Posts in mindset
Celebrating the 'lasts' and the 'firsts'...

It's funny how quickly we fall into routines and habits. So often subconsciously, that you only realise you built them when it's time to move on.

I spent the last eight months house sitting for my friend’s parents as they travelled Australia and Canada and I hadn't realised how much their place had become like home. I've now moved on to another housesit and this morning as I woke up, I lie in bed waiting for the first grandfather clock chimes of the day.

They would always chime at 7:15.

But this morning, they didn't come because I'm no longer in the house with the grandfather clock.

So often when I was working from home in the silence of my own company, the quarterly chimes of the clock would be my solid companion. It was so comforting to know it was there, the backbone to my day.

I'd even say good morning to the clock every time I came down the stairs into the hallway. Other small rituals too, walking into the conservatory throughout the summer months, sitting and gazing out into the garden as I sipped my lemon water.

Those little things you don't realise you'll miss until they're gone.

But the beauty of leaving somewhere is that you get to appreciate all that you had.

It heightens your awareness of these moments in life.

When I woke up this morning and flicked through Facebook. I was reminded of a memory from this day last year. It was the day I left my childhood home that I'd lived in, other than when I went to uni and short stints with partners, for most of my life. I’d spent 28 years in the house and I’d spent all my life in that town.

I'd written a post that turned into a poem on my last morning of waking up in that bed.

All the 'lasts' I would have the final chance to do.

The last walk to my gym.

The last awkward flush of the dodgy toilet and the upstairs bathroom.

The last glance through my bedroom window to the houses opposite

The last click of the gate where the postman hadn't shut it properly and it jiggles on the latch.

The last time I crouched down at floor level to look in the fridge whilst making my lunch.

I remember that feeling of melancholy, of losing, of missing of almost clutching to these memories. But in that same moment, I realised that with all these lasts, comes the appreciation of those memories but also it's the 'lasts' that make the room for new 'firsts' to take their place.

I love that reframe. Because without all those lasts, without that awareness, appreciation and forward momentum of moving into a new chapter. There is no room for whole host of new firsts and that's such an exciting and beautiful anticipation.

What 'lasts' can you honour and what new 'firsts' can you create in your world today?


Silly selfie taken on the lawn at my old house a few weeks before I loved last year…

Silly selfie taken on the lawn at my old house a few weeks before I loved last year…

As an additional note, I thought I’d share with you the poem I wrote on leaving day from the childhood. home. I remember the moment I wrote this poem. I’d just woken up, I hadn’t yet got out of bed, I was lying on my back and my notebook was by my bedside so I reached over and grabbed it.

Reflecting on all the memories that had come before in those 28 years, this poem evolved.

THE LAST TIME

Moving day dawns
I find myself noticing the ‘lasts’
The last nights sleep in this bed
The last gaze at sunlight hitting my curtains as I open my eyes
The last awkward flush of the dodgy upstairs toilet
The last turn of the stiff shower handle
The last morning mug of lemon water stood in that kitchen looking out at the birdbath
The last time I walk barefoot across that garden
The last time I handstand against that garage wall
The last clink of the garden gate that the postman didn’t shut
The last time I hear that landline ring
The last time I take those stairs two at a time and hold the banister to jump down the bottom three
The last time I cycle to the gym just around the corner and cut through the woods
The last time I crouch to stare into that fridge whilst making lunch
The last time I hear the cats scamper down the stairs as my mum prepares their food
The last time I hear bikes rattle down the bridle path running alongside the house
The last time I smell the scent of my childhood
The last time I maneuver my car out of the driveway on autopilot
The last time I pause to check for traffic at the top of that road as I pull away

The last time...

I notice a subtle melancholy
An inward celebration
But then the dawn of realisation...
That these ‘lasts’ create the space
For new ‘firsts’ to take their place

A smile creeps across my face



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I have launched a podcast! (*incredibly exciting & scary*)

I’ve launched a podcast!

Welcome to “The Magic In The Messy”

Full disclosure, when I first started to use the word ‘podcast’ (rather than just ‘audio recordings ‘ as I had previously called them as it seemed more casual), I felt like a fraud!

