Reflections and Life Lessons from 2015December 27, 2015 1:29 pm
I wanted to write a post to reflect a bit on 2015 as we come towards the end of this year and approach a new one beginning.
This year has been a time of incredible transformation on so many levels in my own life, that as I sit and reflect quietly this morning, in this big comfy bed with my Peppermint tea, I feel a calming sense of relief that we are finally approaching the end of it, mixed with a feeling of gratitude for the ways it has helped me grow.
I’ve learned a lot this year. About myself, about life, and about the fact that so many things can only be learned through experience and not at a school, college or any sort of formal educative setting.
The year began, with the passing of my Dad. He actually passed away exactly a year ago to this day.
December 27th 2014.
That experience in itself, has been one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Being quite literally face to face with the reality of death. And not just anyones death, but a man who had been there all of my life, who has shaped me in so many ways…some good…some not so good.
Sitting by his bedside. The person who once was such a powerful, often very dominating figure in our family, now completely unrecognisable. His strength gone. His face and body not even looking like they belonged to a human of any sorts. Then the empty space which came after he died.
It was a strange time that period of my life. I won’t go into too many personal details here, but what I will say, were that the lessons I learned around that time were powerful.
That empty space and bizarre sense of quietness in the weeks after his death felt so unfamiliar. It came at a time when I was in the midst of the ending of a personal relationship of my own which only highlighted the feelings of loss. Living alone, meant that I became very aware of the silence. Of a feeling of emptiness around me. This turned out to be one of my first lessons really after Dads passing. To enter this space. To allow the silence. To resist the urge to turn away from it, as so many of us do. To just allow whatever needed to come up in that time, to come up. To sit with myself. To learn to support myself. To simply allow what feelings needed to surface, to just do so.
Learning to navigate round difficulties involving funeral arrangements was also challenging. Dad’s wife of only three years took total control, pushing out my siblings and I completely. We had to find a way to remain dignified, avoid unnecessary upset, yet still find a way to be a part of saying goodbye to our Dad. When I think of the funeral day, I see an image of the three of us together at all times, arms linked. A trio. Stronger together than we would be alone. I’ve got such a deep sense of gratitude for my lovely brother and sister who are also two of my best friends.
Dad’s passing also taught me many other things. Some which I shall keep close to my heart for now, but may well share at a later date if it feels appropriate. But what I shall say is, that losing a parent, is humbling, and cracks open your ego in a way that not many other things can.
As the year went on, it took shape in a way I didn’t really expect.
I was at the stage where I was beginning to piece my life back together after five years that had been so chaotic in so many ways. After years of working deeply on myself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, by March of this year I was starting to feel so much better and had a sense of my energy slowly returning. I felt like recovery was truly in sight once again, despite the grieving process simmering in the background.
I enjoyed the most beautiful holiday in Cyprus in March (although it was a bit chilly and not quite the warm sunshine break we had hoped for!) but none the less, it showed me how far I had come with my physical recovery. Being able to walk along the coastline without feeling I was going to collapse, and having the luxury of sitting and read a book comfortably without my eyes stinging and the word blurring on the page was wonderful. I was feeling inspired, and ready to share the lessons I had learned since the frightening return of my illness in 2010.
In April, on the day of my Birthday, Consciously Healthy was born. I was so nervous when I began this blog! I still was no where nearrecovered and the perfectionist part of myself, (that definitely still lurks around from time to time) was telling me I needed to wait until I was totally healthy before I could share anything in this way.
This was where another lesson came in. That I am of value, just as I am, in any given moment. That I have things that are of value to contribute to the world, healthy or not healthy.
This is a lesson you could also learn from should you wish to. Do you sometimes see yourself as only worthy or of value if you can physically do things? Its not true. Your essence and your beautiful self remain, where ever you are at in your life or health journey physically.
So with the help of my brother in designing my site, I pressed Publish on my first post. The site still has so much room to grow but here in lies another lesson….things don’t need to be perfect! Letting go in this way, in many areas of my life, has been so freeing.
As I began to write, I felt connected with my creativity in ways I hadn’t felt for many years. I could also bring my newfound love of photography into the blog too which was a bonus as I have been able to merge two of my passions together. I have so many plans for the future development of this space, but even with what we have done so far, I am so grateful and glad that i faced my fears and pressed publish on that first post.
