Thursday, 29 December 2016

Dare to Share

The topic of connection keeps headbutting my curiosity lately. It's stubbornly demanding to be explored and the more I unravel the intricate twine of the topic, the more I see there is to understand. So I figure I could do with making a start on it..

Connection permeates so many areas of our lives and the functioning, well-being and conditioning of our society as a whole. It has an intense capacity to grow, nurture and mend so many of our perceived issues, yet I think sometimes, we're not really sure how to even utilise it. Social media subtly confuses our definition of friendships, the line between surface level and genuine exchanges is blurry, we're losing ourselves in attempts to find others. 

It's as though we're told the opportunity to connect is right there, right in front of us, and we can see it, we can, but in reaching out we hit a pane glass window instead. We can see but we can't feel. We're looking in from the outside. And we're just ending up alone, out of the loop..and with sore heads.

For some of us, in a social media saturated world, I don't think we've ever felt more disconnected.

But it's by no means just social media. Our disconnection goes deeper, its branches fall across our paths of  knowing who we are, listening to our bodies, appreciating our talents, interacting with others, finding what we want to do, hearing our intuition. It's what is keeping us and our full contented lives at arm's reach.

Maybe we think we disconnect because we're shy or sensitive or quiet, or we're weird, we don't fit in, we sit on the outskirts of conversations. Or maybe we're just living on the outskirts of our own lives. Drifting. Detached. Disconnected, disinterested and depressed. 

But maybe we're also the ones carefully crafting secret creations that the world has yet to see. The ones with stories to tell, afraid to use our own voices. The ones who have achieved something but are hesitant to celebrate it. The ones dreaming of something bigger but not reaching for it. The ones with solutions and answers but no audience we're ready to tell. 

Are we connecting to the contributions we can make? 

Is it any wonder we don't feel content? Our callings, our curiosity, our own unique perspective - are we connected to these? Are we connecting to others who are similar? Are we allowing ourselves connect to the things we enjoy doing, the things we're good at, the things that aren't going to pay the bills but man do they make us smile? Are we doing something about this feeling of inherent isolation? Are we aiming to climb closer to true committed connection?

Big topic. Lots of questions; I'm still unravelling this one and the many paths I'd like to go with it. But I do know that I believe wholeheartedly in the significance, strength and power of connection. I know that in learning to connect to my life, I've only ever gained more appreciation, wonder and excitement about it. So I'd like to encourage more of it, obviously.

I won't indulge into my investigations more just yet as they remain very much all over the place, but one thing I would like to initiate on the back of my musings is 'Dare to Share.'

In order to create real connections, we of course need to actually be real. We need to use the tools of modern life that we have in a way that constructs something more authentic, something richer and ultimately more connected. In Daring to Share, we can spread a healthy dose of humanity, reality and authenticity amidst the world of social media. We can use what we have to get more connected, to share insights, inspirations, solutions, hobbies. All the substantial stuff that makes up the star of that selfie; the soulful substance that we may have been secluding from our showreel. 

Whatever it is that stops us - be it shame, stigma or just straight up being scarlet - we need to start overcoming our conflicted commitment to silence and begin by sharing. 

Shame cannot survive in the spoken word.

We need to own our shit and then learn to conquer it. Learn to communicate with it and begin a conversation towards victory. We need to share what that's like.

We need to connect to what makes us feel - what makes us afraid and excited and joyful and nervous and alive

We need to share these things. These beautiful, natural, raw, vulnerable human things.

The things we like doing, the things that we notice in the day, the things that make us stop and take a photo, the things we find helpful, the things that make us forget to look at our phones, the things that make us smile. The things we've achieved, the things we're proud of, the things that we've created. 

We need to Dare to Share.

And dare to liberate ourselves toward being more human, more authentic and truly more connected to ourselves, our lives and the world around us.

As we come into the new year, the @daretoliveSOS Instagram will be capturing our sharings as they come with the hashtag #daretoshare feel free to get involved and get sharing 😊 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Wake Up

The idea of this one arose almost a year ago after a weekend of spoken word poetry that sparked some exploration of my own observations. 

