It’s all in your head! Behind closed doors – my secret journey to myself

Sometimes I want to crawl into his soul and stay there.  Surrounded by strong, comforting energy that accepts me as I am, stands with me.  Allows and respects the feminine in me.  Yes, sometimes I want to crawl into him because I know it’s safe in there.  He’s teaching me it is safe in me too.  That I am my safe place.

I remember the first time.  I was looking over my shoulder as I entered the building.  All day I’d had to work hard not to be sick.  I was nervous to say the least.  I sat down and waited.  My eyes toward the floor – in case anyone I knew was nearby.  Oh hell, in case anyone at all saw me.  My heart was racing.  This was my first time and I was frightened.  Already with my commitment to be here today, it was one of the bravest things I’d ever done.  I’d climbed the highest freestanding mountain in the world, I’d trekked to Everest Base Camp and I’d completed the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea not once, but five times.  I spent my life challenging myself.  But nothing scared me like this did.

I was about to take responsibility for my life.  I was about to own my own shit.

Yep, this was my first appointment with a psychologist.

My referral, and appointment, were ostensibly to help me deal with some residual trauma from my survival of the 2015 Nepal earthquake but I knew deep inside that it was more than that.

I knew from the moment he introduced himself and I took my seat, that now, there was no turning back.  No more ignoring.  No more keeping so busy I didn’t have time for myself.  Here I was, embarking on the most frightening journey of my life – and unlike other adventures, I had no itinerary, no insurance and no back up plan.  To top it all off, I felt like it was just the beginning.

And it was just the beginning – following that very first session, I not only survived, but I started to look forward to our sessions.  In a weird, fearful way.

Shannon Adler said that “Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” I tend to agree.  I was questioned and challenged to look differently at things – my old belief patterns; relationships; life.  It wasn’t a walk in the park, quite the opposite, but each session helped me see more clearly.

My view prior to my own experience, was that you only saw a psychologist if you couldn’t deal with your own life, if you didn’t have your shit together.  Imagine admitting that you didn’t have your shit together – imagine!

So to set the record straight I want to tell you something.  Despite my initial misgivings I am a convert.  None of us has our shit together all the time, and all of us could do with someone to help us in this regard.  You can do all the brave and courageous things that you are drawn to in your life, you can achieve great things, and in doing so, be empowered and feel brave and alive.  But I have to say, therapy also makes you feel brave and alive and for me it took as much courage to get there as some of my most challenging adventures.

The truth of the matter is, seeking help when you need it is likely to be not only one of the most courageous moves you can make, but it will be one of the most beneficial.

For years now I’ve taken care of my physical health but now I also take care of my mental health.  Most of us, including me, have a support team or a tribe – your partner, family, friends, health professionals, personal trainers, life coaches, mentors and the like.  Well I can now add my psychologist to my support team.  He plays a role in my wellbeing just like the rest of my team.

I recognise I have a role to play in my own growth and my own mental well-being, but I wouldn’t have been able to go there alone.  If you’re heading off on a long and difficult but rewarding journey, you don’t want to go alone do you?  You’d take along a support person, someone to guide you when you need it, challenge you when you back away from what’s in front of you, someone to witness your experiences.

A therapist is this support person and if you haven’t already, and you’ve been thinking about it, I invite you to enter into this journey.  It will be long, and exhausting at times, it might be difficult and confronting, and you’ll question yourself, your views and beliefs.  But you will learn and grow and face things you never thought possible.  If your experience is anything like mine, you will be encouraged and supported to dig up those feelings that you’ve buried so deep so they couldn’t hurt you.  I know that’s a scary thought – but the great thing is that when you dig them up, air them out, and look closely at them, they lose their power.

Author Augusten Burroughs says that you should “Think of your head as an unsafe neighbourhood:  don’t go there alone”.  That’s really good advice! You don’t need to go it alone.

“Let your life be your message” Mahatma Gandhi

I think I’ve found my life purpose…but I’m ignoring it

It was a sense of restlessness.  Something was missing.  I’d worked on my Core Values.  I had a great personal Mission Statement.  I was studying interesting things and trying new ways of being me.  But I wasn’t settling down.  Things just weren’t right. 

I was starting to question myself.  Those big, capital Q questions. 

Who am I? What am I meant to be doing? What is my purpose in this life? 

Even after all this self-development and a regular meditation practice I had been committed to for several years, I still wasn’t sure.  I’m well read and I’m addicted to self-development podcasts.  I’m educated with University Degrees and I’m a qualified Counsellor and have been in well paying, senior positions for 20 years.  But I still felt somewhat empty. 

It was like there was something I needed to know, it was over my right shoulder, in the corner of my eye.  But each time I turned toward it, it dissolved. 

I think it’s trying to tell me something, trying to give me some direction.  Through my meditation practice I am able to get to know it a bit better.  Through this practice I learn that this presence is afraid to show itself to me because it’s fearful of not being accepted by me. 

I am not allowing the presence to be seen and understood because I too, am fearful. 

Fearful of what it’s trying to show me. 

You know what it feels like?  It feels like it’s a calling…my calling.  It’s right there – the thing that I’ve been longing for, the answer to that question “What am I here for?”. 

Finally as I’m nudging the big five O!  What I’ve been searching for, seemingly is at my fingertips.  Some clarity, it’s right there.  But I can’t bring myself to look at it, to allow it to be seen.  To do so scares the daylights out of me. 

It scares me because what if it means making big decisions, making big changes, leaving behind my life as I know it.  What if it means I might fail?  What if it means I’m already doing what I’m meant to be doing? 

No.  Nope.  Nada.  I can’t let this presence be understood.  I can’t let it be seen right now.  I’m not ready.  I turn away from it. 

And then there it is again.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see it, I sense it.  It’s relentless and it’s staying with me.  One day I’m going to turn toward it.  Lean into it.  Ask it what it needs me to know, reassure it that I will accept it and not turn a blind eye to what it’s telling me. 

One day.  Soon.

But not today.      

“Let your life be your message” Mahatma Gandhi

 

6 Rules of Pole Dancing that apply to your life

You can hardly see the scar near my left eyebrow. I can’t remember how I got it.

Ok, I can remember, and I’m pretending I can’t, so when people ask me I can tell them I can’t remember.

It’s probably better than trying to explain that I split my head open while pole dancing in a lady boy bar in Bali, when I misjudged the distance to the wall in a fairly magnificent spin on the pole.  And that I was wearing an all in one black cat suit at the time.

See…. probably best to tell them I can’t remember.

Continue reading “6 Rules of Pole Dancing that apply to your life”

Who were you before they told you who to be?

Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?  Danielle LaPorte

I recently caught up with an old family friend.  He’s about my age and our families spent almost every waking moment together when we were younger.  He and his brothers and sister, me and my sisters and brother.  Always together, always playing.

I was a bit nervous about seeing him after more than 25 years of no contact, but what I felt and what I learnt when I did, I will cherish forever.

Continue reading “Who were you before they told you who to be?”