When life hands you lemons...

I've been doing some soul searching lately. During our week in Taizé last summer I realised that I was a bit of a wreck, and had been for quite some time. Imre and I were not exactly in a good place at the time, I was frustrated about my (non-existing) work situation, and I felt isolated from my friends. I knew these things, I just never really admitted these things to myself. But spending a week on top of a French hill, talking a lot and spending 15 minutes in silence, three times a day... I was confronted with myself. Big time. I can now say that it has been one of the toughest weeks of my life, but it made me see that I was not able to figure things out on my own. So after we came back I made an appointment to see a therapist. I've been working on untangling the mess inside of me ever since. I'm nowhere near the end, but 2 months in I'm getting at the point where I can sometimes look at my feelings and behaviours from a distance. And boy, can that be confrontational..

I recently came across this quote that totally made me stop everything I was doing and just stare at it (and turn it into a wallpaper for my laptop):

I realised that that's exactly what I was doing. I was allowing myself to be my struggle. And that is one stupid thing to be doing... So I have been (and still am) looking for ways to keep the soul search going, without it controlling my life:

This video on Instagram by Jo Klima was exactly the push I needed to start writing morning pages. I know writing things down is so very good for me, but even though it is on my list of 25 things to do before I turn 25, I just don't write enough. So making myself sit down each morning and write just two pages is such a great way to keep the words flowing. I've been at it for about a week now, and so far I'm loving it. And the idea that I'll probably have a filled journal by the end of the month is awesome :)

I've started doing yoga again. I kind of fell off the exercise bandwagon after my 5k run, and about a week ago I started to really miss doing yoga. I started doing some routines again, and it feels so good! I love how I can just lay out my mat, turn on some YouTube video and go. Lately I've been loving the yoga routines posted by Adriene from Yoga With Adriene.
And as you may or may not know, I've been taking ballroom classes since September. It's something I've been wanting to do for over a decade, but I just never did. These lessons are an early birthday present from Imre, and he could not have given me a better gift. I'm enjoying every minute of every jive, quickstep and tango. 

One simple thing I've not been doing the last couple of weeks is go outside and take a walk. Sure, I've been cycling to and from IKEA, but that doesn't count. I'm always kinda late and therefore rushed (maybe there's some room for improvement there...). So I've started taking 30 minute walks. sometimes I bring my camera, sometimes it's just me and my thoughts. It feels great to get out, breathe in the fresh autumn air and watch nature prepare for winter.

My therapist suggested mindfulness as a way to get my mind to shut up sometimes. Basically mindfulness is all about being right here, right now. Not letting your thoughts and worries take control, but being fully present, focused on what you're doing right now.
I'm doing a course on mindfulness at the moment, and it's a lot harder than I thought it would be. But we're at week 5 of 8, and things are slowly starting to click. One of the things we're doing at the moment is a guided meditation during which you focus your attention at one thing at a time, like your breath, the sounds you are hearing, or the thought passing through your mind. And let me tell you, that is quite the challenge. But! I've been doing this meditation each morning (it's quite the ritual together with the morning pages), and I'm actually getting better at it. I have a long way to go before I would ever consider myself mindful, but we're getting somewhere. And that, right now, is what it's all about.

And you know what? It's working. Not all the time, nowhere near all the time. But I feel like in this mess of tangles I've become, I'm slowly starting to find the real me again, and that is why I started this whole journey.

These four things - write, sweat, breathe and be, are things I would recommend to everyone, feeling like a hot mess or not. No matter where you are in life, I guess it's always a good idea to take care of your body and soul, connect and enjoy the present moment. Right?

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