I saw people who had their own podcast shows as people who ‘had their shit together’, who knew the ‘proper’ technicalities and best practices and that I was just bodging it together, googling ‘how to…’ every other second, stumbling over my introductions (I will improve!), cringing at my own voice, and quite simply just making it up as I went along.

I couldn’t even think of a good name. I had a long running list in the notes on my phone but nothing ever seemed to fit. It was the perfect excuse not to take action, so the idea simply continued to sit there as a ‘one day’ project…

I’d also told myself time and time again over the last couple of years that I am a writer not a podcaster, since I’ve been blogging since 2011 and having had various articles published that feels pretty legit to me… but to share my voice, to be a ‘podcaster’ well, that kicked up all kinds of dialogue off in my head. Holding me back and keeping me small for too long.

But that’s the truth of it. It is only dialogue, (boring) stories I am telling myself to prevent me from sharing my voice in a way that feels meaningful to me, and in doing so may just reach someone in a way my writing won’t.

At the start of this year I set my intention to ‘share my voice beyond my platform’. My original intention had been to explore more speaking opportunities, more interviews with others and writing for other publications and platforms beyond my own blog (all still true- so if you are reading this and have a platform hot me up!)

But what equally came through - as a shout by now, no longer a whisper - was the desire to share my private audio recordings. My raw. vulnerable, unedited thoughts that I have been capturing on my phone for at least 18 months but had never officially shared with the world in a big way.

That coupled with a renewed drive to write my book (on the topic of permission and creativity), and the interviews I am hosting on that theme all made so much sense to package into a podcast.

It felt hugely scary and exciting as I finally got out of my own way…

Within three weeks I thought of a name, designed all the artwork, I book a decent mic (though the nature of many of my notes are that they are recorded raw in the moment on my phone), I painstakingly taught myself the technicalities of how to create a podcast, I interviewed my first guests, packaged it all together, submitted my feed to all the major podcast platforms, got approved and so now…

I still cant quite believe I’m saying it but I’m officially launching a podcast, full of raw vulnerable thoughts and conversations!

In this moment, I have no idea where it will lead me, or how it will evolve, but I am excited to find out and to be sharing this journey with you… beyond words on a page!

 
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For the official launch, so that you have plenty of content to get stuck into and explore, I have published five episodes ready to go. They have their own separate pages with show notes linked below, but you can also listen to them all directly via your favourite podcast platform. Enjoy!

Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Stitcher

Music Credit


NOTE: The episode list shows the most recent first, so scroll down to listen to first one!


Why “The Magic In The Messy”?

This podcast began life as a series of raw unfiltered and totally unedited 'brains dumps' recorded as simple voice notes on my phone as an outlet for processing my own thoughts on what it means to dig beneath the surface and live life on my own terms.

The lesson that I was bumping up against time and time again, in my own life but also in conversation with others is that, in order to reach the magic in our lives we need to be willing to embrace the messy along the way!

It’s been a huge process of surrender for me. Of leaning in and trusting the process. Now I'm finally ready to share it all with you too.

I'm Jo Hodson and I invite you to jump on board, subscribe, and embrace the #messymagic


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Feeling totally exposed even in my own private company

As I sat up in bed, immediately upon waking this morning, I had a sudden urge to grab my phone and take a photo of myself looking in huge mirrored doors of the built in wardrobe that flanks one side of the room.

This isn't a photo for likes or comments, but a representation of how it has shaped me over the last few months, the difference that having a huge mirrored surface opposite the doorway of the bedroom has made in my life.

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For context, I moved into this house in January. It's an eight month house sit for the parents of one of my best friends. It's coming to and end quite soon.

I remember the very first evening I was here. Getting undressed and ready for bed and suddenly seeing my naked body lit up in front of the mirror in the yellowy light of the ceiling lamp.

I remember at the time, I froze momentarily then slightly recoiled. Feeling totally exposed even in my own private company.

I wasn't used to seeing my own body in its 'wholeness' and it caught me by surprise.

That in itself fascinated me. The fact that I'm so used to seeing parts of myself. Fragments at a time. Abstract. In small mirrors in the bedroom or in the bathroom, or when looking down as myself, a distorted world view.

