I’m back just one week from my Wild Woman adventure in North Devon, and already real life is setting in and my own words are coming back to haunt me.
“There’s no such thing as a magic pill”, is one of my most well-used soundbites.
I’d say this when people would embark on a week-long weight-loss retreat with me, expecting they’d go home a stone lighter and that would be it, their weight would never be a problem again. The reality is that it’s a lot more difficult than that, and if you don’t address the factors that were causing the problem in the first place, you will continue to struggle.
The same comes when it comes to our energy, our vitality, our physical and emotional wellbeing – one week isn’t enough to turn it all around unless something changes as a result.
There’s no doubt that huge changes came about during my time away, but the main impact the retreat had was that it made me more aware. Whenever you take time away from your usual routine, you clear some space in your head, that space creates an enhanced awareness (of yourself, your emotions and your surroundings), and therefore, a new perspective is gained, a new way of thinking.
Space is always the key. Especially when it comes to seeing what’s not working in our lives. It’s when we are rushing around on auto-pilot that we miss things; we can be blinded to what’s right in front of us, because our minds are too full of lists, what’s just happened, what’s going to happen and everyone else’s needs.
This is why so many people make decisions like leaving their jobs when they come back from holiday. The new lightness makes you realise just how much you’ve been weighed down.
For me, while I was away, I was focused on building my energy back up, which I felt like I achieved by the end of the week. I felt fantastic. However, coming back into the real world, it made me even more conscious of the things that were draining my energy, and I realised that those things had to be changed if I was to maintain this new energetic state long-term.
It all made sense when I read an article by one of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote “Eat, Pray, Love”.
She tells the story of Mike Tyson, who was well-known for his extravagant purchases, in particular, the white Bengal Tigers which set him back $70,000 each, cost him $4,000 a month to feed, and meant he had to hire a full-time tiger trainer to care for them.
When he filed for bankruptcy in 2003, he complained he had no money left, as if he was the victim of his circumstances, but no, it was a matter of choices as to how he spent his money.
We all do this in some ways, whether it’s with our money, our time, or our energy. Sometimes we can’t see where it is getting wasted until we take time away.
Just as Tyson made plenty of money, but decided to spend it foolishly, we too are given plenty of time, energy and vitality, but often don’t make the wisest choices in terms of how we spend it. We can also have a blind spot to how much it is impacting other areas of our life, and just how much of a drain it is on these precious resources.
We all have our own white tigers, just like Mike Tyson. They will be different for everyone though and the key is awareness.
For instance, I know that, as much as I love to pamper my cat, it’s more of the “free hugs and the occasional packet of Dreamies” kind of pampering. He doesn’t ask for much back and it’s not really a drain on my resources.
I do realise, however, that I have been prone to keep expending energy in areas where it is wasted, and I end up getting drained, and then it impacts other aspects of my life. Sometimes you have to take a good hard look, even if it’s painful, and ask yourself “at what cost is this to my life?”, and make a decision.
When you start to embrace a new lighter way of being, you are more aware of what has been heavy in your life. You can choose to be free of that cumbersome weight. You can choose to shine, not suffer.
And whether it’s how you spend your spare time, the people you mix with, the thoughts you have, or great big hairy white tigers – “don’t let anyone, or anything, dull your sparkle!”.