Fighting Fear

Envy: Understanding the Green Eyed Monster

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Overcoming Envy

Envy is a human emotion so old that it is noted in The Bible as one of the seven deadly sins. Nestled amongst wrath, greed, pride, lust, gluttony and sloth lies envy. The green eyed monster. The evil eye.

When it strikes it is enough to make you roll on the floor and wail. Your eyes feel hot and there’s a hard ball forming in your stomach. You want to procure the largest tub of ice cream available and wallow. All because you looked at someone’s Instagram Story and watched them unpack a massive free PR Haul. Why do they deserve all that free stuff? Doesn’t she have enough as it is? That is so unfair! Why can’t I get free stuff!

Girl, Envy is Rife

In these modern times of Social Media envy is rife. If we’re not feeling it and directing it toward others then we are actively attracting it. We post only the most flattering photos of ourselves doing exciting activities or receiving beautiful gifts from our admirers. But despite knowing that we are prone to only highlighting the good in our lives online, we fail to realise that everyone else is actually doing the same thing.

When we longingly lurk the halls of Facebook, narrowing our eyes at photos of our frenemies enjoying tropical holidays, it doesn’t make us feel good. In fact a study carried out by the University of Copenhagen found that when people, who are prone to bouts of envious depression from browsing Social Media, take a break from it, their mental health improves dramatically.

Envy Vs Jealousy

But what exactly is envy? And how is it different from jealousy? Well according to Psychology today envy is different to jealousy because it is a feeling directed at one person, usually over a something they have that you want; like their size 8 booty, their shiny new car, or their invite to that exclusive party. Jealousy on the other hand requires a third party. It is the third wheel situation where your bestie invites another friend along to an outing, leaving you with a fear that this new interloper may compete for your title of BFF.

The Truth about Envy

When I was in High School, there was a beautiful girl who was in a few of my classes. She wasn’t just beautiful, she was eye-catchingly gorgeous; she turned heads wherever she went with her long legs, great figure and pretty face. So not surprisingly a lot of people adored, envied and despised her.

I wish I could say that I was immune to the envy she stirred up in people but alas I was not. Just like many other people, I didn’t bother to speak to her, I simply stood back and glared at her and felt my heart grow cold and hard towards her.

Envying her didn’t feel good. It felt awful. It’s not a nice feeling when you want something someone else has, even more so when it’s something you can’t have; such as her lovely long limbs, straight white teeth, or the attention of all the boys in the school.

It would have been easier if she were a bitch. Then we all could have been justified in hating her just a little bit. But she wasn’t a bitch at all. She was shy so she didn’t tend to spark up conversations with people around her but she was never mean. This didn’t stop people from writing nasty quips about her on the walls of the girl’s toilets or spreading rumours involving her and the 1st 15 rugby team.

We cursed her with Envy

In our final year of high school this beautiful girl started to unravel. First her parents separated, then her sister went wild; drinking and partying, then she got sick. Really sick. I heard from her friends that she couldn’t even lift her head off the pillow and that she had a red blistering rash all over her back. The doctors didn’t know what had caused it or what was wrong with her.

Instinctively I knew. We had done this. All of us. We’d all envied her so much that we had forced this dark emotion onto her. The worst part was that I felt a strange sense of glee at her misfortune.

Overcoming Envy

Envy and the Evil Eye

Envy in Judaism

In Judaism, it is believed that people have the power to place a curse or hex on others, simply by looking at them wickedly with evil in their heart. The affected person can then become ill, suffering from vomiting, lethargy, fever and chills. It is said that envy has a large role to play in the work of the Evil Eye, with many practicing Jews choosing not to brag or talk freely about their finest possessions, good fortune, or the love they have for their children, as “they wouldn’t want to tempt the Evil Eye”. If they do speak of these things, it is common for both parties to say something like “b’li ayin hara” (Hebrew), meaning “without an evil eye”.

Envy in Islam

In Islam a similar saying is used to ward off evil. When speaking of any good fortune or blessings in life, it is customary to end with “Masha’Allah” – God has willed it. This statement somewhat separates the good fortune from the receiver, implying that it is merely God’s blessing, not theirs, making it less likely to attract the envy of others or that pesky Evil Eye. Interestingly, in Arabic the term used for Evil Eye actually translates to ‘The Eye of Envy’.

Envy in Asyrian Culture

Asyrians are such strong believers in the Evil Eye that they will commonly wear a turquoise or green bead around their necks to ward off evil. Interestingly, Assyrians believe that the power of the Evil Eye is more likely to be possessed by people with blue or green eyes. This is possibly because green and blue eyes are far less common in Assyrian countries. But this could explain where the term Green Eyed Monster came from.

Envy in Greek Culture

In Greece it is thought that the Evil Eye comes not just from others wishing you ill but also from those who are in awe of you. Whether they envy your beauty, you lovely children or your home is beside the point. It is believed the very act of converting what someone else has is enough to place a hex on them.  If someone has felt a pinch of envy or admiration it is customary to utter the Greek saying “I spit so that I do not give you the eye!”

Warding off the Evil Eye

The use of spitting to ward off the Eye is also used in Judaism, where women will spit three times in a row to ward off the curse that could be afflicted after offering compliments.

Interestingly though, it is not just the receiver of the Evil Eye that is cursed. In the Jewish text, The Chapters of the Fathers, Rabbi Eliezer wrote the following:

“A man with “an evil eye” will not only feel no joy but experience actual distress when others prosper, and will rejoice when others suffer. A person of this character represents a great danger to our moral purity.”

Overcoming Envy

Understanding Envy

I’d been writing for about three years when I decided I would start trying to get my work published in literary journals, magazines independent blogs, et al. I sent in poem after poem, pitch after pitch and story after story. All of which got sent back to me with a polite rejection letter.

Meanwhile my dearest friends were getting published all over the show. With every excited text message I received from my friends, I‘d become more and more consumed with resentment and misery.

Why am I so unlucky? I would ask others. Is there something wrong with my writing? With my name? Why can’t I get anything published? My friends all shrugged. “Your writing is great. I don’t know why it won’t get published. Maybe just focus on the joy you get from it, not on getting in published.

So I tried to focus on the joy. I wrote and wrote. But now every word I typed felt heavy with my own judgement. Is this the right word? Is this the right style? I questioned everything I wrote and quietly resented the friends who had suggested such a foolish exercise. Finding joy in your work is easy when the outside world tells you it’s good!

Spiritual Bathing for Envy

Overcome with this dark and heavy misery that had permeated my work, I called upon a healer I had met called Samar Ocean Wolf Ciprian. I had previously seen Samar for physical healing work but this time I knew the help I needed was more spiritual. I explained how I was feeling and Samar revealed, “It sounds like envy”.

At first I was appalled. I didn’t want to be envious of my friends, I wanted to be happy for them! I really was excited for them, but in the way of that excitement was a heavy burden; a large black monolith blocking the light from their good fortune.

She talked me through the practice of spiritual bathing, a Mayan healing technique that uses plants, water and prayer to remove negative energies from the body and soul. In my case the negative energy was envy.

I was instructed to first go for a walk to collect beautiful (non-toxic plants), then place them into a large bowl with water. Whilst breaking the plants up with my hands, infusing them into the water, I repeated a prayer or mantra, nine times. The prayer calls forth the goddess of water and the spirit of the plants to cleanse you of envy, then asks for any negative energies to be sent straight to the light where they can be of no harm to any living being.

The prayer can be to whomever you like, whether it be to a god, goddess or personal divinity is completely up to you. Simply ask them, along with the goddess of water and the spirits of the plants you have collected, to help cleanse you of this envy.

Once you have blessed the waters with the prayer it is time to start the bathing. If it is warm enough you could do this outside, if not, the shower is also a great place.

Remove your clothing and begin to rub the blessed potion all over yourself: Arms, legs, body, and face. If you like you can repeat the prayer again as you do this, or you can say it silently to yourself. Once you have rubbed it all over your body, tip the remaining potion over your head. Stand in silence for a few moments before taking a shower and washing yourself clean of envy.

Sage and Palo Santo Cleansing

An alternative to full spiritual bathing is to simply use either sage or Palo Santo smoke to smudge yourself. I personally prefer Palo Santo for its woody delicious aroma. All you need to do is undress and wave the smoke all around your body whilst repeating the prayer nine times.

I tend to use this method more frequently to remove envy, unless of course I am completely overcome with envy, then I will practice spiritual bathing and smudge my whole house!

Letting Go of Envy

Once I had rid myself of envy I felt so much lighter. I hadn’t realised just how much energy I had been using up on that awful snarled emotion. It was as if light were now able to shine on me and that big black monolith, that had been blocking my ability to feel truly happy for others, had shattered. Now not only could I share in celebrating the successes of my friends and focus fearless energy into my creative work, I could also attract abundance into my life.

Overcoming Envy

Nothing Blocks the Flow of Abundance like Envy

When we allow ourselves to be overcome with envy we are not choosing gratitude for what we have. We are instead choosing to focus on lack and rue those around us who appear to have more. The best tools for attracting abundance are love and gratitude and envy promotes the exact opposite!

Next time when you are scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and you start to feel the heavy twinge of envy forming in your gut, take a moment. Put down your phone and take some deep breaths. Look around you and find three things in your vicinity that you are grateful for and tell yourself why. This can help you to see quite quickly that you too have abundance all around you. And remember, the next time feel yourself directing envy toward someone else, do you really want to inflict that on them? Do you really want to curse them with the Evil Eye?

Full Time Unicorn

Body Image

How Past Experiences Cause Limiting Beliefs

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Full Time Unicorns

Painful issues are a part of life. Everyone at some point in their lives has been hurt. Maybe you lost a loved one or struggled when your parents divorced as a child. These things can stay will us but sometimes it’s the little things – an infinitesimal moment in which we learn a negative belief about ourselves – that stay with us for life.

Most of us will have been told at some point in our lives that we can’t do something. It’s usually a parent, teacher or childhood friend who tells us that we are not good at something in an offhand comment, completely unaware of the damage they have done. It could be something as simple as being told we can’t sing, draw or dance as a child. It could be an adult casually telling us we’re a bit dumb or chubby. Whatever it is, this flippant remarks can plant a seed of doubt in our minds that can grow into a whomping willow.

