100 days sober

Hi Lovelies,

This time last year I would never have imagined I’d be where I am today in terms of my recent ‘divorce’ from alcohol.  Last Friday I reached the magical 100 day mark and to be honest, I feel pretty bloody amazing!!  I thought quitting alcohol was something only alcoholics did but the more I thought about it, the more my gut told me it was for me as well.  It told me and it told me and it told me….. until on 7th June 2017, I finally listened.  About bloody time!  I could hear it whisper to me.  About bloody time. 

I have been blown away by the amount of gorgeous people who have contacted me to ask about my reasoning; my experiences; for my advice or tips; or to simply let me know they have been inspired and connect with what I have been saying.  So I thought it only right to share the down and dirty stages I went through to get to where I have now landed…a place called planet joy.

Stage 1:  Let’s call this the ‘What the fuck am I doing?’ stage.  Because that’s what it felt like at first.  There was definitely a ‘Let’s do this’ positive vibe thing going on but when I found myself in situations my lifestyle includes a lot of; like dining out with others and (like all of us) dealing with a variety of stresses; I felt like I had isolated myself, which was a little uncomfortable.  After all, we all want to feel like we belong and are connected to others don’t we?  Instead, I felt like I was an outsider and an observer and wondered how on earth I was going to get used to that feeling.  I felt highly strung and couldn’t see how I was going to be able to relax without a drink.  On the other hand, the overriding knowledge I’d made a decision for my health stayed with me, so that helped me to persevere through it.  I also did a LOT of reading of blogs / research / other people’s experiences so I could get a feel for what to expect and educate myself on what was happening inside my body and brain.  That was VERY helpful too.  Education (especially when it comes to health) is everything.

Stage 2:  Let’s call this the ‘Calm takes over’ stage.  One month in and I felt a real stillness take over my soul.  When it happened, I described it as a beautiful, clean, sparkling aquamarine ocean on the inside.  It was something I’d never felt before.  With it came a love for early rising and getting outside to spend an hour just for me before my day started, which meant stepping out in the dark and watching the sun rise.  I held meditative thoughts in my mind whilst doing this.  The strange thing about it was the total lack of fear from stepping out in to the pitch black.  After having experienced several occasions of being followed / chased / grabbed by men (in broad daylight) in my earlier years, I have since felt fear associated with being in the dark on my own but suddenly, that was gone and a complete trust in life, the universe and everything had taken over.  It felt like magic and to this day, it has only improved.  I felt like I was being re-born.

I still felt a little weird and isolated in social situations when others were drinking but it was getting easier than in the beginning.

Stage 3:  Let’s call this the ‘Healed’ stage.  38 Days in and on my way back from a morning walk a wave of emotions came over me.  The thought popped in to my head that I had finally healed from all I have been though (and put myself through) in the past.  I didn’t even know this would be my final stage of the healing process until I felt it with every cell of my body.  I cried happy tears and experienced synchronistic signs and validations as this new feeling took over me in the most true and authentic way.  As I told my hubby Jem how I was feeling, the song ‘Green Light’ by Lorde started playing.  It was incredible and still gives me goosebumps thinking about it.  Now I have another chapter to write for my book!

Social situations were becoming more comfortable now too but I still felt like I was on the outside looking in as far as being around other people drinking.

Stage 4:  I am going to call this the ‘Easy’ stage.  67 days in and I noticed it had become easy and effortless.  The feelings of isolation and of being highly strung in situations I’d usually be drinking in in the past were now gone and had been taken over by pride.  I felt I was becoming the person I always wanted to be.  Calm and in control whilst still feeling relaxed and happy.  Being my true self and supremely comfortable in my skin.  It was worth pushing through.

At that point, I didn’t feel any different to how I used to feel when I was with others having a drink any more.  I realised I’d relaxed into it.  And on top of that, I felt extremely peppy, sharp and loving in the company of others.  It felt GREAT!

