Being Okay With Where You Are

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
Lao Tzu

I’m still recovering from the flu, and gee, it’s taking muuuuuuch longer than I would have liked. On top of that I managed to pick up a vomiting bug because of my dodgy immune system, so that has meant a couple of useless days just as I was picking up again.

I have to be honest. Yesterday morning after a horrid night I was quite despairing. You know; tears of frustration, being totally over it, and yes – being down on myself too. I wanted to be writing. I wanted to be back at work. I wanted to be doing so many other things. I wanted hair free of knots!!! (Try lying in bed through fevers and misery for a month and see what that does to your hair – I know some of you completely get this because things like illness and depression are not friends to long locks…)

And oh the guilt I began to feel that here I was in bed. Again.

I didn’t stop myself feeling any of those things.

That never helps.

This is my truth. I’m getting better slowly. I’m frustrated. I had a less-than-great couple of days. It was okay to be in a bit of a hole.

It’s helpful to be able to be honest about where you are and how you feel. I had a cry on the phone to my sister. I had a cry with Ben. I had a cry with the dogs. After which I slept and slept and slept.

This morning I am doing better. In a week or so I’ll be back to doing all the things I had wanted to do. Meanwhile, I am where I am and it is what it is.

I realised a few years ago that I had bought into this crazy belief that I needed to be 100% on 100% of the time. Because of that belief I pushed myself relentlessly. No matter what my truth was. This perfection thing is all around us – on social media, in magazines and on television and in movies. It’s the expectation at schools and universities and in our workplaces. We’re not meant to have down days, sad days, sick days, ugly days.

Except that we all do.

We all do.

So my lovelies, the next time you have a down day or a sick day, the next day you feel like crawling back under the covers and not facing the day, extend yourself some compassion and know that it’s normal to not be 100% on your game every single day. Only robots and Stepford Wives do that. Everything else you see providing evidence to the contrary is a carefully curated lie. Please don’t buy into that!

A model’s self portrait in the style of the Stepford Wives by Christine McConnell

No matter what your current reality there is no point fighting it. It is what it is. Fighting against your truth is disempowering. You beat yourself up, lower your vibration and end up feeling even worse than you did before. It keeps you in the hole longer.

Accepting where you are at, honestly and without judgement, creates shift.

Don’t like where you are at? Accept that truth. Sometimes that’s all you need to do to create movement in a new direction and a lightening up of your mood and situation.

Don’t want to keep living this current version of yourself? Decide to change it. That’s not fighting it, that’s empowering yourself to move in a different direction. Wanting to change and then deciding to change still honours where you currently are and that’s so important for self-love and self-acceptance. Affirm to yourself I am where I am but I can change. 

No matter our current situation and how difficult things are we still have choices. We change emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or physically. That knowledge can be a life-raft, and it can open doors to new possibilities.

Self-acceptance is, in itself, a powerful force for change and for creating flow.

Sending you love and hugs, and holding you in my meditations, Nicole  xx

Let The Dying Live!

Painting by Iain Vellacott at www.inoils.com

Painting by Iain Vellacott at www.inoils.wordpress.com

“You’ve got this life and while you’ve got it, you’d better kiss like you only have one moment, try to hold someone’s hand like you will never get another chance to, look into people’s eyes like they’re the last you’ll ever see, watch someone sleeping like there’s no time left, jump if you feel like jumping, run if you feel like running, play music in your head when there is none, and eat cake like it’s the only one left in the world!”
~ C. JoyBell C.

 

This post is the next in my Wednesday series on death and dying…

Many years ago, my friend Pixie was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. It was caught late because she was breast-feeding, and doctors kept telling her she had mastitis. It was only her continued urging that led to her ultimate diagnosis. Despite using both aggressive traditional and alternative medicine the cancer continued to progress.

With her initial diagnosis and surgery came much attention from friends. But then Pixie’s illness dragged on.

And on.

Friends stopped calling. Family came much less frequently. The immediate crisis had been averted, and other folk went back to their regular lives. Some also stopped visiting or calling because they didn’t know what to say, or what to do. Chronic and terminal illness can be very lonely.

I was also seriously ill. So it was logical that Pixie and I should keep each other company. She would go to my house, or I to hers. We talked a lot about life. We talked a lot about death. Both of us had been given a poor prognosis. Both of us had experienced physicians tell us that we were dying.

Eventually I found a new doctor, and a new regime that seemed to promise better outcomes. My outlook improved. But Pixie continued to decline. Soon she needed a cane to walk. She was frail, and tired easily. She could no longer drive. Her life became an endless round of medical appointments and resting at home.

One morning she rang me. She’d had more bad news. There were no treatment options left for her. Her doctors could only suggest pain management and palliative care. Could I come over for a visit? Yes, I could. (this was back in the days when I was still driving!) Dress up in something pretty, she said. Wear a nice perfume. We are going out!

I drove to her house, and Pixie shuffled to the door to greet me. Instead of her usual dressing gown and slippers she was wearing a pink dress, pearls and flats. She had a scarf tied over her head where only patchy hair had ever regrown. Closing the house door firmly behind her she took my arm. Come on, she said. I’m taking you for coffee!

Are you drinking coffee, I asked, surprised.

I am now, she laughed. And so are you. Today we are ordering like we are living, not dying!

We ventured a short distance to a large local plant nursery that had a gift shop and a cafe attached. Taking my arm, Pixie and I walked slowly through the gardens and rows of plants for sale, and then took a seat in the little cafe. It was still so early that the staff were busy watering the plants and sweeping the paths, ready for the day ahead.

A waiter came and took our order and very quickly two excellent coffees arrived.

Pixie picked up her coffee, inhaled and smiled rapturously. I sipped mine tentatively. It was delicious. Neither of us had drunk coffee for the longest time. It wasn’t on our cure-everything-diets.

We were quiet for a moment, perusing the menus. None of it was the food we’d usually eat. The lemon tart looks amazing, Pixie said. So does the eggs benedict, I added. We got both, with extra side plates so that we could share. Pixie made sure that her lemon tart came with cream and ice-cream.

What’s the occasion, I asked, once the waiter had left with our orders.

I’m sick of dying, Pixie said. I’m still alive. I’ve been alive for ages and I’m going to be alive for a bit longer yet. Hopefully. So I’ve decided to live while I’m alive. Dying is overrated, and it isn’t any fun!

We were both quiet for a moment, sitting with the truth of that.

It is so easy for dying to sneak in and rob the colour and the pleasure from life while you’re still alive.

For the eight months before Pixie became completely bedridden and shifted into that final stage of life we continued to have little outings, or on days when Pixie wasn’t up to a car trip I’d bring the world to her via treats, flowers, conversation and news.

One of our most precious days was when I wheeled her bed out onto their patio so she would feel the dappled sunlight and smell the fresh air of the changing seasons. She could look up through the pergola and see green leaves and flowers. She could see trees. She said it made her feel connected to life in a way that she couldn’t experience from between the white walls of her room.

My dear friend taught me something very important about dying.

Even when you are dying you are still living. That time is precious. There can be so much pleasure and value in it if it is lived and savoured.

So, if you, or someone you know has a chronic or terminal illness, think about how to have more shared experiences of living. This goes for people who are aging too!

Take Pixie’s hard-earned wisdom and let it shape your life. Celebrate and live life. For yourself and for your loved ones. Let the dying live. Help them to live while they are still alive. It will enrich life for both of you.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole <3 xx