Once upon a time I was a mother of two little children, rushing around from one activity to the next, surrounded by a sea of plastic toys and answering hundreds of random questions every day.
I was always busy, always thinking, always moving. I never stopped. A ‘mummy drink’ of Bacardi and coke and a generous portion of reality TV simply numbed the senses but didn’t really allow me to switch off.
I got irritated really easily, kicked toys, drove too fast and ate a lot of chocolate.
My body, mind and soul were constantly swept up in a tornado of ‘doing’ and ‘stuff’.
Fast forward a few years and in contrast to busyness, I now enjoy stillness.
The change did not happen overnight. It’s been a long process of aligning to my inner truths and core values; a journey of learning to understand and love the real me on the inside.
Because, the truth is this…
Sometimes we just get swept up with life. The boyfriend, the house, the wedding, the baby, the nursery, the toys, the school, the activities, the jobs, the money, the food, the shopping, the socialising. The endless accumulation of stuff to do and stuff to own. We find ourselves constantly irritated by minor things and filling the void with food, alcohol, caffeine, sugar or substances. (Because stuff does not equal contentment.)
I realised I had enough stuff in my life. In fact, I had too much. All this stuff was drowning my spirit and making me stressed and overwhelmed.
There wasn’t one point at which I suddenly said ‘that’s enough!’, it was a gradual process; a mirror of the process it took to get there. The layers piled on and now they needed peeling off again.
When I moved from a bungalow in 2013 I had ten years of stuff in the loft to clear out. Every painting and drawing the girls had ever made, every pair of shoes they’d ever worn, every outfit, every toy, every blanket, every photo … plus there were boxes of mine and my ex-husband’s that we’d not looked at since the late 90s! Emptying the loft took longer than emptying the actual main living space. (Although, carrying boxes down a ladder every day for three weeks is great for your legs and bum! #silverlinings)
In the last five years what’s changed the most is the realisation that I need stillness, calm, peace and time to reflect every day. Not just once a week for an hour between other activities, I need it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
When I’m out with friends, networking or at an event, I love being with people. I love listening to their stories and finding out what lights them up and fuels their creative passion. When I’m with my children I love to listen to their stories of school, work, social media and friendships and understand what makes them tick as they grow into amazing young adults. And when I’m by myself I love to just BE. To look up at the clouds and watch the trees swaying in the wind, to spend quiet time with a purring cat on my lap or watching my bunnies wash their faces or eat daisies – stem first (it’s the cutest thing!).
As a small business owner I’ve tried making schedules and timetables and plans but I’ve realised that they don’t work for me because they don’t allow for time to just be. This precious time (and precious moments with children, partners and pets or in nature) can’t be allocated within a spreadsheet. Sometimes you have to seize the moment or the opportunity when it presents itself. If you’re trying to stick to a schedule then you’ll always feel like you failed, even if you actually took time off to do something that made you feel great.
So, what really changed over the last five to ten years? How did I get from overwhelmed, rushing, stressed out mummy to calm, serene business owner?
- I switched my mindset. I read The Gratitude Diaries, Eat Pray Love, Big Magic and countless other books that helped me to live life from a place of gratitude, not scarcity. I wrote daily gratitude lists and made more time to enjoy the simple things in life.
- I cut drama and negativity out of my life. I stopped watching the news, daytime TV, reading newspapers and reading the negative comments across social media. I actually sold my TV too! Now I watch just the documentaries, movies or programmes that I choose, online, at my preferred time.
- I began decluttering. I realised that simply tidying the stuff from one room to another or rearranging it into yet more plastic storage boxes simply wasn’t working! The stagnant energy was still sitting there. Slowly, I’ve reduced our possessions to perhaps a tenth of what we had back in 2013. I’m working on creating a capsule wardrobe where I love everything in it and every item fits me well and makes me feel great. This stops that ‘I have nothing to wear’ scenario and reduces the stress of washing mountains or packing for holidays.
- I stopped trying to make everything fit and just tuned in to ME. I realised that I was happiest when I wasn’t constantly trying to be something that I wasn’t. I shared more of the real me online which attracted more of my ‘tribe’. Now with an amazing, extended group of like-minded people all around me, I feel supported, respected and loved. And the best part is that I get to make others feel good too! #connectionsandcommunity
- I switched back to a mainly vegetarian diet somewhere around 2012 … and then tried four months as a raw vegan before ending up at a 95% plant-based diet that suited me and my family really well. In the last year I’ve committed to a completely plant-based lifestyle and the last pieces all fell into place. Love, compassion, peace, kindness, stillness, nature, lunar cycles and Mother Earth – it all fits together like a beautiful hand made wooden puzzle.
- Plus (and you may not like these!), I stopped drinking diet coke, rarely drink alcohol and never drink black tea or coffee. Before switching to a plant-based diet I’d also stopped eating over-processed milk chocolate bars (like the ones in purple wrappers) and switched to dairy-free dark chocolate instead. So, basically, cut the caffeine, sugar and alcohol and you’ll feel much less stressed! Eating a healthy, vegetable and fruit rich diet with primarily home cooked foods will support and nourish your body.
So that’s me, now it’s over to you…
- What can you do today to bring more stillness, calm and joy into your life?
- What can you do today to reduce the amount of stress and overwhelm you feel? Where do you need to be honest with yourself? What difficult conversations do you need to have? Where do you need support?
- What can you do today to connect with people that will lift you up, support your goals and make you feel great? How can you make other people feel loved, respected and heard?