As you know I am a firm believer in mindfulness and the feeling of being present, with my thoughts neither in the past nor in the future, yet I also like to reflect. I like to look back on the past, whether it be through old photographs, memorising with friends and family or even looking back alone, taking a few moments to remember previous times, even the difficult ones.
I think there is a huge difference in consciously taking time to do so and it coming over you out of the blue. Consciously reflecting in a positive light, perhaps not a positive time to look back on but one that serves purpose in remembering and one that benefits your present thoughts and feelings.
During the last couple of weeks, I have noticed myself doing this, from big reflections to small ones, each time bringing a feeling of gratitude to my present.
Last year, my friend and I, began a new tradition, to start pumpkin picking with my Godson. As tradition (one year counts!) the three of us got our wheel barrow and off we went. Reflecting on how my Godson acted last year, running around a field with orange circles to now, with his quickly growing curiosity, I was truly amazed. Within one year he has changed so much, choosing all the different pumpkins, counting each one, noticing colours, shades and textures to. I felt truly grateful to have seen this change, his ever-growing smile and even louder giggle.
Another reflection being a little deeper, as some of you may know I left my first university over five years ago now, due to being ill with my mental health. This decision did not come easy and I felt huge amounts of pressure from both myself and society, you know the ‘must do, correct way of doing things pathway’. Without diving into the whole five years, it has been a long and up and down journey but one that has taught me more than I can ever express.
As I wrote on my Instagram post, I know that education is not for everybody, we all have different paths to take and that is wonderful. It allows us to make our own journey and mark on this world a unique one. For years, I felt too ashamed to think about why I left university, let alone speak about it the way I do now. I felt like having a mental illness during such an important time of my life made me weak, little did I know that putting my health first, demonstrated my strengths.
It is important for me to look back and remember the thoughts and feelings I had, they drive what I do now. They motivate me to support others who feel this way. You are not alone.
For a long time, I associated a lot of the thoughts and feelings I had with my first year of university, it often being too difficult to look beyond that part of my life. This developed into a huge fear of education. With the mind set I would never return to study. Of course, as I ‘dug deeper’, let people in who could help and really worked on myself, overtime I began to feel at peace with my past. Seeing the time as a time to learn and grow from, knowing that regardless of where I physically was, the thoughts and feelings were already there.
With this peace and my increasingly growing passion to help others and learn to, I returned to university and I am truly grateful that I did. Being completely honest, I did not reflect upon this until yesterday, during graduation. I know it is just one of those traditional days to celebrate, but it gave me a chance to reflect, leaving me feeling proud, inspired and of course grateful for my present.
I spent the rest of my day with family, in the present moment and feeling gratitude for each of them and all around me, the venture I am about to take and the path that has guided me here – not the most conventional path but what does that really matter?
It would not be a ramble without some sort of quote so in the words of J.K.Rowling- ‘Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve’.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your lovely messages,