Seeing light at the end of the tunnel

Baby steps, Beauty, Embrace true self, enge, Fear, Follow own path, Good enough, Growth, Interior design, Life, Light, Organisation, Patience, Small steps, Uncategorized, Unique, Write

Hi all, I wanted to write today about the importance and effectiveness of baby steps and slowly chipping away at a job/project. I have been working on our home since we moved in over three years ago. I remember having so many creative ideas, my creative juices were not just flowing they were overflowing. I knew, or thought I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it to be done. I also fell foul to my impatience. A heady mix of enthusiasm, passion and excitement rolled up in a large blanket of impatience. The truth is, we are all impatient at times. Some people decide they want to lose weight and are disillusioned when they don’t lose what they want to by a given time. Others decide to take on a project and wonder what is wrong with them when they don’t achieve certain results in a timely manner. We are all guilty of wanting quick results, a faster turnaround or set ourselves unrealistic goals which all inevitably fail. People like to see what they want and with this they only see the end result and how to get there in the least amount of time. This method, although may work in some areas temporarily, only serve to end in disappointment as it doesn’t have long standing sustainability.

People are lazy. I don’t mean to sound harsh but it is true. People like instant gratification. When it doesn’t happen the result is blame. We blame ourselves and judge ourselves harshly or we blame someone else for our lack of progress. The truth is, long lasting results can only be achieved with a long standing method. Sounds simple. In theory yes so why do so many people still do it. Why do we set ourselves up for a fall. Why do we think getting something quick is the best way, a good way. Do we think we are more intelligent if we do it quicker or are we trying to prove something to someone else. If we get there before others, does this mean we are better, more worthy. No. If you want to be quicker, there will always be someone before you that has already done it quicker. It follows the same lines of there will always be someone smarter, thinner, taller, than you. If you think of it in this context you will never win. In this way, there is always someone else involved and when we try and compete, be better we are basically saying that we alone are not good enough. I am not saying do not have goals or strive to be more, just use yourself as the goal and build your own scale of progress.

Despite living in the same world, we were born with unique skills and capabilities. We need to use these and learn to understand that life was not created to follow a path. You were given life. You are unique and as such you need to learn that your life is also unique. Society tells us that we go to school then college, university, get a great job, get married, have a child and all in that order. When life doesn’t go exactly this way people wonder what is wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with you. You may be just following the wrong path. Your path may not go in that order or even have those aspects within it. People like to know what they are doing and where they are going. They do not like the unknown. People fear the unknown, it creates uncomfortable feelings which people want to run from. Anything unknown will always have an element of fear this is natural. The only way to get past this is to try. Once you have done it once fear loses its power as it is no longer an unknown. Each time you do it becomes less of an unknown and more of a known. This is when you have the power. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, we need fear to guide us and to challenge us in our thinking and doing. As scary as this may sound to some, there is no plan or rule book to life and what you have heard is from fairytales or from black and white thinking. The world is not black and white. The world is full of colour, accents, shades and tones and the only way to see the amazing variations in colour is to start looking at yourself and understanding that you have a unique path which only you know. It is up to you to start looking at what feels right to you, what fits with you and how that can fit into your life/path. There is no life path, only your path.

Sophie Marie

When you start to do this, you learn to understand the beauty in small steps. When I started decorating and designing our home I decided in my head that I would complete the whole house in a few months. As I write this now I laugh. My creativity was there, my passion and excitement however what I failed to do was to look at achievability. Was this achievable? I was passionate, would this not help? I was capable, did this not count for something? Yes, of course these all help to achieve but were my goals achievable? No, of course not. I thought I could because it is what I wanted. Pure and simple. I wanted it done quick and I thought that was enough. How funny. Quite ridiculous to write and read this. We all do it. It doesn’t make us bad people or stupid, it makes us human. What is so powerful is when you learn the beauty in seeing your own progress.

I regularly have to stop and reflect on how different our home is compared to how it was when we bought it. I sometimes get impatient and beat myself up for not yet having a finished home. This is when I have to stop and look around. Simply look at the beautiful, opulent colour on our walls. The stunning lamp that sits beautifully in an alcove next to a yellow photo frame. This is one of my favourite areas and I created it. It was bare, then I painted it. I then spent time looking for the perfect piece (perfect to me) and patiently waited until the right piece presented itself to me. I did it. It took time, there was no quick process and I was very patient at times.

