The night before

Hey all,

I hope everyone is having a good day. I was just updating my pages (project 365 and 30 things before thirty) and I felt inspired to write a little ‘something-something’ about it.

I updated the 30 before 30 page and I felt incredibly proud of myself. I found myself realising that I may not have done everything on the list as per written and there are a few items left to do, however, I remain incredibly proud of myself. I have managed to complete something without feeling guilty or undeserving of it. It’s impossible not to feel that I have superseded my expectancies of the list and I know my life and most important, my outlook on it, is completely different. I spent years wishing for everything to be perfect, only to be left feeling disappointed in myself. Reflecting upon that now, it was never going to work and I was never going to win. But I think I did that for a reason. I think I did that to prove to myself that I was not worth anything. Every time I failed, it was a confirmation that I did not deserve it and “it was not right”. Looking back, how did I hate myself so much?

Since started and now coming to the end of this decade, I have learned some serious life lessons and started to develop three of the most beautiful life skills that I think we all need.

  1. Patience – I have learnt the importance of being patient. Being patient with myself, with others, with strangers. Things take time. Hearts heals, people do forget, life continues to occur whether you are ready or not. Everything just takes some time to readjust and I have to just refocus. I have learned to breathe, to wait for the good moments, to ride out the storm and to enjoy the quiet moments. I learned that life is all about dancing in the rain, thunder, hurricanes and whatever the world and others throw at you.
  2. Self-love – I have learned that love starts and ends with you. In order to love anyone, you have to love yourself. You have to look inside and find things that you do like about yourself and hold onto those. Expand on those without fear that you will fail or fall. Because even if you do, you can then love your ability to start again, your ability to never give up and your ability to let go of something that is not working. I can openly say that I love my smile, my ability to talk to anyone, my commitment to work, etc. I can say this without worrying about sounding arrogant or cocky because it is not about that. It’s about knowing my strength and my likes and my dislikes and continuously improving myself for me. Nothing is always negative but if you focus on that, then yes life does feel that way. You have to reteach yourself to look for the positive.
  3. Forgiveness – Finally, I have learned to forgive myself. I am starting to look back over my life and forgiving myself for the mistakes I made, for the things I said and for the hurt I caused myself. Additionally, I am forgiving others for their mistakes, for the mutual pain caused. I am learning to sit comfortably in my dirty laundry and change the narrative of my life and the experiences that have continued to cause me pain for years. I am changing my perspective and forgiving myself for doing the best I could. I am no longer going to punish myself for my mistakes. I will apologize, take responsibility and learn from those mistakes. If others want to forget me then I understand, you have to do what you need to do. However, from my experience, holding on to pain and anger only makes things worse. You have to forgive and reflect on why that experience makes you anger still? what purpose does the anger have? and why is it so important to hold onto it? I found myself asking this to myself over and over again and I realized it is just not important. It is not important to hold a grudge.

The most important lesson I have learned is that it is not important to waste my only life holding onto negative experiences. My father died and I was holding onto a dead man, why? I will remember him always without putting myself through pain over and over again. I forgive him for leaving and I forgive myself for hating him at times. In exchange, I found inner strength and a desire to be a good wife to Liv. Someone who listens and supports her. Someone who will be there through it all, whatever it is, rather than do it alone like you did dad. I have your face father, but I do not have your identity. I have my own and I will only ever be me. Sorry if that is a disappointment to you but I forgive myself for your mistakes and that you left long before your died. I forgive myself for shouldering that blame for years because I thought it was mine to hold onto and I am sorry for holding onto you. I am now sitting comfortably in my memories of you and smiling now, glad to have had some time with you. I am easily removing the shackles I put on myself and I am able to walk away from the city limits of my Painsville. Thank you for bringing me into this world and leaving me stronger. I am sorry I cannot stay with you anymore but I am still breathing. I am choosing to breathe and live a life that you did not want to anymore. I chose to not waste more time trying to hold onto your ashes.

