The Peachy Dream Store!

The Peachy Dream Store
Hello everyone <3 Yesterday I began a new era of this beautiful space and platform which has helped me grow and develop so much. 

I started The Peachy Dream almost 3 years ago now as part of a dream to promote positivity, lovingly uplift the hearts of others and create a space of kindness, compassion and hope. It has helped me tremendously over the years and it brings so much light into my life when others tell me that my posts also illuminate any darkness in theirs. 
Over the past few weeks I've been working really hard on ideas in which I can further spread such messages of love and happiness in a fun and creative way that doesn't involve spending hours upon hours writing pieces in which many may not have time to read or digest in our busy world and was hit with the idea of creating pieces of clothing, stationary, utensils etc! I noticed I was always searching for the perfect comfy jumper that wasn't just pretty but also represented something I believe in. I believe in trying to do something everyday to help others and just imagine how many people you could reach walking down the street wearing a piece of positivity!
I have created 4 initial designs to start off and have a shop trial for 90 days, which I hope to be able to expand if some souls are interested and invest in some pieces. I have so many more design ideas, quotes, drawings and items I would love to create and of course would just adore your input too if you have any ideas or suggestions or requests! I am so grateful for this opportunity and really excited...I love trying new things and exploring my creative side and it's just amazing to be able to blend everything I love and stand for into one!
The link to my shop is below eeek. I have tried my very best to make everything as affordable as possible while trying to cover all costs. I hope these pieces may bring you or a loved one joy, strength and courage and remind you of the bright side of life!
I hope you enjoyed and that you may like my peachy pieces!
lots of love & peace & happiness
Lauren x

Self Study Saviours

Self Study Saviours

Hi everyone <3 I hope you are all as well and ok as could possibly be in this scary, worrying time. The whole world has come to a standstill due to the Corona virus and I think we are all very nervous and frightened of the unknown and uncertainty. I was going to write a little about how scary and worrying this time is for us all but I think it can just be so consuming and overwhelming and perhaps a more positive optimistic change is the more appropriate thing to do! With all this uncertainty and unknown it can be confusing and difficult to know what the next step to take is on our own winding paths but I think the most important thing we can do is to stay hopeful and optimistic; to look after and care for our loved ones and those must vulnerable in our community but also to focus on our goals and future hopes. Perhaps we can take advantage of this time of self isolation to slow down, work on ourselves and just focus on the little things we can do for each other, this world and our own beating hearts. I am so lucky and grateful to have a big majority of my readers in their late teens and twenties; the years of which are so often consumed by studying and learning. I know, even the midst of all this uncertainty, many people have exams coming some stage in the hopefully not too distant future! Whether you are in college or school, being suddenly thrown out of your comfort zone and thrusted into a suddenly drastically different routine can be so tough and scary. Perhaps you thrive learning alone, can motivate yourself to wake up and sit hours on end at a desk and can muster the self discipline to keep on going day after day. Even if you can do all of those things, not having a definite goal pr date in sight and such uncertain change is really unnerving! But, if you are like almost every other human on earth and perhaps face some difficulties in trying to remain disciplined, calm, focused, motivated, hopeful and positive in your work life when the world seems to be falling apart around you, then I promise you you are not alone! I have written this blogpost (really just an accumulation of past writings) in the hope that it may help you a little bit if you are at home now and struggling to get into the zone of working towards your study goals and schooling needs. I hope this post may help you even muster a tiny bit of motivation, enable you to discover a new way of working or aid you in boosting your brain productivity. I wrote about mindsets and habits but also specific techniques and methods for learning. If there is anything that I can do to help you in anyway please please please message me. I am so lucky that I have no exams or work commitments so if there is anything I can do help lighten your load or aid you in anyway please ask <3 

I hope you enjoy this post; I am absolutely no expert on productivity or studying but I hope that maybe some of the things that worked for me may also help you! I hope you remember that no matter what, you are not defined by your work, productivity and stress levels. You are whole and enough in all that you are and your worth could never ever be measured by your achievements or results. The definition of success is extremely different and unique to every person reading this, it is both ambiguous and personal. I hope this post may help you on your own personal journey towards success, whether that be to simply make someone smile or to become the president! 

