Grief and Gratitude

This morning, my shower was once again my sanctuary. As the water ran over my tired body, tears also flowed as if they finally had space to be set free. I thought of the people in Nepal whose lives have literally been shaken up and torn apart in a matter of seconds; of the after shocks that must be rippling through their land and their hearts; of the unimaginable pain and fear they must be going through. I inhaled and called upon God and the Angels to help them and then me, so that I didn’t feel so much. But in that same breath, I stopped myself.

‘Why not feel it? Why not feel the pain for a moment, whoever it belongs to?’ I thought. As a sensitive person, I am acutely aware of how important it is to stay in my own energy and not to carry other people’s pain but in this case, I wanted to stay with it. To allow my beating heart that was One with everything to just feel what it felt.

As my mind was flooded with images of the devastation in Nepal, and other places I could not name, I could barely think straight. It was unimaginable, even though it felt like part of me had been transported there. It all happened very quickly but I sent as much love as I could and soon, the pictures altered to remind me of those closer to home. The grief of losing a child, a sister, a partner; those who had lost their hair, their limbs, their money, the life they once knew. It all came rising up. My heart ached for them, and suddenly myself, as my own grief surfaced in the tears. Tears that I could not run to lift my nephew up yesterday when he wanted a hug; for the times that will happen over and over again, for the kind of passionate love I am yet to experience, for the touch I am yet to know, for how it all feels so far away. For the way my teenage years were spent being in pain every day; and how I have to think so much about whether I can travel to London tomorrow to see a friend because I can’t just jump on and off a train or a tube like hundreds of others do. For all the things I have missed out on and those that might always remain a dream. And, and, and…

I began chastising myself for being so self-pitying when I was enjoying a hot shower in a comfy, safe home. I do not have a life-threatening illness, I have not lost a child, nor was I in Nepal. My feelings seemed a little ridiculous at first. But grief is grief. How often do we stand in judgment of ourselves or others rather than remembering how alike we all truly are — how we are all doing the best we can with what we know? And honestly, what I know right now is that it doesn’t serve anyone — least of all ourselves —  to compare anything or to belittle our feelings. They matter. Because we matter.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason. But I also believe that some things may never make sense. I do believe that life is amazing and there is so much to be thankful for but it is also HARD and to deny that is to be a robot. I don’t want to be a robot, I want to be a human. I want to be REAL. I want to be surrounded by others who show me who they are, too. Including their tears. To me, that’s when I get to bear witness to how beautiful and brave they are.

And so, I believe that grief and gratitude are not exclusive. They can walk hand and hand together in our life experience. In fact, I think allowing ourselves to ride the waves of human loss, to break down, to fall apart, to allow ourselves to be cracked open, so to speak, is actually what makes way for a deeper sense of gratitude and faith. It is the reason I do what I do, the reason why I celebrate life as much as I can because I know how painful the flip side can be. It is the reason why some of the people I love most have epic stories of triumph in adversity, because I am drawn to that same fire behind their eyes that says ‘I survived. I now choose to live and I will not waste a moment.’

So whatever you feel, feel it. Give yourself permission to go into that place where you’re mad, sad and heartbroken, even for a few minutes. That is where healing begins, even when we least expect it. Even in the shower on a Sunday morning with the Beatles playing on the radio.

My love and prayers are with you all. Whenever you are in the world.

Anna
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Thirty Three Things I’ve Learned

For the past couple of years, before my birthday, I’ve written what I’ve learned, or at least been more reminded of in my recent journey. So here we are again. Thirty three has been good to me. Many lessons. Many blessings!

My love to you all.
Anna

xoxox

1) All of us chose the perfect body for our purpose. Including me.

2) That doesn’t mean I’m totally OK with not being able to run and jump around sometimes. And that’s OK, too.

3) I have a book in me. I have several books in me.

4) And they will be shared and supported in perfect timing.

5) When I hear someone’s voice I hear who they are.

