I remember hearing a lecturer of mine talk about the Golden Shadow theory last year. Basically it describes how when we see a quality in another person or admire someone else for something e.g. someone’s courage, someone’s honesty or someone’s beauty; that we too hold that element or characteristic within us. I thought it was a lovely concept.
At times I feel we can get jealous and look at others who have some part of life that we wish we had whether it be the dream job, the house, the figure etc We’re only human and jealousy is part of our human existence, I don’t believe that there’s not one person who hasn’t felt jealous at some stage or another. Granted it’s not the nicest trait to have however if we look at it with the Golden Shadow theory in mind it changes my perspective of why at times I may feel that bit jealous or envious of another. More often than not it is something that you admire within another. Who do you look at and think to yourself, gosh aren’t they great, I’d love to be more like that, I’d love to have their determination/spirit/grit/honesty/kindness?
How would it feel to now view it that when those thoughts enter your mind and come to your awareness to think that it does because actually it is within you and it’s trying to surface? Trying to shine through? The reason that you’re able to see it is because it is within you? Does that change your perspective of how you now view yourself? Does it help to think of it in that respect and give you some hope that yes you too can be like that?
I was also reading a book during the week that talks about this idea of the Shadow. Carl Jung devised this theory in which he states that our Shadow is also that part of us that seems to persist but that is also unwanted. For example if you are aware of a behaviour or a trait that you have that is somewhat undesirable something you’d like to stop doing/change your behaviour or ways, he believes that this is what our Shadow entails. He also believes that until we fully embrace and accept this Shadow persona it will remain by our side and at times haunt us. I also see the truth in this. What have you been trying to give up? What have you been trying to change in your life yet always seems to return and at times you wonder gosh is it just part of me, am I always just going to be like this?
I think the idea of the Shadow is so apt for the beginning of this new year. I’m aware of changes I’d like to make that yes keep persisting and are part of that Shadow. I can’t escape it. For example I want to get into a better routine of wakening early and getting to bed early, I sometimes look at other people and their energy/determination who stick at their ‘healthy’ routines. So if I think of my shadow in both of the two ways
1. It is within me and within reach of achieving and
2. I have been trying to change my routine and make it happen yet I seem to slip back to the later nights, as long as it persists I too must persist in the changes I wish to make and stick at it.
What’s your Shadow showing or telling you today?
I remember writing a blog in December 2016 using the selfie above stating how I had ‘crumbled’. My eyes look sullen, sadness consumed my whole being and I felt like life wasn’t working out, the struggle was real. I don’t regret writing it or discount that at the time I had crumbled but it’s like I can now see with a new set of eyes and feel in a new way. Now this isn’t to say that some days I don’t still feel like an area of my life isn’t challenging; of course I do, I don’t believe that this ever stops. So what has changed? What am I walking away from?
I have changed! In a sense I am walking away from the ‘old Deirdre‘, again not that I believe she didn’t serve a purpose and not that she will never appear again but she won’t be the same again. Isn’t it an amazing thought to think that you can actually NEVER be the same you as you were because each new second brings change and there will never be a moment just like the one you had a second ago?! Time stuns me, I find it fascinating. So if I feel like I’ve crumbled ever again I can remind myself that in another second that could change.
What was missing from me back then? What could I fail to see? To hear? To notice? To feel? I found it so difficult to see how my life was changing, how transformation was happening in little ways every day. I couldn’t see it, hear it from others, believe it or feel it because I was somewhat blinded. I was blinded and disconnected to many positives that I had in my life. For example I felt like I would never reach my dream career of being a Play Therapist and Psychotherapist because back then I was still stuck teaching, I felt like my health was stuck feeling bloated, heavy and sluggish, I felt stuck in my relationships, that men couldn’t be trusted and that I’d never find a genuine, honest and loving man. I believed that I would never be self-sufficient or fully independent from my Dad and the shame and sense of failure kept creeping in.
Wow! No wonder I felt like I was crumbling. There’s a lot of feelings of being stuck, unable to move forward. I do believe in everything happening for some reason. I’m not always consciously aware of why or what the reason is but I do try to trust that there is always a meaning no matter how horrific or dreadful. It’s my faith that helps be to believe this and I know that it’s my faith that always kept me going no matter how stuck I felt! And it will always continue to keep me going if I ever feel that way again.
