1 year Cancer free.

It has been exactly 1 year since I got the all clear and what an amazing year it has been. I completed my coaching diploma, started my yoga teacher training course and most importantly I completely transformed in so many ways.

It’s amazing how when you get a life changing diagnosis every other worry you had becomes obsolete. That person in work who annoys you. That project your behind on. Any conflict with your significant other. Money worries. Self limiting beliefs. Everything else just disappears and you suddenly realise how it wasn’t really important in the first place. Suddenly you realise that the only thing that ever mattered was your health.

This is something that has really changed my perspective on the world. In the years leading up to this I suffered with auto-immunity and arthritis so I already knew that if your suffering with a chronic condition and with chronic pain it takes over completely and can be so hard to get into the right headspace to break free from the cage of being trapped within your condition. Being diagnosed with cancer allowed me to break free from that cycle.

From the date of my first surgery, through my diagnosis, getting the all clear, getting the ‘not actually all clear’, to a second surgery and the final all clear it all happened so fast and was such a whirlwind experience. I can’t even begin to put in to words the pain and deep soul felt sobs that happened during that time. Every single second of every day I was praying to God to heal me of this and visualising the outcome that I wanted and thanking him for all of the blessings in my life so far. I realised during this time of uncertainty that the things that would usually bother me suddenly didn’t bother me any more. In work, at home, in general – if something happened that would usually cause me to get stressed out, I just accepted it and moved on, it didn’t matter.

After getting the all clear this shift in perspective really stayed with me and because of this I began a complete transformation into a happier, healthier and more free version of myself. I realised the things that truly matter and let the things go that didn’t. Of course i’m only human and slip back in to worry and anxious thoughts from time to time, don’t we all? But i’m very quick to recognise it now and bring myself back in to a more positive and uplifting mindset. This change in mindset not only helped me achieve freedom from anxiety and my self limiting beliefs, but on a physical level I feel better than I have done in years. I actually forget some days that I have an autoimmune disease at all, i’m too busy loving every minute of life and thanking God that I am healthy enough to live it. I still suffer with chronic pain but I am no longer consumed by it. I still have an autoimmune disease but the autoimmune disease no longer has me.

This past year has been amazing for me and I know that this is just the beginning. I have always wanted to help people become better versions of themselves and help them to improve their mental, physical & spiritual wellbeing. After living and breathing such a transformation myself I now know that the rest of my life will be devoted to helping others achieve the same kind of freedom in any way that they need it. I am here to serve.

Carton House – The red route.

Last year when we went to Carton House for Easter i was extremely sick the full time we were there from my Arthritis medication. We decided to go back this year when we could really enjoy it.

They have two walking routes of the grounds and both are truly beautiful and so peaceful. This post is about the red route. We completed this route already last year but i could only walk a few steps at a time and was in a lot of pain so couldn’t enjoy it properly so we decided to do it again this year on Easter morning.

We got up early and after a gorgeous breakfast in the Linden Tree restaurant we went out for a morning stroll. The weather was perfect for it, the sun was beaming and warming, as it was still early morning it was a comfortable temperature and not too hot.

Coming through the golf house courtyard and under the archway you will see a little wooden sign post up ahead. If you take a left at the sign post and follow the path around it starts to take you on a gentle uphill walk through the golf course. As you get to the top of the hill you will see on the left a little white shack that has toilets in and a vending machine out front for some cold drinks or snacks which was very welcome on such a warm day!

We stopped off for drinks and then kept following the path along to Tyrconnel Tower. The tower was built by Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnel who was the viceroy between 1687 & 1689 and was actually born at Carton House. The tower, the trees, the freshly cut grass & the sunshine really made this walk one to remember, but i’ll let the pictures do the talking…

After the tower, the walk comes down towards some forest on the left hand side and if you keep walking that opens up to the river running through the grounds. We actually took a little detour off the red route here just to walk down to the river & the little bridge crossing. We were the only people in sight and it was so serene and quiet. It was actually at this point where i thought, You know what? This is why people play golf. Imagine waking up early and coming out on to a golf course as beautiful as this one. The T for this hole was up on the ridge beside the walking trail, and the hole was across the other side of the river and bridge, it was just the most beautiful and tranquil setting. I can imagine it to be almost like a meditation, being out in that setting in nature, nobody else around you, focusing on making the shot. The only sounds are the wind, the birds & your own breath. Maybe i’ll take up golf one day, who knows?