So shackle free and sitting comfortable, welcome to 30, Ivy

xxx

Opinions are not mandatory 

Hey all, 

It’s been a while I admit however I have the best intentions to blog and then, well, life happens. 

However, during my swim this morning, I was speaking to Les (a regular lane companion) and we were talking about my upcoming challenge. That’s right folks, I am doing a pier to pier swim for the British heart foundation and I am so nervous. It’s 1.4 mile (2.25 km) open water challenge. The water will be about 14 degrees Celsius at the most and if I am lucky. I will be wearing a wetsuit and I am training for it but I am excited to be able to do something for people who know what good comes from these events and all those that it benefits. 

Anyways, this man got in the pool next to me and as Les and I were talking about the challenge, he jumped in and said I was stupid and crazy for doing it. The words he said rang in my head, ” just give them your money, it’s all their want.” I think I just looked at him in disbelief that people like this exist in our society. Les, the kind man he is, tried to reason with the man but there was no such luck. I watched him swim away and thought I dreamed the whole thing. 

However, as I sat and watch my cake bake in the oven, I cannot help be reflect on why I am doing this and what he said. Anne frank once said, ” no one has ever become poor by giving.” We all need help once in a while and I feel my life has become so much more rich because I give people and myself more. I give my old clothes to charity, I give the homeless man coffee and dinner, I give my patience to the lady with her slow trolley and loads of change. I am always finding things to give away and do. In return, I give myself more love, more time, and more understanding. I really appreciate that I can walk, I can drive, I am so independent that I don’t need any assurance to do anything. That puts me in the top 20% of the world. And I want to use that to inspire others to do something with their privileges that we all take for granted. 

Giving is not about the donation, it’s about making a difference. A difference to the quality of life someone leads. There is so much ugliness and cruelty in the world right now and things we don’t see and even they we do see and turn away. Some don’t have the privilege of turning away. There are patients in a Guatemalan state hospital with no staff but armed guards and over medicated. Those don’t get a say, don’t have a choice, and even worse, they don’t have a voice. There are people all over the world without a home, or a loved one. Without a hope or a light to the end of their ordeal that they may have to call a life. I have all of this and I have a say and a change to do something for someone else. Giving not a charity is a responsibility that I have as a human being and as a member of society. 

Sometimes, the greatest form of charity is just to withhold your judgement and be kind. Use your hands to provide others with help, your eyes to see past the beautiful life you lead, your ears to listen with empathy and compassion, and your voice to speak for yourself and the others that don’t get a chance. Give your time to others and your patience. You may never know what hell they may be going through, and you will never know when they may be your lifeline. So never underestimate your ability to make someone else life better, even if you don’t know how to. The Queen said at Christmas, in her speech, that we should all be the change we want to see, so I challenge all of you to do one random act of kindness today. Leave a bigger tip, buy two coffee and give one away, let the lady with all the coins have time to sort herself out. Do something that benefits someone else and I can guarantee that it will be the best feeling. And because small acts, multiples in a larger size, can transform a world. 

So I have decided that this gentlemen is just one man, one man with a small mind and big insecurities. I have learnt that I should never let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big. Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. I am against the most powerful in the world as I have a voice and a choice. I chose to give back to this world. I am not rich, or well off, but I have the power to change a life with my kindness and that’s worth it weight in gold. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. We all have the power to change this world. Someone’s world, your own world. 

I hope everyone has a good day 

Ivy xx

One year on… 

Hey all, 

Today marks a milestone for me. I took the header photo today and really looked at myself. How different was I now to a year ago. Exactly one year ago, to the day, I was sitting on top of a mountain in the aftermath of my accident and uncertain about my future. I sat alone and fearing the worst.  Below is a picture from that day. You can read more about it here (about me page) if you want to.

But today, sitting here now, writing about this a year on, is quite surreal for me. It was before my blog, before liv, before everything. It’s hard not to reflect on the significance and the undoubtable butterly effect that is still changing me now. I felt alone up there and I have never felt alone since that day.  Yes there has been some dark moments but never did once feel truly alone. That’s the biggest chance I have seen in myself – my change in my mindset. 

