Eleven Times Two, My Life, Recovery

Cherry Blossom

Last year, when I was in a manifestation mode that was borderline witchcraft, I had a moment, totally out of the blue where I saw a photo in Psychologies magazine of a picture of the Eiffel Tower, almost completely obliterated by a branch covered in Cherry Blossom. Something resonated, and I ripped the page out, cut around the branch and stuck the picture on my Vision Board. I had absolutely no idea why it was going to be important, I just knew that it would be. It began to appear everywhere (as it would do at the beginning of summer) and I even bought an iPhone case that had Cherry Blossom on it.

Do you remember Hurricane Irma? Well, I live in a park, and I came (was blown) home one day during the storm to find 2 huge trees had been ripped from the ground from their roots and lay dead on the floor outside my window. It really upset me. Those trees had been there my entire life, one was directly outside my primary school, and my dad used to stand by it when he picked me up. Now it was gone. Mother Nature had decided it had had its day and tore it from the ground.

A few weeks later, I came home from work on a much brighter day, and directly outside my living room window, there was a newly planted Cherry Blossom tree. A new beginning, a fresh start, a replacement for a life that had literally been uprooted, and it was right outside my window where I could see it every single day. At the time, I thought that was why it was on my vision board – to bring that tree to me. Now I know different.

When I launched this blog, there was only one image that I associated with what I was doing. Cherry Blossom. It is the background of my website, the cover photo for the social media channels, and it was the inspiration behind the colours of my branding, but it wasn’t until last week that I truly understood why I was meant to rip that picture out of that magazine last year – it was because of what it would come to symbolise time and time again.

A new beginning. A reminder to be happy. A breakthrough.

Last week I wrote about how I was struggling with a bout of anxiety and even though it was tough, I knew it was a temporary state of mind. I’m a big fan of symbolism, and there are little things that appear to me to serve as reminders to check my thoughts and feelings. Magpies (“One for Sorrow, Two for Joy”), Numbers (erm – 11:11), Feathers (The Universe has my back) and Cherry Blossom. For the past few weeks, I have looked at the clock at 11:12, there has been only one magpie wherever I have been, and that baby Cherry Blossom tree outside my door? Brown and struggling. Even the little things that I associated with happiness were withering away. A missed moment, a lonely bird, a tree that represented new beginnings struggling to thrive. They were all mirroring my state of mind.

Then I wrote that blog, and I received lots of messages of both support and thanks for speaking up and helping others to realise they are not alone, or weird, or mad – they just thought it was something they needed to deal with or accept in silence. My whole purpose in life was coming to me in little snippets of gratitude, and I knew that everything I was going through was supposed to happen. In order to help others, I needed to help myself, and those messages spurred me on.

I woke up last Monday, and I decided to take action. Everything that was not essential in my life was gone, cut out, stripped away. Anything that upset me, caused me grief or showed itself to be a trigger was gone, cut out, stripped away. I decided to focus on who I wanted to be and take small steps to getting myself back on my path to health and happiness. My life is completely up to me, and so I took stock and I went about doing only the things that felt right, and good – rather than the things I had told myself I was ‘supposed’ to be doing.

Then something magical happened. In fact, not just something, but a chain of events that filled my heart with joy and my eyes with happy tears, all in the space of a week. By Wednesday, I had connected with 3 different people that I can only describe as being gifts from The Universe. I know how nuts that can sound to some people, and so I don’t want to lay it on heavy, but in 3 days I attracted a Mental Health Vlogger, a Happiness Coach who writes for Psychologies Magazine, and an old acquaintance who has recently launched a side-line and written a book about Health and Happiness. All 3 were full of praise for this blog, and it meant so much because they all have the same mission as me – to help people.

Then Thursday came around. I awoke with that oh-so familiar feeling and I chose to work from home, knowing that the 10-tonne anvil that was sitting on my chest needed my attention.

I thought back to the conversation I had with Amy (you can find her page here: The Fierce Flamingo) who, in our very first interaction gave me some advice from an angle that no-one had come at me with before.

