I am grateful.
Not blessed, not lucky but grateful. I have an incredible life with my beautiful children, amazing house and truly special husband. I don’t feel like I just landed here out of sheer luck, I feel like I’ve delivered this miracle from my own intentions.
That intention started with pure love for my partner, we used this love to fuel our hopes and dreams for the future, which then manifested into this life.
Like a lot of people, last night I went to see Oprah Winfrey and she agreed. She didn’t feel lucky – she felt like she had sown the seeds of her life through intention, that every bump along the way created her strength, her power.
This year hasn’t been the easiest for us, we were selling a house, had a baby who is still not sleeping through the night and renovating a sixty year old house – a tiny project that turned into something a lot bigger than our original intention (thank you universe).
So what did I do to combat the hardship? I let go of my regular yoga practice, dropped my writing and blogging, stopped actively promoting our book, How To Become One Healthy Mama, stopped planning social events during the week and went to ground – to work hard and get this done.
Instead of coming from a place of love – this year – came from my fear that it would all be too much. This thought manifested time and time again, my husband asking me to do a task would result in waves of overwhelm, procrastination, protests of, “I can’t do this I’ve got three kids to look after!” The actual task, taking five minutes to call somewhere or research something or pop into a shop with baby on my hip would turn out to take way less time than the moaning and groaning that I was doing.
I truly believe that the year behind me would have been different if I had intended it to be amazing. If I’d taken each thing in my stride, but we can only learn and moving forward into 2016 I will take this lesson with me.
I nearly didn’t see Oprah last night, but I listened to the voice that I got on Wednesday night (at an Ed Sheeran concert – that just said “Oprah”). For some reason that thought popped into my mind and the next day on Facebook a friend was asking if anyone wanted to go with her. Between us there were many opportunities to just let it go and miss out this time (wrong phone numbers, missing messages, confusion over tickets) but we booked tickets yesterday and I found myself seated amongst the incredibly excited (mostly women) audience. There was pre-Oprah dancing and a whole lot of whispering, “Do you think she’ll give away cars????” but no one was truly there for that.
We were there to find out how Oprah became Oprah. How do you live a life that large? How do go from being a barely-wanted little girl from a small town in Mississippi to a one-woman force of nature?
Oprah believes that it stems from listening to the voice inside. Not the one that chatters constantly, convinces you to go one way then changes its mind. And definitely not the one that likes to keep you down by criticising, cajoling and lying to you. She believes it stems from listening to the voice that says, “This is who I am.”
You know the one.
The one that loses hours in crafting projects or cooking or reading or writing because you are fuelled by the pure joy of the task. The task that someone else would deem soul-destroying or mind-numbing. Your unique voice.
The one that whispers and gets louder, waiting patiently until you have the strength to listen and to then do something about your situation.
Oprah talked a lot about building strength last night – the journey of life strengthening her each step of the way, each step a building block urging her to become more herself. To be more Oprah.
But how do I become more me? How do you become more you?
For me I one hundred per cent know that its more meditation, more yoga, more reading, more seeking, more writing, more family time, more love, less fear. Pushing my personal boundaries and not only dreaming big but learning to keep my heart open by letting go of the attachment I have of the way things should be.
When I lost my baby Sophia at 32 weeks it was not only her loss I felt but loss of control over my life. I had it all mapped out, I knew what it was going to look like and each unplanned step hurt like hell.
The truth being, and this is the lesson I chose to take from my experience, is that we have no control over our lives. The universe has a bigger, better, clearer picture for us of how things should be and the more we struggle against it, the harder it makes our lives. These learning obstacles are thrown in our path so we can get some clarity.
So what should we do instead of trying to control everything?
Be in the current moment, take things day by day. By all means plan, dream and hope but when you try to control the outcome or believe that it should be unfolding a certain way, you are going to come up against road blocks. Oprah said they might start like pebbles but eventually you will get bricks thrown at you until one of them hits you on the head and wakes you up.
