You know the adage, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’? Well, I’m here to tell you that is absolutely not true cuz’ this ol dawg is learning some new tricks. First up, have a gander at the above and below photos:
That my friends is this 54 ½ year olds’ ankle sporting a new tattoo. Yessiree Bob, I got me a tat. And this isn’t just some random-middle-age-crisis-throwback to youth desire to get inked so I can be cool around the cool kids. No, no, no. This is as a result of undertaking some very deep personal soul-searching work over the last twelve months.
I barely wrote/blogged at all in 2017 because I was just not in the emotional mind-set to do so. To sum it up, my 2017 was nothing short of STORMY with waves upon waves of physical, emotional, and spiritual upheaval that just did not stop. As I wrote about here, in early 2017 I sustained a physical injury (torn calf muscle) which sent me on a trajectory of one bodily mishap after the other – and over the subsequent ten months, I suffered problems with my back, shoulders, knee, and foot requiring many trips to the doctor, physiotherapist, osteopath, and other healers. Pain is never fun and on top of my physical ailments, my emotional state declined as well for a long, long period of time.
Suffice to say, I was not usually fun to be around as I just couldn’t fill up my own happiness well. By August of 2017, projects that I was working on (birthing the Birdsongretreat.nz website, running workshops, and teaching yoga) were just not going well and I often found myself feeling frustrated, jealous, and full of anger and RAGE which sadly was often directed towards Bruce. This perfect calamitous storm came to a thundering crescendo and I hit my very own personal bottom. The tears just kept on flowing and I realized I was not happy with my life – everything felt wrong and that included myself, my home, and my marriage. I needed help.
An angel appeared to me in the form of my dear friend Carrie Jo who always listened patiently to my woes and she gently guided me to a weekend retreat on Conscious Connected Breathing/Breathwork/Rebirthing and to her friend Louise who is a breathwork practitioner. That weekend in September 2017 turned out to be my saving grace — my salvation in getting me out of the darkness and back to my own bright light.
For the last nine months, I’ve been working with Louise every two weeks doing a ‘breathing’ session. The details of Conscious Connected Breathing warrants its own long post, but suffice to say, I have gone down my very own rabbit hole and uncovered some remarkable things about myself.
The most illuminating discovery (and hardest to admit) was that my anger & rage that I was delusionally yet comfortably directing outwards to others, was actually a sign that I was angry at myself. The anger bubbling forth was my inner me trying to get my attention – letting me know that I was not acknowledging, listening to, and loving myself and taking action on getting my own needs met. I create my own reality. I am responsible for my emotions. I have to learn how to parent myself. I have to take care of my inner child. SHOCKER!
But back to the tat.
Louise & I uncovered a lot of stories/beliefs running my subconscious operating system – patterns of behaviour that keep surfacing over and over again. One belief I seem to have is that I only do things 90% of the way – I have a lot of ideas/desires/projects which I’m enthused about, start to do, but often don’t actualize the way I dream about them because I am afraid. In short, I’ve dreamed about getting a tattoo for over twenty years, and this tattoo, an ouroboros (a circular symbol depicting a snake swallowing its tail as an emblem of wholeness or infinity), came to me during a multi-day silent meditation retreat, and while having multiple meanings for me, represents me going 100%, full circle around, towards completion with anything and everything my heart wants to do. To remember that I am awesome, fearless, and courageous. So I got that tat put on my ankle where I can see it whenever I need a bit of a boost of confidence and I absolutely love it. No regrets.
Secondly, I have been saying for well over a decade that, for my own well-being, I need to regularly take ‘sabbaticals’ from my life to travel by myself and spend time by myself doing things and going places I want to go. I’ve drooled when I’ve heard stories from my friend Dennis who regularly takes time out from his life for a month or so to go and commune with himself. I’ve carried this fantasy yet never made it happen and instead found myself, when reaching crisis mode, complaining that I need to have a time out. A vicious cycle of not listening and taking action.
Well, times they are a changing and I have carved out a two-month window (with the amazing support & love from Bruce) to go to Bali for an “Eat, Pray, Love Me” trip. I’m so excited for this opportunity of self-discovery as I head somewhere with no agenda and no real purpose except to spend some time with myself. Actually, I’m in Bali now, having arrived a few days ago and am absolutely loving it.
So yes my friends, you can teach a mid-aged dawg some new tricks. I’m learning how to listen to my heart, to parent & self-sooth myself, to tune in to my emotions and connect them to unmet needs and then take action to get those needs addressed. In short, I’m learning to love myself. It’s never too late to begin a new chapter in one’s life.