I am not interested in buying for the sake of it or doing a rush buy. I am only interested in buying what is right for our home. All the pieces match my personality which is paramount to me. We live in our home, not a home. There is a huge difference. A friend came to mine Saturday and I was able to show her a few new things that we have invested in since she was last here. It gave me another chance to show the progress and for my friend to see where the house is now. They also get a chance to share in the beauty of my process. Saturday was a big day for me as it was the first day in a while that I could see the accumulation of all my/our hard work. I am including my daughter here as she does help me and spends time helping to organise her bedroom so that she knows where everything is and all her belongings have a place. She puts up with me when impatience kicks in and I get overexcited and embarrassing about storage.

It is hard to explain how it felt. It was a deep feeling, one that hit me hard in a nice way. I was in the kitchen and it just came over me. I realised how most places in the house are organised now. All the baby steps have taken form. Each drawer I tidied out, each item I found a home for and countless bags I gave to charity. The baby steps are the beauty steps. You can not always see the benefit of each small task however it is the accumulation of tiny steps that has led me here. Led me to this warm, touching feeling. This feeling of immense pride and shock. Shock that I can see what a difference there is. It feels like it has just happened but it hasn’t. The baby steps have added up and there is now a massive clearing. The overriding feeling has stayed with me, I can feel it strongly as I write. It feels light. It feels clear, ethereal. It is a beautiful feeling. The beauty of light.

Go and take your first baby step. Where will it take you?

With hope and love

Sophie Marie

All good writers must read and write a lot

Inspirational cycle, Inspirational Music Inspiring music, Inspire, Learning, Self respect, Share yourself, Small steps, Write, Writer, writing

Hi all and happy new year. I hope your Christmas time was as relaxed and peaceful as it could be. It sort of saddens me to say that this is my first piece of writing in quite a long time. I am hopeful that will change this year. Although I am partial to a great quote, I do not tend to use other people’s quotes in my writing. This quote is particularly relevant to me and one which has carried me through the last six months or so. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”. Stephen King.

I came across this particular quote whilst researching how to write a book and how to become a good writer. It really stopped me in my tracks and shocked me, in a good way. It may sound strange that I had never really thought of the reading part. The only books I read as an adult were self development books, autobiographies, literature based on mental health. The only other things that I read were interior design magazines and still do. I can spend long periods of time immersed in a page with only images to entertain me. This for me, is where I can read the story without words and this excites me. I can see the passion, the art and the style within the confines of another’s living room. Carefully curated to show the inner workings of a stylists mind. A hot bath and numerous images of mid century furniture and I am away for hours.

Like everything else in my life,I don’t just want to be a writer I want to be a good writer. Writing itself for me is still quite new in terms of writing for others as well as myself. I want to learn how to grow in this area, grammar being one area that I need to focus on. Somehow I have forgotten a lot that I learnt in school and I would like to learn how best to set out my writing, ensuring that I keep my writing brief and relevant (I am known for going around the houses so may struggle here). I want to be myself. Raw in my writing, with a more professional edge.

My business has been going the same way this last year. I had reached the stage whereby I wanted to look at areas that I could tighten up, become more streamlined and all together be more professional. I know that my work as a counsellor in my own practice is work to a high standard however there are some areas of my business that I always try and improve upon each year. I can see from my previous year in business what I need to look at and how I can market myself in a more professional manner in order to grow personally, professionally and my client base itself. Reaching a level of maturity for my business naturally flows into other areas of my life and what I want to achieve. The last year I focused a lot more of my time on my counselling business and growing this. I put the work in and saw the results. This year I would like to invest more in myself personally, allowing myself lots of time to write. I know that in order for this to happen, knowing my personality as I do is to dedicate time to it. I need to allocate time and organise my time more effectively. I have unconsciously placed writing as less important. I want this to change. I know the benefits personally for me when I write. I am more open, my confidence increases, I am more alert and most important it allow me to share myself creatively.

I love my work, however because of this I tend to trick myself that it is not work. It is. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a counsellor is not something that you put a hat on for. It is someone that I am every day, a big part of my being. I am however not just a counsellor. I am multi faceted and like my art piece “Two headed beauty” (available through my website) says “why be one dimensional when you can be your true, multi dimensional self”. By neglecting this part of me, I have been neglecting myself. I am now aware and so I can change. Creativity releases me and makes me feel free and more alive. It brings me back to the now.

