My friends and I are self development freaks. Self confessed self dev junkies.
Books, podcasts, courses, forums, talks, discussions over cake, hilarious WhatsApp outbursts, meditation. You name it, one of us has (probably) done it. We’re a bunch of misfits constantly searching for the answers to the endless questions in our heads, trying to recondition ourselves and calm down our monkey minds.
Except I had a secret that I never told any of them.
One day, I finally ‘fessed up.
My husband is probably reading this now, shaking his head in despair. I think it all started after our son was born but to be honest, I can’t remember. In the midst of the diaper changing and sweet potato pureeing, I yearned to find myself again, to stimulate my mushy mummy brain and sort out my equally mushy mummy tummy.
It started with a Children’s Storywriting course from Groupon. I stuck to it for 3 days.
The Pandora’s box had been opened. I was a sucker for everything I saw. The combination of dissatisfaction with my life and amazing internet marketing led to a downhill spiral. I was convinced that by learning this new skill or following this programme, life would change. For every insecurity or vague interest I had, the internet had a course to fix it!
‘Bye bye Mum Tum, fit into your pre pregnancy jeans again!’
‘How to be a Positive Parent-Learn to Speak To Your Kids So They Will Actually Listen’
‘How to Make and Sell Raw cakes!’
‘Be a Microsoft Excel Guru; change your organisational skills!’
‘Tapping for Wealth’
‘Meditate your way to a happy you!’
I think you get the picture.
By the way, don’t ever purchase an online course when you’re lying in bed at night browsing the web on your iPhone. It’s like grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Just don’t do it.
So that was ‘my thing’. My silent vice that I thought would finally make me ‘better’; a better parent, better at work, slimmer, healthier, happier. I was wrong.
Hundreds of dollars/pounds later, I have cake tins in the pantry that barely see the light of day. I’ve accepted low rise jeans and I just aren’t meant to be for now. I still ask my husband (who is an actual Excel whiz) to sort out my spreadsheets. I am still trying to master the art of which battles to let go of with our children. Does sleeping count as meditation?
We all have ‘our thing’. That car, those shoes, the beautiful clothes, that sum of money, the toned honed bod. The missing jigsaw pieces in our lives. Convinced that when we have ‘that’, we will be happier. Do we post inspirational quotes on Facebook and Instagram because we mean them or because we want the ‘Likes’ and comments? We’re constantly searching outside ourselves for the answers, looking to the ones who have ‘made it’ to teach us how.
My husband and I were having a chat the other day, dissecting the household finances.
“You know what I can’t get my head around?” I said to him dismally, “We’re both busting our butts and there’s a guy out there barely out of nappies who makes a living out of eating friend chicken!”
Have you heard of the Chicken Connoisseur? Bloody poultry chomping genius.
Where was I again? Oh yes, looking outside ourselves for the answers.
I couldn’t sleep one night. My monkey mind was going bananas so I crept out into the living room, sat down on the floor and tried to meditate. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe ou….
I started gasping for air. The effort of having to concentrate on my breathing was suffocating me. I didn’t feel peaceful. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was overwhelmed with a tight sensation in my throat. Was this a panic attack? Tears streamed down my face and out it came. Spiritual emotional vomit.
“Help me! Hear me! I am desperate. Things need to change. I can’t go on like this. This world has weighed down too heavily on my heart,” I pleaded desperately to an Invisible Power within, who was silently watching the burning embers spitting off my raging heart.
“I’m not Elizabeth Gilbert,” my heart continued to rant, “I can’t just bugger off and leave my husband and kids and eat pray love my way through this. I need your help God and I need it now. My family doesn’t deserve this shitty ungrateful person who shouts all the time and loses herself in her iPhone whilst the kids are growing up before my eyes. My heart needs to feel again. Unnumb me!”
“I give up trying to do things the way that I’ve been taught to. To please people based on their authority and financial power. I need to stop swimming in these toxic waters. Please take over. I hand it all over to you!”
And just like that, a coolness came over me. My heart sighed in relief. I fell asleep on that floor in a mess of tangled hair and Primark pyjamas.
I can’t say that the world changed overnight but what i can tell you is that the feeling of joy that I received from lifting the lid on my emotions that had built up over the years was better than anything that I could have gotten from any of those courses. No Chanel handbag or fancy car could have given me that. I haven’t got it complete figured out yet. Where to go from here, what to do with my life next, but you know what?
It doesn’t bother me and that is friggin awesome.
There’s a certain type of magic that happens in the still of the night. When you choose to rise whilst others are asleep. When you truly connect with whichever higher force you have chosen to believe in. Make that choice to show up for yourself and give your heart the chance to speak.
You didn’t even have to pay me for that piece of advice 😉
‘You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. This universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you are already that.’