Imagine having notes as pretty as these!

Organisation Is Key
Being organised can come very natural for some, while for others it may be an extreme struggle. Perhaps you find yourself at the beginning of September, motivated and excited with your new pens and colour co-ordinated folders yet two weeks later everything becomes a muddled mess. I have always liked to be extremely organised and in control so I am lucky in certain ways but I think it is a habit that is really important for achieving your goals, especially if you are in an exam year. Being organised doesn't mean you have to have every single thing perfect and of course you can never be prepared for the unknown but it definitely helps a lot. To help keep you organised I would recommend keeping a journal in which you write down all work and study due. Dedicate a space to remind yourself of any upcoming tests or work that needs to be handed up. Create some sort of organisation system that works for you and your work...whether it be a folder for each subject or a cue card for each topic. At the beginning of every week I would write down certain things that I wanted to have revised or accomplished by the following Monday in a separate little notebook and would then assign those things to certain days of the week! Therefor sitting down each evening to my study I could also clearly see what I had preplanned out to revise for that day. 

I would have in no way gotten through the leaving cert if it wasn't for the outside motivational factors! When you are stuck in a seemingly endless rut of constant work and exhaustion it can be hard to remember that it is all for a greater purpose. While of course there is an end goal, I personally found it more beneficial to break the overwhelming future into smaller more realistic chunks, these then seemed easier to grasp! In my study room at home I had a countdown blackboard to any future event of which I was looking forward to. These included simple tea dates out with friends, holidays away or in college we would plan a night out at least once a week which made everything better (hungover studying is not too fun though lol)! Honestly I lived for seeing the number of days get closer to zero...heheh sad but anything that helps! 

I hung this board right in front of me through all of last year. It helped keep me motivated, organised and sane!

Make It Bearable 
I am hand on heart, the biggest stationary and organisation freak!  I could honestly spend hours in a Tupperware or stationary shop, preferably buying everything in pink lol! Entering into my study after school with the heating on, candles lit, a warm big cup of tea and writing down three things I am grateful for makes the studying process a billion times more bearable for me. I used certain apps, techniques and rewards that further made learning more enjoyable for me. What is something you can do, create or add to your work life that will make it more bearable?

Get Into A Routine
Routine is essential to get you through such a demanding time. My morning yoga, nighttime meditation, after school walks and 4 pm cups of tea became my saviours last year. No matter how good or bad the day was going, once I accomplished those tasks and lived through my outline for that day, I knew I would be ok. Try asking yourself what habits are essential to your daily life, happiness and health, while also figuring out what works best for you. Some people create a study routine of an hour per subject at random points during the day, others attend supervised study sessions, some students get up early or work during the night. I used to prefer ensuring I was sitting at desk at 4:45 pm and in bed by 9:30 pm, with the in-between filled with consistent hard work and ticking off my to-do lists. I have written a post already about my Morning Routine which may help you to define your own personal schedule, you can read it here.

My morning yoga and hot lemon water always set my day off right.

Balance It Out
All work and no play is a recipe for disaster. Honestly, 6th year for me was probably the most balanced year of my education so far! If you are working and studying non stop, not only will you burn out but you will also just drive yourself insane! Go out with your friends at the weekend, finish studying early for a yummy cup of tea on a Monday night, have a movie evening with your boyfriend/girlfriend on a Friday, go to Zumba class on a get the drift! I went away a few times during the school year at which at the thought of I felt so guilty and nervous for, but, I realise now just how beneficial such breaks learning Sraith's in the sunshine is a million times easier heheh. Once you have worked hard, you can then relax and enjoy such time out of the books, guilt and stress free. 

