Oh F**k…I’m ‘The One’!

 

 

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I am happier with who I am than ever before. Sure things are not perfect (whatever that means). I could do with another zero or two on my bank balance. But my life is generally great.

I keep attracting amazing people into my life. I know more now than ever before what I want to share in the world. Even if it is not fully formed just yet. I’m learning and evolving all of the time and I hope becoming a better person in the process.

And then….sometimes…I just think…F**K THIS! I just don’t have a clue what my purpose or point is. It does not seem to be that I am here to raise a family or even be a partner of another human right now. So that conventional life has passed me by for the time being. Though I love people…I love to bring people together. I love to empower others. I love to share what I can. I love to help others when I can. To inspire, where possible…I hope I do.

And yet my heart yearns for connection….for a deep, profound connection. With another being. And its eludes me…and I’m totally flummoxed as to why! I don’t think I’m too mental. I’m fairly nice to look at, I look after myself. I’m funny. I’m fun. I love adventure. Travel. To dance. To live! Am I missing something? Am I missing the point? Is there just this missing piece of myself that I’m yet to find that needs to slot into place before the Universe goes…’OK Sophie. You got it! Your ready. Here you go…heres your soulmate. Enjoy!!!’

And then I realise….’The Soulmate’…they are not the thing. I’m the thing! I’m the one! It sounds like a cliche but its actually true.

A few years ago around 2012-13…I ‘left myself’ in a number of ways. I treated myself badly. My body, my heart. Let myself be with people who did not deserve me. I thought loving me was someone elses job. I could maintain the status quo ( just about) but the valuing, loving and caring thing. That was for someone else to worry about. And in return…I would value, love and care for them. Like an exchange….you love me and I’ll love you back. You leave me however….well…f**k you very much!!!

And when the shit hit the fan in a rather big way,(as it does when we put our precious happiness in the hands of another).  I tried to run away…from myself…but that’s just not possible…no matter how far you run, you will always be there. Bruised and broken, needing love and support. From the only one who can really give it….from ourselves. But I didn’t realise. I didn’t know…but I did work it out eventually.

And so, only in the last few years. I have begun to care for me. Do what serves me. What I need. I have done this in a number of ways……

Through beginning to truly respect my body as a divine instrument (well it is!). I no longer entertain the ‘ones’ who want to take what they want from me for their own purposes, if it doesn’t serve me first and foremost (and I’m not just talking about romantic relationships…but any relationships that are abusive or toxic). As a result…I attract more and more amazing people into my life all the time. And the ones who are takers or I’m not aligned with?….well I clock them way sooner!.

I put myself in peoples company whom I love. Those relationships that are nurturing. That feed my soul, that inspire me. Some relationships have gone by the wayside…and thats ok.

I do what feels good in and for my body. I move as much as I can, yoga and dance are my tools for processing and expressing. But I try to keep it light if I can. Its easy to abuse yourself with a yoga practice and I have done so many times. But I hope I’ve given that up now.

I track my menstrual cycle and do what my body asks me to do at certain times of the month. Ie I rest as much as possible day 1-2 of my cycle. It makes a huge difference to my energy levels. I don’t feel guilty at all when I do it…I look forward to it. I don’t dread my periods anymore, I treat my cycle as a gift. A blessing. A tool to check in with how I am throughout the month.

I put myself in nature as much as possible. Ideally in the sea! I love the water…I’m not much of a swimmer but the feeling of being and immersing myself in the water is healing. I live by the sea now and I think I will always want to from now on.

I eat as well as I can, feed my body with good stuff…and if I don’t….I don’t give myself a hard time about it.

I’m as good a person as I can be….and if I slip up…get judgy or bitchy…I hope I notice sharpish…and if I don’t, well, I try not to judge myself too harshly either. I do my best.

Im getting out there and sharing what I’m passionate about more and more.Sharing my journey. Being brave and stepping up more. Knowing and believing I do have something worthwhile to share with others.

This is still a journey of course…I’m still very much on the road. I am though…enjoying travelling with myself more and more now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Power of the Female Cycle

sophie cleere

There is a hidden power that we women have within us and few of us realise it….

It is inbuilt inside us….gifted by nature. The thing is…not only are we unaware of its transformative power, many of us actually perceive it to be something negative. Something that we just have to put up with every month. A ‘Curse’ even.