The issue is, a lot of the time the things we are led to believe about ourselves are not actually true.

A Limiting Belief Around Weight

In my case I was led to believe from a young age I had a weight issue. The truth is I have never in my life been considered overweight on the BMI. The idea that I was overweight was one enforced on me by my parents, who due to their own limiting beliefs around body image and self-worth, were concerned that I would potentially become very overweight, then struggle with myself esteem and go on to live a lonely, loveless life. In their minds when they told me I should “avoid peanut butter” they were doing so from a place of love..

Technically, the weight issue was theirs as they were the ones who created and enforced it.  But nonetheless their need to remind me that I “should not eat so much candy” inevitably made me feel like I was already overweight and that I should feel ashamed of myself for even liking candy. This led to bursts of starvation and food obsession, followed by binge eating and self loathing. All of this at the ripe old age of 10.

By allowing someone else’s belief to become my own, I went through my tweens and teens feeling bad about myself. By 12 I was purging. By 20 I was just plain starving.  If I’d had greater self esteem, I could have simply shrugged my shoulders and moved on, confident in my self perception. Instead of hiding away in baggy clothes and spending my summers sweltering in long boardshorts, I could’ve rocked the bod I had by wearing whatever I goddamn liked. I’d have known that regardless of my size, I am valid and I am a fucking unicorn.

A Limiting Belief Around Creativity

My friend Megan was told at a young age that she wasn’t creative. This was possibly because she was very good at maths, writing and everything else that was easily graded or marked. It was obvious to see how clever she was when it came to logical subjects, but creativity is something that can’t be graded.

She was pushed into the subjects in which she clearly excelled but was not often encouraged to try creative subjects. She was taught to perform well and she did however there was little room to simply test the waters or try new things.

I was 12 when I met Megan. I knew of her  because she was the 24 champion of New Zealand. If you weren’t born in New Zealand, you may not know that 24 was a maths game that became very popular through kiwi schools in the early 90s. The basic gist of the game is that you have a deck of square cards which have 4 numbers on them. A small group of kids sit in a circle around a one card and the first kid to make these numbers equal 24, using any equation, places two fingers on the card and says “got it”. They then have to explain their working to the group. If they get it right they keep the card. The kid with the most cards when the deck is finished is the winner.

24 was kind of a big deal in 1995 and so Megan was basically a Maths celebrity.  This was huge in my mind because maths was not my strong suit at all. I was in love with art and story writing and performing one woman plays to my cat.

I, and many others, made the same assumption about Megan. If she’s that good at maths, she cant be very creative. She has a logical mind. That’s where she excels. She was surely too good at writing essays to also be good at fiction. She was too good at science to bother pursuing art. She was mathematical, not creative.

So when we, her friends, laughed at her attempts at drawing, she learnt to laugh along with us. But in doing so, we were perpetuating her own limiting beliefs around her lack of creative ability.

Little did we know that creativity doesn’t require a membership card. Nor does it strictly relate to art. Being artistic is not the same as being artistic. There are a million ways to show your creativity. Like Louise L Hay explains, you can be a creative gardener, cook or even bed maker. 

It wasn’t until her late teens that Megan realised that she not only loved writing fiction but she also enjoyed the process of drawing and painting. She followed her curiosities and allowed herself to enjoy the process. Today Megan is a published author who paints almost daily.

 

Limiting Beliefs That Self Perpetuate

Funnily enough, while Megan was living with the belief that she was not creative I was dealing with the belief that I was not good at maths, so therefore, dumb.

While I enjoyed art I did not enjoy maths. It bored me to tears and no matter what I did I could not get the hang of it.  I preferred to paint and draw and write poems. When I was 10, my teacher, aware that my mathematical ability was below average, sent me off to do a back up class in the afternoons with another group of kids who were also struggling. The trouble was that the afternoons were when we usually did art class.

I’d sit in my second maths class of the day feeling miserable. My head throbbed as I tried to make sense of concepts that I could not understand – and did not care to. My heart ached for paint and paper-mache. But I knew what they were telling me. Or at least I thought I did.

Art is a waste of time. Your talent in that area is not important to us. Stop spending so much time painting pictures and you will be a better person in our eyes.

I did my best. I worked hard memorising times tables and mastering the basic rules of sums. My parents even bought a video training programme so that I could study at home after school. Everyday. So after school instead of painting I watched my maths videos and did the exercises, determined to do better, to make my parents and my teachers happy.

However, no matter what I did, the maths wouldn’t take and now every time I sat at my desk to paint my heart felt full of anxiety. This is bad. I heard in my head. Painting is a waste of time. It makes you a bad student.

Looking back this makes me so furious! I am still bad at maths. Terrible in fact. I still find no joy in using that part of my brain. But guess what? I don’t have to. If at any time in life I need to do some quick maths I can pull out my goddamn phone and use the calculator!

By the time I reached high school (yep, you guessed it!) I was still bad at maths. But now I was also average at art. My creative advantage had dwindled.

I was placed in a low level maths class, which was widely known as Cabbage Maths. When others learnt that I was in this class they started making jokes about me, saying that I was ditsy and dumb. I played into this joke because I genuinely believed the fact that I was not great at Maths meant I was dumb. So, if I got average grades in others subjects – like science or social studies, what else would I expect – I wasn’t very smart, remember.

By the age of 15 I’d pretty much given up at school. I went to class but I did the bare minimum and failed more tests than I passed. It was easier not to try – what if I tried my best and still failed the test? That would mean I really was dumb and my belief would be justified.

The only subjects I did well in were the creative ones. Not surprisingly, I excelled at painting, sculpture, photography and film studies – all the subjects that I let myself believe I could master.

The limiting belief that I was not smart led me to assume that was what other people thought of me too. I’m became highly sensitive of anyone undermining me or implying that I was not intelligent. I tried my best to appear smart, to “fool” others into thinking I was clever. But if anyone ever questioned something I’d said I would get mad and upset. Because not only had they made me feel stupid but they’d obviously seen through my ruse.

This limiting self belief made taking feedback on my work very hard because I saw every critique as someone telling me I was stupid and that my work was bad. If someone gave me grammatical corrections, they thought I was dumb. If someone explained something in great detail, they thought I was dumb. If someone rolled their eyes at me, they thought I was dumb.  In my head, I was a dumb person trying desperately to appear smart. Smart enough to be taken seriously. Smart enough to matter.

It wasn’t until years later when I took a Menza test on a whim, scoring highly, that I realised that intelligence comes in many forms. There’s mathematical intelligence and then there’s thinking creatively. Sure my mind may not remember how to do long division and my brain may ache at simply trying to carry the ones, but when I want to, I can learn something new. I taught myself basic coding skills when I started blogging. I learnt how to edit audio footage for my podcast, then I figured out how to convert sound files. I even managed to write a 85,000 word book of fiction. So, turns out I’m not dumb after all!

Limiting Beliefs

What are your Limiting Beliefs?

My experiences are not rare. Most of us believe things about ourselves that limit us in ways large and small. It could be a simple belief that if you are not great at something then there’s no point in doing it. Or it could be that just because in high school you didn’t have a huge group of friends that means you ‘have trouble making friends’. On the flip side I knew a girl who was very popular in high school, so went out into the world with the belief that she was better than everyone. This ultimately led to people disliking her.

It’s these preconceived notions passed down to us that we need to shake off in order to be free. It takes deep self reflection to realise that we hold these limiting beliefs about ourselves and it takes constant work to prevent ourselves from playing into them. 

Limiting Beliefs and The Law of Attraction

When we let these old beliefs play like a vintage vinyl in our mind, we are sending these messages out to The Universe. We are literally vibrating with the energy of what we don’t want! The only way to stop these beliefs from perpetuating, is to change our thinking. 

Once we identify them as limiting beliefs that are not actually true, we can consciously choose to inherit new positive beliefs.

What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself? Where do you think you learned them and what belief would you need to learn to turn the old belief around?

Food for thought!

Full Time Unicorn

 

Fighting Fear

Unicorns Defined: The History, Symbolism and Deeper Meanings of the Unicorn

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Unicorn Definition

Throughout history the unicorn has been depicted as a pale white horse with a single grooved horn extending from its forehead; a feature that is not found anywhere else in the animal kingdom. Sure, there are narwhals – the large arctic porpoise with a single long eye tooth extending from its mouth. There’s the rhinoceros and the aptly named unicorn fish; with a large fleshy horn-like growth on its head. But there’s no animal quite like the elusive and mysterious, rainbow farting unicorn.

The Unicorn in History

For a supposed legendary creature the unicorn appears a lot in documented history. Images of the unicorn were found etched into stone seals unearthed in areas previously inhabited by the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, estimated to be from as long ago as 2500 BC. And interestingly, the unicorn doesn’t make an appearance in ancient Greek Mythology but it does feature in the Greek records of natural history.

The Unicorn not only appeared in the bible, translated from the word Re’em,  but it was painted, sculpted and woven into various scenes depicting the virgin Mary. The famous bronze statue Virgin Mary Holding Unicorn is still on display at the National Museum in Warsaw today.

The Virgin and the Unicorn

The unicorn has always had an association with the virgin. Perhaps due to its symbolism of purity. Even Leonardo Di Vinci wrote about the unicorn and the virgin in his notebooks. Legend has it that only a female virgin could attract and tame the illusory creature. The tale went further to include that said virgin would then be made to tame the unicorn so that hunters could slay the beast in order to retrieve its horn. The seven part story of the Hunt of the Unicorn was woven into tapestries which still hang in the Cloisters of the Met.

Unicorn Horn and Alicorn Powder

For millennia unicorn horn was considered to be a prized commodity. Kings were gifted cups said to be carved from the horns of the creatures, which were said to protect against poisons. The throne chair of Denmark was believed by many to be made from the horns of unicorns.

Ground unicorn horn was known as alicorn powder and it had many medicinal uses. Up until around the 1800 it was used to purify potentially contaminated water, taken to protect against plague and administered as a treatment for most ailments. Some even believed that it could bring the gift of eternal life. The price the powder fetched was so high that alicorn was a substance only reserved for royalty.

