Take A Picture

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84e2fe7f-4a56-4acc-a517-f19b12b53042It’s hard to see growth when there’s no tangible evidence. You can easily begin to think badly of yourself and how much you haven’t done and of all the things you have not accomplished.

There’s a great way to address that, document it.
I’m about to tell you a story, that might sound random, but follow it for a moment.

At the beginning of 2018 my acne flared up terribly. I had just finished 3 chemical peels back to back, in a bid to clear up acne scarring, believing that as I approached my 30s everything would settle down. Not my skin and not my face. Rather than reveal new skin, my acne returned with a vengeance. My skin was not happy with the peels or me and it showed. I felt defeated again. Who wants to be dealing with acne at any age never mind at 30!

Up until that point, there existed NO pictures of my bare face. Not one. Not one since I was 17. Not on my personal phone, not even in a place where’d it be hidden, where only I would be privy to it. Not even after 2 rounds of roaccutane (which significantly improved my skin temporarily), numerous facials, topical treatments and so on. Never. I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want proof of it anywhere, thinking that if I didn’t have to see it, it’ll piss off and never return somehow.  It can’t exist if I do not acknowledge it right? Well it didn’t piss off and it did exist.

For years I hated pictures and was always running from a camera and deleting pictures from other people phones. Even today, I’m still not all that enthusiastic about it, however I am MUCH better than I used to be.

Anyway, I’m not sure what possessed me this time around, but I decided I would take pictures of my bare skin in June 2018. It was bad, really bad.

No one ever believes how problematic and scarred my skin was, because I was an expert at disguising most of it. Those with acne prone skin usually are. Now I’d have proof to show people when they’d say ‘you’re skin isn’t bad’, erm yes it was, let’s call a spade a spade.
Truthfully though, I had no intentions of showing anyone and still don’t. I did however, want to see the changes that might happen.

I took action to repair my skin for the umpteenth time and gradually it improved, but I wanted more. I wanted my blemish free taunt skin that I had pre-acne, that was until I looked at the picture I took a year ago. I was astounded by the difference.

I immediately felt immense gratitude for how far I’d come and the progress I had made. I couldn’t actually believe this was what it used to look like. I looked in the mirror again and appreciated how much had changed.

Being able to look back and see the difference between then and now instantly shifted my perspective on how I saw things and increased my confidence. I give myself a little bit more love and a pat on the back for not giving up.

You should consider doing the same. Write down your feelings or take pictures of what you’re doing/working on now, and if you feel compelled to regarding that particular thing, continue to do so. Over time, you will notice the leaps and bounds that you will have made, if only you will not give up and keep going.

xo

P.s Perhaps I’ll share pictures another time, when I am ready and or feeling much much braver lol.

Something’s Afoot.

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I don’t know how its been for you (I hope great), but the first 6 months of this year for myself and many others that I know, was rough, still is.

From deaths, loss of jobs, work issues, financial hardship, strained relationships, the list goes on. It’s been too strange, too common, too frequent, too harsh. I started to think, is this a universal shift for a specific set of people? I wanted out. Knowing others were having a hard time too, did not alleviate the weight of struggle- misery in fact does not always love company.

Having said that, I believe another transition is upon us. A glow up of sorts. Something better than what was. Ms O(prah) said what happens to you is for you and that shift in perspective can empower you to think and act differently. Attempting to ignore or rush it, will not make things change quicker, let it breathe

As cliche as this is about to sound I wouldn’t be who I am When I think about some of the difficult times I’ve had, it always made me better, always. A better communicator, better skilled, more compassionate, more loving, more understanding, more forgiving, disciplined, smarter and much more. Did it feel like all these things at the time? Um **** no, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that I have always gained more and become larger than before.

Let the growing pains work for you by allowing it the space to evolve and for you evolve with it, because what is coming is better than what is gone.

