I’m not alone

I’ve been coming to terms for a while now with the fact that I’m not somebody who enjoys small talk.

It’s made me feel shame that I’m not enough – that I can’t easily fit into the world of people who enjoy nothing more than being in a group with others, laughing and joking, sharing the every day occurrences of the world.

I’ve got a few good friends with whom I share a different type of relationship. It’s not a bond borne through years of knowing each other – it’s a bond of letting ourselves be fully seen.

We may not know what we’ve done on a day to day basis, but we know what makes each others heart stop with wonder or fear or anger. We know what stops us from stepping into our true calling. We share our highest dreams and our lowest moments.

We share from our depths of our souls. 

But that’s only with a handful of people and I’ve felt quite alone for much of life with how I’ve felt, not sure how I could both honour myself and find my path through a world built on a different type of interaction.

It feels like I’m speaking a foreign language – stilted, awkward, unsure.

It’s hard to share this as I feel like writing my truth – how I love deep conversation – discounts or belittles the pleasure and the fulfilment that other people get from chitchat, banter, sharing what’s going on in the day-to-day. And it’s not that I think it’s wrong to enjoy this way of living – it’s just not right for me.

And I’m finding myself feeling more and more uncomfortable living at this level.

Feeling this way and being unsure what to do about it has felt really lonely.

I felt unsure what to do or where to turn until I read a section from the book I’ve been reading recently called Soulcraft.

Reading these passages felt like a coming home to myself and I wanted to share them in case you feel similarly alone in seeking deeper soul connections:

We spend much of our time talking about trivial matters and practical ones – the weather, plans for the day, routine office events, frivolous gossip, the new movie, canned jokes, the latest shopping acquisition, the next technological miracle, stock-market shifts. Chitchat, the every day wins and losses. So little of our conversation addresses our passions, loves, emotions, dreams, or our creative insights and soul stirrings.

An effective strategy for tuning our awareness to the frequency of soul is to minimise every day conversation that separates us from the here and now and from what is truly meaningful. This can be a rather challenging discipline. Sometimes it seems almost everything in our culture conspires to distance us from the heart and soul. So many messages are ads, trying to tell us something of questionable usefulness while ruthlessly pandering to our vanity, insecurity, or happiness – new toys, fashion, entertainment, or insurance against the inevitabilities of life.

Few people ask the bigger questions. For the Wanderer, however, nothing is more important: she seeks the hidden treasure, the spring bubbling in the desert, the song of the world.

Constant superficial conversation keeps us from noticing what’s going on with us emotionally or spiritually or in our bodies. Small talk alienates us from ourselves – perhaps a purpose as well as a result. 

Sacred speech is conversation that deepens. It deepens relationship and enhances the fulness of our presence wherever we are and whomever we are with. It is dialogue centred in what exists here and now between us. We speak from the heart and address what truly matters – our feelings, imagery, dreams, life purpose, our relationships, soul stories, our discoveries of how we project aspects of self onto others or learn to withdraw those projections and our meetings with remarkable humans, animals, plants and places. There is no requirement that such conversation be solemn or hushed. The sacred is often funny as well. We laugh at our oh-so-human foibles and the jokes that life plays on us everyday. The more real our conversations become, the more alive we become, the more we want to scream or shout or cry. 

What a relief to hear that my experience is one shared by others. 

What joy to feel fully understood and to know I’m not alone. 

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Balance

I’ve been feeling unbalanced recently.

Knowing that Jenson needs to come first for this period in my life, but also knowing that the current dynamic isn’t doing anyone good.

I’m (putting myself) under pressure and am getting physically sick as a result.

I’ve got too much work and not enough play in my life.

Most of my closest friends don’t live in Brighton.

I need to make a change but I didn’t know what to do, until I listened to a recent episode of the motherkind podcast (shout out to my friend Jess who repeatedly recommended it to me until I got my ass in gear and subscribed to it!).

It was with a lady who created project me, a website and business focusing on people taking small steps to improve their lives. Her focus is on coaching wheels, where you look at how you feel in a variety of areas and then take steps to improve them. I’ve given you what my ‘wheel’ looks like below, with peaks in work and family, middling in love, friends, self-growth and finance and lower levels around health and fun:

IMG_8883.JPG It was a good reminder of this tool – one which can be really powerful.

The thing which struck me more than anything about the episode (apart from the presenter and her guest both being a bit smug about how great their lives are!) was what Kelly, founder of Project Me, said about the power of meeting with other women who were keen to work on their own lives too.

They’d meet once a month to review their wheels, talk about what they wanted to do next to improve their lives. They coached each other, supported each other and provided a safe space for each other to explore and take action.

I want some of that!

But I didn’t know how I could get some of it in my life….and that’s when I decided to just put a shoutout to the universe (via Facebook!) to search for other mamas who wanted to get a bit more balance and self-care in their lives too.

And I was bowled over by the response.

There were so many other women who were keen to get together. So many others who were struggling but keen to get a better balance in their lives.

So we’re going to meet up in March to see what we can do to get this support group going.

I’ve got no clue how many people will be there – maybe 20, maybe 2.

But now I don’t feel so alone.

Now I feel like I might be able to take some steps to address the areas in my life that are slightly out of balance.

Now I feel excited about what the future will hold.

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Help

I was at a friend’s house yesterday. She’s got a little boy the same age as Jenson and has really hurt her back. She’s in agony and I’ve come over to help her during the day.

I’m not saying this to get brownie points for how awesome I am, I’m sharing this because it’s given me a lovely glimpse into what a gift it is to accept the help of other people.

When she was in the most early agonising moments of her injury, I offered to come over to do what I could do help her and she was reluctant to accept the help. She said she couldn’t accept my help. Like me, she’s a strong, independent and giving person who is more used to being the helper and is uncomfortable needing to lean on other people.

She’s probably even more strong, independent and giving than I am. I’ve practically lived at her house since our boys were born and she has invited Gregg and I over for dinner so often. Honestly, she’s cooked for us more than I have cooked at all since giving birth to Jenson! She’s been super thoughtful in sourcing special breastfeeding remedies for me to help with the troubles I’ve been having and is one of my biggest cheerleaders on my journey as a Mum.

So when she injured her back, I wanted to support her as best I could. And it was, to be honest, really frustrating to have her reject my offers of help due to her discomfort at needing to lean on other people.

My help was a gift I could give back to her in the face of all the kindness she has shown me and I was delighted when she messaged me to take me up on my offer of help.

It was a lovely day. Catching up, talking about our hopes for the boys, dreaming of travels and helping her, here and there, to lift her son or soothe him when he needed a jig around the room.

Helping someone I want to help is a pleasure.

So if I turn this around and think about how I often turn down help because of the discomfort I feel being ‘needy’, I see that I’m depriving people of a chance to feel special, to give back in and to get closer to me as they see me vulnerable and in need of a helping hand.

I’m sure this experience isn’t going to bring about a massive shift in me overnight and I doubt I’ll feel absolutely at ease accepting help going forward. But at least I’ll have a very good example to draw from about how good it feels when someone allows you to help them and I hope it will allow me to say ‘thank you so much, I’d love to accept your help’ more often.