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Recovering Wholeness or Uncovering Wholeness?

Reflecting on the layers of self I’m uncovering as I journey along this path of self-discovery, I wonder:

Are we recovering wholeness? Or are we uncovering wholeness? Or is it something else?

I think of the famous quote by Michelangelo:
michelangelo-angel-marble-recovering-wholeness

I really believe that we are like that piece of marble, and that we are like a sculptor too. And at some point we see that angel (ourselves as whole), and we set about gently and compassionately carving to set her/him free.

Our wholeness is always there.

We are always whole. It’s just that sometimes there is so much accumulated rubble all around us that we struggle to realise or feel this wholeness. The way I see it is that at some point/s in life we begin picking at the layers, piece by piece, slowly digging deeper to reveal that wholeness that has been waiting for us our whole lives.

Is it uncovering or is it recovering wholeness? Really this is just semantics. But it did get me thinking about the process and the name I have given this space.

I’m currently training to be a self-love guide with Christine Arylo, and as part of our learnings we practice each tool we acquire with ourselves and each other. Therefore we are constantly digging a little deeper and throwing off another wee layer we may not have even known was there.

With each tiny piece of debris that gets removed or layer that is peeled back I feel more lightness. Deeper connection.

In this space I become more and more aware of my wholeness. It is a beautiful space I aim to hold and honour. Do we ever get to the bottom and have completely uncovered or recovered our wholeness? Or is a better question: do we feel our wholeness more strongly?

Right now in my life, I feel that as humans, living in this world, and fully committed to life, life happens. And so, at some points we feel very connected to our wholeness and aware of it, and at other times maybe it feels a little hidden under debris. I see it as a connection. Sometimes our connection to our wholeness is strong and at other times it feels further away, but always it is there.

Coming back to semantics, maybe it is recovering wholeness. Maybe as humans we are in a dance of recovering our connection to wholeness…sometimes waltzing with her, sometimes solo dancing and at other times tangibly connected at the hip in a sensual bachata.

What do you think?

 

 

Hope – Four Years Ago

This time four years ago I was discharged from Whangarei Hospital to come ‘home’ to celebrate a friend’s 30th who had driven up from Auckland.

After one of my biggest tummy flare’s, due to the most heavy pressure that I put myself under, I developed a peri-anal abscess. My flare had finally been controlled with oral antibiotics and my fissures healed with fresh aloe vera leaves. A few days later though, I became aware of this intense pain in my bottom area. When I stood up, the throbbing was so concentrated I had to lie back down. I had no idea what it was. I began waking up in the middle of the night to take painkillers. Eventually on one particularly bad night nothing helped. At 1am an ambulance came to pick me up.

A tiny hope flickered, that these months of unwellness might be coming to an end…that I could get on with things…

I hated having to give in and go, but the pain was so unbearable I hoped they could take it away. An hour or so later the doctor on call confirmed a peri-anal abscess and I began IV antibiotics. I spent the next day in Kaitaia Hospital (an hour from home), wondering what all this meant. At the time I didn’t have a smart phone, which is probably a good thing, so I wasn’t trawling the internet for all the possible outcomes. That night I was driven to Whangarei Hospital (2 hours away) in an ambulance, with a large strapping teenage boy who had just had his foot run over by a truck. His pain was palpable. I watched the stars rushing past, branches reaching up to meet them, feeling my aloneness expand and grow.

Long story short I got prodded and poked and examined by young male doctors for 6 days in hospital, still while on IV antibiotics, dragging a stand around with me to the bathroom and back. I was so keen not to risk a surgery near my sphincter muscle that I led myself to believe it was starting to feel slightly better. I still couldn’t stand for longer than a few minutes, but I told myself the antibiotics would take it all away. And I’m not sure if I convinced the doctors and surgeons, or if they really had hope it would go away too.

That small hope gave me an out…

My dad drove me back home. While I had been away Harlan had moved some of our stuff out to a friend’s beachfront cottage, where we stayed for 3 weeks while I recovered. A few friends were already there for the birthday weekend and I had a station set up in the lounge on my massage table. That way I could socialise without moving or having gravity work too hard on my bottom.

I’ve always put on a brave face. A protective shield of strength and independence to guide me through my tough times. But here, in this lounge, a little bit of that toughness was stripped away. I could hide so many of the confused painful emotions, but I felt bare and vulnerable and useless. I had to argue with that need inside myself to always be doing something. Preparing dinner, cleaning, helping. I had to try and let go, even just for a little while.

