Doing our work.

In the space of 24 hours I went from buzzing illation and joy to a feeling of almost hopelessness about humanity.

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Two weeks go I arrived home from a beautiful & soulful family holiday in Noosa and Byron Bay. The sun shone (mostly!), the warm waves called, and the lush greenness soaked into my being like the vital lifeblood my body had been aching for.  I just love the sub tropics.

I came back to Melbourne believing, with every fibre of my body, that we truly do create our own reality. This knowing is something I have enjoyed for many years, but being in my dream locale (Byron) and scoping out the little towns around it for a nook we may some day call home it really sunk in that each choice we make can take us closer, or push us further away, from our dreams. We make those choices everyday.  It’s a choice to choose, and choose consciously.

I also came back feeling really connected with my husband and daughter; we switched off the TV for most of the holiday (save for some Dora and Peppa Pig!), we read, we talked, I wrote in my journal and sat in the sun in silence. Just connecting back to each other, to nature and to our selves. It was bliss.

Still high on life upon my return, on Monday I attended my first Yoga Mums and Toddler class. My daughter and I loved it! I managed to get a bit of a workout and my daughter is now obsessed with Om’ing. Seriously, how beautiful is my little Yogini!! I was buzzing afterwards. Later that day, as my bebe slept, I had a bit of time to watch the Oprah interview with Dr Shafali Tsabary on her book The Conscious Parent. Needless to say, I’ve purchased the book. The interview was SO inline with how I dream to parent, what I aspire to, how I hope I can support my daughter’s little soul to SOAR in this life. I called my mum all excited about the book, and we discussed how important it is that these ideas are out there’s teaching people, helping people to grow and love unconditionally.

So, yeah I was still blissing out at this point. Bub wakes and I head to the supermarket. CUE: major shift in my energy and emotions.

My yogini wouldn’t sit in the trolley, this was no biggy we just toddle around, taking much longer to do a shop, but we’re in no rush and she is enjoying herself pointing out vegies, colours, shapes and waving at everyone we pass – she’s having a ball!

Down the cereal aisle two kids run the opposite way to us, just being kids not doing anything particularly naughty, their mum however looked very stressed and was also holding another bub.  To lighten the mood as I passed her I instinctively smiled and said “They’re fun aren’t they..” My comment was meant in a ‘I can see they might be testing your patience right now but lucky you love them’ type tone.  I was greeted with a cold and angry. “NO. Not really.”

I was shocked, but gave a half smile hoping she was sort-of-maybe joking, but was quickly met with a very aggressive comment (that I will not repeat) about how she felt about her children (obviously in that moment, while she was stressed – I hoped).  Her kids would have heard her comments and most definitely her tone. At this point, my heart sank and I started to feel very overwhelmed. I picked up my daughter who was toddling around the Milo cans and kept walking, overhearing another mean comment from the mum to one of her children.

I. Was. Heartbroken.

For the next four days I struggled to breath properly, my chest was tight and my stomach felt like acid – my form of a mini anxiety attack.

After days of shallow breathing and a clenched jaw I surrendered and asked the universe: What am supposed to do with this?

I knew that situation wasn’t random (I knew that seconds after witnessing it). I knew that experience was for me, and for that woman also.  After the high on life buzz I was experiencing to have such a quick-snap change in vibration.. that situation was brought forth to show me (and likely that woman) something.

I will admit, I am human, and at first (ok, maybe I floated in and out of this for a few days) I was angry. No, gutted and intensely saddened is more accurate. I kept asking myself how the hell did our society & culture get here? To a place where we are so disconnected with ourselves? That our fear and our ego’s false perceptions are smothering our innate Truth, joy and love for ourselves and others.  Where we believe we have to be in survival mode, and that’s the best we’re gonna get.

This woman in the supermarket was in deep pain. I have no doubt about that. I’m certain she felt her day had sucked; maybe she felt her life had sucked. And maybe that was true for her. But what happens now…?

Likely, it’s a perpetuating cycle: emotions bubble up, there’s an explosion, and then push them down quickly before we truly feel and understand (and explore) the original pain that we need to deal with.

But, is this any way to live?

In her TEDx talk, Dr Shafali Tsabary said, “We hurt our children for One. Reason. Only. It’s because we are hurting ourselves, and we barely know it.”

I feel such empathy and compassion for that woman. She was/is hurting. So deep and so ingrained was her pain that she was willing to expose herself to a complete stranger (me).  So deep that her very essence was hidden and all she was able to put out there was the anger, negativity, blame, hurt, fear – pain – that was swirling round in her mind.

This is not only incredibly sad for her, more so (in my eyes) it’s heart breaking that this cycle is likely to be kept alive with her children following suit. The meanness of her words were cutting, and her children witnessed, and were subject to, all of that pain and fear. What sort of message was that sending? What will they perceive about themselves, their worthiness, and their lovability throughout their life? And then how will those created beliefs translate throughout other areas of their life as they grow?

As a life coach, Reiki practitioner and counselor-in-training, it is my understanding that our perception of life is brought about by our beliefs. Many of our beliefs are set in concrete by the age of seven.  Beliefs are often so deep-rooted that we may not consciously be aware we have them, and yet it’s these beliefs that round out how we feel about, and interact with, the world around us.

