Diary of a sugar addict: I quit sugar

Pre-sugar quitting days.

Pre-sugar quitting days.

Week one: edging away from sugar

I woke up on day one with a feeling of dread. My regular diet is, by no means, sugar-laden but I am partial to the odd Magnum and struggle to say no to chocolate if it comes my way. The prospect of giving up the sweet stuff completely for eight weeks was, quite frankly, terrifying. After three bites of the first meal of the program (scrambled eggs with avocado, on homemade gluten-free toast) though my fears started to subside. As I sipped on my bulletproof coffee, I thought, “This is pretty much what we have for breakfast on weekends normally! Maybe this won’t be so hard.”

Come the end of the week and I was pleasantly surprised at how painless the transition to a sugar-free diet had been. Sure, I had moments where I contemplated sneaking in some sugar but it wasn’t hard to convince myself that it wouldn’t be worth the short-term pleasure. The biggest struggle has been keeping on top of the cooking schedule! As someone who is usually pretty haphazard about dinner plans, I found it challenging to have to be so organised and spend so much time in the kitchen. I’m incredibly blessed to have a boyfriend who a) loves cooking and b) knows how to calm me down when I have a meltdown while trying to prepare dinner.

Week two: turning my back on getting sweet relief

This is the week we gave up the sweet stuff entirely. Not even the odd raspberry or tomato would find its way onto our plates. (Gulp.) I hit the ground running on Monday, feeling good about having stuck to the program for one week. The spiced coco-nutty breakfast muffins were delicious and so satiating that I made it through to 1pm without any pangs of hunger. I was starting to feel like maybe this sugar-quitting caper wasn’t going to be so tough after all.

Come Tuesday though, it was a different story. The first thought that popped into my head when I woke up was, ‘Doughnuts. I want doughnuts! Now!’ This was weird for a couple of reasons, with the biggest one being that I can’t actually remember the last time I had a doughnut, so they aren’t exactly something that featured heavily in my diet before I quit sugar. The doughnut cravings lasted all week but I managed to distract myself by going for a quick walk, having a(nother) herbal tea, or a high-fat, high-protein snack like a piece of cheese.

Week three: I can do this! And then I fell off the rails.

‘I can do this!’ was my mantra this week. I repeated it over and over as I went about my day, feeling like I was dodging temptation at every corner. I was guzzling water or herbal tea any time I felt a niggling to eat sugar, and it was working. Sugar-free? Too easy! And then I fell off the rails a bit. I went out to my favourite pizza haunt with my bestie and my god son, and had a (delish!) bowl of pesto gnocchi. I knew the pesto was sugar-free but I couldn’t say the same thing about those fluffy balls of potato goodness. About halfway through my meal I started to feel really fidgety and felt a headache coming on. My mouth was dry and I just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t believe how badly the sugar was affecting me! After only a couple of weeks without it, my body couldn’t handle it. This came as a shock to me. I mean, I knew sugar was bad but that bad? Yikes.

Week four: clean week

Give up sugar? Sure. And gluten? Done. Alcohol? Ah, I’m not so sure about this but I suppose I can hit the pause button on my love for a glass of red with dinner. Coffee? No. Freakin’. Way! Are you kidding with this? It’s my first week back at uni this week and you’re asking me to get through that without caffeine? As old mate Darryl Kerrigan said, ‘Tell him he’s dreaming!’ This was far and away the hardest week of the program. After missing my morning coffee by just a few hours I started to feel a headache coming on. I made a dandelion, chai and almond milk latte in the futile hope that I could trick my body into thinking I’d just had some coffee. No dice. Turns out my body is smarter is than me. Wait, what? The next 24 hours were a foggy haze of aggravation, nausea and pain. It would have been easy to forgive me for ditching the no-coffee rule just to find some relief at this point; however, it would appear that I have more will power than I thought because I somehow managed not to succumb to my cravings. And boy am I glad I didn’t, because come the next day I felt immeasurably better. The day after, I felt better again.

