Adapting to our own uniqueness

With the new year upon us I feel a surge of energy, as though many of us are at a similar point, this being the cross roads and wanting to step into the unknown land beyond.  To move out of our comfort and rise bravely into the upward flow, into our own unique power.  This collective feeling is powerful in itself – collective goals, visions and intentions really do set the energy flow for the planet.  Our ripple, our energy, is as important as anyone else’s, we are each responsible for lifting and ultimately loving each other.

So how will we adapt to this new feeling, these new changes?  What will prevent the retreat?

Having recently returned from a magical trip 250Km north of the arctic circle, I feel compelled to share some observations from being briefly immersed in raw nature which never fails to quickly reveal life force adaptations at their very core.

In conditions of -30 degrees celsius, four hours of subdued daylight Dec-Jan, permafrost and deep snow from Oct through to June, life gets stripped back to basic pretty quickly.  Observing how the natural environment adapts can give us insights and clues as to where we, as humans, can possibly apply the same learnings.

Flora:

Trees: The back bone and I feel also connected to the neuro pathway and heart of our planet, in these harsh conditions they conserve energy, they have enduring resilience and they unashameably rest.  They preserve themselves, take care of themselves, knowing that ultimately this is taking care of their species and beyond.

They are tall and slender, arrow like, allowing themselves to reach the little light there is, plus shedding the burden of heavy snow that collects.  They have short root systems allowing them to grow in the shallow layers of earth that defrosts quicker.  In the dry conditions they conserve water by having a waxy bark and needles.  They grow quick and adapt fast when conditions allow.

They grow along-side their neighbours, providing shelter for one another against the harsh winds and create collaborations of nutrient and water exchange, they absorb our unwanted gas (Co2) and provide us all unconditionally with fresh new oxygen.

Fauna:

Like the flora there are minimal species that can survive such harsh conditions but those that do are incredibly successful.  The two I want to mention are the Reindeer of which there are more of than people and the Alaskan Husky.

Reindeer: They are so well equipped with tools for survival, just to name a few:

  • their hide is thick and in layers, collectively protecting from wet and insulating from the extreme cold.

 

  • hooves, soft in summer, hard in winter, clicking ankle tendons enabling communication in the darkest of conditions.

 

  • special ultra violet vision, seeing predatory urine and silouhettes on the horizon

 

  • Huge herds, timely rutting and extremely fast birth (90 mins) all linked to seasons and conditions. They are a master class of adapatation.

 

Alaskan Husky: The only mammal on the planet that can run up to 200km a day for seven days on the trot. Their endurance is simply remarkable.

  • They work as a team; those most experienced conserve every ounce of energy. They don’t even sit till they are sure they are about to run, and only then do they stand, and then with every bit of energy, they run out of the gate and hate to be told to stop.

 

  • They huddle together for warmth at rest, as soon as the run is over they lie down.

 

  • They choose their position in the pack, they know and play to their strengths and the females are predominately the leaders.

Light: Take sunlight away and you are left in darkness.  Take darkness away and you are left only with light.  The challenges each environment brings are equal in measure.

In the physical sense, continuing to work and maintain motivation while living in darkness and other extreme conditions, takes extreme adaptation. Only the life-maintaining tasks are important, the rest is extra.  From just being in this environment for a few days, experiencing first-hand how quickly body heat and energy deplete, it has given me even more profound respect to all those organisms enduring these conditions for months on end.  The simplicity of the fire and all that it symbolises: warmth, light, food, hope, rest, security….it really is that simple at times.

We humans like to over complicate everything. We believe we must work to live whereas other species simply live.

 

What can we learn?

  • Looking after self is imperative to the success of the whole. The whole as ‘self’ and the whole as ‘us’, the planet and its occupants.  This is not a selfish act, it is key to ultimate survival.  It begins with SELF LOVE, only through loving ourselves enough to respect our own needs in our own environment can there begin to be any understanding and awareness of what our neighbours require.  Love and acceptance of self is where success begins.