We made our way back on to the route and under the cover of some trees for the last part of the trail. I remember this part of the trail being very muddy last year but the weather wasn’t as good as it was this year. Still though there were muddy patches even though we had a very dry few days so i’d recommend wearing shoes you can easily wipe down just in case. The path winds slowly back down through the trees and then after after a few minutes comes out beside the lake and boathouse.

Fun fact about the lake at Carton House. Queen Victoria actually came to stay at Carton House, twice, many years ago. After her first visit, she had a dream that she was in a boat out on a lake at Carton House. There was no lake at Carton House during this time, so they actually built a lake especially for the Queen before her second visit, to make her dream come true.

This walk took us around hour to complete as we were really taking our time and just enjoying a gentle stroll around in the sunshine. It could be done in half an hour if you were walking at a regular pace as it the route is only 3km. If you only have time for one of the walking trails at Carton House i’d recommend making it this one, you won’t be disappointed.

Map of the walking trails from the Carton House brochure & website –

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Second time lucky.

***08/02/19***

I’m writing this laid up in bed recovering after having my second surgery on my knee last week.

Let’s rewind..

Last year I had a surgery on my right knee to remove a melanoma. It was sent around to several specialists in Ireland and one specialist in Holland and finally they got back to me and said they all agreed they got it all the first time around, no further surgery needed. Massive sigh of relief ! I can’t even begin to explain the emotions felt at hearing you have Cancer and waiting to find out if it has spread or not. Anxiety, fear, dread, grief, panic, to name a few ! The weight that lifted off my shoulders when I got the call from my Dr to say they got it all the first time around was palpable.

Fast-forward to the end of January..

I then got a call from the hospital only two weeks ago to tell me actually no, your Dr shouldn’t have advised you that and we need to see you again ASAP. I argued blind with the nurse on the phone God bless her.. ‘no you’ve made a mistake my Dr told me you got it all’.. ‘I got the all clear back in December’.. ‘are you sure you have the most up to date records’.. ‘can you check and see if you have the results from all 3 specialists there as they confirmed that it was all gone?’. She had to repeat to me several times that she had my most up to date record and then she advised they recently had a board meeting where they discussed my latest results and the hospital decided that further surgery would be necessary. You couldn’t make this shit up!

I was back in the hospital two days later meeting my oncologist surgeon & discussing my treatment plan. He wanted to take a wider margin from the area and send that off for further testing, no risks being taken here.

1 week later I was in the Vincent Private having my second surgery. It all went well but the surgery was a lot bigger this time and a lot more painful so I’ve been laid up in bed for the past week recovering and keeping my leg elevated.

I was advised to pop back in to the dressing clinic yesterday so they could check the wound as I was worried it wasn’t healing as well as last time. The nurse was so careful with it and told me that it does seem inflamed and it was still bleeding slightly (which it shouldn’t be). Due to the scar being right on the inside of my knee she said I need to be very careful to keep my leg straight and put no pressure on it as bending/pressure can cause it not to heal properly. So that’s me in bed for another few days now before I even think of leaving the house.

To say I’m bored shitless is an understatement. I’m usually so active with work, gym, yoga, walks & cycling. Lying in bed for 8 days straight so far is not going down well but I really do need to make sure this heals well so for a change I’m actually listening to the Drs advice.

On the plus side, I’ve been getting lots of reading done & have finally found the time to stitch missing buttons back on dresses & shirts I have had lying around for a while. Little tiny positives right?

My results should be back next week. I’m staying positive and hoping that my Oncologist was just being very thorough by performing a second surgery but until then… fingers crossed & praying.

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Life after diagnosis.

In 2018 I was diagnosed with autoimmunity (PsA), neuropathy & skin cancer.

I went through months of harsh medications that destroyed my immune system & left me weak & fatigued. I lay awake through endless nights of chronic physical & emotional pain. I watched my strength disappear, I watched my health deteriorate. I went from squatting 100kgs to being unable to hold a cup in one hand, unable to hold a pen, crying because I couldn’t hold my key properly to open the door. I’d get off the train from work and run home so I could climb in to bed and cry, my head and neck (aside from everything else) were in so much pain I couldn’t do anything else. I went on holiday weekends and spent the full time locked in the bathroom of the hotel coughing & crying.

