#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

 

‘Lucky Bitch’: Me, Money + Mental Health

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Once upon a time, I thought I was pretty clued up on the Law of Attraction.

The theory of it, anyway. I knew what I had to do. I had listened to some free ‘manifesting’ meditations on YouTube, and read a couple of books. The process was this: I had to be specific about my desires, visualise them, feel them as though it’s already in my life, release it and then receive it!

I had a few little successes but on the whole I was finding myself forever worrying about money and scouring the pavement everywhere I went looking for loose change.

If I’m being painfully honest, I couldn’t be bothered to put any further effort into it. I just wanted to make a wish and have thousands of pounds deposited into my bank, thanks very much.

So anyway – something switched very recently. Call it intuition, call it divine guidance, call it frustration from scouring the pavement lol. I abandoned my ’99p or under’ rule for Kindle books and spent a whole £8.03 on ‘Get Rich, Lucky Bitch’ by Denise Duffield-Thomas.

I am not far into the book yet but one of the most important exercises you must do, according to Denise, is to face all of your beliefs, feelings and memories about money square in the eye. So that you can then “declutter” those that are not serving you.

This morning whilst in meditation I visualised my spirit team all around me (for moral support lol) and a large basket in front of me, and I started offloading all my thoughts about money into the basket. (By the way this is a great technique if you want to offload/release anything anytime you are worried, fearful etc). 

It was not long before I realised something that I would say probably has raaaather a lot to do with my lack of manifesting success. And which is also embarrassingly obvious!

You know my previous blog posts, where I have discussed how many years I’ve spent feeling trapped in jobs I couldn’t stand, which affected my mental and physical wellbeing and felt like a waste of my life? Where I expound my belief that we should dream big, and disregard the societal norm to suffer a job because “that’s the way it is”, and work towards an authentic and fulfilling job and life?

Well that is indeed admirable. Unfortunately, underlying it is a belief which is completely contradictory:

The only way I have managed to earn money is doing things that make me unwell, unhappy, depressed, anxious and even suicidal.

And therefore:

Earning money makes me unhappy, depressed, anxious and even suicidal.

So yeah. No wonder I struggle to manifest riches! Deep down I believe that acquiring money could kill me!

I was pretty overwhelmed by this realisation. It’s fantastic to have realised it though. Realising it is the first step towards overcoming it.

I suspect there may be many, many others in my shoes – those with mental health issues like mine especially – who deep down have the same fear.

Do you recognise this belief in yourself? If you have already found this to be one of your belief, what has your journey been like since you made that discovery?

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

Dip a Toe into the Discomfort Zone

You know those times when you just feel ‘meh’? I’ve been there lately. I’ve been having lots of good ideas but I haven’t taken any action. I haven’t been fighting for my dreams, I haven’t been proactive in the slightest.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, I accept these phases as the universe’s way of telling me to rest myself.

Then last night, it came to its natural end. I felt ready to resume business again.

I thought, “I’m ready to stop making myself small. My dreams may look unrealistic to everyone else but I’m gonna try anyway!”.

Because what’s the alternative, if you don’t try for your dreams and your goals? 

Well, you will definitely fail at them.

And if they’re that important to you, you will live to regret not trying.

And you may feel bitter and angry with yourself.

Whereas……

For the sake of the discomfort in stepping out of your comfort zone…

For the sake of exposing your heart + soul for others to see/ignore/mock/criticise…

For the sake of committing some of your time and energy, and some blood, sweat and tears…

You could succeed at something that makes you really happy!

It’s worth a try, right? 

I have been guilty of choosing to preserve my energy and my playtime by doing nothing, instead of working EVEN HARDER at my dreams.

And I have definitely been guilty of being too scared, too shy and too negative.

Look – if we don’t try, we will never know!

So I am going to try very very hard to TRY even when it feels scary, pointless, doomed or rubbish. 

What about you? Can you dip just one toe into the discomfort zone today, and do something towards YOUR dream?

My Laughing Place: how Disney World makes me smile again

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I am feeling much better today thanks to some lovely comments on yesterday’s blog post and reading my new book “Women Who Run With The Wolves” (I’m in love!).

What has also helped is thinking about my happiest memories. Whenever I am having a really crap time I start to think about our family vacay’s to Orlando and how much of a laugh we always have.

I wrote about this in “My Soul Inspiration: Disney World” last year. Being there connects me back to my inner child and remind me I’m not an idiot for having dreams and an imagination. It renews my hope.

Me with Minnie at Magic Kingdom, the first day of our holiday in 2014

My procedure for getting all Disney-ish goes like this:
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I stick on a Disney World parks music playlist such as this and straight away my mood lifts! In fact while you read the rest of this post, why not play this track in the background? It’s one of my favourites!

A few years ago, during another very long very rough patch, I downloaded a ton of these songs and would listen to them on my way to work whilst visualising my family and I there again, and I would pray that my angels and the Law of Attraction would make it happen. (It worked – we went back in 2014!).

Magic Kingdom on our last day, 2014

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I also LOVE watching videos taken round the parks. Either on rides from the rider’s POV (point of view), walks around the parks or people’s vlog diaries. Pretty much anything! This video below is of a meet and greet with Gaston from ‘Beauty & The Beast’, I didn’t meet him on my trip I would try to next time. He’s a funny character to meet, good banter!

