Transformation Is Often Hard

Transformation is hard
Transformation isn’t always a walk in the park. In fact, it’s often a hike up a rocky cliff – sometimes we stumble and find ourselves stuck in a deep, dark crevice.

Just two days from reaching the finish line of sober October, I woke with a hangover from hell. Immediately, I began to criticise, self-punish and drag myself through the mud: “Failure… Did you actually think you could remain sober? When will you ever learn? Clearly you’re not capable of breaking this repetitive cycle…”

And then I remembered, transformation is about progress, not perfection. As I allowed myself to be held and supported, I thought of the advice I would offer a friend or loved one in the same position: Be gentle on yourself. Too often we speak to ourselves in harsh, reprimanding tones – rejecting a part of ourselves as ‘not good enough’, when in fact, we are perfectly imperfect just the way we are. Transformation takes time.

Today, be gentle on yourself. Embrace the messy moments along with the magical ones, for they all form part of your growth and expansion. Trust that from the darkness, a beautiful butterfly is emerging. The journey may be slow, but it is one worth taking.

The road ahead is clear and free. I give myself permission to move out of the past with gratitude and into a joyous new day.’

– Louise L Hay

In love & light,

Hayley xx

Soulful Sunday #38: Goodbye Bad Habits

bad habits

Welcome to my thirty-seventh 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 hopes and dreams 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

The first day of October, a chance to begin again. For me, the first day of a new month offers opportunity for fresh intentions. In September, my focus was SELF CARE. I felt I made some great progress here; increasing my yoga practice, spending more time in nature and walking daily, setting healthier boundaries and saying ‘no’ to demands on my time, saying ‘yes’ to life. Yet, I noticed there were still parts of my life that remained imbalanced, that no longer supported my self care regime. One of those was the presence of alcohol.

I don’t drink often, but when I do, I wake the next morning feeling drained, depleted and even somewhat depressed. Which is why my focus for October is ABSTINENCE. I will be having a sober October with the hope to remain sober thereafter. At the age of 32, I realise that alcohol no longer serves me. Therefore, I am choosing to end my rocky eighteen year relationship with it. I wish to let go of this old habit of mine that simply does not support me, my health or the health of my relationships.

What are your intentions for this new month? Remember, you can do anything you tune your heart and soul into.

Soul Strolls


The weather has been warming up here in Melbourne, which means more opportunity to get outside! I captured these pretty white flowers whilst out walking with my man last week in Gardeners Creek. I feel blessed that my partner has taken to joining me on my walks, a shared experience I do not take for granted.

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Soul Music

I’d love to share Angel by The Wings by Sia – a beautiful, uplifting track that comes as a timely reminder that ‘you can do anything.’

Soul Food

I have shared this recipe before, but I will share it again as it really has become a staple in my morning routine. One of the best ways our body can feel energised and healthy is through the consumption of more greens, particularly leafy greens such as spinach and kale. My Kiwi and Kale Green Juice has the perfect balance of citrus and greens to leave you feeling vibrant and fresh. Give it a try, it really is delicious.

green juice

Soul Sisters

On this Soulful Sunday, I would like to share Michelle’s post Sunrise Sermon: New Life. Michelle’s post reminds us that if we take care of our vessel, anything is possible. And should we wish to feel more fulfilled, we must nurture our dreams and our souls. Michelle also invites you to join her Community of Trailblazers to empower and support your journey!

Wishing you all an intentional Sunday and first of the month.

In love & light,

Hayley xx

 

A Letter to My Younger Self

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Dear Hayley,

It’s me, Hayley. Your future you. I wanted to write to you because, well, I guess there are some things you don’t know yet that I think may help you along the way. Let’s begin at the start shall we?

See that photo? That’s you on the day you were born, all red faced and new in your Dad’s arms. In years to come, when he is gone (don’t panic – you have nineteen more years together before that happens…), you will look at this photo a lot; at the way his hands, which are almost as big as your body, are holding you tight in case he drops you. You’ll wish you could remember being held as you look longingly at the presence of you both together. Don’t worry – see how Dad is looking down on you even though your eyes are closed tight? Your eyes do open eventually… And when they do, you can see the bigger picture. Although there are many years of feeling bereft, in time, you do heal. So don’t fret little one – he’s with you now, just enjoy the warmth of his embrace.