Give up coffee for a week? Absolutely 😉

Week five: last week sans sweet

Week five! Who would have thought I’d make it this far? Certainly not me. After one month with no sugar, I was starting to wonder why I ever wanted to eat the stuff to begin with. It suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t remember what ice cream tasted like and when I thought about it some more, I realised I didn’t actually want to eat it again to remember. This was definitely a break through for me because up until then, I still didn’t believe I would ever get to the point where I didn’t want to eat sugar. That, my friends, is what we call progress.

Week six: sugar’s back. Gulp!

To say I was nervous about this week is a massive understatement. I was petrified of reintroducing the substance I had invested so much time, energy and willpower into quitting just a few short weeks ago. I had visions of taking a bite of a piece of fruit and turning into a raving sugar beast as I turned the house upside down, looking for all things sweet. Turns out my premonition was a little melodramatic though (who would have thought!).

While I really savored the sweet taste of the peach we included in our salad, with the exception of a stressful walk down the ice-cream aisle at the supermarket where I had to muster all of my determination not to reach into the freezer and grab out a Golden Gaytime, I managed to not fall straight back into the sugar-binge cycle.

Week seven: almost there

With just two weeks to go, I could see the light shining down the end of the tunnel and, quite frankly, it scared me. It seemed I had come full circle: before starting the program, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to stick to the program, and now I was worried that I won’t know how to eat properly without it!

This week, I also realised just how much I am looking forward to loosening the reigns a bit when it comes to fruit. This program has made me realise that I was eating way too much fruit so I certainly won’t be going back to my pre-program volume but I do find it hard to resist a ripe peach in Summer!

Week eight: we did it!

By the time the final week rolled around, I had well and truly got the hang of navigating through life without sugar. There were two massive bowls of lollies at work this week and I walked past them without a second glance. It was such an empowering feeling to no longer compulsively reach for sugary treats!

I’m so happy that I finally took the plunge and quit sugar. For the first time in my adult life, I feel like I am in control of what I eat and it isn’t a daily struggle to stay on track. I simply don’t want sugary food anymore. Many people have asked me if I will stay off sugar for the rest of my life but I have learnt not to set restrictive boundaries. We are always changing and evolving, and what works for me now may not work for me during a different stage of my life. I’m going to stick with sugar-free living for as long as it serves me to do so.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the competition to win yourself a copy of That Sugar Book. The competition closes this Friday (27 March). Find out how to enter.

That Sugar Film: an interview with Damon Gameau (and a competition)

That Sugar Guy: Damon Gameau

That Sugar Guy: Damon Gameau

Hold onto your hats. Damon Gameau is changing the way we talk about sugar, and he’s doing it in a big way. His documentary, That Sugar Film, is currently touring Australia, selling out cinemas all over the place. If you haven’t already seen it, go and rectify that as soon as you can. I have a feeling you’ll be thanking me later.

So, what’s That Sugar Film all about?

Damon undertakes an experiment that sees him eating the average amount of sugar an Australian consumes daily (which in case you are wondering is 40 teaspoons. That’s right, 40! Every day). The catch? Damon can only eat foods that are perceived as being healthy, such as low-fat yoghurt, juice and cereal. His aim is to document how a high-sugar diet affects the body and to highlight the issues that exist in the industry.

For the next few weeks, Damon is heading to select screenings of the film to host a Q&A session. I was fortunate to attend one of these sessions and it was an absolute testament to Damon’s passion for sharing this important message with integrity and a side serving of humour. He has a knack for inspiring people to open up about their story of ditching sugar, and he empowers others to get started on their own journey. If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend attending one of the Q&A sessions. (To find out which screenings he’ll be at, click the link at the end of this post.)

Damon was kind enough to take some time out of his busy touring schedule to answer some questions for us so, without further a-do, here they are:

1) You mention in That Sugar Film that it was your beautiful partner Zoe who originally inspired you to give up sugar at a time when the sweet stuff featured highly in your diet. Can you tell us a bit about the strategies you used when you felt the urge to eat something sweet in those early days?

