One of the most important life lessons I’ve learnt in recent years - a lesson that is still very much a work in progress - is to prioritise nurturing and nourishing myself. And to understand what that even means. There is common theme of religious text about giving to others. And that being a woman is a nurturing - to the point of self-sacrificing - role: Others before self. So most of my life, I grew up not even conscious that I thoroughly believed that to give to myself - to look after myself - was incredibly selfish. This understanding, this belief has been all around me my entire life - in conversations and in the general atmosphere. And although I have always been drawn to Buddhist philosophy (not the religion but the ideas), it focusses heavily on selflessness and egolessness. When I was young, this strengthened what I felt which was that “I am of no value”, “I do not exist”. And if I ever did feel like someone had been unjust toward me or I felt like I needed to stand up for myself, or simply say “no”, I thought that it was a selfish act. And that was confirmed by the reactions from others I received when I did stand up for myself. Which made me feel guilt and shame. And so the cycle continued for many, many years…
Until I stopped it. That was when I went to Paris in 2006. When I left all that I knew to be safe. With distance I learnt that much of what I understood to be safe wasn’t safe. It was an illusion - an illusion “to keep me safe”. That’s a very hard reality pill to swallow.
But what I discovered in this journeying was incredible: I discovered that I am safe. Within me, I am safe - I am capable of nurturing and nourishing myself. I am strong and wise and beautiful, and I can fly without a safety net below. For me to even write those words in a public space - let alone think and feel them deeply to be true without feeling selfish or guilty or ashamed - is huge. It’s a magnificent feeling, and it’s a feeling I want every person I encounter to experience. If I could give this feeling to everyone in the world, I would. That’s why I’m so compelled to do what I do, to learn everything I can about intuition and support people in connecting with their intuition (as this is the foundation of it all) in as many different creative ways as possible…
At this time of year, so many emotions rise to the surface. For me, I think of my original family and how we are no longer connected, I think of times spent together in the past, but mostly I think of my Mum. I miss her enormously at the moment. I want to hug her, tell her all that I’ve learnt this year through the experiences I’ve had, I want to tell her I understand now how much she did for us that I didn’t truly realise until now, and how grateful I am for her being my mum. I want to tell her that I wish she had been more self-nurturing, and that I’ve been wondering if she might still be here if she wasn’t so self-sacrificing in order to boost the lives of those around her. Mums are our original anchors. Literally - our umbilical cord was attached to their inner most sacred space which nourished us for ten moons. And until we find our own anchor within, we will always be attached to hers, even when she is no longer living.
But I am feeling a significant shift within and all around. The more time people spend reflecting inward, the more we understand our society and ourselves, and the more we can be in life without trying to put anchors in material wealth, in beliefs, in events and in other people. We will be anchored in our own self - not ego, but ‘self’ - and we can form deeper, real connections through our intuition with those around us.
Christmas is one of those yearly events that I still find difficult to release anchor, even with my awareness and the positive changes we’ve made. It’s so ingrained in our way of life that I still find myself wanting it to be a certain way, to feel a certain way. I know it’s because the anchor is still there, and I’m slowly working on pulling it up and placing it back inside myself.
WABI SABI WISDOM from Beth Kempton…
(an excerpt from Festive Season Reimagined, page 10)
Beth Kempton is a friend and fellow author whose knowledge and enthusiasm for Japanese culture knows no bounds. She recently released a gorgeous book all about the concept of wabi sabi, titled Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life. I asked Beth her thoughts on how we can incorporate wabi sabi at this time...
“So many of us put pressure on ourselves to deliver the perfect Christmas - a perfectly cooked dinner in a perfectly tidy house, with perfect gifts for everyone and perfectly convivial conversation all day long, but in doing so we are setting ourselves up for stress and pressure. This relentless pursuit of Christmas perfection often makes us forget to enjoy the precious moments that occur when we aren’t paying attention. Embracing the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, which reminds us to appreciate the beauty in imperfection and the gifts of simple natural living, can bring calm and love to your festivities. Give yourself permission to let go of traditions that no longer serve you and seek beauty in the small moments of magic offered by the season.”
Thank you Beth for sharing your wisdom in your book and extending your knowledge with all of us through our connection. It’s such great advice to carry with us as we move through the next few days.
I have a number of beautiful projects in the works for the year coming to enrich and ignite that part of us that is yearning to be heard. In the meantime, I’ve created lots of content over the past month or two that will support you in your creative pursuits, I have listed them below.
There has been much loss and endings this year - I’ve observed many long term relationship breakdowns, business endings, and life passings. For some it will be a tough time, which is why I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reimagining this week as a time for self- nurturing and nourishing - and if you don’t know what that means for you, to take the time to think and reflect on it. It’s a whole chapter in my book, which you can order digitally if you’d like to read it straight away. The second print run is on its way too, and I’ll continue to send out orders when they arrive. It’s not a book just for now, it’s for the whole year, so you’ll benefit from it now and for the years to come.
Happy festive season dear hearts,
PS. Yesterday I wanted to talk to my mum, hug her and be in her presence and last night I did just that in a dream. I feel like I just saw her, and today the grief has transformed. I’m not sure if it’s my connection to my heart space, but this is one thing I’ve been able to do whenever I’ve needed to since she passed. Perhaps it’s a side effect? I’ll see what I can find out and let you know - if so, it’s yet another incentive to strengthen it within us.
Links to check out over the festive season:
New piano compositions on Patreon including the latest one I recorded yesterday. If you become part of the collective now, you’ll be able to download all 6 songs to create a playlist to listen to to strengthen your connection to your intuition - it will be a wonderful way to end and start the new year if you feel that deep desire to pursue your dreams but don’t know where to start.
Reimagining the Festive Season, and interview between me and Kayla Robertson on the All Being Well podcast. All about how to reflect, self-nurture and reimagine this time of year.
Episode 8: Christmas aka The Festive Season podcast with Shona & I - a bit of light hearted banter about how different this time of year is! (scroll down the bottom to listen)