She told an incredible story about her intention to be in the movie, A Colour Purple. She had read the book, raved about it to her friends and believed that one of the characters so closely mirrored her own life, her story, that the role in the movie was destined to be hers. She prayed, dreamed and hoped until months later out of the blue the phone rang and she was asked to audition. She did so and it was months later when she called the person who had asked her to audition to see what was happening with the role. He told her that she called him and he wasn’t calling her so she should understand that she didn’t get the role! That real actresses had auditioned for the role. She hung up the phone and hung her self-esteem on that line.
She said to herself, “I didn’t get the part, of course I didn’t, a real actress would get it. Who did she think she was?”. Then her mind did what minds do – play on your biggest fears and insecurities.
She didn’t get it she realised….because she was fat. She told this quite hilariously and decided that she should go to a fat farm. When she was there she was running and as she heard her thighs slap together she gave up. She was crying and running and telling the world that she surrenders. She can’t do anything more and she was going to let go of everything that was bringing her down and this control she thought she had over the outcome of life.
And she swears that it was in that minute that someone came running out of the fat farm to the running track to tell her Steven Spielberg was on the line, telling her that he wanted her to have a screen test and if she lost one pound she may not be right for the part.
But the question is how do we surrender when we wind everything up so tight?
Yesterday I had another really great experience that reinforced I am truly on the right path. It also is a great example of surrender.
I was wound up tight. I had four hours, kid-free to do some Christmas shopping, fit in some yoga and check out some outdoor places for a few things we need for the new house. I started shopping and as I bought I felt a horrible pit of guilt and dread in my stomach. “I don’t think I’ve got enough money for this, will I be able to pay the cleaner and the babysitter with this money I have in this account?” I’m wandering around trying to choose gifts for people and these were my thoughts. Maybe I’ll do it another day? I could transfer some money maybe…” As I looked at my phone I saw it was dead. I had no chance of transferring money.
I went to yoga class, deflated that my Christmas present list wouldn’t be getting any smaller today.
The teacher told a story that she loved, an American Indian proverb – a Grandfather told his grandson that there are two wolves inside all of us – one is evil – it is greed, jealousy, hate, anger and darkness. The other one is good – it is love, laughter, happiness, forgiveness and light. The grandson asks – “Which one wins?” and the Grandfather answers, “Whichever one you feed.”
As she spoke about this I realised how much I was feeding my fear. My thoughts were telling me something was wrong and as a result instead of kid-free bliss as I wandered around the shops I was tied up in knots and could not really relax in this class. We did a breathing exercise and I truly had panic-type breathing reactions. My thoughts told me this class was a waste of time if I couldn’t relax and these thoughts were continually being negative and fuelling my panic.
The teacher then got us to lie completely forward with our legs out straight, propping bolsters and blankets on our knees until our forehead could touch them. We lay like this for about five minutes and in that five minutes my panic, fear and negativity disappeared.
I don’t know if it was the technique, the teachings or the quiet but it was magnificent to be free of that anxiety. On the way out I passed the shops again and at each shop I found something I believe the people I am buying for will truly love. I bought them without fear of decline and each transaction went through smoothly. I had a small panic when I thought that I needed to get out cash for the babysitter and then I realised I had money, I’d been given some for the Oprah tickets that morning.
In fact I had money in my wallet the whole time. I had more than enough.
I had created an incredible stress reaction in my body from listening to the voice of fear.
But the Universe knows better and when I came to place of peace, a place of love, the ease in which everything else unfolded was incredible.
There are miracles in life everyday and we get to see them through gratitude, surrender and reflection. We are feeding the good wolf.
We lose our way when we become lost in the stream of thoughts and believe that these thoughts are reality. We stumble when we try to control outcomes in our life and it doesn’t happen. We tip overboard when we lose that inner voice. We become negative, angry, betrayed, destructive – we feed the bad wolf.
I am sure everyone that went and saw Oprah last night will have a different view on what she said was the most important thing, but for me it was surrender.
Dream, hope, love, laugh and surrender.
The Universe has bigger, better plans for you than you have for yourself, follow your true path and let each miracle unfold.