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Saturday, September 22, 2012

To gather or scatter?

For the past 3 months I’ve been considering what step to take next, in terms of my living situation. I’ve been back at home for 7 months (!!!) and it’s quite a long time, seeing as though I’ve always been independent, on the move, excited by the next port of call, wondering who I’d meet, what experiences I’d be able to absorb and what opportunities would be presented. Such a flow of EVERYTHING happens when you’re on the road… That’s the life I’d been living for the past years. 

7 months ago, did I want to leave that life of movement behind? Hummm… Not really. I knew I had to put it on pause. And it scared the life out of me. But by overcoming that fear it was also the most liberating thing to do. But wasn’t I ‘supposed’ to be on the road by now, travelling overseas again?! Isn’t that what I had in mind, when I first arrived in February: ‘6 months here… and I’m gone again…’ Hummm… At this point in time, I don’t want to, nor CAN I, leave Ireland. There’s too much only starting to happen… Also when I came back I made a commitment to myself to NOT run away from something that I’ve set in motion (even if the wanderer inside wishes for me to return – by taking on a teaching job in Asia and boarding a plane asap!) 

This period in Arklow was necessary… And I’m so grateful, for many reasons. I know I needed to become temporarily STUCK at home, to realize NOW that I need to, once again, become UNSTUCK. Yes. It’s about getting the balance right… First we roam, we wander, we scatter ourselves in different places… then we sit, we rest, we gather ourselves in one certain place. Then comes the time to scatter ourselves again! But… here’s the thing… Can we be GATHERED and SCATTERED all at once? Can we find ourselves and feel SAFE and connected to ourselves, when we’re ‘scattered’? Can we bring movement into our lives—which projects a scattered state in the eyes of others—but feel gathered, balanced, focussed in ourselves, simultaneously? 

This is the big question of balance and an eye opener for me. 

These past months I may have been ‘sitting’ but I’ve not been gathering myself at all and because of trying too hard to gather myself, I’ve actually exhausted myself… as a result I’ve felt, especially recently.

Conclusion: I’ve been scattered and trying so hard to be ‘gathered’.

So… now that I’m considering my options… do I choose to scatter myself and leave the ‘gathering’ for a later date? Or do I just let go and do what I know makes me feel 'found and free' or 'gathered and scattered'? 

To bring this little scattered piece of writing together again: I know what I want but there’s an element of fear holding me back. Being at home, yes I’ve regressed I guess… I’m a child again and fears have been controlling my decisions. It’s so funny to witness how incompetent I feel, whilst living in a situation where the role, once again, becomes one of a child. In such a situation OF COURSE fears will control, limit and almost stop progression in life… It’s crazy… For example, when I’m on the other side of the world and I’m just doing as I please, I have no fears whatsoever! I wouldn’t care where I’d sleep and ‘trouble’ would be far from my mind… I’d always trust that the right people, places and experiences would show up at the right time. And that’s how it always happened. In that, I’d flow with the moment. And if I WOULD have fears, I’d STILL do as I pleased and I’d overcome the fears in that very act of DOING.

But, HERE… my god, taking the smallest steps, I’m suddenly worried, doubtful, sceptical and I’m limiting myself. I’m holding myself back, making excuses that ‘now’s not the right time…’ The rising urgency I have that’s pushing me to move again is telling me I need to STOP with the excuses… LET GO of fears… IGNORE anybody or anything that’s causing me to doubt the ability I have to go beyond SURVIVING out in this world and to once again start THRIVING out in this world...

The road is so greatly OPEN, regardless of the country we’re in. Freedom can be experienced ANYWHERE in the world… Free, as in, NOT being controlled by what’s right or wrong, good or bad, accepted or condemned in the eyes of society. Free, as in, NOT being controlled by the fear of ‘what could happen IF….’, NOT clinging to STUFF thinking it will make us feel safe, NOT depending on any THING or any WORDS from others to make us feel ‘just okay’ in this life. No! We’re fully dependent only on our own WORDS and those are the ones to make us feel MORE THAN JUST OKAY in this life.

