Diving into Darkness
Kia ora friends!
I didn’t get this love-letter blog out last month. Life happened and the weeks went flying by!! Better late than never though.
September had some pretty yummy moments. Jules, Arielle and I felt so blissed out and totally blessed after offering a Sacred SiStar Gathering in Mangawhai on the 9th September. My heart was so full up afterwards, I felt inspired, connected and excited, and exactly where I was meant to be - that in itself is such a gift.
I shared a workshop with some self loving practices at a Self-love & Low-Tox living retreat a couple of weeks ago on a sun-drenched balcony with panoramic views over the estuary and dunes in Mangawhai. Paradise. I love seeing people allowing time for themselves to quieten their minds and reconnect. And of course I love singing with everyone!!
My blog I’m sharing this month is simply from my experience and my perspective, sent to you with love 💖
Diving into Darkness:
As a mother of three beautiful children I feel a massive responsibility to lead by example. That’s not always easy when you have curious little eyes watching you at any given moment. Including when you are at your weakest and most vulnerable. As a mother I’ve learnt my greatest lessons from my role. I’ve been tested beyond my wildest dreams or sometimes nightmares and I’ve felt an abundance of love and awe at the miracle of my beautiful offspring creations and all that they teach me.
One of the biggest tests I’ve experienced is sleep deprivation. Last month I had two weeks of sleeping no more than an hour straight, most hours Amala Grace woke every 10-20 mins. After a week of sleep deprivation and caring for a clingy grumpy baby all day everyday by myself, I crashed hard. With the flick of a switch I found myself in a very dark space. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever been there before, but I knew I didn’t want to stay there. I was exhausted and depleted. I had nothing left to give and all I could do, was survive. All I needed was sleep. I knew that, yet within me stirred voices that said things I wouldn’t usually hear myself say. I’m usually so strong and feel like there’s nothing I can’t survive. Yet this sleeplessness really messed with me. I wanted to escape my situation but I couldn’t, and I felt like it was dragging me under.
I don’t remember really ever feeling that awful before. It didn’t feel like I’d find my way out of that dark space. When you are in a situation like that, it feels like forever. Being woken twenty odd times a night, felt like torture. Patience with life in general wore pretty thin.
There were two voices in my head, one was saying ‘F**k this shit’ and the other was saying ‘do your practice’. For me, survival mode in its most positive form, is my self-loving practice. I was aware throughout this experience that young eyes were watching. And I was watching! It was a test, lessons were there for the taking. I still managed to be an observer, or a witness, to learn about myself, my boundaries, and my breaking point - what truly brought me to my knees.
Walking in nature. It became my simplest most achievable form of heart medicine, my meditation. When I take Amala Grace for a walk in the stroller, we mostly walk in silence - other than the odd ‘quack’ or ‘woof’ when we talk to animals. We listen to the Tui’s singing and the sound of their wings as they swoop across our path. We look around at the dancing trees, the animals, the flowers, the sparking water. We feel the warmth of the sun on our skin or the cool breeze brushing our cheeks. Our minds naturally become quieter as we inhale the beauty and magic of nature that surrounds us. We have less to say. It was a step closer to finding peacefulness within me at that dark time of turmoil. It helped.
Singing mantra or just playing my instruments also helped lift the dark clouds. It reminded me of my passions, and the joy I feel when I embrace them. In this respect I feel that any creative expression that tickles our fancy can be helpful to fill up our love tanks when they are empty or low. Of course if we use these tools in a daily practice it helps prevent or minimise the impact of situations that may uproot us and make it more natural to reach for as a healthy tool.
Nourishing food. I craved shitty food, because I felt shitty. But I knew, that what I really needed was to give myself love through nourishing myself with yummy wholesome food. Food that soothed my fragile nervous system and kept me grounded. Kitcharee is my go-to for, well, almost anything (recipe thanks to my Ayurvedic consultant and BFF), including being worn down or sick, emotional, when my body or heart needs a rest and support. I ate a lot of kitcharee! Cooking is another creative outlet that I enjoy. I love the whole process, growing the food, harvesting and preparing it, and of course eating it! The entire process has love, mindfulness and gratitude poured into it, and that’s what fills my plate.
Dancing in the kitchen. Fake it till you make it. Pump your favourite can’t-help-but-dance to it music and get your body moving. As the saying goes - dance like no one is watching. Such a mood lifter, it shifts energetic blocks, releases endorphins, encourages us to breathe deeper and forms a creative outlet to express and release energy or tension. And if you feel like singing at the top of your lungs... do it! If you feel anger or tension arising, stomp stomp stomp!! Stomping it out feels great - on timber floors or the earth (not concrete or tiles!).
During my sleepless episodes I learnt to surrender. Again. I found the best thing I could do during a dark time like that - was ask for help. That in itself was a massive act of self love. I needed help, I needed support. I asked, I received. Even just having friends check in on me helped. They couldn’t help me get sleep but they did help me lift my dark clouds with their love and kindness. Talking about how I was feeling helped me release it from going around in circles in my mind. It helped me feel lighter. Knowing I wasn’t alone and that I was loved was really essential during that time. If you are in a dark space, for whatever reason, please ask a loved one or someone you feel safe with for help, and please remember- you are loved more than you could possibly imagine.
Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help either - it’s not an act of weakness but an act of courage and self love to reach out and open up. I think speaking to a therapist is a healthy option for anyone and everyone. Finding the one that works for you of course is key, try a few different ones if you need to until you find the one that feels right for you.