In those early days I wasn’t ‘trying’ to cut sugar so it happened very naturally. There was no pressure on me to do it so I still had the odd sweet treat but it just occurred less and less. After the experiment, I did have some very strong cravings. A spoon of coconut oil helped me or half an avocado. There are fats that also light up the same reward centers as sugar but in a slightly less way. The other strategy is to use some reverse psychology on the brain: have something foul like apple cider vinegar when you get a craving, the brain thinks ‘well if that’s all I’m gonna get when I crave sugar, then I’m not gonna crave anymore!’

2) How has giving up sugar changed things for you?

I am just a better person without it. I admit I am quite sensitive to its effects so when I eat sugar I feel a bit irritable, even anxious sometimes. When I return to real foods that have a slow release and don’t spike my blood sugar levels rapidly, I gain more clarity and feel much better. Then there’s the fun vanity effects of brighter eyes and glowing skin.

3) In a nutshell, what’s your food philosophy?

Don’t over think it, just eat real foods. Real foods don’t need a star rating or a tick, they just are. It might take a while for the palate to adjust but it does and it’s a wonderful thing when you start to notice the subtle flavors and sweetness of natural foods. The body knows what to do so trust it and give it the real foods it needs to function at its best.

ThatSugarBook

Image via thatsugarfilm.com

Because I believe this is such an important message to spread, one lucky reader (Aussies only) will win themselves a shiny new copy of That Sugar Book. For your chance to win, follow these three steps:

1) Sign up to my newsletter (you’ll find the link in the top right corner of this page).

2) ‘Like’ the Miller Natural Health Facebook page. You can do this by clicking the ‘Like’ button over there to the right of this page. If you already like my page (muchas gracias!), don’t fret – you can still enter the competition by signing up for the newsletter and sharing this post. Phew! 

3) Share this post using the buttons below.

Update (28/05/2015): This competition has now closed.

It’s that easy!

For competition terms and conditions, click here.

To find out more about That Sugar Film start here:

What do you think about sugar? Have you seen That Sugar Film? Jump into the comments section and share your thoughts.

Laura xo

Selfie sticks and our human disconnect

Take photos of the world around you.

Take photos of the world around you.

There’s something about selfie sticks that makes me feel really gosh darn uncomfortable. A bit icky. Disconnected. You feel it too?

Until last weekend, I hadn’t been able to put my finger on exactly what it was about that innocuous extendable stick that made me feel so depressed. Sure, it’s a tool that feeds the vacuous and vain pass-time of taking 23 photos of oneself in order to find the most flattering angle, but it’s more than that. It’s something bigger.

What happened a couple of weeks ago that triggered the sudden realisation about why selfie sticks just don’t sit right with me? Well, my lovely fella – Chris – pointed out a couple standing in the middle of a street full of people, taking a selfie…

With a selfie stick.

In a street full of people.

There they were, angling to get both themselves in the shot and capture what was in the background. The result was an awkward minute while they took photo after photo, in pursuit of the ultimate shot.

After noticing this display of bizarre human behaviour, Chris commented on how ridiculous it was that instead of asking one of the many passer-bys to take (what would probably be a much better) photo of them, they were hell bent on doing it themselves. Why?

Why don’t we ask for help anymore? What happened to reaching out to a fellow human for a bit of assistance? If we are too scared to risk being rejected after asking for a quick photo to be taken, how can we ever expect to be brave enough to ask for help when life gets really shitty?

Feeling connected to other people is a deep human need.

It’s the gooey stuff that allows communities to form and binds people together, making us feel less alone. It’s oh so important for our mental health and overall well-being. And it’s the stuff that seems to be the first casualty of living in a big city, where it’s rare to have a courtyard, yet alone a whole block of land to spread out on.

The townhouse we live in is one of four on our block. I have spoken to two of my neighbours for a combined total of maybe five minutes (if I’m being generous) in the year we have lived there. I couldn’t tell you their names, or how they spend their spare time. I certainly don’t know when they are on holiday, so would never think to check on their place. Nor would they think to look in on ours.