 

  • We all have our own seasons, metaphorically speaking. These seasons bring periods of growth and abundance and those of perceived lack; in motivation, energy, creativity, resources. Here we can learn to reframe these perceptions and learn where it is important to conserve our energy.  To rest, recharge, and know when to begin to sow again.  The natural seasons come and go, as do our working/life seasons.  We can predict our yearly spring and we can predict our yearly winter, we can do this annually and throughout our lives.  These do not need to mirror nature’s seasons, but our actions do well to follow nature’s lead.  This is where looking sideways at others in their own season is unhelpful.  You, and only you, know where you are at and where you are aiming.  Keep that vision clear, keep it true. It’s important to maintain our own routines and rituals, making clear our own intentions.  Let those around us see how we do it, therefore inviting them to do the same.  Let’s lead through our actions.  The huskies learn well from their peers, the youngsters soon learn that the energy they expel in all the excited barking and jumping is better placed on the actual run, than before. They soon learn where their unique strengths lie and naturally excel in that pack position.

 

  • What have you got which makes you unique? Each of the species in these harsh environments not only have, and celebrate, their own unique adaptations, but they also each collectively supported each other. Whether in large herds, forests or packs, they feed off one another’s energy. Like them we need support, we need to be in environments where we depend on each other’s success and not be jealous or overly competitive of one another.  Surrounding ourselves with like-minded positivity will fuel momentum and encourage bravery. Knowing we have a tribe to support us in our moment is enough to get us over the fear. Knowing what we need and having that clear intention attracts that tribe. First step is to ask.

 

  • Balance is key. Whether 24 hours of light or darkness, both have the capacity to drives us mad. The ideal is balance, and when the balance is tipped temporarily in one direction, the key is planning, adaptation and simplicity.  This can be applied to everything.  Too much work leads to burn out, too much rest leads to boredom.  Knowing what grounds us, reconnects us and builds us vs what takes from us, depletes us and blocks us, is essential for creative adaptation and success.  I know that I can easily slip into ‘permanent on’, and I struggle to find the off switch. This can drive anxiety of overwhelm, panic and ultimately leaves an empty shell. At the same time trying to be ‘off’ at home feels false.  The only true place I can be off and truly 100% present is when surrounded by nature.  It is core to my very being.  I am so quickly absorbed,  inspired, and in awe, that I leave behind my monkey brain for a few moments.  Knowing this is key to my existence, to my success. I need to get outside every day.  There is no excuse of no time as the consequences are too profound on those I love, including myself, if I don’t. Know your needs and put them first. Make a daily date with self.

Like the fire, we all work better with a beacon of light guiding our way. This light keeps us focussed, determined and stepping forward.  When we work out what we need as our light, we can build it into our routine. Is it an image, a person, an experience, a vision/goal, a habit, a ritual? You, and only you, know your light – so use it.

With this new year I feel hopeful, and it is the first time in a long time. We have such power within each of us not only to achieve individually but collectively too.  I am excited to work with those who feel the same energy and who are vibrating on this wavelength.  It is my intention to partner those who are on the cusp of change, who are ready to look at a new horizon and choose who they want to be, what they want to represent and who they want to inspire.  Each of us has that choice every day, waking up to accepting our own uniqueness, recognising our own strengths and celebrating those in others.

Welcoming in 2018 with an open, grateful heart, and ready to help you adapt to your own uniqueness.

With love

Sam

Awareness of the in-betweeners; insights following a struggle to pregnancy.

Have you ever felt like that newbie, that in-betweener, you don’t quite fit in?

Having shared a bit of my struggle to motherhood story a few months ago, I am clear that it was the right thing to do, not only for myself but more than that, for the response I received from other people. It opened the door just a tiny bit further allowing others around me to mention a friend, a sister, a brother or a loved one who is on or who has had a difficult journey of their own.  I was struck by the number of people who spoke to me, and the genuine compassion in their eyes and words.

I have since found myself drawn to follow a number of miscarriage and infertility support organisations on social media and I regularly review the press.  Here I see so many other men and women sharing their journey, their pains, thoughts and feelings, and reaching out to those who need it most. One of the most striking observations are the rare stories I read from the ‘in-betweeners’, the couples, individuals who feel unsure sharing their stories because they feel they don’t quite ‘fit in’ to any particular group.  Being on the edge is always a difficult place and when it’s associated with a difficult topic such as infertility, it makes it all the more awkward, and I guess one of the reasons it isn’t talked about.

Who are the ‘in-betweeners’?

