Ditch the resolutions and get back to yourself instead.

Who are you? Do you even know anymore?

Sure, you’re a mother or father, a sister or brother. You are either an employee or an employer. Then you might add husband or wife, friend, aunt or uncle.  But who are you, without all the attachments and the relationships?

Can you remember when you were young and those things that made you happy, the things you loved to spend time doing? These activities can help us get back to ourselves. They can be our guides back to joy, peace and harmony.

Think back, what was it you loved doing? How did you spend most of your time? What made you happy?

For me it was dressing up and putting on performances for my grandmother.  I loved selecting pretty things to wear, that felt nice next to my skin, that made me feel good about myself. I loved entertaining, dancing and movement.

I loved the ritual of morning and afternoon tea with my Grandparents. It was always a simple affair but tea time was special. I got to choose my own cup and select a cookie from the barrel. They were usually only Arnott’s assorted biscuits but the cream ones were purely decadent in my young opinion.

From my maternal grandfather I learnt the joy of completing crossword puzzles. He drank tea too. Made in a pot with a cosy. I loved to watch comedy television shows with him like I Dream of Jeannie, I Love Lucy and Laverne and Shirley. We would laugh and laugh.

I remember too, the thrill of rolling down a grassy hill. The pure excitement and the great shrieks of laughter that rang out prompting me to run up and do it again.

So, next year, I intend to spend time doing these things again. I am going to find a friend who can teach me the joys of shopping for nice clothes (rather than racing in and buying the first thing I see on the rack), I’m going to move more by getting back into yoga. I might even dare to dance around the house when no one is looking.

I still love tea and I’m going to extend this ritual by inviting friends to enjoy afternoon tea with me. These little events will include nice cups and saucers, teapots and a selection of yummy homemade delicacies.

I’m going to keep a crossword book handy all year round and not save the fun for holidays only. I’m even going to allow myself to sit and watch something totally silly, trivial and funny on TV or DVD once in a while, to bring back the laughter.

I wonder if I’ll be brave enough to go out on my own, without a young child in tow as an excuse, and roll down a hill. I hope so.

If I can tap back into these activities that I enjoyed as young girl, by including them in my adult life, I know I will have a deeper sense of satisfaction. I know life will be more joyful. I know I will continue to peel back the layers to reveal my essence.

What about you? Will you pull out your Lego and build something? Will you dig out your old Barbie and dress her up? Will you find a slippery slide and ride down it for the pure fun of it? Maybe you’ll venture outside and splash in a puddle (if it ever rains again in Australia) or ride a bike around the neighbourhood.

What will bring you joy in 2014? What will help you tap back into your essence? I’d love to hear what you’ll do.

Wishing you a new year of fun, laughter and a deeper sense of self,

Shannyn

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Oh my god, I am a princess!

Life is wonderfully intricate. When you are working on your personal and spiritual development it can be tricky to negotiate at times. There are so many layers and textures to everything that sometimes when you think you’ve conquered a thing: an attitude, a story, a belief you turn around to find it still gnawing away on a level you hadn’t even been aware of.

 

Last week a friend was doing a tarot reading for me. Part of the message indicated there were issues with my mother needing resolution before I could progress further. Initially, this didn’t resonate with me as I’ve worked for many years on letting go, resolving and healing my relationship with my mother on many levels. So I had the immediate impulse to deny what she said was accurate. Knowing better however, I sat with it and accepted that perhaps there was a layer I hadn’t dug into yet, that perhaps there was a part of my tapestry that was unfinished that needed attention.

The understanding came yesterday when I visited a dynamic and skilled kinesiologist. While muscle testing she mentioned that there were issues with my mother around success that were stopping me from moving forward. When determining at what stage in my life the issue manifested we were both surprised when we went all the way back to before my birth and to the first trimester of life.  How fascinating!

It was like the story of the Princess and the Pea. Under all those layers the little pea caused her great discomfort.  On a conscious level I would never have been able to identify that the long-held emotions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours I’ve cycled through my entire life: emotions, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that have snagged me and hampered my progress; stemmed right back to then.

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Today, I have a fresh view of life. Today, I have such a deep gratitude for this new-found knowledge that I’m tingling with excitement for what is to come.