I went from being the healthiest person I knew, to being the unhealthiest. How dare my body betray me like this? After all of the clean eating, workouts, yoga, years of no alcohol. Why me?

I stopped writing my blog… who wants to read a ‘health & fitness blog’ from a girl who can’t walk to the end of the street without feeling like she was going to collapse?

But guess what?

In 2018 I empowered myself by learning about my disease. I read books, I read peer reviewed scientific studies, I listened to podcasts, I changed my mindset. I came off my medications & started taking only herbal & natural supplements. I got my arthritis under control, I made progress with my neuropathy, and most importantly.. I beat cancer !

Whilst dealing with all this I was promoted to customer support team leader, and passed my probation with flying colours. I got back in to a regular gym routine & started practicing yoga again. I started to build my strength back up. I studied to become a personal trainer, passed my exams & got my qualifications ! I moved house.. and then I moved house again.. into a beautiful little apartment with my caring & supportive boyfriend. I didn’t just survive, I thrived.

The reason I’m sharing is not to get sympathy.. I don’t need it. The reason I’m sharing is to give others hope that there is life after diagnosis & to teach others about the battles of chronic disease. To show others that your mindset is absolutely everything.

I accomplished so much last year while simultaneously wondering if I was going to die. I believed in mind over matter anyway, but last year reinforced my beliefs beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Last year completely broke me… physically.. but nothing can break me mentally. Not anymore, that ship has sailed.

I am living proof that when life fucks you over, you CAN come back stronger.

I prayed to God every day to make me strong. Oh boy did he deliver. A few years ago he gave me panic attacks, anxiety disorder & disassociation. I overcame them all & became very mentally strong through that process. Then last year he gave me arthritis, autoimmunity, neuropathy & cancer.. I became even stronger.

This will be my first post of my ‘new but old’ blog. I want to share my journey & show that with the right mindset, YOU can do anything. I’ll share details of my health struggles, how they effect me daily, things I have tried & tested that have helped with the pain. Things that lesson my symptoms, things that make them worse. Yoga practices, workouts, recipes. Some of the old stuff, and some of the new stuff, some of the good stuff, and some of the bad stuff. Hopefully this will also be a place that will ease the suffering of others with autoimmunity by reminding them that they are not alone & allow others to come along on our journey learning more about it themselves.

2018 was a sucky year but sure as hell did I kick it’s ass. Here’s to 2019 !

 

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A blessing in disguise.

It has been such a tough year for me being unable to train for the most part due to being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (PsA), but at the same time this year has made me so much stronger. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Last year I was training because I hated the way my body looked, I was so critical of myself and so hard on myself, and even though I was shredded to death I just wasn’t happy with my physique. I was obsessed with every little detail of my diet and training, and my life was consumed by it. Don’t get me wrong, i was really enjoying it all, but i was also creating a very toxic place in my own mind from being so hard on myself and never feeling satisfied with my progress.

After rapid onset of my disease in July last year, and very quickly getting to a point where my arthritis was so bad I couldn’t even hold my phone, walk properly, or hold a pen, i somehow managing to pull myself around and manage the pain and come off my medications (i’ll post more about how i did this later). I am finally feeling good and I have been back training for the past 7 weeks consistently, my strength and shape are both coming back quicker than I could have imagined and this time round I am training because I LOVE my body and I am amazed at what it can do.

The gym was my whole life, i had a fitness blog for crying out loud, and God took it away from me for a very long time, but it taught me to train for the right reasons and to be so grateful to be able to exercise.

I used to squat 100k and be upset because I hit a plateau, now after not training for almost a year I’m squatting half of that , and I AM SO GRATEFUL, every 50k squat I’m like fuck yeah my body is amazing to be able to do this considering my disease. Every single rep feels like a blessing, every single workout is a tiny miracle.

I have also realized that a few days off from the gym won’t kill me, and neither will a burger or a cocktail. 1 year of not training properly and being sick, yet my shape still looks tops, am I shredded to the bone? No. But am I happy with my body ? YES ! I am looking to improve my physique again, but I am also very happy with where I am at right now. I’m happy in my own skin.

To some people having a life changing and chronic disease might seem like the end of the world. To me, this is just the beginning.

