Nourishing the Soul

As this is my first blog post in ages, hello! Combination of reasons which I’ll maybe touch on another time, but long story short the urge to write just came & it can never be ignored so here we are again.

This was inspired in particular by a twitter post from one of my favourite historians, Dr Janina Ramirez, who is a joy to watch on TV & follow online; she comes across to me as bright, passionate, quirky, kind, & beautifully her own person, & I admire her very much. Her post is below, I’ve also typed out the text in full for anyone using screen readers.

I’ve not been on twitter much. It’s a combination of things. Anxiety over the state of things. A Covid response & going more into myself. A loss of interest in promoting myself & thinking my own interests pale against the concerns of so many. But I still send you all love ❤️

Dr Janina Ramirez 28 August 2020 twitter

Basically what happened is I started writing a simple reply & realised I had thoughts. Lots of thoughts – In essence what I wanted to say to Janina was simply please do whatever you need to keep yourself as well as possible. It’s what we all should do. And if that means breaks from news or social media then of course that’s OK 😊 These are trying times for us all, when you are able to share lovely art it brings me & others joy, but I totally understand that has to be when it feels right to you & you have the mental energy & space to do so.

But I feel quite strongly that the second point Janina makes is a wider reaching conversation; namely “a loss of interest in promoting myself & thinking my own interests pale against the concerns of so many”. I’ve seen other people in the public eye (I hate the word celebrities), people who I believe are decent & kind people make similar comments over the past weeks & months. It’s totally understandable, 2020 has been a shitstorm of epic proportions & by direct comparison is sharing a piece of art or poetry or a song or a dance routine or a recipe or a fabulous cocktail important when held up against against Covid-19, BLM, or the state of Politics?? Definitely not, & at the same time Abso-fucking-lutely.

I believe when we stop feeding our souls we start to lose our humanity. When days are dark & times are troubled & we’re uncertain about tomorrow is exactly when we must make time to nourish the best part of ourselves, the part that can lose our eyes in a painting for hours, be it Picasso or Van Gogh. The part that allows music to transport us to far off times & places; poetry to allow us to feel empathy & connect; comedy to remind us to laugh & that life itself is often wonderfully silly; ballet where dancers take flight to tell stories with no words; history programmes that continue to investigate our past & allow us to learn & improve & have hope for our future.

Often it’s what might seem trivial in comparison to the “big stuff” that brings us our daily moments of joy & the strength to put one foot in front of the other & smile, if we can but pause to take the time to notice.

So to end, I would ask anyone, not just people with a large audience, when you feel able to please share your small stuff – the cakes you’ve baked, the photos you’ve snapped, the art you love, the stories you write & the music you rock to, & if it happens to be what you do for work please don’t apologise. If you bring even 10% of your viewers, readers & listeners a little joy & a smile to their day then I think that’s fantastic!

Namaste 🙏 💙

A Question of Kindness…

An author I admire, Vironika Tugaleva, asked a question of her followers a while ago – the seemingly simple ‘What is the difference between being nice & being kind?’ I fired off a quick tweet in reply & promptly forgot about it – the transience of twitter!

My response, which was very off the cuff, was this – ‘I think being nice comes from conscious thought, whereas being kind is unconscious & authentic.’

You may understand the moment of sheer (if irrational) panic when she tweeted me back today, saying ‘That’s an interesting distinction. Do you think we need both?’

For a few seconds my brain just fizzled! “Why did I say that, I’ve never really thought about it, what did I actually mean, arghhh!” It was roughly the adult equivalent of sticking your hand up in class at school then realising you’d forgotten the question 🙃

(This only lasted for an instant & I’m actually amused by my thinking. In some dim recess of my mind I’m still, like most of us, waiting for someone to stand up & shout “fraud!” whenever I put my thinking out for scrutiny. Do we ever lose that completely?).

Once I’d taken a breath & re-read my initial response, of course it made sense to me. I’d like to think at the grand but young age of 48 I’m consciously responsible for at least some of my thought process! So my response was thus:

“I’d say yes – for me I think being nice would be saying yes to giving someone a lift even while internally saying “damn that’s going out of my way”, while when being kind I would offer without any thought of inconvenience. Does that make sense?”

(Just realising that even then I’d ended on a plea for understanding, note to self, post with more confidence!)

For me I think both are equally important, especially in today’s hurly burly rush-rush world. I think when we’re on auto-pilot through the day it’s easy to forget to be kind. When you’re perhaps juggling the school run, breakfasts, & getting to work, & you’re already running behind the neighbour asking if you could drop her kids off too is an immediate irritant. It’s too easy to feel like saying ‘fgs can’t you see I’m busy’, & I think a societal expectation of nice or pleasant behavior kicks in & makes you say ‘yes of course, more the merrier’ instead of throwing your smoothie* at her children.

*please don’t try this at home!

On the other hand, when we’re able to slow down & breathe, when we’re living more mindfully, our internal priorities tend to be more aligned with our conscious behavior. And that’s when our innate kindness is to the fore, when we selflessly offer to help others without first weighing up costs to our time, our schedule or our own expectations of the day.

Because being kind is heartfelt & authentic behaviour, it makes us feel good too, because we’re sending a little seed of love & kindness out into the world where it can perhaps take root and grow. And that’s better for everyone.

Wishing you all a joyful week

Namaste 🙏💙

Vironika’s latest book, The Art of Talking to Yourself, is a beautiful read, it’s currently sitting beside my bed & although I’ve not yet finished it I’d highly recommend you treat yourself to a copy – it’s food for the soul.

Healing begins with Love 💙

I’ve been pondering for a few weeks where to start with this blog post.  I know what I want to say, I’m just hopeful it comes across as I mean it to!

In March this year, following 18 months of chronic illness with RD, Fibromyalgia & degenerative disc disease all playing together, plus the recent death of my Mother I kind of reached a tipping point.  I’m deliberately not using the word breaking! But I’d had month after month of pain, depression, anxiety, aching, medications,  fatigue, painsomnia and nothing was really changing – I wasn’t feeling ‘better’.

It was a sink or swim moment.  I could either drift along as I was, feeling pretty miserable most days, or I could look for help.  But what? Who? Where? So I hit trusty Google and followed where it led.  And boy was the universe ready for me to reach out! I started looking at mindfulness retreats, found lots of very out there options which included raw foods and tents, which aren’t necessarily my scene!  But whilst stumbling from link to link I came across the wonderful lady who was to change my life.  There is no other way to put that, and I truly believe we were drawn together.

Demi Schneider is simply one of life’s good ‘uns, and an insightful, generous and empowering lady.  A Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist, Metaphysical Life Coach & Author of “Beat Your Depression For Good” – she powerfully challenges and guides us to look within for our own joy. To care for and love ourselves.  To be happy!

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In simple terms what we think is all powerful. And it’s our choice! And that choice dictates how we feel, emotionally and physically.

It’s easy, rational and possible, but it takes learning, acceptance, meditation and work.  We have years of learned negative thinking patterns to turn around before we are able to allow ourselves to truly be open and actively listen to what our body is telling us. 

It’s known that the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality.  So by changing our thought patterns to positive (for example repeating ‘I am calm and in control’ when feeling anxious), we physically change the chemicals our brain releases – increasing serotonin.  And when you feel better, you feel less pain. 

Does it relieve pain? A little, yes, and I’m in my early days.  Is it worth it? Absolutely, allowing peace and acceptance into our lives brings joy and happiness to our minds and our hearts, regardless of circumstances.  Loving ourselves rocks!

It’s not a magic cure, but it is a much nicer way to live, especially with chronic illness when things can seem very bleak.

Namaste 💙