I’m only realizing how much of myself I find when I’m ‘out there’… Therefore I’m not scattered, when I actually roam, wander and move… I find myself GATHERED when I’m doing something that others would consider to be SCATTERED. I feel so settled and safe when I don’t feel others are expecting me to be settled. That’s so contradictive, I know. But I feel ALIVE, there’s no weight of the world, no burden to bear and no ‘trying to be a certain thing for the sake of what others will say’. When I’m overcoming fears instead of being controlled by them, I feel totally IN THIS WORLD… Not running, not pretending and not going against the potential we have, as people, whilst being here in this life…  

So, this is my next step. I’m gonna FINALLY stop moaning, stop complaining, stop making excuses and I’ll see how it feels to move around Ireland. For the first time in my life, I’m moving on but NOT actually boarding a plane! This is HUGE for me... ;)  

I’m just going to go with the flow and see where it lands me. Where to? I’m going to go west; to Galway. I've always felt drawn to that particular place. So, now that it's so close, I'm going to take my chances. I don’t know if I’ll stay… All I know is that I have to go. So I’ll pack my backpack, create something of an ‘office on the go’ and start working on getting the balance right between this ‘gathering and scattering’ wherever I so happen to move.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Distance Beyond: Tackling teens - 2

A Distance Beyond: Tackling teens - 2: The longest 2 hours of my life finally ended. And I felt as though the life had been sucked from the deepest part of myself and I was ...

A Distance Beyond: Tackling teens - 1

A Distance Beyond: Tackling teens - 1: Last week I came up with the brilliant idea to promote the book around the country, by approaching secondary schools in Ireland and of...

Tackling teens - 2

The longest 2 hours of my life finally ended. And I felt as though the life had been sucked from the deepest part of myself and I was empty… ENERGY DISCHARGED… I felt so low and just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep… Those 2 hours felt to be so thankless… But it's self-inflicted… And for what? To have put EVERYTHING on hold for the few days leading up towards the talk and to feel drained for the next 2 days afterwards? To feel as though this was a waste of precious time, effort and energy, when I could’ve/should’ve been doing other things that would really make a difference?!?!?!

Last week it seemed like the best route for me to take: approaching the secondary level schools. Now though… I feel it’s totally off-course… It’s got nothing to do with being out of my comfort-zone. Because I love being in front of people, talking, giving them something to feed off… Hummmm…. That’s actually an interesting expression just there: GIVING them something to FEED OFF… The question arises: do I have enough for them to FEED OFF? On every level?! On a mental level, it’s clear I do. On an emotional level – I’m balanced and in this balance I project how unaffected I am when things try to shatter me. This means my main objectives are still brought forth, my purpose is being served and my spirit is alive! I understand how I can expand the energy of my spirit and be creative in the moment when my emotions are balanced. But… what about the physical aspect of me?

Can I stand in front of teenagers, looking like a teenager myself (with my current weight) and feel more than OKAY to be a speaker/lecturer on a topic that has LED ME TO BE SMALLER THAN MOST OF THESE KIDS WHO ARE HALF MY AGE! Wouw… the teens are half my age… yet twice my size! And I’m trying to break through their mental barrier, initially by standing PHSYICALLY in front of them and then feeling their judgement for my size. Being so exposed, it’s obvious that I’ll be partially relying on my physical appearance to get the message across… But it’s contradictive! I know how people in society judge and base everything they think on WHAT THEY SEE. So, of course they’ll initially base the strength of my story, on the strength of my ‘projection of health’, as I’m physically standing beside this book.

Wouw… this is quite deep stuff… Using different avenues to reach the people really is opening up many different avenues to get to my own self too. This is good though… it’s part of my own progress towards to my truth and exposure in the surrounding world as living in my truth.