I have learnt to embrace the world for what it is and what it throws at me. You have to take the good with the bad. I realize that I needed to use every ounce of strength I had to learn what strength was. I have learnt that only one person has the ability to make your life better – you. Take the power away from everyone to control your ups and your downs and give it back to yourself. Trust yourself and you will never be alone. Only then can you surround yourself with happiness and love because you will see it and feel it. It’s true what people say….. love starts with you. 

So here I am, a year on, happier with my life because of me. Yes I have liv and an amazing group of friends for they are incredible for their ongoing love and support. And I also have my blog and all of you with your kind words and your encouragements. And I have a family that I love. But behind all that, I have me. And I can appreciate it because I have learnt to love myself first. 

So if you want to change the world, change your circumstances, or even just be happy – My advice is to start with yourself. Love the crap out of yourself first and you will never go far wrong. And let go. Let go of everything that doesn’t really matter. 

Cheers all, 

Ivy xx

Sunday adventure day 

Hey all,

I hope your Sunday is going well. It’s been a great day – first Sunday Story has gone out, Corey was great to work with and so honest. She really made it easy to write.

And then we headed out to a national trust property today and it was so brumously beautiful. We arrived when it was foggy and it had a certain eeriness to it. However, then it cleared up slightly and it was lovely. It’s just what I needed today.

The property is set in the heart of rural Northamptonshire (about 30 minutes drive from me). The foundations of Lyveden represent a remarkable survivor of the Elizabethan age. We read about the unfinished house and how it was started by Sir Thomas Tresham to symbolize his Catholic faith, however, it remains incomplete and virtually unaltered since work stopped on his death in 1605. It describes Sir Thomas’s dream and how it all ended in a nightmare for the Tresham family with their involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

The land around the property showcases beautifully crafted moats, viewing terraces and an Elizabethan orchard to explore, as well as an enigmatic garden lodge covered in religious symbols. The full extent of Sir Thomas’s symbolic design remains unexplained to this day. The location made us think about his character. It’s set outside the town of Oundle however it’s a distance from the exquisite market town. What did this man want to get away from? What was his story?

We walked around trying to pinpoint the blueprint of this home and although we could see the property would have been splendid and grand, we felt a significant sense of injustice for the dreamer. I walked away feeling that it was the start of something beautiful. Its walls lingered with aeipathy. And the story commuovered an orphic motivation within me to stop delaying my dreams. It was another magical place that is on my doorstep.

We also had a coffee, a bloody good one, in the cottage next door. The light was beautiful and caught Liv’s face perfectly. She didn’t notice me taking photos but I noticed her. I always notice her. She has the softest eyes and the kindest smile that I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. Then she saw me and the goofball came out. She has swiftly become my favorite chapter in my book. Well, the first of many.

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Now I am back home and thinking about my goals for the month and year. I feel excited and ready to take on the world.

Have a good week all. Thank you for all your support this week. Your comments, likes, and encouragements never go unnoticed. My grateful heart is so happy to have you all behind me.

Ivy xx

Be the change

Good Evening everyone,

On this New Year’s Eve Eve, I wanted to share a quote that has really hit home this week.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Gandhi

I read the Queen’s 2016 speech earlier and it was clear as day that the message for all of us is that we need to be the change that we wish to see. We each are responsible for the state of this world and collectively we can make a difference. However, this requires each of us to bear the weight of our decisions. This year has been interesting and although I am not one to talk about politics – with Brexit and Donald Trump becoming president both occurring this year – it is hard for me not to feel driven to do more with my life. To achieve my dreams, to do more with my time, to be the best version of me.