Thank you to all of you, my lovely readers, who have supported me in my first year of Blogging. You have made me realise that writing is what I am supposed to be doing. Sharing any little insights and inspirations that have come to me as Ive travelled along my own healing path, has been an honour. All of you who have left me a comment or a message, it means so much more to me than you even know. Im looking forward to sharing lots more and having you with me as the blog grows and takes shape even more in 2016.
This year I have also learned to stand on my own as an independent woman. After a thirteen year relationship, followed by two shorter ones, until this year, I had never truly been single. It’s been unnerving at times, but more so, its been empowering. Living alone and having time and space to truly explore who I am, separate from being ‘one half of a relationship’ has been so necessary. It’s given me time to reflect on what it is I truly want for myself in future relationships, but more importantly, it’s given me time to learn to support and show love to myself…as opposed to looking for that love externally.
Many of us in relationships can fall into co dependancy patterns without even realising it. We look to our partners to make us happy and in return forfeit our own needs in an attempt to keep them happy. This year and the time and space to myself, has allowed me to grow, and shone a light on those areas that have always unconsciously looked outside myself for love and reassurance.
This can be a beautiful area to explore if you are newly single, or even if you are currently in a relationship. Learning to provide support and love for yourself, is a wonderful thing. Then when you do find yourself in a healthy loving relationship, love can be enjoyed fully, rather than be confused with something that your ego needs to define its worth.
As 2015 progressed, my health took a turn in a way I didn’t really expect. An infection that went undiscovered by doctors, spread from my throat to my ears and chest and after 8 weeks without antibiotics that I desperately needed, made me extremely unwell. After that, a succession of viruses, meant that by August 2015 I felt I had taken a huge amount of steps backwards physically. It came as an unexpected shock really. I suddenly had the ‘ME face’ back (waxy looking, huge dilated pupils) and was unable to sit up without feeling like I was going to pass out. I have spent a lot of months pretty much housebound in the latter part of this year. But the difference this time? has been a sense of perception. Deep down I knew it was going to pass. I knew it was temporary. Whether this lasted weeks, or months, I knew that (as the famous quote says) that ‘this too shall pass’. I had to really just surrender and let my body do what it needed to do.
I had moments of incredible frustration of course. But compared to previous relapses of previous years, that had been riddled with extreme anxiety and despair, I have managed to float through these past few months in a way that feels new to me.
I saw it as an opportunity to practise all I have learned.
It’s all well and good pondering how to surrender when you are feeling okay…or speaking of self love and acceptance when you feel cheerful and can physically do stuff. The challenge comes when you are in the middle of a lot of suffering.
Allowing so called ‘negative emotions’ to surface and be expressed when you are having a tough time can also be challenging too. We label emotions as ‘good or bad’. And yes. Some feel nicer than others. But frustration, and tears and anger are all part of being human. This is something else I’ve learned this year.
If you are having a tough time, don’t give yourself an even harder time by putting pressure on yourself to be cheerful or smiley or positive. Its all about balance and sometimes that means letting yourself cry, feel sad and let it all out.
Sometimes we simply need to just be.
These lessons are needed in the darkest of times. And this latest relapse has given me chance to practise applying them.
The valuable lessons I’ve learned this year, show me that even though I am not where I would like to be physically, many other areas of myself are healing and I do make a conscious effort to remind myself of that on days when things don’t feel too good.
We are so much more than just a body. We have a body. But our mind, spirit and emotions are what also need healing and love and attention. Much of my healing this year has been within those very areas. Through meditation, yoga, talking and writing.
My advice to anyone on a healing path, is to go within. Heal yourself from the inside out. The body will eventually follow.
So as this year comes to a close, I am thankful. For so many things. My family and friends. You, my readers. And for the lessons I’ve learned this year and the new perspectives that I can take forward into 2016.
The main thing for 2016, will be to let it unfold. Ill set gentle goals, of course (I’m just about to begin reading The Desire Map by Danielle La Porte) but harsh planning and huge expectations aren’t part of the way I want to live my life anymore.
Moving forward with love, I wish you a Happy New Year filled with lots of life changing lessons, smiles and peaceful moments along the way.
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