6) The Angels never cease to amaze me.

7) People are far more interested in whether you’re willing to truly listen to them than what qualifications you have.

8) Sweetness is sexy.

9) So is sensitivity.

10) Beautiful friendships with open-hearted people can form very quickly.

11) I rarely see some of the most important people in my life and will never complain about technology for being the reason I can communicate with them daily.

12) I absolutely know what true love is because of my friendships. But I’m equally impatient to share it with someone who is more than a friend.

13) Some of the things that terrify people come easily to me.

14) But I am still scared of driving and won’t learn. If you knew my sense of direction and spatial awareness, you’d understand why.

15) I am so not a multi-tasker but that doesn’t mean I can’t do a lot.

16) Life is confusing. And very clear. All at the same time.

17) I find it difficult to resist bread if it’s put in front of me.

18) I always want to resist exercise but am always grateful when I actually do it.

19) I do not like green smoothies or green tea, no matter how much I try them.

20) Whatever I charge for my services, there will always be those who disagree. My value is up to me.

21) A sense of humour is essential.

22) Never assume people know how you feel. If you want them to know, tell them.

23) I am a very emotional person but I am not someone who can cry and still manage to look or sound pretty. If I cry, it’s rarely a tear or two.

24) I need my own space more than I thought.

25) I am both more silly and more shy than most people think.

26) Some days I listen to a song over and over again and it makes me feel better.

27) Music changes people’s lives. Never underestimate it.

28) Or kindness. It costs nothing but could mean everything.

29) We live and die when we are meant to. Even if it makes no sense.

30) Worrying never helps anything.

31) Praying for what you want, as if it’s already here, does.

32) My favourite moments in life are never grand but a little pampering is definitely good for my soul. They don’t call me the Queen for nothing!

33) We are so much more than our circumstances and rising above them is a conscious choice at every moment.

Thank You, Pain

Most of you know by now that I truly believe in the power of gratitude as a conscious, daily practise. For me, it is the quickest way to shift my mood, to change my life – to create miracles!

However, I know that while it is easy to say THANK YOU for joy, peace and excitement, what about the rest? Can we be thankful for the less obvious good? Even if it broke our heart…open? We needn’t deny our hurt and disappointment in the process but in my experience, it is often the most challenging moments that reveal the true strength and power of our Spirit, and remind us of who and what truly matters.

For those reasons alone, I find myself grateful and forgiving, not just today but many times over.  It is, as I said, a daily practise for me and not always easy to remember.

The following words flowed through me a couple of years ago and though it was written to express my own feelings, I am sharing it with you now because it’s is essentially about this very topic – about focusing on my huge blessings in disguise  –  and you may relate to it, too.

THANK YOU for being here and reading about life and love as I know it (now)!

Anna

THANKFUL

I am thankful for the words that hurt me,
and open a wound to bleed.
I am thankful for the tears I cry,
and how they set me free.
I am thankful for eyes that show me,
and the truth I begin to see.
I am thankful for the ways I love
and the heart I wear upon my sleeve.

I am thankful for the scars that mark me
and remind me I am whole
I am thankful for my heavy metal
never recognized as gold
I am thankful for every story
and the lies both bought and sold
I am thankful for the time that wasn’t
and those that couldn’t ever know

I am thankful for the ties that break me
and prove to me I’m strong
I am thankful for the chance to choose again
when the rest is all but gone
I am thankful for all the bruises
that breathe life into my song
I am thankful for the ways I love
and for the me I can become…

© Anna Taylor 2012

 

Your Sensitivity

Hello lovely people,

These words flowed through me this morning and I wanted to share them with you as my first blog in a while!

Your Sensitivity

Never let your sensitivity stop you. Let it become your super power.
Never let your sensitivity stress you. Let it be felt as the strength within you.
Never let your sensitivity silence you. Let it be heard in your song and your story.
Never let your sensitivity scare you. Let it be known as your sacred gift.
Never let your sensitivity separate you. Let it be felt as the sexiest thing about you.
Never let your sensitivity shrink you. Let it be reason to shine in all your glory.