Morgan Harper Nichols says that…

“When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents and those moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same. You have grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living. You are wrapped in endless, boundless and grace. And things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday”

I read this and feel compelled to go be the revolution that I have always needed but waited for someone else to give it to me. My relationships have always been hard and temporary due to my expectations that “I cannot fix myself” and “they (my partner) are my best feature”. Inevitably, it was never going to work out with any of them. I dated people who possessed the qualities I wished to have. However, this year has previously posted, has been all about embracing. Embracing my qualities and developing a love for myself. Through this, I have been able to let go of my demons and my precious haunts that cast shadows and dimmed the light on my path ahead. I let that happen and I was wrong. The change in the world starts with my world.

holidays

Last night, Liv and I watched…(cheesy Christmas film alert!) the Holiday and besides absolutely adoring this film, I found myself taken it in with new eyes. Arthur’s character says to Iris – “You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god’s sake!” – and this is so true. I want to be at the helm of my own life and finally, I am. My accident has taught me to love me above all else. And then, like magic, when I was least expecting it, I met Liv. She showed me whole love and I found that she pushed me into the spotlight and was proud to be by my side. Not that I haven’t felt this before, but, it was that I wanted to be there. I wanted to stand beside her not behind her. I wanted her to love me, as flawed as I might be, as unattractive as I sometimes (always) feel and as unaccomplished as I think I am. I let her accept who I actually was without feeling the need to over-emphasis my qualities and try and “sell myself”. As I finally realized something. To believe that I must hide all the parts of me that are broken out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room. It’s to believe that I am undeserving of the skin that I exhibit every day or that the stars stop shining on a cloudy night. Instead, I just realized that I do not simply settle, but instead, strive for extraordinary, for I feel extraordinary. I feel more than others. I feel everything more and I see the depths of the oceans within a puddle. If you had to know one thing about me, it would be that I feel the edges and the details of things that others do not even acknowledge. When I get close to someone, I feel their happiness and their pain and I demand depth. In exchange, I give exploration, endless questions and pure love for every day. This kind of love commands a certain type of person. Someone who is content with themselves but does one’s utmost to be their best version. They know themselves and their passion is their beauty. It’s true when they say, a smile and positive vibes are the best accessories anyone can wear. In addition to this, I think it’s only fair to say that one’s ability to simultaneously be content within their means and capacity to increase their aperture and see where they can go is a rare quality and I am fortunate enough to find this in not only Liv but more recently, myself.

I don’t think I love very many things but there are certain things I do love:

  • The first sip of coffee in the morning
  • The passion in someone’s eyes when they talk about their love
  • Reading someone else’s words and finding a connection with them
  • A great book
  • An old song that feels like home
  • Seeing your friends and picking up where you left off
  • A smile shared between lovers, friends, family that says it all
  • A new dream that provokes motivation
  • The satisfaction of knowing that I am forever growing

Our time in this world is brief, but beautiful, even if it has ended. Even if it will never be retold that space was occupied by us. In the end, I am grateful to be able to look back and reflect on the changes I have made and the distance I have come. I am grateful for the wonder I have witnessed and the love I have shared with all of the collaborators along the way, both past and current. I am just thankful to have shared any time with you at all. Be your own limited edition and let others witness your infinity. Show your boundlessness and go way your heart takes you. Your voice, your mind, your decisions. Your life is your story. Be your own leading lady.

Good Night

Ivy xx

A gift in an unlikely place

Evening all,

Quick survey…..Hands up who is freaking cold?! I feel like this morning was the second morning where I felt “winter is here”. I have extremely tempted to stay in bed, however, I didn’t due to……

*LIFE UPDATE SINCE JULY ALERT*

I went swimming. Yes, here is the first of many life updates. I have started to go swimming every morning as a way to induce progression with my fractures. and shock…it’s helping! There is something about completing something first thing in the morning that helps set the tone of my day. By accomplishing a goal before 8am every day, I feel more able to tackle my self-perceived ineffectiveness at work. Which, I must say, more recent, has felt a large burden to bear.

So anyways, I have found a hidden gem of motivation during my new found regime. The swimming team meet there every morning and leave their session plans on the board. As interesting as this is, this is not the gift. You see, in addition to this, there is a quote of the week in the top right-hand corner of this board and it is within this that I find motivation to keep going even in the subzero and slightly hypothermic temperatures that are starting to present. I find myself looking forward to reading about the weekly quote online, considering it’s applicability to my life and strangely find it fitting perfectly into my recent commotions.

