Happy New Year one and all!
The holiday season was such a wonderful period of reflection for me, for myriad reasons, both good and bad, and I have emerged relatively unscathed into 2015. My New Year’s resolutions are more continuations than revolutions – to have a daily practice encompassing yoga asana, pranayama and meditation exercises, to sleep more, to read more books for pleasure and to spend more time outside. But I have one more this year which is to focus more and to multitask less, therefore to live more in the moment: to work when I am working, write when I am writing, and to be a mum when I am, well, being a mum. In short, I am aiming to split myself into fewer pieces and enjoy the manifestation of myself that I am embodying at any one time! (Phew!)
And I’ll give myself time to stop and stare…
Last week I had my first dedicated day where I did no work, no writing, no chores, and not a single ‘little tiny piece of admin that has to be done today ……’. I simply existed completely with Beatrice, entirely, without distraction and we PLAYED. She really noticed the difference and actually commented in a variety of 4-year-old ways how it was so fun to ‘play’ with Mummy. I’m often present in our home without being truly present and I’d hoped she hadn’t noticed, that it didn’t make a huge difference as long as I was there. Apparently not. Such a huge lesson for me.
I am also embarking upon some further study in health coaching (one can never stop learning) and I have been brainstorming some ideas for my clients here in Hong Kong. Out of those thought processes this week arose a letter addressed to myself in 2005, the super-motivated mid-20’s me who worked in finance in Central HK, but who felt the burn-out approaching and enquired on a health coach website (do you see where I’m going with this?). Having written it, I decided to share it with you:
Dear ‘ambitious 20-something’, circa 2005.
Thank you for your enquiry on my website and for your interest in what I offer as a health and wellness coach here in Hong Kong. I will do my best to address all of your questions, from personal experience, as honestly and succinctly as possible.
Yes, you are correct in your understanding that I worked in Central HK for quite some time in the corporate world myself. I found the whole experience exhilarating, motivating, exciting and rewarding but also incredibly challenging to my mental, emotional and physical reserves. I recall my Mum visiting me in my crazy, faced-paced world and telling me that my business suit was my battle armour and my make-up was my mask. I was rather taken aback at the time but she was so attuned to my truth, as mothers tend to be. Nowadays when I recount that period of my life in general conversation the phrase “I loved it but it nearly killed me”, invariably emerges from my lips.
For me it was like going to war each and every day, a young woman moonlighting in battle. Resplendent in my pin-striped suit I was sprinting around a premier league pitch and catching the occasional goal until I got pretty good and ended up out front with the other attackers. And I did encounter workplace pressure as a woman but in honesty most of the additional pressure I felt was of my own creation, needing to prove myself to me.
I felt like I was up front, attacking, scoring and periodically dashing to the sidelines to fix my hair; we pressure ourselves to look like the pictures in the magazine whilst we endeavour to keep up with our male and female counterparts in the daily workplace grind.
Firstly ‘ambitious 20-something’, let’s make one thing clear. You look great! You’re in your twenties and almost everyone looks great at that age, regardless of how you think you look. Your skin is still so young, your youthful body so resilient, your eyes so bright, your face retains a plump-cheeked, full-moon, fertile glow, all in spite of the daily pressures that you eke out upon it. But things need to change. The full-moon face of youth is not yours to use and abuse at will – it is a finite gift wrapped within the limits of time.
Imagine what could happen if you review how you live, if you gift your body, mind and spirit with the respect that they deserve and which you have not yet learned? What if you leave the battle behind and introduce balance to your life? You asked me what a health coach does, but the question would be better phrased as ‘what health issue most bothers you this week?’, or ‘what area of your life is most out of balance nowadays?’. Those are the things we will approach head on, together, learning how they arose and how best to implement small changes to your life in order to meet your health goals. We could address many challenges:
- Your hormonal skin outbreaks that have plagued you will disappear
- You will not need to wear foundation (seriously, that is possible)
- You will not require a ‘tan’, your your skin will glow from the inside out
- The mid-afternoon energy slump or post-work exhaustion be no more
- You will go through the whole day without coffee and wonder why you ever drank it
- The doctor will not be on speed dial, you can go year upon year with no prescribed medications at all and will not catch common colds more than once every 2-3 years
- Your figure will be smaller and your weight will normalize at the correct level
- You will be stronger in your body and mind once you open yourself to a regular yoga practice
- You will be able to sleep, without wine, all night and in peace
- Stress will no longer be your ruler, no longer omnipresent in each day
- Earning more money will be no longer your sole motivator, not because you hit millionaire status, but because the cliché that money does not provide you riches is absolutely true
- Moreover, if someone were to completely empty your bank accounts, your world would not collapse around you. You would simply continue, life would go on
- When you choose not to drink alcohol for a year you will actually enjoy the process, finding that your social butterfly can still flutter-by
Nowadays my pin-striped battle armour is folded up in a drawer and is unlikely to ever see the light of another day. I am still smart but on my terms and, as for my ‘mask’, it is no longer built upon a thick layer of foundation because my skin no longer requires the coverage, just a little coconut oil and maybe a sliver of tinted organic moisturiser. And yes, I do still love my mascara, but there are days now when I don’t wear it and still feel ok which would have been unthinkable before. Again, it is on my terms rather than a requirement of my ‘uniform’. As for the stilettos, I do still love them but they make an occasional appearance on special occasions: I no longer need the reassuringly familiar ‘clip-clop’ to feel that I have arrived!
So if you would like to continue your exciting, action-packed, adrenaline-filled life in corporate HK but are not sure your body and mind can cope, if your full-moon face is starting to wane, if you one day decide to leave that life behind to parent full-time and miss the battle sometimes, or if you are wavering somewhere in between and are not sure where your life and health are heading, I can certainly help you to strike a better balance. Or if you’re done with the battle field and want create a new version of you, learning how to better fuel your body and mind, I can help with that too. Let’s arrange a meeting soon over an espresso morning coffee a post-yoga herbal tea to chat more about your personal health and wellness goals. I’m so looking forward to meeting you!
With love & best wishes, Rowena (circa. January 2015)
And so, dear readers, endeth my letter to my old self. If only she could have read it and taken care of herself a little better in her twenties – thankfully her body was more resilient then and she emerged from the battle with minimal scarring. But those of us over the 30 threshold and beyond, take heed. Forgo the battle, maybe even the war, in order to save yourself. Who knows what might be over the horizon? My own battle scars are fading and my horizon is looking brighter than ever – join me! 🙂
I very much look forward to sharing the adventure of 2015 with you all.
Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts below – all are welcome.