With much love,

Anna

©Anna Taylor, 2013

This Part Of Me

This Part Of Me

There’s this part of me, part of me that I did my best to avoid well into my twenties, only catching glimpses of it on a day when I had enough energy to take a trip, or to watch a movie, or even just to get dressed into something nicer than the comfiest clothes I could find. ‘Avoid’ is probably the wrong word. I just couldn’t feel it at all. Yes, I am a girlie girl – I love make up and clothes and pretty things. But when you’re fighting to get through the day, to muster up enough will to do the simplest tasks, all of the frills are rarely given a chance. Perhaps my circumstances were good enough reason back then. I was hardly at school, or around my peers and my social life was such that dinner out with a friend or two was a major event, especially when that alone was likely to leave me needing hours of rest to recover from the fun. How could I go out and carve a life for myself in the state I was in? However, as my health improved and I was more able to live the things loved, rather than just imagine them in my head, I started to discover this energy within me, this fire, this connection to my body, other than pain, that I had barely touched on before. I remember once, receiving a very quiet but clearly Divine message that ‘passion breeds passion’, and I soon realized what it meant. As I immersed myself in creativity and all that I was passionate about, life began mirroring these passionate experiences back to me – it was like a switch had been turned on! For the first time, I actually felt something more electric than the compassionate love I had always felt for everyone around me. It’s true that I can love anyone given half the chance, and those I am more connected to than usual, really do get all of me. Or almost. Because there’s this part of me, a part of me that most rarely see. The difference now is, I cannot avoid it anymore. It’s there all the time, longing to be seen. I have asked myself over and over why I kept it neatly hidden away for so long; there’s a very good argument to say, that it’s because I’m waiting for the ‘best’; that I never had the chance to fall in love growing up, so why waste a moment on messing around with ‘maybes’? I’ll just bide my time; that dreams do come true and I am NOT settling for anything less than I deserve. But if I was entirely honest, that isn’t the whole story and I think my health challenges only magnified the reasons why the true, romantic love I desire has eluded me so far. It’s easy for me to see, too, in the big scheme of things, beyond all the physical diagnosis, that my dear, teenage body was so tired of it’s disconnection with the rest of me, that it shut down. Because, in the last few years, when I’ve felt alive and well with sensuality, I realize how quickly my mind is dragged into the dark corners that tell me this is not a body I could share with anyone; that even if a man did initially feel a pull towards me, they would soon see all my flaws and incapabilities and kindly but quickly gravitate towards someone else – someone who could give them things I never can; how the kind of beautiful, sexy, strong, loving man I desire would be here by now if he was going to show up… and who the heck am I for wanting so much, anyway? Who would want ME, anyway? Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. Believe me. Cue the unavailable men. Or the unrequited attraction in either direction – all a result of my buying into the heaviness that I couldn’t possibly carry about anyone on the planet… except myself. Which is why I am sharing this with you now, and why at this point in my life, I want to give the huge, limiting lies a voice so I can truly let them GO. And I know I’m not the only one. I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons we give ourselves to try and justify why we are unworthy of what we truly desire, especially when it comes to love and romance, because for the majority of us, it’s what we want most in the world, right? But this part of me, this passionate woman in her so-called ‘prime’ –  is READY. I am no longer going to deny who I am or what I want, for fear of it being unattainable to me. I’m going to fully acknowledge the sexual, sensual part of me as being as important as any other, and claim my belief in deep, mutual attraction and love not just in a general sense, not just in my favourite movie or for my best friend, but for myself. For the ‘us’ I want to create. And I’m going to let it take me wherever it needs to and be open to whatever happens, because I know that the only way I can have what and who is right for me is to be utterly truthful in the first place. I’m also going to remember that when I am frustrated by the perception others have of me, (‘angelic and sweet’ is lovely but so overused in my world!) that they simply serve as a reminder to be ALL of who I am and not just what is expected of me. So here I am: feeling the energy of my Beloved, and excited to trust in the intensity that tells me he is near! And if this message speaks to you in any way, please do join me in choosing to live fully by making a promise to yourself to LOVE – not only in the ways you’ve been used to, or the ways that feel most comfortable to you, but in every way! For me, at least, there seems no other choice in this moment, which is terrifying yet incredibly liberating! Who would want ME? Someone rare, perhaps, but someone… From my heart and all of me, Anna

