This one is not going to be all light and sparkles; but I think you might find some treasure in here.
I rarely tease myself with questions like “if you could do it all again, what would you do differently?” There is enough opportunity to drag the past into the present so questions like these don’t really serve a huge purpose for me BUT reflection is powerful and these thoughts can be useful if used wisely.
I have been hooping for 10 years, officially graduated as a teacher in the year 2000 and would say I have been facilitating get-togethers since the age of about 7 when I realised group choreography to 80s pop songs could be replicated in the school yard (all I had to do was beg the teacher for the portable stereo, run an extension lead through the classroom window, bring my mix tapes to school and round up the ladies!) I’ve been a wife for 7, a girlfriend of someone’s for as long as I can remember and been a creative business owner officially since 2007. Adventured, traveled, roamed as often as possible.
There is a lot to reflect on.
If I had to do it all again?
I would hold tight to these mantras. I would always know them to be true. I would believe them. I would act on them. I would believe myself. I would listen to myself first.
1. Find what feels good
When it feels wrong, it’s usually wrong. This I have learned the hard way.
As a people pleaser, I have done a lot of things that don’t feel good. I have made decisions based on fear of judgment or punishment, I have followed others who were clearly energetic vampires and I gave them my all, I gave up entire parts of myself and what I believed in to make others feel more special.
I’ll give you one guess where all of that left me. Alone; picking up the pieces of my self-respect and kicking myself for not listening to my truth.
We all have an internal GPS, it steers us along in life. It tells us when things feel good and when they don’t. Sometimes it is hard to hear but will make itself known in other ways, sometimes it is so obnoxious and won’t give up until we do.
If I had to do it all again, I would listen more and always, always seek what feels good; no matter what.
This applies to everything. Teaching, communicating, decision making, valuing my worth, knowing myself, speaking up.
(side note : my life is filled with loving, caring, sparkling humans these days and I am eternally grateful for their love and respect. This only came about because I found deep respect for myself and what I value in life. I have learned that I don’t have to say yes to everything, “no” makes way for other things and I don’t have to pretend to love everything and everyone to keep the peace or make others happy. Doesn’t work that way anyway. Phew…I took my time but I go there)
Finding what feels good and steering in that direction doesn’t mean that everything is rainbows and Unicorns all the time, often there are massive obstacles in the way. They are worth it, you can overcome them.
2. All of this will change
A dear friend, who passed when I was younger, a mentor who stays with me forever told me about this age-old adage
“This too shall pass”
Impermanence. The human condition. The only constant is change. What goes up, must come down.
The material possessions, the emotional states, the besties/boyfriends/business partners, the difficult situations, the purely ecstatic moments, the good times and the bad…they shift. All of them.
Absolutely everything ebbs and flows. Like the ocean. Never the same.
It’s a tricky one to accept at times, but true.
This one is etched on my heart.
3. Speak up. Even if your voice shakes.
OK tears have officially welled up in my eyes simply by writing that sentence.
I just have to take a moment. I will be back…
This one is HUGE.
I think we can all relate, on many levels.
I could write a book on this one.
But instead, why don’t we make a pact, moving forward, even if it shakes, say something!
I extend my pinkie to you in the hopes we can make a promise together and stick to it.
4. Pick your battles
This is the flip side of the last one, but doesn’t contradict it.
How have I stayed sane in the world of the Internet? I don’t go in the comment sections of discussions that don’t really concern me, and if I do I never hang out there getting into meaningless arguments about hoop size or anything else for that matter.
Is it true? Kind? Necessary? Or helpful?
Then there is probably something much better to be focussing energy on. Revert back to no. 1 : Find what feels good.
5. Embrace healthy rituals that support you
Not because they are trendy, not because someone on Instagram made it look cute, but because they work for YOU.
When I got my first gig as a primary school teacher I was so optimistic, so sure I was going to change the world. So naive.
I printed out 100 affirmations, cut them in strips, rolled them into scrolls and put them in a glass jar on my desk. I visualized that the students would pick one every day, say it over in their beautiful little mind and we would all feel free of our worries and focussed for the school day.
The reality was that many of the kids I taught in those first few years as a teacher were more worried about where they were going to get their next meal from, if they were going to see their Dad again or what time they had to go to the office for their medication each day.
Things were tough, life was hard and the only hand reaching into that affirmations jar was mine. I needed them! And often a very stiff drink or something stronger. Not gonna lie.
Four affirming sentences stuck with me from that time and I have chanted them quietly to myself almost every day since, on especially bad days I say them over and over again.
I am alive with the joy of living. I deserve the very best in life. I love and accept myself just the way I am. I am happy, I am free.
Even when I don’t believe it, I say it.
Some people pray. I chant. I’ve seen my Nanna pray and it looks the same; likely feels the same too. You do you.
Pretty sure I stole all of those affirmations from Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life) and I can’t remember what they specifically were designed to help heal, but they stuck. They help. They calm me. They give me a moment when I feel like there are none, some light when I can’t see or feel it.
6. Don’t ignore what works
The seeker in me spent my early years always looking for the next answer, a new door to open, a greener grass, a better idea, another practice, a more exotic location, a new ritual, a different plan. There had to be something out there that “worked” I kept searching.
Whether it was weight loss, business growth, the path to enlightenment, financial freedom, personal success; I always thought the answer was out there somewhere.
At the ripe young age of 41 I have come to know that there are 3 things that work (for me) simplicity, focus & discipline.
I hated these three words for most of my life because I thought they threatened my freedom. What I have come to understand is that they are in fact the master key to it all.
There you have it. The things I would for certain embrace if I had my time again. After writing them out I think I have done a pretty good job of keeping them in my life…but there is always wiggle room for a little more goodness and wisdom to peek through.
I considered deleting this because there is no marketing strategy, no teaching technique, no step by step guide to anything, no 5 ways to find your flow… but I hope you find something greater in my words.
Why did I share this? .
To let you know that I am no stranger to the darkness and the intensity of life, love and business and even though I share light and love as much as I can we all have our ways of dealing. I was fortunate enough to find spiritual practice early in life and embraced the rituals that felt good and supported me to try as best as I can to always look for the light. It is not always easy. But these things have been a power horse of positivity for me in times when I felt like giving up.
If I had to do it all again I would remind myself that I already know what’s up. You got this girl.
How about you?