 The Unicorn as a Totem

My first encounter with unicorns was as a young child. I wasn’t out in the forest or in a deep dream, nope, I was watching a very young Tom Cruise in Legend. When the unicorns trotted onto the screen I was transfixed. My whole body shivered with goosebumps – the way it still does today when I am confronted with a heavy realisation or a spark of inspiration. I knew right then that the unicorn was important. That it was to be my guide and my totem for life.

I didn’t quite know how or why at the time but I knew in the deepest part of my soul that one day the importance of the unicorn would present itself to me, and many years later, it did.

Modern Symbolism

These days unicorns are everywhere! The unicorn has become a symbol for individuality and authenticity. It’s used as a term to describe a startup company worth over a billion dollars, a symbol for gay pride and a urban dictionary term for a sexually experimental person who enjoys sleeping with couples! 

The Full Time Unicorn

Personally, I believe a unicorn is anyone who chooses to embrace the magic in life. It’s a person who follows their heart and follows the yearning deep inside them to do what they are called to do. It means having a voice and choosing to use it. It means honouring your quirks and understanding that your true mighty power resides in your weirdness, not in your ability to camouflage it.

Being a unicorn takes bravery. It takes big sparkly to be your true authentic self and boldly step into the world owning your awesomeness.

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong; you are a unicorn. If you’ve ever felt like you think differently to other people; you are a unicorn. If you’ve ever felt like you have strange and wonderful gifts to offer the world; you are a unicorn. If you’ve ever felt like you’re connected to something bigger, something magical and something wonderful, then you my friend are a unicorn.

It’s time to stop pretending to be anything other than what you are.

Your ideas, your thoughts, your dreams, they are the stuff of legends. Stop holding back and holding yourself in* it’s time you stopped apologising for who you are and started letting that magic free.

Do the world a massive favour and be yourself! Please! We can’t wait to meet you and experience your gifts!

Full Time Unicorn

*Unless you are a bigot or a murderer. Feel free to suppress that shit.

Uncategorized

I Quit Sugar! Then Didn’t

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I quit sugar, then didn't

Sugar is my kryptonite.

I’m not a one biscuit kind of girl. If I snap that Kitkat: It’s. All. On.

All my life I’ve been a sweet tooth and all my life I have harboured shame about it. So much so that for years if I felt embarrassed or ashamed I could swear I could feel my bum growing bigger. If was as if instead of my cheeks blushing, my butt was expanding.

Candy is Dandy

As a child candy was dandy and I’d go nuts for donuts. But I also didn’t have luxury of being one of those willowy armed children who get told they have “hollow legs”. Nope. I was a sturdy kid with ringlets and a pot-belly. Because of this my love of all things chocolate covered was seen as an issue. It was surely to blame for my perky bum and doughy little arms, which were officially *shakes head* “not good”.

A Fear of Sugar

By the age of ten I had an associated fear of sugary foods. A love hate relationship. I wanted them. I loved them. But if I had just one bite I had failed myself and my family. I had succumbed to pleasure. I had let myself down and I was to blame for looking the way I did – which was actually fine by the way but supposedly the act of sacrificing candy would make me look better.

Sacrifice. The word itself says it all. Give something up. Going without. Depriving one’s self for the greater good. A trade of sorts. If you don’t eat that cream-egg now, you’ll feel better about yourself later.

I learned to try and deprive myself of sugary food. I go all out, living on celery and eventually, resentful that I should have to deprive myself in the first place, I’d fall off the wagon and eat all of the treats out of sadness and frustration. Like a big candy cry-wank.

Numbing through Sugar

Throughout my teenage years sugar was my go-to-sad-food. If I had a bad day I’d smash a bar of chocolate. If my boyfriend broke up with me – a bag of Pineapple Lumps. It was like I could escape the sadness and instead live on a puffy cloud made of marshmallow and sing along to Katy Perry songs. I knew it was bad for my health but I think that was why I did it; as a form of self-harm. One part comfort food, one part self-punishment with a pinch of self-sabotage.

As I grew into adulthood I noticed that other people were starting to turn to alcohol as a numbing agent. After a stressful day with the kids my friends would reach for a glass of wine, then sometimes the whole bottle when things got really hard.

For me it was always chocolate biscuits. Fuck, the kids were hard work today. Time to smash a packet of Squiggles. Then, in a sugar coma I would space out and watch T.V, waiting for the come down and the inevitable headache and regret. The next day I’d do it all again.

Sugar Addiction

I could not eat sugar in moderation. After speaking with my friends who have battled addiction I realised that my sugar consumption was a kin to their alcohol use. If I started could not stop. It was all I thought about and my motivation for going places and getting through the day. What was the point of going to the park if we weren’t going to get an ice cream? If there was no chocolate after the bed time routine what would I have to look forward to all day?

After eating sugar I would feel sick, tired, irritable and anxious. I was addicted to sugar and it was having a detrimental effect on my health.

I quit sugar, then didn't

Reducing Sugar

So, slowly but surely I started reducing my sugar intake. Instead of eating treats every night it became a weekend affair. I noticed that my skin looked better. My stomach felt better. I was less gassy and could no long compete in fart battles with my kids.

That’s when I watched That Sugar Film.

It was enlightening. I realized that I’d previously been eating a shit ton of sugar each day. When I included things like P.B.J sandwiches, cups of tea with honey, white pasta and bread I was shocked. My daily intake was easily around 20 teaspoons a day. Adults should only have around five.

Sugar’s Impact on my Hormones

Around the same time I began researching why I was feeling so hormonal. I had massive mood swings twice a month, horrendous abdominal pain, headaches, bloating and back pain. More and more I was having to pull of cool events because I was too tired, sick or sore to attend.

I saw and acupuncturist, a cranial osteopath and finally an Arvigo Therapist who realigned my uterus, recommended vaginal steaming and gave me incredible nutritional advice which was:

  1. Avoid gluten
  2. Reduce sugar as much as possible
  3. Eat good quality fats and proteins
  4. Eat as many plant foods as you can
  5. Drink water

The Sugar Detox

So I went for it. I cut gluten completely and slowly started cutting all sugar from my diet. The gluten was not too hard to cut out. I simply started using an organic, gluten free, sour dough bread and I switched to drinking earl grey tea which didn’t seem to need sweetening. At this stage I would still eat occasional sugar but I was getting better at limiting it. It was no longer a binge fest.

I started to feel so much better. My hormones normalised. I no longer had mega-PMS. My stomach stopped bloating. I had much more energy. I liked how things were going so I went even further and cut all processed sugar out of my diet.

Going Refined Sugar Free

This part was harder. The only sugar I would have, came from fruit and two pieces of very dark chocolate. I learned to love the sweetness of banana and my daily banana cacao smoothie was just as good as any other sweet treat.

I committed to my sugar free diet for a trial period of one month. I downloaded a sugar free app to my phone to count how many days I had been sugar free. If I ate any sugar I would have to restart the counter. At the times I really wanted to quit, I would check my counter and think about if I really wanted to re-set it.

On those days that really wanted a treat I would make avocado and banana chocolate mousse or gluten free banana bread. I thought they were delicious but my kids were not sold.

The Benefits

After the month was up I felt amazing. My skin was glowing. I’d lost body fat and increased muscle. My joints felt better. I no longer woke in the morning feeling achey and dopey. My mind felt super clear and I was less likely to lose my shit with my kids. I decided to keep up the sugar free awesomeness.

The really interesting change was discovered when I went to my hairdresser for a cut and colour. “Wow” she said, looking at my scalp. “Your psoriasis is completely gone! What did you do?”

“Is it?” I replied, slightly in shock. All my life I had had scalp psoriasis. I’d done everything I could to get rid of it. I’d applied oils, creams, smelly tar and steamed dock root. I’d taken disgusting skin tonics and used EFT. Nothing had ever worked. Until then. “Oh wow,” I went on. “I quit sugar!”

Soon the whole salon had converged around my head. They’d all seen my scalp. I’d been going there for years. They’d all offered their words of advice to treat my issue but to no avail. They were all speechless. “Maybe we should all quit sugar too?” said my hairdresser.

I was glad my psoriasis was gone but the news was bittersweet. I now had sound proof that one of my longest ailments had been caused by my diet.

I quit sugar, then didn't

Taking it too Far

As I left the salon that day I was excited by this new revelation. What if I stopped eating all sugar? I wondered. What if I reduced fruit too? What if I even stopped having my delicious clean food protein bars? I mean, they are made with dates. Dates are sugar. Yes. I best cut them too. All of it must go!

So basically I went a bit nuts. I got carried away. I cut all of the things. If I ate a piece of fruit I felt a bit naughty because somewhere along my research journey I had read that ‘sugar’s sugar’ so all of it was bad.

The thing about sugar is that we actually need it. We don’t need twinkies or M&Ms but we do need glucose – found in grains and root vegetables – and due to the fiber content of fruit we can actually digest the fructose in that banana without harming our liver. But I had forgotten this information.

Basically, I became obsessed. My mind was on sugar patrol 24/7. I didn’t feel awful in my body but I was craving sugar. I wanted something sweet but I would scold myself for baking my famed banana loaf.

A Sugar Free Obsession

The penny dropped when I found myself in the confectionery isle staring at the candy bars. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been there. Suddenly I realised that what had begun as I mission to become more healthy was slowly becoming an eating disorder. I was becoming food obsessed and I’d been there before. I had a flashback to my early 20s when I’d starve myself all day then binge on candy. I knew that if I didn’t get a handle on things pronto that I’d be headed right back into that cycle.

So. I took a block of chocolate off the shelf, marched to the checkout, paid and ate that bastard right there in the carpark!

Did I feel sick afterwards? Did I crash and get a headache? Absolutely!

But d’you know what? I didn’t die. The world did not end. I just ate some fucking chocolate and went about my day.

Now, sitting here in my post-holiday February bod, I am slowly once again trying to reduce my sugar intake. I can feel the soft tickly claws of the sugar demon closing around my neck. I am tired and grumpy and my skin looks a bit shit and yes, my psoriasis has returned. But one thing’s is for sure, I am not going to go for broke. I am not going to cut out all pleasures. I am going to enjoy my banana loaf and look forward to my night time fix of dark chocolate.

