#FindingMySpark

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Today I am starting a new project, and I would LOVE for you to join me!

I have been feeling constantly exhausted and apathetic over the last few months. I’ve been eating a lazier diet, drinking more red wine, gaining weight, feeling physically ill literally every day and living in a constant state of anxiety, lethargy and insomnia. Clearly something isn’t right. But the worst part is, I don’t know how to fix it.

I already take anti-depressants to aid depression and anxiety, and am in recovery from my dermatillomania. So having days where I don’t feel great, or inspired, or I don’t feel anything at all, is to be expected.

In addition, I have a life purpose problem. I desire – and, if I may venture to sound a bit confident in myself just for a minute – I feel intuitively that I am here to contribute to the world in some meaningful way.

Trouble is, I don’t know how. People say “do what lights you up” but I haven’t found that spark. And trust me, I’ve been really looking for it, for a really long time, in many different places.

And then this idea came to me today:

Every day I will post on Twitter (and if it’s a picture I’ll post it on Insta too) a thing that has made me feel a bit of a spark during that day.

My ‘why’ for this is threefold:

First – over time, providing I am consistent with posting at least once a day – which in itself will feel like a massive effort – I will build up a picture of the recurrent themes, topics, role models, etc which have given me a little bit of that “what lights you up” feeling. I am hoping that this information will in itself trigger a bigger lightbulb moment in terms of my own personal purpose and what makes me feel passionate.

Second – it will be like a happiness/inspiration diary that I can look back on and give me nice feelz 😊

Three – I believe that honesty and transparency about mental health and these bigger life questions helps to unite people globally.

I am going to be honest if I don’t feel anything at all, or I feel crap, or I don’t feel a spark. Why force it? I want to cover the whole gamut of emotion within inspiration and purpose.

So how does this involve you? 

Because I would love you to get involved too!

Share with me, and with others, what made you feel something today.

Lets help everyone who knows they have a greater purpose than the life they are living right now, but can’t figure it out.

Lets help the people who are feeling lost or apathetic or purposeless.

Lets help those whom don’t feel anything at all today.

Because my philosophy is anything’s worth a try, right?

Use the hashtag #findingmyspark – and either hashtag me with #freedombirdie and/or tag me on @freedombirdie on Twitter and @freedom_birdie on Insta so I can follow your journeys. And let’s start sharing!

I can’t wait to get started! xxx

 

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How to have a ‘Me Hour’

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I decided today that I urgently needed a ‘Me Hour’ (which is something I made up on the spot).

The rules for ‘Me Hour’ were threefold:

  1. Don’t think about any worries, problems, responsibilities, decisions, people, injustices, frustrations.
  2. Don’t compare myself to anybody else.
  3. Don’t continue any thought which begins with the phase “I should be…”

I set a timer, and then I put my computer and phone to one side.

I ran a bath telling myself not to feel guilt for using my last limited edition bath bomb instead of saving it for a ‘special occasion’.

I didn’t pressure myself to use the time to visualise, dream, pray, manifest, plan, connect to my Higher Self/guardian angels, analyse, strategise or decide.

Every time a thought floated in which breached these rules, I floated it out again. I acknowledged the aches and pains in my body but without analysis. If I received any intuitive guidance, without any ‘trying’ on my part, I allowed it.

I bathed in silence.

When the hour was up, I took Baxter for a walk. I strode around our usual route and felt so different to usual. I felt grateful and strong and powerful. I felt more connected, more energy and more faith.

I know alone time is an elusive luxury for many. But I hope you may find time, and schedule it into your weekly planner if possible, to gift yourself this opportunity to come back to yourself.

After all….

 

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Frenemies on Social Media

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This has been on my mind for a while but more as a little gripe than anything worth talking about. It should be something I can brush off without further thought because it’s so tiny and so stupid really, and 99% of the time I do simply brush it off. But now feels right to discuss that silly little 1% that bothers me.

Frenemies, or Fake Friends, on Social Media.

I’ve had to step back from a few Frenemy friendships over the years but I remain ‘friends’ with them on social media because,  although it didn’t feel healthy for me to be in their company on a regular basis anymore, I still cared for them and I wanted to keep in touch (conveniently I moved away, which gave me the perfect excuse to distance myself literally without hurting anybody).

Even though time and distance has separated us and mutually our interactions have reduced down to the odd ‘like’, ‘comment’ and annual ‘Happy Birthday!’ post, every so often their indirect actions still manage to sting a little, and remind me why I had to step back.

You see, I’ve been promoting my Etsy store a lot in the run-up to Christmas and as I’ve done so I’ve noticed who is supporting me and who is silent. And these particular Frenemies have ignored every post I’ve written about it.