Our periods are seen by many women as a physical and emotional pain, something that gets in the way of our normal active and busy lives.  Something to be ashamed about and we sure as hell don’t want to talk about it! You only need to take a look at Tampon Adverts to see this. Don’t your let periods take over! Have power over your period by ignoring it completely. Be discreet ladies…don’t let on. The world may well hold it against us! Climb mountains, swim oceans, but don’t…whatever you do stop!. Don’t slow…

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The Power of the Female Cycle

There is a hidden power that we women have within us and few of us realise it….

It is inbuilt inside us….gifted by nature. The thing is…not only are we unaware of its transformative power, many of us actually perceive it to be something negative. Something that we just have to put up with every month. A ‘Curse’ even.

Our periods are seen by many women as a physical and emotional pain, something that gets in the way of our normal active and busy lives.  Something to be ashamed about and we sure as hell don’t want to talk about it! You only need to take a look at Tampon Adverts to see this. Don’t your let periods take over! Have power over your period by ignoring it completely. Be discreet ladies…don’t let on. The world may well hold it against us! Climb mountains, swim oceans, but don’t…whatever you do stop!. Don’t slow down. Take rest. And for goodness sake….do not listen to your body!

Because what most of us need to do during menstruation is exactly that…to rest. To listen to our bodies wisdom. Every month we are gifted with this invitation to take time for ourselves. But many of us don’t take it…and we don’t even think we should…in fact we feel guilty for doing so.

This subject is a huge one. So in this short blog I just want to touch upon the key that can open the door to a whole new world and a transformative process that can put you back in touch with your very own inner Guru. Sounding good so far?

I had never really had a good grasp on my cycle, never had much of a clue when I was due to get my period or where I was in my cycle. My body would give me signals, sore breasts, crankiness, lethargy  just before menstruation, but aside from this I was clueless. However, I always felt I was missing something…even though I have a regular yoga practice that requires rest on the first 3 days of a womans cycle. I was doing little else to honour it.

Last year I attended a week long Womb Yoga training with highly accomplished womens yoga teacher, therapist, activist Uma Dinsmore Tuli. On the first day we talked about our cycles in terms of seasons. Winter (menstruation), Spring(pre ovulation), Summer(ovulation), Autumn(pre menstruation).

We were asked which was our favourite season? Our least favourite? Which season were we currently in? How did we feel in each season? Did we track our cycle? This workshop blew my mind! Not only because a whole new world opened up to me, but I could not believe I had been so clueless. And although I shared a room with around 40 yoga teachers, therapists and generally bodily and spiritually in tune women. I was no where near alone in my lack of understanding! Wow! This was radicle! We also discussed the huge need for deep rest during menstruation…again a brand new concept.

So I began to track my cycle daily….

My state of mind, my energy levels, how my body felt, did I feel connected to others or did I want to retreat?  Every day. I would take much more notice of these patterns during each cycle. I began to take proper rest during menstruation and specifically on day one of my cycle…and something amazing happened. When I took proper rest, I had no need for pain killers. When I allowed myself that space to feel my sometimes erratic emotions during my cycle, knowing why I was feeling them allowed me to stop judging myself so harshly.

I am only touching upon this as I want to ask you..if you don’t already track your cycle, to begin doing so. There are many ways to do this. On your phone in the form of Apps, Journaling, Using charts. Whatever works best for you. As long as you can keep track and look back at the cycles when you want to. I do something like this….

 

Day 1 (first day of bleeding) – Date

  • Feeling physically
  • Feeling emotionally
  • Energy levels
  • Dreams
  • Any important things/conversations/arguments that happened that day

…..it takes minutes, you can just store it on your phone or computer…easy peasy!

You may start to notice patterns repeating each month. When you start to do this you become much more friendly with Menstruation and your own unique cycle. How you feel during different ‘seasons’. You can even plan you diary around your cycle!!!!. I don’t know about you but the last thing to do during menstruation is Sky Diving!!!

It’s also a daily check in…just a few minutes of your day to see how you are doing…every day.

By getting intimate with our own inner rhythm we can begin to see the beauty in this gift…that each month allows us the opportunity to go through a whole life cycle and shed what no longer serves us…in my experience changing my relationship with my own cycle is revolutionary.  I encourage you to join me!

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Women…yoga…and our evolution

A year and a half ago I began this blog with my piece titled Body Talk do take a look!

I had recently begun the journey of healing my deep wounds…wounds that I had been totally unaware of….wounds that were mostly self inflicted.