So why am I walking away from a part of myself? I’m walking away because it no longer serves me. The reason it did serve a purpose I believe is that I needed to feel stuck, to be wrapped up and at times consumed by my sadness, grief and anger so that for once I allowed myself to feel these unpleasant emotions. I avoided them for so long, shut them out of consciousness and pretended that I was ok, that I had everything under control, yep you guessed it that I was the Tough Cookie! I now realise the impact that all those years of suffering in silence, and without me even knowing the extent or degree really took its toll on my mind, body and soul. It all did become too much 2years ago and I then stated to ‘play the victim’, felt full of suffering, shut down and I had to surrender to this finally. So it’s not a ‘bad’ thing, in hindsight it’s actually positive as if I hadn’t I would have kept living a lie, of pretence and not actually be connected to myself or my body.
Now I feel fully (at times to my detriment!) I’m aware, I see clearly and I have control. I can choose my thoughts, I can reshape my beliefs, I can pause the chatter in my mind, take action for transformation and create any possibility I wish. I’m not saying that I get instant results, like that hunk waiting in my front porch 🙏😂 or the UNLOCK Programme franchised however I do know that some day those possibilities I’m creating will become my reality. Because I’m lucky, down to chance? No, because I say so, I’m taking action, I’ll keep going and I’ve Woken Up!
What do you need to walk away from? Is there a part of your ‘self’ that no longer serves you? Who could you be without it?
Don’t feel You’ve
Of how to Be
Just begin to See!”
These last few days I’ve been more aware and alert within my conversations with people and those chats I have with myself. I’m noticing how at times I hold back with what I wish to say, hold back out of fear, fear of offending, fear of sounding ‘silly‘, fear of being powerful and getting it ‘wrong‘. If you look at these two words in bold it sums up why I hold back, how at times I don’t trust myself, my feelings and my words. Worried about being embarrassed, out of order or wrong.
We all feel Fear. It can even keep us from ‘feeling‘ it can have such a hold over us and cause us to feel miserable. As I mentioned these last few days I’m much more conscious as to what I’m leaving out of conversations, what I’m shying away from saying. I’m pushing myself to not succumb to the fear, to go ahead and speak my truth. We all know honesty is the best policy! Why then do we feel we can’t fully say what we’re thinking or feeling? For example I know so many times people have asked me how are you? It’s like an automated response of I’m grand, yeah all good with me! Wonderful if it is, however I do feel strongly that we believe we have to nearly say this, that we can’t let that somebody know actually today I’m having a shit day, I feel down in the dumps, I’m worried/scared etc! Has this happened to you? Do you find you do this often? Maybe at times you think that the other person is just saying it to be polite and doesn’t really care about how you are? Lots of thoughts circling around in your head!!
The above photo was taken in August 2015 when I represented Abu Dhabi in the Rose of Tralee. At that time I was going through a shit time in the UAE. I was merely existing. I was really depressed, miserable away from home and fear had most definitely it’s hold on me. Yet to look at me on the stage being interviewed you would think I had all my ducks in a row! That life was treating me well. I remember Daithí asking me about my life in Abu Dhabi and how I talked about it in a real positive light. I wasn’t being authentic or genuine. I felt I had to portray it in this light. Perhaps I did. But Why?
It fascinates me to think of what is unsaid or what is missing. What do we leave out? This may be consciously or subconsciously left out? Within my work as a Play Therapist we are always reminded to take note of elements that may be missing within the session with a child. For example if in every session the child plays with the sandtray, if one week they come and don’t do this usual routine, there is huge significance to this. This has got me thinking to other areas and contexts within life. During conversations, what may be missing from your speech, your behaviours, that of others? Are they leaving out pieces of information, words unspoken, feelings unexpressed?
Of course it’s hard to know the answers to this all the time but you DO know and have Control over what’s there for you. What do you find your not saying? What elements do you intentionally or unintentionally leave out of scenarios? Do you ‘forget’? Are you holding back from telling somebody something? It’s in your mind yet you keep shying away from it? Why’s that?
I’m being more honest and genuine in listening to myself, speaking my truth, not holding back and also being present to what may be missing for other people while I interact with them. As I said I may never fully know but I can have fun wondering! It also makes me more compassionate and empathetic as I’m not as quick to judge or make them wrong.
Give it a go!
“Words Left Unspoken
In my Mind
They were not Chosen!
Is it Fear of being
Or Fear of
It Causes you to
Suffer each Day
How would it Feel
To Be Real?”
How do you react to and engage with others? Do you feel confident, yourself and have a firm/solid sense of self that is un-wavered and unaffected by how others may behave towards or connect with you?