Do You Feel Behind?

It feels like AGES since I last posted a message here – and that’s probably because it is! There are no excuses except that I’ve had a lot to juggle and sometimes there are things that get left behind.

The only thing with that is, I felt bad about not writing and especially so when I’ve found myself needing to rest because I’ve felt like I ‘should’ be doing something. Like writing to you!

However, as I am reminded of the words I’ve shared with you in a previous post ‘Would I say that to my best friend?’  I realize the answer – no, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be so harsh with anyone needing to take a break. So instead, I have just had to let it be, knowing that my blog and those who read it would still be here when I had the time and the inspiration to post. And now I do!

I actually spent most of my young life feeling like I needed to ‘play catch up’. From as far back as I can remember, I worked hard to do the things that my friends and family had done before me – crawling, walking, playing sports, going out, working, earning money – they were all things I did later than usual and nothing ever felt good enough because there was always something MORE to do to be like everyone else. Nobody ever actually said that but I never felt particularly acknowledged for what I WAS doing and so in my head I was constantly battling with the need to ‘do better’.

Of course, I now understand that there is always more to do. Life is full of opportunities. However, that doesn’t mean I, or any of us,  have to compare where we are with others and then decide that it isn’t enough, neither do we have to spend our time focused on what we haven’t done yet!

The Angels recently spoke to me and said:

‘You have not missed out, you have not been left behind and there is nothing you need to do to catch up. Where you are right now is perfect. Be fully present and enjoy the gift that is this moment.’

That’s the thing. We ARE exactly where we need to be. Even when things feel stuck. Actually, especially when things feel stuck! We’ve just finished a Mercury retrograde (where the planet seemingly goes backwards) which is a period of time that allows us all to reflect, re-evaluate, release, to re-visit. Any of those sound familar? The intensity is not always easy and I’m breathing a sigh of relief that we can begin to feel movement again too, but just like the ebb and flow of the tide we need those quiet, reflective times so that the next steps forward again can be even more wonderful! I have found myself needing to be very still this past week and while my ego likes to argue with that, I also trust that is what I need so I’ve done my best to honour that and just BE.

So whatever you haven’t done, whatever isn’t happening, whatever you feel behind with, RELAX! Let go of guilt and of any ‘should’ or ‘have to’ because they will only weigh you down and rob you of the gift of where you are which is completely and utterly Divine.

And you know what? When you remember that everything flows anyway. Promise. 😉

Much love and compassion to you,

Anna

That’s What Friends Are For

It’s no coincidence that the dear friend I talked to on the phone today, also just posted a blog about friendship. When I called, I hadn’t heard her voice for several months but as soon as we began talking it was as if any time between our conversations or miles between our homes vanished. And despite the fact that we’d talked over an hour, it was as if we’d only just begun to catch up!

On the other hand, our honesty meant we got right to the core of what had been happening in our lives. I know there were times when we both felt vulnerable, but that’s what made it beautiful, too, because we were sharing our hearts – the painful, inexplainable, changeable, enjoyable experience of life without edits and yet, without having to share every detail of our stories or what we felt, we just knew.

It got me thinking about close friendship. That it’s when we allow ourselves to be open – hearted, we get the most in return. Not out of expectation but because that’s just how life works, how acceptance of ourselves and eachother works. We may not have walked the same path but to be able to walk in the shoes of those we love for a moment and truly say ‘I hear you’ is such a gift. Even in words unspoken. Especially in words unspoken.

