I heard a sad story today. It made me want to hold everyone I love so closely. Not out of pure enjoyment, but out of fear that something may happen.
I know I’ve written about this before but it’s a raw and tricky balance to find. On one hand, you’re aware and scared of losing everything. On the other, you know that to spend each day in fear is to suck the joy from any moment, because it’s conditional. Its conditional on something that nobody can ever promise you (and if they do, it’s a mere platitude)…it’s conditional that you can enjoy the moment knowing that it will last forever – and that’s not real life.

I know firsthand, not only working with clients, but personally, that there can be a pivotal moment, etched in your heart, where suddenly everything is not okay any more. No anxiety, no forward thinking, no planning, no walking through Every. Possible. Scenario. made the ‘worst that could happen’ any easier to deal with. Oh man it hurt. And years later, if I think about it..it still does.

I wanted to cuddle my boys close. Breathe them in. My sister Emily was Oscar’s age when she fell sick with cancer. My parents, even if they’d walked through the scenario in their minds, wouldn’t have felt any less heartbroken. It only would have sucked from them the beauty in the mundaneness of life that comes with living for today and not for the ‘maybe’s’ of tomorrow’s unknown. The gorgeous, unremarkable mundaneness of life that comes with living without being dictated by anxiety. The richness, the belly laughs, the hope, the mountain top moments, the cheek aching grins…they all come from being where you are and giving yourself to the ‘today’. Even in the hard times, even in the valleys, there are diamonds in the rough and rubies in the rubble.

So…live. Breathe. Enjoy. Rant. Rave. Have your ups and downs. Try and make good decisions, but don’t beat yourself when you don’t. Be kind. Be kind to others, and be kind to yourself. Taste the rain, watch the storms pass, dance in your kitchen. Just be. But be the you that you are now, in the moment that you have, with who that you have because that’s what you’re sure of and that’s where the living is to be done x

I’ve been thinking about how often we delay doing things that will benefit us somehow because we tell ourselves that we need to be a in a certain physical or mental headspace first. I’m terrible at this. As you’ve seen in my stories and posts, I’ve had a rough time recently and I KNOW that there are things I can do that would help with my mental health (namely eating better and exercising – both things I usually love investing in)…but I keep telling myself I’ll start tomorrow. Slow sabotage. Sabotage in the ongoing behaviour, but also sabotage in the constant delay of change.Change is always a challenge in some way. Always.

We may think, I can’t face the gym until I’ve lost some weight. I will start to try and think better, eat better in January. I’ll change things tomorrow when I feel more energised, if I feel better about myself.

You are worth making changes, moving, doing, starting now. Not when you are thinner, happier, more energised. Not when it’s sunnier or when the New Year clock chimes midnight. The you that you are NOW, is worth making the changes you need to make.

To keep putting off making kind and positive changes is to procrastinate our way into self-sabotage where things pass us by. Things get harder and worse, and then we end up making changes out of hitting a messy rock-bottom rather than a motivation for self-care and investment.

Tone it down. Baby steps. Make it bite size. Take one day, one moment, one second at a time if that’s what you need. No wonder you keep putting it off if you’re facing a mountain. Be kind in the goals you’re setting.

To act is an act of self-love. And if self-love feels an alien concept, do it anyway and choose to trust that making changes will actually feed into a new cycle of worth.

So, lovely one, start where you are now. I’ll try too.

The turning of autumn leaves, the burnt oranges and reds, always remind me of how nothing is permanent. No feeling is permanent. No depression, no mountain top high, no plodding along…nothing is permanent. It’s as if our life has seasons beyond the turning of the earth. I’ve had winters that have lasted days, months and years. Winters that have felt never-ending and hopeless. Dark clouds hanging, the air stagnant, thick and suffocating. I’ve had summers that have lasted minutes, hours, weeks. Where my heart has felt light and I’ve felt a swelling gratitude. Where I’ve felt carefree and excited.

So, are you in an Autumn? Where things are feeling stripped away and you just want to turn in and feel safe. Perhaps you’re in a Spring, a time of growth and change.