A week later I had to admit to myself that nothing was changing and my dad drove me back down to Whangarei Hospital. I was operated on overnight – the abscess drained. At 12am I emerged from my anesthesia haze begging for more morphine, and finally by the morning I could stop pressing the button for regular hits into my bloodstream. The pain eased, and with it came a trip back to the beach cottage that day. Erin, a district nurse, was booked to visit and attend to dressings.

This was the beginning of the end I told myself. With the abscess drained, I could fully heal and ‘get on with my life’. A little hope bloomed in my belly…

“Do you think I can book my flights for Australia in a few weeks?” I asked Erin about a week after the surgery. It felt like things were healing nicely and a lot of the pain had gone away. I had planned on heading back to the grain silos in South Australia to earn some summer cash.

“Just wait and see,” she replied, “wait for it to get better before you go and do that.”

Wise words. Hopeful words. Imagine if she had known the future.

Imagine if she had said: “No way don’t book those flights, you ain’t going nowhere. You’re going to think this is all healed, and then you’ll realise it’s created a fistula. You know, that condition you’ve read about, but tried to push out of your mind? You won’t be able to sit, standing will be tricky and walking won’t really be any fun for months…kind of almost years really…”

That’s where hope and optimism is a good thing. If someone had actually told me what was in store for me. All the pain and anguish, disappointment and raging emotions I’d have to experience, I would have given up. Right then and there. As we left the beach house and I could feel a bigger pain starting in my bottom again.

But no one did and so I kept hoping. I kept visualising and praying and doing whatever it took to give me moments of courage that this would pass quickly. That life would return to ‘normal’…

And now, here I am four years on, still with a fistula. It turns out I had to learn to get on with my life as it was, not how I wanted it to be. Not how I thought it should be. I had to learn to live it as it was. I had a new normal. An ever-changing normal. These last four years have been a rollercoaster ride of note. I’ve had such highs of goodness and hope, and I’ve had such deep dark lows that I’ve wished the lights would go out.

But through it all, somehow…hope.

I’ve used that sheer determination and strength that used to hide away that vulnerability, to navigate this journey. To keep going, one foot in front of the other. When courage collapses, I pick it back up and shake it around. Sometimes I yell at it and ask it to let me give up. But in the end I need it there to help me grow, journey and transform myself along this exploration of life and self. I want the courage, because what a path we’ve walked!

When I say I’ve had hope, I suppose it’s been more like my bedrock. I haven’t always felt like it’s there, but some part of me must…

Hope, stubbornness and determination have led me to a place of freedom. I may not have freedom to sit and travel the world and do those sorts of things right now. I used to pin a lot on those, but now I look elsewhere. There is now a deep flowing freedom in my soul that I never thought possible. Freedom from so many ties and expectations, criticisms and comparisons that kept a firm noose around my neck all those years. That noose sometimes choking me of the ability to breath in life and enjoy it as it was.

So here’s to hope.

And here’s to freedom. To letting go. Sometimes we go looking for freedom and find it in unexpected places. Other times we hope-letting-gohave a very clear and firm picture of it, only to learn that it looks totally different. It actually feels nothing like we imagined. It’s even bigger and better.

I know hope can bring disappointment. That I know more than anything. But I also know that hope brings with it the ability to carry on and navigate and move, even when you have no idea what’s in front of you.

Right now, in this moment, I honestly think that the most important thing is to hold onto hope, but to let go at the same time. Keep moving forward, but don’t limit yourself with rigid expectations and shoulds.

Let life unfold without you fighting it and constantly reimagining the life that is happening to you in this moment.

Artist Residency in Healing – Shadows

I’ve spent the afternoon lying on the couch reading my current novel: All the light we cannot see. Energy that I thought might be increasing didn’t last too long. I fitted in a load of washing, my 5 minute energy routine (Donna Eden), vacuuming the lounge and some work on the computer. Then the couch beckoned to me.

I hopped up now and then to send a text, drink some water, take my drops, or eat my lunch. I want to be jumping around doing a million things, but my body wants rest. Quiet gentle time. So I give her that time.

I look up and see those shadows on the fridge. This means the sun is dipping behind the trees, it ‘s time to move from the couch…

Looking back from the shadow – the jasmine that is casting her pattern on the fridge. Next to her, a small apothecary.

