All posts for the month December, 2013

This above all: to thine own self be true

Published December 31, 2013 by Crystal

I’m lying in bed, snuffling.  It’s December 31st 2013, and I am tolerating a cold that has been kindly shared among friends and family.  But I don’t mind!  In 4 days we celebrate 10 years of marriage, with a (fairly) small number of loved ones.  If we could, it would have been a bigger party, but finances and situation don’t allow at this moment in time, and like our wedding 10 years ago, the party will be a fairly shoe string affair, filled with love and laughter.

But it’s important to celebrate.  Ten years may just be a drop in the ocean, compared with the silvers and the golds, but to be as happy, happier even, than the day we married, is something I want to sing about!  In Ten Years our family has grown from three to five, not mentioning the pets, losing one, gaining 4 others.  We’ve watched and participated as our garden change from a leylandii surrounded blank canvas, to something surrounded with dogwoods and red robin trees, inflatable pools in the summer, mud in the winter.  And now one third filled with a big rabbit run for our latest family additions.  And a 30 foot eucalyptus my husband regrets us planting.

We’ve had our family crises.

There have been bouts of serious depression.

We’ve had some horrid illnesses, and threats of more serious illness.

But no more or less than other’s endure.  For the moments of sadness and hurt and loneliness, there have been moments of pure joy, excitement and contentment.


For several of these last ten years, I would arrive at December 31st, eager to see out the year, and hopeful the next one would be better.  Several years seemed full of endless bad luck, or sadness.  And depression held a shadow over many of those years.  But this year I am looking back and find myself not wishing 2013 away with the same passion.   We’ve had hardships, and the year has not gone without troubles, but this year I feel content.




This year I feel like maybe I have cracked things a little bit.  This year I have been more “myself” than any other year.   This year I have grasped far more strongly the idea of being true to myself.  Of realising that my needs and desires are as important as those of my family and friends.  It’s happened in the past, through necessity, when depression was the master and I was too weak to do anything in a rational and reasonable fashion.  In those times I did things out of self preservation, but sometimes crassly and in hurt and anger.

This year my motives and actions come from a gentle place.  They come from a place of love and worth, for family, for friends, but primarily for myself.   In 2013 I have learnt a little more the benefits and positive self worth, of learning to love and appreciate myself, and of what that entails.   Of being able to say “I am enough”, and “My feelings matter”.    I have learnt that changing habits can be hard but emotionally freeing.  I have learnt that we allow ourselves to be used, or we make a stand and allow our feelings to be heard.  I have learnt that some people won’t like the changes, and that others will congratulate you.  If you’ve been a “yes” person, and suddenly become unavailable, you will cause ripples.  But if you are being true to yourself, you will feel comfortable and happy with the choices you make, and the ripples won’t hurt.

2013 saw the start of my counselling training, and maybe that’s why I’ve noticed the positive influences so acutely.  It’s early days, the very beginning. But I feel calmer generally, and in control of what is mine to control.  The rest, the things I have no influence over, do not cause the same anxiety or concern that the used to.   And maybe that’s the biggest key to my changes this year.  Things and people will happen in my life.  They’re not my responsibility to change.  I can only change how I respond to people and things!  The more it happens, the more it becomes a positive habit.  The more I accept what I can do, and the less I stress about what other people do.

So maybe the key to happiness is finding the “True” you.  Shakespeare said it best.


Whatever your plans for NYE, and your dreams for 2014, I wish you self worth, self love, and truth.


Christmas blessings

Published December 22, 2013 by Crystal

I’ve decided to take a break from weighing in for 2 weeks. It suddenly dawned that i was starting to stress and panic at the thought of hitting the scales tomorrow. I always said i would not let the scales dictate my feelings of self worth and yet it almost happened. I want to enjoy the next week and i will. I can regather my concerns about weight loss in 2014! If i don’t see you before, i shall see you next year xxxx

“How much am I projecting my weight loss fears and failure on to you?”

Published December 12, 2013 by Crystal

I love the idea of never “dieting” ever again.  Really, I do. The idea of being a wholly intuitive eater.  Knowing instinctively when to eat, how much to eat, when to stop.  It is something I do honestly wish for.  It is also something I have spent several years trying to get to.  Many wonderful things have happened in that time, and my responses to food are vastly different from what they were five years ago.  I eat a delicious and varied diet, and have learnt that certain foods affect me in less than favourable ways, and other foods leave me feeling full of vitality and happiness!

But I still have issues with portion control and listening to those hunger signals and decided, that for me, following some sort of plan might help with my area of weakness.  10 weeks on I’m 15pounds lighter, and I feel good.  I feel content.  I feel that “it” works, this combination of groundwork made during years of studying Intuitive Eating books, and current use of a diet plan.  But I also feel, with a foot in both camps, I’m noticing more, the comments and assumptions placed around dieting and non dieting, and I wonder how much we project our own concerns and feelings of failure onto others as we look at their choices.