Know Your Limits
I think everyone hits an extreme wave of overwhelm, exhaustion and stress at one point or another during a stressful work year. This tsunami may overhaul your efforts and objectives at the beginning, middle or end of the term yet no matter when, the feeling of sheer burn out is terrifying. I almost drowned in such exhaustion in March of the Leaving Cert year and it was so scary, I thought that that was it, no matter how hard I tried I could not find the energy, motivation or will to study. My body and mind had me convinced that I would feel like that forever and my only option was to fail the Leaving Cert. Thankfully I listened to my rational family, friends in similar situations and also trusted google to realise that the only solution was to actually listen to my body and mind and to rest. Did you know that our brains enter a saturation point at which no more information can be processed? Struggling through the ache of exhaustion and pushing yourself to continue to study and work and learn is not only dangerous for your health, it is also counterproductive. I know it can be so hard if you are perhaps a perfectionist to just say, 'No, I'm not going to open a book tonight!' and to see all of your friends working hard or to feel lazy or unambitious, but I promise you, if there is one thing I took away from this final year in school, it is the benefit of rest and recovery. After about two weeks of taking half days, sleeping and studying only until I hit my safe limit (even if that meant just five minutes), I felt so rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to study, work and try again!

'The perfect is the enemy of the good'

Be Strict
'The most effective way to do it, is to just do it'. No great achievements are amounted or dreams are reached without self discipline, determination, hard work and maybe even at times, a lot of stressful tears. I don't think there is a soul out there who enjoys sitting down for hours on end reading and writing...yet more often than not we must do the things we have to do until we can do what we want to do. You have to be strict with yourself and question how much you really want to commit to working towards your own definition of success in any aspect of your life. You will have to be the one who ensures you get up at 6am or who forces yourself to turn off your phone. Yet you will also be the one who shall reap the rewards of your efforts and hard work! 

Find Your Groove
I once heard a teacher say that we must study for ten hours over the weekend, never revise on weekdays and work until 10:30 pm at least...if I personally followed that advice I honestly think I would have broken in half by now! You are unique and so the way in which you best work will be unique to you too. For me, I could start studying at 7 am on a Saturday but I would never ever open a book on a Sunday or Friday until about a month before the Leaving Cert. I found working at home and early mornings worked best for me while midnight sessions and library settings may work better for others! Against all advice, I never sat any mock exams as deep down I knew they would be a bigger worry and burden for me than they would ever be of help. I was in bed every weeknight no matter what for 9:30 pm, I savoured that time to myself watching youtube videos or reading blogposts. Find out what works best for you and adapt your study life around that!

Eat The Frog
Mark Twain once said, 'If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first'What is it that you dread doing the most? In terms of studying in college, I personally found that I absolutely dreaded BIS and MIS yet I could have spent hours engrossed in Accounting work and Economic graphs. Ever since hearing Mark Twain's wisdom and reading an extract from Brian Tracy's book 'Eat That Frog', I began to understand the importance and benefit of getting 'it' over and done with. Like a bandaid you just have to rip it off and suffer the intense sharp short pain rather than slowly prolonging the agony over time. To conquer this dread, no matter what, I began every study session or day during my Leaving Cert with Irish followed by Geography. Come 10 am during college library sessions, knowing that I had the modules I hated out of the way before people were even getting out of bed gave me so much relief and satisfaction. Doing this can then help you relax and focus on other subjects and areas that you prefer! If you want to, later in your study session, go back to more of the subject you dread, you can now do it at your ease, knowing that you have what you needed to do over and done with!

I once heard of a study conducted in Harvard in which students analysed the books in their library. They discovered that 80% of the actual words in each text were irrelevant to conveying the book's desired subject message. Imagine how much of your notes and novels equate to that 80%? Minimising everything was my absolute saviour during the Leaving Cert and my college exams. Find a method that works best for you, perhaps it is creating your own acronyms and sayings or maybe you prefer to draw mind maps and flowcharts. I had my whole Geography course on a set of cue cards. I threw out every single essay sheet (anyone who studied LC Geography will understand there are approx 7 billion essays lol) once I had broken it down into the key words and points on the cue cards just so I wouldn't be tempted to allow myself to focus on anything more than the most relevant important facts. I minimised my Maths course too through this method, each night adding any key information or examples to the cards. By the end of each topic, you have the whole section summarised down to its key components in just a few lines. This not only makes it way easier to learn and revise, it also saves so much time and wasted effort having to weed through your book/notes trying to seek out material.

