Painting The Canvas Of My Life

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 7, 2016 by tivaniam

A few months ago I had a rant about the distorted perception of beauty ideals that society feeds us. I thought I was over it but a couple of days ago I was filtering through Instagram and came across hundreds of photos of different women who all look exactly the same – flawless, thin, immaculately contoured faces (and necks!), fashionable clothes and requisite duck-faced-pouting on cue. I am not an envious woman by any means but I found myself marveling at the beauty of these women whilst simultaneously questioning my own.

I am 35 years old and have two kids. I have had enough life experiences to call social media out on bullshit. For heaven sake, I am an advocate for authentic living! I pride myself on my quest for continuous personal development! I know I am awake enough to understand that my body is not my masterpiece – my life is… yet here I was, equipped with all that awareness and I sat obsessively googling “how to lose fat in three days”. Not my finest moment. For a few solid hours, I thought of my body and face as a project that I need to revise. Whatever Instagram tried to sell me, I bought. It took all my fucking money.

For a while. And then I stopped because I was exhausted. It’s exhausting trying to portray my body and face as art. My body and face is a paintbrush that gets to TRANSFER the INSIDES onto the canvas of my life where others are inspired by it. My body can never be my offering. I cannot be cursing my paintbrush every day because if I didn’t have it, I’d have nothing with which to paint my life’s work. And, my life’s work is the love I give and receive through the stories I tell. We are encouraged and willed to obsess over our shapes and sizes and this has no effect on our ability to accept and offer love or kindness or peace or comfort. None. I am sick of it. The longer I sit wringing my hands in agony about the shape of my paintbrush, is less time to get to work painting my life.

I have realised that the truth about it all boils down to one thing. Every single paintbrush shape, colour and size works perfectly – just perfectly. Anyone who wants to tell me the opposite is trying to sell me something. I am not fucking buying. I am painting.

 

Finding Courage

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by tivaniam

I’ve fought my whole life against people who raise their voices and noses; and talk more than listen. The judgmental types who have little introspection and who live in glass houses. It used to irritate me no end and made life unbearable and stifled me from living.

Two years ago, I got the greatest gift of awareness and inherited a tribe of people who want to change the world through Love and Kindness.  I was taught to shift my mind-set from worrying about what people think, to living authentically and courageously. These days, parts of my life do look shiny but underneath it all I am still confused and scared and make mistakes (some repeatedly). Through it all, I choose to show up big anyway.

I have chosen to live and operate differently. Trying to touch strangers by regaling them with stories from my own heart and script. Telling the truth about my fear and the ways in which I fuck up. I invite people in and try to pass on courage, through the gifts I have been given – that of love and storytelling. I give these away as though it’s good enough to heal the world.

Courage flows in all of us like the ocean waves touching the sand. It never stops and never ends.  We consume ourselves with the burden of taking too much of credit for our brilliance or dying in shame for our failings. Life is bigger than that.

The amount of courage that it takes to leave a relationship or marriage that doesn’t serve you; to leave a career that brings no gratification; to take the leap onto the next step of whatever it is you’re afraid to do. As simplistic as driving a car [took me 12 years to learn] or immersing myself fully in love despite several failed relationships [still learning]. But I am all in. No half measures. There are people who skate gracefully on the surface of life, while I live at heights and depths that people can’t see and doesn’t know how to reach. I do not skate. I crash and fly.

Daring to live boldly means breaking free from convention and learning to find ease in risk. It’s time to awaken your spirit to adventure and allow your soul to sense the world that awaits you. Be courageous. Tomorrow is not promised.

 

 

An Open Letter To My Daughter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2016 by tivaniam

This was originally meant to be a private conversation between my daughter and I, but, in line with what I was saying on Facebook yesterday, the truth is like a boomerang. And this is a concept you would hear repeatedly from me. I decided that there is nothing shameful about being human. There is no way to be a perfect parent but there are a million ways to be a good one. One of those ways, for me, is to free my truth and allow my children to truly know their mum. I believe that we all share similar longings, feelings, traumas, flaws and fears. And if we remain silent about these things, we would never learn how to be better. Or to accept ourselves. I turn my insides out when I write. And with that, I try to help the world become a bit free-er. That for me, is the part I play in this world. I refuse to profess to live out loud if I only do it when things are going well. Who learns anything then?

***********************************************************************

Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet. To go over everything…

Just kidding.

So this note comes from me with much love for you. Not just as my daughter, but as a young woman forging her way in this world. I wanted to say that I know I have been a mediocre mother. I know that there are times when you don’t understand me, my choices or my decisions. I also know that you are not at any level TO understand it, but I am hoping this letter gives you some insight into some things – the rest will come as you grow and evolve.

