It’s that time of year…

Yes, it is. The word instils fear in many, hope in some, and points to a period – in Australia at least – which is hot, chaotic, humid mostly and fraught with difficulty.

The other night, my partner and I were privvy to the goings on of a domestic dispute next door (thanks to the way in which our apartments are positioned), there’d been alcohol involved and perspectives in an argument that were aired for not just the block, but I think our entire suburb to hear. Sadly, they had been having a Christmas dinner with family a few hours before, so one could only imagine the tension experienced. It was difficult not to overhear what was going on. My heart went out to them and it moved me deeply, as I felt the emotion as if I was standing in that room. And it brought me to my own experiences in the past and the emotion that bubbled up as a result.

At this time of year, we are all hot, tired and looking to wind down. The pressure that we place on ourselves and at times, our loved ones, the way our ego, and its constant inane mind chatter will be repeating like rote, that we are not good enough, that our presents are not fine enough, that our houses aren’t presentable enough, that our fridge is not full enough – essentially that we are not enough, just as we are.

We are bombarded with messages from glossy advertising brochures, advertising and the media all year, but none more than at Christmas, where there’s an implied expectation that you’ll have the perfect home, the perfect meal, and no less than 3-4 expensive cuts of meat, poultry and trimmings to drown your family with ‘abundant giving’. In other words, if you attempt anything less, you are ‘not enough’, reinforcing the constant negative mind chatter that our ego is already very good at. Yes, the marketing machines really know how to push our buttons, don’t they?

This Christmas, my partner and I will be having a Christmas that is designed our way. We don’t have brochures delivered, we don’t watch TV other than what is essential (not more than a couple of hours a week on average – some weeks none at all), we don’t read newspapers and thus, are not subjective to the subliminal messaging pulling at the very framework of who we are. We know what Christmas is, and we know how we can realistically celebrate it. We will be honouring each other, and our respective children in a way that is constant, and reinforcing the message ‘you are enough’. There’s no room for a negative mindset. Life deals some tricky situations as it is, without giving into the ego’s perspective, which most of us would recognise is highly flawed!

It is easy to be caught in the guilt cycle, spending money we don’t have for what is essentially not more than 1-2 meals out of a year of just over 1000 meals. Most of us are fortunate, we’re in a position where we can make a difference at Christmas. There are many, many more who are forgotten, and alone at this time of year, with very little to survive on, let alone be caught in a guilt cycle of giving.

Being focused and conscious means being in the moment, and enjoying what is. I have put up my tree and really enjoy the ambience it brings at this time of year. I choose to honour the positive aspects of Christmas: being together with my partner and children is one of those pleasures, but also with extended family – which for many can be even more challenging. It is the one time of year where there are expectations that people who don’t often spend any time together, must all get together and ‘get along’. Often in a confined space, eating food we don’t usually eat, sitting in an arrangement that we don’t usually find ourselves in, drinking. And many continue drinking to drown that endless mind chatter of feeling that they are not ‘good enough’… and the cycle continues.

At this time, when spending is at an all time high throughout the year, when the road toll increases and where relationships that are not solid tend to fracture at the seems I would encourage you to remain in heart. Lowering expectations on your self and those around you, and focusing on the real meaning of the word (whatever that meaning is) for you, or alternatively redefining it, either alone or with your partner, in order for it to reflect your truth and where you are at in life. Using this as a starting point, to ground your experience and reduce tension and anxiety that have often arisen out of some unrealistic expectations to begin with, is a great way to share Christmas with your loved ones, in a way that is both conscious and happy.

 

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Adjusting my sails…

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I read an amazing quote today: “Why spend time crying about the wind, when you can adjust your sails” (Dan O’Connell).

It’s amazing how you can have a period in your life, say of around 30 hours or so, where things look pretty grim. It can be as if things could not be worse, the situation impossible to navigate from, your issues seemingly insurmountable. That was me, yesterday.