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This is your first birthday. (Healthy right?) This is pretty much your diet growing up as a kid. In fact, you’ll eat nothing but white stodgy stuff right up until the age of about eighteen. It’s surprising you don’t resemble a loaf of bread really! (And by the way, you go through a really weird phase of eating nothing but instant noodles and meatballs.) But fear not, after much trial and error you finally discover the beauty of fresh ingredients, and by the time you are thirty one, you are eating a diet rich in wholefoods – you’re even eating organic! (I know – madness right?) But I just want you to know that you’ll be ok and that miraculously, you manage to avoid any fillings or cavities despite the copious amounts of fizzy pop you’ll consume far into your late teens. In fact, you haven’t drunk a drop of sugary beverage for the last seven years! Can you believe it? I still don’t know how you manage to survive not drinking a drop of water until you turn eighteen??? But you do. And now you can’t get enough of the stuff!

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This is your first school photo. I don’t know how it became all speckled like that, but it looks as though you have a terrible case of the measles. Behind your smile is a frightened little girl. This is the year you first witnessed Dad have an epileptic fit and it’s made you very fearful. You’re scared of the dark, of sleeping on your own, you still wet the bed and you’re even scared of your soft cuddly toys because you think they come to life at night! You hallucinate quite a bit and have scary dreams too… But I’m here to tell you that everything will be alright. I know it makes you sad when Mum won’t let you sleep in her bed; I know you lie awake all night in terror that something will eat you… But I promise that you won’t get killed by the freaky looking pot doll Mum bought you, and you don’t need to long jump into your bed in case an arm pops out from beneath it to grab your ankles and swallow you up! You are totally safe. And yes, there will be times in your teens, shortly after Dad dies, that you begin to have nightmares again. In fact, you will experience a year of terrible insomnia, but you get through it and, although you are still a light sleeper, you now have a healthy sleep routine. You’re even brave enough to walk to the toilet in the dark! (I won’t lie, your heart does beat a little fast as you do) – but the affirmations you say whilst tip-toeing down the hallway help! I am safe. I am protected. All is well…  And all is well!

Hayley - film (5)

Heyyyyy twenty year old you! Don’t you look fresh? But behind that smile is a sadness so great I can almost feel it rendering me paralysed again now… In fact – here is another shot taken whilst you were off guard, and it reveals the true emptiness behind your eyes and your smile.

Hayley - film (2)

You are numb. You are confused and your heart is heavy. You are also smoking a lot (thank God you’ve stopped that filthy habit) and drinking to numb the pain. Recreational drugs are taking their toll on your relationships and your job. You feel as though life is grim and grey and it is. You have recently lost your gentle giant, and Dad’s absence weighs heavily on your heart. Why pretend you are happy when you are not? It’s ok to feel grief, it’s ok to feel pain – just roll with it, everything is in divine order. I want you to know that things do improve. You have a few more years of losing yourself in drugs and alcohol, and unhealthy relationships. So if I could give you any advice right now, it would be to stop putting on a brave face. Stop worrying that your grief will effect others. This stuffing down of your emotions is causing you to turn to external ‘pleasures’ and false sensory highs. You needn’t numb the feelings. It’s ok to allow them to just be. I know you feel lost, I know you feel lonely and misunderstood, but this, in time, will pass.

hayley-paris

And this? This is me (you) now. (Well – actually that photo was taken last year in Paris) but still! – this is you at thirty one! Not as bad as you thought eh? How could you ever think thirty was old?

So a little of your life now…You are learning to love yourself. In fact, most days you look in the mirror and say, I love you Hayley. And guess what? You actually mean it! Some days it’s harder than others, but deep down you know that at your very core you are love. You have replaced drugs and alcohol with yoga and meditation. You love to spend time in nature (just as you did when you were little.) And you are a teacher too! You love working with children and seeing the world through their eyes. In fact, it has reminded you of the importance of embracing your own inner child and to follow your childhood dreams of becoming an author (just like Roald Dahl! Remember?) You write again and feel so much joy when you do. You have neglected your passion for drawing and sketching – but we can look for an art class here in Melbourne if you like?! (Oh yes – you now live in Australia!) And behind that lens is your best friend and man of six years, Mark.

It’s been a journey of self-discovery, of learning to love and be loved. But do you know what? You finally feel joy again. You have a deep and profound gratitude for life. You’ve discovered your true nature, your authentic self, and with that comes a knowing far greater than ever imagined – a knowledge that you are whole, connected, one – despite being imperfectly you. Dad is in your heart, you are in his, and that, my dear child, will never change.

Love always,

Hayley xx

Losing My (Self)

lost_childhood_

There was once a time when I thought God was just a made up story, like Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny. Of course, there was also a time in my early childhood when I believed in all of the magic of the world; but by the age of eleven, when asked by my peers if I believed in God, I would respond with a firm: ‘No.’ A genuine disbelief? I’m not quite sure … A fear of being ridiculed? Most likely.

