Going With The Flow- Keeping An Open Mind

I am very much in the “go with the flow and see what happens” mentality at the moment and it’s actually quite freeing. Instead of letting myself get hung up over what ifs and buts, I’m saying to myself whatever happens, happens.

Its proving to be quite effective. I don’t feel obsessed over the small things, especially the aspects of my life I can’t control.

Please don’t mistake going with the flow for someone who doesn’t care or is carefree, I simply mean, I am trying my hardest to live my life with an open mind. I’m keeping my future path loose and fluid, with the idea that if one option doesn’t pan out the way I would like it to, then I’m not seeing it as a set back, merely one door that has closed.

We don’t know what the future holds but anxiety leads us to believe we do. We worry and stress over every little aspect of our lives. Whether it’s something seemingly as simple as someone not texting us back, we think the worst. I’ve seen it in myself in the past and friends in the present and I’m sure they’ll be plenty of people in the future going through the same situations. What we have to learn is that we can’t control everything.

Once we learn that, it suddenly becomes a freeing mentality which opens you up to so many opportunities.

When Derren Brown the illusionist placed money on the ground in front of a group of people he’d questioned before, the focus group who said and believed that they weren’t lucky didn’t see the money on the floor, whereas the people who said they felt lucky sometimes or more often than not, saw the money. It was an interesting psychological experiment which shows us that belief and your mental state can impact your life quite dramatically and in order to combat negative emotions, we should be actively opening ourselves up for opportunity.

Obviously with opportunity comes vulnerability but being vulnerable can also help us to develop as human beings. Being rejected from a job or a relationship hurts, don’t get me wrong, but with each experience we grow and we learn what we like about ourselves and what we don’t through other people’s criticism. This is why rejection hurts so much. We have a twisted sense of self, we believe that we are the protagonists of our own story, that other people are there to forward our adventure and in some aspects we’re right. We should be positive, be looking at constantly moving forward but we also shouldn’t have such a closed view on life.

Sometimes we’re the sidekick in someone else’s adventure. If we all went around thinking we were the hero of the story then there would be no story to be told.

Even sometimes, on our worst days, we’re the villains of someone’s story. It’s in these days we have a lot to learn about empathy and how to treat those around us.

Life, as I see it, is about experience. We have adventures, we love, we explore and reach new and exciting highs. We experience heartbreak and sorrow and incredible lows, even to the point where some of us don’t want to be on this earth anymore. But life is worth living for both the highs and the lows. It’s worth exploring the opportunities that are presented to us and keeping our path fluid with an open mind.

I thought that I would be stuck unemployed for months while on lockdown but during this time I’ve not only found myself a few odd jobs for people but was also head hunted by my old bosses friend. It was an unexpected surprise and has led me to the current freelance job I have today.

Maybe I believe in karma. Maybe I believe that I’ve had a lot of bad juju in the past few years and I’m finally receiving some well deserved positive vibes. Maybe I don’t believe in it. Maybe I think we are in control of our lives through the ways in which we choose to live mentally.

What do you think? Do you believe in karma?

Until next time.

Saying “Yes” To Everything?

I’ve found someone who matches my unbridled enthusiasm for life which has meant that the past few months have been jam packed with activity after activity which has been fantastic. However, as much fun as we’ve had socialising and generally enjoying life, it has meant the day to day things have rather lost their scheduling.

As someone who likes to plan, my spontaneous lifestyle of late has been rather refreshing. It has allowed me to let loose, learn that it’s not the end of the world if someone is a few minutes late, or changes plans at the last minute. Life is about adaptation, learning to be malleable and go with the flow and it has transformed me into someone I like very much.

There’s many a film, including Yes Man, which pose the question, what if you said yes to everything. Obviously blown out of proportion into something made for the big screen, the concept is still one worth considering.

Saying yes to more things instead of squirrelling away in my flat, for instance, has led me to new friendships, and exciting experiences. Saying “fuck it” and doing it, i.e booking a weeks holiday in Portugal on a whim, is also a great conversation starter and has been the beginning of a great adventure with Darren.