I didn’t realise this was what was happening but i think we are often unaware of the process of deep change while we are in it.

I had yet again run away from the reality of my life that I felt was unsatisfying. I felt un fullfilled, disappointed and let down by my circumstances and other peoples actions. I left my friends and family (my support network) at a time that I felt most vulnerable and took my wounded self on a journey. I planned and planned my trip to ensure its awesomeness. I made my grand gestures of departure, pretended I was excited and off I limped.

The reality of my trip was not the adventure I had hoped for…but it was the one I needed. As soon as I arrived at my destination the loneliness came over me…here I was in the North of Thailand with literally no friends. Very little purpose. Had I really packed up my life and travelled halfway across the world only to sit in a really drab room desperately trying to ‘connect’ with my friends, family at home….and I did NOT want to connect to myself…not at all.

Isn’t it strange how we believe that by leaving home we will find ourselves? Don’t get me wrong…I love to travel, to experience, to adventure….it can be a great distraction. Which was exactly what I was hoping for…lovely adventures, plenty of distraction so I didn’t need to look at my pain. Anyway as I look back at it now..the universe gave me exactly what i needed…lots of time and a fair amount of pain (2 bike crashes, a robbery, a chronic illness and a slipped disc).

I think this was the beginning of understanding how important true connection is. We all long for love and connection. We seek it. We look for it in many forms…friends, lovers, passions, family, community.  Now I know that looking outside of ourselves is not meant to be the way to true happiness and fulfillment. However….to come together with others helps us to come home to ourselves. By being with those we feel at ease with, to be able to share, be open, vulnerable we can begin to see our own beauty and connect to that…it sparks something.

The pain (emotional and physical) gave me insights into how I treated myself. I did not treat myself kindly, love myself or really believe I was worthy of being loved even. Ouch!!! I was in this pain because I put myself there…if I was loveable Id be surrounded by those who loved me? Anyway….as time passed I realised, I am not alone in this type of thinking. I spoke to many friends…we mostly felt the same. Its funny how when we share our vulnerabilities we realise we are not alone…far from it.

I was inspired to hold a womens group soon after (with a friends encouragement) to talk about  this stuff and it was so so  beautiful….the way we women connect to eachother when we allow ourselves the space to do so is profound. The thing is though…we don’t do it. We live our separate lives…build our individual relationships, families and careers.

We women are connectors and yet we neglect this vital aspect of ourselves. As I move closer to accepting and loving myself. I have realised the non negotiable need for women to come together regularly. Its not a ‘oh if I have the time’ kind of situation. Its a seriously ladies….get together…breath, move, chant, speak freely. This HAS TO HAPPEN!

So 2 years since the start of my most recent stage of evolution I am jumping in and making it happen. Im holding my first Vital Woman Yoga Workshop tomorrow….more are in the pipeline….I thank the universe for not distracting me and giving me exactly what I needed to allow me to be here and doing what I truly believe to be a VITAL piece of a womans life in modern society if we are to be nourished and thrive….rather than merely survive.

5 Ways Yoga improved my relationship with my body

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I have been practicing yoga regularly for over 12 years and teaching for 6 years.Over this time I have evolved from a young to venturing towards middle age woman. And in this time my relationship towards my body has improved dramatically. I remember as a very young woman (late teens to early 20’s) I had very little confidence in my appearance. I nearly always had a boyfriend at this time so outside validation was not in short supply. And yet I always felt too pale, freckly and squishy. ( I was a totally healthy weight). However as a young woman I did not do anything to connect with my body. As a child and young teenager I danced but from mid teens until late 20’s I travelled, partied, drank wine and ate rich food. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I reconnected with yoga….

Here are 5 ways that yoga has helped me with my body image over the years…..

1 A daily yoga practice connects me with my body

By stepping onto my mat daily I get to check in with how I’m doing physically AND emotionally. Its like a little daily service. I notice any aches and pains. Any highs or lows in my energy. Sometimes I feel heavy and slow. Other times light and strong. I get to observe all of this outside my daily routine. Over the years I have begun to understand what I need when I feel sluggish or tired. When to push myself and when to nurture myself. And when I just need a day off!