This week’s quote:

“It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.” – Jean Nidetch

I am already finding this quote to be intricately true within the confines of my life. Some might say that this is an obvious quote with a clear connection to anyone’s life, however, this week I have felt its presence in my mind and the rippling effect it is having on my interpersonal conversations and bearing weight upon my actions. Especially today.

A destiny is defined as “a hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future.” A series of events that will necessarily happen to a particular person you could say. Well, I choose to believe that my destiny will be the effect of my deliberately caused behaviours. Steven Covey once wrote, ” I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions”. At every point in life, there are opportunities to make decisions that will lead to an integrated web of different trajectories. The decisions we make have a direct relation to the path that we take. I am here, now, because of a series of decisions. That is a choice. With every choice I make, I consider two things:

  • What are the risks?
  • What are the potential rewards?

And when you are in situations where you find yourself torn between multiple choices, then you have a variety of outcomes. You can go left, swing right, or simply stay where you are. Each of these variations is right, so the decision you make creates your experience. So if there is no wrong answer then we have to ask yourself these very questions.  I will take me swimming every morning as an example. I can either go often, go sometimes or not go at all. What is the risk? You may struggle to get into the pool due to my own feelings about me and my body, you may not be able to get enough sleep or I may even hurt myself and my back more. What is the reward? I will challenge myself and may grow beyond your perceived limitation, I will achieve something each morning that I want to do and/or my body may open just a little bit more than it did yesterday and be able to further improve my posture and reduce the pain felt in my back. I simply weight up my choices and decide my course of action.

What I am trying to highlight I think, is whatever your situation is, by recognising that you have a choice in why you are here and what is happening to you is incredibly critical to your happiness. Your decisions may not always create the results you intend, but they must be your decisions. The decision to create joy in your life is possible every single day. Look at a single opportunity to make a decision that will create happiness in your life or someone else’s life and do the right thing. Whether, like me, you are in a swimming pool or in your car or at the coffee shop, make a decision today that will elevate your quality of life and directly links into your trajectory. Therefore your destiny is essentially a series of choices that lead to a specific end goal. That goal is in your hands and it based solely on your choices and how you choose to reaction to others choices.

Following on from this, your consistency around your choices is the key to the success of your desired destiny. Consistency is not about perfection but more related to the simple refusal to give up. Your belief in yourself and your motivation to reach said destiny are key elements in the equation of consistency. Without this, your trajectory has no roots to bear even the lightest winds of adversity and therefore require you to tack and change your course. Subsequently adding to the feelings of probabilities and uncertainties in your life which accumulates to an unflagging sense of chance. I have embodied this concept and build a system inside me where swimming has become an automatic function – a factor in my autopilot – which is critical to my sense of happiness. As previously stated, these past weeks have been filled to the brim with feelings of ineffectiveness and helplessness for my work. By swimming, I am taking care of myself and allowing myself to carry on with my chosen trajectory without being overly affected by the changing winds of others. For their trajectories are not my concerns and I do not wish to get caught up in their crossfire. And for this week, I thank the quote for reminding me that I am a product of MY decisions and not the product of others uncertainties and the chaos that follows chance around. I will not let others impact on my destiny when they have so little disregard for these.

Staying strong

Ivy xx

 

 

 

Lost and found…

Hey all,

So I have been away from my computer and I feel like I have done ten rounds with Mr. Tyson himself. I got sucked back into my dark place for a while. I lost my composure and my direction. I slipped back into my rabbit hole and I didn’t like it. It felt familiarly chaotic and I have built myself up so much to rid my face of that feeling. Chaos, disarray, havoc rolled in as the thunder pierced my eardrums and lightening blinded me. If there is one thing to know about it, its that I am afraid of the storm. When you hear the brontide in the distance, counting beats between eat roar of thunder and hungry for the bolts of lightening to grace the skies. I adore watching the clouds let rip on the Earth and pouring it’s anger onto us and I could watch the skeleton streaks take over the skies forever for I am a ceraunophile within the security of distance.