You can gauge when you are following a positive path when the feelings that arise within you feel ‘right’. It is that feeling which is hard to put into words. It is like a kind of magic. It just creates a feeling of peace (and many other feelings) deep inside. It is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It just fits. I need to write more. I need to set myself a goal, a schedule that I can achieve. I want to write with progression as I have to be continuously learning and growing. I can not stagnate.

I always want to write raw and in the moment which I have. The difference today is that I have gone through the piece and edited it. I don’t know what if any difference this will make to how it is read. This is a learning curve for me and I am enjoying it. Please look out for my next piece where I will be talking more about how reading has become a big part of my life and how I hope this will enhance my writing.

Looking forward to sharing more with you

Sophie Marie

How my clothes help me embrace my personality

Clothes, Free, Freedom, Good enough, Growth, Helping others, Personality, Quietly confident, Say yes to rest, Soul, Spirituality, trauma, Uncategorized, Writer, writing

For me, like my home my clothes are a big part of who I am and is another way that I can embrace being me. I do not like to look like anyone else and I do not like to wear whatever is ‘in fashion’. This is just another way that people conform to the masses, look like robots and follow each other. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why people do this. I always say I do not like to look like anyone else but what that really means to me is that I just want to be me. I always knew that I thought about life and clothes in a different way to others and this at times has caused me to wonder what was wrong with me. Why did I think one way when a lot of people who I knew or were around seemed to view the world differently. I have written before about how I used to be when I was younger, in primary school. This was the true representation of who I was. Quietly confident in who I was and what I liked even though this was sometimes random or ununusual. I didn’t care. I did not even think about it. I just did. I just was and I was free.

When you experience trauma in your life, it changes you. Simple. Trauma changes life as you know it, trauma changes you, trauma changed me. It affects every single aspect of your life. The way you see the world, the way you view people, your own safety or lack of it, the way that you see yourself, the way that you present yourself. As I write this, hiding is the big word that keeps popping up. I do not want to write too much just now on this as I feel a poem will best help me to put this into words. When I write I like to feel. Sometimes, the words only feel surface and I feel that I want to go deeper and express more. It must be time, I must be ready and it feels safe. It feels special and important and something that I want to share. I remember when I kept everything to myself. All my struggles, all my pain. I am now in a place where I no longer want to hide, I just want to share. I want to share and inspire. I hope to inspire, just be being me. When we think we have to do more, be more. When I finally accepted that I am enough as I am, my life started changing for the better. When I stopped, I started. It is a big fear for lots of people that if they slow down, rest or stop then everything will crash down. You do have to experience it for yourself but I can tell you honestly from my own experience that the opposite is so true. The more you stop, the more you can keep going and growing. It feels magical. It is magical but not magic. It is real, it is you. You are not different, you have just gone deeper. You have touched a depth in your soul that turns on a light so powerful it can never extinguish. If you feel like the light has gone, dimmed down then don’t look outward, go deeper within. Deeper within you.

For now I will leave you with this as I want to walk and reflect before I write more.

Thank you for the pleasure of reading my thoughts, supporting me in my journey and enabling me to support and inspire others.

With love as always

Sophie Marie x

Good Karma

Be thankful, Belief, Faith, Freedom, Good karma, Growth, Helping, Helping others, Hope, Inspire, Kindness, Learning, Letting go, Pass it on, Self love, Share the love, Share yourself, Small steps, Spirituality, writing

Hi, how are you all. I have finally got my laptop fixed and so I am back writing after a while. Unfortunately I am not one of those people that can happily type away on a mobile. I am old school and I have to feel the touch of the keyboard, it is how I write and how I can maintain my flow. It feels good already. I always feel even closer to myself when I write and there is no better feeling. There is so much that I want to write about however rather than overwhelm myself I will practice what I preach and take it one step at a time, one blog at a time.

