Soulful Sunday #60: The Other Side Of Fear

The other side of fear

Welcome to my fifty-sixth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’; a weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my dreams and intentions for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

Fear is debilitating. It can literally leave us paralysed with anxiety.

There is a famous quote (and book for that matter) by Susan Jeffers who reminds us:

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

My biggest work over the last few months has been to face my fears around labour, particularly around the ‘normal’ practice of hospitals whose medical interventions often result in unnecessary trauma for both Mum and baby. Don’t get me wrong, in a medical emergency these procedures can save lives; but in a normal, safe, healthy pregnancy and birth, such interventions often cause more harm than good.  Is it any wonder then, that we hear so many horror stories about birth?

Once my fears were acknowledged, I could then begin to dissolve them. I turned to natural birthing books and absorbed myself in the thousands of positive birth stories (yes – they exist!!!) each contained. The more I read, the more I began to meet women who had birthed naturally, and with less complications (if any) than those who had birthed at the hands of doctors and drugs.

We also decided on Hypno-birthing classes to prepare ourselves for a calm birth using breath work, relaxations, visualisations, strengthening affirmations and natures own pain relief; oxytocin – all of which helped to deepen our confidence and trust in a natural birth.

Whilst our preparations do not guarantee us a smooth, uninterrupted birth with little to no complication or medical intervention; what they do provide us with are the innate tools to birth in love and trust, rather than shrouded in fear.

Of course, there are always some residue fears of the unknown and lingering What if’s? But since the only way out of my birth is through, I must ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’

The only way out is through.

– Robert Frost

And through we shall go, in love and trust.

Soul Strolls

With three weeks to go until we meet our baby, strolling has become somewhat of a waddle! The pelvic pressure is real haha And so, after finishing my last week of work last Friday, I decided to put my feet up and rest this pregnant body.

I booked in for a pregnancy massage at Endota Spa (which was the best massage I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot!) and soaked up the healing vibes. I plan to spend the next three weeks resting and nourishing myself and our baby, and enjoying our last few weeks as a ‘two.’

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‘Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ – Marcel Proust

Soul Recipes

This recipe is an oldy but a goody of mine. I love using my slow cooker, and this dish lends itself perfectly to one. It’s hearty, it’s comforting, it’s delicious and it’s even healthy My Hearty Lentil Curry gets a thumbs up every time. Let me know what you think!

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Yummy lentil curry!

Soul Music

On the other side of fear lies freedom and peace. So today I would love to share this delightfully peaceful track by Ashana titled Deep Peace. Put you feet up, take a deep breath in and receive the deep peace flowing to you. Now sigh and release. You are free. You are safe. You are secure and loved.

Soul Sisters

Today I would love to share this beautifully nourishing poem titled Bliss by Aroused. A timely reminder for us to connect with our intuition within and to trust.

Wrapping you all in a warm loving hug on this soulful Sunday.

Love always,

Hayley xx

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Soulful Sunday #55: Beautiful Bodies

comparison

Welcome to my fifty-fifth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’; a weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my dreams and intentions for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

At seven and a half months pregnant, I’m amazed by the number of women who feel compelled to comment on the size of my bump, comparing its size to that of their friend who is ‘due two weeks before me and is SO much smaller’, so small in fact you can ‘hardly tell’. I’ve even had my belly compared to a basket ball!

I’d like to think the women delivering these words are well intentioned and simply unaware of the potential harm their comments can cause. Still, I can’t help but feel a little disheartened that body comparison is so prevalent, even during pregnancy.

Isn’t a women supposed to feel beautiful and bountiful in her pregnant body? Is the fullness of her tummy not the fullest expression of creation itself? A time to celebrate the changes in her body as it nurtures new life within?

I have to acknowledge that I’ve also had many women tell me I look beautiful and stunning as I bloom to full size. To those Divine Goddesses; I salute you. For you are the ones who focus not on the ‘neatness of the bump’, or for how long it can remain disguised or ‘unnoticed’; but instead on the natural beauty to be embraced throughout the many changing phases of a woman’s body.

Today, let’s lift each other up. Let’s celebrate our bodies; big, small, teeny or tall, remembering that we are ALL Divine.

Soul Strolls

This week’s soul strolling took place in the hospital. We had our hospital tour where we were able to walk through where we’ll go on the day of our birthing. Despite having had some fears around birthing in a hospital, as I walked the corridors I blessed them with love and repeated the mantra, ‘All is well. I have nothing to fear. Love, peace, harmony and joy surround and indwell me.’

The Mercy Hospital for Women does feel like a safer space than my previous hospital. The midwives are very supportive of a natural birth with as little intervention as possible. I trust I am in safe hands.

Live your life as if everything is rigged in your favour.