At this moment in time, I can see, or FEEL, how, up until this point in time, I’ve been relying on my energy of spirit to do everything… I’ve been feeling so vibrant in life, with the mind being clear. And in that clarity, the boosts of energy fire-up inside of me and I’m so strong. Suddenly though, to be exposed and portrayed to everyone, that I’m recovered and strong (in spirit and in mind) whilst having this contradictive appearance, is full exposure of ME and the biggest challenge yet: ‘Am I physically strong enough to speak with all my might??’   

In the manner I did yesterday, it’s clear that I’m not. Are they too young? Is the information too hard? Am I too weak? Is my presence too soft? Is it a combination? Not too sure what the right answer is here.

When I reach stages like this, I know how important it is to listen to the voice. The voice that was telling me all along: Niamh, this isn’t the way to go! Nope. Yesterday I seriously felt to be OFF COURSE. There was a huge imbalance: it cost me more energy than the amount of ‘something’ I was hoping to gain. What did I wish to gain? What would have filled me with energy and life and kept me going? To see and feel that I sparked-off something in these teenagers… something of interest, something of a willingness to absorb whatever lessons I was sharing. But, there was little life, little spark. However, I kept on giving, until I finally reached the bitter end… (2 full hours later). I kept the energy flying around the room… I showed nothing of dissatisfaction or disappointment or annoyance… Because none of it was their fault. It was my own… And today, I’m still drained and trying to get myself passed it. It’s noon and I’m tempted to curl up in bed again…

Wouw… Isn’t it crazy how I’ve inflicted all of this myself!?!?! For what? So I can spread my book…
Well, at least it’s for a good cause and my intentions were, and still are real. I know I can easily stand strong in positions where I’m in the limelight. As long as there’s electricity to keep my light going… Because yesterday there wasn’t, so my light inevitably also weakened... Which is fine… It’s charging itself again. I should be soon able to conquer the world... seeing as though my biggest fear has been faced...

Isn’t it actually brilliant how I taught myself MORE yesterday than I taught all of those 30 youngsters! Amazing…  Oh life oh life oh life... wouw..............

Tackling teens - 1

Last week I came up with the brilliant idea to promote the book around the country, by approaching secondary schools in Ireland and offering my services (initially voluntary) to talk about my own personal experiences: about why I wrote the book, the message that it holds, addiction, the false search for happiness, body image, self-esteem, the role society plays in determining our own sense of self and how to build deep confidence that’s real and dependable. With these talks it’s my aim to make people aware and to erase some of the secrecy that’s attached to eating disorders. Because it’s partially due to this secrecy that it’s such a taboo. The shame the sufferer feels is huge as a result and makes the actual step one takes when it comes to accepting help and recovering, far more difficult than it otherwise could be. God, this really is a topic that gets me fired up! 

Anyhow… to keep it brief (cause I can feel myself going off on a little tangent here!), society (Ireland specifically) needs to open their eyes and stop pretending that things aren’t happening, when really they are! Wouw… such Masters people can be, in excusing certain behaviour and ignoring the truth that is appearing before their eyes! How easy it is, to turn a blind eye and carry the deeper concerns within us, as we continue living our lives. One day turns into the next, and the next, and the next… time passes, lives fade away because deep down people are terrified to bring anything to the surface that could be condemned!  

Sorry, I’m not really keeping this brief at all! Back on track…

Approaching secondary schools, to reach teenagers from 15 years and up, I felt would be the best way to go… I figured I, personally, could do this. I’ve got my teaching experience, I can manage a class and I can encourage teenagers/young adults to open up… I can keep a flow when I’m talking, and most importantly, I’m not ashamed to relay my experiences. I say all of this so easily… I can write about this so clearly. Can I speak just simply?