I want this first piece to be about karma however not the negative kind. Good karma and I would like to talk about how life and the universe is coming together with me and revealing itself. There is a lot to discuss so bear with me as I do like to go around the houses to tell a story. Hey, its what makes me me and I am good with it. There is a faith that I believe is missing with lots of people, I used to be one of them. Now when I say I used to be one of them, I mean I was always positive however at times of extreme difficulty I have not always possessed the ability to just simply have faith and believe that everything will turn out ok, turn out as it is supposed to. Until this year. Life really changed forever. I know I have experienced that many times, many different periods of growth, changes and increases of confidence and self esteem. This is different. This is real, genuine and certainly life changing and something so important that I want to share with you all.

I have written about this a couple of times however I know this will be something that will keep coming in to my blogs as it is so profound and so intrinsically part of my life now, part of me. This is spirituality, being at one with the world, with nature, with the universe rather than feeling like you are separate, alone and disconnected. Now I am no way a master on this, I know what I know based on my own experience of it and how I feel the world around me. I understand more now since I was drawn to reading and through my spiritual reading across different areas which also is an instrinsic part of who I am. Reading now also makes me feel more alive, more connected. I will keep doing what I am doing until I no longer enjoy it. I do not believe that you have to always keep at something just because you started it. Some things like some people are meant to come into your life for a period of time, everything does not and will not be forever and now I can happily say that I am at peace with this. I am sure in some areas this may not come as easy for me however I will take what I already know and feel and apply it to these other areas. I do not have to know everything and I do not need to know how things will turn out, if they will work out. I feel happy now to just do what I want, when I want with who I want. I don’t mean without a care in the world attitude, just having the freedom to be me in whatever way that is in the moment and being ok with that. I reiterate that I am no master of any of these and I do not have to be. Noone is a true master at anything, like no one is perfect. There will always be more to learn, more growth, more things to experience. You and I are ever evolving so we will never be a finished product. Why would we want to be? How boring would that be? To know everything already and have nothing left to learn. This is what I would equate to being a robot and I am not a robot.

I just realised that I have been writing away and I have not even mentioned good karma yet and that is ok. Writing, like life does not always go from one to 100 in a straight line, I may go up and down, to the side, high up then a few down or in whichever combination. It is what it is and I am what I am. I will get to it but for now I just want to write, to release, to speak and hopefully be heard. That is a new admission for me which I feel I need to stop at. This is where I would say (in my counselling work) “that sounds huge”. I feel it is. I am always listening. I like to talk when I feel comfortable to talk and with my friends this is easy however I still need to say outloud sometimes, anytime “I want to be heard”. “I want to be listened to and I want to be heard”. I have definitely got better in this area and will not just be quiet if a friend starts to talk when I am, I will assert myself and speak a bit louder. I used to get mad at conversations of this nature and with some people I have found it impossible. People are so wrapped up in themselves that they want to be listened to and they are however they do not then pass that back as mutual respect. I have started to think to myself after one of these conversations that I would love to say “it would be nice if you would now ask about me, what I am up to etc” This is really honest by me and in all of my years I have never said this outloud although I am accepting in myself that this is what I am feeling and thinking. If you have a conversation with someone in the street, at home, wherever and the other person gives you respect and time and space to talk a while and be listened to, please stop and think for a moment. Do not take advantage. Offer the same back. Ask them about themselves. They, I, may be a great listener but I would also like to be listened to. It is not about saying well Im not very good at listening, I think that’s a cop out. It is about the simple act of making someone else feel valid. We all want to feel validated by other people, it is innate.

If you feel like you have got something from someone, whether that be a simple but effective smile, a nice comment, a listening ear, someone asking you how you are or about your day please pass it on. If you feel like you received something, give something back. This is so valid across life in general. It is not our life, just for us as some people still think. We are all part of life. We are life and as such we need to look after it, to look after each other. Be there for one another. Now I guess I should talk about good karma or else I will have to change the title of this blog.