Without going into the finer details of how the Facebook News Feed works, which I know all about, just trust me when I say this: I know them well enough to know that they are ignoring me anytime I have anything positive and personal to share, and I know why they do this. It was evident back when we were friends, and it is still evident now, that they were and are threatened that I at least give my dreams a go.

They were never interested or supportive. Whenever I accomplished anything good it was either met with disdain or skimmed over completely, never to be acknowledged again. I learnt to keep quiet: it just made for a more pleasant evening with them if I remained small.

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So when I write something, and within minutes I see them online, ‘like’ing or ‘comment’ing on mutual friends’ – or worse other artists’ or entrepreneur’s – status updates, I cannot help but feel that a decision has been made on their part – be it conscious or subconscious – not to support ME for some reason.

I can tell from their online behaviour towards me over the years that they have a very specific set of criteria that merit a positive, or in fact ANY, acknowledgement of me and I’m sure there will be many of you out there who will have similar Frenemies doing this too. I will only get a acknowledgement if I say something inane, bland, neutral. “I’ve had 3 glasses of wine tonight” for example. Nothing that denotes going anywhere nice, doing anything fun, or achieving anything good.

I admit I am a very sensitive person! 😉 Duh I write about depression and anxiety! But whether I am in fact being paranoid, or whether I have got it spot on, it brings back memories of times when any good news I had – even something as small as going on a 2nd date – became too uncomfortable to be aired.

It reflects the dynamic of our original friendship only too well. I would support anything good that happened to them and support them through anything bad, and they could not hear anything good that happened to me and only had an interest in the neutral or the bad times (as long as they weren’t too bad to warrant any special attention).

I dunno. Can anyone else relate to this?? xx

Am I a Real Woman?

“You won’t be a real woman if you don’t have children”.

“I already am a real woman”.

“No you’re not…you’re only 3/4 a woman. You have a womb and it’s there for you to reproduce”.

Yes, this conversation really happened.

The gent was around 55-65 years old and because he meant no harm, and because I doubt he is well versed on today’s more acceptable way to speak to women who are childfree by choice, I forgive him for his views.

But I am offended by them.

He quizzed me on my decision to be childfree by choice.

Then he wanted to know what would happen if my partner wanted children – and berated me for saying we would part ways, clearly unimpressed that I could “give up love because I wouldn’t have a child”.

He recommended that my parents needed to have a word with me about this decision.

He joked that my boyfriend should slip me something so that my contraceptive pill (note: I don’t actually take one) doesn’t work and I get pregnant.

He told me that I should not be able to get married if I’m not going to have children.

And then he told me I am not a real woman.

I don’t like confrontation so I politely and timidly let him say his piece. But I might’ve replied by saying the following:

I know I run the risk of being lonely when I’m elderly. That is a truly scary thought.

I know my house will seem emptier and Christmases will be quieter.

I know my family name will stop with me, and that makes me sad.

I am aware of the (slim) possibility that I could regret my decision when I’m older – that would feel devastating.

But none of those thoughts or feelings justify, in my mind, my having a child that I have no desire to birth or raise.

Would I love my child if I had one? Of course. Would I devote my life to them? Without question.

But that doesn’t mean that I should have a child.

I’ve never had the desire, the maternal instinct, the urge. Not ever.

I have friends who have felt the same but have gone on to have children anyway, either accidentally or planned, and they are so glad they did. So I believe in ‘never say never’. But don’t tell me that I should change my mind.

Why would I bring a child into this world to make others happy, or to fit convention, or to be seen as a ‘real woman’? How would that be fair on a child? How would that be fair on me?

You can disagree if you like. If you are a parent then you know the infinite rewards and the depths of true unconditional love, in a way I do not, and you are more qualified to know what I’m missing than I am.

But please don’t say I am not a real woman. That is so hurtful.

Don’t You Want to be Big and Shiny?

Do you ever feel like you are not shining as brightly as you should or could be?

Do you ever feel like you are keeping yourself small in order to fit in with the place you live in or the people or colleagues in your life?

I do and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Most of the time I choose to ignore it.

  • Because it’s horrible to think you may be doing yourself a disservice, or failing yourself.
  • It’s disconcerting to feel that the choices you’ve made in life are wrong.
  • And it’s terrifying to think about the changes that may be required to make the feeling go away.

And for special bonus points – it’s also terrifying to imagine change taking place and then THAT’s not right either, and you’ve just ballsed your life up for nothing.

Did I mention it feels yucky, and shitty, and frightening??

What I struggle with is this:

  • Is it a feeling that can be trusted? Is it real?
  • Is feeling this way a guarantee that IF you were to make the changes and aim for something more authentic, that you will succeed and be happy at it?

I’m guessing there isn’t a guarantee and without one making big changes is not a particularly inviting prospect.