It wasn’t uncommon to be picked on for being different in our school. Those who grew up in the tough neighborhoods bullied the ‘posh kids’; the ‘posh kids’ looked down their noses at the ‘rough kids’. And if you came from the council estates like I did, but was raised with manners and respect – you were constantly pulled in both directions, your allegiance questioned at every opportunity. Social boxes became apparent from a very early age, and, although I was aware of the divide, I wasn’t quite sure where I fitted in.

Bullying would take place for all manner of reasons, verbal and physical; if you admitted to still believing in Santa, you were a ‘baby’; if you admitted to believing in God, you were a ‘bible basher’; if you didn’t have nice trainers, you were a ‘scruff’ or a ‘dosser’; if you did have nice trainers, someone would stomp on them with muddy feet and yell ‘Christened!’ (Kind of ironic really.)

As a result, much of my time at school was spent trying to keep a low profile and aligning myself with other kids smart enough to do the same. In doing so, however, it wasn’t long before I lost my sense of identity along with my ebbing belief in magic and miracles. By the time I reached the end of my primary years, the magic carpet had been swiftly pulled out from under my feet and I came crashing down upon the concrete floor of ‘reality’. There began my new life in secondary school, where things only went from bad to worse.

I was smoking by the end of my first year, drinking alcohol by the time I was fourteen and dabbling in recreational drugs by the age of fifteen. With the brief magic of childhood behind me, I took comfort in the false security of my peers. I was totally lost. And despite a continuing nagging that I was straying from all that I loved; books, Roald Dahl, drawing, Disney – I continued to follow the crowd throughout most of my teens.

If I did try to stay home – it wouldn’t be long before they would come knocking at my door, rarely taking ‘no’ for an answer. As an introvert, I had always struggled to say ‘no’ in case I offended someone – and my friends knew I was a push over, so off I’d go against my better judgement, dawning my hoody and trainers and joining them out on the cold, wet streets of Tameside, Manchester.

Mum would constantly tell me I was being led astray and that she didn’t like the person I was becoming. Whilst Mum was frank in her disapproval, she was not so forthcoming with solutions. I would resort to asking Mum to pretend I wasn’t home, but she soon tired of lying and eventually ran out of ideas of where she could pretend I was, especially since they came knocking daily. This would cause Mum and I to argue, her words felt like an attack and our relationship became more and more strained until eventually, those friends became my family and I was sleeping at their house more than my own.

Their parents were usually at the pub until late most nights. Feeling like rejects, we took solace in each others company. Despite the early exposure to the smoking and the drinking and the mayhem; we would make time to laugh, and sing and dance like the children we longed to still be – there was nothing that Spice Girls and Five couldn’t fix. Whilst we had no idea how to live, our bond had grown stronger and bound us together during those lonely days. As different as we appeared to be on the outside, at the core we wanted the same – love, belonging, understanding and connection.

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By the time I was sixteen, my relationship with Mum was fairly beaten – I went to live with my Gran and stayed there for a year before moving to Spain with a friend and his family. All the while I felt separated from the world and my family – disconnected, lost. It never occurred to me that within, was a deep well of unconditional love that was just waiting to be accessed. Never once did I turn to God, to Source, for healing and guidance. I had forgotten myself – my true Self. There I was, wandering through life making unconscious decisions, partying too hard, living recklessly and failing to notice that whispering voice within. Is it any wonder, then, that God sent me a huge wake up call?

Are you able to pin point the moment when you began to feel separated? Disconnected? Have you managed to find connection again? Moreover, what do you do to sustain that feeling of Oneness?

To be continued…  (I promise – there is a light…)

Abstain and enjoy.

Writing 101, Day Five: Be Brief

You stumble upon a random letter. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Brevity is the goal of this task, although “brief” can mean five words or five-hundred words. 

I wandered a little from the brief (no pun intended) – but I hope this has a similar effect.

She wakes, still wearing her jeans, her mouth dry and stale from last night’s alcohol binge. Her vision is blurry. What time is it? What time did I get home? Why do I keep doing this to myself? two-part mono cutout for pix daily tues It feels as though someone is driving an ice truck repeatedly into the back of her head. The room spins and she races to the bathroom, just managing to make it to the toilet before throwing up last night’s cocktail of beverages. As the stench of cheap wine and Vodka attacks her senses, she throws up again, her stomach creasing violently.

Nauseous, she stands and reaches for the door to the bathroom cabinet, wanting to take her toothbrush. She pauses. There is a note stuck to the mirror with chewing gum. Written on the note are Aesop’s words:

Abstain and enjoy.