Stage 5:  I can’t call this anything other than the ‘Joy’ stage.  100 days…the magic number.  My body has changed, my mind has changed and my soul has changed.  I can honestly say I have NEVER felt better in my entire life.  Negative things don’t affect me like they used to and I feel like I am in true alignment.  I have more energy than I have ever felt.  I have more zest for life and feel so damn happy with myself.  I truly feel I have so much more love to give out to the world.  Fear has gone and trust has taken over.  I’ve reached a place where I honestly feel ‘I don’t want to lose any more weight’ for the first time in about 35 years.  From someone who has ALWAYS wanted to be smaller, this is HUGE.  Pun intended.

Check out the difference in my face after 100 days!  The pic on the left was taken a few days before I made the decision to quit and the pic on the right was taken on day 97.  Amazing right?!  I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.  You see yourself everyday, so you don’t notice the big picture until you do a comparison like this.

 

I feel like I’ve given myself the best gift I could have ever chosen to give myself and can only hope to inspire others to make the choice to do the same.  You’ll know in your heart if it is right for you too.  It’s not for everyone, I get that.  My journey is just that.  My journey.

Hit me up if you’d like to know any more!  I’m here for you.

Love & Light Always,

Yvette xxx

 

Observe

Hi Lovelies,

This may sound like a weird thing to say and please excuse my french but I fucking love getting older!  It’s the best thing ever.  The word ‘older’ generally denotes a sense of degeneration but in my opinion, the opposite is the truth.  I feel like getting older is getting better in so many ways and given my current state of mind, I wouldn’t go back to my youth for anything.

Why?  Because the older I get, the more I see life though different eyes.  I now see things through the eyes of an observer and I’m not just talking about observing others.  I am talking about observing myself as well.  And that my Lovelies, is what changes everything.

I used to be so caught up in the spin cycle of life and had no sense of the space that exists around our thoughts or the connectedness we all share.  I found myself reacting to this and that with no discernment of perspective or awareness of my unruly thoughts.  My ego ruled my mind and became the motivation for everything.  I wouldn’t call that living.  It was exisiting.  Nothing more and nothing less.

Now I’m far from perfect.  I still get reactive at times and have to slap my ego around occasionally (especially where social media is concerned) but now, more often than not, I can keep myself in check with my sense of self awareness.  I question my motivation before acting and if I can see my ego rearing it’s ugly head, I put it back in it’s box and stop what I’m doing.

At the end of the day, the only ‘likes’ or validations we really need are our own anyway.  What we think of ourselves is what matters the most.  Everything else is simply ego based and in reality, the ego is like a black hole that can never be filled if you don’t think highly enough of yourself.

When I was really ill with bulimarexia, I was totally ruled by the voice in my head and had absolutely no idea that voice was not ‘me’.  It told me I was never enough of this or too much of that and those thoughts were literally killing me.  Then one day, I was given the book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay and upon reading it, I suddenly became aware that I could talk back to my thoughts and that voice talking back was the REAL me.  The other voice was what I referred to as  ‘the monster inside my head’.

It is clear a lot of people suffer from uncontrolled thoughts of a similar nature to what I have described and it comes down to low self esteem.  It is like having your very own bully inside your head and the longer it is allowed to control your mind, the stronger it gets.

So many unfortunately never get to the point where they can put space around their thoughts and understand that is not who they are and my heart breaks for them.  Having an awareness of being aware is the real you.

What it all comes down to is a lack of consciousness.  Instead of being mindful, present and here in the now, thoughts run away in to the past or the future and back again as well as in to negative patterns like comparison and criticism.  But, the more you are aware and ‘with’ yourself, the more you can talk to yourself like you would a best friend.  This enables you to also be present with others and relish in the experiences life has to offer.

As Eckhart Tolle so eloquently puts it in his best selling book ‘A New Earth’…if you are not in a state of acceptance, enthusiasm or enjoyment, you are out of alignment and being out of alignment leads to unhappiness not only for yourself but for others too.  That observation has yielded yet another dimension of an improved reality in my world.