2 Listening to + loving my broken bits

When we take on a regular demanding Asana practice we are putting our bodies under various stresses and strains. This is generally a good thing. But sometimes we can take it a bit far, push a bit much and end up with an injury. I sustained a fairly significant injury a couple of years ago. I rejected that part of me as a response. I’d go so far as to say I hated that part of me that wasn’t ‘performing’ as I felt it should. Needing to master a specific pose was more important than having a pain free healthy body. I still do struggle with this at times. I want so much to have an advanced practice and yet I know now better for me, what my limits are. When my body tells me something like…er stop now please! I am much better at listening. Better….not perfect. In these times if I sustain an injury either through my  yoga practice or getting hit by a car in Thailand (it happened!). I have got much better at accepting and loving my body.

3 Positive body talk

I have totally changed the language I use towards my own body, the injured bits, the softer bits, dimply bits. I hardly ever use language like….my bad back, dodgy knee, fat arse…chin…thighs…etc etc. And if I do I generally notice and correct myself. When I hear my students say something like…’this is my BAD side’. I try to suggest an alternative ‘this is my more challenging side’. Labelling our body parts ‘bad’ or ‘good’ is a habit many of us share, but if we can start to notice our negative language and change it I really believe we can begin to change our relationship with our bodies. My yoga practice helps me with this as I am constantly shown things I cannot do. Can I just notice that and be good with where I’m at is the challenge.

4 I am what I eat

This one took a loooonnnnnggg time! I did not just start practicing yoga and become vegan and only wear hemp! I ate meat up until 2 years ago and I only stopped because I just thought I’d try it out. I still eat fish a little dairy (I love cheese!) and I have a coffee a day….every day! However through a chronic health issue that ordered me to address my sugar loaded diet I have ditched some pretty unhealthy addictions and begun to understand how the food I eat affects the way I feel.  The yoga practice is like a daily gauge to help me with this.

5 I can do more than I think I can

After over 10 years of regular practice there are many things I can do now that I could not before. I still often surprise myself. There are many things I have yet to master. Some postures I know are available to me if not now then one day and some probably not…ever.  My little legs still don’t love going behind my head. My long spine is still very much challenged in deep backbending. But I am strong. I’m good at balancing. I can connect with deeper layers of my body now…which all feels awesome!

These are just a few examples that I can relate to….I would love to hear from you if you have experiences you would like to share…whether you have practiced yoga for 30 years or 3 months. I am passionate about improving our relationships with our bodies through yoga and it would be wonderful to hear how yoga has affected your relationship with your body.

Lets hear it for the boys!

So I wanted to write this little blog while I felt inspired to. The last few weeks I’ve been hanging out more with men. Friends old and new. More seem to be coming into my life recently. It wasn’t a conscious thing but as I look back its definitely been happening more frequently.

And yesterday, having just left coffee with one of my good male friends…bouncing down the escalator to my train, relaxed, rejuvinated and happy…I came to the realisation that my life is rich with some incredible men. Strong in spirit and mind. Emotionally connected. They know who they are and are not afraid or ashamed (this may be an assumption) to admit that they are not perfect nor do they have all the answers. They wan’t to be connected to the women in their lives. They want to love and support their partners, family and friends.

The strength and confidence I take from just being around my good male friends is huge and I think I have taken it for granted in the past.

This is not to play down the women in my life. My ladies are literally my heart….we understand each other like no other. We get how wonderfully complex we are…its beautiful. We don’t always help each other though. Our empathetic, advice giving ways can, I think, disempower us. We love to chat to our female friends about our problems(well I do!)….perhaps too much? I sometimes leave conversations with my girlfriends feeling worse than I did before hand. I sometimes take my friends advice and neglect my own inner navigation system. I think this can be unhelpful. Ladies in my life…I love you, don’t change…your perfect 🙂

Anyway…this is rarely the case when I sit down with one of my male friends. They rarely let me go too far into my ‘poor me’ routine..they simply don’t allow space for that. They focus on my strengths rather than my weaknesses. They often see sides of me I don’t even recognise in myself…yet. They focus on what they see in front of them. A strong, feisty, independent woman. It’s just awesome!

And so…while I totally acknowledge my strength and independence. I have zero desire to live in a world without penty strong men in my life.

So ‘Thankyou’ to all the amazing men I know and are yet to meet and may I keep attracting more of you in!

Anything to share? please comment below……

Body Talk

Originally posted on sophie cleere:
It occurred to me recently, I am not very nice to myself at times. The way I criticise myself, my body, characteristics and how I contribute to society can be just plain mean. In my…