My most recent recording.. a spontaneous moment of magic.
Warming up for my impending concert on Saturday 27th July.
Tickets are available at sarahshahtheevening.floktu.com
My most recent recording.. a spontaneous moment of magic.
Warming up for my impending concert on Saturday 27th July.
Tickets are available at sarahshahtheevening.floktu.com
I am in Sydney at the moment for some intensive psychology training. New experiences, new people. Away from most of my usual and familiar comforts, and mostly really enjoyable!
As the time has gone on, however, I find myself feeling things that remind me of when I was a teenager. In particular, the feeling that who I am is not ok, that I somehow have to be more extroverted, more exuberant, more animated, more witty, less intelligent, less gentle, more sociable, louder.. and the list goes on.
Memories of people saying things like, “You know, you’d be really pretty if you smiled,” or “when I first met you, I didn’t like you,” or “you’re smart but your ugly,” are resurfacing as I put myself into a situation I haven’t really been for a while. (Probably deliberately because of how bad I had felt in the past!) To add to that, I am also noticing how uncomfortable I am eating with people I don’t know well, and to be honest, I didn’t realise I was still feeling this so strongly!
I know these feelings are all remnants of my younger years, the eating disorders I’ve had, the social anxiety I have felt, the depression.. and yet, they still evoke reactions now. As I notice them arise (and they must if they are going to move on), I have gently reminded myself that this is old stuff, that I am different now, and that I am me and that is all I ever need to be.
Still feeling a little shaky, I sent Ben a message saying, “How can I feel happy knowing that I am likable today?”
His response: “Let others see that you love who you are, and at the very least they will like you.”
I felt so moved by this as I know it to be true. Self-love is all we ever need to focus on. When we love ourselves, we will love others, and others will love us.
It may not always look and feel the way we think it should, but it will always be true. Love attracts love.
Let’s make today and day for loving us.
The past few days I have been finding it tricky to pinpoint exactly how I feel. I’ve been feeling tired, but there was more to it than that.
After bashing around with the feelings for a bit and attempting to convince myself that I felt ok and didn’t need to look more deeply, I FINALLY sat still. Oh how much can be seen in a still moment!
On the surface I thought I was ok, however, I had observed certain behaviours of mine that I know only come out when I am feeling less than my best. I think most people know what I’m talking about. Usually we stumble across these behaviours when we are young and they kind of just hang around. The way you can tell what these behaviours are for you specifically is how you feel about them when you engage in them. I know for me when I notice myself resorting to these behaviours more I feel sad. I feel angry at myself and feel like I should have more strength and conviction to refrain. I feel weak. Unworthy. I also tend to compare myself to others who I believe would NEVER do such things, and convince myself that I haven’t made any progress (usually this is SO far from the truth). The fact that we even notice is a sign we are progressing 🙂
I was attempting to define exactly what the feeling around these behaviours is. It’s not simply feeling tired. It’s more than that. It sort of feels like “I-can’t-be-bothered-ness”. It feels like complacency. “I-can’t-do-it-ness”. It feels lukewarm. Undecided. It feels like I have tried and failed to be absolutely aligned to my values 100% of the time (see how impossible this standard actually is!?) so what is the point? It feels like I’m tired of failing. It feels like feeling good and loving myself is just not worth it. Everyone else can do it just not me.
As I sat with this for a while I felt a light go on. First of all, let’s reframe this. We aren’t failing, we’re progressing. It’s always wobbly when you are breaking new ground. Secondly, these behaviours aren’t really what we would choose to do if we knew we were capable of choosing absolutely anything. They are sort of more just our default.
I looked up default. Failure to fulfil an obligation; a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer.
Woah. Could it be that the default happens when we don’t choose options that promote us to thrive? Not choosing takes us to the same place as choosing the default directly because that is where we will end up if no better path is selected! It’s not really the current default itself that is the problem, it’s the fact that we haven’t defined clearly enough what we choose as our ‘anti-default’ or our preferred pathway. We need to be clear, know our reasons why, and see it playing out. We need to believe in our strength and be super dooper specific.
