Friday, January 28, 2011

(Un) healthy Habits

This morning was the first I'd woken up without the freedom to surf. I am far away from my beachside home in the country. I am hundreds kilometres from the ocean and without a computer or Internet access. In case you didn't know, I don't surf at the beach, I surf on the couch. It is the Internet surfing I missed this morning, the comfort of knowing that the world (wide web) is right there at my fingertips. They say that the first step to healing from an addiction is to admit that you have one first. I will do no such thing as to admit I am addicted to the Internet, I just find it difficult to go without it for long (a few hours).

This morning as I dealt with the cold harsh reality that I was without computer or iphone access all sorts of feelings and thoughts crept in. 'In this modern day how is it that there is not one single computer available to me?' my mind questioned. 'If I had brought my laptop I would never have landed myself in this situation' I thought feeling annoyed. This was followed by an uncomfortable sense of emptyness and slight agitation. I wished I could fill the void with Twitter, checking e-mails and blogging. I wanted to be able to distract myself from the feelings. Then a horrifying thought emerged 'I might have to sit with this feeling of emptyness because I don't have anything to fix it'. I also realised that my number one tool for avoidance of writing my morning pages had been stripped from me.

I recently wrote about morning pages and my intention to begin a creative exploration process with the book 'The Artist's Way'. I am officially on day 3 of the 12 week course. One of the main components involves the practice of writing 3 pages of uncensored stream of consciousness writing every single morning upon waking.  Not once yet have I undertaken this task in the AM hours.

Today, with nothing available to distract me, other than Mel and Kochie (let's be honest, that ain't any kind of excuse) I turned to my empty page and began to write. Once I had begun it felt good and I felt mighty proud of myself for acheiving the seemingly unnatainable- morning pages being written in the morning. Upon finishing the pages I felt a little bit inspired to consider my Artist's Date, which is the second regular task that is to be undertaken each week as a part of the course. This date is to be a date with your 'inner child' the playful part of you that enjoys new adventures, creative pursuits and just having fun. I came to realise that this date would need to happen while I'm here in the country, in a very small town. I wondered what on earth I could do, a few ideas began to flow about going fossicking through the op shops and antique store in town (I think there is still an antiques store). I'm not yet sure if this will be my date, I am wondering how I will fill 2 whole hours with the pursuit.

So I had completed the morning pages and still had no Internet at 10am, I decided to flick through some of my Mum's Country Style type magazines and cut out some clippings of the kind of elements I would like to have make up my own home one day. I found it really inspiring and alot of fun, I still feel the excitement bubbling up now when I think about my future balinese style landscaped garden.

My future garden
I quickly came to realise that thanks to my Mum's computer blowing up and her taking the laptop to work for a presentation I had been gifted with the opportunity to experience my morning differently. To take time out to nurture my creative self and think outisde the square (latpop). Doing things differently in the morning is something I've been thinking about for a while, but I was stuck, completely stuck in the rut of beginning my day online and unable to break the habit. I've been so aware of this for such a long time now, but the awareness itself of the habit had not broken it. Today I got a glimpse of what is underlying the habit, how this routine has served to help me avoid 'being with' my self in the morning and enjoying creative time. Tomorrow the Internet will be available to me in the morning, let's see what happens.

Monday, January 24, 2011

If my thyroid could speak...

Without a doubt I heard my thyroid speak to me whilst writing my morning pages (see yesterday's post for morning page specifics). Do you want to know what my thyroid said? It said 'You push me and I'll push you'. It sounds as if my thyroid threatened me, right? No, it was not a threat, it was a promise. You see my thyroid was actually attempting to befriend me, help me and get me on side. It reminded me of the concept the thyroid story revolves around- balance. Oh how often I use the term 'balance' when referring to my thyroid; 'Hopefully it will soon be in balance' and 'My thyroid's out of balance'. Hint hint, the thyroid is about balance, completely and totally.