Since I read ‘A New Earth’, which I’ll be honest, I started and restarted several times until I was ready to digest the information it gifted, I’ve noticed a real change in myself. Instead of getting shitty at something happening around me, my awareness has been leading me to the thought of ‘acceptance’….and that in and of itself has taken away any negative emotion tied to the experience I was having.  The rest of the time I seem to be in an organic state of acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm anyway, so it’s only negative reactions to external stuff that I’ve needed to adjust.  There is always going to be a lot of that however.  We all have loads of stuff happening around us on a daily basis, so this newness has been quite profound.

In the past, I’ve been so caught up in the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ of this world that even my hubby has called me “the everything police” because I’ve always had something to say about stuff going on around me that I felt was wrong.  There is no peace in that now is there?!  Now that I can (more often than not) bring acceptance to those thoughts, they bounce off me like a springbok bouncing through the fields.  And that is a lovely way to be.

Until next time.

Love & Light Always,

Yvette xxx

 

Precious time

Hi Lovelies,

I hope this year is treating you well so far.  Can you believe it is March already?  It feels like January flew and we just skipped February altogether don’t you think?  Where on earth did it go?

Noticing the pace of things has been a reminder to me to slow down as much as I can.  The only time we really have is right now and if we are too busy thinking about the past or the future (and not spending time being present) then life just passes you by.

I found myself not being present a lot.  I was spending way too much time scrolling through posts on social media that had absolutely nothing to do with me or left me responding with a negative vibration and it literally made me so upset I couldn’t stop crying a few weekends ago.  In essence, I wasn’t looking after myself properly. I’d lost balance and I’d lost my sense of how best to invest in my ‘now’.  So I decided to change that.

I haven’t deactivated altogether because I want to keep my blog and business pages active.  I get contacted for work a lot through social media as well.  But, what I have done is made myself conscious about what I choose to look at and how much time I allow it to take up, which is only a couple of minutes per day now. I will send birthday messages because lets’ face it, how good is Facebook for birthdays?  See what I did there?    I’ll also look at positive posts, inspirational posts and posts that make me laugh.  I’ll give credit where credit is due and show support to those that need it.  I think social media is great for that too.  But… the second I see something that reminds me I’m wasting time or is negative in any way, I’m out of there and logged out.  That way, in order to go back and have a look, I need to think, do I really want to log in?  Is this really how I want to spend my time?

Before I did this, I had several books that I hadn’t finished reading around the place.  So often in my down time, I intended to get to them but instead of doing so, found myself wasting time instead.  I was absorbing negativity and crap instead of the value these books have now added to my life.

In the 4 weeks since I made this decision, I have finished reading 3 amazing books that I feel will help make me a much better person than scrolling through so much of other people’s ‘stuff’ ever will.

The first book is ‘Chapter One – You have the Power to Change Stuff’ by Daniel Flynn, Co Founder of The Thank You Group.  Do you guys know about this?  The Thank you group is an amazing  social enterprise of young people who started a not for profit business purely for the benefit of helping others.  First there was Thank You Water – of which all profits go to providing safe drinking water in countries that don’t have access to it.  Then they released Thank you Body – from which all profits go to provide sanitisation products in underprivileged countries; and now there is Thank you Baby – which gives all profits to help Mums in underprivileged countries with their baby care.  If you see their products on a shelf – buy them!!  They have provided a platform in which every single one of us can make a difference by purchasing their products.  You can even enter your barcode in to their website so you can see just how the product you have purchased is making a difference.  Amazing right?!  You can find out more about them here http://www.thankyou.co

Then I read ‘The Dalai Lama’s Cat’, by Perth man, David Michie.  Another great read written from the point of view of the cat and the wisdom she picked up by living with His Holiness.  Such an easy and great read.  I highly recommend this one, especially to cat lovers.

Finally, I finished ‘The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey.  Another absolutely brilliant read.  If we all thought and behaved in the ways this book suggests, the world would be a very different place.