The change of light on the fridge reminds me of washing now in shadow, so I slowly move myself from the couch, camera in hand and snap what I’m seeing. I go outside to the washing line. It’s soft and clean and no damp has landed on it yet, I’m just in time as I throw the pegs in their bag and the sheets in the basket.

Now I’m here, thinking what my top gratitude for the day is:

  • That I am witnessing the beautiful play of light at different times of day, especially this evening.

 

Artist Residency in Healing

The beginning of an artist residency in healing…

After reading about the artist residency in motherhood I felt inspired to explore some options for myself. What do you do when you would love to go and get creative in an inspirational space just for artists, but you’re stuck at home? In my case on a healing journey, house bound by health circumstances. Day in and day out.

Well, it turns out you change the way you’re looking at things. You change that lense and begin observing life through an artist lense, just as you would an artist in residence. You provide an outlet for those creative juices that have been feeling stifled and cooped up. A dream is to one day go on a residence and write, looking at at lavender fields, smelling roses, hearing bicycles tinkle down cobbled pathways. Actually my dream is just to write more. But since it’s tricky sitting with a fistula, and lying on my tummy writing has a short life span, I don’t write as much. It’s not an excuse, it’s simply a fact.

I also love playing with my camera, so camera it is for now…

under-the-table-2

Today’s view from a prostrate healing position – on my deck on the first day of Spring under our outside table.

under-the-table

Admiring the scattered patterns of lichen underneath the table slats.

I’m in what some may call a flare up. My gut is struggling to process much and with it goes my energy and strength to do anything at all really. I’m drinking probiotics, swallowing turmeric, eating fermented goodies, dropping big pink drops of B12 under my tongue, Vitamin D, talking lovingly to my body, massaging acupressure points…and on it goes…it’s a slow process this one. My fistula thinks it’s all too much, but we’re working out ways to ease the journey.

I am lucky. Today is a gloriously sunny day and it almost feels like summer isn’t far away. That perks up my spirits and I’m sure sends more healing energy through my body.

So, top of my gratitude list for today is:

  • Delicious warm sun on my bare legs and blue sky all above me!

The Desperation to be ‘Fixed’!

The fuel of desperation

Desperation was my driving force, my momentum for the first 2 ½ years on this journey with a fistula. Every possibility, every magic pill, potion and lotion I would dive at it, desperation fuelling my direction, my hope. I searched, tirelessly for natural cures, balms, miracle stories on the internet and the next wonder worker in New Zealand, heck in the world.

It was exhausting. Desperation is an exhausting place to be in. Gentleness and desperation don’t live together too well, and so life was full on in an excruciatingly slow kind of way.

desperation-shores-insanityLife as I knew it had been turned upside down. Ideas had been crushed. Insanity often crept into my peripheral vision, lurking there, waiting for me to let down my guard. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I dived head first into the murky mess of it, flailing, sobbing, wishing for another world. Luckily I am a good swimmer and I would eventually get myself out of those currents and beach myself on the shore, exhausted, with nothing left to give.

‘They’ said “Acceptance is the biggest healer. If you can accept your fistula, accept life as it is, life is going to be a hell of a lot easier.

God I knew they were right. I knew if I could just accept my lot that struggle would reduce and I might find some peace in my monkey mind. But it’s easier said than done I’m afraid. I tried. You can’t accuse me of not trying. I tapped on it for days, for weeks. I mean even the basic tenant of tapping is to ‘deeply and completely love and accept myself (just how I am)’.

I don’t know what came first. A lessening of pain and struggle or the work of wonderful healers, an accumulation of tools in my toolbox and the amazing journey I began with my counsellor in Canada. Or maybe it was the perfect synergy. Does it really matter? Either way, under a year ago desperation’s fuel light came on. I didn’t realise. You know how when you’re on a mission to get somewhere in the car and it takes you ages to actually realise there’s an orange fuel tank glaring at you? That’s what happened to me. On some level I sensed a change, but it was subtle and unexpected. Plus, don’t we get used to the status quo so quickly?

On empty!

Desperation began to stutter and choke. I wondered what all the fuss was about and then one day I suddenly realised I felt a gentleness in the periphery. I would read something about an amazing cream and not start pulling my credit card out, ready to have it sent on the next courier. People would tell me about healers or links or books and I wouldn’t pounce on them for more.