Yet I’d so rarely had the chance to appreciate my full form.

Looking at photos of our whole selves is different, we're posed and poised. Viewed rom a distance on a small on a screen. Clothed.

But here I was. Full on, full out. Unprepared and unposed in all my naked glory, standing opposite myself. Looking myself in the eye. There was no hiding even though that urge rose within me.

The next evening when it happened again. I noticed my resistance. I noticed the surprise. I noticed the feelings of uncertainty and unfamiliarity with my own body. Unfamiliar with the body I'm so used to, the body that I have lived in for 36 years, yet I just never really 'see'.

In all its completeness.

So I got curious. I started turning around in front of the mirror. Looking at myself from as many angles as possible. The light changing and creating pattern and shape rippling over me. Twisting, tensing, flexing, looking at the curves, the folds and muscle tone and observing the wonder of the musculoskeletal system that makes the human form.

What magic!

It became quite a fun game. Creating a sense of familiarity and connection with myself, and in doing so a sense of compassion. And slowly but surely a deeper sense of self love.

Self love.

Not that I'd ever really hated my body, not at all. I simply hadn't ever really appreciated it because I'd never seen it, not really, not like this. I’d been so disconnected from my wholeness. I had no idea what I was missing.

But every single night and every single morning as I got undressed, I had the chance to observe my body in it's naked glory. Those moments became such a celebration. A private moment of connection and respect.

As the days and the weeks and months passed during my time in this house, I learned to celebrate the glory, the fullness and the completeness of my body in a way I'd never previously had an opportunity to, in a way that I'd never even seen as necessary.

I can honesty say it has been a beautiful journey.

So, this morning, when I woke up and sat on the edge of my bed, I suddenly had the spontaneous urge to grab my phone and take a photo. Not for likes, but to record this moment. Record how I feel to be in acceptance and celebration, in fascination and curiosity and at one with my body.

This beautiful, powerful body.

As I shot this photo, I had literally just woken up seconds before. My hair isn't brushed. I have an old T shirt and knickers on. Nothing else. I have bruises on my knees where I fell over. The bed isn't made. The room isn't particularly tidy.

But none of that matters.

Because this isn't for likes. This isn't an ego trip.

This is showing up as me in the moment. The spontaneous, raw, vulnerable, unfiltered beauty of me.

A celebration and a call to love in seeing ourselves. Fully.

Because I want you to see yourself. Fully.

I want you to find a huge mirrored wardrobe of your own and stand naked, to look yourself in the eye and truly see and celebrate the depth and fullness of who you are, because it's glorious. Truly and utterly glorious.

And it might take a while to get comfortable with that. That's ok. Stay with it. Lean into those feelings. Because with repeated exposure and a sense of curiosity, it will come. I promise.

I didn't realise before that I didn't love my body but it's simply because I never truly gave myself a chance to.

I'm giving myself that chance today.


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Processing life in times of trauma - 'When Only One Can Love'

Today I am being kind to myself. I have thrown away my to-do list. I am sitting on the sofa in my hoodie, with a blanket over my lap, sipping banana smoothies and mint tea, tissues at the ready and writing to you.

Writing to you. Writing to me. Writing to let it all go. Writing to process and make peace and move through…

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I hadn’t planned to share this post.

Writing it wasn’t even on my to-do list (the to-do list that I have pretty much written off for this entire week).

It felt a little too raw, real and vulnerable.

But a little voice whispered ‘that’s your gift to the world, what if it helped others too’, and so I surrendered to that possibility. Knowing that in doing so it would also help me. That’s part of the beauty of it all.

The outcome was that I wrote some words that helped set me free (scroll down to see them) but first let me give you some context. That part feels important too.

Last week I wrote this post. It centred around my powerful experience at Osho Leela, of choosing to re-write a story that had been holding me back. Towards the end of that post was this paragraph:

“The shift was immediate. As the festival unfolded over the following three days, I felt myself feeling so much more connected, having conversations with ease whereas previously I struggled to initiate, forming close relationships with the girls in my dorm room, meeting people that I've met over the last couple of years and allowing myself to relaxing into their company, and even feeling the exciting spark of potential once again.”

