Life is like a big soup – sometimes the surface looks really murky and sludgy pea green, but underneath there’s a whole raft of possibilities; some great, some not-so – it’s all about knowing where you want to go and then paddling your way through or around and away, and refusing to spend time and energy on the sludgy bits! Sometimes easier said than done, but that’s always going to be the long and the short of it.
These past few days have been life-changing, and not in ways I expected, but I’m in awe of it anyway!
First of all, to fill you in… (minus the structure of the past two updates; I am kickin’ back ; )
Life over the past month or so has been pretty “challenging”. I feel fortunate that over the years I have invested sufficient time and energy into personal and spiritual development to know that life is always what you make it, and even though life can be tough sometimes, it never lasts, and often we are the ones prolonging the pain anyway!
So, I found myself a few weeks ago, and more recently, feeling a bit overwhelmed with life. Lots of things happening all at once and a never ending in-tray and a full-to-bursting diary. In fact life got so suffocating and soupy that it took me back to the time – well three times actually - in my 20’s, where I reached what you might term a “crisis point” where I just knew things had to change. Not next year, not in the next 6 months, but today. Action required – now! No more waiting, no more tolerating; just positive heartfelt action without limits – a very fun and exciting concept but pretty scary too!
Well, that was then and this is now. I feel like a bit of a veteran at dramatic life change! No less than five times I’ve completely re-invented my life in the past 14 years, and each time I have gained a new level of love and respect for myself and the possibilities of life, should we choose to ignore the “nay sayer” in us and just go for whatever it is that we desire. I 100% believe that if your heart is calling you and it won’t let up, then your new life is already out there waiting for you.
If you want the examples of my various re-inventions, then here they are!
1) 1992: From small-town Suffolk shop girl to living in London and working for a top children’s publisher
2) 1994: Left publishing to return to East Anglia with no job to go to, but toleration levels maxed out (I immediately got a temping job and then landed a job I really wanted and got myself my best social life back again)
3) 1995: Left East Anglia for the second time to return to children’s publishing (and a more adventurous and challenging life in the city) and sharing a house with five (at the time) complete strangers
4) 1998: Once again realising that London was not for me and after a lot of soul searching realised I wanted to work in something “alternative” and return to the country, so I returned to East Anglia and worked a 3-day week in a meditation centre – one of the best times of my life so far
5) 1998/9: When the job ended, I took a job working in PR – after 2 weeks I felt as though I had sold my soul, handed my notice in (despite them trying to bribe me to stay!) and took the leap of faith to run The Fresh Network full time while living on next to nothing but faith!
Wow! Looking at that puts everything into perspective. If I can do that five times in seven years then after a seven year gap I should be more than able to make it a double hat trick!
So, fast forward to today… It became clear to me a month or three ago that I have been tolerating a fair few things in my life that I had got so used to tolerating that I had almost not realised that I was doing it! (Stop me if I’m not making sense….) Examples being lack of holidays, no hobby time, little social time, not easily being able to take a day off work, general negative influences, beliefs and habits I had outgrown and so on. I knew it was happening, but was “happy” to let it go “for a while”. Well, “a while” has been going on for a bit too long now, but has now officially ended! (The end starts with a decision and I have made it and now own it. That’s a great feeling… I was struggling there for a while!).
The facts are, sometimes life gets you down, doesn’t it? It doesn’t matter how much raw food you are or aren’t eating, the energy you are leaking is bigger than any mango can fill, and the only solution is that long honest hard look inside at what that drain is and what needs to change for it to disappear. i.e. What is your soul trying to tell you and how prepared are you to listen?
Well, I finally did it a couple of weeks or so ago, and it’s not always pretty, right? (Which is why we avoid looking). However, by admitting some things to myself and allowing myself to feel the pain and consider giving myself what I really and truly want for me to feel happy and fulfilled in the next part of my life’s journey, I found myself immediately feeling more energised and beginning to look towards a new way of doing things that I’ve been dreaming of for years. Very much a case of, finally, “permission granted”, which was amazing as this has been the longest period of my life where I haven’t shaken things up a little (eight years now).
The past eight years for me, to be honest, have very much been about service. I have taken The Fresh Network from small (but inspiring) beginnings, and have transformed it into the world’s most diverse and all-encompassing raw food resource – no mean feat and anyone that knows me will tell you that I have given it my all. Some might say too much. Well, as much as I love what I have created and am grateful for all that I have learned and having the honour of doing this work, I now feel like that it’s my time to change things – not the Network (it shall live on!), but for me. Incredibly freeing, but you can imagine the conversations I have going on in my head!
“But what about the members?”
“You can’t just leave!”
“But you’ve spent eight years of your life building The Fresh Network to what it is today…”
“What else will you do? Where will the work come from?”