There’s a glaring irony to be seen when country and city dwellers are compared: ask any land owner who their neighbours are and they will easily rattle off the names of everyone who lives in a 5km radius, plus will tell you where their kids go to school and how their crops are doing. Ask a city dweller the same question and you’ll likely get blank looks, shoulder shrugs and a non-committal answer like, ‘Oh, they’re a young couple. They work full time… I think.’

It really is a sad state of affairs, don’t you think?

All hope is not lost though! We can start turning our isolation back into being connected and we just need to take small steps at a time, inching our way back to our fellow humans.

Will your first step be asking someone to take a photo for you?

Laura xo

Fear the food and eat it anyway

Some not-so-scary greens.

Some not-so-scary greens.

Food. Four letters, one syllable. How can such a simple little unassuming word cause so much angst and confusion?

This question sits at the heart of why I’m so passionate about dedicating the time to dig through the mountains of conflicting information and advice about what we should eat and, bigger than that, how to obtain that seemingly elusive goal of being vibrantly healthy.

What’s considered the ideal diet changes with every season: Low fat, high carb? High fat, high protein, low carb? Vegetarian? Organic? Sugar-free? Paleo? I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds it bloody confusing! I’ve talked a bit about the conflicting advice on this blog in the past but today I want to peel off another layer and talk about our fear of (real) food.

A couple of days ago, I talked about a post on Facebook (if you haven’t done so already, head on over and like the page to keep up with everything that’s happening in this little community of ours) that the beautiful Amy from OtherWise Living shared. The post talked about taking a common sense approach to drinking raw milk. Here’s a snippet, if you missed it:

“What is it about milk straight from the cow that gets people so wound up? From this week anybody providing raw milk for consumption will face a fine of up to $60,000 (in case you were wondering the penalty for distribution of small amounts of the drug “Ice” attracts a $45,000 fine)….Drinking raw milk has risks associated with it but we do many things that have risks attached – we drive cars, swim at beaches, skydive. If you’ve ever done a food safety course you’ll know we eat many foods that we need to be careful with; rice, chicken and leafy greens are common foods most responsible for recorded food-borne illnesses. The thing is we don’t ban them we take a preventative and educative approach.”

This got me thinking. Why are we so scared of real simple food but so trustingly assume that the stuff sold to us by big corporations is perfectly safe to eat?

I don’t drink cow milk (never really liked it) but I this post caught my attention because I find it fascinating that on one hand milk is referred to affectionately as nature’s perfect food, and on the other we have a situation where we are terrified of drinking the stuff in its natural form! Don’t get me wrong – it is devastating that recently a child died after drinking raw milk. No parent should ever have to go through that hell.

But when we consider that people die on our roads every day, yet people still put their kids in cars, surely it must nudge us closer to the truth that there are inherent risks associated with simply being alive and sometimes really shitty things just happen. 

As the original post said, rather than rushing to ban raw milk, might there be more value in taking a measured approach of implementing safety procedures and educating people about safe transportation and storage of milk? Our safety is important, yes. But let’s stop underestimating our own ability to make safe choices for ourselves. Us humans are a lot smarter than the rule-makers give us credit for.

This is bigger than raw milk though. It’s just one of the telling signs of the mess we have got ourselves in when it comes to what we eat. Our modern food-production system favours food that is processed and cheap to create in large volumes. It tricks our taste-buds into wanting more than we need by layering sweet over salty over fatty. It confuses us with its multi-million dollar marketing strategies designed to take advantage of the part of our brain that associates green with healthy; and the part of our brain that sees a list of what a product doesn’t include (no sugar, no dairy) and forgets to check what it does include (artifical sweeteners, processed soy).

We have been conned into thinking that eating fresh, healthy food is dangerous, and that’s simply not true.

I have seen this fear in others: being greeted by wide eyes when talking about how I drank spring water straight from the source, rather than treated tap water.

I’ve seen it in myself: being too scared to drink the first batch of kombucha I brewed because I didn’t trust that I had the skills not to make myself sick.