The strongest message that comes from all of these books is about how much better life becomes when we make it all about how we can serve others.  We get so caught up in what we can get for ourselves that we often lose sight of this, which I think is a great cause of discontent and unhappiness.  Reading books that help you do this is a gift we give both to ourselves and others in our lives.

I wasn’t giving myself permission to slow down before.  I was caught up in the mindset of ‘I should be doing this’ or ‘I should be doing that’.  I guess what I absorbed from social media contributed to this in a way as it can lead you to compare your life to those of others.

Spending my time in this new, mindful way has been the best reminder that the only thing we should be doing is really thinking about how we invest in our precious time.

What are you going to do on this beautiful day?  Enjoy it.  And make it count.

Love & Light Always,

Yvette xxx

 

Let it go (like a fart)

Happy New Year Lovelies!

I hope 2017 has started well for you and you’re being gentle with yourself after the crazy rollercoaster ride that 2016 was for most of us.  I certainly am, even though the lessons for this year are already coming at me thick and fast.  But I guess that’s what happens when you make self improvement a priority.

One of those lessons for me is about letting go of situations totally out of my control and not allowing the actions of others to affect my energy or feelings.  It’s not something I’ve quite mastered yet but I am sure as hell working on it.  Hard.  In fact, not a day goes by that I don’t do some kind of research to try and figure out how best to deal with my self in relation to accepting what ‘is’ and understanding that many situations we encounter in life may never be resolved.  They are what they are and that has to be ok or it will drive you mad.

Some people are really good at this.  They can cop an arrow to their bubble of protection without so much as the slightest piercing; turn around from the attack; pivot on the shiny floor underneath them and skip away like nothing ever happened.  I envy those people and strive to be just like them one day.  Sooner rather than later I hope.

And then there’s those like me.  I’m a super sensitive and empathetic creature, so when I know someone is choosing to hurt me on purpose, I feel it and as much as I’d like to shake it off like Taylor Swift, it takes a little time for me to process and work through in order to feel centred again.  As I get older, this stage is taking less time with each hit but it’s still something I go through before bouncing back.

We are constantly told ‘don’t give your power away’; ‘what you give energy to will remain’ and statements like this that tell us we should not be letting outside entities shake our core but we are all human having a human experience and from what I can tell, most people are affected by the words and actions of others.  We just get better at dealing with it over time.

Humans can be volatile creatures.  Many whom we come in to contact with and whom we may have close (or not so close) relationships with can be stuck in a place they never move out of and this leads them to behave in ways that are hurtful to others.  I’m sure we’ve all had our share of being on the receiving end of toxic behaviour and the hardest hitting are when you know the person is doing it with intent.  But no matter what, at the end of the day, we can’t control how people choose to treat us.  All we can control is how we choose to respond.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘hurt people hurt people’.  If you remind yourself of this when these situations arise, it makes them a lot easier to deal with.

Forgiveness is also very important; especially when you’ve never even received an apology.  It is a gift we give to ourselves more than anything else and it doesn’t have to mean you forget.  These two dudes express it so eloquently that I had to include this rather than try to express it myself:

 

It’s a powerful video isn’t it?

It’s not easy to let things go but we simply must for our own peace of mind.  Focus on forgiveness; feel whatever it is you need to feel; talk it out and then let it go (like a fart).

 

Love & Light Always,

Yvette xxx

You get what you give

Hi Lovelies,

All my life I’ve heard the term “You get what you give”.  I’m sure we all have.  The thing is though, until the other night, I have always thought the saying was in reference to what we give out or purely about what we give to others.  It had always been my belief that’s what it meant.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Now some might say this makes me a slow learner but on the night in question, I was reflecting on how great things had been for me lately, which was in line with how much better I had been treating myself.  Suddenly it hit me.  “You get what you give” also pertains to what you give to your self.  Lightbulb moment!