Thank you, for the lessons.

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Smudging.

I performed a shamanic smudging ceremony in my house tonight, in preparation for the full moon. Tonights/tomorrow’s full moon is in scorpio which brings the souls darker elements to the surface to be faced, transmuted or released. Primal feelings, taboo subjects and suppressed emotions may come to the surface, by releasing them we can transform and become empowered. This can help us to relate to others more easily. Although the work has to be done internally, there are some external sources that can help us through this process, such as smudging.

Smoke has always been used as a tool in ceremonies by Shamans and Native Americans for cleansing and purifying. It’s a great way to clear out negative energies and by burning certain herbs we can negatively ionize our air with the smoke. In this instance I’m going to talk about using smoke from a smudging stick.

Negative Ionization.

When an atom or molecule has an equal number of protons and electrons, it is balanced or neutral. If an electron is lost the atom becomes positively charged. If an electron is gained, it becomes negatively charged.

Molecules that are negatively charged are very good for the environment. They are the ions that we find more of in sparsely populated areas, out in nature. This is one of the reasons why being out in nature can act as an antidepressant and lift the mood, why walking through a forest can be so refreshing and uplifting. Because there are so many negative ions in the air.

As you can probably gather from this, in overpopulated areas such as cities where there are fewer negative ions and possibly more positive ions, this can contribute to a more negative feeling and a depressive mood.

With smudging we are clearing away the positive ions (that affect us negatively and depress our mood). By smudging we actually change the ions from positive to negative. So we are literally changing the energy of the air around us from energy that depresses us or can hold negative vibrations or feelings, into air that makes us feel refreshed, positive, uplifting and can actually act as a scientifically proven antidepressant.

Might I also add that allergens are held in air that contains lots of positive ions. So by smudging and changing the air we can clear away allergens from our homes. So this is especially good for anybody who gets very congested or suffers with sinus problems like me.

Preparation.

To smudge your house all you need is a smudging stick, a bowl for the embers to drop into and a lighter. You can buy smudging sticks online or in most holistic/health store and they are made of dried herbs, usually sage or cedar. I personally would recommend a stick made from white sage & lavender combined.

It isn’t necessary to have any music on whilst smudging however i always like to play solfeggio frequencies especially designed and tuned to expel negative energies, cleanse and heal. Frequencies best suited to this kind of work are between 417hz & 528hz.

Smudging.

Begin by closing all of the windows in the house. Light the end of your smudging stick and hold it upside down to let the flames go through and catch inside before gently blowing it out so it is just left smoking. Make sure you hold your smudging stick over a bowl or plate at all times as hot embers will fall off. Start from the back of the house and work your way forward so that you end up near the front door last. I like to do this downstairs first of all and then upstairs next, however either way is fine.

Start by going into the corner of the room and holding the smudging stick up towards the corner and gently wafting it if necessary, let the smoke fill up that corner/area of the room. Slowly walk around the room in a clockwise direction letting the smoke fill up the corners, let it drift over anything you pass or anything that you want to be cleansed. It is always good to visualise the negative energy being burned away or consumed by the smoke and to set intentions and a clear purpose for this cleanse. For example whilst smudging you can be thinking in your head i want to expel any negative or unwanted energies and vibrations, i want to raise the vibration of this home, i want to cleanse this space, i want to get rid of anything that does not serve the people who live here.

After going around the full room and in all of the corners you need to seal it. If there are any vents or windows in the room go around them in a clockwise direction with the smudging stick and set an intention by just saying in your head as you do it that you want to seal the window/vent to stop any negative energies or vibrations from entering. Leave the doorway leading out of the room until last. Before leaving the room go around the door on the inside using the same intention to seal it from negative energies entering. Make sure when you leave the room you close the door behind you and then seal the door again from the outside.

Continue with this full process throughout the full downstairs and then the full upstairs of the house and once you are finished you will end up at the front door. Now starting from the bottom of the front door and working your way upwards waft the smoke and smudging stick in a sweeping/pushing motion and imagine yourself pushing any negative energies you have collected out of the front door. Make sure to seal the front door when you are finished.

Happy full moon, Love and Light x

 

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To blessed to be stressed.