I used to detest mind maps but I found these helped a lot in the law basics. I started using them for certain law topics after we were made to create some in an assignment for another module. I used this website to create mine!

Almost every single teacher and lecturer reiterates the need to listen in class, while it can be hard, it is actually probably the most effective and efficient learning skill. Actively listening to what is being taught will lighten your own personal workload so much. Not only could you pick up extra information and key points, but, through actively paying attention and scribbling notes you will also be able to make links between different topics and parts of each subject. I found this worked so well for me in LC subjects such as Business and Accounting, I never felt the need to have to sit down and study them as a result of just having the knowledge engrained through listening, yay!

I am in no way a study expert but from talking to people I realised that this one thing may be the trick that could help you so much! Learn your stuff...every single day. I know it's not fun and I know it's draining but I promise you that it will save you from prolonged heartache and stress. If you do three new geography essays in class today, go home tonight and learn them. You are going to have to do it someday and there's no other way around it but to just do it. The thought of learning three essays in one night may seem somewhat manageable but then add on the exact same workload from other subjects as well as revising your pre-set out revision from that night and I'm sorry but it's just impossible unless you want no sleep, no sanity and no life at all, which is why you have to work smart and not work hard!

Another form of minimising but with a more direct focus is something called spitting...I think. Oh it definitely isn't called spitting but it was something like that where you basically just get out everything in your mind lol! I began this in college, I have no idea what it is called but I am sure there is some technical word for it hehe, is basically just writing down every single thing I know about a topic, I guess like brain storming! I would type and type and type until I had pages and pages filled with information. I would then compare them with all of my proper notes I had already taken and anything I had forgotten or left out, I would highlight in my notes or add into the messy notes in bold. It s a time consuming method but honestly amazing especially if you have a memory that can see things really easily and can recall the words on the page and the part you added in or highlighted. If you're using a laptop I would absolutely advise to turn off spell check for this because when you start to type really fast and are just trying to get everything out, the squiggly red lines under everything become a little embarrassing heheh. Below are some of my spits (ok I really need to know the technical name for these, the word spit is awful, please let me know if you know it because I can't find anything..or else I've just invented something and called it spitting and I am horrified if I have heheh) and as you can see they are so messy and make no sense to any one else reading them but to me they became my everything for learning and revising! They just contained the most important points and details and those highlighted in bold pink were things I had left out when I compared them to my actual notes.

Macroeconomics 'spit'...please help me find a new word!!

Actually can't deal with the spelling and grammar mistakes...ahhh I'm so sorry!!!

Work Smart Not Hard
Perhaps sitting down and reading an essay for an hour may enable you to learn it but what if you have the work equivalent of ten essays in one night? I developed a way of coping with wrote learning,  whether it was in the English, French or the Irish language. I don't really know how to explain this other than to use an example, so, pretend you are given a 6 page essay in Irish on the effects of global warming. On the day of receiving this essay I would read through the whole thing, having hopefully already read through it and recognised key words in class. (PS make sure you translate everything and anything you do not understand into your mother tongue. It makes learning off essays in other languages much easier when you know what it's actually about). The max I would usually take would be 3-4 pages a night and so I would start to work through each paragraph. This process usually only took max 30-40 minutes too! I would start to read it, taking it a couple of sentences at a time, then I would close my eyes and repeat them. I would highlight key words, spellings and phrases or anything that I kept forgetting and would say it through again without looking. Upon getting to the end of each page or section, I would try to repeat the whole thing without looking. Every time I messed up I usually went from the beginning again but never more than twice. I repeat this for each of the 4 pages until I reach the end and then I would go through it from start to finish with my hand covering the text. On the first day of this process it is so important to not try to get it all perfect...once you have it roughly in your mind and processed then that's all that matters! The following day, I would go through those exact four pages again (much faster and easier this time) before repeating the initial process for the rest of the essay and I would do the same the day after, by then it's almost engrained.

