Be Your Own Guru
Survival Mode – Part 1
I cringed typing that…’my awakening’. It sounds so mystical and woo woo. But it really is the best way to describe my experience. My early years weren’t all doom and gloom, but there were abusive periods. And I was forced to find ways to protect myself. I lived alone from 17, working to pay my bills while I studied.
I managed to stay afloat and before I knew it, I’d completed my BA Hons in Business Management, I was swept up in a young romance and had started a great career in London. Life was good from an outside perspective, but I felt lost.
At the tender age of 23, I discovered I was pregnant and my life was turned upside down in the best way. I was fascinated, terrified and in love with the life that was growing inside of me. Everything changed – I would eat so carefully, play music to my tummy and even hold my breath if I walked past car fumes.
I devoured every resource I could find and decided that I wanted a natural birth. Although the medical team around me had different idea with me being only 1.49 metres (4 ft 11) tall, with a size 3 shoe. They stuck a big red sticker on my medical notes, saying I’d probably need a caesarean.
Still, I remained hopeful. I went to all the classes, learned the breathing techniques and was told that first-time mums waste everyone’s time by arriving at the hospital too early during labour!
The Initiation – Part 2
Then, one day before my due date, I felt what I believed to be early signs of labour. I took a tram to my routine appointment and was told that I had a few days to go. So, I obediently got back onto the tram, waddled home and made dinner, feeling all the while that these ‘practice contractions’ were bloody strong.
I had a bath, shaved my legs and tried to settle down to eat my meal… but every few minutes I had to jump up and ride out the tensing of my belly. Something was happening, but I was so conscious of being a time-waster that I tried to keep calm until my husband forced me into the car. We arrived at the delivery ward, but there were no rooms available. I heard myself saying, “No problem, I’ll wait in the garden”. I stood outside holding onto the railing trying not to alarm the new dads who were having a quick smoke there.
Soon enough, a delivery suite was available…”Do you need a wheelchair?” “Oh no, I’m just fine”…
A student midwife entered the suite after me, “We’re just going to see if you have started to dilate…oh, um, please wait a moment”. In comes a more experienced midwife, “Oh, yes, you’re 9 centimetres dilated.”
Time To Push!
Yowsers, virtually time to push. The student midwife remained with me as I begged to be allowed to stand. She raised the bed high enough for me to lean on and I stood through each contraction. My husband and mum were on the other side of the bed. No observations, no discussion of how this would work, so, I tried to relax and let my body do its thing.
Of course, I had seen all the movies where the midwife warns you that the head is crowning and instructs you when to push. But it didn’t happen that way. My brain wasn’t in control, I was pushing without registering and the student midwife was sat quietly behind me the whole time – probably wishing I’d get onto the bed.
All of a sudden there was a huge build up of pressure and then a gush of water. My waters broke around my feet – things were getting treacherous! But before we could do anything about it, I felt a head between my thighs… My brain suddenly switched back on.
“Wait, she hasn’t told me I’m crowning yet – it can’t be my baby – I’m not even ready to become a mum!”
But, Kai was ready. The midwife caught him…”Oh my god, why did I demand to stand?” and there he was, safe in my hands.
It was the most surreal experience and I remember it like it was yesterday…but it was 2006!
Being Humbled – Part 3
Just 18 months later, it was happening all over again. Round 2. I entered the delivery suite with a more confidence than necessary!
“Yes, I know the sticker says I’m too small to deliver a baby naturally, but it turns out, I’m very good at birthing. I should put that on my CV.” 😉
I sauntered (waddled) into the delivery suite, nonchalantly letting the midwife know that “I give birth standing up”. But this was no student. This was an experienced, African midwife, who shook her head and told me to get on the bed.
I obeyed. And we chatted a while, only 2 centimetres dilated this time…”No thanks, I don’t need pain relief”. Heads up – I was about to be humbled and brought to my knees.
The intensity of my second birth was indescribable. If I had to put it in words I would say: white hot, searing, other-worldly.
I was absolutely silent throughout the 2 hours that it took to deliver this child. My eyes were shut, my mouth was closed, biting down HARD on the gas and air mouthpiece that somebody (thankfully) placed between my teeth. This birth was a wholly spiritual experience for me and I am so blessed that the midwife understood that I didn’t need her to ‘interfere’. She didn’t interrupt me with intrusive checks. Instead, she watched me closely and held space for my body to do what it needed to do.
When Luca was born, I opened my eyes and the room swam into focus. It was like I had been on another plain. And I felt so much love for the midwife giving me that freedom, we thanked each other afterwards.
So, how was this an awakening? It felt like I had been through a primal initiation. My eyes were opened to how incredible women really are. I’d discovered we had invisible wings. And it wasn’t just because I have given birth – I had realised the deep reserve of strength and innate wisdom that is available to us.
It is true for all of us. Not exclusively for the women are able to conceive, carry or deliver a child. It’s not only for those who even want to become mothers. This power is available to every single one of us.
For me, it happened to be the experience of birth which opened my eyes and prompted me to dig deeper than I ever had. It was an initiation that I am so incredibly grateful for.
Falling Back To Sleep – Part 4
As often happens in real life, I was blessed with this profound experience – my life was transformed… and then, things went back to how they were before.
Routine took over, repetition took hold and I stifled all of the magic that I had uncovered. It happens to the best of us! I forgot how to be my own guru.
It wasn’t until I fell into a pit of despair as my marriage crumbled around me that I had to fight to find that strength once again. Divorce is a devastatingly hard experience. Grieving the loss of the happy-ever-after that we had both wanted. And through the months that followed, I found myself alone A LOT. This is where the real heavy work towards my authentic power began.