If you follow my instagram & snapchat you will know already that the past few months i have been really struggling with joint pain. I don’t know where it came from but it started back in July, it came on so suddenly and very quickly spread throughout all of my joints and has continued to get worse and worse.

For the first few weeks i thought i had just very coincidentally injured both of my knees at exactly the same time. I stopped squatting & deadlifting immediately thinking that i maybe had runners knee or something like that and i just carried on with some light stretches and mobility exercises for my knees for a few weeks. I was so confused as to how i could have injured them both in the first place as my squat/deadlift form is always spot on and i couldn’t remember any incident where i might have hurt them both but if i hadn’t injured them then why could i barely walk?

A few weeks in and unable to train legs i was just focusing on my upper body exercises. I didn’t want to go crazy and over train upper body so i was just sticking to my usual exercises and one day in the gym when doing tricep dips i started getting such bad elbow pain. I stopped the exercise straight away as i know tricep dips can be quite notorious for elbow pain. I did think it was a bit weird though as i have been doing tricep dips for years with no pain. Never mind i’d just pick another exercise for a few weeks instead.

Well that was it, from that point on i was like an old woman. I can’t believe how fast something like this can spread but from the first bout of knee pain it only took about 8 weeks until all of my joints were in constant agony. I started having to get the bus in the mornings as i was unable to walk my usual 15km a day, the pain and stiffness in my knees and ankles was so unbearable. Going to the gym i was doing my best to keep the muscles firing and keep my strength but its so disheartening having to use machine weights all the time instead of being able to squat/bench/deadlift etc.

Some days it would be so bad that i couldn’t even hold my phone or a book in front of me as my wrist would be to sore to hold it. Waking up in the morning my joints would be so stiff and painful that i would have to spend 20 minutes just moving about and doing some light stretching before i could even get down the stairs.

It’s so weird because the pain seems to move around the joints and the pain doesn’t always feel the same.  Sometimes it feels like a pulling pain, sometimes it feels like burning, sometimes my hands or fingers will go completely numb, pins and needles, shooting pains, throbbing sensations. Some days is worse than others. On the days where the pain feels a little less i have been trying to get some light workouts in just to keep active and keep the muscles firing but at this stage i’m just fed up of not being able to exercise properly without being in extreme pain.

Anyway the Dr doesn’t seem to have a clue what can be going on. My blood tests came back absolutely fine. I know finding out your bloods are fine should be good news but for me i was  upset as it meant i was no further forward with finding out what is causing this. I was hoping something would come back in the bloods and the Dr would just say ok take this or do this and in a few weeks you’ll be grand. But no such luck. I’m back at the Drs tomorrow and i’m also waiting on an appointment to see a rheumatologist so i’m crossing my fingers that we get somewhere.

This post might come across as me having a bit of a moan but i promise it’s the opposite. The reason i’m writing this is because what is the point in being a blogger if your not going to be honest and share the bad times as well as the good? This past few months have been very tough on me physically, but mentally i am still in top form. I learned a long time ago that there’s no point stressing about things you have no control over. This is one of those things. It is what it is, i just have to take it on the chin and work through it whatever it may be. Luckily i have amazing friends around me who have been keeping me positive and looking after me when i need minding. To blessed to be stressed.

 

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Carb Cravings & Binge Eating – How to stop them.

People often ask me why i am so strict with my eating. The amount of times a week i hear ‘live a little’ or ‘treat yourself’ when i say no to a chocolate bar, or when we have cakes in work and i say no. I know where people are coming from and that they have good intentions but there is a method to my madness, i promise.

I often tell people that from my own personal experiences i have found when it comes to diet it really is all or nothing for me. A few years ago i really struggled with my eating and went through an awful ‘binge and restrict’ cycle for many months before i finally got to the root of it and got back in control. I think it’s pretty self explanatory but for those who don’t know it’s where you binge eat uncontrollably and then feel so guilty afterwards that you seriously restrict your diet to compensate in the following days or exercise excessively to make up for it. Obviously from restricting calories so low and upping the exercise your body is not getting the energy and nutrients it needs and you seriously crave carbs… which is when you find the fastest digesting sugary carbs possible and binge again – repeat repeat repeat! It’s a viscous cycle.

Anyway like i said thankfully i got to the bottom of my food related anxieties. I started to learn as much as i could about nutrition so that i could eat healthily and make sure my body was getting all the nutrients it needed and work my diet efficiently around my lifestyle and training.