It was a novel change. Unexpectedly, instead of feeling this desperation to be fixed, I felt a hunger for change and growth. The soul searching I did with Debra made we want to find more of the inner peace that was beginning to take form.

change-directionsMy relationship with myself grew to a whole new level. Of course I still wanted a healed bum. Of course I didn’t want to have to spend the rest of my life sitting on my haunches hurting my very patient knees. I didn’t want to have to wear a panty-liner every. single. day. of. my. life. But the majority of the time I had changed direction on my journey. I was seeking peace, I was catching moments, right here and now.

There were still the bad days. Days where I would find myself on the carpet (because that doesn’t require pressure on your bottom) rocking myself from side to side begging. Begging the angels, begging the Universe, begging Mother Earth to just get this over and done with already. How f%@#ing long was it going to go on for?

A gentleness

The great thing is, these times passed quicker and also more gently than before. I didn’t wallow in the feeling, desperately trying to feel positive, desperately looking for solutions. Instead it was easier for me to just be with my emotions. Watch them like a wave and know that they too would pass.

The reason I write all of this, if you’re still with me, is that I have a semi ‘ultimatum’. The surgeon has proposed a draining seton on the 30th of June if I don’t feel a heck of a lot better. You see, just before I went to see him, with the idea of taking myself and this seton to explore kshar sutras in India or Austria, I decided to try my body with Ayurveda. finding-gentlenessNot out of desperation but curiosity. And it’s actually really loving it so far. I’m only three weeks in, but hey who knows where it may take me.

So, 95% of the time I feel really calm about it all, I trust that my body will do exactly as it has to, and I will be very clear of what direction to take closer to the time. My body and I are pretty in sync these days, so our communication is great.

A sip of fuel…

However, I think this ultimatum must have put a cup of fuel in desperation’s tank, because I feel the odd lurch and cough from it at the moment. “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to heal before the 30th of June.” “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know if I want to go the seton/kshara sutra route yet.” “What else can I do to speed my healing even more right now?” “Who can I call on? What can I take?

Thank goodness these are very fleeting and far apart. I have time. I have choices. And deep down inside my inner wise woman knows the answer. So instead of falling into a desperate flailing mess trying to find those answers, I relax back into that gentleness and remind myself that I don’t need fixing. That I don’t need answers now. That what my mind body and spirit need most right now is calm. Peacefulness, gentleness and that deep deep love that every human craves.

The Fear Surrounding a Surgeon Appointment

I was due for my surgeon appointment for the first time in 18 months this last week. I wanted to discuss some alternative options that I’ve been exploring for healing my fistula, and of course I was nervous. Surgeons like performing surgery, and so asking them about anything that a) isn’t orthodox and b) isn’t about surgery, makes me feel nervous.

The last time I saw Dr B I was in a weak place, both physically and emotionally. My appointment was not what I had hoped and I left feeling like I had not been heard. I was disappointed in myself for not speaking my truth and in him, for not magically saying what I needed him to say.

This time I wanted my experience to be different. So, I booked an extra appointment with Debra, my counsellor, and just under a week before I was scheduled to see him we had a session – particularly on this topic.

It was fantastic and the best thing I could have gifted myself.

Tapping – EFT

We tapped around my fears. We tapped around past disappointments. We tapped in the positive of what I wanted from the session. We also tapped around clarity and disappointment. And speaking my truth.

When I had first voiced my fears of the appointment to Harlan, he gave me a beautiful answer:

Dr B is an expert in his field, you are in expert in your body. So, just like you can’t tell him how to perform surgery, he can’t tell you how you feel and exactly what your body wants.

Hmmm. I liked it, so we tapped on this as well.  A lot of tapping 😉

I got clear, made some notes and decided I would tell him about the natural treatments I’ve been pursuing and not feel scared about sharing my research on the kshara sutra and Ayurveda with him. This is something new for me. I automatically tend to believe that Western specialists will poo-poo these things and don’t even give them the opportunity to prove me wrong.

My Surgeon Appointment

Wednesday morning rocked around, my bum was feeling better than it’s felt in a long time with taking my Ayurvedic herbs, and Harlan and I were off to the Greenlane Hostpital in Auckland. I thought I would feel nervous, but I didn’t really. There was a little niggle of jumpiness in my tum, and so…you guessed… I tapped some more 😉 We sat in the waiting room and I focused on the smiling people, the positive people, not all the sadness that you can often focus on in hospitals. When Dr B came out to get us, I didn’t feel scared.

We began the appointment with some light-hearted banter and then delved into the details. I didn’t feel like I was inferior to him. I didn’t feel like I needed to please him. I just discussed, openly, what I had been thinking. The appointment went well. He gave me his time, he called me an optimist and he laughed about compromising with me on dates because I wanted to give our final decision more time.