I’ve been unwell and hospitalised and its been the kind of illness that has really taken my legs from beneath me, so to speak. One of those things where you become fundamentally aware that no amount of denial or willpower or determination makes any difference – it is what it is, and acceptance of the situation is the only exit from what feels like purgatory. A good day is just that – not necessarily an indication of conditions going forward and a bad day (like yesterday) has you realising you’re not quite out of the woods yet and that without question, there’s a larger force at play here.

What’s also interesting is while you’re down in that emotional void, realising that you’re really just a leaf in the wind and that there really is a bigger power at play here, a myriad of synchronicities (like that quote) that tend to surface all at the same time. Consider my situation where I have always identified with the tag of ‘strong, independent and capable’ and ‘resourceful, astute, wise’… I don’t think there’s ever really been a situation I have been in whereby with a little application and planning I haven’t been able to navigate through. Until now that is. When an illness takes hold, your ‘powers’ can really feel as if they are totally shut off. When you’re required to hand over the reigns in terms of financial responsibility to your nearest and dearest, when you realise that what ‘was’ is no longer a part of what ‘is now’ and that all the ideas you had have pretty much been put on hold. Then a bill comes in, and a telephone call reminding you about another bill you had and, unable to contribute or fix the situation as you normally would, you succumb to what is going on around you and feel the fear… and the realisation that this is not going to go away tomorrow.

I’ve been asked to consider what it was that brought this on. Yes, the obvious question has been answered by my doctor, however, what is the metaphysical message being conveyed here? What is the universe trying to tell me?

I believe it is my lesson in the illusion of control. The Universe’s chaos theory in full flight. Oh I might be in charge of my little neck of the woods and prepare contingencies for whatever I can (thank god for private health cover), but at the end of the day the control I thought I had is nothing more than a false sense of security. That life is going to do what it is going to do and its up to you to navigate through whatever comes up to the best of your ability, in the theme of ‘its not so much what you do, but how you do it’…. and lets face it: Chaos is just the Universe’s expression of creativity…

For me, personally, I believe this is the most fundamental message I’ve had in what has been a rapid awakening process… about trust, and letting go. Oh I can talk about trust and letting go, but now, says the Universe, it is time for you to walk your talk … lets see how you really are with the trust and letting go thing, shall we? The Universe has a sick sense of humour, I tell you!

I believe there is also a theme of optimal health and nutrition. I have an insatiable almost obsessive focus on what goes in and out of my body much like the parents of a newborn baby. Indeed, it is just like being newborn. How does my body react to this, and to that? Sleeping and eating, is it coping with this particular food, I’m not eating that! Since returning from hospital I’ve learned a lot purely by applying a lot about what I’ve read and researched and in the process my body shape has changed. I cannot drink alcohol whatsoever. I cannot eat fat except for the smallest amounts; and my body craves only the best foods: freshest of fresh fruits and vegetables and legumes; eggs; rice and pasta. I crave nuts, seeds, smoothies and juices; small amounts of either white or red meat and lots of water in conjunction with the addition of beautiful herbs like basil, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, and a very small amount of chilli. What has been most astounding is the very things I am craving are the absolute best things I can have for my liver and what will help it run again in optimal function. It’s curious, because again that was a massive lesson in trust. Eating something toxic is what caused my body to completely shut down in the first place, and I had to retrain it to accept food again – that was a real mind game!

I’ve also been asked to really work out my priorities and what is important to me. Being at home, being present for my children, providing nourishment for myself and then indirectly my family and nurturing myself and my family is what I am capable of at the moment. I’m also blessed with the gifts of being able to write and share on my blog now (this was difficult a few weeks ago). I have benefitted deeply from the effect of calm, uplifting and positive music which has acted as a healing tonic on my body and in conjunction with the food is magnificent. And before long, I will return, stronger and fitter than ever before with the wisdom of even more life experience behind me.

What a journey! And the wind can blow, and I will continue to adjust my sails…