No Distractions
Distractions are so hard to deal with, they are everywhere! From phone notifications, to living with people, to simply even the weather...when you are studying and desperate for a break from the endless cycle, watching the rain fall can even seem exciting. Distraction is the enemy to productivity. But we are humans, we have been wired to react to different stimuli and we have been especially wired to avoid danger at all costs which makes sense seeing as anything can seem better than stuDYING heheh. Unless you have unbelievable willpower and self restraint, I don't really know how to overcome our wondering day-dreaming minds. You can however control the outside interruptions. Turn off your phone and leave it in another room. I use an app called 'Forest', in which you plant a tree and if you click on your phone while the tree is growing, it dies. The amazing thing about this app is that once you gain enough points, you can actually plant real trees in Africa. It was such a powerful motivator in helping me kick my phone addiction throughout final year and also I luckily planted three trees just from win! Ask your family to not disturb you between certain times or find a quieter environment such as a library and school study sessions. Take breaks at intervals that suit you. I used to take a break for twenty minutes between every two hour block of studying and in that period I would engage in every distraction possible which then made it a bit more difficult to be swayed while learning hehe.

Shake It Up
Endless reading, reciting, writing and learning would make any poor soul go insane. Midway through 6th year, I began to utilise alternate ways of learning such as daily French podcasts, reading news articles in Irish or watching Math tutorial videos on youtube. They make the drudgery of learning a little less painful and more fun. Type in a subject or topic on YouTube, Google, the App Store and the Podcast app..I promise you will find something!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you were able to take something, everything or maybe even nothing from it! What helps you to work or study? What are you finding is helping you during this time in isolation? Feel free to let me know in the comments below (it makes my day getting such kind lovely messages from you, it means the world that these posts are helping people). May you be safe, happy, healthy and well in this scary time. Love always to you <3

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I hope you enjoyed!
lots of love & peace & happiness
Lauren x

21 Lessons In 21 years

21 Lessons in 21 Years

Hello, I hope you are feeling happy, content and at peace as you read these words. Thank you for stumbling upon this and taking the time to read my rambles <3 I recently celebrated 21 years on this earth. It's crazy to think I'm officially an adult wherever I go now; I still feel like a scared little girl at times who just wants a hug from her parents! These are 21 lessons I have learned in those many magical mesmerising cycles around the sun.

1. You may never feel enough. Throughout your whole life, you have trained yourself to believe that if you can just do this or just wear that or just look like them; you will finally feel worthy of this life. As long as you hold yourself up to your own self inflicted rules and all too high standards of which are impossible to attain; you will never be happy. It's scary to allow yourself to just open your heart and to listen to the drum of its faint yet unchanged melody and to hear that this is who you are. You can either take yourself or you can try to leave yourself. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. You can't leave yourself. This is you and the longer you try to deny that soul or change its very intrinsic being; the more you will suffer. And perhaps you may think like me, 'well I deserve to suffer if I must inflict this world with my presence'...dig deep enough within your heart and you will realise the truth, that that thought is the very core belief of not enough-ness within itself. You have to endure yourself. You have to live and love and accept all that you are...because who that is, really is pretty amazing.

2. You can not hate yourself into a version you will finally love. Self love begins with shining the light on your deepest darkest shadows and allowing them be seen, heard, felt and finally transmuted into sparkling shimmers of love. 

3. This too shall pass. Each dark dusk must end with a beautiful new beginning of light. No darkness will last for ever and neither will any pain. Sometimes it can all become so overwhelming...a simple moment becomes so consuming, so large and terrifying. In that moment, it encompasses your whole being and suddenly life itself seems so dark, inescapable and frightening. This is just a moment. This is not your life. This pain is nothing but storm clouds rumbling through the sky...soon to be replaced with beams of warm bright brilliance. I know the deafening thoughts are ringing through your ears, the flashes of fear are blinding you of seeing any good and the floods of tears are pulling you under; but just you hold on. Keep swimming. You will not drown for you have a lifebuoy just waiting for you to grab; hope.