– Rumi

Soul Recipes

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My partner loves to buy a Massaman Curry from our local Thai. Since he spent this soulful Sunday working, I decided to surprise him with a Slow Cooked Lamb Massaman which was simply divine! I adapted the recipe slightly (and cheated) by buying a massaman curry paste rather than making my own from scratch, as this recipe suggests. If I owned a food processor I would definitely have attempted the homemade paste in this recipe… I also used carrots, red pepper and red chillies in addition to the potato instead of the green beans, since I already had those vegetables on hand at home.

Needless to say, this dish was yummy and my man had a happy tummy after a hard days work.

Soul Music

I’d love to share Heather Mae’s I Am Enough as a stunning reminder that our body’s are not ‘wrong’ or ‘shameful’. We can be grateful for our body, regardless of our shape or size. This makes me smile each time I listen. Today, give your body a big appreciative hug, tell your body how much you love it… and then have a good ole dance to this feel good track! I’ll be dancing along with you with my pregnant bump 😉

Soul Sisters

I’d love to share the work of a soul sister who has been pivotal in reducing my fears around labour. I bought Kat’s book in my second trimester when I was led to it by a serendipitous moment. It was just what I needed to believe in my abilities to birth my baby naturally. I will be gifting Kat’s work to any pregnant ladies I know! You can find Kat at The Birth Goddess.

Wishing you all a soulful Sunday. May you feel safe, supported and loved, today and always.

Love always,

Hayley xx

 

Soulful Sunday #54: Blessings Of Love

 

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Welcome to my fifty-fourth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’; a weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my dreams and intentions for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

I’ve heard it time and time again, yet this past week I’ve really come to know this as true: There are really only ever two choices; love or fear.

Last week I came close to having a panic attack I was so overwhelmed with the unknown outcomes of following a natural birthing journey in a medical hospital setting. Fear encompassed every ounce of my being and I was deeply emerged in my shadow. Yet this week, I’ve worked to dissolve those fears, to seek the truth within. And sure enough, the Universe delivered the love and support required to pull me back into the light.

Harmony, peace, love and joy surround and indwell me. I am safe and secure.

– Louise Hay

I am my own pillar of safety and strength. I have a voice. And when I trust in myself and the Universe, my world reflects back to me the safety and security I desire.

Soul Strolls

Last week we took our soul strolling to the local parks to have some photos taken by a friend of ours. This was her first pregnancy shoot, and we think she did a great job! Here’s a couple of sneaky photos. We had lots of fun goofing around in nature with my baby bump in tow.

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Soul Food

I have been a little slack with creating and uploading my own recipes as I used to. But this week, I served a delicious Dhal to my guests which went down a treat. Since I haven’t written down what I used, I will share this delicious Dhal recipe which is not dissimilar to my own. I used pumpkin instead of sweet potato and added garam masala, chilli flakes and coriander to the mix. Enjoy!

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Soul Music

This week I would love to share this stunning track by Karen Drucker titled, There Is Only Love. Such a simple message, yet one which resonates so deeply and infuses my being with peace and love. Have a listen. I hope it brings you as much comfort as it does for me.


Soul Sisters

Yesterday I had my Mothers Blessing and truly felt the power of ‘Soul Sisters.’ So much love and energy in one room, how could I not feel loved and supported? I am a very lucky lady to have so many incredible and inspiring women in my life, each gifting me with their words of wisdom, and loving gifts of the heart.

Many of you may recognise our beautiful writer and fellow blogger Miriam from Out An About in these photos. Such a Divine soul who never fails to lift my energy to one of spirited grace and unity.

I have the energy of so many Divine women supporting me on my natural birthing journey. All fears aside, there really is ‘only love.’

And on that note, it’s Fathers Day in the UK and I’d like to acknowledge two of the most incredible men in my life; my angel Dad, and this gorgeous Daddy to be 💙💙

I’m proud to have walked beside both of you in this lifetime, you are strong men of honour, yet neither afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve.

I only hope that more women and children have the opportunity to know and experience a good man in their lives, whether paternal, teacher, lover or friend.

Here’s to all the men and Dad’s who rock our world 🙌🏻

Here’s wishing you a soulful Sunday permeated with love, trust, harmony and peace.

Love always,

Hayley xx  

 

Better, Not Bitter

Life was never meant to be easy… Joyful? Fulfilling? Abundant? Yes. But easy? No.

Life is meant to challenge us; to encourage us to grow and to evolve.

Those testing times which threaten to make us bitter are, in fact, designed to make us BETTER.

How do you respond to life’s difficulties? Do you choose to be a victim of circumstances, finger pointing and blaming others for your misfortune? Or do you choose to welcome life’s challenges as an opportunity to own your shit and RISE UP? To choose another way?

Today, welcome challenge with an open heart. Be grateful for the chance to be BETTER, not bitter.

Love always,

Hayley xx

Soulful Sunday #53: Be Your Vulnerable Self

secret sorrows

Welcome to my fifty-third instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’; a weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my dreams and intentions for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

This week I’ve been sitting with my vulnerabilities and allowing myself to feel into what arises, trusting that it’s all there to teach me and to help me to grow.

