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

..HOW?

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:

REASSURANCE

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.