Keeping your Head Healthy

Obsessing over anything is never healthy. Just as the Law of Attraction says – the key is in relaxing and submitting. When we live in fear of failing we are actually self-perpetuating that so called failure.

I don’t want to feel obsessed. I just want to eat well and feel good. I want to find a healthy balance that allows me to enjoy life in all its imperfect glory.

Full Time Unicorn

Law of Attraction

Law of Attraction: Living in the Vortex

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pink ice cream truck

According to the teachings of Abraham, The Vortex is the space where everything that we have ever asked of the Universe resides. It’s a place of plentiful abundance. A place where we feel fabulous, grateful, generous, successful and excited for all that life brings. It’s also that place where we feel truly comfortable in our own skin and able to be our true selves. It is inside The Vortex that we release our inner unicorn!

How do you know if you’re in The Vortex?

When we are living inside The Vortex everything runs fluidly. The Universe sends us what we want and need at an astonishing rate. We encounter coincidences and synchronicities in our daily lives: You may see repeating double, triple or quadruple digits. When you think of a person, that person will call you. If you’re thinking about something, let’s say adopting a cat, then a cat who urgently needs rehoming will appear in your life.

When we’re in The Vortex we give willingly to others and have a sense of joy and love in our hearts. We are not afraid of giving too much because we know that the Universe offers abundance. We are unafraid to ask for what we want and we truly believe that what we have to offer is of the greatest value.

The Vortex is not place for fear, envy, comparison, judgement and negativity. Those are all products of a lack mindset. Feeling envious of another person’s success, or judging someone’s right to abundance is a sure fire way to get yourself chucked out of The Vortex. All of a sudden you’ll find yourself on your ass, grumbling about how ‘you never get what you want’ and off you’ll go to scowl at Instagram and wallow in self-pity. Buh-bye Vortex!

What is a Vortex?

Everything in life is made up of vortices. If you look at an atom under a microscope, you will see that it is made up of multiple wheels of energy, tiny whirlpools, spinning around and around.

The Vortex is constantly present in nature. Look at the spirals in seashells, look at the double helix, look at water as it flows down the plughole.

There are known vortices of magnetic energy found across the world. The Bermuda triangle is one of them, known to pull planes toward its watery depths. Other vortices, such as the attraction in Gold Hill, Oregon have a repellant effect, often said to keep wildlife away.

Also consider the solar system. Not only is the moon orbiting the earth and the earth and the seven planets (sorry Pluto) orbiting the sun. But the sun is orbiting a black hole at the center of our galaxy, moving at 792,000 km/ph, flowing in a vortex of its own. It’s unnerving when you think about it, huh?

Our seven Chakra points are also vortices. They are tiny circling pools of energy spinning around and around. When one is blocked or overactive we become unbalanced. There are different symptoms associated to an imbalance in each chakra but basically, if your chakras aren’t spinning properly things can get a bit whack.

The same goes within The Vortex of vibrational alignment. If you’re not spiritually humming at the correct frequency you cause The Vortex to spin like a wonky wheel. Soon enough it breaks and poof! You’re completely out of The Vortex.

glitter hands

How will I know when I am out of The Vortex?

When we are not in The Vortex we feel like the world hates us. We blame those around us for all that is wrong in our lives. We compare ourselves to everyone, summarizing that we are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or thin enough and that is why we can’t have what we want. When we are not in The Vortex we judge others harshly. We wonder ‘what’s so great about them?’ and ‘I’m way better at that than her so why didn’t I get the job/pay rise/promotion?’ Outside of The Vortex we are ruled by fear and lack. We don’t believe there’s enough to go around so we try and claw our way toward our goals with no regard for others. When we are not in The Vortex we cannot be truly happy for anyone because we feel like their successes only highlight our failures.

Yep, being inside The Vortex sounds way more fun!

How do I get into The Vortex?

Good question baby! Basically, getting into the Vortex is simultaneously ridiculously easy and incredibly hard. But it can be done and once you’ve been in there it’s way easier to stay there.

GRATITUDE:

I wrote that in caps because it is very important! Nothing can come to you through the Law of Attraction without first being grateful for what the universe has already given you. You don’t have to have a house in the Hamptons to be grateful. You don’t even have to have 1 million Instagram followers or a Kardashian booty. Gratitude is about finding something, anything around you that you are currently grateful for. It can be as simply as the sunshine pouring into your room, a fantail swooping down to say hello to you, or the taste of the turmeric sauerkraut on your sandwich (*raises hand).

When I’m feeling like I’m about slip out of the Vortex, I force myself to look around and find five things that I am grateful for. Sometimes I play this game when I am out with negative or draining people who keep complaining (#familyforever). While they’re busy seeing the bad in everything I focus on the good. “This chair is really comfortable.” “That lady is wearing a fantastic pink sweater.” I thank the universe for the good around me and I send the negative people around me positive energy in the hope that my thoughts with lift their vibration.

Try to use gratitude daily and the other aspects of the law of attraction will fall into place.

living in the vortex

Belief:

Once you are grateful for all that you do have, you will start to realise that the Law of Attraction is working with you because you are fucking cool. There is no unicorn on earth quite like you and as soon as you realise that you’re your own kind of super hero you can get on with living the bestest life ever.

You’ll also start to notice coincidences and synchronicities in everyday life: a friend will pop into your mind, next minute that friend will call you. You’ll find yourself thinking of owls, soon owls will be everywhere. Notice these occurrences as it will help you to see that the Universe is always there saying ‘hi’. Say ‘hi’ back and smile because, Baby, you’re in the Vortex! Once you are aware of this communication between you the Universe you will start to truly believe that anything is indeed possible.

Believe you will get that job of dreams. See it in your mind. Feel it in your heart. The universe loves you. Believe it, then receive it.

Trust:

Now is the simplest and also the hardest part. Trust that the Universe will sort it out for you while you are rocking your favourite outfit and going about your day with a smile in your heart. What you have asked for is already here. It’s in the Vortex, Baby and so are you!

Full Time Unicorn

Full Time Unicorn

Law of Attraction: Manifesting Abundance

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Manifesting Abundance

Manifestation has gained popularity over the last 10 years or so thanks to the self-help hit The Secret: The book which explains how the mind and the frequency of thought has a huge effect on the vibration you put out into the world.

The Secret – and Beyond

Personally I’ve never read The Secret. But I got the gist of it. A while back I watched the cheesy docu-drama – The Secret Laws of Attraction – and it got me to thinking about this manifesting business. Can I really will the universe to provide me with what I want and need? Do my own thoughts hold the power to send vibrations out into the world?

I know. It all sounds a little woo-woo. But I myself am a big fan of woo-woo. I can’t get enough of the shit. I love my salt lamp, my candles, my crystals, my herbs and of course I wouldn’t be without the horse shoe on my front door. I consider the moon’s cycle when it comes to my moods, I light candles to set my intentions and I even surround myself with runes and positive affirmations etched on coloured paper when I am working on a novel. So yeah, you can say I’ve pretty much crossed over into the realms of woo-woo in my daily life.

Is Manifesting all just Hocus Pocus?

There’s part of me (probably the left side of my brain) that is always looking for a scientific explanation. Proof that thoughts can really become things. Can the vibration of thought effect the energy around us? Is everything connected?

Yes! According to many a Nobel Prize winning physicist, everything in the universe is made out of energy.

“If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” – Niels Bohr

I decided to do some digging and discovered this mind blowing article on Collective Evolution.com. The following paragraphs gave me chills:

Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating, each one radiating its own unique energy signature. Therefore, if we really want to observe ourselves and find out what we are, we are really beings of energy and vibration, radiating our own unique energy signature -this is fact and is what quantum physics has shown us time and time again.

We are much more than what we perceive ourselves to be, and it’s time we begin to see ourselves in that light. If you observed the composition of an atom with a microscope you would see a small, invisible tornado-like vortex, with a number of infinitely small energy vortices called quarks and photons. These are what make up the structure of the atom. As you focused in closer and closer on the structure of the atom, you would see nothing, you would observe a physical void. The atom has no physical structure, we have no physical structure, physical things really don’t have any physical structure! Atoms are made out of invisible energy, not tangible matter.

Woah! We really are all just energy. And if we are all just made up of energy, then inevitably we are all connected in some way; our atoms banging together. When you accept this simple concept, then it starts to explain why the power of your thoughts could legit have an effect on not only your physical energy, but also the energy you push out and vibrate into the world. It may seem like there is only air around you, but the air is made up of gases, which are comprised of energy, the earth you stand on, at its most infinitesimal state – energy.

Manifesting Abundance

My Adventure with Manifesting

​My adventures with Manifestation didn’t actually start at this realisation. They began earlier when I started willing stuff into my life. It started with weeds.
Yes weeds.

I became oddly and quietly fascinated with edible weeds. This was because I had chickens and became concerned that they would eat toxic weeds and die. I started researching and discovered a plethora of edible weeds that humans could and really should eat due to their high nutrient levels that also grew plentifully, supposedly everywhere. One of them was chickweed.

Chickweed is identifiable by its opposing tear shaped leaves, 10 petal white flowers and the small line of fine hairs that grow along one side of the stem.

Chickweed Freak

I became a freak for chickweed. I needed to find some. First to feed my chickens, then to feed myself. Everywhere I went I was searching for the stuff. It was meant to grow everywhere but I couldn’t find it. At the park I’d scour the trees for signs of it growing at the stumps. I searched through my whole yard: Nothing! My family thought I was crazy – constantly taking weeds home so I could hold them up against picture on my laptop, squinting and scowling.

I was quietly obsessed. I didn’t go out of my way or whinge about not finding it, but it was always there in my mind just a little.

I gave up and planted a veggie garden, making sure all the weeds were out and filled it with spinach, kale, celery and silverbeat. My garden looked amaze. Not a weed in sight.

Because I am a bit of a fair-weather gardener and I get distracted from the craft due to my love of writing and not gardening, it was a while before I went back outside. But by the time I did my garden was full of weeds.

CHICKWEED!