Now a lot of this is of course a mental battle. However the main thing that i found helped me to get out of this cycle and stop those insane carb cravings was by eliminating simple/refined sugars from my diet and only consuming natural sugars with a low GI index.

I’m going to keep this as simple as possible. 

There are three main types of carbohydrates –  sugars, starches and fibres. Some carbs are ‘simple’ and some carbs are ‘complex’.

Simple carbs are easily and quickly digested by the body. Because of the structure of simple carbs and because of the way they are digested they cause the blood sugar levels to spike. Your pancreas then releases a hormone called insulin which is what tells your cells to absorb the sugar from your blood. This then causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels. Research has shown that when our blood sugar levels drop dramatically we lose our ability to control our desire to eat. Our body will crave the fastest source of carbs we can get and unfortunately the fastest digesting carbs are usually the unhealthy ones such as cakes and sweets.

Complex carbs as you might be able to get from the name have a more complex structure. This means that it takes the body a lot longer to break them down and digest them. Complex carbs usually have a lower GI which means that a lower amount of sugar will get released at a steady pace. This provides you with a longer, steadier and much more effective flow of energy (as opposed to the sugar rush and sugar drop of simple carbs).

Now do you see why i say no to the cakes and sweets? I’m not being boring i’m being smart. I know that if i have that cake my blood sugar will spike and drop. Then i will be craving more unhealthy carbs and go for more simple sugars… binge and restrict. So i choose to say no and keep my blood sugar levels steady. It’s actually a lot easier than you would think. The first week or two is usually the hardest as you are still craving the simple sugars because you have been eating them recently. But it is very surprising how little you will actually crave unhealthy foods/sugars once you have managed to get your blood sugar levels under control. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving it a try for a few weeks.

So how do i do it?

Choose foods low in sugars.

Throw out the refined sugars. Say no to breads, fizzy drinks, biscuits, energy drinks, cakes, sweets, pasta.

Say yes to vegetables, fruit, oats, sweet potato, beans, lentils, muesli.

Make smart choices. For example most rices have a very high GI so i would stay clear of them. However white basmati rice has a GI of 52 which makes it a really good option IN SMALL PORTIONS. Berries have a lot less sugar than bananas. Now i’m not saying don’t eat bananas, as i personally eat one every day, but what i’m saying is if you have already most of your sugars for today then opt for the berries over the banana later on.

Always exercise portion control. Try eating smaller amounts more regularly during the day for a steady release of energy. This will also stop you from getting really hungry between meals and then getting cravings.

Remember that just because something is a ‘natural’ sugar doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Fruit is very nutritious but at the end of the day it is still sugar. So again.. portion control. I stick to two portions of fruit a day usually.

You can check out the GI of your food online, there are so many websites but i will include a link for one at the bottom of this article.

Try and keep your overall sugar consumption as low as possible. I personally eat between 20-30g of sugar a day and no higher. THIS INCLUDES NATURAL SUGARS. If you eat 2000 calories a day it is recommended you eat less than 50g of sugar a day.

A good way to keep track of how much sugar your eating as well as overall calories and nutrients is to download an app to input your meals. The one i use is myfitnesspal. Of course this is not necessary all of the time but it is really handy to use at first until you get a general idea of what your foods contain. This will also give you a shocker if your not used to counting calories, it can be a real eye opener when you find out how many calories are in some of your favourite go to foods.

Eat enough fibre. Fibre slows the absorption of sugar and therefore helps regulate blood sugar levels. This is why even though some fruits have a high GI they are still a good option because fruits are very nutrient dense and also full of fibre.

And last but not least. Believe that you can do it! If you fall off the wagon and eat some sugary foods or if you do find yourself in the middle of a binge don’t beat your self up about it. As soon as you realise you have slipped up again just stop what you are doing and take a few conscious breaths. Make note of where you went wrong and start again.. and again.. and again.. until you get it right. Nobody said it was easy, but it is worth it.

If it makes you feel any better i fell off that wagon more times than you could possibly imagine before i finally got it right, i still do from time to time. The power is in the return. Keep trying as many times as it takes and remember YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Love and light.

 

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My First Float.

 

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If you read my previous blog post you will know that for my 25th birthday i was heading over to Kildare for the day to experience my first ever float session in a sensory deprivation tank.