If you’re anything like me you will google for success stories (and if I find any I will share them over on Twitter!). But while it’s mildly encouraging, reading about someone else’s successful transition to authenticity is really just a diversion tactic. It’s no guarantee that you will have the same experience and, if I am honest, is reading anybody else’s story ever going to motivate me to actually DO anything?

No!

We need to find the answer, the strength and the confidence within ourselves.

We need to decide that feeling dulled, feeling repressed, feeling small, toned down, boxed in, is unacceptable for us.

It IS terrifying and uncomfortable to think about, but imagine yourself 10, 20, 30 years down the line if you don’t address this feeling properly now. Will you feel fulfilled or regretful?

Would it not be worth at least TRYING things out that MIGHT allow you to fully shine?

I would love to hear from anybody who has had, or does have, this feeling. What did / are you going through and what helped / what do you think would help you?

Stop Giving your Power Away Every Morning

I posted on my Twitter yesterday a link to a fabulous article detailing the morning rituals of 12 mega successful entrepreneurs. Included amongst their morning habits were meditation, visualisation and making a gratitude list.

What I loved about this is that every ritual was rooted in positivity and every entrepreneur understood the importance of their own self-nourishment.

They check in with themselves emotionally, physically and spiritually, and they fuel themselves for the day ahead, not only with breakfast but by setting goals and visualising their dreams coming true.

I, like most of the population, wake up and immediately check my phone which lies beside my bed. I check my text messages and then Sky News, followed by my emails, followed by Facebook and finally Bloglovin. Rather than checking in with myself I am checking in with everyone else and ignoring myself completely.

But even worse than that …

Because I am someone who frequently gets discouraged by comparing myself with others and seeing myself unfavourably, a lot of my creativity and motivation gets shut down almost immediately upon waking when I go straight onto my social media.

I’ll see a great blog post or video or other accomplishment, or someone on Facebook bragging about something, or whatever. My mind, which is only just waking up, begins to tick over and recount my activity over the last 24 hours or week and what I’m doing today (likely something I’d rather not be doing, like going to a sucky temp job) and find evidence in my character and my actions to support why I am not writing or filming or doing things as brilliant as THAT person is.

By the time I’ve got out of bed I already feel defeated and feel like one of life’s runner-up’s. One of the ones who don’t have what it takes to work hard to love my life, and does have to slog away in jobs they don’t like for 50 years.

Every morning I give my power away!

Today I resisted, I didn’t read anybody else’s social media output or check my emails until mid-morning. And it really did feel GOOD.

I couldn’t compare myself to anyone because I didn’t know what anyone else in the world was up to. So I only had my thoughts, my ideas and my dreams to focus on! Perfect!

So I strongly encourage you to rethink your morning routine and stay away from your social media even just for 15-20 minutes after waking. Just think how much more positively you could start your day if you took just a little time to think about YOU.

What is your morning ritual like? Is there anything you would recommend, or like to change?

Worriers: cut yourself some slack!

Are you one of those people who has the same thoughts, worries or concerns going through their mind over and over on rotation?

And even though you acknowledge it, you’re reaaaaaally really bad at stopping yourself from doing it?

Do you ever think “how do other people manage to put worries to one side and maintain a happy positive attitude?”

Or maybe you just conclude sadly that you must be genetically predisposed to worry and see a negative slant to everything?

*sigh* I know how ya feel!

Perhaps we do ourselves an injustice though.

Maybe we do manage to go 10 minutes, 20, 30, an hour, without thinking about the thing we’re worrying about – we just don’t notice it?

Or – if current thinking (pun not intended) is correct and we have 35-48 thoughts per minute, then surely half of that minute at least must be spent thinking about things other than the worry?

As somebody who worries, stresses, procrastinates and obsesses A LOT, these little presumptions make me feel a bit better. A bit less powerless.

Plus, self-awareness is a good thing.

As long as it doesn’t lean over into obsession. I have no medical expertise so I can’t specify the difference but in my experience I notice that I think about some things waaaaay too much and also I close myself off to people around me because I’m SO engrossed in my own journey.

We shouldn’t compare ourselves.

We must remember: it’s not like those people with happy positive attitudes don’t have worries. We don’t know their inner world. Maybe they aren’t deep thinkers. Maybe they aren’t self-aware. Maybe they are intensely private.

And also, they don’t have mindfulness nailed. Because nobody has mindfulness nailed. Mindfulness is an ongoing, constant practice.

Why are we worriers so different? Don’t know, don’t care!

It’s like trying to understand the actions of your narcissist ex-boyfriend who cheated on you or your so-called friend who bitches that you never call her but she never calls you.

If we try to figure out if and why, I think we would end up winding ourselves up and feeling confused, stressed and inferior. So don’t bother! Just don’t go there. It won’t serve you.

Just focus on you. Practice mindfulness – observing your thoughts and letting those that do not serve go on their way.

Like a train going through a train station – you don’t HAVE to board that train, you can let it go by.