4. You always have a choice.

5. Pain is the greatest connector. Psychiatric hospital taught me that there is no greater connector and soul bearer than pain. 'If I tell these private thoughts of mine, it is because I know they are not mine alone, and that practically everyone is trying to say the same things and that the writer is only a man who says out loud what other people think or whisper.' Sitting down for dinner with the six other patients on the eating disorder ward taught me how pain transcends all genders, ages, ethnicities and people. We all had different stories, different backgrounds, different lives yet one thing connected each and every one of us; we were each in turmoil, we all used food and our bodies as a way of escaping our inner pain and we were all fighting really really hard. I now believe that suffering supersedes all outward projections and inner beliefs. When I found myself being held by a lady 30 years older than me as I cried because the nurse had poured my milk just slightly above the required line, I finally felt understood and accepted. She understood the thoughts, the pain and the irrationality of the eating disordered voices; she had the exact same monster in her mind telling her the exact same things. We were so different yet so exactly the same. We would later spend the next five months being each other's daily cheerleaders as we came across challenges like a horrific St Patrick's day dessert that only we will ever understand and still giggle about to this day heheh...(long story including screaming at nurses and disgusting green (?!?) cream). I learned that pain strips back all outer facades and reveals the true vulnerable, scared yet sacred soul beneath. Whether you are rich or poor, black or white, young or old...we all have pain and we all endure suffering. How refreshing and reassuring to know that you are not alone.

6. As long as you hold fear, you will never be free. Where there is fear, lies opportunity. For fear is a beacon from your heart, pulsing with passion, waiting for you to grab its hand and run together in the direction of freedom, a path carved by your innate desire to be free. Fear is the greatest unrest within our souls. For how can we feel fully alive when there is a self inflicted restriction within us? As long as we hold fear, we will never be free. Only in facing our fears can we allow our toes to dip into a limitless world, one in which nothing can hold us back, because finally, we are not holding ourselves back.

7. Our thoughts are not always true, our feelings are not always real and our perception is not always clear.

8. You are your own biggest critic. If you spoke to others the way you speak to yourself, you would have no friends left at all. People don't see you the way you see yourself, both internally and externally. I am too busy worrying what you are thinking of me and you are too busy worrying what I am thinking of you. In reality, neither of us are thinking of another, just of what each other is thinking of each other...mouthful hehe. My best friend said something to me recently and it really really stuck with me. I was feeling upset about how I looked before we went out and she said 'Lauren you have looked at yourself in the mirror  for the past 21 years. You have inspected and analysed every single inch of your skin and crevice of your body. You can account for each and every of your own perceived flaws but will omit any possible beauty. You have taken these pieces and created a vision of yourself of which only hold. When someone looks at you, they don't see the you that you have torn apart, investigated and scrutinised for all those years..they see you with raw wide open eyes. They don't see you as dismembered pieces of flaws and failings but as one whole, unique and perfect person. They see you for the you that we all see and love and that hopefully someday, you will see too.'

9. There is no perfection, only beautiful versions of brokenness. 

10. Be love. 'The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it's your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who's not full of hate, who's able to smile and be carefree. So that's who I have to be. I have to be love.' (This quote just says it all perfectly).

11. You are a mirror. Like a different language, in order for you to communicate with anyone, you must have first learned the art of speaking with a new tongue. Similarly, in order for you to see the beauty in others, you must have first embodied that same beauty yourself. The good you find in others, is in you too. The faults you find in others, are your faults as well. After all, to recognise something you must know it. The possibilities you see in others, are possible for you as well. The beauty you see around you, is your beauty. The world around you is a reflection, a mirror showing you the person you are. (I have written more about this topic in my post You Are A Mirror).

12. Everything happens for a reason.

13. It's ok to be both. You are allowed to have whatever proportion of characteristics within yourself as you feel to be true. As humans, we may appear as a paradox of opposing beliefs, but that is the beauty of humanity, we are messy creatures. The different sides of us are not mutually exclusive but are rather intertwined as one to create the uniquely stunning people that we are. Like yin and yang, we are entities that need balance. We need both the peace in the wild and the wild within the peace. Allowing yourself to find a balance between the perhaps contradictory states within you rather than tip-toeing on a tightrope is what will help you find contentment and comfort in who you are rather than trying to fit into a specific idealised standard of who you believe you should be. 