Enough’s enough. Let’s start taking back our power. Let’s start trusting that Mother Nature actually does know best – she definitely knows better than humans do. Let’s stop assuming that because it comes in a package it’s OK to eat and start questioning why it needs a package to begin with.

Let’s eat real food, even if we are scared.

Laura xo

I made the decision not to die at 25. Did you?

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for us all to tap into.

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for everyone of of us to tap into.

For years now I have religiously (pardon the pun) listened to podcasts of sermons conducted by Reverend David Ault, from the Spiritual Living Center Atlanta. If you haven’t listened to any of his sermons, may I suggest you do. He talks about the universal truths of spirit and humanity, without being confined to one religion,  and he does it with such reverence for the divine nature inside every person that you can’t help but be drawn into the message behind his words. If you’re looking for some inspiration to shake up your life, then Rev. Dave is your guy!

In one of his recent sermons, he mentioned Youtube phenomenon Prince Ea – a young guy who uses rap to talk about all things that make up the human experience. I noted his name down and, after finishing the podcast, I immediately set about watching every video Prince Ea has made and posted to Youtube, and he impressed the metaphoric socks off of me!

The video that Rev. Dave talks about in his sermon is called Why Most People Die Before Age 25. It only goes for three minutes and 43 seconds but Prince Ea manages to drop a tonne of truth bombs about life in that time.

The one that resonated the most with me was this: “The wealthiest place in the world is not China, not Dubai. It’s the graveyard. Because in the graveyard, you will find adventures not invented, businesses never erected, songs never sung, books never written, ideas never nurtured, people never realised… because, they were scared to take a risk.”

Woah, right! The truth in that hit me down in the deepest parts of my heart.  I asked myself, “What richness am I denying myself and the world because I’m scared?”

This blog (which, at that time had lain dormant for over a year) immediately came to mind. I could scarcely remember why I had stopped writing here to begin with. I knew I was busy but why had I decided to completely stop sharing my words with the world? As I sat in silence, I got really honest with myself and admitted that it was because I was scared.

I was scared that I had nothing new to offer the world, that everything worth saying had already been said.

I was scared that no one would find my words useful, that they would think I was stupid.

Most of all though, I was scared of showing too much of myself to a world that is trying to make me everything I’m not. 

Those fears haven’t gone away. They are still rattling around in the back of my mind but I have made the decision to, in the words of Louise Hay, feel the fear and do it anyway. Because, does it really matter if the words I write here only resonate with me? Does it actually change anything if someone doesn’t agree with what I have said? Will the pressure I feel to conform go away if I make myself more like I think society wants me to be? No, no and no! So, why would I keep hiding myself from the world then?

Someone wise (cough, cough, Prince Ea) recently reminded me that “There’s never been a statue erected for a critic.”

Amen, Prince Ea. Amen.

Love,

Laura xx

It’s never too late…

“It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

I ditched being gluten free to save my social life

Eggs on GF toast

Homemade eggs Florentine on gluten-free toast, courtesy of my lovely man.

“I don’t think I need to be gluten free anymore.”

I announced this to my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago through mouthfuls of avocado smothered gluten-free toast.

Three months prior, my fabulous dietitian Marieke Rodenstein had recommended that I ditch gluten to see if it would help heal the gut issues I had been experiencing. The list of reasons Marieke gave for this suggestion were long and hard to refute (and I was sick of feeling sluggish, bloated and generally not great) so I happily accepted the idea and after leaving her clinic, headed straight to my local organic grocer to stock up on all things gluten free.

After about a week of my new diet I found that my symptoms were starting to lessen and I was feeling much more energetic. I was still getting bouts of nausea and bloating but over the following weeks, these symptoms also started to fade.

For the next couple of months, I continued to adhere to a gluten-free diet and reaped the benefits. I had more energy than I’ve had in years (albeit, my iron levels were also on the way up, which would absolutely have contributed to this) and I no longer had to struggle to button up my jeans over my bloated tummy. In short, I felt great!

