I was a very happy child, perhaps a little bit shy but generally had a great upbringing cocooned nicely within my family. However when my parents suddenly decided to separate when I was around 14 (well suddenly from my perspective as I had no idea!) this nice little solid reality I was living in started to crumble.
In hindsight, it’s moments like this, although they are challenging, which actually make us, as they force you to grow and explore life. My entire reality had become contingent on the external events and circumstances around me, and until it was taken away I had no cause to question anything about my reality or start looking for what I needed.
However, it’s all good in theory, but without the stability of my Earth Element (Family unit) I made a right mess of the first few years after my parents separated! My problem was that I didn’t know myself, hardly at all. I didn’t really have a clue about feelings, emotions or what I needed around me to be healthy.
Lost in Thought & Tinkering With My Life
I often got lost in my thoughts and my ‘intelligence’ telling me that everything should be ok or is ok – when everything was far from it. I would go through and make lists in my mind telling myself that I had everything that I needed – got friends, yes, girlfriend yes, college, yes.
But what I was beginning to realise was the huge gap between the idea of how something is and how it actually feels, through the body, which is of course the actual vehicle that we live in. So great, ‘I’ve got a girlfriend’ or ‘I’ve got a great job’ would state my mind!
But in reality there could be so many things wrong with that particular relationship or job, I wouldn’t know where to start. I fell into long depressions, and when you seldom seem to experience anything that feels naturally more uplifting you tend to think that is the norm. Painful.
I started tinkering a lot with the external circumstances of my life. I would change jobs, uni courses and locations frequently, but to no avail as something just didn’t feel right – which of course was mainly internally generated as I was carrying a backlog of stagnant emotion in my body and mind – which would affect my perception – so no matter what I was changing outside of me it didn’t really help.
At Burning Man Festival 1996
However, having burnt out my ‘drinking’ phase quite early at College and Uni, I started to look more towards holistic practices after a trip around the U.S switched me on to them – all these people talking about yoga who seemed to carry such a peaceful demeanour was somewhat alluring!
I then threw myself whole heartedly into these practices as I found they were something that made me feel good, creating an inner sense of wellbeing. But now looking back I can also see I had a tendency – at that time – to become over reliant on these practices, thinking I could solve all the ills of my life by seeking solace in meditation, dance or yoga!
Tension Relief, Fatigue and Being Mindful the Body-mind Registers Everything!
My practices became a constant way of trying to disperse tension while also ignoring the call and instincts in me to change what wasn’t working around me. I wasn’t whole, wasn’t embracing all aspects of who I am. I hadn’t yet recognised that my environment and life choices around me were also an extension of who I am.
Somewhere along the line I’d picked up on a toxic train of thought – which can be prevalent in the holistic world – that you should be able to ‘let go’ of everything that bothers you! That these practices are the be all and end all of happiness! But life is never that easy. I had become too passive and was suppressing natural instincts for change and wasn’t allowing myself to have the confidence in those instincts, so I actually still had a lot of tension on the inside.
So this combination of emotional suppression along with trying to disperse the tension engendered from circumstances in my life that I wasn’t happy with – often my work and personal life – ended up creating bouts of fatigue. Any of you who’ve ever experienced genuine fatigue will also know how frightening it is. It’s not like being tired, it doesn’t matter how much you rest, it’s like someone has just switched your energy off.
Eventually by doing more embodied practices I started to listen to the clues and realise my body registers what it’s engaging with in one way or another every moment I was alive! It would register the sensation of my legs tightening when I was living somewhere I didn’t like and trying to grip onto the Earth for dear life. It would register the repeated contraction of my belly when I was in fight or flight as my work was super stressful, it would register my shoulders lifting and chest closing when I was around people I didn’t feel harmonious with.
So a this was all a bit of a revelation, as I could see that I’d originally been using holistic practices to some degree as a bit of an escape, an escape from the circumstances around me, and also from my some of my own instincts and feelings. The thing is though, is that these practices do have such efficacy that eventually they ‘wake you up’ anyway and make you more whole as they smash through your blocks and misconceptions, unlike other means of escape we often use in our life which trance us out and take us further away from our truth.
And eventually I realised everything is connected, your environment and choices are an extension of who you are, they all factor into your health and then things started to change!
Finding the Clues About What Works!
So as well as being aware of circumstances that felt debilitating to me, I started to look for the clues in my body-mind about things that actually worked for me. Now, after years of confusion and hearing other peoples influences in your mind, it’s not always easy to sort out what’s going on in the deeper layers of your own intelligence. But sure enough I started to discern that when following particular inner promptings I would move towards things that were good for me. And just as my body would contract in situations that were abrasive, so I began to notice that when I was situations that were harmonious I would begin to actually thrive. My spine would straighten, my chest would open, belly relax, legs loosen and my energy levels, emotions and inner dialogue take on a much more uplifting sense.
In addition I started to realise that my ‘aura’, my charisma, would also be more apparent and influential the more I did things that I loved. (This is because your electromagnetic field around your body expands when you are happy) This is where I really started to serve the ‘whole’. I realised that doing things I Loved wasn’t just good for me, it was good for the people around me too. I could see that living the life that connected to my Heart also positively influenced and inspired others.
It was a bit like staggering around in the dark at first, and you really need to start to listen, really listen. Not listen to other people, but listen to yourself, your deep deep self (I tend to think of that aspect of me as my Soul) which actually is watching and giving directions and inner promptings about what feeds me as an individual. We are all unique, and then life becomes about creating the conditions on the outside that mirror and support who you are inside. There is nothing better than being able to express your inherent passions. Nothing.
Listening To Who I Really Am
My inner practices then became not about escaping from the world, or seeking an antidote to stresses, but instead about listening to who I am and expressing myself in the world. When life becomes driven from your inner passions your entire energy body, charisma massively ascends and you start to become a bit more super human! You no longer navigate through life based on what seems like good ideas, but from your own inner voice (which is actually the Soul – which is also attuned to a much greater level of intelligence than the smaller mind – and which pervades the entire universe. Remember everything is connected)
So finding practices where I could access this inner knowing and being, inner stillness became a must. And there are lots of ways in to this intelligence, I’d particularly find it during the meditation or relaxation at the end of a yoga class, after an acupuncture session when the discordant energies had been dispersed, or after a good dance! It was like inner ‘visions’ would drop in. I found that mindfulness helped me to stay aware, acupuncture, therapies and movement help me to balance internally, and meditation & deep relaxation helped me access my inner ‘Soul’ voice.
Moving Towards, Not Running Away
I started to move towards occupations and relationships that nourished me, finding my passions, instead of debilitating me, and since then, life has been so much better, but always a work in progress!
So the first part of my holistic journey was very much about understanding and managing my inner state, finding practices which made me feel clear internally, and the second part of my journey was exploring and managing the influence of the circumstances around me. And that’s life folks, we constantly undulate between needing to manage these aspects of our lives.
If you aren’t clear and healthy inside, your perception is polluted and it doesn’t really matter what you do, as you see the world through that filter! But even if you are clear inside, if the circumstances around you aren’t nourishing you, you won’t be fulfilled and your instincts will give you this information!
Time to Share
Ultimately I’ve also had to learn to sit in the silence and hear what’s in my Heart – which is essential – as shaping life around my passions (which are energetically in your Heart) is the way to true, exhilarated exceptional wellbeing.
And now one of my passions is sharing my skills and knowledge with you.