I’m so relieved to say that I finally feel like my sweet Amala G has turned a corner with her life long struggle with sleeping issues. We are yet to sleep through the night but I’m certainly getting enough sleep to feel like ME again. I’m inspired, I’m motivated and my insides are bubbling up with excitement about my abundant life and the magic and mystery of the unknown. And I take note of the way I feel in this moment, because if I find myself in that dark space again - I can remind myself that I’ve been there before, and when I returned home to ME it felt phenomenal. Hard times are only temporary, and we emerge stronger, wiser and more grateful for our sweet life than ever before.
During this time I spoke openly with my two big kids about how I was feeling, and let them know that my state of being at that time wasn’t a reflection of anything to do with them. My patience was almost non existent and I spent a lot of time apologising for my low tolerance and lack of give a shit in our conversations. They surprised me with their compassion and support. They loved me even when I felt I was at my worst. That helped. I learnt that we don’t have to hide our feelings away. When someone asks ‘how are you?’ What do we usually say? ‘Good thanks’. Why do we say that when we aren’t? I feel like we are taught to suppress our feelings in case we make the other person uncomfortable. Or maybe we think people won’t like us if we show our vulnerability by being open and honest? A fear of rejection when we are already low. In my experience, the more open and honest we are about ourselves, the ones that are meant to stay, stay, the ones that are meant to go, go. The relationships become so much deeper and meaningful, our love and understanding for one another deepens, we can recognise ourselves in the other. It’s a beautiful thing even when it’s the hard stuff. It’s also a great way to filter which relationships we should be putting our energy into. I love my dear friends deeply, I feel safe, accepted and loved unconditionally by them. And they know everything about my journey. My children too know everything about my journey, they ask, I tell them. By sharing my experiences past and present, they recognise that I’m just like them. Each day we are learning, making mistakes, aiming for the stars, stumbling...living and loving this human experience together as it unfolds before us.
When I was young, I had this misconception about adults that I don’t want my children to have. This was especially when it came to my perception of my parents. I believed they knew everything. I respected and listened to their rules. I believed everything I was taught to be true. If they said something, it was right. I had no idea they made mistakes. I had no idea they had regrets. I had no idea they were making it up as they went along - as we all are!! And because of my perception of my parents, I was terrified of letting them down, of doing anything that would disappoint them. It created a separation between us. I wasn’t like them, I wasn’t perfect! I tried my best to be someone they could be proud of when I was around them, but it meant I didn’t feel I could be honest a lot of the time about how I felt and what was going on for me as I transitioned from girl to teen and teen to adult. I didn’t communicate my curiosities about things I didn’t understand in case I got in trouble for asking. I was very aloof. I couldn’t stand their disapproval or disappointment in me when I got caught out being anything other than a good girl. I was always desperate to explore and adventure! I never fitted in the box and I couldn’t be kept on the shelf. I’ve always been a free spirit and I perceive the world in my own way - as we all do. This is not a reflection on my parents - they are extraordinary and I wouldn’t swap them for anything!
Despite my inability to communicate and be my unapologetic self around them, my parents built a beautiful solid foundation for me to blossom and grow. They did their very best for me. They gave me so much attention- something so many children seek and every child needs. They supported and encouraged my passion for singing (among other temporary explorations!). They told me how much they loved me. They gave up so much of their own time and energy taking me to singing lessons, or dropping me off at rehearsals for musicials, Mum, typing out songs that I wanted to learn or sewing outfits I had designed for myself to wear on stage. And so so much more. They did so good! They did their best by me. I felt safe. I’ll always be grateful for the solid foundation they laid out for me from an early age.
I do my best to draw from this experience and replicate it in my own way. To learn what I want to integrate into my own parenting experience. I feel one of my greatest gifts I can offer my children is to hold a safe space for them to open up and let it all out. And they do. If they think I’m out of line, they tell me (something I wouldn’t dream of doing with my parents at the same age - or sometimes even now!!). They tell me how my words or actions make them feel. We dive deep together and come up for air holding hands. They know they are loved and accepted unconditionally. I’m proud of who they are, not what they do. I’m proud that they are comfortable in their own skin - I admire it! I certainly wasn’t at their ages. When we seek forgiveness from one another, it is greeted with open arms and never rejection. My 14 year old daughter and I have a rule: when we get mad with each other, we make up after five minutes. Our key phrase to break the ice is “it’s been five minutes!” Usually followed by a laugh and hug. We know what that phrase means: I think the original conversation around it went something like “Can we make up now? You know you’re going to love me again one day anyway”. So to us this means: we’re going to make up anyway, we may as well not waste our time and energy being angry with one another- life’s to short and time together is too precious. But we are allowed To openly express our emotions to one another, let it out, let it go, carry on - and no matter what is expressed, we will always love one another - that’s our eternal promise. My children feel unconditional love from me, and I from them. I’m extremely grateful for where our relationships are right now with one another. And It’s a new experience for me, as a Mamma, travelling through teenage years with Skyla (14), my best friend!
I’m always talking about the importance of open and honest communication in any relationship, as those of you who read my monthly love-letters know! I guess it’s because it’s something I’ve come to recognise as one of my greatest self-love tools, and sometimes my greatest challenge!
I think it takes great courage to be yourself, unapologetically you. And I think it’s incredibly healthy and inspiring for our children, and all children who are watching, to realise we don’t expect them to be perfect. We aren’t their teachers - we’re all still learning and doing the best we can with what we’ve got at the time.
Remember ~ we are so lucky just to be here. Count your blessings twice, you have unlimited potential in this life, what are you going to paint on your canvas next?
keep doing your self-work; keep loving yourself ~ it’s worth it, you’re worth it ~ you got this!! ❤️