However fun the adventure is, we have to deal with the monotonous in order to make way for new experiences. We can’t travel the world without fresh pants after all.

We need to balance the mundane and the exciting in order to live a fulfilled and fruitful life and if that means spending Monday evenings washing my clothes and cracking out the ironing board then so be it. There will be other evenings for adventures.

Life, I believe, is about finding balance.

Until next time.

Managing Your Life: Dealing With The Unexpected

I seem to do my best writing on a Sunday morning. While my partner sleeps, I write, his calming presence accompanied by the early morning bird song really gives me a chance to breathe, and access my creativity.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we can’t control, or are unexpected. This weekend I had a nasty surprise, a lady who I had thought was my friend who had betrayed my trust, popped back up unexpectedly and the encounter wasn’t pleasant.

This encounter knocked me for six and I needed a moment to compose myself but obviously, seeing as I’m still writing about it, it has been playing on my mind.

There’s something very Freudian about thinking about the people that don’t like you. I suppose it’s a self reflection and retrospective view into my psyche and how I strive to be liked by most people I meet but that’s an impossibility and I know that. So why did it affect me so much that this one person so obviously didn’t care about me any more?

I’m hoping that by expressing my thoughts I can put this whole experience behind me and develop into a much stronger and less dependent individual.

Looking at the situations that have led to this circumstance which I’m in today, I can see that the main reason it hit me so much with my ex friend was because I currently have a distinct lack in female friends and although there is nothing inherently wrong with having male friends (in fact sometimes it can be a breath of fresh air) I realised that I missed the shopping trips, the girly days out, and the movie nights.

So it wasn’t that I missed the friend, it was more that I was missing the emotional connection that only girls hanging with girls seem to provide.

So obviously, my female friendships need working on in order to make me feel like a well rounded individual again but in knowing this, I feel like a weight has lifted. I don’t feel as awful from my terrible encounter as I know why and how I can move past it which is a trick I think applies across all aspects of life.

Whether we bump into people that are now strangers, or run into situations that frustrate us, it’s important to self assess why we feel the way we do, looking deep within ourselves to the ugly parts of our psyche. In doing so, and discovering the parts of us which we don’t like, we can then actively pursue life paths which point us in a direction which ultimately leads to true happiness.

Until next time.

Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Learning To Manage Anxiety

I am not a sports fan but with the football associations annual turnover of £318m its safe to assume that football generates a lot of interest for the UK’s population. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never got the hype. As someone who grew up in a sports-oriented household, I’m pretty sure I have a firm grasp of how the games play out (and yes, that includes the offside rule) but have never really enjoyed sitting and watching the games.

Yesterday, however, I met with a few fans at the local pub and took in the atmosphere.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the afternoon, regardless of the anti-football stance I had previously stood by.

A friend of mine commented that the abundance of testosterone in the room must have been comparable with that of war and how the sheer will and determination of the bodies in the room were similarly buzzing with anticipation. It was an interesting point and made me assess the situation with new eyes.

It is incredibly easy to get locked up in our own bubble of comfort, see the same friends, experience the same situations time and time again but this is how we slip into old habits, anxiety rears its ugly head and some of us slip back into depression. In order to break the cycle, we must ensure to sever the ties to normality once in a while, step out of our comfort zones and try something we were maybe opposed to doing previously.

Anxiety is a terrible thing but with practice we can manage our emotions, learn to control our behaviour and much like exercising to tone up, we can strengthen our brain, become more accustomed to situations that make us uncomfortable.

Obviously, I am not condoning actions that cause us pain or anger or anything that causes panic attacks, what I am suggesting is doing one thing a week that maybe you’ve been putting off because of your worry. For instance, I had been putting off having my hair cut for a seemingly silly reason: I find talking to hairdressers can be a little awkward, forced, and in my eyes there is nothing worse than small talk but I still called up and booked an appointment which I had on Saturday. Yes, it was an awkward experience but I feel healthier for doing it, as not only is my hair feeling more managable but I feel happy that I was able to take that step to owning my own life.