To continue with the computer analogy I looked up in computer terms what one needs to do to change a default program. The answer? You need to be specific, customised, and user-defined. As one tech guy replied, “The moment you define them.. (as in the programs or pathways).. they are overwritten.” The way I connected this to life is that we need to define a pathway that is specific and customised to who we are and where we want to go from here. Our program needs to be detailed, it has to be “user” or self-defined, and it has to be written by us personally!
Seeing things this way inspired me! We just need to pay more attention to where we want to go from here rather than trying to resist where we know we don’t want to go. I’ve seen it like this before but now it makes even more sense. Let’s start fleshing out the new programs. Add in the details and see it playing out instead of the default any time we feel ourselves slipping into indifference. Once we do that we just need to trust the new program to “overwrite” and do it’s thing.. we will have created a new kinda default. One that we have customised and set to thrive.
As humans, it seems like so much of our time is devoted to finding and implementing ways of improving ourselves. We grow, we change, we move, and we desire more for ourselves and those we love. Just like plants that grow taller or bigger, humans naturally want to do the same.
With this as as strong underlying drive it is only natural that we invest much of our mental and physical energy into this. Whether it be ways to improve our health, create more financial stability, spend more time travelling or being with friends and family, or improving a skill of some kind.. The list is limitless. There is always something else we could be a little bit better at or a little more focused with.
What occurred to me this morning though, is that sometimes in our desire to be better we try to jump too far too soon. We try to squeeze into places we aren’t quite ready for and rather than feel excited about our progress, we feel squeezed, tried, forced, and disconnected. Instead of being excited that we completed the next step of our journey, we feel sad that we are not ten steps further ahead. We tighten things around ourselves when we are not ready for it.
An example that comes to mind here is someone who wants to lose weight. Imagine they are two sizes bigger than they would like. They start to lose the weight and find that they can probably move to the next size down in clothing! Instead of being excited and celebrating their progress by buying clothes in this size, however, they go out and buy clothes that are TWO sizes down. They start trying to wear these clothes now and instead of feeling light and happy in their new skin, they feel uncomfortable, tight, and like they don’t quite fit. They’ve jumped ahead just a little too far. Instead of supporting themselves in their current progress and feeling excited and inspired to continue, they feel disheartened and depleted.
The point of this is to simply say, you are doing amazingly. Celebrate your progress and where you are now. Where you fit right now is beautiful and you will continue to move towards your goals in a natural way if you ease yourself into it. Loosen those reigns a little if they are feeling a bit tight and know that you are doing perfectly.
Your steps are the perfect ones for you 🙂 x
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung
Continue to awaken my Friend. You are right on track 😉
“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Tony Robbins
You’re doing it. Your strength is magnificent.
I just had a really cool self-moment and wanted to share.
Today was one of those days where my energy felt so divided. It felt so half and half. I kept flicking from feeling focused, excited, and enlivened, to feeling totally overwhelmed, incapable, and unworthy. Eek! It was crazy!
One moment I would be on a roll, feeling good with the investment of my energy, then bam, next minute I would feel like I had fallen flat on my face with the wind knocked out of me (metaphorically).
As this happened over and over and OVER again I found myself thinking, “What the heck is happening?? How can this happen repeatedly in the one day even when I can see it?” It’s like I was powerless to stop the momentum of the repeated pattern.
Then it hit me.
“Sarah, it takes guts to keep getting back on that bike! And not only guts, energy and determination! The reason you keep falling off is because you keep getting back on! If you just gave up and lay in the dirt you wouldn’t fall off again but it also means you aren’t getting any better either. You don’t just fall back ON the bike. That is all you.”
Woah. When you look at it like that it is pretty darn cool. What was shame suddenly transformed to pride.