I have been reminded, firmly and without a doubt, that if I push myself, if I continue to push the boundaries and see how far I can get, my thyroid will indeed push me back. My thyroid is a powerful regulating gland in my body, it can create great harmony or cause complete chaos. It truly calls the shots on how I feel, how I look, my skin (pimples, eczema etc), my cycles, my mood, my energy levels, my physical strength, how my heart beats and my digestion. That's a whole lot of my body being affected if I decide to take the gamble and 'push it'.

My thyroid does not seek to punish me, it seeks to befriend me, it is a very real guide as to how well I am acheiving balance in my life. Right now my kind of balance looks so very different to the 'average persons'. My mind finds my kind of balance laughable and frustrating, and that's where my mind tries really hard to convince me it knows best and 'we'll show that thyroid who's boss, life will go on, lets go sister!'. My mind can not believe how much rest and nurturing of my Self is required right now and how little 'doing' or 'working' is allowable

My thyroid is kindly and firmly reminding me that this kind of mind chatter is unacceptable and not conducive to good health. To acheive harmony I must listen to my body, my heart and my wise one within. This is the only way to strike the kind of balance I need to experience long term health.

It might sound bizarre, the concept of body parts speaking to us, they often do so just through symptoms and we don't hear the meaning behind our pains and dis-ease. If you could hear what your body was saying to you, what would you be pushed to understand, to acknowledge, to change?

If you desire to know more about what your body is saying to you, I recommend the following books, 'You can heal your life' by Louise Hay has been my bible since I first discovered it years ago, it is a must have on the book shelf.

Anatomy of the spirit is a much more challenging read, if this concept is new to you I suggest starting with Louise Hays work, she makes it easy and enjoyable to read and her book is beautiful and colourful. However, if you're wanting more and up for the challenge of learning metaphysics at a deeper level, try Caroline Myss's book.

My thyroid has inspired me to write more about balance.
You can find out why your 'balance' will look differently to everyone else's on Inner Beam. 


In the past few days I have taken up the challenge of 'morning pages'. The concept of 'morning pages' comes from Julia Cameron's 'The Artists Way' book. The book came highly recommended recently from a very wise and knowledgable woman who did a sacred contract reading for me. 'A what?' you might ask, never mind I'd never really heard of such a thing either. However, when my naturopath mentioned that I might benefit from one of these readings I immediately recognised the words 'sacred contract', because I have been slowly reading Caroline Myss's book 'Sacred Contracts'. It seemed like synchronicity at play when the concept came up during my Naturopathy consultation. My naturopath, Donna, explained that the woman she wanted me to have the reading with had studied with Caroline Myss herself. By that stage I was amazed and convinced I needed to go for the reading.

A sacred contracts archetypal chart is not an easy experience to explain. The best I can do in short is that it was very accurate and mind blowing. The easiest way to explain it is to say that it is based on archetypes and how they're playing out in your life. The archetypes are used as a metaphor for various aspects of the Self and the psyche and how they help and hinder your progress. The reading also looks at the lessons you're currently learning and the ways in which you might be doing so. Yes, ill health did indeed come up in the reading, Barb who was reading for me didn't know anything about me or my 'story'.

So upon completion of the reading Barb strongly suggested I open up more to my creative side, which would in turn allow me to hear my intuition more strongly. She told me to get Julia Cameron's book 'The artists way'. The book is a 12 week program/process for opening up to your creativity and exploring it, it is meant to help unblock the blocks. I have felt huge resistance to the process, which means that if I do follow through with it, it will most likely be awesome! It's just the saboteur or 'inner child' at play, resisting, because it's not sure what's going to happen- and that's scary for a child.

So I'm on day 3 of my morning pages commitment and I have done these 'morning pages' twice, once in the evening and once in the afternoon. Next step is to actually do them in the morning. The task is automatic writing, for 3 pages. It does not matter what you write, just that you do. You must write whatever comes to mind, just let it flow. It's helping to rid the mind of fears and blocks that come up, getting them out of the way in the morning, before they grab hold and take your power during the rest of the day.

I must say that once I get started I enjoy the process and have even had some great insights; the process truly does take you down paths you least expect. You can ask questions in the writing, allowing yourself to open up to your subconscious mind/intuition and hear unfiltered honest answers. I draw a parallel between the morning pages and exercise, I often resist putting runners on for a walk, but once I'm doing it I think 'tomorrow I will look forward to this, I don't know why I think I don't enjoy it'. Tomorrow never that sense. That may just be because (as Eckhart Tolle says) 'the time is always now'.