Since having the deep, inner belief that everything will work out and to let go and just allow life to be, the universe is really working with me. I went to Northumberland for half term and upon landing at Bardon Mill by train I realised that we were not in the right place I felt perhaps all my bus/train research had got a bit muddled. I needed to get to our YHA. There was a pub and nothing else. I went in to enquire and found out that to walk to the YHA would be a minimum of one hour, uphill and with a heavy rucksack, suitcase and my ten year old daughter in tow was a no no. After a lot of conversations with the lovely staff at the pub and another lady who said she would have driven us had she not been drinking already, one of the ladies working in the pub got her car and drove us to our hostel. From the moment I entered, I felt looked after and not alone. I had faith that we would get there and help came to hand. Whilst on the same trip, I was let off with money that I was short for the train and a free bus trip (the crazy AD122 bus journey,lets not go there). It was then that I felt more connected, not alone. I know for people it is really hard to believe that things will be ok, especially if they haven’t been for so long but trust me they will. Constantly hoping and praying it will be ok does not quite work the same. You have to learn to, as they say “let go and trust the process”. This is so true not just in counselling but in life. Once you surrender to what is and what will be, things seem to emerge in different ways. It is like the quote (sorry I don’t know the author of the quote) “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. So true. When you experience it for yourself you can say “I get it”. It all makes sense, it all slots together, naturally, organically the way it is supposed to.

I left my purse at home the other week and was stuck needing petrol to get me back home. No phone, no id, nothing. Whilst in the bank explaining my situation, hoping they would give me money without id, a lady came up to me and said “if they can’t give it to you, I will give you the money to get home”. I was really touched, she had heard my story. She heard me. Very powerful.

Thank you for all the people who think and feel that way and may they be a teacher to others who may not naturally be that way. We can all learn from each other. We just have to listen…..

With much love and hope

Sophie Marie xx

Helping others

Art, Belief, domestic abuse, Expressions of art, Faith, Growth, Helping, Helping others, Hope, Inspirational cycle, Inspire, Kindness, Nature, Reconnecting, Share yourself, support, writing

Hi all, it’s good to be here. I hope you are all keeping well and if you are currently being challenged as I am then I hope you have some support to keep you on your path.

I think I have a previous post about this however my desire to help people just keeps growing stronger. I support children, teenagers and adults in my work as a mental health counsellor which I love. This is a different kind of desire. This comes from deep down, deep within my soul. When I am going through challenges in my life, my opportunity for growth, this is when the desire burns stronger. I spoke to a lovely friend of mine the other day about my ideas for helping support more people. When I told her some of my ideas she said how kind and selfless they were. I know this was a compliment, however I actually disagree slightly in that on some level I feel that helping in these extra ways will help me also and so can not be purely selfless. I guess the difference now is that I am not trying to make myself ‘feel better’. I just empathise with people and their challenges, especially when those challenges leave you feeling isolated. This is a feeling I have had many times and I know how hard it is. I also now know that reaching out to others is a way of connecting. There is a deeper will to want people to know that by offering what you can, a simple message of encouragement or small token that ‘you are not alone’.

To feel this compassion from people is a feeling that can not be replicated. At Christmas time, my daughter and I were invited to an event held by Harv (domestic abuse charity) where we were shown all the donations that people had left for Christmas presents. It was very emotional for me as it was a very powerful message that people who had never met you wanted you to know that they care, you are in their thoughts and to remind you that you are not alone. There is no greater feeling.

The truth is, no one is alone. We are all connected to one another, to nature, to our universe. We either do not realise this yet or we have become detached, disconnected. The good news is that we can all connect again. Disconnection is temporary and in a way not even real. It is more of a perceived feeling as we can never truly be disconnected to who we are at our core and if we keep that with us always this will always keep us going. I feel the need to reiterate this as it is a very powerful statement. “We can never be disconnected from our core. If we keep that with us always, this will always keep us going”. I love this.

I can feel the flow more now in my words. Sometimes it takes time for the flow, sometimes it comes immediately. I just remember that it comes when it is ready, when I settle into myself and into my thoughts. When I am in the moment, in the here and now and being mindful. I can only be me now.

I just remembered what I started my post about and that was helping others. I am reading a book I got from a charity book shop in Hexham about compassion and it really is helping me cement my desire to help in a bigger way than I currently am. I know there is something a lot bigger in me and the ideas and thoughts are all coming to the forefront. I need to collect all of my ideas and put them together in the best way to showcase empathy, compassion and a willingness to support. I know I will use my art within this as art has got me to where I am now. Art was a huge influence for me. Art helped me to connect to my feelings and to reconnect with myself. Art helped save my life and I owe a lot to the arts.

I am going to put together an inspiration board to collate my ideas and thoughts and see how I can best put forward my plan. I want to show what can be done in your local community, how every little helps and how if we all share a bit of ourselves then we can all make this a better world for us all.

With hope and healing

Sophie Marie xx