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The other thing I do is peruse the various Disney tourist blogs and forums for rumours and reports on new attractions, restaurant recommendations, vacay planning tips and other people’s photo trip reports. I get really excited like I am going back myself!

My favourite is The Dibb, so much so I have it on my Bookmarks Bar 🙂 If you are actually going to Orlando anytime soon go to The Dibb it is a holiday organiser’s paradise!

I also love the Disney Food Blog. Any new opening, any menu additions or new park treats will be on here.

Admittedly both of these sites would be more exciting if I actually had a trip to plan *sob* but I use them to dream and visualise and yes I even plan anyway lol.

Gaston’s statue!

I feel so much better immersing myself in Disney park memories and magic. I think another trip needs to happen!

What about you, where’s your happy place? xx

My Holiday Reading List!

I am leaving today for a week’s holiday in Fuerteventura, Spain!

I was going to take my laptop so I can journal and blog (+ watch Netflix oh god I’m obsessed!)… but then I decided it’s a good opportunity to have a bit of a digital detox.

My Kindle however is allowed to come 🙂 Now am I the only one who..?

1. Scans my Amazon Wish List every single day to check for price drops… soon as that bad boy drops to £2 or less, buy it!

2. Buys more Kindle books than I can ever hope to read!

3. Starts / reads several books at one time.

I suspect this describes all readers and book lovers out there. And of course, if you’re anything like me, you will also LOVE a good book recommendation or reading list!

And so, je present:

My Holiday Reading List!

Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life: A Guide for Anxious Humans – by Neil Hughes

I heard about this book the day I started following Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike on Twitter (she interviewed Neil here).

A book written by a funny person about their battle with anxiety is a must-read for me. Plus, anybody who describes their life as “anxious bumbling through existence” is frankly extremely likely to be on my wavelength!

Check out these awesome reviews from the book’s jacket:

“Neil has a pleasing use of commas” – Anonymous.

“It’s not bad I suppose” – Neil’s mum.

“Pure drive. Avoid at all costs” – Neil’s inner critic.

Check out his website.

Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found – by Cheryl Strayed.

I wanted to see the movie but never got the chance, so this will be a great chance to read this autobiography of a woman who, in the midst of a life that seemed to be falling apart, walked 1100 miles across the US.

I love stories of women who have fought their way through difficult times. Like many depression / anxiety sufferers it gives me hope and motivation but more importantly it reminds me I’m not alone, and gives me a sense of solidarity and friendship with these women who are sharing their story. p.s I hope to be one of them one day!

Another similar book which is also on my Kindle is Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed by Sonia Choquette.

The Invention of Wings – by Sue Monk Kidd

I have always been drawn to books set during the times of slavery. Maybe it’s a past life memory coming through.

So when I found this through randomly clicking about on Amazon and saw all the positive reviews (including Oprah, yo) I decided it’s highly likely I’m going to like it.

This story is said to be based on the true story of two girls, one a slave and one her ‘mistress’, who come together as sisters and abolitionists.

Have you got any book recommendations to share? 🙂 Comment below! 

Facing my resistance

Today I did something brave: I walked back into my studio after a month of dedicated resistance.

It looks a little neglected and messy: it has become our emergency dumping ground for post, boxes that are going to charity, a half finished jigsaw, essentially everything we had to ‘put somewhere’ when my brothers came to stay a couple weeks ago has been chucked into this room!

I sit down at my desk and clear up the paper cuttings and paint brushes, remnants of my last commission. I change my desk calendar from April to May and rearrange the motivational pictures that had fallen down (whenever I don’t use this room for longer than a couple weeks, my vision board falls off the wall – how’s that for a sign!). I open the window and released the stale air back into the Universe.

Despite looking forlorn, the energy in my studio is still glorious 🙂

I can smell my patchouli incense sticks. I can sense the electricity of “this is me, this is my power, this is my dream” coursing through my body, and I can feel my connection to my higher self reawaken.

I open my YouTube subscriptions, and without actually clicking on it Gabrielle Bernstein’s Miracles Now deck reading for this week begins to play. As I watch I feel more connected to the Universe than I have for weeks and I absorb the messages with complete faith that I am meant to hear them and that I can live by them. She talks about letting your life purpose find YOU, not the other way around, and I meet this notion without resistance.

I go on to watch Doreen Virtue’s reading for the week and she explains the feeling of lethargy that has been around since last week, and I feel the guilt I have been feeling about my inactivity and resistance to my work detach and float away.

I take out the components of a project file that I have been meaning to create since January, it has dividers for every day and month of the year and tons of empty plastic folders, together with a beautiful Leonie Dawson calendar which breaks down how you want to feel and what you want to create each month. I assemble it.

Now I feel ready to get serious about shit!

I still have a little bit of resistance to actually start committing ideas or goals into words / pictures. But I am sitting in my studio again because I am ready to face the resistance.

The leap to DOING is significantly smaller now I’ve taken this step. It’s a more bitesize chunk, and I can manage it.

Dear Readers, what have you been resisting lately? Feel free to share, lets support each other and forgive ourselves if we are not yet ready to face it – and lets celebrate if we are!