Click the books to find out more.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's not over til it's over

It's time to write again. Tonight I went out to a social event with some people I've known for a while and others who were new to me. It brought up stuff, thyroid and illness related stuff.

I haven't written here about my thyroid much lately; I'm not too sure why, maybe I'm sick of talking about it? Maybe I think I should stop talking about it, let it go and focus on other more positive things. The problem with that is that it's not over, it's not over 'til it's over. The journey of what it is to be unwell is continuing. I am now experiencing symptoms of an underactive thyroid due to my medication for the overactivity. I am having 3 weekly blood tests to keep an eye on things, hopefully soon I will be off medication and my thyroid will function 'normally'. People think that being physically sick is the only problem with illness. That's a myth, there is so much more to deal with than one would imagine.

When you've been sidelined for 9 months of your life, made a forced resignation from your job, spent 2-3 months at your parents place (300km from your life,friends & partner), lost 15kg (and put 4 back on), lost fitness and muscle strength and struggled to maintain self-confidence at times- well your life looks and feels really differently to anything you have ever known.

Once you've been so unwell that you dread hairwashing day because it's too long to have to stand for in the shower, your perspective changes. When you've been so unwell that driving yourself around the corner to the Dr's is a new and exciting achievement- your view of your life and what it's all about changes. When you have lay in bed day after day, week after week wondering why you can't get out of it without feeling horrifically lightheaded, anxious and exhausted-your reasons for wanting to live and to be healthy, they change.

I haven't come across alot of people who can say that they identify with my experience; but I know that chronic and debilitating illness has affected many. It's quite likely that because I'm in my 20's I have far fewer people in my life who have been chronically ill.

So when I meet someone who I don't know or don't know really well and they ask what I do for work, at the moment I have to tell them 'I do nothing'. It is a strange and unexpected answer to most. Therefore I follow up with an attempt at explaining briefly why I don't have a job right now. I often tell them what I used to do, to satisfy their curiosity about the 'type' of person I might be. We all know that asking someone's profession or line of work helps us to think that we know them better, somehow.

I must admit that I really hate telling people that I do 'nothing' and following up with the story of illness. I never wanted to be the person who had that story. But I do and that's not going to change, even as my circumstances change, I will always have the story.

I hate sympathy and telling sad stories, I like to talk about other stuff. My story usually elicits some confusion and sometimes sympathy, depending on how I tell it. When I say I had an overactive thyroid, most people don't really know what that means. I can choose to give a basic overview or go into the particular effects it had on me and my life. When I do this I begin to feel like I'm eliciting sympathy (or not making sense) and it's around this point where I wish the story wasn't true...and most definitely wasn't mine to tell. One of the most frustrating things though, to be really honest, is that people just don't 'get it'. How could you really understand unless you'd been there and seen it first hand or experienced it?

Being so seriously ill was truly my own personal experience of hell, I reffered to being in my own personal hell for many many months. It was the worst time of my life, the hardest time. I don't want to get all optimistic right now, cos I am over that for today, but it was also the hugest learning curve of my life and I am really grateful for that- there have been many blessings in the disguise of illness. Unfortunately I feel unbalanced because I so often share the positives and I feel like I am not being honest to myself when I focus on the light rather than allow the shadow some air time. People like to say 'be positive' and they also like positivity in general; well I am! But sometimes you can be way too positive and everyone thinks you're more well than you seem. I always do my best to come across as well as I can, to be as positive as I can, to be as happy as I can. 99% of the time this works for me and I prefer this approach; but it needn't be at the detriment of not acknowledging the crap or not fully allowing those close to me to see what my true experience of this illness is.