‘the exciting spark of potential’ was actually a guy I connected with. And over the following week that connection took me to a deep and totally unexpected level.

If you’ve been in my world for some time or have read My Why (my ‘about’ page), you’ll already know that this blog, quitting my corporate career, my transition to a plant-based diet, my spiritual journey and a whole host of others powerful parts of my life were ALL as a result of my relationship with a guy with Aspergers. I even wrote about the time in my life in this bestselling book - ‘Thresholds’

I left that relationship over eight years ago, but it took me almost seven years to truly process the impact he’d had on my life and feel ready to embark on another relationship (which then broke down last year due to his complex mental health issues).

To be honest, over these last few months, I have been enjoying finding myself again, enjoying being me, enjoying flings without commitment, self exploration, travel and transience…

Then at Osho Leela I met a guy, who in oh so subtle ways in his mannerisms and way of being reminded me of Paul- the guy with Aspergers.

We connected… it was intense… it was beautiful… then overwhelm hit… then it all backtracked and my brain imploded (ok, slight exaggeration but ya get the point)

It cracked me open and triggered me at a deep level.

I got intense flashbacks, trauma that I thought I had put to bed many years ago engulfed me.

These last few days I have had no appetite, having to force feed myself smoothies and fruit. Broken sleep, waking in the middle of the night and recording voice notes to vent and process the swirling noise in my head. Writing, writing, writing. Sitting alone in the quietness of my house so that process without censoring.

I reached out for help from two friends who i knew would hold space for me. They helped me see things with more objective eyes. It was wonderful and I am glad I was able to reach out to them.

Through my conversations with them, I was hit by a new found (but now so obvious) awareness of the fact that I am always attracted to guys who display ‘aspergic tendencies’* so my brain had a freak out - it flew back to the ‘extreme’ scenario of my previous relationship and dramatically painted every possible future relationship with the same brush.

*there is no intention for labelling or judgement in that phrase- I am simply referring to personality traits, probably something to do with the fact that since I have ADHD, I too am technically somewhere on the spectrum so there is a resonance.

I’d gone down a spiral of worrying that I’d spend my entire life loving without being able to be loved in return. The pain felt so real as I re-lived my traumatic experiences with Paul in our darkest days. When I loved him so deeply but he did not have the emotional capacity to return that love, no matter how much he wanted to.

I woke up yesterday morning and re-listened to a voice note I had recoded in the middle of the night. I transcribed and tweaked it’s message to create the piece of prose below.

This is what it feels like for me when ‘only one can love’ - my experience with Paul. The experience that I have never shared openly before or even acknowledged to myself. I first shared this piece within a private group and so many people thanked me for sharing as they too could resonate with my experience of unrequited love, whatever it’s source or context.

So this is is for you if you have struggled with unrequited love.

If you resonate with my words and my feelings. Know that I hear you. I see you.

Today I am being kind to myself. I have thrown away my to-do list. I am sitting on the sofa with a blanket over my lap, sipping banana smoothies and mint tea, tissues at the ready and writing to you.

Writing to you. Writing to me. Writing to let it all go. Writing to process and make peace and move through.

It already feels lighter. I already feel more empowered. I already feel that so much more space has been created within me. I feel me.

Debris dislodged and shifted. A newfound respect for myself and my self permission to process without censoring. A spark of excited hope for my future.

There is so much beauty available in pain when you allow space for it and are willing to open your heart to the lessons it has to teach you.

As I sit here, I also see the beautiful irony in having this corner of the internet in which to share my pain in all it’s raw and beautiful humanness, a corner I would never even have created if it hadn’t been for that series of events that unfolded over eight years ago.

And I feel incredibly grateful.


WHEN ONLY ONE CAN LOVE

I get to hold your hand on the outside, but we never get to go in.

I see the party going on behind the windows, I can even hear the muffled beat of the music and I know what an amazing time everybody's having. But I'm standing outside looking in. Holding your hand, standing outside looking in.

I could let go of your hand so that I can go in on my own.

And I can have some fun, I can smile, I can listen to music and I can dance.

But I know you're still waiting outside and it always feels just a little bit empty.

That's what love is for me. When only one can love. It's always just that little bit empty.