Irene xo

 

Trust the Process

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My three biggest takeaways so far for 2019 are patience, trust and humility. I have had to exercise these qualities in various amounts, sometimes all at the same time. It is testing, but growing.
Growing. I wonder if people understood what it meant, whether they’d still want to grow? We say it all the time, “I want to continuously grow and develop”, the reality of that is a lot different to those few words. It can be painful, especially if you resist the change.
If you are in that transition period, here are some things that can make the growing pains easier on you:
DON’T: 
  1. Resist the change. Forcing it to go your way is only going to cause you more strife. Relax.
  2. Do not constantly repeat your problems to anyone within earshot. You only exacerbate the situation and deepen the attachment, which tends to be negative.

DO:

  1. Do be proactive. Learn something new, invest in yourself. Standing still will only cause you ponder over what’s happening and if you’re an over thinker you’ll simply make it worse.
  2. Let go of the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s, it’s regressive.
  3. Go with the flow.
  4. Keep going, however you know how. It will improve.
  5. Exercise patience. Wanting it to be over and doing everything in your might to make it so, will not make it so. Can you plant a seed today and it bear fruit tomorrow?It has to take its natural course, whatever ‘it’ is.
  6. For the love of God, learn the lesson (lol). This one was for me, but still, I thought it might be useful for you too.

Xo

Seasons

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The weather in London has been amazing! But if you’re from here, you know all too well how fleeting it is, and how eager we all are to enjoy it whilst it’s here.

Seasons. We might not like them but we need them, whether we recognise it or not. Everything has its time. A time to work and a time to relax.

What are you working towards? And is it working for you? Because if not, maybe it’s time for you take a step back and assess what season you’re in.

When we resist what is happening for us, we cause further pain and strife to ourselves.

There is however another option, to stop resisting, relax and get into the flow of your season. I know, it’s difficult to relax when you have these dreams that you need to make happen, which are obviously not going to come on their own, right? Well, not entirely. Sure you have to do something, but notice how things come to you much faster when you’re relaxed, and the urgency isn’t there? You might have even forgotten about the thing itself and suddenly it appears. This is what will happen once you choose to accept versus resist.

I know it’s annoying when things aren’t working how you want it to, but what’s even more frustrating, is trying to force something to happen that is unripe.

If there is something you have been trying too hard at, choose today to relax. Take a deep breath, pull back and then get in tune with the vibration of your life. Pay attention to the things that are happening/working and flow with that, and you’ll soon find that the others things will begin to work itself out.

Xo

Magic? No, Work.

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‘The magic you’re looking for is in the work you are avoiding’. I wish I could refute this statement with all of my might but I can’t.

As a professional work avoider, I know how much (temporary) enjoyment I get from skiving off. That is until the chickens come home to roost.

I also know that doing the work is the actual key to unlocking rewards. And there’s no other way around it.

Usually that piece of work that I avoid becomes easy once I start doing it, then I’m bemused because ‘what was the big deal?, why was I avoiding this?’.

I’d had been procrastinating on writing a business plan for my next venture. When I did get around to it, I realised I had already completed a large portion of it on a previous occasion (I must have been delirious whilst doing it). Oh. So I can do it then.

With the new week upon us, what work have you been running away from? Run towards it. Grab it by the horns and make it your bitc submit to you. You already have what it takes, use it. Even if you don’t know how, start with what you know and things will begin to unfold.

I’m learning that with what you want, you can’t be afraid to work and sometimes work hard, as it is the very thing that will call forth your desires.

Xo

Nothing Lasts Forever

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Nothing lasts forever and that’s not a bad thing.

I’m in this weird I-don’t-really-know-wtf is happening phase of life. You know the one, the one where things refuse to go the way you want it to and you can’t make sense of it.

Thankfully this won’t be a forever thing. Like the good book says ‘this too shall pass’ and I am clinging to those words fiercely. And you should too.

Knowing that ‘life comes at you fast’ is why I do my best to relish the great things I experience and to find the good things during hard times.