It is a rare treasure to find such a safe place to BE but a place I feel blessed to share with a handful of wonderful people and is perhaps why it can come as a shock or disappointment to be met with an occassional, less than supportive experience from others I wanted to trust as much. Having said that, I am aware that those who push my buttons actually give me the opportunity to look in the mirror and face the parts of myself that are not so healthy. So while they may never cheer me on in the same way my best friends do, my uncomfortableness gives me the impetus to make changes I’ve been tip-toeing around, and reminds me of the abundance of love I share with the true friends who are there for me no matter what!

No man (or woman!) is an island. We’re in this together! So if you are wishing for closer friendships or new ones to share your life with, reach out and share your heart! Our pain may have us believe it’s safer to remain hidden but the world is full of kindness if we choose to see it that way. And then instead of focusing on the risk it may take to open up, we see that there is far greater risk in the doing the opposite.

As Leo Buscaglia said:

To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” 

Will you take a risk with me?

Much love to you, to Laura who inspired this post, and my amazing friends who see my best and worst but love me anyway… you know who you are!!

Anna xxx

Thirty One Things I’ve Learned

As my 32nd birthday approaches, I felt inspired to list 31 things I’ve learned or been reminded of this year. I must admit to being a little surprised by some of what I wrote, but not at all surprised that I could’ve written another 31, too!

As always, remember, this is life as I see it and I encourage you to write your own — no matter how old you are next birthday! 🙂

 

31 Things I’ve Learned 

1) Life is mysterious. There may well be reasons for everything but some are more obvious than others. Do not go searching for one you may never find. It’ll find you if it needs to.
2) Do not assume you want someone else’s life. You don’t know what it’s like or how they feel. However great it looks.
3) Time is a great healer. Most of the time.
4) Chocolate is easy to avoid, as long as it’s not in the house!
5) There is no rainy season in England. It just rains when it wants.
6) Never underestimate the value of a kind word. It can change someone’s day or life.
7) Some people do not like to see you happy. Some people do not like to see you anything other than happy. Take note.
8) Some people are equally available to you in celebration and devastation. Take note.
9) The Notebook remains the best (romantic) movie ever.
10) What was once terrifying can become extremely liberating.
11) Do not make travel plans without double checking, just to save money on flights. You’ll end up paying more to change them anyway!
12) A few minutes spent laughing with a best friend can make almost anything seem better.
13) Being spiritual is about being REAL. Nothing more. Nothing less.
14) Pay attention to ‘red flags’. They pop up for a reason.
15) No day is complete without music.
16) Loving someone does not mean you have to put up with cr*p. Love yourself enough to know when it’s time to step back.
17) Goodbyes are hard but sometimes very necessary if you want to say hello to peace.
18) No matter who you are or what you do, you are not responsible for the choices others make.
19) Love and change are the only two certainties in life. So learn to live with uncertainty.
20) Being sensible is overrated. So is multi-tasking.
21) Being passionate is far too underrated. So is sunshine.
22) Don’t try to prove anything to anyone. Just live your life and teach by example.
23) When listening to the voice in your head, ask yourself ‘Would I say that to a friend?’ It does wonders for self-kindness.
24) Both praise and criticism are opinions. Do not base your worth upon either.
25) You cannot choose who you love but you can choose what you do about it.
26) Acceptance does not mean giving up on wanting more. It just means letting go of the struggle for it.
27) The world is fascinated by wizards and sex. Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Grey prove that!
28) Denial only serves in giving more power to that which you are denying. The truth will set you free!
29) Disability and ability are each in the eyes of the beholder. Just as beauty is.
30) Your heart dreams because your soul wants to bring those dreams alive. Believe it!
31) Life is precious. Sometimes it takes pain to remind us of that. Sometimes it becomes obvious in the best, magical kind of ways.
Much love,
Anna xxx

Procrastinating, anyone?