“I’m one of those people who keep getting back on the bike. I’m not just on the sidelines, I’m in the ring giving everything I have!” A Champion who won’t give up until the feat is mastered. I’m not sure if there is anything in the world I would rather be than that 🙂 Falling off gives us the opportunity to be a hero!
In case anyone else is feeling like they are falling off the bike over and over again, know that you are in the League of Champions! (A league I just made up! hee, hee..) While it doesn’t take much to fall off the bike – even just trying something for the first time is enough – getting back on requires guts, courage, and determination. Falling off isn’t shameful, it’s the way it works! haha. Sometimes you may need a rest for a while but when the times comes to give it another go.. Be proud and give it all you’ve got!
One day you’ll be on a roll that just keeps rolling and there won’t be anything that can stop you. Getting back on will be just as simple as falling off..
Next step.. Motorbikes 😉
Transitions are funny in that sometimes in order to move forwards we must temporarily move backwards. Why is it that all of a sudden, the seeds we had planted are no longer responding to water and light, and what appeared to be a great season of harvest suddenly now looks like – a barren stretch of desert?
I remember feeling this way many times until suddenly it dawned on me that perhaps this is what is meant to be happening! What if it is time for something new? What if these particular sprouts have grown all they can and now it is time for a new harvest? What if the season you are in brings with it the potential for a new type of produce? Yes, you may need to say goodbye to what used to grow well, but what about all the things you have always wanted to explore but never quite had the right conditions!? When you look at it this way it is kind of exciting.. and filled with possibility!
There is always a little stretch of time in between seasons and harvest where the fields are being prepared and the seeds sown. It may seem like nothing is happening, but all the work is going on underground. Strong and nourished root systems are being developed and pretty soon the evidence of this will appear above the surface. In some situations you may be able to minimise the downtime by timing when and how you grow your plants, however, once you decide to grow a totally new crop, there will always be that interim where it needs some time to grow.
It’s the same kind of principle when it comes to life. Some transitions may be fairly smooth. There may some moments in between harvest seasons, but if you’re growing a relatively similar crop, perhaps you have the transitioning down to a fine art. If, however, you are trying something totally new for you, it is almost impossible not to experience that unnerving waiting period where all you can do is nourish, water, and trust that all is happening as it should be.
If this is you, then celebrate! Harvest is almost here, and it will be something like you have never seen before! How marvellous!!!! You will look back and wonder how you ever doubted yourself, and will stand more proudly than you ever have before 🙂 Yes there may be some things to discover and work out in order to yield the finest results, but it will be so worth it. The old stuff isn’t growing anymore anyway, why not give this new season everything you’ve got?
Plant. Water. Nourish. Shine. Trust.
Transitions can be really uncomfortable. Even when you do your best to look after yourself the best you can, and take time out to be still and realign yourself to your values, there are still some transition-type things that are going to feel a bit disconcerting. It makes sense too, as really, you are moving to a new place that you haven’t been before – a new version of yourself that you are still growing into. Aren’t you proud!? It takes guts, focus, persistence, and strength to be where you are right now!
It might feel like you’re failing or doing poorly in the interim stage – you’re not. If you think about the analogy of the caterpillar to butterfly, obviously growing wings to break through a cocoon can feel frustrating, disheartening, and awkward at times. You may be doubting that you’ve got what it takes – doubting that you are enough or even worried that people will find out you were once a grub! However, on the other hand it’s also going to feel exciting, inspiring, and expansive.. it’s where you want to go!
Being that I am in a transition stage myself at the moment, I asked Ben if he had any ideas about what I could do to make myself more comfortable in this awkward period before I emerge as a butterfly. His answer:
“I wouldn’t be trying to be comfortable at all, I’d be too busy focusing on becoming a butterfly!”