So, why did I decide I no longer needed to live out my days sans gluten? At the time, I told myself it was because I was about to embark on Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program and that I wanted to only eliminate one thing from my diet at a time to really determine the cause of my issues. Sounds reasonable, right? That’s what I convinced myself, too.

It actually wasn’t until a couple of days ago (yep, you can call me Laura “Ye Ol’ Slow On The Uptake” Miller) that I sat in discomfort (and not just from the Mexican wheat-flour burrito I had just devoured) with the realisation that I had been lying to myself. I didn’t revert to eating gluten because of any misguided nutritional belief that if I gave up both gluten and sugar I would never know what was causing me grief. No, I started scoffing the stuff again because I was scared of having yet another food label slapped across my name.

Social functions were already fraught with uncomfortable moments of not realising that the delicious-looking arancini ball actually contained mince meat until it was already in my mouth. Now, they’d be even more stressful as I faced the choice of either accidentally chowing down on something with gluten in it, or dealing with the embarrassing prospect of being handed a Glad wrapped plate of special-needs dried out food, while everyone else swanned around with canapes.

When eating out, not only would I have to scour the menu for that elusive little fella called ‘v’, I’d also have to hunt out his even more rare cousin ‘gf’. My friends would groan as I’d say to the poor waitress, “Yes, I know porridge is made of oats but are they gluten-free oats or just oat oats? I can see that the bacon dish is gluten free but I don’t eat meat.”

Not only would I be Laura: that vegetarian woman, I’d now be Laura: that vegetarian, gluten-free, pain-in-bum, can’t-take-her-anywhere woman. Me, dramatic? Surely not.

Nope, it wasn’t happening. Not on my watch. It turns out my desire not to be a social outcast was far stronger than any urge to rid myself of the physical discomfort I was experiencing – at least it was, until last week.

Last week, when I finally found the courage to dig a bit further into the real reason behind my decision, I was shocked (and if I’m being really honest, I was disappointed) at myself. Here I was, studying to be a naturopath, passionately espousing the importance of listening to your body and finding out which foods make it sing, and I was doing the opposite. The exact opposite.

Isn’t it funny how these contradictions creep into our lives without us noticing! I am endeavouring to be more aware of when this happens so that my reality more closely matches my ideal life. In psychological terms, this is called congruence and achieving it is an important part of being a natural therapist. It’s also kind of critical to living a happy life. Sticking to gluten-free fare for now is the right choice. I feel it within every cell of my body.

So, I’m back on the gluten-free bus. I’m still giving up sugar (more on that soon) but I’ll resume my gluten-free ways and then reassess once the I Quit Sugar program is finished. I’ll take an honest look at how I feel and decide then whether I truly can go back to eating gluten or not.

And this time, the decision will be based on love for myself, not fear.

Laura xx

I’m back!

My 'I'm nervous but excited' face (in case you couldn't tell)

My ‘I’m nervous but excited’ face (in case you couldn’t tell)

Hi! Exactly one year, one month and one day after deciding to take a break from blogging, I’m back. And, in the interest of being totally transparent, can I just say that I’m feeling a bit shy about sharing my thoughts with you all again. You’ll be kind to me as I ease my way back into this world though, won’t you?

You might have noticed that things look a bit different around here than when you last stopped by. I’ve decided to commit what some bloggers affectionately term internet suicide by changing my site’s URL. Why would I undertake such a risky maneuver? Because I’m reckless.  Well maybe I’m a little reckless but it’s mostly because, while This Little Green Pocket will always hold a special place in my heart, I no longer feel like it represents what I want this space to be.

I’m more passionate than ever about the importance of looking at wellbeing from a holistic perspective. I want to delve deeper into all things health and put a microscope on what it takes to feel amazing on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.  And, with each passing semester of my Health Science Naturopathy degree, I learn more and more about what makes our bodies tick. I’m bursting to share my discoveries with you.

On that note, I introduce to you Miller Natural Health. This space will still be home to my beloved blog but, over the coming weeks and months, I will be rolling out some exciting new additions. So, stay tuned for that! (Check out the ‘I Love…’ menu for a sneak peak.)