As women, our lives are generally and typically governed for us. We need to be a certain way. I have never been that way. And how lucky are you to be born to an unconventional mother who will teach you a different way of being??? Right???? [I see you roll your eyes kid].

You see, I knew I was different from a young age, and I knew that I was destined for more. I knew that I couldn’t live the life that society wanted me to live and I knew I had to pave my own way. When you and your brother came along, I KNEW it wasn’t only me to think about, but my strong desire to be more, sometimes overshadowed my role as a mother.

For me, being a mother boils down to one thing only – loving you unconditionally and being present in your lives daily. Which is what I believe I am, regardless of distance, circumstances, domesticity, cooking or cleaning or making lunch or doing homework and the rest of it. Love is love.

I know that there are moments you felt shameful for choices I made. And sad at having to explain those choices to others. I am sorry for that. But you will never understand those choices now at your age. But I hope with every conversation or every post you read of mine, you learn to understand ME.

Every “bad” decision was a catalyst for me to grow. It HAD to happen. Every heartache, every failed relationship or divorce, every move we had to make or even now, our separation from each other,  has become a fire in me that burns even stronger. I KNOW that God intended to use me and my story to share His love and hope with people who mistakenly believe themselves unlovable and hopeless. Maybe God loved me back to life for a serious purpose. On the outside it looks like nothing has changed. I have still not achieved the “success” that other people consider important. But [pay attention now because this is vital info here] – crises in life shakes out excesses and leave only what’s important. Crises shake things up in such a way that we are forced to decide and hold onto what matters most. And THINGS don’t matter. Not the money, cars, houses, clothes, stuff. People matter. And who you ARE matters. I am getting to become who I have always wanted to be.

As women, we are creative enough to handle anything and everything that comes our way. That’s what women do. We create. And then we re-create. Then often we have to re-re-create what we thought we were done creating. Makes sense? Probably not. But again, remember the words because it will make sense one day. So while NOTHING has changed. EVERYTHING has changed.

So while it feels weird now, I know that my story is a redemption story and I know that you and your brother will get to know that you have a mother who may not be a mother in conventional terms, but she is a mother who loves her children and who will teach them the art of being true.

Love you my girl. Be a good human.

xoxo

On Being True

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2016 by tivaniam

Can we be true to ourselves even if that means failing another? That is a question that I have been plagued with. The more I choose to love myself and vote for myself first, the more complex it becomes for everyone else. This act of juggling and choosing to serve me or serve others leaves me exhausted, with a dire need for peace. I don’t have the answers so I am trying to sit with what is, without trying to hide it or fix it.

What has come up for me in the last few weeks is that it’s not even the pain that consumes me, it’s the fucking shame. Shame about the pain. Shame about the choices. Shame about the reality and the perceptions. It takes self-loathing to another level and is completely counter-productive for my growth and development. I have to become unapologetic about my behaviour and choices whilst knowing that this will be too much for some people. That I will be too much for some people.

A part of me knows that those people, aren’t my people. I know for a fact that my too much is exactly enough for the right people. For those who want more. Therefore, I cannot become less.

Yes, I’ve got these life experiences and perceived failures that many cannot and WILL NOT profess to have. It is dealing with a past depression that could have killed me. It is dealing with multiple failed relationships – often in close proximity to each other. It is making very fucked up decisions, the repercussions of which, are felt to this day.

But guess what, these are also my superpowers. I’m the canary in the coal mine. My experiences, my sensitivity, my telling of the truth is what allows me to sense danger that others cannot. So, instead of being silent and trying to extinguish my fire, allow the same fire that almost killed me, to be the same fire that I will use to light up the world.

Closure is an act of sanity for me.  It is something I choose to bring to the table of my own healing. I don’t see this as failure. It becomes an earnest quest for answers that often uncovers life changing truths. These truths will only set me free.

I know for sure that whatever this is, I will get through it, because I already have and continue to do.

 

 

Living With Integrity 

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 3, 2016 by tivaniam

I’ve been mulling over the concept of integrity over the last few days. More than just HAVING it, how many of us actually LIVE with it? 

I know for a fact that I like to think I do, but I don’t. Not consistently anyway. And it’s hard but necessary to tell that truth.

Living with integrity means more to me than its simplistic meaning. Often my spirit is nudging me in one direction and I bypass that feeling and go in the direction that puts myself last. And havoc gets created internally as a result. Can I live a life that involves being true to myself fully without worrying about what people would think? No. It seems I cannot. And therefore I lack integrity.

When my life turned a corner, I promised and committed to living with the full expression of who I am, actively participating in life after wanting to die for so long. But like most women, I suspend my deepest desires and needs in service of what needs to be done. That is not living with integrity.