How many of us automatically reply “I’m well thank you!” when asked how we are, when in actual fact – we are not ok? We feel we are burdensome or negative company if we actually share what’s really going on.

Today, I’d like you to consider what support may be available to you if you showed up in your authentic state and gave yourself permission to be vulnerable and open. Remember, in doing so you allow others to do the same.

Let us let go of the surface level interactions we’ve maintained as our shield of protection and be willing to dive deep.

Allow yourself to receive the support you need. You are worthy.

Soul Strolls

With 9 weeks of pregnancy left, I am still continuing my soul strolls around my neighbourhood. I’m finding it’s not long before I have to empty my bladder these days so I can’t stray too far from home. But even around the local area there is much beauty to be found.

Watsonia

‘If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.’ – Vincent Van Gogh


Soul Food

I am loving cashew cheese at the moment, but i’m not loving the price! Which is why I plan to have a go at making my own. I found this fermented cashew cheese recipe which I plan to try! If you haven’t tasted Cashew Cheese yet, I highly recommend it, especially on some toasted sourdough with a sprinkle of paprika! Yum! And the best news is, it’s super healthy for your gut – bonus 🙂

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Soul Music

I’d love to share this beautiful song by India Arie titled I Am Light. A timely reminder that whatever we are going through, however we are feeling, at our very core we are love and light. Each day we get to reshape ourselves, to reinvent and recreate our experiences based on this recognition. I hope you tune in for a listen…


On this Soulful Sunday, I wish you a peaceful week ahead. Trust that you are safe and secure, even in your vulnerable self. Be open to receiving the support you need. And remember, your biggest Source of support lies within; connect with it, ask for what you need – and above all else, remember your own strength.

Soul Sisters

A fellow writer who I admire for always writing from the heart and saying it ‘how it is’, is Tanya from The Incurable Dreamer. She has the ability to make me laugh out loud whilst also bringing a heartfelt tear to my eye. One of my favourite posts Tanya has written is A Storm So Perfect , where she embodies her vulnerable self so well. Head on over for a valuable read!

Love Always,

Hayley xx

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Roses and Thorns

Life is full of duality; love – hate; light – dark, peace – war; up – down; good – evil; life – death…

Life is a bed of roses when everything is going smoothly and all we feel is love, peace, harmony and joy. But when life’s contrasts show up, which inevitably they do, they are often met with some resistance.

But the ‘thorns’ of life form a necessary part of our existence. Without them, how would we know and come to appreciate their opposite?

For example, how can we be fully alive without the knowledge that one day we will meet death? How can we feel warmth without having first experienced cold? How can we know the fullness of true love if we’ve yet to meet with heartache and pain?

Instead of viewing life’s contrasts as something ‘bad’ to be avoided, we can begin to appreciate the learning and growth we gain from such moments.

We needn’t LOVE the thorns as such, but we do need to respect them; for every rose in life bares thorns of wisdom🌹

Love always,

Hayley xx

Thank you

I’ll be the first to testify that the more we are grateful for the things we have in life; the more life provides us with things to be grateful for.

So why is gratitude the first thing we let slide the moment the shit hits the fan?

A good friend of mine recently said; “It’s easy to be grateful when all of your ducks are lined up… But if you can look for the good and stay grateful when life is a struggle, THAT’s when the real magic happens.” Wise words 🙏🏻

Today, see the beauty in all situations. Even the ones that are there to test you. Because ultimately, those are the experiences that urge you to grow, to evolve and to expand your horizons.

And that is why I’m choosing to see the beauty in my sadness today…

On this day 13 years ago heaven needed another angel, and decided you were the one Dad..

In your memory, I’d like to reflect on the gifts you blessed me with in hope that I can offer my baby the same unconditional love you bestowed upon me as a little girl.

💫 Bear hugs. I was never too old or too grumpy to receive one of your warm bear hugs. And even if I was, and tried to side step your cuddles – you’d stretch out your arm and reel me in with an anaconda type grip that said: “You’re receiving my love, grumpy or not, now take it!” …I will never deny my son a hug… (Even if he’s being a little sh*t 😝)

💫 Your weirdness. Your humour was unique, unapologetic and had us all in fits of belly laughter! I will teach my son to embrace his weirdness and to never apologise for who he is!

💫 Protection. Your nature was gentle and loving, but MY GOD if anyone ever interfered with our happiness you were FIERCELY protective and would shield us with your strength. I will teach my son to be his own pillar of strength should anyone ever threaten his sense of self.

💫 Humbleness. You faced many adversities during your brief time here, yet you remained humble throughout. Rarely did I hear you complaining or wishing for things to be different… I will teach my son that he is always enough and to count his blessings, even in times of adversity.

Thank you for everything that you taught me Dad 🙏🏻

Loving you always, forgetting you never 🙏🏻💙 xx