Yes, that’s right – I’ve been doing one of two things very frequently this week. 1) Nothing or 2) Anything to avoid what I’m actually meant to be doing. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that Mercury finished it’s retrograde period a couple of days ago and we’re still in it’s ‘shadow’ before it moves direct once again, or if even that is an excuse for me not to ‘GET A MOVE ON!’ but the last few days have felt ever so sluggish to me. However, I still feel that nagging voice in the back of my head, reminding me that I have several things I really, really need to get done!

Just a few days ago I was feeling deflated and frustrated by ‘things not happening’ and yet, since I’ve had a welcome opportunity come my way, I am the one hesitating about the good I have been given or wondering if I am capable of doing what has been offered! The irony is not lost on me. And it reminds me that I am the only one getting in my own way of what I truly want.

How often do we ask for something and put the brakes on at the same time? How often do we get something and then push it away? How often to do we say ‘If I could just have (fill in the blank) then it would all be great!’ and then blind ourselves to the blessings right in front of us? Whether it be the relationship we want, a career boost, more money. It’s all one and the same. Because while our heart gets ever so excited at the idea, our fear creeps in and says ‘Hey, can I REALLY have what I want?’ ‘Do I really deserve it?’ ‘Who am I to be asking for that?’ And even if none of those feel applicable, a well-disguised whisper  remains: ‘Oh my goodness, my life will change! Is that OK?’ 

While we’re quick to harp on about our fear of failure, it strikes me that we are often just as daunted by the fact that we truly could have a life beyond our wildest dreams. And while I do so believe that anything is possible and have seen this in my own life many times, I am very aware that in the dawdling, non-committal effort with my to-do list, I am delaying the inevitable. The inevitable TRUTH that I, like all of us, have so much to give, to share, to live and I want to make the most of my time here on the planet! I absolutely know that our purpose here is about so much more than what we do (I was almost housebound with illness through my teens) but I also know that if we are being all that we are, that we very often cannot help but do!

In 2012, we are fortunate to have multitude of ways to express ourselves and our gifts and when we say YES to everything we are, opportunities like the one I have been given this week, are easily shown to us. We just need to get out of our own way and moooooove, because if we wait until we are ‘completely ready’ then, well, I guess we’ll be waiting a long time, eh?

In the words of the very wise, Sheldon Kopp (and you can join me in saying this, if you like):

“I’ve never began any important venture for which I felt adequate prepared”

Now I’ve got that off my chest and my delay tactics in check, I better get going. Radio show tonight and so much to be grateful for!

I’ll write again soon!

Much love and compassion my fellow procrastinators!

Anna

The Beginning of Blogging

Hello Friends,

It’s slightly strange for me to be writing a blog because I’ve never been quite sure of what I’d actually do if I had one… and I’m still not! But for some reason, it feels right to begin now and, as a friend pointed out, I’m very rarely short of something to say! So here I go…

Expect the unexpected’ is my thought for today, because once again I have been reminded of just how important that is – at least for me. How often do we try to control the outcome of a situation or think that something has gone ‘wrong’ because it didn’t quite turn out as we’d hoped? I’ve realized that it’s when we think we know, we get shown that we have no idea! And we may as well let ‘whatever it is’ be ‘whatever it is’. Because ‘whatever it is’, more often than not, works out in ways we could not imagine at the time. Right?

Perhaps that’s the case with this blog, too. And I must say, that though it’s title (like my radio show) is Anna and the Angels, because they are indeed a huge part of my life, I am a human being – surprise, surprise! So while what I post may at times be wise and profound, it may also be far from it! But I do promise you this: what I share will always come from the very real, emotional, often playful, unashamedly wonky places in my heart, giving you a glimpse into life and love as I know it… then.

I look forward to sharing more with you!

Much love,

Anna xxx