Yesterday evening I provided a presentation to a room full of childcare providers in conjunction with my business UNLOCK, (http://www.unlockirl.ie) helping give some insight into challenging behaviours, tips and strategies to use to ensure these are minimised and avoided. Last week I was told that there would be approx 100 people attending. I was blown away!! My biggest crowd to date.
Yesterday morning I woke up feeling unwell, drained and as if I was coming down with something. I very well may be but the other part of the story is that very soon the little girl within also began to appear, I could hear her voice and she was trying her damnedest to take over.
So who and what is that little girl? The little child Deirdre? She’s one who is anxious, full of doubts, fears and worries of not being accepted, not being good enough and having a fear of failure! We all know that little child within us that shakes us up, automatically brings us back to an earlier stage of fear, of anxiety, perhaps of anger/frustration; usually caused from years previous, perhaps by an incident, a comment, a feeling. We make meaning from a very young age, as young as three about ourselves, others and the world. Our core beliefs are formed and as a result provides the basis from which we live. No matter how mature and wise we have become in our lives this inner child can appear in the flash of an eye. We can revert back to old ways, old habits, as if we were that child again.
Yesterday for example I had a nap before I took to the road for Letterkenny, I curled up in my blanket in bed to nurture myself! I even sucked my thumb (yes I admit I did this until my early 20’s, it was my comfort and way of soothing!) we ALL have them!!
I also remembered while preparing the presentation a habit I had while at preschool myself. It brought me back to a distinct and clear memory of being upset in the mornings, during that transition of leaving my mam and staying at Play-school. I remember for some reason wanting chewing gum and having to have it with me, (odd I know at such a young age!!) BUT this has remained with me!! It creeps up so often that I automatically need chewing gum during different times of the day and I now know it’s roots are set in an early stage, one that soothed and calmed me down. So now as an adult it makes sense I still revert and rely back to it so often when needing my body to feel balanced and calm again! It was a way of coping and calming myself down. We do always revert back to an earlier stage when we feel stressed/worried/upset.
What ways have YOU got that may have been learned at an early stage that creep back into existence now as an adult? Do you verbally rage and ‘scream’? Do you run away and avoid confrontation? Do you go out on the tear? What was your go to way of coping as a child? Did you hide and avoid, escape reality, did you shout and rebel to make a fuss in order to receive attention?
Don’t beat yourself up! We ALL have ways of coping, we ALL react to the world and people around us, we are ALL surviving! The important part is being aware of your patterns, your triggers and knowing that as much as they’re deeply rooted in an early childhood stage they’re also changeable and manageable! We have the strength and power to rewrite and rewire how our brains react, our bodies react and how we cope with challenges and stressors.
I was feeling unwell yesterday, I felt like curling up in my blanket staying there and ‘escaping’. However I didn’t!! I didn’t allow that child within take over and take control, with her fears, doubts and insecurities. I rewrote the chatter, I hushed and soothed her infant voice and in place of it I could hear the positive, calm, trusting one of Deirdre. Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy, it takes repetition, courage and also some handy tricks to ‘cope’ and soothe our nervous system!! For example a packet of chewing gum in my pocket is always useful 😂
“How do You Cope?
When Stressed & Perhaps feeling
Do you need Rest?
Or do you Close your Eyes
Think those Thoughts that are
We ALL learn Ways
From earlier Days
To Soothe Ourselves
When Scared or Overwhelmed
And know you can Always Find
A New Way
To face the Day!”
During the week I was chatting with a mother in relation to her son’s behaviour and how during a challenging incident she found that she was overwhelmed, went into ‘survival‘ mode herself and reacted to the undesirable behaviours. She beat herself up saying how she could feel her temper and didn’t deal with the behaviour the most effectively.
It got me thinking that it’s only human and natural we are all triggered by events, people, stress, a word passed, a ‘look’, of course we all react in the moment. However it also gave me another insight into how important it is that we begin with ourselves, we need to self-reflect, look at how we behave, our own internal thoughts, the way we work, how and why we do the things we do?
I delivered a workshop in conjunction with my business UNLOCK on Tuesday evening to a group of 63 parents. I was educating people about how by the age of three our Core Beliefs are formed about ourselves, other people and the world. Imagine at 3! How young we make these perceptions and formulations of how we will be treated, firstly by ourselves and then by others. Don’t panic!! We can Change also and rewrite these beliefs that may be somewhat false and out of sync!
For me in the past and still at times today when I feel triggered, my views of myself revert back to the feeling of not being good enough, of being wary of others and the world, whether I am truly safe or not. The subconscious mind, where we store old memories, thoughts and feelings can come right back up to the surface and hit you out of the blue. At times we don’t even know it’s happening.
