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My Journey: 1 Call to adventure

It begins, late one night, snuggled up with my sleepy three-year-old daughter in front of a movie, in a caravan, in a popular English seaside resort. It begins with these words:

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

It began with some questions:

Have I learned this?

Do I want to learn this?

Now at this time I was fairly recently married to the father of my two children, a six-year-old son and the sleepy three-year-old daughter, so answering the first question with an affirmative should have been easy. However, while I was pretty confident I’d loved, at that point, even in a long-standing relationship, and even though the word ‘love’ was used liberally, I wasn’t certain I’d been loved. At least not so far as I could feel it.

Roll on a year and I am recently divorced and living in a little house, near the seaside, in another popular English resort. Those questions launched me here, but now they, and the desire they sparked, are lost and temporarily forgotten, amidst the stress and intensity of sharing the parenting of two small children, a full-time job, and a house to run all by myself.

Six years on, and with another tumultuous and ultimately unsuccessful relationship under my belt, they re-emerged, and this time another level of awareness came with them, inspired in part by The Beatles:

And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.

The End, The Beatles

This time I know that love starts with me. If I want to love, I have to love myself. And if I want to feel loved by anyone else then first, I need to feel my own love.

And that feels like a mission (something my Capricorn Sun loves!). In that moment I had found a new sense of purpose:

I will learn to love myself.

And when (or maybe it should be if), I’m successful, then perhaps I’ll be able to share that love I’ve made, with another.

Quote by Oscar Wilde on a red rose background.
To love oneself by Oscar Wilde

The Journey Begins: Learning to love myself

So where did I start?

I started in the same way that I started all the relationships I’d had (and lost myself to).

I started by applying all my interest and all my curiosity to myself: Who am I?

What do I like?

What do I want?

What do I need?

Fortunately, at this point in my journey, I began an Instagram page, so I have a really clear picture of where I started, what I was doing, and where it led me. I embraced the concept of hygge:


[ˈh(j)uːɡə, ˈhʊɡə]


1. a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture):

"why not follow the Danish example and bring more hygge into your daily life?" · "count on candlelight—almost a requirement for that special hygge experience"

The word Hygge with hygge things in doodle form.
My Hygge artwork

with the understanding that this was something I needed to cultivate in my life in order to give me the space and time to really begin to get to know myself. And as I began ‘hyggelingalong’ I discovered that this concept had always been embedded in me. It is the simple things that make me feel happy in my day to day: quality food that I’ve taken time over and prepared with love, a beautiful (some may say eclectic) and comfortable environment, quiet moments to myself in nature, music I can sing and dance along to in my kitchen and easy, deep conversations with interesting people about interesting things. All I needed to do was make the space and time to do more of these things and I'd be giving myself more of what I liked, wanted and needed.

I was on my way.

From Instagram:

About me - November 2017

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – Oscar Wilde.

A life long pleaser (I’m now 43) and fairly recently single (a serious post divorce relationship ended a few months ago) I am on a mission to learn how to please myself (something that I fear many women in my position have forgotten (or in my case never learned) how to do). In part so that the next time I have a relationship I don’t lose myself in the process but also because it seems like an incredibly important thing to do and it’s about time I did!

So, how to fall love in love with yourself?

1. Sing your praises: I think I’m pretty good at this, I know I’m a pretty good Mum, great cook, a diy Queen. I know I can design and bring about a great space. I can draw pretty well, I write nicely, I can make a mean excel model... if I focus on the positives (something I’m also very good at) I’d say I’m not doing a bad job of this one as long as I’m talking to myself. It’s much harder telling other people. As my manager said to me last year after an unsuccessful interview, I don’t sell myself very well. Perhaps this is a good start...

2. Be kind to yourself: I’m learning to listen to what I need and to let myself off the hook when today’s to do list in the bullet journal goes unchecked. I’m taking time to enjoy the coffee and cook myself a delicious meal (even when it’s only me I’m feeding)...taking photos of it helps and anchors it so I remember it made me feel happy and

do it again. (Thanks for that Instagram 😁!)

3. Take yourself out on dates: Something I’m embracing and the photo behind the post. Yesterday I took myself to see Thor: Ragnarok and smiled all the way through. In part because of the film but also because I was proud I was there by myself, amongst the teenage boys, with my solo bucket of popcorn ❤️

Popcorn and a cinema ticket.
Instagram Photo November 2017

Looking back, I can see that this chapter of my journey was all about mind and body. The chapter where I got to know myself and my needs, and gave myself the attention I had been missing for so many years.

I cultivated discipline around the things I needed and that made me ‘feel’ good, and I gave myself time to discover more of what those things are, whilst reminding myself to feel grateful for them.

My Practices

For the mind:

  • Regular time alone in nature - a daily walk.

  • Embracing the present moment - moments every day to breathe and just be.

  • Gratitude - acknowledging the happy throughout the day.

  • Mindfulness meditation - twenty minutes every morning and evening with focus on the breath to let go of thoughts.

  • Talking therapy - revisiting the difficult stories and learning how to feel the emotions that arose in the telling of them

For the body:

  • Good Sleep - I stopped drinking alcohol and was disciplined in my approach to sleep. I went to bed at nine when the children were asleep and read, meditated and gave myself my attention.

  • Good Food - I gave up refined sugar and ensured I made myself healthy, nutritious, well presented meals whether I was eating alone or cooking for the kids.

  • Gentle Exercise - my daily walk.

  • Rest - I encouraged myself to stop regularly during the day and take a moment. I'd light a candle, make myself a cup of tea and then sit and appreciate it. I learned to take a short nap when I was tired and learned to enjoy doing so.

I was off to a great start. I had applied myself, to myself, and I was seeing the benefits. I felt healthy and happy. In mind and body. And then, as the Universe is prone to do, I was challenged, and rather than sticking to the path I'd intended to walk, I saw a shiny unicorn in a clearing and headed off in another direction...

The Challenge

The shiny unicorn came in the form of a man; a funny, charismatic, captivating, intelligent and beautiful man.

And with this man, magic and mystery entered my life.

Roald Dahl quote typed on grey background.
Roald Dahl Quote, Believe in Magic

Now this is almost a whole other story, so I won't go into all the details here.

Long story short, this amazing man gifted me with another flavour to my journey. My magical encounter with him, along with the memories he unlocked from deep within, launched me into a whole other level of healing and clearing, of uncovering and revealing. Through him, and my interactions with him, I have learned more about myself than I ever thought was possible.

He became a carrot.

And my journey became refined.

And now, a conscious mutual relationship founded in unconditional love is where I wanted to end up.

Eventually I found a name for what I was experiencing and a mode of logic I could follow:

A framework for my journey.

My awakening journey, and the journey to become my true (and best) self, began in earnest.

Continued in Chapter 2


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