To savour the great times here are a few things I do:

1. Be present. Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice the colours, what you see, smell, who you’re with, where you are. Use all of your senses to interact and connect with the moment.

2. Be thankful. I make seemingly small moments bigger by being grateful for the things I am able to do. I take just a few seconds to be thankful for what I’m experiencing. Things like withdrawing money, buying food, paying a bill, getting my nails done, looking at my family, using my phone. You get my drift. And in doing these things, I notice what I feel about being able to do these things and remember it.

3. Give. Whatever you are able to do no matter how small or big for another person or cause, do it. It does not have to be the obvious things like money, it could be time, encouragement, fixing something, anything you’re led to. I firmly believe that irrespective of your state there’s always something you can do.

To elevate your spirit during difficult times:

Do your best to keep doing the above.

1. With being present, look at the things you typically take for granted and are easily overlooked. Things you always have and do not struggle for and cherish it that much more.

2. Do more of the things you enjoying doing. It could be a hobby or improving a skill you have or even learning a new one. I started cooking more which I hardly did. I’ve made some meals I haven’t made in almost 5 years and I feel much better for it. The idea is to not place so much focus & mental energy on what isn’t working out as doing that only exacerbates the situation in your mind. It’s especially important in cases where it is out of your hands.

3. Meditate everyday. Make time to be quiet and still and…talk to yourself out loud (not loudly). If you believe in a higher power, talk to them instead. You can start with 5 minutes a day and use your phone to set an alarm for this session. I currently don’t use music but when I do it’s either rain sounds or spa music, however silence is my preference. With the busyness of life, having ‘you’ time to reflect and create is essential to being able to function well. Might sound unusual but it actually can be therapeutic to be your own counsellor. I always feel refreshed afterwards.

Hope this helps.

Xo

Through Thick and Thin

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*Deeply exhales*

I was rebelling. I didn’t want to write on here anymore, it didn’t make sense to and the purpose of it all had significantly dwindled. Who’s reading anyway? (Says my ego).

But, it’s 5am in the morning and I’m meditating with rain music and something pushed me to read my old posts and as usual my own words minister to me. I connect with them because, well they are mine, and in that moment I remember why I wrote, to connect, with people publicly and privately. Isn’t that a worthy enough reason?

I guess what I’m saying is hi. That’s it. Just hi.

P.s I’m still in my feelings and I’d hate to have to be inauthentic.

A Blessing or a Curse?

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facetune_08-02-2019-18-32-36-1It’s been a little quiet over here and I’m starting to think that I’m talking to myself and I don’t know how to feel about that. Having said that, I am choosing to believe that I am talking to millions of you. Yes you heard, millions of you.

Last week was rough for many people myself included. All sorts of weird and painful things were happening, but if you’re reading this it’s not too late to turn things around.

It’s a new week and whatever happened last week is now in the past and no longer happening, so what would you like to do next? You can choose to hold onto it OR let go and keep sowing great things now for your future.

One way to turn things around instantly, which you can do right away, is to shift your perception on your reality.

Can it feel fake at first? Yup, but with persistence it will feel normal and this will alter your reality.

For example, many people see paying bills as a chore and a pain instead of gift that affords them the lifestyle they live. Rather than bemoan it, say thank you every time you pay an expense, because you’re effectively being grateful for the things you get to experience everyday that once upon a time was but a dream. You remember what it felt like to not have the money to pay that bill and you had to ask someone for it, well now you don’t have to. That’s a blessing.

Shifting your focus onto what is good about a situation will always bear better fruit than exacerbating an already negative situation.

Pick one thing you want to feel different about and change the story you’ve made about it. Your mind is something you can control and that’s a super power. Use it wisely, be intentional for your good and that of others.

Speaking of which: you will have a great week, receive wonderful news and enjoy being alive with your loved ones 🙂

Xo

I Could, I Should, I Might?