If we don’t do some piece of work on ourselves, deepen our awareness of the being we’ve become – good/bad/indifferent, then how can we strive to reach a new level of existence, one in which we grow more fully to reach our potential, reach new heights and feel complete. Do we ever feel complete? Surely it’s a continual process for as long as we live?
Don’t try to change anyone else, believe me I’ve tried it for too long, it’s like trying to fit a circle into a triangle. It’s draining, hard work and will never happen. Yes of course you may see ways in which you believe others need to change – your children, your family, friends but firstly step back see how you can become somewhat different in Your approach, in Your way of being that might help and assist those people in making some changes for the better.
Remember you always put your own oxygen mask on first before anyone else’s!
Have a wonderful weekend Tough Cookies x x
What lens are you viewing the world with? Is it one of cynicism? Is it a loving view? A mistrustful one? An angry set of eyes? What perspective do you automatically take when you’re feeling threatened/inferior? Do you have many different lens that you see from?
For me, of course in different situations I would have viewed scenarios, myself and others with various different sets of eyes. When I feel comfortable and safe with someone I’d have been seeing from a trusting and loving stance, if I felt threatened by a situation or person I’d automatically change to that of wariness, caution and mistrust. I’d often see from the lens of being tough, getting on with things and fending for myself. I didn’t get the name Tough Cookie by chance!
It’s amazing to reflect if we can at different times, to check into our minds and bodies as to why we behave, think and react in various ways. For example lately I felt threatened by someone and internalised it that it meant they thought I was incapable, inferior to them and that they didn’t believe in me enough. When I look back I was wrong, the reality was that they were looking out for me, my best interests and keeping me safe! How wrong we can get things!! Another example lately was how I found out I had been lied to by someone close to me so that led me to doubt this person’s love for me, that I no longer could believe them entirely and that they must have a lot to hide from me.
How we are programmed and conditioned from experiences we have had in our pasts affect how we react and respond to others. If we tell ourselves it’ll always be a particular way or that a particular person will never change and always behave in a certain way that for sure is how it will remain!!
Change happens when we change, when we let down our guard and act in a new way so that you see yourself, others, scenarios and the world in a new light, with a fresh set of eyes.
Try on a new set of eyes today, view someone in a different light an unfamiliar way of seeing them, of being around them and responding to them. It’s like seeing them for the first time! Let go of any notions that you have of them previously and see what happens!!
Look out from the lens of L O V E
“If you See
The way you Always See
That’s the Way it’ll Always Be
Try a New Way
A New Set of Eyes
You Might just Be
On Friday I got my first tattoo!! This year I turned 30 and one way to mark that milestone was I wanted to get a tattoo. It’s funny as for years I was dead against them, I thought they were horrible, I used to look at my sisters ones in disgust and couldn’t comprehend why she would want them!! I used to imagine being an old woman and how strange a tattoo would look. Nope definitely not for me!
So what changed?!! I did! My Life did. Loosing my Mam four years ago I thought would have been the worst day in my life but truth be told it wasn’t. What’s worse is each day wakening up to repeatedly realise she isn’t here, isn’t asleep next door, isn’t going to hug or kiss me again, laugh or cry with me or be around for my future – for my wedding day or the day I have my first child. That realisation can come out of the blue and hit you like a tonne of bricks. That is worse than death.
I have been through some tough challenges in life but nothing has ever prepared me for Grief. I can honestly say hand on my heart that it is the worst feeling I have experienced to date. Does it ever even fully end or go away? I don’t think so but how you manage it and work around it is what is important. You can let go of pain, of loss, of anger, of sadness and remember those loved ones with joy, with peace, with laughter and love.
This is WHY I got my tattoo. I have struggled hugely in many ways and in many aspects of my life this past four years. With my health, my mind, my career, my relationships, my pain, my Adoption. It hasn’t been plain sailing. The darker days outweighed the brighter days. Many days I didn’t feel like going on, I couldn’t see the beauty of the world, of life and there certainly was no beauty to be found within. It’s not a nice place to be, not a nice feeling to have and some days I did feel like giving up; some days I did!
So what has kept me going? How did I and do I continue to pick myself back up on those dull days? Well that’s where my tattoo comes into play! It symbolises three things that keep me going and on Friday I got them permanently etched onto my skin to be that constant reminder of how FAR I have come, to remember to keep going and to believe that “All is Well’ in my world.
So the tattoo? Well!!