Woah. This hit the nail right on the head for me. “Of course! Why even try to make something inherently uncomfortable, comfortable!? Growing wings and busting out of the old version of myself to new heights isn’t about being comfortable! To invest my energy into trying to make it that way only deters from the mission at hand! It’s about working with it, moving forward, focusing all your energy to build strength so you can break through the layers of this cocoon! We need to use the discomfort for good. As Ben so eloquently worded it in yesterdays blog – it’s time to ‘pump it!'”
So, if you’re felling uncomfortable, great. Be excited about the wings you are strengthening and the amazing opportunities and adventures awaiting you! You are here because you DO have what it takes and it is only a matter of time before you emerge from this as a stronger and more vibrant version of yourself. No-one is going to care that you were a caterpillar – every butterfly has to start that way 😉
The word transition has been on my mind a lot the past two days. I finally realised that it is because I am actually in one.
I’ve gotta say, it hasn’t been very enjoyable for a large part of it. It’s that feeling of being not quite finished with the old, but not quite ready for the new. I WANT to be ready for the new stuff but for some reason I can feel myself still trying to adjust. It’s frustrating because I know the new stuff is precisely what I am desiring for the next stage of my life. I feel fat in my body (almost like I have a thick layer of goop all over me), un-beautiful, listless, scattered, wasteful of energy, low on energy, unfocused, self-absorbed.. like nothing quite fits right. Nothing quite feels right. I feel these glimmers of excitement (super excitement) as some really cool opportunities have come into my world like never before, but I also feel unable to embrace them fully because I am somehow being gooped down. Basically, it feels I am part grub, part butterfly and the only way is through. Eek!
So what does this look like? Well.. it’s sort of a mix.. what I’ve been tending to do is revert to old behaviours that only add to my crappiness while really wanting to enjoy the new at the same time. Eating poorly and in an imbalanced way (always a big challenge for me when I don’t feel so good), distracting myself, dismissing things I know make me feel great like singing playing my guitar, or yoga. Stuff like that. When we see these things it is tempting to think we are moving backwards, however, it occurred to me that I am actually moving forwards fast and the grubby part of me is trying to slow me down a bit as it makes it’s final transformation. Why? Because it’s a little bit scary and we are going to need a new level of energy where we are going. We are moving into unchartered territory. New heights. New adventures. New challenges to face and places to rise to. AND.. once we are there we can’t go back.
As you have probably gathered, I really love using analogies to make sense of what is happening within me. So when I realised I was in a transition phase I asked Ben what you need to do to make a good transition on BMX (that’s his thing!). I had a feeling it may shed some light on the situation and help me manoeuvre my way through. He was like, “Hmmm.. You gotta pump it!” When he said it a lightbulb went on for me! “Of course! I have been trying to slow myself down in preparation, but really, what I need to do is focus my energy and pump it! How am I going to make the jump if I go into it with the brakes on!?” Then he continued on and said, “The faster you’re willing to hit the transition, the higher you’re going to go.. But, you must be willing to practise!”
He really emphasised that last bit.. “..you must be willing to practise!” I feel that last part is key. Just like anything in life that is worth doing, transitioning is an art form.. it requires practise, and the more you do it, the better and more efficient you become at it! So don’t worry too much if you still see grubbiness here and there. You know where you are headed.. Butterfly territory! And guess what? Once you make the transition you won’t need to worry about falling because you’ll have wings! Yeah! The resistance is all part of it.. you need to have something to build your strength on so your wings are strong enough to lift you once you emerge from the chrysalis!
So, how do we make it through this transition time gracefully and with as little discomfort as possible? Be patient. Go gently. It’s ok if you revert to some not so energising behaviours. Notice them, love them, and perhaps make a choice in favour of good energy creation. For me this is as simple as drinking a big bottle of water or going to bed early. Don’t push against so much, open up in a forward moving way. Then allow this energy to build. You know what feels good for you 🙂 As you do these little things, the other things will begin to naturally fall away. Pretty soon you’ll be ready to pump right through and fly!