I am not even kidding. There was so much chickweed in my garden it was dwarfing the other plants. The weirdest thing was, it was only growing in my garden. Not outside it, only in it.
It was weird.
I had manifested chickweed.
That’s where it began. After that I started moving up the mountain. If I could manifest chickweed, what else could I will into my life?

It turns out I could manifest paid writing jobs, acting work and free stuff. I also manifested the strength to finish my young adult fantasy novel with a manifested feeling of certainty that it will be published, it will be a super massive hit and it will begin my novel writing career.

Manifesting Abundance

How to Manifest Stuff

If you’re wanting to tap into the powers of manifesting but don’t know where to start, I got you covered.

Step 1: What do you want?

First thing’s first. To manifest cool stuff into your life you need to know what you want. It’s all very well to ask for all of the stuff but if you can’t clearly hold an image in your mind of what you want to bring to life then the vibrations you send out will be thwarted. Perhaps you are feeling a deep feeling of restlessness. You know that something is missing from your life but you don’t yet know what it is.

If this is the case, take some time to think about it. Talk it out with a friend or do some journaling to establish what it is that you are yearning for. Is it money to pay off debt? Is it that new job you interviewed for? Maybe you want to manifest more opportunities to turn your hobby into a career? Or maybe you just really want that new pair of kickass pink shoes. Whatever it is, be specific. The universe will respond.

Step 2: Write it down

Once you know what you want, write it down as a mantra. But, here’s the catch: write it down as if it has already happened. Instead of “I want to be a millionaire” instead write “I am so grateful to now be a millionaire”. Or better yet, you could be even more specific about how you want to become a millionaire. How about “I am truly grateful to be a successful business woman with a multi-million dollar company!” Yes.

Take time to write down your mantra. Pull out some pretty writing paper and a sparkly pen you love working with. Use your best handwriting and send your energy into each word on the page. You can even decorate the page with stickers and pictures of what you want and how you want to feel.

Step 3: Meditate

Some people believe that in order for your mantra to be released into the world, you need to write it down hundreds of times over multiple days. I don’t necessarily agree. I actually think that can be detrimental as it makes your mantra lose its oomph and the process becomes a bit of a chore. The manifesting power is in the mantra.

Once you’ve written it down, sit in a meditative state. Hold your mantra in your mind. Feel the joy all through your body as you say it aloud or think it to yourself. Believe it to be real. Feel the gratitude run through your veins. Let a scene of you living the mantra unfold in your mind. Follow the joy down the rabbit hole and see where it takes you. Will it into life. And so it is.

Manifesting Abundance

Step 4: Light a Candle

I’m a candle person and I feel like process of embracing of the energy of the fire element helps send my intention outward.

Take a candle of your choice and engrave your name and your desire along the side of it. As you light the candle hold the feeling of living your mantra in your mind. Sit with your candle for a moment, feeling its energy flow outwards.

If you like you can burn your mantra. I prefer not to because I regularly write down things I want to let go of emotionally and then burn them, so to burn my mantra would seem detrimental. I like to hide my mantra somewhere. Somewhere sneaky. Like under my bed. Then in six months’ time, when I think of it, I go back and pull it out.

You can continue to burn your manifesting candle daily – I do this while I work. Every time your burn it it will be bringing energy to your mantra but as you do it daily it won’t be an obsession, just a ritual.  Which brings us to…

Step 5: Surrender

The next step is actually the hardest. Once you have hidden your mantra. Forget about it. That’s right. Move on. Do not obsess about it. Be like Elsa and Let. It. Go. Do not constantly check your emails waiting for all your chickens to come home to roost at once. The power in manifesting lies in surrendering to the universe and actually doing nothing more than letting things unfold in divine timing.

Of course you can’t sit around watching Netflix and eating ice cream if your intention is to become a bestselling author. You actually have to do the work. The universe can only do so much. Part of the agreement is that your do your part. That means when the universe sends you opportunities it’s only polite that you take them. Don’t let your inner critic psyche you out.

I have a friend who constantly asks the Universe for things. The cool thing is the Universe delivers. The not so cool thing is she lets her self-doubt sabotage the opportunities, usually resulting in her saying no to them. Imagine you gave someone a gift – something they had said they really wanted – and they took it and said “actually, no thanks, I can’t accept it. I don’t deserve it.” Ouch! That would hurt your feelings, no? Imagine how the Universe feels when you turn down the gifts it offers you.  The Universe wants to send you cool shit. You just need to get out of your own way!

Step 6: Live like it’s already here

Yes. You’ve put your order up into the Universe and now it’s sitting in the vortex waiting for you to get in the zone. Come on baby! All of the cool shit is here waiting for you!

If you want to be an online baking sensation act as if you are! Bake! Tell everyone proudly and confidently, how much you love baking. Bake like you are the best baker in the world. Take yourself and your passion seriously.

If you want to be a bestselling author, write! Write everyday! That’s what best selling authors do once they become bestselling authors.

Step 7: Say thank you!

The Universe loves gratitude! Don’t we all? It’s only polite to say thank you when the Universe gives you want you ask for. Say it out loud whenever something amazing manifests; when you get a payment into bank account, when an unexpected tax refund comes through, when a friend offers you the exact book you were hoping to read.

Living with a sense of gratitude in your heart is the most effective way to live a life of abundance and the easiest way to get inside the vortex! Say thank you every day for the abundance that surrounds you!

Manifesting Abundance

 

The Limitations

There are a few things to consider when manifesting. You can’t make people do things. So if your mantra involves other people doing or changing things then it may be in vain. For example, you wouldn’t want your mantra to read “I am so grateful my ex-boyfriend changed his mind and came back to me”. Because the universe can’t control people, only energy. Though you could instead state “I am so grateful that the universe has provided me with a loving relationship.” Because really, maybe your ex was a bit of a scum bag and there is someone way better out there for you.

Another thing to bear in mind is that you may not get exactly what you are asking for. Personally, after auditions for cool acting jobs, I have tried to will that specific job into reality. Sometimes it’s worked and sometimes it hasn’t. But when it hasn’t, the universe has always provided me with some just as good, if not better. So perhaps you won’t get exactly what you are after in exactly the way you were hoping, but the universe will respond.


Love and Abundance!

Full Time Unicorn

Creative Industries

Thinking in Colour: Synesthesia

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Synesthesia

As a kid I loved the weekend because it meant we had two yellow days next to each other. I preferred the yellows days way better than Monday – the only red day of the week. Tuesday was also yellow. But a darker yellow than Thursday which was a bright fluro yellow. Wednesday was orange and Friday was green. But Friday was special because it also had a picture with it. A green jelly-bean shape with dots in it. I had no idea back then but I was experiencing the symptoms of synesthesia.

The mind of a Synesthete

When I think of numbers, they are all stacked bottom to top and they each have their own colour. When they get to 11, they start going horizontally. The twenties are all purple, the thirties all green and the forties all red and so on. One hundred is a red castle with a flag at the top.

The months of the year have their own colours too, and they’re set out on a timeline; like a ruler, with a large monolithic divide between the two years. I am positioned on that ruler too – quite close to the end now as it’s December.

What is Synesthesia?

This is how my mind works. I have synesthesia, meaning that my mind associates words, letters and numbers with colours. Some synesthetes smell, taste or feel pain in colour and sometimes shapes as well. There are those who also see these colours, not in their mind’s eye, but floating in front of them. Some hear in colour and physically feel music within their bodies.

Lorde: “It’s hard to explain this to people who don’t have synesthesia because they don’t know any different,”

Singer Lorde has chomesthesia type synesthesia. She hears in colour which helps her to create beautiful artworks – that also sound pretty good too.

“If a song’s colours are too oppressive or ugly,” she explains, “sometimes I won’t want to work on it – when we first started Tennis Court we just had that pad playing the chords, and it was the worst textured tan colour, like really dated, and it made me feel sick, and then we figured out that pre-chorus and I started the lyric, and the song changed to all these incredible greens overnight,”

Synesthesia

 

Doesn’t everyone think in colour?

Thing is, I always assumed that everyone saw words, numbers and letters of the alphabet as colours and images. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that it’s actually a somewhat rare attribute. According to the American Psychological Association, around one in 2000 people are synesthetes but it is suspected that around one in 300 have some lesser form of the condition.

It’s believed that synesthesia runs in families and it tends to be more common amongst women. Personally I’ve always kind of liked my synesthesia. It’s just how my mind works. But I really wish I could up my synesthesia skills and start hearing colours. That’d freaking awesome. Could such a gift be trained?

Can Synesthesia be Learned?

Well, according to synesthesia expert, Jamie Ward, “no”. I know. Sadface. “You can train yourself to think of the letter A as red, but you wouldn’t literally see it (that way) if you were just to associate the colour to the letter.” Ward goes onto explain however that some people may acquire synesthesia after losing another sense. For example many people who go blind begin to associate sounds and words with colours. “These are hallucinations that blind people begin to have, which are triggered by sound.”

Pharell Williams: “I’d be lost…I’m not sure I could make music.”

Pharrell Williams, is another well-known Synesthete. He sees his synesthesia as a gift and would feel deprived if it was suddenly taken from him, claiming, “I’d be lost…I’m not sure I could make music.”

Like me, Williams also assumed that thinking in colour was what everyone did.  “Oh my God, it’s always been this way. But I thought all kids had mental, visual references for what they were hearing.”

Williams sees colours of the rainbow when he makes music, and believes that as well as having a correlation to musical notes, each colour also has an effect on a different chakra point. “There are seven basic colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. And those also correspond with musical notes … White, believe it or not, which gives you an octave is the blending of all the colours… For every color, there is a sound, a vibration, a part of the human body, a number, a musical note…You have all of your chakras.”

Williams also has an interesting theory about synesthetes and people with ADHD. “I happen to have a theory that synesthetes and people with ADD/ADHD will rule the world. You want to know why I think that is the case? Because historically, that is the case.”

Synesthesia

Other Famous Synesthetes

Other well-known synesthetes throughout history include Vladimir Nabokov, Vincent Van Gogh, Franz Liszt, Stevie Wonder and Marilyn Monroe. While they may not be well known politicians or activists likely to change the world in a revolutionary sense, people with synesthesia tend to be of the creative persuasion, which isn’t overly surprising when you think about it.