I left feeling proud of myself for my clarity and deeply grateful for all the amazing support I have around me while making these big decisions.

I also realised just how much changing our own attitude before these ‘scary’ appointments changes the attitudes we get in return.

I had a dream: losing and finding dreams

“I’ve had this dream for so many years,” my mum was saying to me in anguish, “and now at 72 I’ve lost it. And it’s too late. It’s gone. It’s dead. I know it’s not a death, but it’s the death of a dream.”

I had been listening to her and offering different ways of looking at the situation, and different ways of self talk that could help her intense and utter remorse. But for some reason when she mentioned her age in relation to the dream I felt my chest tighten and that uncontrollable sob fill my upper body.

“It doesn’t matter at what age you lose a dream,” I sobbed. “I’m only 32 and I lost my dream 3 years ago. The dream to be young and carefree and beautiful in this world while you still can. Adventuring and spontaneity.”

Then I realised what I was saying. “I know it’s buying into society’s ideas that youth and beauty is fleeting, and to make the most of it, so I know I need to work on all that, but still I lost that dream.”

I stopped and thought about that for a while. “But my point is, it doesn’t matter at what age you lose a dream. A dream is a dream.”

I have worked a lot on remorse around the changes in health that happened in September 2012, so it was interesting to see there was still sadness there. Not surprising really. I very quickly went into observer mode which for me was nice, I didn’t feel like the wallowy tears and sadness around the situation. Especially considering we were talking about my mum.

Before I left I went into my old room and took out my photo albums from the top cupboard to bring home. I flicked through a few briefly, the ones from high school, noticing what I looked like, yet how I believed I looked back then.

The interesting thing is, as I started my drive home I felt a little sensitive. I could feel a slight rawness, yet openness of tears not too far away in my throat. Something had changed. I realised, while looking at the evening light playing with the fresh, vibrant green leaves of spring, and thinking of how lovely I looked as a teenager, that maybe through this health journey I had found a dream I didn’t know I could find.

How long would it have taken me to love myself the way I do now if I hadn’t ‘lost’ the dream of health and youthfulness 3 years ago? This ‘loss’ catapulted me into a place where I worked hard, especially on maintaining sanity. Hours a day of training for something I didn’t know. Every day working my way a little closer to a place within myself where I felt more comfortable…in my own skin…with who I was as a person…with my way in the world. More comfortable with the difference between my journey and my place in other people’s journeys.

And as this realisation gently landed on me on the drive home I felt a wave of intense gripping fizz in my chest, of gratitude. A deep gratitude that makes you breathe deeply and just stop with all the thoughts, just for a moment and realise where you are in this world. Yes I have a sore bum, and yes it does still restrict certain things, and clearly there are still a few tears around that ‘lost’ dream. But oh my, I see myself and the world around me in such a different light now. I can actually feel love for myself and I can see my beauty. Not in a conceited way. In an overflowing loving way that you feel for those close to you.

So yes, a dream was lost, but another one was found that I didn’t even know I was looking for and I can never compare what things may have been like if I hadn’t ‘lost’ that dream.

 

 

Showing kindness to your body…

showing-kindness-to-your-body

I recently listened to Ahlea Khadro’s interview with Jessica Ortner on the Hay House World Summit 2015, called Befriend Your Symptoms: a Path to Radical Health and Happiness. 

It’s the first time I’ve heard about her, but she sounds wonderful! Basically what I took out of it is the importance and the value in showing kindness to your body. This ties in perfectly with where I am at on my journey at the moment because I recently started talking to my body! (Thanks to suggestions from a healing practitioner).

It’s so easy when our bodies hurt or play up – menstrual cramps, sore achy knee, crook gut, cold, allergies etc – to feel frustrated and annoyed with that part of our body, or to simply pop a pill that removes the niggle. So easy…I know the frustration well. Maybe we could take these niggles as an opportunity to actually listen to our body and offer it some love and kindness instead? Ahlea believes that in the same way that we feel frustrated, scared and annoyed about various body problems, our body/organs might be feeling the same, and by giving them the opportunity to be heard we can relieve a lot of physical stress and discomfort.

