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Don’t Let Guilt Stop You

Many times recently I’ve sat down to write to you, but nothing showed up! I had so much I wanted to write but with the keyboard in front of me, my mind went blank.

It felt quite strange and it’s left me feeling a bit inadequate, useless even and quite sad that something that brings me such joy, communicating with you, has withered away somehow.

One of the parts of my work that I love most is sharing useful business strategies and insightful tips on living well with you. And now I struggled with it, feeling stuck and uncomfortable.

Eventually, I decided to do something more than just mope about it. When I feel stuck, I like to open to my journal and get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper and I don’t always know what’s going to come out.

Once more, I turned to my journal and simply wrote down a question for me to ponder,

“Jane, what’s up?”

And I started writing and the first thing I noticed was how differently I was spending my time these days. I have very proudly managed to organise my month so that I have three weeks working, and then one week off.

This means three weeks in Edinburgh; connecting with interesting people, attending events, working with prospects and clients. And then for the fourth week of the month, I may be in Edinburgh and I may just as easily be somewhere else. Recently I have been exploring various locations in Spain, other parts of the UK and well, anywhere that calls because I want to see and experience more of the world we live in.

On my latest trips I have enjoyed the freshness of the sea in the Costa Del Sol, the beauty of the Andalusian mountains and the splendour of the attractions in Seville. I have wandered down the little streets in Marbella, enjoyed ice cream as an afternoon cool down and have seen breath taking sunsets as I reflected on the events of the day and the gratitude I was holding in my heart.

And as I write this I am in the quaint little village of Settle, Yorkshire, about to embark on a waterfall walk this afternoon. The world is a great place and I am enjoying it hugely.

And more reflections came…

I had the privilege of attending a couple of events at the Edinburgh Fringe, I saw a great band called Withered Hand and a film called A Plastic Ocean, about the plastics in our sea. This film moved me very much and I was truly saddened to see what we are throwing away and the effect it is having on our marine life.

And finally, as I was writing, in the middle of all this emerged a feeling that confused me.

I feel really guilty!

Guilty? What is this about?

And so I kept writing, I was getting close to uncovering something now.

For the last five years I have been working on huge life changing plan; to downsize my life, and have more freedom to live. And I have downsized my house and my car, I’m fortunate enough now to be mortgage free and the time and money to have fun in the sun.

I’ve shared some of my journey with you, and I’ve certainly had my dark times, really tough times that required challenging decisions and in all honestly challenged me to my core often.

Last November it all came together. After a brief period of feeling, “Blimey, careful what you wish for”, I now had no mortgage, and I felt that I had ‘arrived’. The weight of pressure that I barely knew I’d been carrying for so long left my shoulders, and that feeling of lightness and freedom was very satisfying.

So where did the guilty feeling come from?

I’m still working on getting to the bottom of that, but for now what I’ve uncovered is that I’m aware I am in a very privileged position and not everyone else is.

I have the freedom of the time I have carved out for myself and my new plans about how to spend that time having fun and at the same time continue to feed my passion for helping people in business.

My life has usually involved others, involved taking into consideration what they wanted to do.

I’m not saying that I refuse to consider them now but it’s very different for me to think about what I want to do, without taking into consideration the limitations, expectations or even demands from outside.

Of course the clock still ticks same as it does for everyone, but the pressure to meet deadlines has changed, I have the time and opportunity to relax and appreciate the world around me in ways I have never been able to before.

This freedom has awakened me to the beauty that surrounds me.

What I’m working on now is finding a balance so my work continues to guide and support those still on their journey while staying true to my new life.

When you set out on a journey, you’ll have many challenges and there’ll be much learning and personal growth. Many don’t make it, because the pain of change is too much and they stay where they are. Whatever pain they felt in their constraining circumstance wasn’t enough to make them move.

I moved.

While I investigated my feeling of guilt, the great words from Marianne Williamson came into my head:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

As I now surge forward in my new world, feeling liberated and free, I encourage you to pick up your pen and your journal, write, “What’s up” and see what emerges from your head, onto your paper and out in your world.

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