Secret Advantages of Synesthesia

Generally, those with chromesthesia (the sound to colour form of synesthesia) are inclined to become musicians as their form of synesthesia allows them to see notes in colour, which is a helping hand when it comes to learning pitch.

It’s believed that synesthetes who have the form known as special sequence synesthesia are more likely to have excellent memories as they view time in a physical special way in their minds. I too have this form of synesthesia and I remember everything. Seriously, there is very little from my childhood that I don’t remember and if I’ve seen a film I can tell you all about it. Even if it was years ago.

Do you have Synesthesia?

I think the weirdest part about having synesthesia is actually discovering that other people don’t have it. It makes me wonder what they see and how they think. It’s allows me to ponder at just how different we all are and that sometimes we have gifts that we aren’t even aware of.

Do you have synesthesia? I’d love to know!

Full Time Unicorn

Fighting Fear

Energy Trade: Full Time Unicorn Guide to Energy Protection

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Fairy Full Time Unicorn

Our energy is like a currency…

We really only have so much to give out to the universe and to others. With family, friends, work commitments and passion projects our energy can be easily depleted. And if you are a Highly Sensitive Person, an introvert or an empath, living an outward life can be incredibly draining.

We are all made of pure energy. We are all stardust, cosmically connected by that one moment of creation. When the big bang hit, the planets began to form and upon the Earth a single cell organism sprung up from the stardust like a phoenix rising from the ash. And it all started with just one singularity. From stardust.

What is Personal Energy?

Our bodies are kept warm from the beat of our hearts, circulating blood through our bodies. Unlike cold blooded animals, us humans maintain a base temperature no matter what environment we are in. We have our own internal thermostat. Our own furnace. But keeping that furnace burning uses energy. Just sitting, doing nothing uses energy. But doing hard physical or mental work also uses energy. As does enduring emotional distress.

The thing about energy is that when you have a plentiful supply you don’t really monitor how much you are giving away.  As a kid I never considered my energy. I just had it. I’d say yes to everyone and everything. I never really remember getting tired. I do however remember becoming overwhelmed and emotional when I had been around people too long.

But now as an adult I am beginning to understand that my life revolves around energy. Every interaction in life, every conversation, every act is a form of energy transfer.

The majority of ads we see on a daily basis are trying to sell us the hope of increased energy, or a way in which to save our energy for the things we enjoy doing; like surfing instead of cleaning.

Have you ever noticed that if you go to a party where you don’t know people very well, you get home and you are completely exhausted? This can be a lot to do with the energy you are giving out to others. Meeting new people is exhausting because we not only use a lot energy to present an edited version of ourselves but we be also expend a lot of energy taking an interest in the lives of others.

Different Energy Transfers

There’s a whole bunch of different ways in which us humans expend our energy

Equal balance energy transfers

When I am hanging out with my bestie, I never feel like I am expending heaps of energy. I know her and she knows me. I’m not burning energy through anxiously trying to be polite or adhere to her ways of living. We’ve been friends for forever. If I want a cup of tea I make one. If I’m hungry I nag her for food. She doesn’t care.

When she needs support I give it to her and vice versa. But our give and take is 50/50. I never feel drained after give her my time and energy because I know my advice has been heard and I also know she has and will be there for me a million more times in life.

Energy Transfer

Unbalanced energy transfers

An unbalanced energy transfer is when one person in the friendship or situation is expending more energy than the other. This could be in the form of physical energy – doing all the leg work; driving everywhere, organizing everything or always coming to the other person or doing what they want. Physical energy can also be expended in a friendship where one person has excessive rules the other must adhere to. This is draining as they must constantly use energy trying to remember the certain set of rules for this one person.

An unbalanced energy transfer can also occur with emotional energy; where one person uses the other to off load their emotional baggage excessively, but never receives the baggage in quite the same quantities.

How to notice an unbalanced energy transfer

If you are constantly leaving a meeting with someone feeling tired, deflated or unfulfilled by the encounter, then you might be experiencing an unbalanced energy transfer situation. Think back: are you handing over genuine emotional energy to the other person, only to have a limited amount offered back when you bring up your concerns or needs? Do they ask to hang out only when they need to off-load or organize their thoughts out loud? Another red flag is that the conversation may be quite one sided, you may get a few words in before the energy draining person gets bored and moves the conversation back to them.

If this behavior is more common than not, you may have an Energy Vampire on your hands.

Emotional Energy transfer

As a mother I find my energy is always making an outward journey. Even if I am not actively parenting; physically engaging or watching my children like a hawk, I am always thinking about them, about their lives or their emotional needs.

This can also be the same with friends or acquaintances who are going through a tough time. If you engage so much in their story and their struggles, you may begin to notice your energy slipping in their direction, even when you are not with them.

If you’re a sensitive empath (I feel ya!) this can be incredibly hard. People are generally drawn to empaths as a safe person to share their pain with. But for the empath this can be doubly hard, as not only do we feel hear their story and offer our healing energy, we also fear their pain as if it were our own. This makes the pain very hard to let go of. It can take hours or days to regain our energy equilibrium. What’s more, during those hours and days that we are left still thinking of the person in pain, we are actually still sending them our healing energy, as if in a long-distance reiki healing session.

Fear related or anxious energy transfer

As an anxious person I know all too well how draining constant fearful thoughts can be. These can be thoughts of self-doubt, judgement, or fearful thoughts of things going wrong or that you just don’t have enough time to do everything.

These energy transfers are between us and our Ego. The Ego wants all of our focus and all of our energy at all times. That way it is in charge of our lives and our actions. But our Ego is not our friend. It is fueled by fear.

When we allow our minds to take us on emotional fear-filled journeys all day long, it’s not surprising we can start to feel drained. Simply getting your head in the right space can prevent you from bleeding unwanted energy all day long.

When I hear those nagging thoughts in my head; worrying about whether or not going for a swim is the ‘best’ use of my time, when I feel these thoughts tug at my solar-plexus chakra, I force myself to take a breath and consciously silence them. I even say out loud: I refuse to waste my energy on these thoughts. I need it for greater things.

Energy Transfer

How to protect your energy

When I go to a new friend’s house I am more likely to be on edge. I don’t know their rules around social etiquette and if I actually like them I want them to like me too. I am trying to pretend that I am not secretly a little bit feral. I am trying to show the very best side of me and that takes conscious effort. And effort = energy.

Because I am slow to open up to people, I’m more likely to give support before I ask for it. This makes me far more prone to expending energy rather than receiving a top up, as only a certain few will be called upon to loan me some of their emotional energy. So as you can imagine I’m constantly monitoring how much energy I have and how much I have to offer others.

Say ‘No!’

As an introvert, empath and HSP I have learned to get very good at saying no. If someone wants to hang out and I feel instinctively that they want to off-load (again) and I don’t have the emotional energy available for it, I say no. If someone in a lot of pain wants to have a coffee, while they may not even speak about their struggles, I can feel them, so I might say yes to a catch up, but I know I will need to take some time out afterwards to meditate in order to restore my energy.

If you are an empath take care when browsing Facebook or online news stories. Even reading about someone in an awful situation could suck the oompf right out of you. When choosing films or shows to watch, first assess how able you will be to separate the story from reality. Even pretend tragic stories can be draining.

Meditate

Meditate, meditate, meditate. I can’t say it enough! I hear ya: There’s so much to do every day! Who has time to sit on a cushion and hum? You do! Believe me!

I too struggle to make time to meditate but when I do it I feel like a million bucks! It instantly calms my mind and allows me to get on with my day. It quiets the anxious chatter in my head and therefore prevents me from leaking energy all day long.

When I don’t meditate my mind wanders constantly. I find it hard to stay on topic with what I’m writing and everything takes longer. When I’m with my kids I’m more snappish and less likely to let them create magic (read: mess) in the kitchen or do science experiments.

Eat Like a Unicorn

It’s a common misconception that unicorns live on doughnuts and candy floss. The truth is unicorns are creatures of the divine. They dwell in the forest lands of faery realms. Do you really think they would fill themselves with processed guff made of who knows what? Hell – to the –no!

Unicorns thrive on plant based foods; berries, green veggies, fruit, nuts and coconut. They eat only the purest of foods and because of this keeps their minds, hearts and souls are pure too. When you eat like a unicorn, you run like one too…

Move like a Unicorn

Which leads me to my next point: move your tail! It may seem that to conserve energy you should sit still and rest but nope! Not at all! To ensure you have energy you gotta keep that furnace burning. If you are still for too long it goes out and all you’ll want to do is sit down and eat quick release energy foods – like candy.

Unicorns love to run but you can move however you want. Do some gardening, walk in nature, swim in the sea, practice yoga. Do what you love. Just move.

Crystals and Candle Magic

Most days I need a little help from my friends – earth and fire. While I’m working, I surround myself with crystals and burn a natural candle. At the moment I am burning an Ix Chel candle by Triquetra Candles. It’s made with soy wax, rose quartz and dried herbs and it is BLISS.

The energy from the candle, herbs and crystals helps to keep my vibration lifted. It also helps me to maintain my focus with a sense of ritual.

How to restore your energy

Despite taking all the precautions to protect my energy, there are still times when I reach the bottom of the barrel. It’s usually after a trip away for work, or after an intense work project – where I am more likely to skip my energy protection practices– that I will hit a burnout. Once it has hit there’s nothing much you can do but ride it out. Take a break. Watch Netflix. Eat well, stay hydrated and do some light exercise. If you’re in the midst of a burnout, definitely do not agree to a meeting with an Energy Vampire. Make your default answer ‘no’ until you are feeling replenished.

As soon as you’ve recharged through stillness, resume your energy protection practices.

Everyone’s energy is different

A lot of us go about life assuming that we should all have the same levels and that there’s something wrong with us if we tire easily or need to take breaks. There’s not. We are all magnificently different. The best thing you can do is forget about the energy levels of others and simply focus on your own. The better you know yourself the easier it is to stay true to your individual needs and strengths.

Full Time Unicorn

Fighting Fear

A Pill to Make You Numb: Do You Numb Your Hard Feelings?