Having someone to 'do' life with. Having someone to take my hand with laughter in their eyes as we dance through the house oblivious, having someone to hold and sway with to the music... creates a depth of connection at a whole new level.

I want someone who feels the rhythm with me. When i'm no longer just listening to the beat on my own, not just standing and dancing amongst other people in the same room when they're dancing in their own way, to their own rhythm in their own little bubbles.

They are not in ours, not in our special bubble. But you are not in ours either because you're standing outside. You were never able to come inside with me. Even though you wanted to.

But because I know you're waiting outside it still hurts and I can't fully immerse myself in what's going on around me.

It hurts. Loving someone who can't meet you in the space of that emotion. Who can hold your hand, can maybe even dip a toe in the waters edge but can never dive in.

It's always just a possibility, a dream. I can almost touch it but not quite.

Worse than if I wasn't standing at the edge at all.

If I wasn't standing there at all, the dream, the vision, the possibilities would have never even existed for me.

I wouldn't know what I was missing.

So close.

So close.

Yet once again not quite close enough to hold.


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A choice to change or stay the same...

This tiny piece of wood hanging around my neck has a story to tell.

Over the days that lead up to the Osho Leela Mystic Heart Festival that I attended last weekend I was feeling a bubbling sense of anxiety and apprehension.

It's such an incredibly intensive and powerful spiritual gathering. One that I know has the power to shift me on so many levels.

Yet this time there was another undercurrent that was playing out in my mind.

heather ogham.jpg

Last year I attended this same festival to co-host the very same firewalk gathering, and I'd brought my boyfriend with me. It was the first spiritual event he'd ever been to and I was nervous yet excited to share the experience with him. I needn't have worried as he absolutely loved it and it was it was an incredibly powerful moment in our relationship.

I was so wrapped up in love without any clue as to what would unfold between us over the following months...

So in the lead up to the festival this year, I so many feelings bubbling under the surface.

Since we split last November, I have found it incredibly tough at times. I thought he had been 'the one' and then it all came crashing down around me.

Over the last few months as I've made peace and dropped any anger and judgments I may have been holding on to, at times I still can't help but still feel so love for him. So much love, love for who we had been together.

I worried how it might feel being back in those familiar surroundings this time on my own.

On the first day I walked into one of the workshops, in particular, one that we had shared together last year and had found so powerful. During that workshop, we had discovered that the workshop leader also carved beautiful 'oghams' from various trees and that each one had a particular symbolism and intention.

We spent hours deliberating which ones we would buy, and we gifted them to each other, both wearing them all the time in the weeks that followed. I had even spent some hours scouring Hatfield park a couple of weeks later when his had fallen off during a run and he’d been upset as loosing it. I found it.

When we split, I could not longer look at it and had to put it away in a box, along with everything else.

When I arrived at this workshop, and saw all the various carve pendants laid out across a display table. I took a deep breath and knew instinctively that this was my opportunity to rewrite that story.

Start anew with a blank slate...

A shiny new chapter...

Shake off the residual fears and anxieties...

Let go of the 'what could have beens'...

At the end of the session, I shared with the workshop leader what was going on for me as something as a declaration and internal acknowledgement of my intention that this was significant moment of choice.

A choice to change or stay the same...

A choice to hold on or let go...

A choice to look back or focus ahead...

My eye caught this particular ogham carved into heather which symbolises community, friendships, family connections and strengthening of bonds with partners. All things I'm committing to draw upon and manifest more deeply in my life.

It felt the perfect way to read write the script and reclaim my story.

The shift was immediate. As the festival unfolded over the following three days, I felt myself feeling so much more connected, having conversations with ease whereas previously I struggled to initiate, forming close relationships with the girls in my dorm room, meeting people that I've met over the last couple of years and allowing myself to relaxing into their company, and even feeling the exciting spark of potential once again.

The energy of the entire experience became so much more than I could ever have anticipated.

All from that tiny moment of choice.

That threshold moment in which I claimed the opportunity to reframe my experiences and step into my power once again.

So this is a story of choice and a reminder that we all have choices in every moment. Threshold moments that have the potential to change the entire direction of out lives if we let them.