  • Those right at the start of their pregnancy journey, filled with so much hope, often unknowing and rightly so, of the challenges some people face but who are beginning to wonder if they have a problem. It’s taking a while, self-doubt begins to creeps in. They feel like they can’t mention it, perhaps even to their partner, as everyone else seems to be conceiving OK, so who wants to hear it? Worrying about nothing right? But so anxious all the same.
  • Those who, after coping with the shock and trauma of miscarriage number 1 or 2, are beginning to open up. Perhaps they are beginning to ask for help and realise that they are one of millions, standing at the bottom of a mountain of information.  They haven’t started on the IUI, IVF route and are beginning to hear about how many other people are on miscarriage 4/5/6/7. They might be thinking their woes are not as bad, and therefore not worthy of airing. They still hope that none of the acronyms will be needed for them and that they will conceive OK next time….but they are filled with anxiety.
  • Those who have newly ‘qualified’ for IUI, after suffering too many losses already. They have belief and are hopeful that, with a little bit of help, it will be OK, but are surrounded by stories of it not working: “we did IUI 3/4 times’, “good luck… it didn’t work for us but you have to do it.”
  • Those making new friends in the IVF waiting rooms, again entering as the newbie, already vulnerable to pain, loss both mentally and physically and now facing the gruelling beginning AGAIN.
  • Those that have children already but are struggling with conceiving a second, or third and perhaps feeling like they are not allowed to voice their grief, their story, because they have been ‘lucky’ already.
  • Those who have now been through IVF to the point of no more, coping with endless grief, loss, and heart ache. Do they now consider being the newbie again in a different scenario, such as adoption/surrogacy or whatever the options are, if any.
  • Or those re-presenting, vulnerable and so exposed as the individual/couple that tried but ‘can’t’.

These are just a handful of examples and there are many, many more events, times and situations where it may feel like your story is of no use, no interest. It’s common to feel that others have had it so much harder than you, or that no one will ever understand your grief, your pain, and the torture this has caused you.

What is clear, is that this painful life journey brings up more than you expect.  You don’t plan for or anticipate emotions of being the newbie, the ‘in-experienced ones’ and yet you get repeatedly transported back to those feelings of being the new kid in class who doesn’t know the teachers’ names, or have any friends yet, doesn’t know where anything is and has to learn fast.  You become totally over-whelmed with information, science, wellness, diet, cycles, and other people’s stories. Often we are not aware of how much from these stories we unconsciously take on and how much they may take from us at a time when every ounce of strength is needed to move forward.

Add in for good measure the insensitivities that society seemingly throws at us daily, such as the perfect family images, the questions on when you are having your family, your next baby, or the assumptions that you are just focussing on your career for now.  Plus, the doctors telling you to relax, it will happen, and the endless ADVICE from everyone who feels obliged to HELP you as you are obviously incapable of helping yourselves.

In these times….

It is incredibly important to observe yourself and your needs.  You deserve the most sensitive, caring, heartfelt, loving self-care of all.  You deserve what you would give to anyone else in difficult times. We are often our own worst critics, we hide from our feelings, we perfect non-attachment to them, we are so hard on ourselves.  It is not selfish, weak or self-centred to need to share, to talk or to be quiet.  It is not hurtful to need to talk to a stranger rather than your partner, your friends, or family.

Being brave enough to open up and be vulnerable won’t get you pregnant but it will help you keep a bit of YOU.  Acknowledging the pain and rawness of your emotions when they are happening, or even after years of hiding them, allows others to acknowledge theirs.  Through compassion and kindness to yourselves by sharing your stories, you are opening doors to all those around you to do the same.

Never forget how important you are.

If you want to share your story and are feeling a moment of bravery, go ahead, I am gently listening.

With love

Sam x

Do Your New Year Resolutions Have Roots?

So the New Year is nearly here, the festive season is in full swing and in my case winter is upon us, giving us every available excuse to eat a bit more stodge, drink a few more glasses of red and nibble a bit more cheese!! Then the inevitable thoughts creep in…… Right in the new year I will loose weight, get fitter, eat more healthily, see more friends and family, find more ‘me’ time, get a better work life balance, stop drinking, etc.
Continue reading “Do Your New Year Resolutions Have Roots?”