saturday: Discovering by accident that I can ‘sing’ Polyphonic Overtones – see this video for more information. It’s weird but cool… and no, I can’t sing them like this.
Sunday: The internet – how it helps me through sharing and reading blog posts, and the availability of information.

Shadow work – revealing the diamond in the rough

I can’t say yet that I’m grateful for the manner in which they came, but my own reaction and the feelings brought up by the way that a friendship ended started me on my own journey of healing and reintegration. This has actually been one of the greatest gifts I have received, because it started me on my journey of emotional responsibility and working with my own Shadows.

As Shadow work progresses you gradually strip back the layers of conditioning, of things you pushed aside and didn’t want to look at. You start to remove the rock and dust to reveal the raw diamond of your Self.

As you listen to the lessons of your Shadows and start to address them or put them into action your inner diamond becomes more apparent. As you cut through the layers of self-deception, programming, shoulds and should-nots the facets on your diamond start to appear. For only through the right cuts, adding the right style of facets for that individual piece, can a master, a craftsman, reveal the true sparkling beauty of each diamond. Each stone is unique, and to get the best sparkle and refraction of light for that particular diamond the craftsman must work with the stone’s individuality.

Shadow work is uncovering the diamond in the rough, then implementing what you’ve learned to reveal the unique beauty – the diamond within – that is your true Self.

Music for healing – playing the viola for the first time in years

Today, for the first time in years, I got out my viola and played. I only had the physical strength to play for a few minutes, it sounded a little scratchy, and my finger pads are sore, but I loved it. I love the feel of the strings vibrating when I sweep the bow across them, the feel of the sound vibrating through the wood and into me. Playing the viola – and even just listening to string instruments – pulls on my own heart strings. Music can help to heal the heart.

I hope that, even building it up a minute at a time, I can start to reconnect with my own musical heart, and heal my emotional heart in the process… another string to my self-care bow.