Yet our choices they often appears to us in the tiny moments, the moments that we can so easily overlook when life gets busy, moments where we hesitate and miss the calling as it passes by.

This is your moment.

What will you choose?


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Facing fear.... on the wrong side of the road

Last week I was in Spain on holiday.

But it wasn’t just an ordinary holiday.

This was created as an opportunity for me to face one of my biggest fears - driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road!

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It feels somewhat silly to even admit, as for many people it’s simply no big deal. Yet it’s been something that has been increasingly bothering me for a number of years and more recently scenarios have come up where it would’ve been useful for me to have driven. As I plan to travel more in coming months I sensed these opportunities may show up more and more.

So I had a choice to make.

Change or stay the same.

I realised that I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity simply because I wasn’t prepared to drive on the other side of the road! 

I shared these fears with a friend. I shared with her my research on looking for a days European intensive driving course (which wasn’t cheap!) Then she proposed that we head off to Spain and stay in her parents apartment, and that she be the second driver as back up for me on the hire car.

So that’s what we did!

As it happens the entire holiday cost half the price that the days course would’ve done and I got a much richer ‘real life’ experience because of it, and I got to spend some quality time with two best friends (and her little baby) in the sunshine by the sea. As it also happens I actually forgot to add my friend as second driver when I booked the car so I had no choice but to do all the driving! ha ha

Upon heading back to the airport on the final day, we came to the main road out of the town to find it shut off due to an annual triathlon race.

It felt pretty intense, no-one around us spoke good English, we were pushed for time in getting to the airport and to be honest it started feeling felt pretty intense. There seemed no way to go and in the end a police motorbike had to escort us on a make-shift route the wrong way down one-way streets to find an alternative route so we could be in our way. 

I feel really proud of finally facing my fears... of driving on the other side of the road, in the dark, re-routing round roadworks, on motorways, on small country roads, through towns, parking in a tight space in a multi-storey car park, following behind a police escort, and often with a crying baby in the back seat! (he didn’t cry much only on long boring stretches when stick in his car seat!) I even did a little trip to the supermarket on my own to try out a solo trip.

So I went to Spain on holiday.

A holiday to face my fears!

But now I have a question for you…

This is a story about me, but it’s not really about me.

It’s a story about fear. A story about the choice to change or stay the same. About creating space to say ‘yes’ to opportunity.

Where in your life is fear holding you back, and what could you choose to do about it?


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Red lipstick...

When I quit my corporate career in architecture back in 2012, I immediately disowned the ‘power dressing’ culture where female sexuality was often used as a tool to win clients in a male-dominated industry.

In launching myself into the world of health and wellness I flung myself fully to the other end of the spectrum and embraced my inner hippie- barefeet and barefaced. Spending most of my time in gym kit and sports bras (or no bra at all!)

Truth be told I saw my willingness to disown make-up and accessories as a form of personal empowerment, and if I am super honest (this part is really hard to admit) I judged the women around me who I perceived still felt the need to ‘wear a mask’.

Yet, there was something that was still simmering hot beneath the surface as I felt triggered when in the company of beautifully put together women. I didn’t know how to address those feelings so for years I pushed them away and for the most part avoided getting to know those women, so that I didn’t have to address the awkward conflicting growing resistance in myself.

In recent weeks the inner conflict reached tipping point...

A growing awareness that how I am evolving and growing internally is no longer in alignment with how I look externally. In fact, there is now such a significant disparity, it can no longer be ignored.

I realised, that if I am indeed passionate about how we show up in life as the most honest, authentic, bold and empowered versions of ourselves then I needed to walk my talk and stop minimising myself, stop blending in, stop playing small on ALL levels- this includes my appearance! The unspoken void and the missing piece of the puzzle that was holding me back.

I realised I judged and resented the beautiful women around me because I didn’t know how to look beautiful myself (I know we all have a natural beauty but that's not a what I mean here). I didn’t know how to embrace my feminine essence as I’ve always been more naturally comfortable with my more masculine traits, I don’t know how to style my hair, what colours and types of clothes best suit me, what jewellery and make-up could accentuate my appearance... and I wanted the choice!

Choice switches us from playing the victim to taking ownership. It's a powerful reframe.