Control takes time and with time we can take back control of our lives.

How will you take control of your life this week?

Until next time.

Dreams: The Gateway to Balance

Guest Post by Kelly Lydick

There is so much information out there on how to be or become healthy, and how to balance the facets of life. It’s easy to look at diet and exercise, or how much screen time you consume, or how to meditate to manage stress, but people don’t always think about looking at their dreams as a path to wellness.

All my life I have been an active dreamer. I’ve religiously kept a journal about my dreams and read many, many books on the topic. My long-time favorite has always been Betty Bethard’s The Dream Book, a simple dictionary-like book with a Jungian slant.

Over the years, I have amassed notebook after notebook with details on my dreams, my interpretation of my dreams, and other missives. Years ago, at the recommendation of a friend, I decided to begin studying mysticism with a Rabbi. Shortly thereafter, I decided to attend graduate school for creative writing.

It was then that I realized that the ancient mystics who knew well the mysteries of the unseen, believed that our perception of dreams was merely one of limited view—that if we were to look more deeply at the world, we would see that the waking life and the dream life were like mirrored reflections of one another. And, that peering into the mysteries of the unseen would require that we understand that waking life and dreaming life are nearly reversed.

So I started to write about it. Soon, I found that my master’s thesis was already underway, this study of the mysteries of the universe at the helm of a ship, which I certainly was not navigating. I finished my master’s thesis in record time, sent it off to a publisher, and got word back that the publisher wanted to publish my thesis as a book. It happened in record time, and Mastering the Dream was released late in 2007.

Just when my speaking engagements were at their height, I started to feel tired. Too tired to do very much. My head hurt, and I was woozy. My blood sugar went up and down, my heart rate was too high, I felt out of sorts, and didn’t know what to do. I had just recorded a radio segment for NPR & KQED’s The Writers’ Block, and the next morning, I could barely get out of bed.

I called my doctor who soon thereafter told me that I had an extreme imbalance in my metabolic system. I had, in fact, been very sick—so sick that I couldn’t sleep, I could barely walk without getting winded, and my mind was feeling pretty foggy. It was one of the scariest times in my life.

And there I was those years ago, at a loss for what to do to bring wellness back into my life. So I did the thing that I knew how to do—consult my dreams. And it ended up changing my life.

My sleep was interrupted, so I dreamt little during this time, but the dreams I did have seemed profound. They were pointing the way, showing me my path, and guiding me back to wellness.

I enlisted the help of a metaphysical healer. My health started to improve, and I continued to dream and journal my dreams. I knew that I needed to dig deeper to bring balance back to my body, so I started searching for the right program to propel me forward. I was doing deep inner work on my mind, my body, and my emotions, and I knew I was ready for a breakthrough.

By synchronicity, I happened to stumble upon Denise Linn’s Gateway Dreaming™ professional certification course, and I immediately knew this was the exact right thing for me. I registered for the program, and went back to my dream journal eager to see the signs of a new beginning, a new path to balance, wellness, and health.

I started incubating my dreams, a technique I now teach to others, and began the process of inquiry through my dreams. My health continued to improve. I started meditating daily, and became committed to balanced health. I knew that the mind–body–spirit connection was the right way, and Denise’s program reconfirmed this. I continued my studies with my Rabbi.

As I continued to inquire into my dreams, I saw the outward results. I confronted things about myself I didn’t want to admit, much less change. I vastly modified my diet and cut out caffeine and alcohol, and most sugar. I continued to consult my dreams.

About halfway through the program, something inside me shifted. I was reclaiming the lost parts of myself that I had long forgotten, denied, or hadn’t yet gotten to know. My health improved and I stayed the course.

Six months later, I found myself at the end of the dreaming journey with Denise and my cohort. I didn’t feel ready to be done and I didn’t want it to end. I had come too far and made too many changes. I was fearful of what would happen when I didn’t have the support of the group. But I continued to dream, and continued to journal my dreams, and they continued to provide the answers to every question I had, from dietary recommendations to the existential.