I went to Sli Beatha in Naas, Co. Kildare and was not disappointed. The whole experience from start to finish was absolutely wonderful, so much so that i decided to pay for two further sessions so i can go again in the next few weeks.

First of all i would highly recommend going to Sli Beatha Float House if you are going to try floating. If you don’t live in Naas don’t be put off by having to travel as i promise it is worth it. I got the 126 bus from the Happeny Bridge in Dublin city centre which took roughly 40 minutes & it was only 10 euros for a return ticket. The bus dropped me right outside just across the road from the Float House (ask the bus driver to tell you when your at the stop before the post office in Naas and get off there).

The whole place was very beautiful inside and felt very relaxing & ‘spa’ like. Laura was very welcoming and made me feel very comfortable right away. I was sat down in a little cosy area to watch a video about how the tank works & a few need to know things. I was then given some earbuds to keep & offered a bottle of water and then Laura took me upstairs to my private float room.

I have to say the full place from top to bottom was absolutely gleaming and spotless, such a beautiful space throughout and lovely decor & a calming atmosphere. Laura took me in the float room and explained everything to me and showed me where everything was and how to use the tank and then she left me to enjoy.

I was delighted that in your private float room you have absolutely everything provided for you so you don’t have to bring anything at all. A lovely fresh towel and a turbie towel for your hair are provided, plus you have your own shower in the room for before and after the float. I quickly had my pre float shower, put my earbuds in place and climbed into the tank.

I was a little bit nervous about doing it as i have had a terrible fear of drowning for the past 10 years ever since one of my friends i went to school with sadly drowned. I used to be quite a strong swimmer up until that happened but afterwards i would have nightmares every night for years to come and wake up in floods of tears every night. After that the fear of drowning was just to overwhelming for me that it took me 8 years before i would get back in the water again. I’m glad to say that i finally came to peace with it and started learning to swim again at the age of 24. Better late than never right?

I was surprised when i climbed in at how bouyant I was. Relief rushed over me straight away as i realised theres no possible way i could drown in here, i could barely even sit on the bottom to get in place thats how floaty it was in there. I pulled the top of the tank dow completely straight away as although i had been a bit worried before about drowning or feeling claustrophobic those fears were now gone. I floated so easily and comfortably and the tank was so big that i just wasn’t worried at all now.

For the first 10 minutes of the float they play some beautiful calming music directly into the tank & the light in the tank is still on. The light is like a beautiful pastel mood light with really warm glowing colours, enough to light up the tank inside but not bright enough to kill the mood, just right. You can turn the light off yourself when you get in if you like but since it was my first time i kept it on for now. Laura had advised me that when i get in the light will automatically turn off after 5 minutes and that the the music would fade away and turn off after 10 minutes. For the first minute or two i was just finding my most comfortable position to float in which was with my arms up by the side of my head instead of by my sides. I had a little bit of anxiety worrying about being able to breathe properly in here and was worried would i freak out when the light and music turned off so i decided just to concentrate on my breath. I practice pranayama breathing techniques regularly so i just focused on a techique i know to calm the nervous system & relax .

When the light turned off i was actually surprised as straight away the sense of being inside a tank just vanished. The floating sensation coupled with absolute darkness made me feel as if i was floating through a vast open space it was a very freeing and wonderful sensation. Any anxiety that i had felt previously completely disappeared, i did not feel enclosed or as if i was in a tank at all and it was absolutely pitch black in there i could not see a single thing. There were a few times throughout the float when i actually didn’t know if my eyes were open or closed as it made no difference either way. My neck & traps felt very achy and uncomfortable at first which i knew could happen from watching the video before hand. When there is no other sensation to focus on except your own body any aches or itches or rumbles just feel magnified times 10. Even though the aches in my neck were very prominent at first i was still extremely relaxed and comfortable and after the epsom salts in the tank started to soak in (about 20 minutes in) the muscle aches and tension eased away completely.

With the light switched off i got this indescribable feeling throughout my whole body like a mixture of relief and elation. I often struggle to calm myself or relax around other people & as i get older i become more and more introverted. The theme of my week so far had been ‘God please give me 5 minutes of peace and quiet before i lose my shit or have a panic attack’. When the music went silent in that tank i just though to myself FINALLY! Absolute silence and alone time, no distractions, nobody to have to make conversation with or answer to, no anxiety, no jobs to do or places to be, no rushing, just pure joyous bliss.

