Regaining self confidence…

Something shattered my confidence recently, the details of which I will withhold… but I would like to share with you the process I’ve been going through in trying to regain it.

Leading up to this experience I was already struggling, struggling with self worth, purpose and feelings of failure. In an attempt to rebuild my feelings of self worth and an attempt to find guidance in overcoming my failures I attended a retreat which I wrote about here it did wonders for giving me just enough strength to deal with what life was going to throw at me next, I had no idea my greatest challenge to date was yet to come! The retreat gave me the strength I needed to handle receiving this news, but I also needed tools to deal with the reality of the process of recovering from it, and learning from it.

So I have sought to understand what I could change within myself to rebuild a sense of self worth. Two books so far have been extremely comforting and helpful both of which were written by Brené Brown The Gifts of Imperfection & Rising Strong. I highly recommend reading them if you are feeling at all like you too are loosing (or have lost) your sense of self worth. Her research on vulnerability, shame and wholehearted living has enabled her to understand common threads and give guidance to living a wholehearted life.

Despite this battle with true self confidence I’m still pursuing my dreams and working towards living a life I love and have a great desire to assist others in doing so too. I was encouraged by a professional who has been helping me, to write my story, as a way of sharing the challenges I’ve faced throughout my life’s journey while sharing some of the accomplishments I’ve made too. There is a lot of power in writing your story, just the other day I was reading in Rising Strong how important it is to acknowledge and own your story reading about this was even more powerful as I had just completed the task of writing mine. I encourage you to do the same even if it is just for yourself. Reflecting on and writing about my life’s journey made me realise just how much I have taken on board, dealt with and not dealt with, not absolutely every detail of my life is in this piece but a lot is… life’s so complex, we take on so much, not only our own struggles but the struggles of those around us. The importance of digging deep and regaining my internal self confidence is front and centre right now, not only for my sake but the sake of my children, my husband and all who are connected to me in some form or another.

The other day I shared an idea with my husband, it was the expansion of an idea I’ve been toiling with for many years, my ultimate life goal, one which I can’t yet see being realised in the immediate future but one that has been important to me for many years, but I’ve set it aside because the timing’s not been right, the stars haven’t yet aligned. When I shared with him my latest idea for this concept I said it in hushed tones with a slight quiver in my voice, it was a day that I was feeling totally and utterly deflated but was still holding onto the hope of changing things and realising this ever so important dream of mine. I slowly and quietly shared my idea, in a way that said I want to believe this is worth pursuing but being consumed with self doubt right now makes be almost embarrassed to speak these words… after I finished he responded with; “That’s what I love about you, even in your darkest hour you come up with such inspiring ideas!”

I sat there staring into nothingness as I thought about this for a little while. He was right. I don’t believe I revel in darkness in order to find inspiration, so what it that makes me come up with my best ideas when I am feeling so low. I retreated to the library, picked up my journal and wrote these words:

Embrace the darkness… open your eyes, let them adjust to your metaphorical surroundings, take in what you see & allow yourself to recognise what’s brought you into the darkness, then let that guide you back out into the light.

When I’m in my darkest hours, I tend to ask myself lots of questions and spend time trying to find the source, this recent event however was different, it felt like it was inflicted upon me by the other person, some very dear to my heart which made it hurt even more. I’ve asked lots of questions of them to try understand what led to the decisions made that ultimately hurt me like nothing else ever has. In the process of confronting the uncomfortable reality of what led to this outcome I’ve continued to question myself, what have I done to enable this? In doing so I’ve unlocked many closed compartments in my heart and mind that I really should not have tucked away. In trying to be everything for everyone it’s easy to lock away who you are and the value you bring to the whole. Ironically doing so seems to make you appear less valuable to everyone else too. We need to believe in ourselves first, so that others too can believe in us.

If the light radiates from within us, it will only serve to warm the hearts of others, but if we neglect this light then our presence will most likely cast dark shadows over their happiness and that is not how I wish to live… nor do I think that’s how you wish to live either. So lets work together on regaining or building on our self confidence so that we can spread the light of love wherever we go.