I’m not talking about buying yourself gifts or acting in a selfish manner to get what you want out of life, that’s not what I mean at all.  What I am trying to say is the more you treat yourself with genuine respect, love and care, the more life seems to have a way of treating you in the same manner.  The ripple effect is extraordinary once you open yourself up to living your life in a parallel universe.  One in which you behave in a way that is a gift to yourself.

It’s not always easy to maintain this way of being, particularly if it’s vastly different to how you’ve treated yourself in the past.  Life has a way of testing you when things are going fabulously.  Just when you think things are perfect, BOOM!  There it is. Something to shake your soul to ensure the groundwork you’ve been putting in is based on a foundation of truth and strength.  Life’s funny like that.

To be good to yourself takes work.  Consistent, self aware, no bullshit, hard work.  It starts with a decision and from that point on, there’s no denying how much effort is required to bring about real, positive, life changing results.  But it does get easier.  And then, after a while, it becomes second nature.  Well almost.  You still need to stay ‘with’ yourself as much as you can.

Looking back on the things I’ve needed to change over the years, I can totally see how I’ve gotten what I’ve given to myself.  My life was a reflection of what was going on in my head and the self sabotaging patterns I manifested simply validated what  I believed about myself.  Instead of giving myself the love I deserved, I gave myself nothing but grief every step of the way and in return, my life gave me grief.

That’s all changed now.  It has taken a long time and a great deal of patience with myself to get me here but I’m in a very different place now and it feels amazing.

It’s funny isn’t it.  We’re always so great at giving others advice but when it comes to ourselves, we can be so judgey wudgey and downright awful.  It doesn’t make any sense and it’s time to stop.  It’s not our place to judge others and it’s not our place to judge ourselves.  It’s our job to show ourselves (and others) as much love, patience, kindness and nourishment as we can.  Give yourself everything you would want for your favourite person in the universe and you’ll find that life surprises you in kind.  Its quite incredible to observe!

A lot of it comes down to letting go and trusting in the order of things.  It’s a lot easier said than done but once you do, there’s no going back.

It’s important to give to others but make sure you’re giving to yourself first.  Then you’ll have a lot more to give.

give

Wishing you magic every day.

Until next time.

Love & Light Always,

Yvette xxx

Into the groove

Hi Lovelies,

I am sure you’ll agree that one of our biggest challenges in life is actually being present or mindful as often as we can.  To be honest, I don’t really know if anyone can be all of the time.  Well except for perhaps the Dalai Lama.

For me it’s something that I have been good at sometimes over the years, while at others, I am absolutely crap at it.  And when I say crap, I am talking about the repetition of behaviour that I KNOW will make me feel bad about myself but instead of steering away from those bad choices, I’ve found myself going ahead and mindlessly making them anyway because I don’t have the strength / willpower / discipline (whatever you want to call it) to do otherwise.  The aftermath (because there’s no other way to describe it) is a really shitty state of mind, as I literally hammer myself for doing it.  And then I do it again.  Stupid right?!

They say that madness is repeating the same behaviour, expecting different results.  Ain’t that the truth.

Lately those choices that I am referring to are all about how I fuel my body.  I have tried and tested all sorts of dietary changes (delete this / add that) and I have no doubts about what works best for me.  I know that’s different for all of us; what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.  So if I know what makes me feel best in my body, mind and soul, why don’t I just choose the right things all of the time?

If only it were that simple.

Actually it is.  It’s as easy as a decision.

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Recently something happened that triggered a change for me.  I was expressing how terrible I was feeling about what I’d eaten the night before when my darling hubby said “Stop being mean to my wife please!”  Having been an advocate for taking responsibility for oneself and being your own best friend, I realised that I had been quite the opposite for some time.  A walking contradiction so to speak.  But that’s ok because I feel like I’ve finally learnt the lesson once and for all and although it is fresh, I know I’m not going to look back.

Ever since then, every single choice that I have made about what goes in to my body has been a mindful one. I choose life and health instead of death or disease.  It’s as simple as that.