When we're not ourselves and suffocated in the struggle of our own mental health challenges, we don't notice the world around us. We're so bogged down, so immersed in negativity that we don't even see the option of coming up for air every once in a while. The beauty of the world is of little interest, the colours fade to grey, we become numb to our surroundings and our own day to day lives. 

Choosing to do something about this way of living is the beginning of waking up to the world we're a part of and deciding to really feel part of it. It takes its time, but committing to seeking better for ourselves is how we learn to focus our eyes onto the positives that are weaved into every sight. We can't shift our perspective without making an effort to see things differently, and it's with this repeated effort that I awoke to a world I wanted to be a part of. 

So here's some thoughts on that process :)

Wake up,

Awaken your eyes to the world. And get up.
Stop squinting out through yesterday’s smeared makeup,
Commit to clearing your bleary vision and actually show up.

Stop greeting the day half engaged in a dazed dance with the snooze button
Opting for the hazed trance of foggy-eyed grogginess,
the endearing romance with a bed still warm with the night’s comforting sleep.
Instead, plant your feet.
Firm in a stance that gives full, indulgent view.
A view of the expanse that unfolds in the world of awakened eyes.

Wake up to the sights that excite each and every sense,
The plethora of possibility you vividly see – when you focus.
When you zoom out of the blur into life’s artistic smatterings of patterns,
Each splatter of experience igniting the taste buds of our minds –
A vibrant feast for the eyes,
Abundant aperitifs of life’s little pleasures.

Wake up.
Wake up to the curl of the snowdrop’s neck,
The cheeky squirrel strutting in front of your next step.
To the glint in the eyes of laughter, to the bellyache that follows after.

Open your eyes to the prize of connection –
The squeeze of a hand, the lingering look
The tumbling out of words that had been stuck –
Open up.

Open your mind to the details that lace each waking moment.
Each opportunity, each chance to be real
The unique privilege of being able to feel.

Welcome the world of wakeful wonder.
Stop allowing the allure of snooze pull you under,
Pry apart the lids of your vision
And finally,
Wake up.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Reassurance - The Antidote to Anxiety

Anxiety can be a crippling feeling. It can rise within us in waves, awakening tingling tension in the pit of our stomachs, trickling down our backs in a cold sweat, freezing our feet firmly to the ground, unable to move yet trembling from top to toe. 

It can take hold seemingly out of nowhere, keeping us stuck, keeping us locked away, keeping us isolated. 

I've personally known a life punctuated with panic attacks and I understand what it's like for those pinpricks of perturbation to entirely take over. I understand the overwhelming feeling of incapability, the convincing current of 'can't' crippling any plans on the cards for the day. 

And now I personally know a life without. 

Anxiety now is exactly as it was intended all along - it's a feeling and is recognised as such. Like tiredness, hunger or sadness; it's a signal. When we listen to these signals and respond, they don't take over. Hunger doesn't lead to starvation, tiredness not to exhaustion and anxiety not to full-blown panic attacks. We just need to learn to converse accordingly with them


As feeling anxious appears to be an increasing issue in our society I wanted to be able to answer that - probably in a comprehensive post complete with a list of all the many ways we can reduce it, de-stress, and finally overcome these feelings once and for all.

But in the process, nothing truly encapsulated the simple solution we need like the sentence 'Reassurance is the antidote to anxiety' which I was fortunate enough to hear at a class group recently.

This is it. We don't need lists or to dive into the ins and outs and roundabouts of it. We need simplicity. One sentence, taken seriously in our lives can hold significantly more power in actually changing them than continually seeking the complicated, calculated, overanalysing approach. 

So we've got it, here's our antidote:


I wouldn't be surprised if you're thinking that's not quite the answer we were looking for. But I promise, having tried and tested - this is it. 

The word Antidote can be defined as:

  1. A medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison.
  2. Something that counteracts an unpleasant feeling or situation.
Poison is such an apt word for this one. Our poison is believing that there's something wrong with us, that we're not good enough, that we don't have the confidence, the skills, the abilities to do well or measure up. It seeps within, polluting our veins and carrying its message throughout our bodies. Our self-esteem is on the floor; for some us, it's actually underground it's so low and we continue to criticise ourselves, we try to be perfect, we lose the capacity to be compassionate towards ourselves because we're constantly trying to prove that we're worth something. 

