I had a shock this morning. A Facebook memory come up from three years ago and it featured a woman I could barely recognise – me. I was in beautiful Assisi and I was slowly and calmly talking to the camera. But I was way too calm and speaking way too slowly. I was in town I loved but almost too exhausted to enjoy it. As I watched the footage, it looked like I was swimming through energetic mud.
Over the preceding months and years, I had worked every minute of the day to make ends meet. At one point, I had five casual, contract and part-time jobs at once. Immediately before the trip, I had also become, once again, romantically entangled with a man who was not worthy of me – he just took what he wanted and I let him. I was making the same decisions on repeat and nothing was changing. I was surviving not living. Even though I had finally returned to Italy (where my Soul longs to be), I was a burnt-out shadow of myself.
I’d love to tell you I came back from that trip and things were different. But they weren’t. I went back to doing all the things I had been doing before – working every hour of the day, doing things I didn’t want to do anymore, holding onto things I needed to let go of, and guess what, that guy broke my heart.
Early last year, I finally cracked and made some radical changes and when I returned to Italy in August 2019, I was a different person. I had connected to a joyfulness and peacefulness within myself that I didn’t know was possible. I didn’t have everything worked out (of course not!) but I was definitely moving in the right direction.
I always had the keys and it was never about anyone else. It was about the choices I was making, the stories I told myself, and the boundaries I didn’t put in place. I had to get real with myself and draw on some major internal courage to make uncomfortable choices.
Covid-19 and all the crazy 2020 happenings remind us we need to be living as much as we can, not just surviving.
Is the person you see in the mirror, photograph or video only surviving? If so, what are you going to do about it?
I’ve been thinking about integrity – the line we each have within us that we don’t want to cross. It’s a line that marks who we are; our honourability in a world that often feels increasingly dishonourable.
There will be times for all of us when we will be tempted to breach our line of integrity. Some of us will do so – we will cross the line, feel the discord within ourselves and quickly reverse our path. Others will cross the line and keep going because they feel it is too difficult to turn back.
It is your ability to understand where your integrity line is, and adhere to it, that is a sign of your courage and fortitude. Sticking to this line is difficult in a world where you’re told you must conform, you must keep the peace and you must keep other people happy.
When you cross your integrity line to appease others, you are compromising yourself and often the well-being of others. We only have to scan the global horizon right now to see how a lack of integrity by some, is compromising the health of many and leading to the death of others. Terrible things happen while good people do nothing.
Integrity doesn’t mean taking the easy or most expedient path. It doesn’t mean acting from a place of fear or anger. It means having character, being honest about your own actions and motivations, and then acting in accordance with what you know in your gut is right.
Integrity. I can’t help but think we need more of it. What do you think?
I sat in a café today fighting back tears yet staring determinedly at my computer screen. Part of me wanted to run away while the other part thought, no, I have to do this.
I’d begun pulling my poetry collection together and as I began revisiting each piece, one by one, all the emotions they held rose up again within me.
A year a two ago, I found myself working on the same floor as a specialist I had first met in my 20s. As a man with a curious and active mind, who remembered me from way back then, he was keen to read my book as soon as I mentioned it. I still remember the look on his face afterwards. He looked at me intently and said, “It must have been very difficult to write a lot that.”
I nodded and said, “Yes. Yes it was.”
When you’re a memoirist and you write from real life, your life, it’s extraordinarily difficult to hide from yourself and the experiences of your past. You must look at yourself, study where you have been, unpick the threads of your life, then somehow sew them back together.
It’s not an easy journey to undertake. It’s often emotionally challenging. When you write about yourself, you cannot hide from yourself. This is why I frequently use journaling activities with my mentoring clients – what better way to uncover your true desires than to pick up a pen and begin recording your brutal self-honesty in writing.
Just like my first book, my poetry collection is autobiographical and traverses my relationship landscape with all its pain, heartbreaks and disappointments. There is a little humour in there too and this time, I also begin exploring the complicating influence of being psychic.
I’ve found that being highly intuitive can work for and against me in romantic relationships. Yes, it may provide an extra level of insight about the person you are interested in but on the other hand, when your emotions are involved, your ability to easily to discern between your intuition and what your heart would like to happen can fly out the window. Factors like soul contracts and past life connections (or past life hangovers as I call them) can also mess with your head, a lot.
I am not one of those women who can put her emotions in a box. In truth, writing my first book was very much like my own personal version of therapy. It was only through writing about my experiences, editing it then revisiting it again, that I was able to finally clear a lot of debris from my psyche. With the birthing of that book I was able to step back and see where I had learned the lessons I needed to learn, and then let the rest go.
I find that my poetry is far more raw than my prose. It always knows what it wants to be when it arrives. It has a clear intention and energy of its own. Once written I can only change a word here or tweak a phrase there. Further self-indulgent editing inevitably destroys the life of the piece leaving it a bedraggled and shallow version of its former self. So I leave most of the words as they arrive.
The memories in my poetry are vivid. They are unavoidable and, judging by my emotional response today, I still have a lot to process about their contents. Two hours was about all I could manage today before I needed a break. But I am going to persevere. There are other books waiting to be finished and released.
Interestingly the themes of relationships, love, and energetic connections are increasingly showing themselves in my work. I guess my Muse is determined that I learn the lessons that are being delivered to me and I continue to be her reluctant yet committed pupil.