Surrender & Grace

This week has been big. Kind of huge actually, its the week I decided to accept things as they are and close down my business.

Now I want to be clear. Dare To Be is me. It has always been me and therefore although my physical business is closing down, I continue on.

As I gather the parts of myself that got scattered- My work is mine to walk, my work is the work of purposeful living and I do it well and so, while I may soon not have a business, I have my voice and will continue to use it.

If you thought this was a goodbye blog, guess again! My writing is mine and I give it freely.

It would be easy to blame my business closure on Covid-19 and the worldwide pandemic. In fact I said that to my husband at the weekend, but honestly? That was simply the straw that broke the camels back. I could have blamed it on the pandemic and no one would have thought it odd. I could have simply said due to the pandemic, my business hasn’t survived and become another statistic in the horror and heartbreak of so many.

But that wouldn’t be true and if you know anything about me, you’ll know I would rather tell a hard truth than an easy lie.
The truth, is that I am tired. Not the kind of tired that can be fixed with a little daily rest, or a weekend break. I’m talking about the kind of tired that is soul weary and I was this kind of tired before the pandemic. I actually considered closing around November last year but I didn’t.

Around November last year I was given a year long journey to walk by the universe, God, my guides, whatever you want to call the higher power we are each a part of. This journey comprised of 12 gates of deeper connection and understanding to myself. That first gate was surrender and its the final gate I walk through again at the end of November as I close the business I have run since 2013. Only my closest friends know of the journey I’ve been walking and it had almost disappeared to the back of my mind until last night I had a dream reminding me of the labyrinth I have been walking, back to myself this year. A light bulb doh! Moment definitely was felt this morning when I woke!

I’m gonna share a few parts that feel most important right now of this journey, because its valuable to know. Embrace it or ignore it, as with anything I share. What I can say is that I never imagined this journey of 12 gates would result in my business closing but I am at peace with it.

The first lesson I’ll share- you get what you need, not what you want.

Surrender to life as it is.

Christmas 2019 we were heading to Scotland for a family trip and surrender became my best friend. Its so often misinterpreted that surrender means to give up and accept defeat. But in truth surrender simply asks you to stop seeing life and experiences through romantic lenses and instead see it as it is. It asks that you strip away the false positivity that is so rampant and damaging and assess an experience based on the reality of what is actually happening in the moment. Its a vital part of intentional living and one i have walked deeply this year.

For me, surrender came in the form of accepting that our car was not likely to get us up to Scotland and back and so I got breakdown cover for the first time in my life. We were 100miles away from our destination when the suspension fell off the back of my car. Surrender taught me that blind faith isn’t an aim. Faith and hope, with truth and action is where its at.

The second lesson I’ll share- Balance will be found, even if you do not consciously seek it.

Thanks to my surrender, we got collected and driven with our car, the last 100 miles and then our car was collected and taken to a garage to be fixed a few days later.
After this experience, I decided that for the coming year (my new year offically starts at yule 21st Dec and the culmination of the year is celebrated at Samhain 31st Oct) I would seek to see my business as it is, rather than as I kept hoping it would be.
It probably sounds depressing but it hasnt been. Its actually been a very freeing experience!

My third lesson- surrender can feel like failure, but thats your ego talking.

Which brings me to the shadow.

In January I felt a pull to do some shadow work. For those who don’t know, shadow work is often pushed as a spiritual tool, but in truth its a human tool not given enough credit. If you have ever experienced trauma you are likely more aware of your shadow self than you think. Carl Jungs studies of archetypes and the shadow selves that are alongside them, are world renowned and for ease, the shadow side is often described as parts of your personality that your conscious self denies. Those behaviours and traits we find so offensive in others are often the parts of ourselves that we fear exist within us.

The problem is, we all have parts of ourselves we judge as bad and the more we deny their existence, the less balanced we are as a person. The shadow self shows up via so many things. Just a few are below and are not a complete list by any means.
resentment, jealousy, bitterness, cruelty, controlling, dictatorship type behaviour, selfishness, diva, ignorance, manipulation, deception, chaos, disruption, impulsivity, arrogance, paranoia, addiction, drama, gossiping, belittling, vengeance, martyrdom.

The less able we are to see these very human behaviours, emotions and experiences in yourself, the less able we are to see with perspective and truth. When we struggle to see the wholeness of ourselves, we become victims to our own need to feel better about ourselves, by looking for the wrong in others.

Can you allow yourself to see the bot so sparkly parts and accept them with love?

Perspective and truth have been strong themes in the past year for good reason and so as I dove into aligning back all of the parts of myself that I rejected and refused, I came to a peace with myself that all is as it is. It was this important work that enabled me to recognise the resentment and martyrdom I was feeling and to take a break from my work for 6 weeks as we went into lockdown. I resented the amount of heart and soul I put into my work with little energetic or financial return. I had become a victim to my work, sacrificing my needs in the hope that others would see my sacrifice and be in awe of it.

  • The spiritual self clutches at pearls denying their need for acknowledgement and approval. Denying that to need is human.
  • The ego self gets angry and frustrated and blames others for their lack of loyalty and commitment. Refusing to see the core place from which the anger comes from.
  • The shadow self when embraced, admits what is felt and allows perspective and alignment with all parts of self.

Lesson- We are such beautifully egotistical, complex human animals, accepting those not so shiny parts allows us to better be aware and balanced. Becoming friends with your ego, with your shadow, allows a self that can become more wholly aware.

Its funny, even now as I prepare to close my business, I am writing in a way that can ensure those reading receive support and growth should they wish to receive it because Dare To Be exists through me and no container can hold it.

Armed with these important experiences I have navigated the pandemic, illness, business struggles, worldwide inequality, anti racism, huge family stuff that is not mine to discuss and family work changes with honesty, chaos, anxiety, love, compassion and in every moment, with grace. And I am proud of my ability to authentically be with myself in all those moments with love.

A little something on Grace- its something I never realised the true significance and importance of until this year. Grace for me is the act of honouring all as it occurs. Its about giving unconditional kindness as things come up, that is so needed but rarely provided. Its not about saying things are ok when they arent, its about being kind with yourself that things aren’t okay.

Its being kind with yourself that you are angry.Its being kind to yourself when you feel anxious. Its being kind like you would be to a best friend. Surrender, shadow work and grace are just 3 of the gates I’ve worked through but they are pretty kickass.

Accepting those not so shiny parts of me and accepting things as they are, allowed me to see that my business? Is not worth the sacrifices I’ve been making and the only reason I hadn’t closed before now was egotistical and thats okay too.

Grace has allowed me to be kind to myself as this realisation came forth. Surrender allowed me to look honestly at my business finances vs the time and energy given and accept that it hasnt worked for a while. Its allowed me to recognise that if I must give all of myself it must be to the right things and those things are my children, their education, my family, my home, my friends.

And so, my final lesson for this blog is this.

If you give of yourself, give it all and dont hold back. When its time to end that chapter of your journey, there will be no doubt that you have given all you could. Your chapter will end, the page will turn and you will pick up that pen and begin a story anew. With pride, without regret and with joy for what was.

If my writings have ever helped you in any way or my work over the past 7 years, consider buying me a coffee! Its a beautiful way to say thankyou and I will accept your thanks with grace and gratitude.

Buy Nici a Decaf (if you fancy making it a caramel soya latte, feel free to add more)

Massive love, Nici

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