But imagine if we were to speak to ourselves in encouraging tones, in kinder words, in a reassuring way.

As the quote goes; 'Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.'  What if we were to take this personally and Start with ourselves. Cut the criticism and increase the encouragement.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Our language and our words carry huge importance on our wellbeing. Thoughts create feelings  so it's worth recognising that if we're thinking self-deprecating thoughts, we're ultimately creating feelings of inferiority. 

When I became more aware of my thinking, there was a time where I could literally see the potential outcomes of my thinking - 'I can't' was the precursor to panic and 'All is well' was my antidote. Then it was just a matter of making the choice.

It's not okay to take on perpetual panicking as a personality trait; that's no way to live. We need to realise that the harsh and desperate transcript we've become so accustomed to simply has to go. Becoming overwhelmed in anxiety isn't helping us achieve our goals and it never will. 

So if you want to counteract the affliction of anxiety - find the means of reassurance that sit well with you and reaffirm them until you become fluent. Build yourself up instead of knocking yourself down. Speak to yourself as you would a friend.

Support, Empower and Encourage Yourself.

Watch your tone. Watch your language. Watch how your reaction to anxiety begins to change.

And, please, repeat as necessary.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

4 Ways to be More Resourceful

"The defining factor is never resources, it's resourcefulness" – Tony Robbins

The word resourcefulness has taken residence in my mind the last while so naturally it's time to give it its its own blog post to see what can be learnt about it. A resource is defined as:

"A stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organisation in order to function effectively"

My dream for this blog is for it to be a resource. The answers, explorations and suggestions are the asset and the goal is that it enables us to function more effectively in our lives. But that can't happen if it's just passively perused, if we don't engage resourcefulness, then it essentially just remains as an online diary of the stuff that runs through my mind. Which is grand to some degree, but not the real purpose here.

With #daretodoit underway, there wasn't a new blog post last week because I've been putting more value on the transformation of information into action and tying it in with an emphasis on resourcefulness. The thing is, there is so much information out there already and we can read all we like every single week but until we connect the tips into tangible action - we're just reading; a constant pursuit of more and more information and filling our minds to capacity. Which, for many of us who are overthinkers, is not ideal. 

Of course I have ideas I want to share and I will continue to do so, but from reflecting on the word resourceful, I want to connect more quality than quantity with this. If I haven't owned an idea in practice or explored it in life substantially, then it's not ready to be written about. We don't always need to be chasing. Chasing something new, something more, something else - we need to look at what we actually have and use it. As I've said before here we're all constantly learning but it's vital that we're active learners.

So it'd serve us well to become more resourceful, to not always be looking for something new and use what is already available to us. A post written a year ago still has as much value as a brand new one today, but if there's constantly new posts pushing it to the bottom of the pile, of course it becomes forgotten all too easily.

How can we be more resourceful?


"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" - Theodore Roosevelt

Realise what you have. Become aware of what has been given to you, what is within your grasp and what you've got to work with. Some of the resources we constantly claim to be short on are time, money, and energy but is that actually true? Or is it just how we're using these things that is the issue? We need to become aware of the stockpile of stuff that we've been collecting and sift through to the bits we can begin to utilise effectively. Awareness -> Action -> Change

2. ASK

"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for"

When we discover what we have, we need to figure out what we're going to do with it. Ask questions about what it is that you want, what is the optimal outcome, what do you want to get from this? We need to be self-honest and specific in order to use our resources to the best of our ability, to use them actively and engage with what they have to offer. Ask how we're going to implement our resources into our lives, get curious about what we can hope to learn, explore how this is going to help us. At the same time, we could also be asking - how are we using our resources now? Where is our time/money/energy/information going? Asking questions awakens our curiosity and allows us to notice where amendments could be made.