Yesterday morning was the first talk at one of the secondary schools here in town. I’d arranged last week to come in for a 2-hour slot (4th year students, only a small group of 30!) Easy peasy… in China I’d been teaching groups of 60… This would be a breeze?!?! Hummm…

There was a big difference: I wasn’t in China… I was in my hometown. Therefore this job I’d voluntary placed upon myself was something HUGE: I was going into a school in the ONLY place on EARTH where I hold my roots and the base of my truth; I would be setting a part of myself free within the ‘imprisoned world’ I’d always labelled this place to be. This meant I was overcoming some huge personal barriers.  Realizing this, I also realized that if I could do it and remain standing, then I could conquer the whole world, as I’d have faced my biggest fear in LIFE!

The topic I’m addressing is so REAL and so DELICATE. This is about REAL life stuff. For teenagers, it’s tough to absorb. It’s hard and confronting to have to listen to such talks and to be shaken about. Teenagers don’t want to hear about bad things that can happen. It’s too confronting and confusing.

Throughout the days before the talk, I felt the world was going to stop turning, as soon as 9am on September the 12th would arrive. I wondered if there would be a life AFTERWARDS…!!!!

God… I’d made it into the biggest deal of my life. But I didn’t back down (even though there was a voice telling me to). I geared myself up for the talk… I consciously applied too much pressure to perform. Why? Because that’s what teaching is! In every moment you have to be at your best, prepared for anything that can happen and more than ABLE to deal with whatever comes your way, without ever showing doubts or fears.

The vastness of this topic meant that within the first 15 minutes some of the boys were getting bored, playing like little kids, talking, messing around, annoying each other… Of course! That’s fine… they’re teenagers… Just LISTENING is sooooooooooooo boring and uncool! Improvising with every moment… that’s what came to the rescue. For nearly 2 full hours I was searching for creative sparks to come alive inside of me, so I could keep ideas rolling and the lesson flowing and engaging—whilst still relating it to this topic. I was swimming, but not drowning. Disciplining them, but not getting pissed-off… (even though it really wasn’t my job… I wasn’t there as their teacher… I was there as a GUEST speaker)… 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

South East radio

This morning I had a short interview on South East radio. I've attached the link here. If you want to listen, you can download the podcast. It's the third title from the top (and has a discription of the interview behind it).


Happy days all round!

Friday, September 7, 2012

In early hours of darkness... I sit...

It’s 04.30am. I couldn’t sleep… ‘up all night’… Well, not really… I’ve just been awake before the dawn. There’s so much going round and round my head, forcing me to get up out of bed, at 03.30am. Since then, I’ve had a bowl of stewed prunes (oh my god…they’re gorgeous!) and have greeted the half-moon in the back garden… Wouw… What a beautiful starry sky, so sparkly, so black, so crisp, so clear and best of all, so silent (a part from the odd cow in the field having a moan and groan). Nothing beats waking up before the world comes alive, before the ‘rat race’ starts. I’m just realizing how much I’ve been missing the dark nights, since summer started. But I guess officially summer is over, so the shorter days will start creeping in, and in my opinion, it’s not a moment too soon.

Manic days have passed, avenues have been opening themselves up and the pace at which things are happening, is fast. Now it’s the question: can I keep up?

Since the launch, I’ve had a few articles in the local newspapers as well as a national newspaper. This last article was featured on Tuesday, which was probably the biggest breakthrough we could have had, concerning publicity for the book. Other types of media have been in touch with Lorraine as a result, expressing their interest regarding the book and my story. Things have been set in motion for interviews. It’s all still uncertain of course, it’s work in progress and a waiting game when it comes to what will actually materialize. Only time will tell! As well, working with the media is something totally new for me and the art of patience is a precious thing to practise. Then again ‘striking when the iron is hot’ is also the way to keep things moving forward.

Networking is proving to be the most important job for me at the moment. Talking with people, emailing radio stations and colleges, speaking with bookstore owners and discovering what local venues are interested in holding book readings (venues being little caf├ęs that hold such ‘artsy’ events and attract likeminded customers). The more I connect with society, the more I realize the potential this 1 simple book has. With that realization I’m seeing how much I can bring in to my life by grasping whatever comes my way. And then, on manic days like yesterday, I’ll wonder: can my head keep it all contained?