Yes, a big announcement, but it feels exactly right. I have been here before, twice in fact over the last few years but the timing of major life events made it almost impossible to leave. Perhaps it wasn’t my time, or perhaps it was but I had too much of a sense of duty which overrode my own interests and instincts. Either way, this time it’s right. I have learned what I needed to learn, done what I needed to do and it’s time to mix things up once again! Oooh!
But to be clear, as there is plenty of room for misinterpretation here, I am not leaving The Fresh Network per se. I am just rejigging my involvement with it so that it can run itself or be run by others, or I just do key things. The details are not clear yet as this is a very new development. It’s not a small decision but it is the right one - for me. Much of my work is done now. I feel that 100% intellectually but moreover spiritually, as off-the-wall as that may sound. Sometimes you just know. My spirit wants to explore pastures new, and there’s no avoiding that fact. Not next year, not in 6 months – now.
It is time now for me to do more of what I’m good at, and hiding away in an office is no longer me. Writing is my passion and it’s here on “paper” I think best. I also love people and I want to work with more people, but only certain types of people, and that is what I’m now attempting to get clearer on – who are “my people”? I also have a son, now approaching four, who doesn’t see enough of me (and vice-versa) – I don’t want to be a mum who looks back and says “I wish I’d spent more time with Luke when I had the chance”. I also haven’t had a proper holiday in 9 years – now that’s verging on inhumane, isn’t it?!
What I have learned, and what I really want to convey here is that we are very often our own prison warders. Some of us are better at throwing the gates open than others. I was great at it once (although I’m not saying it was ever easy), but I chose to put others first this more recent time around. Unfortunately, I got the balance wrong, so I’ve overdosed on giving; now it’s time to receive – from me. And I shall become all the better coach, mum, friend, daughter, girlfriend and Fresh Network director for it.
Now, although I do want to share with you my journey because I have come to regard many of you (those of you I know about!) as dear friends, one of the purposes of me writing this is to really inspire you to reflect and ask yourself if you are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings in your own life? And if so, to ask yourself whether it’s time to move on, move up and move out? Are you up to your toleration quota yet? Have you outgrown your life? What’s keeping you where you are – duty, status, shoulds, money worries, unrealistic expectations?
Perhaps you, like me, are at the stage where you know things need to change but don’t have all the information yet?
Well, when you’re ready to move on, it’s good to know that there are masses of people and resources waiting to guide you to the next step, and this is where I’m currently finding some of my strength – I may not have all the details, but I have enough to start my outward journey to the place I’m destined for and I’m ready to go.
Last week I shared with you the book Gulp! by Gabriella Goddard. It’s been a year since I worked with Gabriella and I hoped one day we would work together again, although I wasn’t entirely sure how. Now I know. She’s now transformed herself into a coach who helps people make big leaps from one situation to another, so I’ve hired her again to work with me, and I'm also using her fantastic book to move from one very big situation to one completely different, where I can fly in the way I want and need to.
The challenge? I’m not entirely sure what the next situation looks like yet – I just have the essence of it, the energy, and it feels great, but doesn’t yet have a name or label to it. When it does, you can bet that you’ll be among the first to know about it. And I can also tell you that in many ways it will be my biggest leap so far, as I will be facing many of my biggest fears.
So how does this all tie in with Raw Food Coaching? Well, most of my work is about helping people metamorphosise, using the “power” of raw and living foods as a catalyst for gaining clarity, insight and peace from which to get to know yourself – your true self – and have the energy in turn to take on whatever is holding you back and create a life of your dreams. And this time, now 6 months back in to 100% raw, it’s my turn! And although, yes, I could no doubt coach myself through this on my own if I really wanted to, I don’t want to! I want to share the journey with Gabriella and also another coach, who shall for the time being remain anonymous, otherwise I will give just a little too much away ; )
For today, I would like to feel that we are sitting in a circle being completely human. Sharing that sometimes life is tough and also that endings, although often painful and challenging, are always, ultimately, good. They might not always be pretty or even exciting at first, but with a shift in perspective and knowing that they are always for the best, you can begin to feel elated that life is in fact trying to usher you to a better way, one where you can more fully live out who you are, on your terms, in your language, for the person you have become and the person you would like to become more of. For my part I now realise that I outgrew this life a few months ago, or more; now I have some catching up to do and I can’t wait to get started!
So, all that said, and me feeling my own Gulp! (big time!) I have decided to blog my journey as it unfolds, so that you can watch me go through my own highs and lows as I transition from one way of living to another, which, even though my “inner critic” is telling me I am mad to do, I just know that great things await – even if I don’t know what they are yet! You could say that I am “testing the Universe”. When I am a bit clearer, which really should take no time at all now that I have committed, I shall write my requests down and wait for miracles to happen, as they tend to do. I shall do my best to let you in on as much as I feel comfortable with, as no doubt some will be a bit more personal than I want to post online, but my primary aim in all of this is to inspire you to have the courage to shake things up in your own life, if that’s what your heart (or soul) is calling to you to do right now.
Talk about living in the raw!
I look forward to sharing my journey with you…