And although I have spent as long as I can remember trying to be smaller than I am, it’s not about that for me anymore.  Sure, I understand that by making the choices that I am making, the extra weight that I was carrying will drop off – and it is – but it’s not about how I look.  It’s about how I feel.

It’s about taking responsibility for my mental health and choosing to feel great instead of shitty.

I feel better when I nourish my body with the right foods.

I feel better when I really listen to what my body wants and if you are still enough to hear it, you will know what that is for you too.

The bonus is that this time,  I won’t wish that I was smaller for the first time in my life because I will finally appreciate my body for what it does and how it feels rather than for what it looks like.  For someone that has struggled with body image all of my life, I am already feeling the freedom this brings.

I get it.  I have needed to sit with my bad decisions and the consequences that came from making them for some time.   Now, I can really appreciate my new state of mind and my healthy body for what it is.

I know that I can choose ‘Happy’ or ‘Crappy’ everyday and I choose ‘Happy’.

I got my groove back and that’s a beautiful thing.

Until next time.

Love & Light Always,

Yvette xxx

 

 

Here we go again

Hi Lovelies,

It’s hard to believe it’s that time again.  Where on earth has the year gone?  I know we all say it every single year and that’s because each one becomes a smaller percentage of your life, so it totally makes sense that it gets faster and faster.  We are all feeling the same thing.

This time of year can bring up a number or issues for a lot of people, especially when it comes to seeing those we don’t spend a lot of time with but that the season brings together.

Traditionally, the season is about family and friends and it’s not always pleasant for everyone.  Especially if there is someone in your life that you don’t see eye to eye with.

If you are anything like me, you’re the type of person that’s prepared to go the extra mile to have true and authentic relationships in your life, so it can be very frustrating when someone won’t meet you half way.  Sometimes you just have to accept that things may never be positive with that person and there’s nothing you can do about that.  As we all know, it takes two to tango and if one is not prepared to put their dancing shoes on, you can’t make them join you on the dance floor.

So what can you do to make the situation pleasant for everyone?

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For me, it’s about rising above it and accepting it for what it is.  If you take the path of least resistance, then you not only make it a better experience for everyone else, you make it easier and more pleasant for yourself as well.  Focus on all of the positives that you are surrounded by and feel gratitude for all of the wonderful people in your life.  Try not to focus too much on the difficult situations or people.  If you do, you are only giving your power away.

There are also exercises that you can do before you walk in to a room with that person (or people) as well.  Exercises that protect your space from being invaded and affected by their energy.  Take a minute to breathe and imagine the person is in front of you, while pushing your arms out, you can say to yourself  “You are not allowed in my space”.  Keep the area around you clear and you will be able to protect your own energy and positive vibes and maintain your calm and serenity.

 

Boundary.

What you need to know is that it’s okay for you to put a protection barrier up around you.  In fact, it’s healthy and totally necessary to avoid the repetition of patterns that clearly have not worked in the past.  There is no point beating your head against a wall and trying to make things work if the other person simply won’t come to the party.

It’s also okay for you to avoid that person.  The best thing about get togethers is that there are usually lots of other people that you can focus your time and energy on, so you don’t have to make inauthentic small talk with those that you don’t get along with.  Sure, you should still be pleasant, but you don’t have to engage in conversation with someone that has caused you stress or pain.  It’s okay to say ‘no’ to allowing that person in to your life if they don’t deserve to be there.

Healthy boundaries are exactly that, healthy.   They are a necessary part of maintaining our own mental health.  If you have someone in your life that you find very difficult to be around for whatever reason, it is essential for you to put your bubble of protection around you if you can’t avoid them.  It is a sign of self respect.

Although it can be challenging, it doesn’t have to be unpleasant.  With a bit of mental preparation and self talk, you can get through the festive season and deal with difficult people in a positive way.  And remember, those that challenge us, teach us, so embrace the lesson that they are there to teach you.

Love & Light Always,

Yvette xxx