- LOVE: a reminder to show, speak and send my love each day. That love begins with self-love. For too long it didn’t, I loved everyone else and gave all my love away, even to those who didn’t deserve it and as a result not leaving an ounce for myself, not wanting to love myself or seeing any part of me that was worthy of love.
- LIFE: life is worth living, yes challenging there’s no doubt but utterly beautiful and wonderful too. I believe in life, in brighter days ahead, in living your best life. Life is a gift and I have learned how to be more grateful for the smaller gifts each day. And yes those challenging, duller days do happen for a reason. There’s always lessons to learn as hard as they can be to find at the time!
- FAITH: when all seemed to be crumbling down around me, when I, the Tough Cookie began to crumble and felt I was falling apart it was and still is my faith that keeps me going. The faith that there is a ‘higher plan’ for me, faith that I’m right where I need to be today and faith that my dreams and visions will be fulfilled. I have faith that my mother is right beside me each and every day, that I’m being guided and that all will come good in the end. That I can choose the life I want to live!
“Love, Life & Faith
Those Parts of Me
I Always See!
When Challenges Come
And you Can’t Run
These Keep Me Sane
Through much Pain!
So What do YOU
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Time heals everything” or “With Time you will heal”
I’m not so sure I agree. 🤔
I would add “IF you WANT to Heal”
Nobody escapes pain and hurt in this life sadly. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, angry, frustrated, hopeless and a mixture of many more emotions. This week I realised for me very often emotions surface together eg. Happiness that is tinged with sadness, Sadness that follows Anger, Tiredness that seeps in after Determination. So very often we feel more than one emotion at a time. It can be really difficult to pinpoint what we feel then? Which do we feel more strongly? Which one is the ‘root‘ cause?
My advice is don’t get too het up on them, the important thing is to identify them, feel those emotions and acknowledge them. Try your best not to hide, suppress them or lock them away. I’m living proof that if you do that those painful emotions manifest in other ways throughout your body causing other problems and sickness. It’s better to try to ‘allow‘ them in even for a couple of seconds.
Yes I do FULLY agree that ‘Time is a Great Healer’ but time won’t heal YOU unless YOU want to heal you.
Those Unpleasant Feelings
You CAN Wash Away!”
This is me when ‘I’m FREE’!! Following on from my last blog post where anger was the prevailing emotion (which is totally fine by the way!) Anger IS needed. Just not for long periods! I needed to feel it to know that I had enough of it, that I now want Happiness, Love, Peace, Joy, Positivity and to grab that Vision!
So…… How does one do that? How do I fully ‘Let Go?’ Something I’ve been trying to figure out for quite a while, I won’t lie. Is there even any one answer? One key to unlock? I don’t think so. What I’ve decided to do is keep visualising my life without anger, without grief, without frustration and pain.
I have written this letter to Deirdre Nicole Ward, The Tough Cookie and I’m promising to read it to her every single morning. One of my MANY MISSIONS!!
Grab this Day! This day, choose life in all its entirety, it’s glory, it’s beauty, choose to see & focus on the light.
You ARE full of light. The world needs you to shine, to share and to spread this light. Yes you have felt darkness; doesn’t everybody? You’re not afraid of the dark, you’ve faced it and you’re defeating it step by step. You’ve been consistent, you’ve kept your faith and belief.
You’re well and truly sick of the dark, the struggle and the pain. Without it however you wouldn’t have learned – learned to suffer, learned to sacrifice, learned gratitude, learned honesty & love. In a strange way, you Deirdre, you’ve learned to LIVE!!
How I see ME having been fully set Free? I see a raw honesty, Deirdre you wear your heart on your sleeve, you’re open and loving. You feel light, at peace with yourself and others. You accept Deirdre Nicole in her entirety, all the pieces of your story. You’re proud of the lady you’ve become and the experiences you’ve had. You work hard for what you believe in and for those dreams you hold within your heart. You’ll keep going as the Tough Cookie until you reach them.
Then you’ll make some more!! You have that determination and drive! Those fears, inadequacies and self doubts you’ve left behind. The inner harsh voice is now musical, is lyrical and loves to sing! Sing notes of hope, of joy, of praise and positivity.
You trust, value and respect yourself. You’re connected within, to all parts of you and you ACCEPT Deirdre Nicole Ward, the Tough Cookie.
She is UNLOCKED! 🔓🔑
4 Years on Sunday, the day that changed my life forever, the day I had to say goodbye to you, well to you physically (because I know you’re still here) the day that our family felt no longer like a family and the day that I will always remember.