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Full Time Unicorn

Hard feelings. We all get them from time to time. Sometimes we’re mad at others. Sometimes we’re mad at ourselves. Hard thoughts can be tough but they usually come up for a reason. The Universe is always trying to teach you something new, so when icky thoughts or feelings come up they do so to force you to face them. Of course, hard feelings are not fun. They require work to sort through. If you find yourself eager to numb the uncomfortable feelings with alcohol, drugs, sex, junk food, shopping or bad T.V. you’re not alone. Most of us don’t know how to deal with our feelings. Instead of sitting with them we try to dull them down.

Where do we learn to numb?

It was something I learnt growing up. If ever my parents were mad sad or depressed they would reach for something to ease their ills.

On nights when my mother would curl up on the couch claiming to ‘feel fat’ or ‘down in the dumps’ she would order my dad to go down to the dairy and get her a Jelly Tip. At the time I didn’t think much of it. Usually it meant that my dad would race me down to the shops. Me on my pink sparkly BMX, my little legs pedalling as fast as they could. My dad, jogging alongside me, pretending to go as fast as he could. The end result would be three Jelly-Tips, wrapped diagonally in newspaper, ready for when we arrived home. I’d ride even faster on the return journey.

On days where my parents were stressed or angry they would open the liquor cabinet, revealing a slew of long fancy bottles filled with intriguing and alluring elixirs. I’d watch the way my dad filled his glass with ice, a scowl on his face, gingerly pouring the syrupy bronze liquid. The ice cubes would clink as he lowered himself down into his chair, releasing a sigh. Being an adult looked cool because you got to look stressed and sigh and drink things that looked very grown up.

As a teenager my mother would poke her head into my bedroom, her eyebrows raised. “Busy? Want to go to the mall?”

At the mall her eyes would light up. I would visibly see her shoulders relax. “I really needed to get out to cheer myself up. I could really use a new top don’t you think? But first how about some junk food?” These times with my mum were some of the best I remember in my teenage years. We bonded through shopping and eating French fries and my mother used it as a way to make herself feel good. Is that so wrong?

Though I didn’t notice it at the time, this behaviour was setting me up for a future of dependant numbing. As early as 16 I can recall feeling so anxious I could hardly breathe. But instead of going for a walk, having a bath or perhaps meditating, I made my way to the liquor cabinet. I did what I’d seen my parents do for years; a placed the ice in the glass, added what I now knew to be Jack Daniels and topped the brew off with coke.

Learning to Numb with Alcohol

I sat in the sun and let the sweet mixture slide down my throat. With each sip I felt lighter. My chest relaxed and my thoughts grew soft and fuzzy. So that’s what all the fuss is about!

Up until this point I’d only ever used alcohol as a way to get drunk. It was what my friends and I did on a Friday night: From the age of 15 we would catch the train into town and then a bus into Newtown. Back in the 90s Newtown was not the funky bohemian metropolis it is today but instead a dodgy place where teenagers went to score their weed. We’d usually flip a coin to determine who had to go up to the door. If was always a sketchy experience, though thrilling too, in that way illegal activities tend to be.

Once we’d procured our cannabis, it was on to the liquor store to con some well-meaning adult into buying us a cask of wine.

From there we’d move onto the small treeish space we had named It. It was behind an old church and an electrical supplies store to drink and smoke ourselves into a fugue state. We’d stumble to the train station in time to catch the last train home, waxing lyrical on our homeward journey.

So as you can see alcohol was already a part of my life but it wasn’t until that sunny day with Jack that I learned to numb my feelings with it.

From that day on I had a quick tipple before I had to do anything too scary. About to perform in a play: a nip of vodka. Going on a first date: A quick skull from the bottle of wine in the fridge. Getting my legs waxed: A bourbon and coke.

It wasn’t until my mother caught me priming myself before an electrolysis session that I learnt that this behaviour was not approved of by my parents. My mum stood there in the living room staring at me. “What the hell are you doing?” she asked, her face in a half-smile half-scowl.

“Um, getting ready for my electrolysis appointment. I’m nervous.”

“Why are you drinking my gin?”

“Because you’re out of Whisky.”

“You can’t just drink alcohol because you’re nervous!”

I was stumped. What did she mean I couldn’t drink because I was nervous? Wasn’t that what all grownups did? Wasn’t that the correct way to drink? It wasn’t like I was drinking to get drunk. I was drinking responsibly to numb my pain. Duh.

“But,” I managed, “that’s what you do.”

I watched her face fall. Her mind processing what I’d said behind her hurt eyes. Shame. She’d been seen. Her actions, my father’s too, had been witnessed and mirrored. She hadn’t managed to teach me how to keep my room clean, how to make a bed with hospital corners, how to cook a meal then clean up after myself, but she had taught me how to drink. For some unknown reason that was what had stuck.

Full Time Unicorn

Who will Teach us to Deal with our Feelings?

It’s little wonder though isn’t it? When we go to school we learn how to read, write, add and subtract. We learn how to throw a ball and paint pictures. But do we ever get taught how to manage our feelings? I didn’t. Nor did my parents. If anything they were taught to hold their feelings in and ‘not make a fuss’. But when we hold in all our emotions they don’t just go away. They brood and grow. They have to come out eventually or they’ll begin to eat away at our insides, making us bitter, resentful and ill.

Everywhere we go alcohol and junk food are offered up to us on huge billboards, normalising substances that when taken in excess can cause death and disease. We’re taught to ‘enjoy treats in moderation’ and ‘knock back a cold one on a hot day’ as a way to let off some steam and relax. But we’re meant to know when enough is enough. And as soon as we cross the invisible line of ‘enough’ we’re an embarrassment. A weak fool who doesn’t know their limits and eats drinks too much for the wrong reasons. But what are the right reasons and who is meant to teach them to us?

While I now only drink in small amounts and I make a point of not using alcohol as a numbing agent, I still struggle with sugar. Now, if I have a bad day, I can feel my internal voice begging me to hit the confectionery isle so together we can self-harm and self-placate through candy. I must use all of my will power to resist and instead settle on an exotic tea blend as a reward for getting through a hard day without numbing.

Is numbing really that bad?

So you may be wondering is numbing really that bad? Well, that depends on why you’re numbing yourself and what you are using to do so. If you are using drugs and alcohol as a way to avoid dealing with your hard or dark feelings, then you are not teaching yourself to work through those feelings. While getting drunk may make you feel better, the same issues that were bothering you before you lifted the glass to your mouth will still be there tomorrow, when you’re hungover.

When it comes to eating junk food as a way to numb the same thing goes, though the ill effects may be more slow going. Not only will unhealthy food pick you up then drop you down, it will also have detrimental effects on your health in the long term.

Spending money to cheer yourself up might be fun but what happens when you run out of money? Then how will you cheer yourself up? If you numb yourself by keeping so busy you have no time to think, you could run the risk of he major burnout.

Perhaps you like to numb yourself by scrolling mindlessly through your Instagram feed. How do you feel afterwards? Personally I always feel worse after perving at Instagram too long because everyone always looks so much happier than me – I almost forget that it’s not their real life I’m ogling!

Full Time Unicorn

Temporary, conscious numbing

There are times where we may have to pick our battles. Sometimes using food and the like to numb ourselves may well be the best we have available at the time. When I had two children under four and was sleeping very little, eating five chocolate biscuits a night was the only way for me to get through those hard times. I didn’t have any spare time to meditate, exercise or journal. If I was lucky I had one undisturbed hour a night to watch an episode of Dexter and O.D on chocolate. Did it make me feel good afterwards? Not really. But knowing that at the end of each long day I’d get to smash a pack of Squiggles was honestly what got me through. And as my kids got older and the pressure came off, the need to numb with cookies passed.

But ultimately, using methods to escape from your pain is detrimental because it stops you from uncovering why you are feeling these feelings. When we try to dodge the lessons the Universe has sent our way they don’t disappear. They wait. Soon enough they’ll come back again. And again until we’ve chosen to face them.

What to do Instead of Numbing

Of course there are those of us who feel more than others. I myself am one of them. Us feely types are far more likely to seek out methods by which to numb. But we are far better off seeking out ways to manage our thoughts and feelings.

Meditation

I find meditation especially good for releasing anxiety around any issue. There are plenty of free guided meditations on You Tube that will help you release anxiety and anger without reaching for a glass of wine.

Journaling

If your issue more about processing thoughts and feelings then free flow journaling can be extremely helpful. It allows you to get your thoughts, fears and anger out onto the page as way of releasing what you’ve kept inside.

You can also write a letter to whom you have pend up anger towards, telling them how you feel. You could even send it if you want.

Audio Diary

Just like Felicity did back in the 90s, keeping an audio diary is similar to having a therapist (though a lot cheaper). You can chat away about your feelings as if you are talking to a friend.

Walking

My personal favourite is going for a long walk in the hills WITHOUT an ipod. This way I am forced to listen to my head. While I may start the walk full of rage and resentment, there is a point where I literally feel whatever it was that was plaguing me woosh off into the clouds. After it’s gone I continue walking a little longer as this is when my hard feelings are usually replaced by inspiration and or euphoria.

Ritual Bathing

This is like a bath but not. Ritual bathing is a serious affair. First you must find a collection of beautiful plants to fill your bath with (I love lavender, rosemary, kawakawa and rose petals) this means you are forced to go outside and place your hands upon the glory of mother-nature. Then throw your plants in, fill the tub, light plenty of candles and grab yourself a nice refreshing glass of sparkling ice water with fresh mint and lemon.

Before you get in bless the water with this prayer:

I bless this bath in the name of the goddess of water and the goddess of fire. I give thanks to the spirits of these plants and I ask them to help me process my hard feelings.

Slide into the bath and sit with your thoughts. Do not read or watch Netflix. Just sit there for at least an hour.

Nature

Get thee to the beach! That is pretty much my mantra for when I wake up with darkness in my heart. There is just something about a long walk along the beach that resets my heart and my soul. It totally lifts my vibration and places me back on a path of alignment.

Emotional release

We all spend a lot of time trying not to feel. But it is our emotions that make us human. It is okay to cry, yell and laugh with joy, though it’s usually only the latter that’s acceptable.