<<= marie-nicole =>>  

xx

Ps. If you know of someone else who may be struggling with their self confidence please share this post so we assist them too!

PPS. A few other practices that I’ve been finding very helpful are:

> In the current issue of the Collective Hub, I came across a fantastic idea of using affirmations for passwords.  I changed mine immediately… the number of times a day I enter the password into my computer alone should aid in changing the dialogue I play over and over again inside my head.

> Mindful breathing, the simple act of taking time to bring clarity back to my thoughts through slow deep considered breaths has been quite powerful.

> TED Talks there’s power in hearing other people’s stories, findings & ideas… especially when struggling with something like self confidence or simply the need for inspiration or encouragement.

> Social Media – Filtering what I absorb and what I let drift past. Scrolling through social media can serve to brighten your day or pull you down deeper into the darkness, being aware of the types of posts that do the latter, these are the ones that I’ve chosen to see but not absorb. I give more time to those that inspire and encourage me, stopping to take them in & draw as much strength from them as needed.

> Seeing the world through my camera lens, while creating with my hands brings me a great deal of joy, my mind still tends to tick over and the destructive self chatter can easily continue while I work with my hands. But taking a walk or a drive and loosing myself in the act of capturing images takes me out of my head and helps me focus on the details of the beauty that surrounds me.

PPPS. Your turn… if you have any ideas you’d like to share of how you’ve rebuilt or fostered your self confidence, please leave a comment below. xx

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Local currency ~ Local economy

Last weekend our neighbours got together for a street bonfire. This was our first neighbourhood get together and the first time that we met some of our neighbours properly. So this was a pretty important get together for our family. Getting to know your neighbours is important, but even more so in a small village. So the night kicked off with lots of introductory chatter and as the bonfire burnt down to a beautiful large bed of glowing coals and night’s sky was alight with the sparkle of stars, the conversation stemmed into deeper more meaningful topics. We discovered over the course of this gathering that our new neighbourhood attracted many like minded residents even though we were all from different backgrounds with different journey’s through life. Yet here we were, our paths colliding in this little village in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, and with similar aspirations.

My hubby, who is a Geography teacher at the local high school, came across an article on transition towns in his research for a class. He read it to me one night while I was making dinner in the week leading up to this neighbourhood get together and we then discussed the possibility of introducing a local currency in our region… the idea of which seems quite plausible in our opinion when you consider the range skills and talents that reside within our region. So on the night of the bonfire as conversations progressed and common interests were discovered we brought up this idea of a local currency and as a group we discussed how we thought this could work, along with how a barter system would benefit our community. There was much laughter and joking about unlikely fictitious scenarios of how this could work, but there was also a serious side to the conversation about how ideas that instigate long term change often commence in situations such as this, in a social setting.  This discussion went deeper and continued for much longer than we could have foreseen and at the end of the evening we walked away feeling chuffed about our fellow community members and the like mindedness of our new found friends.

The next day however, I found myself wondering where I fitted into this picture… amongst the contributors to this conversation by the bonfire was a teacher, a tradesman, a police officer, an architect, a farmer & me… an artisan. What need would the others have for an artisan in their community? How foolish of me to even think that really, especially after running this business for 7 years now to be doubting the need for my skill set was completely unnecessary, but occasional self doubt is the nature of being a creative type. After thinking on this a little more I managed to talk myself back into thinking that everyone has a purpose in a community.

The more I thought I about this the more I realised that all of us had these occupations in our current system but what if we operated in a different way, in a way that our skills and interests were what contributed directly to our community. Would we all offer different services & products to what we do now in our current occupations which we use to earn our income? The participants in this conversation also had sideline interests such as growing food & preserving the harvest, raising livestock of the feathered, furry & bristly kind, restoring vintage cars, restoring batteries, writing children’s stories and more. So if we were all to contribute to our community’s needs as a matter of survival each one of us could bring a series of skills in various fields that could provide for the needs of our village.