Healing In Solitude – Part 5
I have always been fascinated in stories of ‘the goddess’, and at this time in my life, I turned to ancient stories, myths, legends and rituals to begin my profound healing process, which went back to my early years.
The deeper I explored, the more I learned that the collective ancient global beliefs are closely intertwined. These stories overlap and are retold a thousand different ways. My soul resonated with these tales, and no matter where they originated and I learned so much. It was as though I’d found a blueprint for how to overcome hardships and thrive.
Below you will find a brief overview of the culmination of my seeking, which I have broken into 10 pathways – aimed to bring you closer to your authentic power.
You get to choose which pathways you sample and how long you travel on each. You’ll find that they cross one another, overlap, twist and turn. They ultimately lead in the same direction: Towards Inner peace. Towards Deep satisfaction. Towards Fierce confidence.
The 10 Pathways To Your Personal Power
The following paths are offered in no particular order, so don’t get hung up on that. Just dive in, read through and see which excite you, remind you of your childhood or feel like home. And no “I’m too busy” excuses – this is important if you want to feel happy and be your own guru!
By this I mean shake off the heavy daily grind and have some fun! You can dance, run, jump, skip, sing, shout, chant, hum, do handstands, cartwheels or just prance about. This isn’t about learning the words or the steps. It’s about finding pleasure and being lighthearted. Choose whatever playful method feels fresh, invigorating and natural.
You don’t have to be ‘an artist’ to make art. So stop saying ‘you aren’t creative’. Allow yourself to make the ordinary, extraordinary! Let yourself become curious. Get absorbed in the beauty of a petal, or the curve of a sculpture or the architecture of a cathedral. Notice the world around you and allow yourself to be inspired to bring art into your everyday life. Be inspired by getting creative with paint, the way you accessorise your outfit, make the bed or even decorate the dinner table!
Be Tuned In
No more pretending that you don’t feel a certain way. Your feelings and emotions are important messages – tune in and really feel them. Make space for the heavy emotions to be expressed so that they can flow away. Numbing anger and sadness will also numb your joy and bliss. It doesn’t need to be scary. Journal it with words or doodles, cry it out, scream it out (in solitude), listen to sad to music if that feels safer. But don’t hold it in.
Don’t allow your days to slip past while you’re sleepwalking. Bringing a mindfulness practice into your daily life will help you to develop self-awareness, stay connected to the bigger picture, and remain present. This can be through meditation, prayer, yoga, walking, deep breathing, visualisation…there are so many to choose from, so just pick one and try it for a while! I love guided meditation and am starting to explore Kundalini yoga.
Don’t overlook this pathway – no matter how daunting it might seem. You must take time and do the work to build a solid foundation that allows you to feel secure and anchored. Real inner strength does not manifest in defensive, resentful behaviour. To be truly empowered, you need strong boundaries that allow you to say no so that you can relax and trust in yourself.
Be In Harmony
Align with the natural cycles and rhythms of life. Flow with your natural energy peaks and troughs. Don’t work against the seasons. That means knowing when to grow and when to rest. Realising that there is a time for things to fall away in order for new things to take their place. Accepting that you can’t have it all, right now…and that everything will happen in its right time with the right nourishment and patience.
Get outside, feel the sunshine or the rain on your skin. Place your bare feet on the Earth. Let your hair fly wild. Get close to water. Or jump in.
You get to choose your exact method, so don’t wait until you’ve read a pile of books about it. You don’t need permission, nor the right outfit… Just do it!
Be Turned On
Being turned on encompasses sensuality, pleasure and sexuality. It lights you up and brings a certain vitality to all aspects of your life. On this path, you will learn how to shake off any shame you’ve been holding onto and allow yourself to uncover the incredible power that you hold in your body! So ask yourself, are you switched off?
Women need women to talk to. Men are awesome, but we still need time to connect: sister to sister.
It’s where the magic happens. And it’s something which many of us are lacking in our daily lives. Instead, we see jealousy, mistrust and constant comparison. Build a strong tribe by making a commitment to be YOU – no more masks. No more two-faced bravado. Resist the urge to gossip. Celebrate one another. Support one another. Stand up for one another.
Treat your body and your environment with respect and reverence. Take impeccable care of them. Eat and drink as though you love yourself. Take the time to bath and massage your body. Enjoy delightful experiences. Adorn your body with clothes that make you feel like a goddess. Declutter and beuatify your home. You deserve it!
So, how will these paths help you to be your own guru?
Unfortunately, I can’t give you one single ‘right’ technique or magic bullet. There is no one way.
Be open-minded, reserve judgement and just try out tools from each path – explore ideas from different cultures, religions and traditions. Take what you need and leave the rest.
I encourage you to be like a hummingbird. Sampling all of the ‘flowers’ that can be found on each path. You get to decide which spiritual tools and techniques nourish you the best. Try many and pick out your favourites. Then, simply return to those often.
I weave tools from each path into my daily rituals and I have developed them into habits. They have become little constant reminders of my power which help me overcome daily obstacles and give me confidence anytime I need it. That is how these tools can create positive, long-lasting change in your life.
Thank you for joining me this far. I would LOVE to hear which path you’ll try first.
If you enjoyed the podcast and video, please like, subscribe and share to help me spread my message with more people.
And if you’d like extra support in healing your body image for life, check out my self-paced online course, Food & Body Freedom.
Plus, as a gift, you can download my free ebook, “Unstoppable Confidence“.
And you can learn “How To Set Boundaries” here.
I’m always here to offer support, so please feel free to drop me a DM at anytime, I’m happy to chat.
You can find me @itslisawelsh.