Back when I was at drama school I had a practice of ripping out a death scene when I was in a bad mood. I’m not even kidding. I would drop to the floor and enact a horrific death. It felt great. I totally recommend this for when you are in state of contained rage.

If you need to cry, cry. Get that sadness out of you. If you are mad at someone tell them. You don’t have to scream in their face but allow your anger to come out as it arises otherwise it will grow into a giant monster who will really do some damage. Punch pillows. Howl at the moon. You are allowed.

Full Time Unicorn

 

Photos by Mervyn Chan ,  Alex Iby ,  Lyndsey Marie &  ian dooley

Creative Industries

Nosce Te Ipsum: The Importance of Knowing Yourself

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Know Yourself

It was 2:45am on a Saturday morning and I was still wide awake. No, I hadn’t been out partying. I hadn’t even had a sip of booze. I’d gone to bed at a normal hour after binge watching a few too many episodes of Fargo with my lover. I was tired when I lay my head on the pillow but as soon as the light went off I was wide awake. I was mad. I was sad. I was miserable. My body felt stiff and itchy. My gut felt hard and rigid; wrecked with guilt and full of resentment.  On this Saturday, which ironically marked the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, I was finding myself on the edge of a relapse.

For me, my mental illness is something that is always with me – even if just a little bit. I do my best to manage it and keep it in check but the truth is it is always there, lurking on the periphery.

A History of Mental Illness

From as young as eight years old I had bouts of depression. I recall my parents announcing a trip to the public swimming pools and feeling a heavy sense of disappointment, boredom and hopelessness wash over me. It’s a feeling I now know as depression.

From the age of ten I developed obsessive thoughts and feelings of anxiety to go with the depression. My mind was in a whir, constantly considering and questioning all kinds of things and then feeling guilty for even thinking about them. I became addicted to confessing my sins to my mother, who had somehow become my personal catholic priest. Every night I’d come clean to her, telling her all my impure thoughts from the day. ‘I looked at a girl’s vagina in the changing room at swimming. When Mr Bruce was talking at assembly I imagined him naked, then imagined him having sex, then I imagined having sex with him! On it went. Out it would all come and my mother would listen and smile then simply say, ‘it’s okay, you’re allowed to have your own thoughts’. I would sigh, feeling cleansed and absolved of my sins. For a few minutes. Then the thoughts would start up again and the guilt and fear would start up again with them.

During my teenage years the anxiety lead to extreme hypochondria and a dependency on alcohol to get through all social situations.

It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom at 23 and had a complete breakdown that I was forced to reevaluate my self-care practices. It turned out that up until this point I hadn’t really had any. Until then, exercise was only something you did to lose weight, sugar was a dietary staple as was coffee, early nights were for party-poopers and living as a tortured artist was part and parcel of a creative life. Oh how wrong I was!

Know Yourself

Nosce te Ipsum – Know Thyself

Nosce te Ipsum is a Latin phrase meaning Know Thyself. After managing my mental illness for ten years by using this phrase every day, I decided it was time to get it inked on my body as a constant reminder. I do my best to know myself. I know what makes my heart sing. I know what makes me sad. I know my triggers and my self-care requirements to keep my illness in check. I have learnt a lot of things about myself over the years and now that I know these things I can’t un-know them. One thing I know for sure is that I want to live. I refuse to let my mental illness claim my life.

What I Know about Myself

Caffeine

If I drink caffeine I have panic attacks. One cup now and then is usually okay – though I will notice I am more grumpy and hungry than if I stick to decaf – but one cup every day for a week will send me over the edge. It’s easy to slip back into that old morning routine of jump starting my brain with coffee – Oh believe me I do miss that wide away feeling. But the last time I let myself get hooked on the good stuff I found myself driving on a rainy night in peak-hour traffic with an elephant sitting on my chest. No matter what I did I could not stop myself from panicking. And panicking only makes a stressful situation much harder.

Sugar

When it comes to sugar it is similar but instead of becoming anxious I first become irritable and then very depressed. As I am highly sensitive to the chemical response sugar brings out in me, one tiny taste leaves me gagging for the next fix. I find it impossible to live in the now and be present with my kids because all I am thinking about is face smashing a tub of ice cream.  It is the one substance I am highly addicted to. If I fall off the wagon it is very hard for me to get back on it.

I wish I could say that I was fine with sugar alternatives like stevia or erythritol, but I find them just as bad, if not worse, than the real thing. I stick to fruit for my sweetness, especially banana.

The Need for Alone-Time

Being a Highly Sensitive Unicorn, an introvert and an intuitive empath, I find being around people for long stretches of time VERY hard. It’s not that I don’t like people – I do – it’s just that I find the energy of others incredibly draining. Even if another person is in the same room as me not saying a word I can feel their energy and I am concerned about their well being.

In order to recharge I need to be alone. Sometimes all I need is half an hour to unwind, read a book, exercise and meditate. Though of course if I leave it to long without demanding this time I will need a lot more time alone to make up for it. It may seem like a simple thing but I have learnt the hard way that when I don’t get this time I start to lose my shit. My perfectly woven shroud of wellness starts to unravel and soon all hell will break loose.

Know Yourself

Exercise

I have learnt that I need to exercise regularly and that if I go more than three days without a good bout of cardio I will start to become very sad. The sadness makes it even harder for me to start to exercise again. That’s when I know that the darkness is coming for me; the sadness is just the beginning, soon the darkness will swallow me up and it will not let me exercise at all. It will convince me that it’s best stay in bed eating Tim-Tams. But the darkness is not my friend. It doesn’t want me to get better because it likes having me there to torment. As they say ‘misery loves company’.

Do you want to know something funny? I hate exercise. I was not a sporty child and even now as adult I would rather be writing than sweating it out on the spin bike but I know myself and I know that exercise is simply a necessity for my well-being.

Sleep

Cyclically, if I get to point where I have not exercised for more than three days, I also find it very hard to sleep. My anxiety levels spike and as soon as my head hits the pillow all I can see are my children falling from great heights. My heart pounds and my legs are restless.  The only way to cure the sleeplessness is to go for a very long walk the next day. This can be the hardest thing to do when you’re feeling on the edge of a breakdown. But believe me, it is the very best thing you can do in order to rebalance your sleeping patterns.

Purpose

The most likely times for me to experience a relapse in anxiety and depression are during the school holidays (when I am likely to miss out on ‘alone time’ or exercise time) or in between projects. If I don’t have a project on the go that I am passionate about I can begin to lose my sense of purpose. For this reason I do my best to make sure I have a direction ready for when I finish a large project.

I recently sent my young-adult fantasy novel off to a few literary agents in New York. I knew that suddenly not having my novel to think about 24/7 would leave me feeling a little directionless, so I booked in some film work for that week to give my mind a new focus before I started on my next novel. I need to be constantly working on something that excites me and sets my heart a flutter in order to feel fulfilled. How about you?

Know Yourself

Being a Tortured Artist is a Choice

Ah yes. That old cliche that has claimed the lives of many artists. For years I believed that in order to make really good art one needed to suffer. I even foolishly thought that my mental illness was the key to my success and to treat it or manage it would be my creative downfall.

For years I stayed up late to work – even though I knew it impacted on the rest of my life. I used to drink a lot to drown out the sense of disappointment when my work didn’t sell, get published or if I didn’t get the part. Even when I finally realised that drinking heavily wasn’t a healthy way to manage my feelings, I still continued to binge on junk food instead; when really it’s the same thing, just different.

I used to engage in spiteful acts of bitching just to make myself feel better about not having what others did. Instead of being happy for my peers I would silently hate and resent their success. I would wallow as if they had blatantly stolen something from me, even though they had earned it fair and square.

When I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic I was reminded that living as a tortured artist is in fact a choice. We can choose to live as if this creativity we a besieged with is a heavy crown on our heads, a curse if you will, or we can accept that yes, we have a need to do this work, a calling even, but it need not be the death of us.

“You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration or its master, but something far more interesting – it’s partner – and that the two of you are working together toward something intriguing and worthwhile.” – Elizabeth Gilbert.

 Medication

On top of all of the things I do to manage my illness, I also take medication. Since my breakdown over 10 years ago I have remained on medication. While all of my self-care can help with the depression and anxiety, only medication helps to relieve me of the obsessive thoughts.

I have at times come off it, like when I was pregnant, but after falling ill again I’d always go back on it. I’ve discovered I am not well when I am not on medication. I have an illness that requires medicine. Much like people with high blood pressure or asthma need medication, so do those with mental illness. They shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it, as if it’s ‘taking the easy way out’, believe me, it’s not.  It’s a bit like how body builders take supplements – they still have to lift the weights.

As they say, ‘opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one’. Inevitably, there will come a time when some big dummy decides to tell you what they think of your choice to take medication. The thing is only you, and those closest to you, can truly know what’s best for you. Personally, I knew that when my lover couldn’t go down to the shops to get milk without coming back to find me in tears, because I was sure he would crash and die on the way home, that it was time to go back on my meds.

Being medicated is a choice that no one should make you feel ashamed of. It takes a lot of courage for someone with a mental illness to even seek help let alone accept that medication may be the right choice for them. In my experience, it’s not the mentally ill people on medication you need to worry about, it’s the ones who aren’t medicated that you need to watch out for!

The most important thing that we learn in this life is how to master the art of being ourselves. To do that we need to learn to know ourselves through and through.

Know Yourself

How well do You Know Yourself? Ask yourself these questions:

 

What is your favourite colour? How often do you wear it?

What is your favourite food? How often do you eat it?

If you could wear anything, without considering cost or ridicule, what would you wear?

A) I am happiest when…

B) why?

A) I am saddest when…

B) why?

What would you be doing if you were in your absolute bliss moment?

What foods or environments make you feel bad?

What daily activities are you currently doing that are detrimental to your happiness?

What one daily practice are you not currently doing that would improve your quality of life?

My life purpose is…

Obviously there are no wrong answers. The point of theses questions is to get you thinking about what you like and don’t like. The real truth lies behind how easy it was for you to answer these questions. If you struggled to answer then perhaps you are a little out of touch with what brings you joy.

Full Time Unicorn