At the moment, I feel like I’m gathering. What though? Gathering contacts, searching for routes, finding my way and using my gut feelings in order to suss out how I can reach the readers as efficiently and effectively as possible.

I never before realized how different this book actually is. It’s like the story tells of my life that’s in the past AND of a specific illness AND of the workings of addiction. On top of that, the whole package presents NIAMH as a writer in this present day. BEHIND the book, then there’s a real person who is starting to promote and who wants to continue writing. The fact that I’m putting my deepest hurts ‘out there’ instantly tells people I’m open to giving whatever I’ve learned through my own personal experiences. Yes… this is true, this is the purpose of the BOOK. But is it the purpose of ME, at this moment?  

At the moment I have to be mindful of HOW I place MYSELF out there in the public eye and what direction I steer this promotion business in. I have to steer the book in a direction that keeps me moving forward to where I, myself, want it to flow.

Basically, I want to promote the BOOK as being a tool to teach, inspire and help individuals, either with or without eating disorders, addictions, challenges and darkness. The book educates in itself. I can’t and don’t want to take on the ‘task’ of teaching about eating disorder and body image… I understand how society will almost expect me to spread myself as being a teacher on these topics. In many ways, yes I’ve the ability to teach this. But is it my aim at this moment in time? Teaching and promoting are 2 whole different ball games. To teach, a person needs regular contact and time… it’s a process. If I’m to teach—which I feel is expected of me, for some strange reason—then I have to be committed and regularly present with those individuals. Only that way the teachings can have a positive and, most importantly, a lasting effect. But just because it’s expected of me, doesn’t mean I have to do it! A wise lesson here…
This period in my life is really about getting the book to the people!

So… alongside the book, I want to promote MYSELF as somebody who transformed something dark into something light. I want to show that, if any individual chooses to find their gift and to use that gift in order to heal themselves (or to at least start the process of healing) it will eventually help others and dreams can come true, lives can be transformed and we can continue to live in the light, without remaining in the dark.
I have to remember that my book will teach in itself, as a result of the work I’ve already done! I’m putting my book out there as the teacher, myself out there as a writer and a speaker (who’s still gaining experience in this field!). I can happily communicate my own experiences with the disorder—which is different than teaching. I can relay how I by embracing the disorder I found a gift and used it to nourish, to feed, to heal and to free myself from addiction. I can express how it awakened something inside and I can stress the importance of finding our inner potential and relate how dreams really DO come true, if we use our gift and never give up believing that it can materialize itself. Because, as I’ll be standing holding my book, I’m living proof that dreams DO come true. That’s my aim, my objective… my mission.

Just before signing off… I was reminded yesterday, as I was walking downtown, of a moment from 4 years ago. I was in Ireland, living with my mam, going through my sh*t. In that period I was so desperate to be travelling, but I was also starting to discover this new (and strange) passion for writing… all I could think about was publishing a book. One evening, I was watching the final of the X-factor. The singer/performer who won the show was giving a speech. She was so strong in her talking and really ‘hammered’ on the importance of NEVER giving up on making our dreams come true. For her, becoming a singer, was a dream. I sat on the sofa, in my depression, dreaming of writing a book and I felt she was talking to me: NEVER EVER give up and working towards making a dream a reality, because only THEN it can come true…! And she was right… 4 years later, I’m only starting out. And the world of writing, books and publishing really holds no limits.

What a cool little moment this is! Okay, I’ll wind down for now. The journey continues… I’ll keep spreading the word by contacting book stores, media and using Facebook like never before… haha. Also I’ll keep approaching colleges throughout Ireland. Fingers crossed it will lead me to be speaking the way I hope to! A promotional tour would be amazing. Promoting my book for the teaching and healing it offers as well as promoting myself as a writer and a speaker who can motivate and awaken something inside of others.  

Oh… I’ve got a radio interview this morning! Yay! It’s in Wexford town, on southeastradio.ie at 11.30am. Brilliant xxx