"It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do" - Moliere 

The more I'm learning, the more I realise how important the word responsibility is. If we refuse to take responsibility for change in our lives, then nothing is going to happen. Simple as. Likewise with our resources. If we don't take responsibility and choose to act resourcefully, we can't really complain when we remain static. Deciding to show up and take ownership over our challenges is fundamental for growth and progress. Being resourceful enables us to make decisions in a way that is beneficial for this. We learn to use our time wisely, we choose to act on that thing we resonated with in an article, we make choices that give our resources sincere and renewed value in our day to day. 


"The value of life lies not in the length of days but how we make use of them"

Putting value on our resources gives us a different perspective of them. If you think about it, if you only had one hour to do what you wanted, you would ensure to use every second, yet in the 24 we have a day, do we get what we want out of them? Or do we waste hours on social media or something similar and then complain that we never have any time? When we put value in, we get value out too. Making our experience worthwhile is what this is about, be it our time, energy, money, learning, whatever it is, respecting the value it has increases its worth to us. Then we can automatically invest in quality over quantity. We recognise that putting one learning into action is more worthwhile than reading 100 articles and not actively using a single one. 

Being resourceful is a practice, it's akin to a muscle that we need to work in order to get it good and strong. No doubt some days it'll be easier than others, but in every occasion, it will be worth it. On any sort of journey we're on, be it recovery or just that of living, investing in our resources will give us so much return. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

What can we Dare to Do?

~ Wish it, dream it, do it ~

Just over a week ago today, our dedication to 'doing' began over on Instagram in the form of the hashtag #daretodoit 

Though, as with anything new, we might be finding now that the initial enthusiasm, intentions and ideas have piled up higher than the foundation of action managed to kick in to support their suggestions. As they come crashing down, maybe we've found ourselves a bit bewildered about why 'doing' stuff ever seemed like such an inviting idea before. All the words made so much sense, the concept was captivating yet for some reason, it hasn't quite kicked off in our day to day. 

This happens. We get motivated, we get excited and we think about the lavish list of possibilities pouring into our lives. We might even get as far as making plans and visualising everything we're going to do and how lovely it will be. But then, there comes the disappointing descent into ...nothing

Unfortunately, the fact is, nothing happens if nothing happens. Nothing changes if nothing changes. We need to act. We need to dare to do it. There isn't really an inbetween on this one, I'm afraid. With dare to do it, we either do it or we don't. Simples.

And I know, all too well, that these seemingly 'simple' things can actually be surprisingly frustrating. They don't ask us to know why or overly analyse anything; there's no necessity for talking our way around them or excavating a complex creation of excuses from within that provides the perfect reasons not to act. All we actually need to do is do it - which when we're used to making life difficult for ourselves, is a puzzling one to get our heads around.

Yet this really is just that simple. 

So let's get some direction. Whether we've started yet or not is the not the point. The point is what we do now, the only moment we have to hand is this one. 

Here's our resource of responsibility. If we're at a loss of what we can dare to do each day, that's okay - we can check in below and the answers will lead us to our actions.

What can we dare to do?

What do we want to do? Would we like to try something new? How about...
Art, literature, music, film, sport? Going out for coffee? Taking ourselves out for the day? Going for a walk? Taking a photo? Learning something new? Reading a book? Buying something for ourselves or someone else? Writing a journal? Taking note of gratitude/credit/learnings? Calling someone? Going somewhere? 


Action doesn't always have to be seen. Are there some thoughts we could act on? 
Could we begin to choose more positive ones? Could we actively remove some unhelpful thoughts/words? Could we decide to let go of certain thinking patterns? Are there some affirmations we'd like to repeat in our minds? Could we fill our minds with dreams instead of worries? Are there repetitive thoughts we'd like to replace? Would we like to start thinking about ourselves differently? 


We can always learn from the things we put off! What's on our list that hasn't been ticked?
What have we got scheduled for an ongoing 'tomorrow'? What are we avoiding? What has been in the back of our minds for too long now? What do we not want to do that we could actually benefit from? What are we intentionally ignoring?


Have we been tending to our needs? Are we lacking anything?
Do we need early nights? Do we need a good long shower, a hearty meal, a warm drink, social interaction, more fun? Would we like a bit more 'me time'? Could we do with treating ourselves? Have we been prioritising self care? Is there something more we could do for ourselves? Are our minds crying out for relaxation? Do our bodies need rest? Are we daring to be self caring?