If you've had a similar experience to me please do leave a comment. Also, if you have never had such an experience, your thoughts are much appreciated- I won't hold good health against you :-)

On a brighter note, you might enjoy my new web-site Inner Beam.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mother Nature

Well aren't things a little crazy in Australia right now, mother nature has got us all wondering what's going on. Here in Melbourne I am watching rain fall and feeling somewhat confused because I can't seem to get by without the cooler. Usually this kind of tropical weather isn't a normal part of the Victorian weather pattern. However, usually massive big floods aren't part of Queensland's pattern either. We had truly become accustomed to being the country in drought up until not so long ago. It's quite a mental shift to recognise that we now have alot more water than we can deal with.

I know many are wondering what has gone wrong. Perhaps somehow all of our prayers for water during the very long drought were stuck in a pipeline somewhere between us and Mother Earth's inbox and she recently had them all flow in like spam. The only way that I can make sense of the current situation is that Mother Earth only just got all of our prayers and went ahead and opened the floodgates. I'm open to other theories though...I know that there are more scientifically based explanations out there, but I'm sure you didn't come along here for scientific explanations (if you did, I am sorry but this is rarely a place to find science).

So what am I doing here in Melbourne other than observing the destruction that is flooding? I am developing another blog. ANOTHER ONE? I hear you ask. Yes indeed, it's to be bigger and better and different. It's to be a platform for my own business- I am very excited as I step into new territory. I'm currently attempting this new endeavour over at Wordpress, because I've heard so many good things about it. I am struggling just to work out the basic mechanics of it though and have returned here to where I feel at home to practice a couple of things and to write this very post.

The only thing that's changed here at The Answer Is Writing is that I've added a link to my new Amazon bookstore, it can be found at the very bottom of the blog's home page. I've put nearly 40 books and tools from my most favourite inspirational and useful authors- you might like to take a browse. I will be sure to let you know when my new site is up and running, could be a little while yet.

I want to let you know that I am sending prayers out for everyone affected by the floods to ask that they are looked after and kept safe. I'm not going to bother to ask for the water to be turned off, because of my suspicion that Mother Earth's inbox could already be full of such requests (and also my theory on the communications pipeline getting clogged). Here's praying that those who need strength, nurturing, love and hope right now can find it in bucket loads (excuse the pun).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Perfect, I think not...

I want to pose a question, as inspired by a discussion I had yesterday- Are we experiencing an era of perfectionism globally?

Today I read an article in one of the free mags you find in health food stores and the writer spoke about personal issues often being a part of something bigger than the individual, a symptom of a global issue. So imagine the Universe has a psyche, just as we each do, would the Universe be grappling with and playing with perfectionism right now? I do think that there's a fair chance.

Up until I went to University I thought perfectionism was a 'good' word and being labelled a perfectionist was an acheivement. I think that there's others who probably think like this right now, either openly or secretly. There are many people who like to be known for their high standards. If there was no such thing as perfectionism I think we'd see cosmetic surgery and cosmetics sales dwindling. In fact, I think we'd see a whole lot of consumerist behaviour cease. How much of our consumption of 'goods' is an attempt to satiate our inner perfectionist?

I know that I am tempted all the time, I definitely deal with the inner drive for perfectionism, even though I now feel like it's a dirty word. Fir example, I wish that we had a new doona cover to put on the bed because it would just make the room so much better, possibly nearly perfect....well maybe with a few pillows and a throw and a rug for the floor.... You get the gist of it, my bedroom is not going to be 'perfect' because there's really no such thing, I would still manage to find fault with it. That's the toughest part about perfectionism, those who have it also have an equally strong inner critic, always finding fault. However I could easily spend $1000 trying to acheive the unnatainable in my bedroom alone.

So what is the antidote to perfectionism? I am not too sure. I guess it's probably acceptance, acceptance of ourselves just the way we are. I think that a need for creating perfect circumstances outside of ourselves stems from feeling that something within us is just not quite right. As I write this, I get the sense that the more we love ourselves the more we would find that our desire for perfect aesthetics and circumstances would ease.

 I would truly love to hear your thoughts on the topic, so please do leave a comment. I'm just beginning my investigation, because I'm fascinated by it and I'd certainly love to let go of that niggling feeling that perfectionism creates in my body in attempt to keep motivating me to be more, do more, buy more and have more. I know I'm not the only one feeling the niggle...
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