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However, its when I am alone with my thoughts and you start to hear the rain pound against the window, getting harder by the second. Its when you see a flash of light but you doubt yourself into thinking it was the neighbours car lights until the crash of thunder controls the sound waves. Its when I go to the window to see the rain transform into hail and for a second it is beautiful. Its beautiful chaos in 4 dimensions. But then the fear sets in, I back away from the window and it takes me back to the car, the telephone pole, the tears in his eyes. It hit the wall behind me and I sink down wishing for the decibels to reduce and the epilepsy to stop. I feel as helpless as I did that night and I am alone and unable to ground myself. This is my hell. The storm rages on as a wage war with my ruminating thoughts. My life was a storm, with periods of exploding skies and the uncontrollable desire the scream when happiness was a nine letter word that sit behind the darkened skies. Now, I know that every person has a dark side. The side of us I know defines us and who who we truly are is portrayed within the willingness to embrace our deepest and wildest selves. This complete and authentic self is not found within the spotless life posted on social media or the disguised smiles in a 6″x 4″ photograph. And I know that I have walked through my worst storm with the experiences I have endured in my life. I have come along way since then but recently I felt the brontide and gotten scared of it’s power. However the difference now is that I know I am not defined by the storms I walked in. Transformation isn’t sweet and bright. Its a dark and murky, painful pushing. An unraveling of the untruths you’ve carried in your body. A practice in facing your own created demons. A complete uprooting before becoming ( Victoria Erickson) and I have every intention in defining myself through my own becoming.

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I am discovering who I am and learning to find peace in the rain. I want to hear thunder and remember myself for the distance I have travelled. I want to taste the rain, be completely and irrefutably surrounded by the lightening and feel the blessing of the storm.  I know that I have finally understood myself only through the process of healing after I destroyed everything I was. The storm I felt took my away for the my blog, my routines that I have become so attached to and I felt like I was losing myself. Losing everything I had built up, built up on my own. I learnt to love the beauty of loneliness and the charm of self-discovery. Where I get to curate my own dreams, own my own beliefs and defined the boundaries in which you exist. Marianne Williamson wrote “it takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives”. I have experienced the pain of realisation when your old self and my new self collapsed and battled for existence. With the recent events, I can tell you it was hard. It is hard to walk away from the only future you have ever seen towards a path not yet curved out. I see the mountains ahead and I know it is only myself I need to conquer to reach the top. They say the best view comes after the hardest climb and I intend to see for miles when I reach the top. I am going it alone with no safety net to fall into and I am no afraid of leaving my comfort zone anymore. There is a fire inside me that has been reignited by my accident and I do not wish to stand still anymore. The world is far too big to stay in one place and I want to remember what it is like to feel alive. I want the butterflies, the uncontrollable laughter, the adventures, the surprises, the deep emotions, the health debates, the sunday papers, the good coffee, the dirt tracks, the star grazing and the persistent smile. I want more than my previous self would ever contemplate because I am just starting to recognise my reflection in the mirror. I am learning my strengths and the depth of my rabbit hole. I know that I feel emotions more than others, I feel everything. I connect with everything in this world on a level that some cannot even consider and ever wish to explore.

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So in a really long winded way, I am here to stay. I am taking more time for me, my blog, my life. I had a taste of who I was before my accident and what I would accept and how I would compromise based on my shortcomings and deficits and I no longer allow myself to accept this. I want the most out of this life and I know I cannot make everyone think and feel as deeply as I do. Daniel Saint would say that this is my tragedy because I understand them and they do not understand you. I no loner feel the need to be understood or validated. I just want to feel openly and deeply without compromise. I am falling in love with my life and I hear the bellow of the thunder and I am ready.

Thank you for your patience,

Ivy xx