A letter to you, Anna, my beautiful Mam to tell you how the last four years have been. Yes I know you already know, I know you’re constantly there keeping your ‘beady eye’ on me! I’m so glad you are 👼🌸
It’s been 4years since you died. Time is so strange it seems longer. Time is not a healer, who ever made that nonsense up. Heal? It sounds like I’ve a wound that needs mending, that I need a bandage to cover a cut, a broken arm that needs knitting? How could I Heal knowing that I will never see you again, never feel your hugs or kiss upon my cheek? That you won’t be there for my Wedding day, or to be ‘Nana Anna’ to my children? Nothing could ‘heal’/’mend’ that stark reality.
Why is it so hard to remember your voice, your mannerisms, why are my memories too painful, happier times of you in full health are hard to find?
Grief is horrendous, why does nobody warn you? Maybe because it really is indescribable until you experience it, so different for everybody no two feel it the same. Surely that’s what makes it so unbearable? No two can ever really FULLY relate? This thought literally has just popped into my head. True/Untrue?
You always worried about leaving us, in particular myself & Dad. You knew Gráinne would be distracted with her children and life in Glasgow but myself and Dad? You were worried about us and right you were!! Ha ha you knew all along that we would clash, that we would be completely LOST without you, that I’d have nobody to tell Dad to stop winding me up and to go ‘easy’ on me!! I haven’t had anyone in my ‘corner’ to back me up, to support me like you did, who understood me when I didn’t even have to utter a word, who loved me a thousandfold, who believed in me and told me so, and who just ‘got me’.
It’s not Dads fault, I’ve changed so so much in 4years. He is trying to adapt to this ‘new Deirdre’!! You probably wouldn’t recognise me. Not that I look hugely different but it’s my soul Mam, it’s who I am within. I’m different. I know you’re proud and I know you love the woman I’ve become. I have YOU to thank. I know in a weird way, in you dying you helped me reborn and live. Loosing you helped me to first loose myself, to feel lost, to loose my sense of purpose, loose love, loose passion in my life, loose friends that didn’t ‘fit’, loose hope.
But in loosing you and all above, it helped me to gain so so much and win the best prize to win: ‘MYSELF’
I nearly don’t recognise the person staring back at me. What happened to the Deirdre that was painfully shy? Was extremely anxious? Was lacking self-belief and confidence? That held tightly to the safety nets and would NEVER take a risk? Not that she wasn’t good or that there was anything wrong, she just wasn’t ALIVE. She lived by and for others. Sound strange?
I lived to please others, to love others, to help others. Why is that all so wrong? It wasn’t Mam and you know it’s in my nature, but you also know I didn’t know how to do these things for MYSELF. I didn’t matter to me. I didn’t know me, I didn’t want to know me, I didn’t feel or see ‘‘me”.
But when I lost you, I lost me. So thank you, yes for dying so that I could FIND ME. Deirdre Nicole Ward. A hard price to pay to find myself.
I thought I had grieved, I thought I was healing, but only now do I know I’m only now ‘really’ grieving. I pretended I had accepted it, that I had dealt with your illness and death, but no I was acting, just like all those years that I thought I was ‘being me’. But it’s how it was, probably a mechanism to protect and sure why wouldn’t I protect myself from unbearable pain?
What I know now for sure is that the last two years have been shit. I was in a dark hole of grief, I felt lost, alone, angry, terrified, guilty, shameful, a failure, the list could go on. BUT out of all that pain, out of all those struggles, challenges and after those blows along the way, I’ve felt relief, I’ve felt lighter, I’ve felt stronger, I’ve felt love, I’ve felt confidence, I’ve felt pride and I’ve felt YOU.
You haven’t left. Your body did. But you, Mam are always here. Thank You. 😘
I miss you every single second.
Love you Always,
Your ‘smally’ (pronounced molly) Dote
Take a chance. Chase your dreams. Do what makes you feel excited & energised, Go for it! Easy? Simple? Who’re you kidding!
Last Friday I won Best Business Idea in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for Donegal with my Business ‘UNLOCK‘. Unlock is a service that provides support & solutions for children who are experiencing challenging behaviours and confusing emotions. This is done mainly through Play, their language. It IS my dream job, it IS what sets my soul on fire but it HAS been an extremely bumpy journey, full of uphill struggles to get to where I stand today, holding my award for my UNLOCK business.