Do you see the cup as half empty, or half full? Your answer is your perception based on your ingrained beliefs, which were created through your experiences, most often as a child.

Children watch and learn by their parent’s example. We are their first teachers (and they are most definitely ours!).  In their early stages of life, we are It.

My belief is that this is where our Work needs to take place. Not just for our kids, though of course that is parmount, but for ourselves to have a peaceful and joyful life.

The thing is, and it’s a big deterrent for most of us: It’s Hard Work.  There are no quick fixes. There are definitely some short cuts, like Kinesiologisy, Coaching, Reiki and other therapy type work.

But ultimately the work is ours to do.

On the other hand though: It’s humbling and incredibly empowering.  Once we work our way through our pain, fears and negative beliefs, once these are brought up, exposed and dissolved there is space. Beautiful vast space, which is able to be filled up with enlightened and truthful beliefs, with unconditional love for ourselves and people around us, with softness, compassion and lofty dreams which can now be gravitated toward. That’s the real pay off here. And ain’t it a sweet one.

In our western way of life we have created a culture where our lives are so driven by outside influences; media, religion, friends, family, government, advertising… and so much of it seems to play to our fears. And with all that comes a noisy and chaotic inner dialogue. We aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to listen to ourselves, our bodies, our pains and fears which have been silenced but are still there working their way into everything we do, every choice we make, quietly affecting our perception on life, and therefore what sort of life we attract.

It is not for me to preach to the individual or even the masses about what to do, as we all have our own path. This blog post, I guess, was partly cathartic for me, because last weeks anxiety-fuelled incident needed to be up and out my body, and partly to remind myself (and others if they feel inclined) that we have a responsibility to ourselves, to our children and to our communities to choose happiness and love.

What does that mean?

How do we “choose” love when we’re angry, upset, stressed, anxious or fearful?

I believe it has to begin when we are NOT in that fearful space. In the quietness of the night when we are alone with our own thoughts we can affirm our love for ourselves, we can meditate (even for a few short minutes), we can use affirmations (mine are placed in my shower so I can read them daily), prayer – for ourselves and others, we can choose loving acts like taking time out, by reading nourishing books, by watching expansive interviews on youtube, by doing acts like baking or exercise that make you feel good and loved. It’s these simple and small acts that can be where a seed of love can start to grow.

Then, it’s truly about doing the work.

And, I know that sounds hard, honestly speaking sometimes it really is challenging and confronting.  I try to be consciously aware of my work all the time and some days I lose it and say – “Why the Flip does everything have to be a “lesson”, why does everything need to be about growth!!!” But, I know, even in those provoking moments that I am growing,  I am re-learning and I am moving through the shadow sides of myself. I am making space for Love and reconnecting with my true essence.

Recently I was talking to a friend who was getting really frustrated by something they had experienced. I replied, “I know you’re going to get annoyed with me, buuuut what did that experience reflect back to you? How did it make you feel?”.. My friend laughed and said “Arrrgh, seriously! I’ve been working so hard why do I keep coming up against these road-blocks. Why is everything a lesson?”

And I got it, I SO got what she meant. This ride can be so bloody annoying, frustrating and maddening even sometimes! But, ultimately, I also know that doing our work pays off. Big Time.

Work: expose and confront our fears, pain, negative beliefs, we feel it all, we talk or journal about it and dismantle it, we move through it.. and then an incredible thing happens… Beautiful space opens and something brighter, something we can consciously choose, now has a place to call home. Repeat!

I guess it is all really about radical self-responsibility, a phrase I have been hearing so much lately, and it just resonates so well with me. When we take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions and choose love (even if that means that our fear and ego shows up to challenge us – trust me it will!) then we create something better.

This is a lengthy post, and it may feel confronting. It been confronting for me to write if I’m being really honest. Self-responsibility can be very challenging when we are used to feeling so disempowered, but it’s really a golden opportunity,  as every moment is, to “choose” something better.

My deepest hope is that everyone comes to a place where fear and pain is dissolved, where we move through our life listening to what our heart says, and that as parents we lead by an example of compassion, love, thoughtfulness and mindfulness.

For me, I am constantly reminded of my stuff, which means I still have much work to do, everyone does. Even the great teachers of our time have their fears, pains and shadows to work through. But even if it’s just for today, can we be open just to be “willing” to allow something better in..

 Would love to hear your thoughts on this post. I invite you to comment below.

Love and light to each of you xox

 Catherine xo

2 thoughts on “Doing our work.

  1. I have never heard about Dr Shafali Tsabary before reading this post.
    Immediately after I watched her TEDx Talk. Wow, what a women.
    Working with children almost daily, it deeply affects me the way that some parents talk and act towards their children. It may not be all the time, and you may not always know the situation, but you can see the hurt and sometimes disappointment in their eyes. What a wonderful piece Catherine. x

    • Thank you Kura! Dr Tsabary is amazing, and I have only heard about her recently too. Her work is truly amazing. The look of genuine disappointment or hurt in a childs face is enough to make me cry. They are so precious, and deserve our love and attention. They are only small for such a short time. The TEDx talk is a really great snap shot of her book xox

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