“Start having more fun.”

She was absolutely right, and clearly very good at what she does because she came at me with that in her very first message. She not only read my blog, but she read between the lines and she hit the nail square on the head. For so long I have been looking at this all wrong. I have become so self-involved – pushing myself harder, digging deeper into what is wrong, trying to get to the core of my problems and analyse them to within an inch of their lives. I have been taking it all so seriously that that’s all I knew how to be – serious.

For most of my adult life, I have been responsible, smart, played it safe and in the moments where I did let myself off my own chain and had some actual fun, I berated myself and considered it a ‘blip’ and a moment of weakness. Is it any wonder that I’ve been bogged down under the weight of life?

My natural state in all honesty is being a total goofball. I find humour in every situation, if I could sing my way through life I would totally take that as an option, I love to love and when I am with people or in environments that allow me to just be me, I am one of the most carefree and chilled out individuals you will ever meet. Only a few people have seen that side of me, it’s the people who I really love, and I’m normally on holiday and away from the stresses that I put upon myself every single day. That needs to change. That’s my true self and I’m sick of beating her into a corner with a worry stick!

I thought of some of the things that make me happy:

  • When I’m at a gig singing along at the top of my voice without a single care in the world
  • My family – especially when my brother Danny is home and ‘The Four Pack’ are all together
  • Drawing and bringing a person to life on the paper in front of me
  • Sitting in the sunshine
  • Santa Monica
  • Dancing with my friends to old school R&B after WAY too many cocktails
  • In-jokes
  • Waking up next to someone and sharing a good morning smile when you open your eyes
  • Playing songs whilst I’m cleaning my flat and shimmying away like Beyoncé while I’m mopping the floor (at least I think I look like Beyoncé – in hindsight its probably closer to Jim Carrey in a tutu in that Ace Ventura scene)
  • When my cats jump on my lap or head bump me whilst purring away in a bubble of contentment
  • Hearing good news from my friends
  • Getting messages from people who have read my blog and felt moved enough to reach out and thank me – it’s a new one, but it’s close to becoming top of my list
  • The little eureka moments I get from The Universe that make me take the Inspired Action that brings about people and events that otherwise I would never have come across
  • Pulling something off my Vision Board because I have achieved or attracted it
  • Bacon, poached eggs and smashed avo on toast (basic AF but I mean, come on!)
  • Waking up naturally at the weekend knowing that the day is mine for the taking
  • Taking my time

These are just a few, but since I started focusing on them, and the things that bring a smile to my face, I have been feeling an awful lot better about things – although of course, the glorious sunshine that we’re having at the moment helps!

Thursday started as a bad day, but instead of letting it continue that way, I focused on the positives, I made myself do the things I knew I needed to do to snap myself out of it, I took some time to myself and because I purposely changed my mindset, I changed my day

By Friday night I was feeling more myself, I was hopeful about the future, I had come home and chilled out instead of making myself do more work and I was breathing at a normal rate again! Then as I got into the bath on the night, the most powerful image appeared in my head. It was of the Cherry Blossom tree outside my window, in full bloom, recovered, back on it’s path and refusing to give in to an environment that had the capability to finish it off. I knew why it had appeared – it was reminding me of my strength, of my ability to fight through anything that is trying to trample me down and that big change and a new beginning is on the horizon for me. In that moment I told myself that this was the start of Shelly version 3.0, and I let myself relax and focus on the moment, and as I lay there – the anvil lifted.

I awoke the next morning, with a head full of the things I was ‘supposed’ to do that day, and as I started fretting that I’d already wasted the morning (it was 8.45am) I stopped and took a deep breath. I made my breakfast and when I finished, I sat with a cup of tea and I opened my Gratitude Journal. I got to number 3 when I remembered the vision I had the night before, so I instantly looked outside. There, on the once brown, withered Cherry Blossom tree was its first flower of the year – strong, defiant and a symbol that you can pull ANYTHING back from the brink, push through the darkness and blossom into something new.