Has fear stopped us in our tracks? Are we afraid to do something? 
Are we afraid to be ourselves? Are we scared to speak up? Do we fear judgement? Are we letting fear keep us stuck? What would we like to overcome? What do we think we cannot do? What we love to do but are afraid to try? What would we do if we were not afraid?

Dare to do it is about living life with intent, learning to live life on purpose and moving away from merely existing towards the freedom of being fully alive, involved and owning it. We can discover how many of the above questions we can answer through our actions and we can realise just how much there is to be gained from less talk and more action.

Make a wish, take a chance, make a change

Just don't get too comfy on that seat! 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Dare to Do It

Why put off til tomorrow what we can do today?

As you may have seen over on the @daretolivesos Instagram and Facebook, we've just kicked off a movement of 'doing'. With the hashtag #daretodoit, we're making the choice each day to do something, anything, that is of significance for us. 

Because we know from experience that getting the most out of our lives is an active process. It’s not something where we can tick the box or read the book and be grand; it’s an active, involved and committed journey.

When we choose to move away from our restrictive, boring, habitual conditions and towards the exciting, abundant world of freedom, then we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.

There’s plenty we can do at any stage of this (no doubt we've come across a suggestion or two!), yet sometimes we still find ourselves static or stuck, loaded with knowledge but ultimately just frustrated because we feel like we're getting nowhere. 

Knowledge is wonderful, understanding is essential and of course taking in information is how we learn. But we’re not here to just continually add to our collection of knowledge. We need to act. We need to turn what we know into what we do.

Walking the talk is our best form of transport towards freedom.

So on the Dare to Live and @marinotc Instagram we’ve begun a hashtag of #daretodoit and with that, are making a conscious effort to get out there and just do it - the things we’re afraid of, the things we’ve been putting off, the suggestions we’ve been given. No talking ourselves out of it or putting it off til 'tomorrow', just daring to do it.

Though it can keep us nice and busy and safely stagnant, at some point we've got to stop the overanalysing, the second guessing and the doubts - and the time for that is right now.

As they say, 'If not now, when?' So..What could we dare to do?
  • When we talk about getting active and just doing it - what comes to mind? 
  • What more can we do in our daily lives that'll feel better?
  • What are we avoiding doing?
  • What would we like to do?
  • What could we see ourselves doing?
  • What are we afraid to do? 
  • What would we like to prioritise more?
This doesn't have to be a big deal everyday; we don't have to do tons of stuff and wear ourselves out - this is simply a commitment to taking action where before we would've found a reason not to. Whether that act is choosing to listen to one thought over another, deciding to be really present or even tidying our rooms or prioritising 'me' time - it's all of equal importance and potential impact.

The things that we do move us, they are the little steps that carry our journeys, the drops in the ocean that make waves. 

We can't just think our way to a better life, we've gotta get really involved.

So, let's dare to do it.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Poetry: The Nitty Gritty Necessity

Sometimes it can be helpful to try out new and different means of expression and engage our creativity in the feat of unraveling our inner thoughts.

Poetry is one such method that has weaved its way in and out of my journey as required. Sometimes it gave language to experiences that felt beyond basic explanation; it allowed analogy and comparison to convey feelings I didn't even fully understand myself. Other times it served to shape stories of celebration, hope and excitement.

For others it might be art, music, activities, anything. There's unlimited means of speaking our truth to be explored, and discovering which of these we can become fluent in, is going to give our voices real volume.

Sometimes it's just nice to find out how to tell our narrative in a new way.

This week, poetry is going to tell a little tale about freeing ourselves from the final roots of 'not good enough' that may be holding us back:

The nitty gritty called me, several times,

Leaving its message inscribed in various signs

Recurrent raindrop reminders I refused to address

Instead choosing to suppress the duress of its upcoming test;
The mess - in which, it knows I’m scared to fall
The reason I chose to reject that call.