So I took a deep breath and booked a colour consultation for my birthday next month, I also booked a session with a hairdresser to teach me how to braid my hair, and with the encouragement of a friend in that moment earlier this week I took one more small but significant step in this direction… I bought a bright red lipstick.

Red is my favourite colour. It boldly embodies fun, passion and purpose.

I’ve never felt confident with make-up. Even when at university I felt like I looked like a drag queen when I attempted to apply it. I was envious of my housemates who knew what they were doing and so many times I would put it on and then wipe it all off again before even leaving the house. Feeling frustrated and defeated. Relying instead on my slim gym-fit physique to carry me along and convincing myself that was enough

This time in the privacy of my room I applied the red lipstick. Immediately I could feel the discomfort surge within me. I was pushing the very limits of my comfort zone and it took all my effort not to grab a tissue and wipe it off.

I looked at my reflection, sitting alone in front of the mirror, for a good few minutes until the discomfort softened and my curiousity grew. I smiled and noticed how white my teeth looked against the red of my lips, I noticed how the red of my hair was accentuated, I noticed how I didn’t need any other makeup with such a bold statement feature, though I did also try a little mascara.

I posed for a quick selfie and tentatively sent it to my friend. I kept the lipstick on for the rest of the evening, doing a double take every time I caught a glance of my reflection.

Today I found myself wondering if I’d have the confidence to wear it in public, if it could actually become my new normal.

I decided the very first step was to share the selfie with you...

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Finding the balance in letting go

Over the last few months (maybe even few years) I have felt increasingly pushed and pulled between wanting to get rid of 'everything' and live a very minimalist life, but at the same time wanting to hold on to all the 'creations' and memories of my childhood and my school years, holding onto all my art and craft materials, all the bags and boxes of recipe ingredients and food photography equipment lining my kitchen shelves, and of course all my books!

I find huge comfort and creativity in these things, but in equal measure, I find it all overwhelming and suffocating...

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Knowing there are stacks and boxes in the loft and under my bed needing sorting through 'at some point' creates a low level of anxiety that never quite leaves me, a subtle heaviness that holds me back. I have observed this for some time.

I want to travel and live a more transient nomadic life, not for ever but for a while, and all these 'things' are stopping me. I am letting them stop me. Why is that?

I feel incredibly emotional at the thought of just letting it all go, but at the same time a huge sense of liberation. Tears prick my eyes as I write this (unexpectedly)

Maybe that's called starting over?

Do I need to start over?

I recall almost ten years ago now, one weekend totally out of the blue my ex-boyfriend at the time stripped his life almost completely bare to prove to himself he could do it. To prove to himself what was essential. To get curious about what made him truly happy.

He packed everything he owned into boxes in the garage and challenged himself to live from the contents of a single holdall for a week, which became two weeks then one month. He slept on a roll up camping mat on the floor net to the bed for that time period also.

Once the month was done, he slowly added things carefully and consciously back into his life and got rid of the rest, the majority.

I remember thinking he was absolutely crazy at the time. But now I look back and smile with a shift in perspective, a new level of understanding. Extreme maybe, but only now do I begin to understand.

I wonder how to find the balance in letting go. How do I begin to negotiate this task?

Marie Kondo would ask "does it bring me joy?" Yet, so often I find it is not that clear cut. Many of these things do indeed bring me great joy, I'm just not sure that is the question I need to ask…

I have always formed strong attachments to things and struggle to let go often long after they have served me... relationships, clothes, habits... it drains my energy and holds me in the past. On the flip side, memories can be so beautiful, but even in their beauty can hold you back and stop you looking forwards.

I am a creator and my whole life revolves around creativity and using my mind, my hands and all of my senses to interact with and reinterpret the world around me.

The thought of not having access to the diverse physical expression of my art and creativity, not having all my crafting resources to hand to dip into at any given moment quite frankly terrifies me, it pushes me to the very edge of my comfort zone. I'm scared that I will be lost in my head forever with no way to physically create. Even as I write that I know that this is not true.

But maybe this is what I most need to embrace and explore.

Reinterpreting my creative expression through the eyes of a living a minimalist life.

I am curious as to where that might lead...


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