If you are on a journey of personal and spiritual development and you’ve achieved great results but you feel something is still holding you back, fer not. There are a range of practitioners and modalities that can help you pinpoint that little thorn that keeps wearing away at the fabric of your tapestry. These modalities may be considered alternative but they can be invaluable in identifying that little pea under the layers of your being that makes you uncomfortable, that keeps rubbing and bruising your skin.

Are you brave enough to try something different? Are you ready for deep change? Go explore your options, have fun, grow and delight in the information you receive.

In anticipation of great things to come,

Shannyn

Grown ups need nests, cocoons, forts and tepees too!

A strange thing happened this week – I felt a deep resonance with a poster on Facebook. (I said it was strange!) In the simple cartoon a friend offers to build a nest for their depressed loved one as a means of comfort rather than talking. The simplicity of the message reverberated for two reasons. Having suffered from depression myself many years ago I simply could not put into words how I felt or what was wrong. What I really needed was someone to just be there for me without expectations or judgement. I needed someone who was willing to comfort in a way that didn’t require words.  The second reason this resonated was that a nest was just the thing I needed back then. A safe haven from the storm, a beautiful nurturing place of comfort. A place away from the world. Better yet, a place shared with a friend.
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This simple poster with the beautiful message got me thinking about times I’d still like to slip away from the world. I’d still like to have a nest, or a cocoon, or a tepee to curl up in, drift away and replenish; safe from the noise, confusion and chaos of a busy modern life. When my Grandmother was alive her house and in particular her warm embrace were like a cocoon for me. There are times now I long to curl up in her arms and be comforted.

So, with this poster in mind and memories of my Nana’s loving embrace, I went in search of human nests and cocoons and discovered a wonderful array of protective structures in which to envelop oneself. Be prepared for some serious nest envy!

Jayson Fann builds environmentally sustainable human nests. Who wouldn’t want one of these?

Let us not overlook the human cocoon. Again, I found some more stunningly nurturing spaces to hide away in.

When I was young I loved Jeannie’s bottle. You know the one that was in that TV show I Dream of Jeannie. I longed for a sumptuous, private place of my own, just like this. Even now I think it would be a great place to retreat.

i+dream+of+jeannie
A few years ago my husband agreed to having a tepee erected in our backyard. At the time the space we had was minimal, to say the least, so alas, my tepee did not materialise.  Now, however, we have a massive backyard with plenty of space for a full-sized tepee (have you seen how big they are?) but I’m tending to go with a simpler, quick and easy to erect model, like the one below.
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Whether you or a friend has depression or whether you are simply a busy person living a hectic lifestyle, be mindful that we all need to find a place to retreat, a way to slip away from the real world and envelop ourselves in nurturing goodness. This space might be a physical space like a little grown ups fort to curl up in, it might be a favourite place such as a quiet section of coastline, or a hidden pocket of bushland. Sometimes it might be a place you travel to in your mind: a favourite destination you once visited. I often go to the Glastonbury Tor or the Chalice Well in my head when time won’t allow me to slip away physically. After a few moments I’m rejuvenated.

I trust the universe will help your nest (or cocoon, or tepee) to materialise. Sending you armfuls of warmth and love.

Shannyn

Celebrating the shadow self.

Your demons can become a source of strength

When you face the demons
in the deep dark forest
they become
your friends

                                             Tara

Many of us find our shadow self, the darker side of our psyche confronting. Many of us try to squash it and hide it from the world. I know I have been tormented by the rise of my shadow and felt so tainted by it that I stayed at home away from friends, loved ones, and from society for fear of spreading my toxicity. Those times when my shadow was strong and all-consuming were  debilitating. I felt like an oddity, a freak. I felt obscene, unloveable, unworthy and broken.

Now, after much inner work, my shadow plays a cameo role in my life, making guest appearances to remind me I have two sides, to remind me of the need for balance. You see, we cannot have the light without the dark (oh dear, how clichéd is that?). We cannot enjoy our true potential without contrasts.

Too many people think they must put on a brave face, wear the mask of happiness and show only their ‘good’ side. Too often people feel shame that their shadow self manifests and is prominent. Too often people fail to see the benefit of the shadow self.