Yet, I know too the facts of fear
And the trilling truths I don’t want to hear
I know that what I resist persists,
And that life consistently insists
On presenting me with what I need
So maybe, maybe it’s time to concede

As its resounding alarm refused to snooze,

I had to choose;

To recall that I don’t run anymore,

If anything I embrace the exciting invite to explore,

So I awaken to this request, this invitation inside the pain
Realising I’ve nothing left to lose, and everything to gain.

‘Write about me’ was the message’s demand
The clarity in its command knew my freedom would understand.
The message magnified as the seed grew, beginning to blossom into what I need to do;

Write about it. 

Write about the reason your stomach coils into a knot, 

When overwhelm points out what you still haven’t got,

Write about why being human can feel so godamn hard,

Why you wish to be armoured with an unwavering guard,

Why you think you’re so very afraid of hurt,
Why you’d ever attempt to hustle for your worth.
Stop quoting your lessons and learn them instead, 
And while you’re at it, actually feel the shit going on in your head.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to cry without any idea why. 
It’s okay to feel each feeling rise steadily high

When you have tears in your throat - it’s okay to resist the reflex to swallow

Instead let their natural flow follow, allow the healing sea outpour from within

Its waves whispering the soothing din,

A relentless reassurance you shrugged off before

Demanding of yourself to always take on more.

It’s okay to pause.

To take a moment and recall that this journey won’t be without its flaws,
So welcoming their colour gently unveils the core of this cause.

It’s okay to realise that there’s work still to do,
And doing something about that is entirely up to you
You can ignore the messages that well up inside,
The niggly insecurities that you try to hide,
You can do what you want, because the pen is in your hand. 
So you ultimately decide where you'd like to stand.

But the nitty gritty will call and ask that you listen.
That you use it to constructively conquer this condition.
It’ll implore that you embrace what it has to say
And it’ll rise to the surface impatient to be wiped away,
It rises with discomfort, defiantly dispersing the defence,

It was hardly going to just pop up without emotional expense

But when we choose to write our way out, its challenging purpose becomes crystal clear

And whispers of freedom replace its recuurent voice in our ear

Our exploration leads us to the inspiration for our new creation

One of a messy wonderful whole life, enriched with a concrete foundation of liberation
Cultivated purely from the decision to embrace uncomfortable contemplation
Of the answers to our curious confusion, tirelessly choosing to disband any old roots of delusion,
To respond to the internal intercom shouting the unravelling that remains
To finally heal the wounds of all our old pains.

The nitty gritty called me and when I finally answered the call
I showed up and unleashed my free self once and for all,
I wrote my way into a masterpiece that's entirely mine
Because the nitty gritty called me, several times.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

5 Lessons in Learning

 'The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.Brian Herbert

Learning is a progressive, continual undertaking. It invites us to open our minds, to consider alternatives, to grow and discover the potential both within and outside of ourselves. If we're not learning, we're staying static. We're settling. We're stagnating.

To learn is to move towards the doors of freedom and find out how we can break through them.

Sometimes it's a pain in the face having to learn though. We might feel like we know enough already or that we 'should' know all we need to know. We might be fearful of what 'can of worms' our explorations could uncover or even what we're going to do with the realisations we make ourselves. Because, what then? Then, we have the knowledge to move on and our justification for staying small or staying safe loses significant strength. But quite often, once we realise that there's more out there it's going to be hard to stop us going after it anyway. And while that could be a scary thought, I cannot recommend enough the act of doing it regardless.

We're all constantly learning and growing and seeking. We will never know it all. Regardless how much time, energy and commitment we give to the pursuit of perfection, we'll never be these infallible intellects with all the answers; some kind of encyclopedia-esque entity that just has nothing more to discover in the world. 

We need to legalise learning and the fact that if we want to move forward we're going to have to embrace it. That's what we're all about here after all; educating and informing and sharing ideas. Blog posts are the result of learnings I've picked up over the week, sometimes lessons that take longer to process and sometimes I just need to look back over old ones and remember what I've learnt before. In any case, here, we value the engagement in education, knowing from experience its capacity to enhance our liberation in life.

So what I'm saying is, I've learned to love learning and here's some stuff that helped that happen.