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cc5a9b14-ac0b-48cd-87a3-7f751557ba9eI have been doing it so wrong for the past year and I knew better.

Isn’t that the worst? When you know better yet you’re not doing better and for whatever reason you can’t figure it out.

I have had a bunch of things that I wanted to achieve and acquire over the past couple of years which technically isn’t a problem. The distinction here is that I had no clarity on any of it. I would umm and ahh over everything, and I do mean everything.

I couldn’t decide if I was coming or going. Do I want to live in London or Manchester? Do I want to travel to a different country and work there or stay here? Do I want to buy a house or rent one? Do I want live in an apartment or a semi detached house? Do I want this type of job or to not work in this field at all? Do I want to be in a relationship or not? And this conversation continued in almost every area of my life. It stayed that way up until recently when I had a durh or as Oprah would say an ‘aha’ moment.

No wonder I had been stressed out and felt utterly unaccomplished, I had no idea what I truly wanted. I flip flopped out of fear of making a decision that would cost me. I didn’t want to unduly suffer again for a terrible choice I made, but guess what that meant? I didn’t do anything.

I had no clear sense of direction and therefore could not confidently take action towards anything, and that ultimately resulted in little to no result.

The lesson here is if you’re in a period of confusion and not knowing what way to go, just pick one. We spend a lot of time trying to avoid past mistakes but sometimes that leads to inaction and frustration, not to mention wasted energy.

The point of living is to live and that cannot happen if you’re second guessing everything. The only thing happening by doing that is building fear muscles and we certainly don’t want that.

Get clear on what you want and stick to it. It’s almost impossible to move forward without having an idea of what it is you want, how do you expect the universe to help you out when you keep giving her mixed signals?

Take a chance today and make a choice. Even if it doesn’t work out how you imagined, you still would have learned something you didn’t know before and that believe it or not is progression.

Xo

Personal Enemy No 1…You.

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Self-sabotage. What a bitch.

We’ve all done/do it and probably have experienced how difficult it is to unearth the habits that cause you to trip up and repeat stifling behaviours. Truthfully, it’s a scary thing to change your ways, as doing so requires you to push past who you currently are to be someone you have very little experience being.

It’s much much easier to remain as you are…yet you still feel so uncomfortable. Your desires niggle at you, willing you to get out of your comfort zone and do the work necessary to make your dreams materialise, but you’re scared shitless and feel like an imposter, ‘Who am I to have such audacious desires?’.

You might even make attempts to do the work, but you’re suddenly distracted, matter of fact you’re always “distracted”. You’ve become adept at finding excuses to not really show up, ‘It won’t work because so and so’. You want to leave it, you even convince yourself that you’re content to, but again, your dreams are persistent and won’t let you rest, it simply won’t allow you to just move on.

I get it. Changing is hard and real long lasting change takes time, effort and most importantly patience.

I do believe there’s a time and place for radical action but this is not one of them. Here requires a delicate approach. Below are 3 tips to help you help yourself.

1. Recognise the habits and thought patterns that keep you stagnant. One of mine is ‘There’s no point, I won’t get it.’ And guess what? It’s self-fulfilling, because automatically I won’t do the things required to get it. Side note: I had an interview today and got outside the building, only to come up with reasons why I didn’t want to go in. Thankfully, I had enough sense to call a friend who gave me something to think about. I went. I just needed a little push.

2. Pick one thing to alter and take a step towards it. I recently did a 24 hour ‘be positive’ challenge and I realised that as “positive” as I considered myself to be, I had A LOT of negative chatter going on subconsciously (lots more work to do).

3. Do the thing your gut has been begging you to do. It’s your biggest cheerleader. Refrain from constantly looking outside of yourself for affirmation. I truly believe that deep down every individual knows what’s best for them, they simply don’t trust themselves enough.

Take a chance on yourself, what is the worst that could happen? Growth- and that’s whether you succeed or don’t.

Xo