A Martyr at Work: perfection serves no purpose 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been in competition with myself: do more, be more, do better, be better.  

Be the best you can be.  

What’s wrong with that one might ask? 

While it felt good for a while and I got a lot of recognition for it – being the reliable one who could always do anything I was asked to do and to a high quality, I’ve come to realise that it’s just not it. It is like a beast that is always hungry for more, no matter how many times a day I feed it, it keeps coming to the feeding station. It has got to a point where it is becoming not worth the trade-off of sacrificing my body and my connection to something I know is much bigger and far grander than the physical me and something that is in truth my greatest ‘craving’. For what? Just to get something done, tick things off a list and feel safe.  

What is this ‘safety’ that does anything but keep us ‘safe’? I have a PhD in learning that perfection is a hefty wall of protection that is very easy to hide behind. When we make everything that we do ‘perfect’ (whatever that looks like) and get attached to the picture perfect, we leave no gaps for anyone to offer their observations and even to criticise or disagree with us. And by doing that we build artificial borders around us with “no entry” signs and we cut ourselves off even more from people: people whose reflections we need and who also need our reflection to evolve and grow.  We simply cannot be or do without others. 

Yet, this is how most of the world lives. So many of us are lost in work, shopping, netflix, gossip, other people’s lives, complaining… it’s a long list. Waiting for the high of the next fleeting holiday to get us through to the next 6 months, or cup of tea and piece of cake, or task to tick off a list to get us through the day.. all are the same drug of reward, just different flavours.  

I might convince myself that I am reflecting some kind of superwoman to my team and the office with my can-do work ethic, but if I am driven and my body is hard, for being in drive is not our body’s natural modus operandi and it puts the body in a state of hardness much like when we are standing out in the freezing cold with inadequate clothing, and if I’m exhausted and silently resentful, they can still feel it. There is nothing that cannot be felt by another, there is only a choice to feel what’s going on under the physicality or not. And no matter how long I might believe I am staying under the radar – which includes my thoughts and the inner state of my body – no one is inspired by a lie, no matter how artfully and beautifully I might dress it up.  

I reached a crunch point the other day where I got to feel the drive and hardness of how I’d been working and pushing my body. When I overload myself with work and tasks and leave no space for these things let alone anything else, my body feels compressed and I feel joyless and disconnected. I feel out of sync and rhythm with myself, and irritated. There is a feeling of far greater density in my body with no space left for God to work alongside me while I’m doing what I’m doing, and no matter how hard I might try I can’t feel the depth of the magnificence of what we are all intrinsically connected to. Life feels very one dimensional and there is nothing to write about, or say. Rather than stop and allow myself to feel all of that, so that I can offer myself an opportunity to change the unpleasant state, often I will want to bury myself further into the numbness by working more, eating more … finding anything I can to distract myself.  No wonder the saying: we are our own worst enemy. 

But yesterday was different.  

I just allowed myself to accept where I was at and how I felt in my body, to feel how this cuts me off from that deeper knowing of myself and connecting with others, and to move differently. To pay attention to every single movement and bring focus to making it gentle. This super simple process instantly made me feel lighter and more inspired by what’s possible, and mostly that I wasn’t a bad person for having lost myself in overdrive. 

What I also got to feel was that as we refine our choices for how we are and how we move, the choices that aren’t aligned to that same gentle, tender and delicate quality really stand out and feel so much worse than what we  might have previously considered to be abusive.  

And there again is another choice: to react and judge the choice as ‘bad’, or to see it as an opportunity to learn and come out the other end much wiser and to treasure ourselves more. This is precisely how we continuously raise our standards in relationships with others across the board for what is and what is not allowed so that ultimately one day we all treat ourselves and our bodies as the sacred temples that they truly are. 

“Women must rekindle their own rhythms within society and not let society demand of them what is not natural to their body.”

Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations,  p526 

By B, UK  

For further inspiration.. 

Choosing function or true focus: how does this support us as we go about our day? The profoundness of self-care at all times.

What happens when we connect to our qualities and commit to making them our foundation for how we live in every moment of our day?

Repose: taking a back seat in the front row

I have recently completed a program called Stillness and Cycles with Sara Harris from Follow Your Flow. It was 6 weeks of finding out everything and more about our cycles. Each week we attended a presentation, discussion and an Esoteric Yoga session, charted our cycle every day, learned about the cycle on a physical and energetic level, and kept a daily journal of body awareness and observations of each phase.  

The program has taught me about repose, and I have had a physical taste of what that really means.  