I’ve went from Primary School teacher & Play Therapist to Businesswoman in a matter of weeks. I had to quickly learn and challenge myself to become familiar with Business Planning, Cashflows and to ensure that that strong spirited and solid Tough Cookie remained sturdy and did not waver or become off balance. Did she loose a few chips in the process? FOR SURE! However, as gruelling and exhausting as it was it has been the most insightful, exciting and life-changing experience I’ve had and I’ve met such wonderful and inspirational people along the way.
The Local Enterprise Office in Donegal have supported and provided me with all this new knowledge and support during IBYE, they work diligently and really show an interest in your dream and assist you in making it a reality. They provided all participants with mentoring for business planning and financials. Two absolute Saints: Stephen Friel of ‘Friel Consulting’ and Anthony Boyle of ‘Tax Assist Accountants’ They certainly had their work cut out for them with me!! Not forgetting all the other Entrepreneurs with their ideas/businesses, who encourage you to keep going and fulfil those dreams.
Just when I felt like giving up and putting my dream on hold all this happened and my dream is very much alive and kicking!
“Yes it’s Scary
To take that Chance
You Won’t Know in Advance!
But what’s More Scary?
To have Never Tried
Or to have gone Along for the Ride
And have Changed Inside?”
Ever been slapped/abused/beaten? Feel like you cant speak/open up to anyone about what is going on in your life? Thank God I have not experienced physical abuse. However, I do believe that we ALL experience abuse in some form at some stage or another in our lives. To what degree or extent? That will vary but I think we can all relate to feeling beaten and abused by people, life and even by ourselves.
Abuse can be defined as “treat with cruelty or violence”. In my opinion so many people don’t realise or like to think that by verbally attacking somebody or by treating others in an unpleasant way is ‘abuse’ when there is no physical element. Who are they fooling?
Perhaps ‘abuse’ is too strong a term for some of our actions but when playing the role of the victim or being in the position of victim surely it can feel as strongly as abuse and can be extremely hurtful and damaging. Yes some of us have thicker skins and are more capable at disregarding various comments/actions. Unfortunately for me I am quite a sensitive soul (despite being named a Tough Cookie!) and I seem to feel very deeply. This is something that I am proud of as I am in touch with my feelings and no matter how painful and unpleasant various feelings can be, I am aware of how and why they are present. Are you in tune with your body’s messages? Do you allow yourself to feel every emotion and to not avoid the more displeasing ones?
Life can feel like it is constantly slapping you across the face, challenges keep presenting themselves and you can feel like you’re being beaten down and hit hard. To be honest I have felt like this recently in relation to areas of my life. I have been struggling on an ongoing basis with health issues and feel like no matter what my efforts are, improvements are slim and help is nowhere to be found. I definitely felt this after having spent 6hours in A&E on Tuesday, to have been ‘forgotten about’, told off for not having been sitting in the ‘correct’ area for X-ray despite the doctor telling me where to sit and to basically been sent home with the message that I shouldn’t give up on tablets and to feel grateful that it doesn’t seem like surgery is needed. I was also told to find comfort in the fact that I have always suffered with my bowel so that it is reassuring that it isn’t a recent development. REASSURING??? F**K OFF!! What is reassuring about our health care system? NOTHING. Feeling Beaten and Abused? Most Definitely.
Chase your dreams, take a leap of faith and pursue your passion. YES I am a firm believer in ALL of these sayings. However once again challenges that go hand in hand with this mantra and taking those actions to give up your full time career, to follow those dreams seem to be showing up all too often. I have been out of my full time career nearly two years now and to say it has been a constant struggle is an understatement. It has been tough financially, it has been worrisome due to the instability and uncertainty that is experienced, it has been challenging to go from living independently to being back home living with my Dad again. People look at me with admiration at times and commend my bravery at taking those risks to follow my dreams and to achieve the life I want. Yes it is brave, yes it’s risky but it is extremely TOUGH and causes so much stress. There are many many days I wonder what I am at, I look back at the life I had and can miss certain elements and faith and hope can be nowhere to be found. OUCH!! That’s a slap across the face! Where is the Universe when help is needed? Why are my efforts not being acknowledged at times?!
You can feel abused by life’s situations, feel stuck in a rut, feel hopeless and helpless but it is my experience that when you have hit rock bottom (perhaps for the millionth time!) that something does happen to keep the Faith and Hope alive. While I was collecting my Doctor’s letter for A&E, feeling miserable and at my wits end due to my health, I reached my hand in the pocket of my jacket and out came a little angel badge of ‘Hope’. I have no recollection of buying it or receiving it as a gift. Perhaps it was placed there unknown to me but to say it came at just the right moment is an understatement. Yesterday while feeling quite negative about my situation with work/career and feeling stuck, I checked my emails and found out that the Tough Cookie blog has been longlisted for this years V by Very Blog Awards. ‘So What’ you might think? These two signs brought hope and faith, they lightened the darkness that I was feeling and gave me the positivity and strength to NOT GIVE UP and to continue to CHASE THOSE DREAMS! KEEP BELIEVING! There’s always Help, don’t stay stuck!