It has led me to realising how much I have placed judgments and my own experiences on to another persons decisions.  The friends who’ve started diets, be they milkshake, soup, or some other food plan.  I’ve looked at them with my own failings.  “Oh but you won’t last!  The weight will go back on!”  and yes, there are trials and studies that have proved as much in an awful lot of cases.  But mostly, in talking about those studies, I’ve been supporting my own experience.  I haven’t succeeded on a diet in the way I wanted to, and I don’t want the other person to feel the misery I have felt, or maybe somewhere deep down I haven’t wanted to witness their successes where I failed?  How much of my concern was concern for myself and how would feel during their journey?  How much of it was genuine concern for a friend and their experiences?

I wonder if there is a way we can learn to support each other on our journeys more, with less judgment and more kindness?  Both to ourselves, and to the friends who make the choices?  I wonder if there is a way we can become more aware of our projections and feelings as we contemplate a friends’s choices?  I wonder if there is a way we can protect ourselves and our choices without imposing onto another’s choices?

New Year is coming, soon there will be a plethora of diet talk and anxiety, but I hope, with a new awareness, I can realise my own judgments and experiences, and set them aside. xxx


Treading Gently

Published December 10, 2013 by Crystal

I wonder if there is a way for an individual to be aware of another’s feelings and sensitivities whilst remaining true to ourselves? I wonder this because yesterday, a group normally known for acceptance and tolerance lost several valued members over a discussion where words were misunderstood and the language became a wall that could not be scaled. It was sad to witness, not being able to think of words that might bring comfort to all. And i wondered what it might be about now that might have catalysed such a division and such a distressing situation for several people. And i wondered whether maybe it’s because it is Christmas. And maybe, no matter how hard we try to remain calm, and to not let anxiety and exhaustion ruffle our feathers, sometimes we might benefit from remembering we are not alone in our stress and tiredness, and while we are feeling attacked, so are others. And maybe our feelings are valid, but so are another’s. But these pains and hurts are all very valid, and finding a way of not belittling, when tensions are already high is difficult. I wonder if maybe remembering that it is a tough time of year might help? And i hope these differences and hurts can be discussed and accepted.

I don’t believe in karma

Published December 4, 2013 by Crystal

Or rather, I don’t believe there’s something waiting to punish us and make our life hell when we treat others like crap.

I used to believe in it.  And facebook is prevalent with photos telling others “The karma train is coming” or “Karma’s gonna kick your ass”.  But I don’t any more.  I’ve come to the personal realisation that karma is more how we respond to what life gives us.  It’s how we react to situations and people that creates our karma.  Some years ago I decided to step away from a friendship that turned out to be very one sided.  The person in question didn’t respect or trust me, and I decided I didn’t want to put energy in to a relationship I didn’t feel comfortable and secure in.  Friendships are precious.  When we find friends we really trust and value they become an extended family, people with whom we share hopes, dreams, happiness, sadness, and time.  So why would we consciously choose to give all that to someone who criticises and ridicules us?  It wasn’t done with any malice or hate.  I didn’t bitch at them.   I simply stepped away and stopped making contact.  Part of it was easily done in that I broke my ankle and couldn’t actually leave the house for several weeks, and the person in question visited me just once in that time anyway.  The other part was done in that I did not visit once I was mobile.  After 6 months the person turned up at my door on a Sunday lunch time and it so happened some of my family members were ill, so I said they couldn’t come in.  That was it.  There was no publicly humiliating fight.  There had been a wine filled evening which had led me to this decision some time before, and I blogged about it in 2011, but that was it.

Now since then, a lot has happened.  My kids switched schools and then switched back again.  Several situations have come and gone.  And life moves on.  There’s been lots of ups and long periods of downs.  But I have always tried to be a good genuine friend to people around me.  I have tried to be polite and friendly to acquaintances, and I don’t walk around wishing harm on people.  So it came as a bit hurtful when one of these people from back in 2011 decided to blank me, even at close range.  I would smile.  She would glare and look away.  I would stand back so she could come in through the playground gate to get to school on time, she would not even acknowledge me, let alone say thank you.  And I’ve carried on smiling, I’ve carried on being polite if it means me standing back so she can pass through a gateway.  The other day I snapped.  I made a bitchy comment about how mature she was being, because it upset me that I have never ever done anything to her, and she only knows what she has been told by others.  I admire the loyalty to another friend, but at what cost when you can’t even display courtesy to another human being?  She wouldn’t treat a stranger the way she has treated me.

But then it hit me.  In my trying to be polite and smile and hoping for a positive response, I am bringing about my own stress and anxiety, and hurt and upset.  So, she doesn’t want to acknowledge me in any way.  That’s her choice, and it is up to her how she will deal with the consequences that come out of her behaviour toward people.  Just like it is up to me how I deal with my choices and the consequences of how I treat other people.  I am no longer going to make the effort with any hope.  I will smile, just like I do to anyone else.  I will move aside to allow others space, just like I always have.  And I will live, confident in myself, and aware that I don’t have to justify myself to anyone at all.  I am not a bad person.  I am not a hateful person.  But I don’t need to prove this to anyone.  I can choose to be hurt, and upset, or I can choose to accept that this is the way things are, and free myself from the upset.  This is how I see karma now.    And it’s kind of freeing.