If for a moment we consider the human body to be like any motor engine (which in truth it is – a magnificent engine that makes so much possible for us), then we know that the two basic components which make a motor engine are stator – the part that does not move but plays an equally important role as the part that it supports to move, which is rotor. In the case of the human body, we have all the moving mechanisms which form the moving, motion (rotor) part and, not necessarily in physical parts but more so in the quality of the movements, we have a repose (stator) part. What and how we move, always begins from repose and the quality of it. The greater the repose i.e. the quality of our being in stillness, the greater the movements.  

Previously, I couldn’t get my head around repose – how could we be doing things and participating in normal everyday and very busy life, but be in repose? It seemed a bit unattainable. I thought it meant lying down and not being very productive. I didn’t see how life could be lived like this – always lying down??  

During this program I experienced and understood the magic of repose, the wonder of its dual dynamic – of feeling settled and still, yet participating and expressing in all aspects of life – taking a back seat in the front row. Why a back seat? The back seat stands for settlement. Because we are at the performance (life); we are fully present to the performance, yet we are settled in ourselves. From this place; our ability to simply observe without getting entangled in what is playing out in front of us is far greater and as a result we are enriched but detached.  

Why the front row? Because we are participating, active and involved. We are seen and not hidden in the shadows of the back row. And because of the front seat view – we see more than we have ever seen.  

Taking a back seat in the front row relates to a distinct sense of being able to sit back into myself. As I had this feeling of sitting back, I felt the support like that of a chair where I could let my physical body go and be held. I settled back and was held…by my cycle.  

In a sense I am on the edge of my seat and wanting more, whilst being completely rested and sat back in my seat. What a combination! To be at the ready and participating in all aspects of life, but to be settled and at ease. To have experienced this feeling of settlement has been incredible. I have been a highly anxious person pretty much all my life and I can still push that anxious button. However, through this program of Esoteric Yoga and understanding our cycles, understanding my cycles, I have had a taste of something entirely different and out of this world.  

My cycle guides me in this; supporting me to see the depths that are on offer energetically and physically. For example, if I take the menstrual phase where I currently am, then my body has moved into depths of tenderness, delicateness and sensitivity. I can take that seat and participate in life from this point, sitting back, enriched by the depth of what I can feel and surrender to. Or I can fight and miss the fact that there is a chair there with my name on it and with the depths it offers. There are two sides to the coin; I choose which. 

What is also amazing is that I am aware that we are part of many cycles, at any one time, whether of day and night, our sleep cycle, the weekly cycles, the cycles of the season, the decades cycles etc – everything comes back around. By being connected to my menstrual cycle, I have had the feeling of being somehow connected to them all.  

Repose is our home and it’s inside of us. It is a quality of rhythm that is integral to our being. Through Esoteric yoga, stillness, and bringing out the greater levels of innate tenderness and sensitivity, I have been able to feel that repose; that natural way of being where my body settles and greater awareness of life switches on. From here I could experience the performance that played out in front of me, but not become lost in its narrative.   

With much due appreciation and thanks to the Benhayon family for blazing the trail with their livingness, and Sara Harris for her dedication to women’s health and all things cycles at Follow your Flow

By Simone G, London, UK 

For further inspiration..  

From an inconvenience to a blessing.. more from Simone on her relationship with her periods 

Ovulation and periods.. a sacred time to treasure

To have or to not have a period?

“We don’t need to bleed” read a bold statement in a recently published article in British press.  

Apparently, women are opting to take a pill that stops them having periods. 

Why are women increasingly giving up on periods?  

Ask many women about their experiences of periods and they will tell you that they are painful, uncomfortable and a downright nuisance.  

Until very recently, I was one of the women giving up periods. I didn’t take any medication to stop them physically occurring in the body but my giving up was to have no understanding of the point of all this period stuff. I quietly believed that periods were an expensive biological occurrence costing me a balanced emotional outlook, sanity, comfort, ease, productivity around that time of the month and more. The list was long. I also thought it was par for the course to experience these things and so I suffered quietly through.  

I literally had no clue about what was happening during my menstrual cycle. I didn’t know what time of the month my periods occurred. If someone had asked me what a period was then, I wouldn’t have been able to say much. Up until a year or so ago, I would be at the doctors and not even be able to say where I was in my cycle. Not because I had forgotten, or didn’t have it recorded somewhere, but because I didn’t even know what that meant. What was a cycle? There was just your period every month, for about a week or so, and then there wasn’t.  