As individuals and as a society we must begin to understand that light and dark are but two parts of a whole.  Just as “a coin comes with two sides, so does life in the temporal world.” (Erbe). Just as we accept the two sides of a coin, so too must we accept the two sides of our personality.

Our shadow self is not an oddity of which to be ashamed. Tremendous knowledge and creativity are held in our shadow and can only be released by accepting it as part of who we are. Holding it back, choking it will be our undoing.  Jesus, in the Gospel of Thomas, teaches:

If you bring forth what is within you,
What you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
What you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Jung, too endorses the acknowledgement of the shadow; simply stating that “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the dark conscious.”

We cannot stand in front of a Rembrandt and admire his use of light without also acknowledging the role the darkness plays in his work. Nor can our true potential shine without the negative elements of ourselves.

Do not despair of your shadow self, do not lock it up, discard it , ignore it; it serves you in ways you may not yet have discovered. Instead celebrate the expansiveness of your being. Celebrate the depths of your essence. Celebrate the whole of you.

No matter how fast you run, your shadow
keeps up. Sometimes it’s in front!

Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you.

What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is
your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.
Rumi

Celebrating the shadow self.

Your demons can become a source of strength

When you face the demons
in the deep dark forest
they become
your friends

                                             Tara

Many of us find our shadow self, the darker side of our psyche confronting. Many of us try to squash it and hide it from the world. I know I have been tormented by the rise of my shadow and felt so tainted by it that I stayed at home away from friends, loved ones, and from society for fear of spreading my toxicity. Those times when my shadow was strong and all-consuming were  debilitating. I felt like an oddity, a freak. I felt obscene, unloveable, unworthy and broken.

Now, after much inner work, my shadow plays a cameo role in my life, making guest appearances to remind me I have two sides, to remind me of the need for balance. You see, we cannot have the light without the dark (oh dear, how clichéd is that?). We cannot enjoy our true potential without contrasts.

Too many people think they must put on a brave face, wear the mask of happiness and show only their ‘good’ side. Too often people feel shame that their shadow self manifests and is prominent. Too often people fail to see the benefit of the shadow self.

As individuals and as a society we must begin to understand that light and dark are but two parts of a whole.  Just as “a coin comes with two sides, so does life in the temporal world.” (Erbe). Just as we accept the two sides of a coin, so too must we accept the two sides of our personality.

Our shadow self is not an oddity of which to be ashamed. Tremendous knowledge and creativity are held in our shadow and can only be released by accepting it as part of who we are. Holding it back, choking it will be our undoing.  Jesus, in the Gospel of Thomas, teaches:

If you bring forth what is within you,
What you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
What you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Jung, too endorses the acknowledgement of the shadow; simply stating that “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the dark conscious.”

We cannot stand in front of a Rembrandt and admire his use of light without also acknowledging the role the darkness plays in his work. Nor can our true potential shine without the negative elements of ourselves.

Do not despair of your shadow self, do not lock it up, discard it , ignore it; it serves you in ways you may not yet have discovered. Instead celebrate the expansiveness of your being. Celebrate the depths of your essence. Celebrate the whole of you.

No matter how fast you run, your shadow
keeps up. Sometimes it’s in front!

Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you.

What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is
your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.
Rumi

Tortured by the shadow. Released by the light.

The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.
                       George R R Martin.
Purge yourself gnawing goblinimage
Begone you great twisted, tainted, torturer of doom.
Cleanse my mind, my body, my being of this engulfing creature of destruction
Remove your befouled and corrupt tendrils of fear and loathing
Take your troubled, torturous tokens and dissipate; evaporate.
Be gone!
Be gone!
 Be gone!
Release me.
Unchain me.
 Set me free from the deep demented agony your yoke yields.
Unburden my soul; I beg of thee!
Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark.
                                                               Author unknown

Blessed by your loving embrace the predawn stillness stirs my soul.image

I move freely; unencumbered, unbridled Rediscovering joy, unveiled by a chorus of songbirds.

My eyes delight in the dancing colours of the earth’s essence.

I am light.
I am free.

I have returned … and give thanks.