I don't know about you, but this year has been a very trying one for me. On every level, I've experienced growth. This is a very personal journal entry from me, Anastasia, for you to read. If anything I have shared here resonates with you, please leave a comment below. I always appreciate your emails when you ladies can relate to something I've written about, but let's keep the conversation open for other ladies to read, who may be a little more shy.
First things first: Dealing with grief.
Losing my dad back in December hit me a lot harder than I ever thought it would. I was a daddy's girl in a sense, because he always gave me everything and I was spoilt in that way. But my father was also emotionally unavailable to me. Perhaps it's because I have such a strong mother, my relationship with my father was always monitored by her. We never really had a direct line of communication. So when he unexpectedly passed away, just as I had moved to London, I felt like there were so many things left unsaid.
My birthday on the 12th September, was the 9 month anniversary of his death. It's strange how you never realise what an important role someone has in your life, until they are no longer there. I have been experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, randomly crying when I think of him, remembering things from when I was a child, the stories he read us, his poetry. Suddenly everything seems like it was yesterday.
Love, marriage (and divorce in my case) and death really does put all your relationships under a magnifying glass and makes you reassess the people you keep closest to you. Losing my father has made me much more vocal about my feelings with everyone. I always have been quite emotional, but on a more introvert level.
Now, I tell everyone in my life that I love them, and I truly do mean it. I tell my friends, my family, even work associates that I love them. My official sign off for work emails is Love & light, instead of my old Best regards. I don't even care if I appear like a hippie, or unprofessional, because it feels authentic to me. You never know when the last time will be that you see someone, and quite frankly, life is too short to give a damn!
I still feel his presence around me, and get excited whenever I see a bee. On the day of his funeral and the few days after, there was a bee that kept buzzing around the house and wouldn't leave until his eventual death. We believe his soul is represented by bees now. It most certainly suits his personality and his sharp tongue!
For the first time, I see bees all around, in my home, on my car, in my glass at a pub. I feel his spirit guiding me in my time of need. I still am not completely done grieving, as I feel I have more tears to cry, but it is a process, and it does take time. It's the first year, so every milestone is still a 'first without him'. First birthday, first Easter, first summer. I know with time it will get easier and I won't well up just at the thought of him.
Follow your flow: learning to slow down
Periods. They are our body's cycle, just like the earth has her seasonal cycles, and daily cycles, our body goes through it's own cycle and when you are in tune with your body, you can care for her and listen to her because she tells you exactly what she needs and when she needs it.
I have always suffered from very difficult periods, and a heavy flow. Especially the first three days (it used to be 4-5) are the days that I literally cannot leave home. I used to skip school or call in sick to work, and always had to make up some bullshit excuse why I was not feeling well. The truth it, I can't walk when I start my period. I feel like I am constantly leaking, and my ovaries hurt up to my knees. It feels like the femur bone and knee caps are cracking and my insides are being pulled out of me. Too much information, I know, and unless you have the same kind of pains, you simple will never understand.
I recently went to a talk in London, for women, on spirituality, entrepreneurship and femininity, and one of the speakers, Marilyn from @mylkymoonlab, spoke about the benefits of tracking your menstrual cycle and working around what your body needs during this time. It was the first time I had ever considered pre-menstrual stress as a good thing. Marilyn describes the pre-menstrual and menstrual phases as your feminine phases / fall and winter, when you need to slow down, and you are 100% authentically you. If you think about it, when you are having PMS and are in your bitch-mode, you are not being difficult, you simply have less patience, and are not in the mood for caring about other people's feelings and needs. This is the time that you are you, and your needs become evident to you (and others - whether they like them or not).
Your ovulation period, or spring - summer is when you are in your masculine phase and have high energy and feeling sociable, often taking on more things at work and at home and are more willing to be accommodating. Then as the cycle turns again, and you need to slow down and take it slower, your ego often won't let you listen to your body and you try to continue working with the same rhythm you were able to before.
This is why women who are juggling motherhood with a career and home often suffer from exhaustion and even a mental melt down. I've even heard of a woman who would make herself sick, just so that she could go spend some days in a clinic away from her husband and children. Isn't that sad?
Throw entrepreneurship (or solopreneurship) into that equation and you have a real recipe for disaster!
Since quitting my day job and working for myself, of course I did not have to make the excuses to a boss anymore why I am always sick on a monthly basis, but I did find myself feeling guilty if I took time off and would continue to work even from bed, although I really couldn't get much done. For the first time this month, when I started my period, I took two full days off. One full day I simply did not get out of bed and was slipping in and out of a comatose state of sleep, reading books and listening to guided meditations. The next day, I made a conscious decision to clean the house, and listen to soothing music, and not work on my computer or phone at all. No emails, no social media and no feeling guilty!
The third day when I did finally sit at my desk to work, was one of the most productive days I've had in a very long time. Amen sister!
I promised myself that from now on, I will give my body a day off whenever she needs it. I have many mental blocks when I have been under stress, and not only does pushing myself give me an outcome I am not happy with, but I feel exhausted and drained too! Not good for me, and not good for those around me.
I have also started take one weekend day off social media. Although it is a tool I use for work, it's also a distraction and procrastination aid.
Nourish your body, mind and soul. Feed it well, move daily, do what you love (for me that is hot yoga and body weight training), stay hydrated and your mind will in turn be creative, inspired and productive. Your body is your home, your temple, your machine. The better condition you keep it in, the better the machine will run.
Dear Diary: Journalling
I now enjoy doing guided meditations daily, at least once a day, alongside journalling. Since I have started consulting other women who want to develop their brand and business, this is one of the key stone practices I also have them start. New habits need to replace old ones, and this includes thinking patterns, if you want to see different results.
It's no use using bricks instead of stones to build a house if the foundation is still quick sand.
Journalling has been a great practice for me. It's helped me start the day, or prepare for a meeting with a positive high vibration and one of accomplishment. Having a high vibe is infectious and it attracts more good and positivity into your life. I journal about the day ahead (in present tense) or even a day in the future. I write details like what my house looks like, what my team is like that I work with, the feeling I have of confidence, positivity and accomplishment, the mood I wake up in, even the sound of laughter of my children.
Literally, it's like writing a diary entry of your future self, and it conjures up all these wonderful happy and positive feelings. Abraham Hicks says to stay in your vortex you need to connect with those positive emotions, and that emotion and inspired action brings the results you crave and wish for. By writing it in present tense, you are feeling the emotions you wish to feel, instead of feelings of longing or lacking, which are negative and only push that wish further away from you, creating more stress.
I also set ONE intention per day. Just one. When you have a goal which is higher up on that ladder of life, the more intentions you set for yourself, the longer and higher that ladder appears, causing anxiety. By setting yourself just one to three tasks per day, that are absolutely achievable, you will finish the day with a sense of accomplishment, and the next day you'll only need to focus on the very next step. It really has been a very good habit for me (the eternal perfectionist and procrastinator), and has helped me sleep better with less anxiety for the daunting task of never ending lists for the next day.
Let me know if you enjoyed this article by leaving your comments below. Was there anything that resonated with you? What practices do you do to find yourself and follow your flow?
Love & light
So beautiful Anastasia, thank you for sharing so openly x