'The mind is like a parachute, it works best when open'

Becoming open in our mindset can be a worrying thought at first. When we're set in our ways or stuck within our own confines, outside ideas can seem like a threat. But opening our minds to that which others have to share or ideas that might contradict our own, puts us on the path to learning. Of course, it's uncertain, it could be uncomfortable and it could be challenging but the rewards will speak for themselves. 

If we can choose to be open, even if initially we refuse to act on anything we take in, we're still making a move towards learning. Entertain new perspectives, listen to the experiences of others and just gradually let them in. Let them swirl around our minds and contemplate them even if that ends up in an internal argument or we eventually decide we disagree - at least there's something happening and that's exactly what will steer us towards finding our own answers and opinions.

'The expert in anything was once a beginner'

Learning is vulnerable. It means admitting that we don't know it all, that we're imperfect and we're new to this. In order to accept this, we need to release ourselves from the prison of expectations that keep us barricaded in. We need to let go of 'should' and pressure and the echoes of 'not good enough' in our inner monologues. 

We haven't done everything, so how could we possibly know everything? Let yourself be new, let yourself be at the beginning of the journey. The pressure we put ourselves under to know everything already just cuts us off from the opportunity to actually learn. It's like sending a child home from school because they don't know how to read. It seems ridiculous but that's how we treat ourselves sometimes, ready to beat ourselves up with our stick of perfectionism just because we've fallen short of impossible expectations. There's no shame in being a beginner, it actually shows that we've tried something new, we've moved out of our comfort zones and had the courage to get something better for ourselves. 

“To make mistakes or be wrong is human. To admit those mistakes shows you have the ability to learn, and are growing wiser.” Donald L. Hicks

Learning about ourselves and our lives gives us the chance to dig up fantastic and occasionally frustrating self honesty and awareness. We get to learn about who we are in our best and worst manners. Along this journey, of course we're going to come across stuff we don't particularly like. We might realise that we make mistakes, we act in ways we're uncomfortable with, we react in unhelpful behaviours, we say things we don't mean - we need to realise too that this is all wonderful material to be welcomed. We don't learn if we just look at the good bits, we learn from our colourful, messy, mistake-heavy moments and they teach us how we could do things differently.

If we fear being wrong, we keep ourselves blind to these opportunities for growth. Self awareness is key to personal development and yeah sometimes it highlights the bits we're not  so proud of. But in embracing this and allowing ourselves be wrong, we get valuable fuel to move forward. So be wrong, be messy and then be able to change.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein

As in any learning, we need to get involved in order for the lesson to hit home. So get stuck into it, be the student who keeps putting up their hands to ask questions, think about it consistently, be active in the pursuit of understanding. Be incessantly inquisitive. Life is your lesson. It has an endless curriculum that we're lucky enough to be enrolled in. 

When we have opened our mind to learning, we begin to seek it in everything. In events, in disappointments, in doing well - there's always something to learn. When we become active participants we enrich our learning and get the most of each nugget of knowledge. We make use of our lessons and practice them well. We repeat and implement the learnings we've found. We take action in changing our habits and routines and putting what we've learnt to use. 

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chodron

The more we learn and grow and move on, the more some lessons get used and others can become less necessary. So it's okay to go back and learn the same things again and again. Sometimes we don't realise that we can apply the same knowledge to different situations or we discover that we've forgotten how to approach a certain challenge. Sometimes the same issue will keep arising because we still haven't fully learned what it's trying to teach us. This is all okay and all part of the process.

Maybe shame will rear its head when we realise it's time to revise, but the fact is, we can learn our lessons as many times as we need to. They will stick and we will conquer our challenges, and yes this could take time. Being patient and persistent will be key; just as you don't learn a language after a brief bit of vocab, we won't have all the answers straightaway. But they'll come, stringing their sentences together in each revision and speaking out more fluently each time.

When we understand the value of learning, the idea that we'll be constantly learning is an increasingly exciting thought. The world opens up and we get to ask questions, find new answers, and open our arms to new perspectives, concepts and opinions. It's a limitless venture and one that will only benefit us if we learn to let it. 

'Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.' Anthony J. D'Angelo