For as long as we humans have walked this earth, we have sought to find greater purpose and meaning in our existence. For thousands of years, the question remains, is there a greater meaning and purpose to life or is the extent to which the human mind constitutes meaning and purpose entirely subject to the individual?
You are wired to be a problem solver. For survival purposes, the human brain is built to focus on what is ‘wrong’ in efforts to eliminate the issue. When we identify something as being wrong, our attention becomes directed to that problem as we seek out ways to either solve the issue or cope with it.
While this can be helpful, it can also become detrimental to the way we view ourselves and others. This can easily teach us to reframe our thinking in way that trains us to seek out what is ‘wrong’.
When I was in university one of my professors assigned my class to take the Bem Sex-Role Inventory. This is a questionnaire that roughly determines one’s ‘amounts’ of masculinity and femininity. After answering the questions I was intrigued to learn that my personality registers as being 60% feminine and 40% masculine. Being a person who identifies as a straight woman, I was suspicious to discover that I was almost as equally ‘masculine’ as I was ‘feminine’.
Emotions, interpreted for their purest intentions, are messages. They are a complex conversation between your mind and body, seeking to influence behaviour as they inform you of how you feel/ think about a situation.
They’re the group chat between your physiology and psychology, as your body physically responds to your mental state and vice versa. An effective message sent with honest intentions, which I would like to believe is what our bodies are trying to do for our minds, would not send a message without any content. You would never purposefully send someone an empty email or blank text message. Similarly, our emotions should not be interpreted as ‘just feelings’.
The word vulnerability and truth have been two words that come up a lot for me this week. I've sat with some deep lessons and integrations that have shifted a part of my soul.
But what does it mean to be vulnerable? To be vulnerable can be defined as exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, be it physically or emotionally.
My question to you is how often do you allow yourself to feel vulnerable? How often do you allow yourself to be and feel, truly seen by yourself or those around you? It’s not something we practice or even know how to feel into, without expressing or experiencing fear. We tend to shut the vulnerability down and out before it has a chance to even be felt or heard. Often through fear of opening the flood gates and not being able to close them again.
The first thing that needs to be understood about your decisions is that it is a valuable resource. One of the greatest favours we can do for ourselves is to take time to understand that our time, effort and personal experience is valuable. For this reason, the choices we are faced with can weigh heavily on us. As their importance becomes emphasised, proportionately so does our stress surrounding those decisions.
I was recently asking during a podcast interview with Travis Barton what was in my wellbeing toolkit so it got me thinking. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years immersed (read completely down the rabbit hole and not coming out anytime soon) in learning about different wellbeing practices, techniques and working with a wide spectrum of practitioners. And much like anything, there’s been a huge amount of trial and error within that exploration. Some experiences have been wonderful, even life changing, and others, what have felt like a total waste of time and money. Whilst in reality, there’s no such thing, simply lessons learnt and experiences had, which had not met my own personal expectations of what that wellness modality or practitioner could or should have offered me. What is should anyway? A conversation for another time perhaps. Back to our wellbeing toolkits…
We live in a time where society in many ways, has lost its own alignment to the natural rhythms of life. We defy nature on a daily basis, no longer honouring the natural ebb and flow of each day, sunrise and sunset are swapped for long working hours, and commutes. Seasons are something we can skip altogether with the click of a button and an airfare ticket in hand. We’re contactable and ‘on’ around the clock, never really sure if we’re switched off, relaxing or exhibiting some kind of permanently exhausted pigeon vibes. Our consumerist culture continually reinforces the narrative to look outside of ourselves for answers and happiness.
Aside from our collective fragmentation to the natural rhythms of life, how can we tell if on an individual level we’re out of alignment?
New Year is a time for many to refresh, start over or begin something new. A chance for us to put into action and implement the many things that we want to do, see and achieve in our lives. It can also be an incredibly testing and tough time for many, as we transition out of holiday mode, Christmas and New year celebrations, the post festive splurge and often, lots of alcohol and sugary foods which can leave us feeling less than our best. Holiday celebrations and the start of a New Year can leave us feeling depleted, down and even questioning our life choices.
For some, it’s a winter in a literal sense, and for others, it’s merely a winter of mind.
We often associate boundaries with being guarded or unapproachable, it feels like a negative and heavy word, but through boundaries, we can lovingly show people how we are showing up in the world and the best part; we allow them the space to do the same.
When we have poor boundaries, we can feel overwhelmed, exhausted, overcommitted, we overextend ourselves and even start to feel resentful. From this place, it’s easy to enter a victim state of mind.
Learning how to set the foundation of loving boundaries takes time, kindness and patience to self - if it’s not something you’ve ever practiced, how can you even know what your boundaries are? It simply takes time and creating space to listen to yourself and what feels expansive or contractive and moving from that place.
It can be a tough one for us as women to get our heads around, but with burnout, overwhelm, anxiety and depression a very real and common place scenario in our day to day lives and is only set to increase within modern society, it's time look at how we can balance our nurturing, creative and innovative nature within the structures of organisation, self discipline, and setting clear boundaries.
That sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it?! It's possible, trust!