14. You don't have to be pretty like her, you can be pretty like you. Just because she is pretty, that doesn't make your own beauty absent. Fairy lights are beautiful but so are feathers, yet their beauty is completely unique and different, they can not be compared; nor can you.

15. Change is the only constant. 

16. Kindness is the universal language of the world. 'Kindness what a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world'. A specific memory of true kindness and love will forever and ever be with me. One evening I felt so upset and I rang my mom crying. I was two hundred miles from home, tormented by my thoughts, lonely, hopeless and truly felt no longer able to continue to fight; all I wanted was for someone to take me away from all of the pain and fear. A stranger appeared like a guardian angel, she squeezed my hand and held a tissue to my eyes and then disappeared. I have tears in my eyes just thinking of this moment, it may sound like a small gesture but her kindness and compassion saved me that night. She was suffering too, she was a patient with all of her own issues, scars and battles yet in that moment she chose to remind me of our common humanity, our united suffering. I wish I could tell this woman how much her care meant to and still means to me. Thank you.

17. Everyone has a story. When you try to understand people and view their behaviour and actions through the eyes of love and compassion, you can then not only tolerate but forgive and send love to even the greatest of evils. Everyone has a story. Everyone has pain. We all do what we can to survive. Perhaps what one may do to get by in life may cause horrific pain, agony and suffering. While such hatred is horrible, when we transform that person who his tearing us apart into someone who is to be pitied and dealt with compassionately we can allow in peace and serenity to move on with our lives, to let go, forgive or focus on the beautiful positive people, things and memories we have and are yet to experience (I wrote a lot about this topic in my previous blogpost The Secret That Changed My Life).

18. The fear of suffering is often worse than the suffering itself.

19. To be vulnerable is to be brave, powerful, courageous. You have to open your hands if you want to be held. We all just want to feel connection, acceptance and love but how can we let someone touch our heart if we have built up impermeable walls around it? Vulnerability is terrifying, allowing ourselves to be seen as our true messy and unique selves is scary. Even finding the willingness to say 'I love you' first without any guarantee of a return is terrifying, however, such vulnerability is the only key that unlocks the gate to pure love and heavenly happiness. 'What happens when we open our hearts? We get better.'

20. Nobody can save you but yourself. It's up to you. I learned this after being discharged from my first admission; my favourite nurse held my hand as she said she was sorry for not being able to help me enough. She could see through the facades of fake happiness and knew I was falling hard and fast down the dark hole of relapse weeks before I had even left. Six months later when I met her on the corridors of the adult hospital she hugged me and kissed words upon my soul that were simultaneously earth shattering and liberating; 'You didn't choose to get this illness, but unfortunately and also fortunately Lauren, you are the only person who can choose to fight it and get is all ultimately up to you'. 

21. We are all on our own journey. There are no set rules for life; no direct route, no perfect path, no clear map...just our inner compass gently guiding us in the direction of our highest good. We may find ourselves on the road less travelled, in the middle of a large open meadow. We could become immensely overwhelmed at the sight of the towering trees, the cacophony of the screeching crows and the smell of the wild evergreen. We could cry with fear over how scared we are, scream in anger at the world for placing us here and faint at the thought of all the different stony routes out of this clearing. Alternatively, we could pick up the budding yellow rose next to us and smile at its intricate beauty, laugh with the rhythm of the sweet sounding swallows and gaze in awe at the infinite, deep blue sky. The choice is ours, it’s just a matter of perspective. We may feel lost, scared and confused at our own life situations but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, in fact this feeling could be the very thing that will set you and I, both, free.

So I close my eyes to old ends and I open my hearts to new beginnings.

What have you learned in your past years in the home we call earth? I hope this post may have helped  lift your heart. Please leave any suggestions or questions below in the comments. Click here to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on new blog posts. Thank you so much for reading!

 lots of love & peace & happiness

Lauren x

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