Our neighbourhood bonfire was a great example of how everyone can contribute with their own skills and resources. One person  hosted the bonfire on their vacant block, another brought a bobcat to gather more firewood from surrounding farmland and push the pile up together for greater burning power, another brought their ute to assist with the gathering of wood… our boys assisted by opening and closing gates and unloading the ute, while others contributed by making food to add to the buffet… ourselves included.

As an artisan who focuses on minimising waste, using resources for more than one purpose to the point of using the entire resource, this way of being can be translated into many areas of life… we as a couple also have a many ideas of how we’d like to contribute to our community. Engaging in this discussion around the bonfire with our fellow villager’s left us feeling encouraged about what the future could hold for our children & our children’s children. The transition town movement is already in place which says that there are people willing to make it happen. As a human race, steward’s of the earth, it up to us to care for this world not just watch it slowly diminish and claim no contribution to its demise. And as individuals we are each born with a gift and special talent unique to each of us that we first need to discover, recognise, hone in on and then utilise to for the benefit of our local and global community… not just ourselves.

So I’d like to encourage you to think about your skills and interests and consider how you could contribute to your community.

<<== by marie-nicole ==>>

xx

Ps. For inspiration on making the most of your ‘inner legend’ as Regena Thomashauer puts it, head on over to the Marie Forleo website and watch the espisode “The Art of Creation Through Your Desire

no [wo]man is an island…

“No man is an island” by John Donne

This quote has been hot topic in our little home over the past few weeks… particularly in relation to how what we choose to engage in can affect those around us, at times the affect is a negative one on others even if we do not mean for it to be. This affect can be in your immediate surroundings or it could be abroad, choices we make daily affect more than just ourselves. Aside from this though we’ve also discussed how in order for us to achieve our family goals we rely on everyone contributing.

Over the weekend while hubby & I worked together in the kitchen preserving our harvest Master 12 was outside digging a new garden bed so we could plant more garlic and Master 7 assisted him, by helping take out the rocks that lay beneath the soil. Aside for the physical assistance, just having someone else working along side of Master 12 while he dug the bed seemed to provide the extra motivation he needed to complete the task. Upon completion of which, both the boys came inside, joined us in the kitchen and shared stories of their experience digging the bed. It was wonderful to see them beaming with a such sense of achievement and teamwork.

This same sort of support and encouragement often takes place between hubby and I, at times one will set to work on a task and that the other may not feel inclined to commence but the simple fact that one of us has started the other naturally starts to assist, resulting in not only the task being completed faster but with us sharing the burden or in most cases the joy! Even as a sole trader I too rely on the support of others to achieve my goals, in many different forms, a small example of that this week was having three separate people in my network of friends source blankets on my behalf.

Over the course of the years, I have had many people contribute to my ‘rescued & repurposed’ mission, from furniture for our home to resources for my work. I also rely on the knowledge and skills of others that I myself do not have or have not yet developed. It is impossible to be everything all at once, so even as a sole trader enlisting the help of others is necessary, as is being open to working with others who compliment your skill set and fill in the gaps. Something that my husband and I have developed over the years in our home is the understanding of which skills and strengths we each have that enable us to work together to achieve our goals more effectively. Letting someone else lead is not letting go of a sense of self if have more skill or natural ability in an area. We often swap the leading role depending on the task at hand. Unfortunately we are not in a position at the moment where we can work side by side full time career wise, but our personal skills, goals and aspirations compliment each other and would be well suited to a working collaboration. Even if we were working together, it is would still be important to stay physically connected to a network of people beyond our four walls or fences… which is why I have volunteered my time over the years to community groups. Ofcourse I still rely on earning an income through my own work and cannot devote all my time, but providing the physical [wo]man power required to make positive changes within our community is so very important to both of us.

