I have gathered together a few of my blog posts that have resonated most with those that follow my Facebook Page.
I spent yesterday with the amazing Cycle Against Suicide team as they travelled from Limerick to Tralee. There was a time about 8 years ago when a weekly trip up and down the N7 to limerick was part of my normal routine. This lasted for about 18 months, at about the same time I remember reading a quote which said "5 years from now you will be a product of the things you read and the people you surround yourself with" Looking back I recognise now that I used this time travelling and in the hotel in the evenings to figure that out, who was I? and who did I want to be?, what parts of me needed healed so that I could be the very best me, that I could be? I read, I listened, and the people to support me appeared. It's still a work in progress. There were tough times, moments when I really wished life would stop giving me lessons to learn or as I saw it on good day’s opportunities to heal. As I travelled the M7 this weekend, the similarities between the road and my own journey struck me. I had watched the road being built; parts that I travelled on were familiar and other parts totally unrecognisable. I often look at myself and feel the same, on one hand I am the Joanne I always was but I am not doubt a calmer more peaceful, happier version of myself and I realise how much I have changed. This isn’t about what others see its about how I feel inside. Only the last part of the N21 from Limerick to Tralee was familiar to me I went horse riding and walking in Adare, it was here I heard the statement "are you the rider or the passenger" a phrase I have used out of the arena many times. As I passed the familiar sky line of Limerick last night, the sky lit up in front of me on one side by fireworks and on the other by the most beautiful full moon, I felt so grateful for the work I have done on myself and the many blessings in my life, for all of the people who have loved and supported me and for the many different holistic therapies that I have used. It felt like a celebration of my journey. People often ask me why I came up with the name try tHE ALternative? ( I'm pretty sure it was in a hotel in Limerick, it was most Definitely a hotel somewhere) to me the key word is the extra word in there - HEAL . If are reading this and you are struggling, or maybe you aren't struggling and have just accepted that this is how it is, but deep down you want something to change. Then trust me, there are alternatives to physical and emotional pain. I don't know when life will throw me more challenging lessons but I do know I now have many more tools to deal with them. Thank you to those who have loved and supported me in the good and tough times. I am happy to signpost or chat to anyone who may want support, I'm not saying I have all the answers we each have our own journey but for the first person who ever travelled from Meigh to Limerick it would have been a bit of a long and lonely trip, thankfully they did it and we now have a map and some signposts,by the way did you know you can now drive from Newry to Limerick and only hit one set of traffic lights) #changehappens #therearealwaysoptions
The Gingerbread Man and The Garden.
“Run, Run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man”
Earlier this week I saw the very cute Gingerbread Lane products in Millie Fiori in Camlough and the line above from the Children’ book instantly came into my head. I couldn't remember exactly how the story went but the words resonated on a deeper level, and perhaps even more so when I looked up the whole story. The shortened version is that The Gingerbread man ran away and avoided getting caught by The Little Old Lady, The Little Old Man, The Cow, The Pig, The Horse but eventually a fox outsmarted him and he got caught and eaten (so much for happy endings)
Reading it reminded me of a time a number of years ago when I was at a very emotionally difficult time in my life and like most people I tried various different things to help me feel better and to try and manage what was I feeling. One of the first things people often suggest is exercise and I agree it is definitely one of the best things for helping to keep you physically & mentally healthy but I also knew that it wasn't going to be the only answer for me, I remember thinking what if some day, “I can't run fast enough, pedal hard enough or swim for long enough to stop the emotions and feelings catching up with me”? I knew that whilst I needed tools to use and things to do that helped me manage how I was feeling, I also knew I didn't want to live with the fear that someday just like The Gingerbread Man, I would get caught. I feel very blessed that somehow I just knew that as well as dealing/treating the symptoms I also needed to go a deeper, I needed to get to the root of why I was feeling how I was feeling.
I’m pretty sure I haven’t yet earned enough green fingers to call myself a gardener but I do love growing things and working in the garden is something I really enjoy. Over the last few years of growing a few herbs and vegetables I have observed a few things that I often use to explain personal growth, and the journey to physical, mental and emotional well being. Some of these may be analogies that you have heard before but whilst in Millie Fiori looking at the beautiful flowers they came back to me.
1) Gardening & Growing takes patience, so does healing.
2) Seed’s need to be placed in dark soil in order to sprout, once they sprout they need light to help them grow, they need to be nurtured, and supported. – We are pretty similar.
3) When weeding a garden you could just pull of the leaves and the above surface part of the weed and for a while your garden would appear to be free of weeds, however if you really want to clear out the weeds, you need to get to the root. We are the same, we can solve the problem on the surface or we can go a bit deeper and look at the root cause.
4) Cycles, rhythms and seasons are important for plants & flowers, they are also important for us.
5) Sunshine without rain creates deserts, for growth we need both.
6) Covering over holes doesn’t make them go away, in fact doing that might make them more dangerous, as they can trip us up when we least expect it.
We are very familiar with linking our mental health problems to our emotions we aren’t just so familiar with linking physical health to what is going for us emotional and in my experience it is when we have courage to get to the root cause and heal beneath the surface that we truly can experience good health & well being. I lived with the fear of emotions catching up with me on and off for a couple of years, at different times waking up and wondering if today might be the day but thankfully the path that I was guided to take has meant that for the last 4 or 5 years that hasn’t been the case. I never take it for granted, I didn’t expect that it would happen the first time so who knows it might happen again, but I know that for now I feel good. I have been tested with different situations that I know a few years ago would have had me reacting in a very different way and I am so grateful for all of the lessons I have learnt and also to be in a position to be able to share some of it with others in the hope of helping them. We each have our own journey and there are many different pieces in the picture of good health and wellbeing, the path way is definitely not straight and it certainly isn’t always smooth, I believe it is more of a spiral and we often revisit things that we felt we had healed, but always with a different understanding of what we need to do, allowing us to go deeper each time. Maybe 2016 will be the year that you choose to go deeper, trust the process, trust yourself and allow yourself to open up to the possibility, sow the seeds and let them grow.
Feb 2016 – Valentines Day
Sunday Evening Reflections.
I have had so many messages and signs of love and friendship over the past few days. A huge thank you to everyone who was part of a fab weekend, as many of you who were part of it will know that this time 5 years ago I was at the beginning (well if I really think about it it wasn't the beginning but it was definitely and thankfully the beginning of the end) of what over the months that followed became the most difficult, horrible awful time in my life, emotionally and mentally I hit my rock bottom, I know that everyone's is different but this was mine. It struck me tonight on my way home as I was thinking of how blessed I am to have so many special people in my world, people I have known a lifetime and those that I have met in the past few years, that at the time when I felt at my lowest many of the lifetime people were there in my life and they loved me as much then as they do now, I just couldn't see it, feel it or enjoy it. I am so grateful for the healing journey that I have been on and I want to say to anyone who has had a tough day today or yesterday or indeed any other day, it can and does get better, healing is totally possible, make your wellness your number one priority, do whatever it takes to heal, there are million pieces in the well being journey, know it's a journey not a destination and If people are in your life trust me they love you and want the best for you, allow others to help you, do one thing today and everyday that the future you will thank you for and if you would like a chat or need signposted as to where might be a good place to start then I'm happy to chat. In my Relax Kids classes this weekend we were doing a Wizard of Oz Adventure and we talked a lot about courage, I wish anyone who needs it the courage and strength to take one single baby step.