It was a short bit of time before I started working directly with clients and their dreams, as I continued to be propelled into further training, study, and professional-level work in other areas. But it was always the dreamscape that continued to anchor any other modalities with which I decided to work.

There is something that happens in a person, when they choose to directly engage with their dreamscape. It’s a vast world, but it’s also the gateway to the subconscious, the part of the mind that often runs the show behind the scenes, so to speak. Without this engagement in the dream world, there remains a missing piece in the path to wellness. Part of the mind–body–spirit connection necessarily must include dreams as dreams reflect our emotions, are products of our mind and spirit, and act as a conduit to the world of the unseen. They are, in my best estimation, the quickest way to the deepest level of self-understanding possible. And without self-understanding, balance and wellness can be very challenging.

If you’re looking to achieve balance and optimal wellness in a holistic way, here’s what I recommend:

  • Begin paying attention to your dreams. Start keeping a dream journal, and write in it as often as possible. Look to the symbols of your dreams to guide your way. Ask your dreams to provide you with the wisdom that will support your path.
  • Create a dreaming ritual on a weekly basis. Dreams are essential for mental and emotional health and well-being. They give an opportunity to process our life’s events each night when we retire to sleep. Devoting time to your dreams will help create balance in the waking life.
  • Commit to a meditation regimen. Give yourself a break and allow yourself the time to tune in. We all have stressors in our life, it’s how we handle them that counts.
  • Tune in to what you know is true in your heart. Walk your talk, and remain dedicated to the deepest most authentic expression of who you are. Let the world see this core of you every day.
  • Ditch the drama. Healthy people do not thrive in environments of drama and high-conflict. But, they don’t run from them either. If you find yourself involved in situations that resemble a soap opera, find the right strategies to manage these situations, and reduce the impact they have on your life.
  • Evaluate your daily habits, including your diet. Junky food will make your body feel like junk. Too much screen time is proven to make people more irritable and angry. Also, determine your time wasters, and reduce or eliminate them as best as possible.
  • Take care of your mind and your emotions. Take the time you need to process the events of life and use this information to make good decisions about your future.
  • Dream, dream, and dream some more. Not just during sleep, but while you’re awake. Get in touch with the exact things you want to do in this life. And get out there and do them.

 


For more wellbeing & spirituality posts from Kelly, please visit her website here.

If you would like to submit your guest post to the blog then please get in touch at roamblogger@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ikigai & Finding Inner Peace

As a young person I often feel like time is slipping away from me and it seems like this is the general consensus across the board. We worry we’ve left it too late to start a new career path, left it too late to get married and have children. The ever encroaching deadline that is our thirties looming over us as if life ends there.

As someone with older friends (I won’t name any names because I would probably end up with a slapped wrist) I realise that it is never too late or too soon to do anything as it is simply our social constructs that dictate our paths in life.

I don’t have the inclination to follow a path set out for me by the rules of society, I am quite content with making this up as I go along, following my heart and my head combined for a complete happiness package.

There’s a Japanese word for this wholesomeness: Ikigai, a word which has no direct English translation that simply means “a reason for being” which I think is utterly brilliant and thought provoking. It’s thought to be achieved when one has balanced what they are passionate about, what they excel at, what positively impacts the world, as well as something that provides an income.

Thomas Oppong puts eloquently that “Millions of people still struggle to find what they are meant to do. What excites them. What makes them lose the sense of time. What brings out the best in them.” Which is completely true, especially when we hear about someone who has succeeded in life, it brings out our inner demons that want to be snide and snap, as if a reaction like this was some how going to cause a positive response.

When I think about Ikigai, I look to it as a final goal, something to achieve, as opposed to something I have in the present moment. Instead of allowing social paths to lead us down a supposed route to happiness, we need to find our own happiness, our own Ikigai.

Ways to achieve Ikigai:

1. Ask yourself what you’re passionate about and what you excel at.

2. Consider how you can plausibly create an income from that which you love doing.

3. Think about what the world needs.

Lastly, never give up the hope that one day you will be content with life.

Until next time.