One of the interesting parts of this talk for me was her touching on auto-immune diseases, which Crohn’s is for those who don’t know. Just a few days ago, when I was writing about my tendency to beat myself up, I thought ‘Hang on – if I’m beating myself up mentally, then surely my body is mirroring this and beating itself up!’ Light bulb moment 😉 As you may or may not know, an auto-immune condition is when the body pretty much turns on itself.

auto-immune-crohns

So if my mind turns on itself and on my body, then it makes sense that my body is going to follow suit! I have also met other people who have Crohn’s and they are usually very hard on themselves…interesting thought!

Following on from that to a state of kindness…when talking about mirror work and the idea of being kind to yourself in the mirror, Jessica told about her sister-in-law who created a fun enticing mirror with her daughter that hangs in her bedroom. Every time she leaves her room she says something nice to herself in the mirror! Yes please! Isn’t that the most beautiful thing to instil in a young being? I am so going to adopt that idea for myself (never too late to start something new right?)!

Happy body to you 🙂

Love yourself!

Love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does!

– Anita Moorjani

Gently she cradled her in her arms. Belly soft, breathing slowly, rhythmically. “I am here with you,” she whispered. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise. We are in this to the end, and I will never leave you again.”

She didn’t know she would make this commitment that night, but so it came, whirling around her like a mini cyclone, screeching in her ears til she heard the words, “Love yourself.” And just like that it went quiet and in that stillness she heard a small girl’s voice whispering, chattering, almost inaudibly unless she held her breath.

love-yourself-inner-child“She’s so mean to me. I can’t trust her anymore. She’s always saying horrible things. I wish she’d go away. I hate it sometimes. I’m just trying to be me and all she does is tell me I’m not good enough.”

It stopped and there were sounds of nervous sobbing.

A gush of air escaped from her lungs as she sat down on the floor. It wasn’t a little girl locked in the pantry or outside wanting to be let in. No, this was her own inner child. The one she’d neglected and forgotten about. He heart raced. It was true. All those accusations were true. So how could she expect miracles and a happy life when one half of her was down-trodden and abused? Whispering quiet apologies and promises, she sat there until outside it had gone dark. Still no reply. She stood up and took a deep full breath of air into her lungs and that’s when she felt it. A timid settling inside her, unsure, but hopeful.

And so she promised to never leave her again. To try to never speak those awful words.

Do we get told ‘love yourself’?

Why is it that we are not taught self-love at school? Surely this is number one? I don’t mean the “I’m top of the class in Maths,” or “I’m so good at soccer,” type. That can be ego or arrogance creeping in, and often comes at a cost of true self-love. When you’re not top in Maths for a test, the barrage of abuse cracks around in your head “You idiot, you should have studied harder. I can’t believe it, it was so easy and you just stuffed up.”

No, I’m talking about the gentle, kind self-love. As you realise that the more you abuse yourself in your mind, the more timid a part of you becomes. It is what guides you through the deep and meaningful moments in your life, but when its feels shut down you may struggle to hear it in these times of need.

I’m too fat. Look at my love-handles, ooo yuk! I’ve got rolls – 3 actually and look how they go over the edge of my jeans.

Well look at my face, it’s hideous, I’ve got these blind pimples all over my chin. It’s so gross.

I hate my arms, they’re all flabby. I want nice toned arms like those girls you see in … magazine.

At least you guys have got boobs, mine are non-existent, I don’t even need a bra, so I have to wear falsies to pretend. I’m so jealous.

love-yourselfAs a female I struggle to believe that many of you missed out on these types of conversations, either during lunch breaks at school or in the changing rooms. How was it that no-one told us to cut it out. Hang on, they did actually. I clearly remember my mum saying to me and my friends that we were beautiful and were definitely not fat. ‘Ya, Ya” we thought, of course she’s going to say that. It made no difference, not to me anyway.

It just seemed the accepted thing to do. You heard adults talking about their bodies not playing ball as they aged, and you compared yourself to all those photo-shopped, anorexic models and felt inadequate.

When I walk down that grey stony path of remorse my feet hurt and my heart sits heavy in my chest. All those years of beauty, freshness and youth ‘wasted’ on ungratefulness. I put ‘wasted’ in inverted commas as of course it wasn’t wasted. It was all part of my journey and all part of growing up and learning certain lessons.

One day when your body doesn’t behave quite the way you expect it to every morning when you wake, you start looking seriously down that path and wondering how you could have taken all this for granted. How you could have taken your young lithe body for granted. Its endless energy, all your organs behaving as they should…

Then a quiet reminder: Love yourself! And I am thankful that I found this path of self love in my 30s…better later than never 🙂