Fostering a sense of pride, connectedness despite difference and building on skills within a community is something we have both had as personal and career goals for many years. We have always hoped to contribute in this way to the community in which we bought our own place in… now that that time has come, the seed inside us that has lay dormant waiting for just the right conditions to germinate is starting to sprout. The bigger picture of this goal will require the support of others as well as working in collaboration with others… but it is one that we hope will give back threefold, so nurturing this sprouting seed has become all the more important right now. It is exciting to be in this position and see the possibilities of bigger dreams reaching the point of possibly becoming reality. But… “no [wo]man is an island”… there is still a lot more work to be done!

Hoping you too feel connectedness… with your community… in both the physical and digital realm.

<<= by marie-nicole =>>

xx

What change do you wish to see in the world?

Over the weekend we visited a market that I often trade at, but this time as shoppers. It was so lovely to be able to just walk around at leisure, talk to stall holders without the concern of having to get back to my stall and simply observe the activities of the market throughout the entire market rather than just the view from my stall.

We were so pleased and surprised to see a fellow stall holder there who also travels to trade, our surprise was due to the fact that he and his wife usually only trade at this particular market in the summer. So of course we opened with; “What a surprise to see you here, it’s autumn! A nice surprise of course… how are you?” He looked up at us with sadness in is his eyes and said; “Our son died earlier this year, he was walking down the street pushing the pram with his 8 week old and toddler inside and he was struck by lightning! They managed to revived the children but could not revive him. So my wife is currently staying with our daughter in law helping out with the kids. She told me to get out and sell my wares today… so I did!” This man lives 3 hours drive away from this market and they usually travel there and back in a day. The courage it took for him to pack the car, make the trip, set up and then face shoppers, some of whom would probably be in the age group of the son he recently had to say goodbye to forever… as his products are children focused… it represents just how strong humans are capable of being. This is only a small part of the bigger story of the challenges this couple have faced throughout their life.

I could tell you numerous stories of heart ache, courage, strength all just through the people I have met trading at markets. This is something that I absolutely love about markets; the strength of the people there, their hope to create a happier better world despite all odds.

One of my favourite sayings is by Mahatma Ghandi “Be the change you wish to see in the world” The philosophy behind my business is “take the old & discarded and transform them into statement pieces!” The concept of this came about through both necessity and an appreciation for craftsmanship and quality. Our way of living is also based on a similar belief system, growing & making our own food as much as possible, raising our children knowing where their food comes from, spending time with their parents, getting to know who we are rather than just seeing us briefly throughout their formative years.

In reading the news this week it has been difficult to feel positive about the state of our world, but as the Dalai Lama’s post on Facebook read last night; “You are the seeds of a better future.” Our time on earth should not be spent shaking our heads and throwing our arms up in defeat, but doing what we can to provide a better existence for others and the hope that one is actually possible. The other day we spent the entire day cooking up a storm, preserving our harvest and I photographed and posted our progress on Instragram and Facebook along the way. At one point Master 12 asked me why I do this, to which I responded; “To give people something positive to view on social media. There is so much hurt, anger, negativity… I feel like people need to feel hopeful that life can be different.”

Not long after this conversation, a message came though from another fellow stall holder and friend, from a different market. Sharing their recent heartbreaking experiences and again a demonstration of sheer strength. The message ended with; “…Iove seeing the pictures of your new place and the produce etc. You guys look really happy.”  And we are… even on the days when we feel hopeless, that life’s against us having to deal with some of our own challenges, deep down inside we always feel safe and loved… which is more than we could ever hope for really.

Our life is not perfect, we spent many hours putting out spot fires (the morning of our big cook up) between our boys, but we managed to guide them towards doing something positive for themselves and the rest of the family and rest of the day was beautiful because of it.

What I hope for all of you… and anyone out there who is suffering from pain that is caused by someone else, pain beyond their control, is inner peace. My wish for a change in the world is that more people simply care about the people around them, despite a difference of opinion, religion, life choices… the more people demonstrate kindness and respect the further it will hopefully spread!

Cheers, to being the seeds for a better world… the change we wish to see in the world.

Wishing all peace, love and happiness… and hope for a better future!

<<= by marie-nicole =>> 

xx

Peace Sign