“Feeling Stuck? In a Rut?
The Door is kept Firmly Shut?
You Hide Away
Afraid to Say
Don’t lower your Head
We all get Slapped
And can Feel Trapped
But Life can be Great
Don’t ever Under Estimate!
Last night a friend of mine shared a clip of Mandy Harvey, an American singer who appeared on America’s Got Talent. I was totally blown away by her beautiful voice, her touching story of how she became deaf at the age of 18 and fell back in love with singing through a lot of hard work and through muscle memory. Her sincerity, determination and passion is what particularly caught my attention.
It was evident from the clip that she gave her performance every ounce of passion and love she had. I’m sure that Mandy could have felt bitter and angry at the cards that life dealt her and could easily have chosen to never sing again and to lock away her beautiful gift. She could have decided it would be too much energy and effort to work on her muscle memory and it would be time consuming to practice her pitch and tuning, feeling and sensing the vibrations through her sense of touch on the floor. However Mandy Harvey decided to TRY.
She decided to TRY to reconnect with her voice, to music and to find other ways of developing this unique bond between her singing voice and the outside world whom she could not hear. She succeeded in doing so all because she chose to TRY to fight for the life she wanted, to reconnect with the things that brought joy and happiness to her world.
We can all loose our senses at times. Recently I have been making a conscious effort to reconnect with my body fully. I believe that for the majority of my life I was disconnected from my body and in ways I was a separate entity for too long. What I mean by this is that I didn’t slow down, stop and tune into the wavelength of my body. Why was I feeling various sensations? Why was I craving certain foods when I really wasn’t even hungry? Why was my breathing disjointed at particular times? Why would I tense up and feel those butterflies/knots in my stomach? I have and continue to learn about the various somatic and bodily sensations that I experience. I have decided to TRY to listen to what my body is communicating to me, what my body essentially needs and what external/internal triggers are present to crank the volume up or add interference!!
I feel we are too quick to ease and fix sensations within the body because it can frighten us and we can avoid wanting to feel certain ways. Yesterday I had this conversation with my counsellor and she gave the great example of when a child falls and hurts their knee and often adults offer them sweets or some food to soothe and comfort them. The child hurt its knee so how come we hand them a bag of crisps?! Their knee is what is affected! No more than this scenario, in my life if I have been hurt physically or emotionally I too know in the past I have comforted myself in various ways other than facing the actual feeling and identifying the situation/triggers around the emotions. We can all be quite the expert at avoidance when we want to! Again it doesn’t help one bit but as long as we TRY to figure out why we feel certain ways and what has affected us that is the important part wherein growth and healing emerges.
“Decide to TRY
What’s there to Loose?
Don’t make an Excuse
Stop the Abuse!
Decide to TRY
Don’t allow Life to Slip you By”
Letting go is hard. Letting go of people in your life because you know you deserve better, letting go of past experiences that hurt and cause pain, letting go of old habits/beliefs. I personally think that it is one of the most challenging things to do; to accept the facts, accept what happened, let things be as they are, let it go and move on.
I am trying my best to release painful memories, negative self beliefs and to replace them with new positive ideologies and experiences. This is no mean feat as it’s 29years of thinking a certain way that I am trying to adjust and rewire. We can get fairly set in our ways and in our opinions/beliefs.
But I am TRYING. Surely it would be worse to just remain living a life with low expectations for yourself, negative beliefs about yourself, settling for ‘good enough’ when instead you deserve the best? Will it happen? Will I get what I ‘deserve’? Who knows but I am willing to have a pretty good stab at it! It has taken me 29years and still to this day I struggle hugely with knowing that I deserve. To not feel guilty or inadequate about my hopes and dreams.
Nobody knows what will happen in the next minute of life never mind a week ahead. This morning my heart breaks for the people in Manchester following the horrendous explosion at Manchester Arena. These people did not ‘deserve’ to be there, to be killed or wounded. Life is so short and it is the most precious gift. I must value where I’m at more, see the gifts in each day I get, work hard to make my dreams/hopes a reality and to never give up.
“Let Go Today
For the New to
Come Your Way”