The next 50 minutes were absolutely wonderful i can’t even begin to describe. I realised a long time ago that even though anxiety is internal, for me my anxiety always revolves around other people. Always trying to people please, worrying about what other people are thinking, trying to make conversation to please other people even though i just want quiet, putting other peoples needs before my own, carrying other peoples worries as my own, fear of other people wanting to hurt me. I always find any social situation extremely draining and even though i will always be smiling and i truly do want to be there, it can just get a bit overwhelming for me at times. It was like getting some time alone in this tank to relax was an answer to my prayers. I honestly must have been radiating gratitude from every single inch of my body whilst i was in there for getting the chance to have this experience.

I let the good feelings flow in and the bad ones flow out and let my thoughts come and go exactly the same way. I didn’t try to control my thoughts or stop them or direct them, i just let them come and go without really fixating on them. Just being aware of what was drifting in and out. Being present and completely letting go of everything.

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For the majority of that 50 minutes i would completely forget where i was, i almost felt like i was in a dream or floating through the universe or just completely absorbed in consciousness. Actually i think the way to describe it would be all of those things at once.. i was awake but dreaming, floating through the universe, completely immersed in consciousness with no attachment to my physical body. It was such a beautiful and humbling experience that words do not do it justice. One thing that i was very happy about as for a while now i seemed to have ‘writers block’ and couldn’t seem to come up with things i wanted to write about any more. My thoughts became so crystal clear in that tank that the ideas just came flowing to me one after another, but gently and softly. There was never a rush of thoughts or a bombardment of thoughts. Infact i don’t know how it’s possible but i’m pretty sure the thoughts were gently flowing and coming to me but at the same time my head was completely clear and silent. Well one thing i have learned this far in life is that ANYTHING is possible. The mind is a complex and fascinating thing. All of the ideas that came flowing to me about writing and about my life seemed so perfect that it was as if God had just planted them there himself. At the same time though these thoughts and amazing ideas i was having weren’t like an epiphany. No. They were from inside me, i already had these thoughts but with the business of every day life and the outside noise it’s hard to make sense of your own thoughts or let them surface.

And then i felt grateful to myself. Grateful for following my guides, for following my intuition, i felt grateful for allowing myself this experience, grateful for me to listening to my body and practicing yoga, walking, for meditating, for allowing myself to heal, for my ayahuasca journey, for my journal. All of these things that i had brought into my life that are just for me. For taking care of myself, mind body and spirit. (Feeling nostalgic referencing back to my first ever blog post here). I promised myself in this moment that floating was going to become a regular part of my life from now on. As did yoga, meditation, journalling, so will floating. I made a comitment to myself right then to float once a month and give myself this time to let go of everything and allow myself to heal. From the inside out.

After my float was over i had a lovely hot shower in the float room before heading through to the dressing room to get myself together. I had brought towels and shampoos, brushes etc with me in my bag but it turns out none of them were needed. The shower had the loveliest smelling shampoo & conditioners of all time & the shower gel left me all silky smooth and smelling gorgeous after washing away all of the float salts – note, make sure to rinse out properly inside your ears just in case any salt water got in, as if it dries on your eardrum it could cause some discomfort. In the cutest dressing room ever there were loads of toiletries and amenities to choose from. Cleansers, moisturisers, body butters, argan oils, hair serums, deodorants, hair brushes, a selection of gorgeous perfumes, hair bobbles & clips, they literally had everything.

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After i spent a slow & lazy 45 minutes drying my hair and getting myself together i took a seat on a cosy orange elephant chair and had a browse through the guest book. It was lovely to read the messages left by all of the people who had visited before me. So many people saying they had also had similar experiences to mine, joyous, calming, the feeling of connection and oneness. My personal favourites were ”it’s all connected” & ”ooh ahh sli beatha, ooh ahh sli beatha”. So anyways i left my own message in the guestbook thanking them for a wonderful experience and then i went down to the reception and paid for my next two floats to come. No hesitation there. I already can’t wait to go back and i will keep blogging about each floating experience and how it evolves for me.

Healing the mind body & soul, one float at a time.

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