I’m also taking a different approach to blogging this time around. In the interest of living my message of putting your health above everything else on your to-do list, I’ll be aiming to post a blog about once a week – instead of every day like I was previously. I’m going to let my intuition guide the schedule though so some weeks I might post more, some weeks less, depending on how I’m feeling.

While I don’t tend to place much stock in New Year’s resolutions I do place stock in being clear about how I want to feel, and this year my plan is to surrender. I want to feel at peace that I can’t do everything all at once, perfectly, every time, and relax into knowing that the important stuff will get done. The rest? It will work itself out – it always does.

So, what do you think of think of the site? I’m keen to hear your thoughts, so jump into the comments section or send me an e-mail!

Love,

Laura xo

I’m taking a break from blogging

I need some more time to be still.

I need to get back some space.

I don’t know whether it is the fact I’ve just started a new job, that my study has ramped up, that I’m about to move house or if my mind is just winding down after a busy year but every part of my being is shouting that I need to pull back my commitments a bit. This means taking a break from blogging.

At this stage, I don’t know how long this break will last. It could be one week or one year. All I know is that I need to stop pushing myself to meet the expectations that I imagine (because that’s all that is going on here: I’m imagining things) other people have of me. It has taken me a few days to even build up the courage to write this because I was worried that I’d be judged but I have finally realised that the only one judging me is me. So, it’s time to stop. Judging, that is.

I write about (and wholly believe in) living your truth, and putting your health and wellbeing at the top of your list of priorities. Lately I feel like I have been burning the candle at both ends just to keep up with everything I think I should be doing. I can’t keep the pace and that’s OK.

I want to really get stuck into my studies so that I can learn how to be the best naturopath going ’round and, to do that, I need to create some bigger pockets of space in my life and in my to-do list. I need to live my words and spread the truth that’s it alright to say, “I need a break”.

I need a break.

Thank you, dear readers, for your support and understanding. I’ll be back!

Laura

Judging me, judging you

Don't hide from your shadow.

Don’t hide from your shadow.

I had one of those moments yesterday where I found myself entering into battle with someone I barely know to make it clear that I thought their position on something was wrong, wrong, wrong. I couldn’t believe that they could be so narrow minded, so judgemental, so lacking compassion toward their fellow humans. And then it hit me: I was seeing my shadow self that goes everywhere I do. I too am narrow minded, judgemental and lacking compassion, and that’s OK because the perfect balance of the universe means that I am also open minded, accepting and so very compassionate. Holy wow, did that realisation shake me up!

This is how I reckon it works: our lightness can’t exist without shadows, just like day can’t exist without night. Everything we see in others is a perfect reflection of where we are at. It shows us where in our life we still need to dissolve our fears and beliefs that no longer serve us. It’s a beautiful tool and we should make more use of it.

I made a pact with myself a while ago that whenever I caught myself casting judgement at others, I’d shine the spotlight inward instead and work out what I was reacting so strongly to. We all have shadows. They are the parts of us that we disown and try to hide from the world but I’ve come to realise that in order to get closer to that true deep peace we all crave (well, I know I do), we need to embrace all parts of ourselves, including those that are hard to look at. And boy are they hard to look at.

I felt squeamish as I started dissecting my reaction to this person and I really struggled not to shy away from the icky feelings that came as I worked through it all. What came up for me during this exercise? Fear, mostly. Fear of being too opinionated, of not being open enough and of being a fraud. Once that fun little part of the process was over, I just sat with each of the feelings until I was cool with all of them. I had to eyeball my inner self and hang out in the shadows for a while until they stopped feeling so scary. And they did.

As you most likely already know, I’m a big advocate of using manifestation as a tool to create a life that hums along brilliantly and I also think it’s important to look at things in a positive light. We can’t hide behind glossy affirmations and false smiles though; we have to really feel the support of the higher spirit we speak to and of. Part of this is acknowledging the shade as well as the light, and giving a little nod of acceptance to the pockets of us that we sometimes try to hide.

Laura