So if you’re in the midst of a winter, take stock. It will pass. It will. It simply can’t not. For nobody can stop the ticking of time that moves the seasons regardless off how still we stand. Or maybe, for you, the storm has passed, and it’s about standing and being grateful that you’re through it, and richer in experience and empathy than you ever could be had you not weathered that storm.

One of the most difficult thing about being alive, can be the acceptance of our humanness.Humanness, by it’s very nature, is imperfect.

We all have a dark side, a tricky bit, a part we don’t like people to see. The ugly parts, the grumpy moods, the judgemental, critical, shouty bit. The messy, the angry, the downright irritable. The bad choices, the pain inflicted on others knowingly or unknowingly. The humanness.

Perfectionism believes that if we are good enough, work hard enough, say all the right things, then perhaps we can bury the messy side. Perhaps if we are perfect, nobody will know the hidden parts, the human parts.

Perfectionism constantly moves the goalpost because we’re relentlessly fleeing a part of us that will always be a part of us.

That’s bloody exhausting (oh how I know). We see of other people what we want to see. See my face? You think you know what you think about me, about everyone else. You think you’re the only messy one. Oh friend. If only you knew how true it were that you are not alone (Part of the reason I’m so candid with the information I share is because I know the projections that happen within these small squares, and I want to inspire others to be open too. We’re all together in our messiness)

Maybe it’s time we learnt to accept the messy side as as much of us as the presentable bit. It’s a little more openness about the rougher edges that enables us to empathise, sympathise and meet with others on a deeper level. It’s the honesty and sharing of human experience that enriches relationship.

Acceptance is the ‘Really? Me too!’ I’m not saying we don’t need to challenge ourselves to grow and change (for that is always a good thing when done gently!), I’m challenging that we slowly need to learn to accept (and one day maybe even love) themessy, raw-edged part of us instead of stifling our humanness with perfectionism and shame.

So, you perfectionists out there (my hand is up), we’re all a mess. A messy mess. A mix of ugly, beautiful mess. For that, my fellow perfectionists, is being human xx

The way we eat is often a direct insight into our relationship with ourselves. Woah…that’s heavy Anna! Yup, yup it is.

Tonight I had a healthy dinner planned. A sweet potato and chickpea scenario. However, I had an argument in my mind (or on stories) because I just wanted to grab the emergency pizza out of the freezer and inhale the damn lot (Husband: HANDS OFF). Anyhow, it got me thinking about how self-care comes hand in hand with eating well. Spending the time planning, making and eating good, wholesome food is a statement of care for yourself. It’s saying ‘hey, I’m worth the effort. I value my body’. I’ve totally lost that recently. During the week, my ‘three meals a day’ become caffeine, snacks and toddler leftovers. Basically anything that keeps that hunger pang at bay, shuts it up as if it’s an inconvenience and not a basic bodily need. I’m not trying to loose weight, I simply can’t be bothered. Enough need comes my way from small people, so therefore I refuse to listen to the needs of my own. I make and serve dinner in the evening, but thats when my husband is coming home. I feel challenged. Why do I deem him ‘worth’ the effort to plan, chop and stir, but when it’s just me, it’s grabbed mouthfuls and sugary sustenance.

I know that it’s not this black and white. It’s complex! Food is as complex as we are! I’m saying that it’s worth thinking about a little more. I’ve not been loving myself in the way that I’ve been making food choices recently. Have you?

Eating is a form of loving, its an indulgence, it’s a way to celebrate happiness, and a way to devour down difficult emotion. It can be enjoyed, shared, created. It can be denied, abused. It can be a constant source of anxiety.

For one person, eating a pizza can be a treat. For another, a self destructive binge. For another, a painful battle. Oh do I know all of these angles.

Let’s take some time each day to mindfully prepare and eat something. To tell ourselves that we are worth the time, creativity, effort and enjoyment of sitting down to nourish and fill our bodies.

PS – we’re eating the healthy dinner. Chips due Friday (always)