The article mentioned highlights the mental health impact of our relationship with our periods too. I used to feel awful, and quite recently I experienced the frustration of the PMS stage in an extreme way again. The tension was unbelievable. The emotional storm before my period was another disturbance and agony that I accepted as ‘normal’ for years. It would leave me feeling desolate and disconnected and it was never a case of one week of PMT or PMS, and the rest were golden weeks. I learnt that everything was connected and everything affects everything else. The discomfort and tension I was feeling before the bleeding phase was significantly impacting my work, my relationships, my sense of self-worth, my confidence.  

Writing about this now, I understand that the empty, lost feeling that I had was partly from feeling like I was walking around in nothing but an empty shell. I didn’t relate to this physical body that I was in and found it difficult to see – and feel – where I fitted into everything. Connecting to my cycle has been a great way to help feel myself again.  

So how have things changed? 

Inspired is exactly the word I would now use to describe the relationship that I have with my cycle and myself, through making the conscious choice to understand and connect to my cycle. Would I opt to no longer have periods now? Absolutely not. I hold them very dear to me, but if, and when, they go, they go. The beauty is that I will still know that my body is working intimately in cycles. We all live in cycles and the period cycle is just one of many that women experience. 

What I love about my periods now is that I have far greater understanding of my cycles and the different phases in a way where I can work together with my cycle and use it as an incredible support, rather than the former nemesis. I am getting more and more of a feeling for the grand support that the hormones estrogen and progesterone provide when I allow them to do their incredible and delicately designed jobs. I would never have discovered this had I not listened to the signals from my body. I now have the choice to sit back and allow estrogen and progesterone to do their jobs which requires me to be more sensitive to what I need in the moment in terms of rest, expression, food and drink etc.   

I now know when I am ovulating and it generally feels great. I notice how naturally confident I am, how I am more outgoing, enjoy working with or generally connecting with people, and I feel hugely inspired at this time in my cycle. It can often feel like the beginning of something new and I feel very inspired by who I am with an increased appetite for getting more involved and committed in life. And I just want to be around people, which isn’t always my experience at other times in the month.  

I now notice that a few days into my period, once the pain and discomfort have gone, then I have a similar feeling of get up and go, and connect to a purpose to get things up and running or finish things off so that I can have a fresh start with the next thing on the horizon. I feel more expressive and not just in how much I talk and say but also in the way I walk, in my footsteps and all my movements. Somehow, I have this feeling that there is more of me than what I can see, if that makes sense (?). 

Being aware of the different phases of my cycle helps me to look after myself more. I know that the more sensitive and aware I am of each part of the cycle then the more I can benefit from my body going through its processes of clearing and preparing for the next phases. I had an experience recently where I learned that if I am lost in anxiety, stress or struggle then I can completely miss feeling the inspiration that I described above, which is kind of sad to have that missed beautiful opportunity. 

My relationship with my cycle is just that. It’s a relationship I have with something and someone. Mostly with me. My body can be my best friend and adviser at every step, or I can opt not to see it or treat it that way. It requires me to be sensitive and aware, something I don’t always choose. It requires me to be honest. It asks that I trust the relationship, to commit to it and always appreciate what it offers. It asks for new and often unfamiliar levels of self-honouring and care to be chartered, which can at times feel uncomfortable. It asks me to be aware of how I may have been making things much harder for myself and my penchant for a struggle – a knowing not always easy to accept.  

Observing how my body is feeling has brought a deeper level of understanding: rather than the pain of periods disturbing and wreaking havoc on my life. I can now see that it was more that the way I was living my life was wreaking havoc on the natural blessing that periods afford me. Until this understanding, I was trying to ignore if not fight against the healing and clearing out that my period gifted me every month. Some things just can’t be ignored or fought. 

My cycle can be my compass anytime I am willing to listen. This exploration has changed my life. To have felt lost and desolate, and resentful of my body, to now feel an inner confidence and be inspired by my body, is something I truly appreciate.

Do I never experience period pain? Not at all. I can still experience painful periods, but now I know that there is more to understand and more care and awareness to be expressed and communicated in the way that I am living. Knowing that there is always an expanding relationship to be had with my cycle will always be my inspiration.  

With heartfelt thanks and appreciation for Natalie Benhayon and the Ourcycles App, Sara Harris at Follow your Flow, and Serge Benhayon and his family for their livingness and presentation of a much richer relationship with ourselves and life.  

By Simone G (London, UK) 

For further inspiration…  

The PMS ‘Power Pass’ .. an excuse to indulge, or to step up our responsibility and listen to our bodies? 

One woman’s experience of developing a relationship with her body and herself, starting with simple observation.