I’m not the same woman I was even a year ago, fortunately. I’ve learnt that only by owning who and what I am, am I able to step into life fully. But I’ve bought into this distorted hype of what society deems beautiful and correct and loathe my aging process. I used to hold it in reverence, marvelling at the gift that wisdom brings with age. Now I look at myself and see mounds of fat. I am not living with integrity.

Recognising that there are issues to work through is one thing. Taking the action necessary is where the hard work begins. Starting over begins by looking inward. Paying attention to the inklings and murmurings. The universe applauds action not thought. Real providence comes from knowing what is the truth of your life. Where everything you do and say every single day shows the world who you are.
That is living with integrity. 

Dream Big

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 22, 2016 by tivaniam

It took me a long time to learn that my own thoughts create my world. The only path that is right for me, is the one that is lit by myself. So I have learnt how to dream big. Dream beyond the sphere of my own limited thoughts and aim for the sky, making whatever I do an expression of the infinite beauty that I possess.

To some this sounds pretentious. But it has nothing to do with having an ego. It is about stepping into and staying in my own light and in my own peace. Something that is a tall order for a lot of us.  Dreaming big means leaving the preconceived ideas of how life should be. It involves the courage to show up and be seen, for what we truly are. In life, in love, in work and in relationships. It is not a victory march. It’s often a cold and broken hallelujah. But if you make the commitment and dream the impossible dream, the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.

Twenty years ago I had a dream. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be impactful and share my voice. I was timid and restrained – held back by what I thought was the “right” thing to do and be. I wasted years of my life trying to conform – putting off the desire to dream big until a few years ago when the internal noise became so loud that I heard nothing else. Having fought to be who I really am means that I know first-hand what it feels like to have the dream come true. And so, even when it’s highly inconvenient – even when it feels CRAZY – I will listen to the voice, and I will obey it, knowing I am a spark of the infinite. The journey has been incredible. Seeing my name in print in different platforms, hearing people tell me that my writing and authenticity has inspired them, evoked a feeling that propelled them to move forward and step into their light…it’s breathtaking to watch and feel.

Whatever IT is. Do it. Today. The universe inspires action not thought. Dream big.

Raising My Kids To Be Gentle

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2016 by tivaniam

Recently social media has been flooded with arguments.

We are angry about loose gun laws. We fight about looting and vandalism. We scream about mental health. We play the race card. We debate the merits of rape and good parenting. We blame Muslims. We blame terrorists. We blame gay people. We blame the government. We’re scared for our children. We’re scared for us. We write more articles about empathy. We apportion blame to this, that or the other.

All of these hateful and ugly things are making people frustrated and defensive and scared. And I absolutely get it. I’m frustrated, too. It is frustrating that we use up precious real estate hating each other. Space where love could live. And all of our finger-pointing and asking for our problems to be solved outside of ourselves leaves me feeling discouraged. Because the only difference we can ever really truly make is an inside job. I’m frustrated by our unwavering desire to be right. How can we possibly HEAR anything over all of our righteousness?

I’m concerned by how much we allow fear to lead us. It’s disheartening that humans all over our world are still regularly persecuted for attempting to be their authentic selves. There is so much hurting, everywhere. I’m frustrated that privilege is still power and it continues to make parts of us feel less than. But, honestly, our frustrations aren’t helpful unless they motivate us to actually HELP. Right? And our choices are so important.

I am acutely aware of how my reactions to life impact my kids’ reactions. They see us. They hear us. They mirror us. What reflection do we want staring back at them, even (and especially) when life feels unkind?

I recently read a sentiment that suggested we have “gone soft” as parents and this has led to a generation of wholly ungrateful, undisciplined and disrespectful young people. It made me stop and think deeply about what I really want for my kids. And it is this:

I want my kids to be soft and gentle.

I do.

In a world full of rough edges and sharp corners, I want to raise humans who are gentle and kind.

When life is dark, I want them to always look for the light. And when fear’s grip tightens, I want them to know that FEAR IS NEVER LIGHT. Ever. Fear is so convincing and it will take every ounce of their strength to remember in those hard moments that fear is never loving. Or kind. Or generous. Or compassionate. In fact, fear can’t survive in proximity to any of these things. When the world asks them to be scared and angry, I hope they are brave enough to lead relentlessly and unapologetically with love.

I want them to know that life is mostly (read: completely) defined by our reaction to it. I want them to not only imagine what we would be capable of TOGETHER if we listened more than we defended, reached out more than we pushed away, celebrated our unique viewpoints more than we insulted our differences – I want them to DO and BE these things.

I want them to know that the path to peace is one paved with love. Love isn’t the solution. It’s how we get there.

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