The right people can’t find you when you’re too busy running from yourself.

Life can feel lonely.

It’s pretty easy to feel disconnected in a world caught up in technology and competition, so to entertain the thought that nobody sees you can come quite naturally. I know at times I have felt really alone even in the busiest of places; in fact that’s often where I have felt the loneliest.

But what if that loneliness is actually self-inflicted? Could it be that what you seek exists, you’re just missing it?

For years, my goal-oriented inner mantra has been “do the work, be kind, and it will come”. Sounds a little idealistic I know, but in my heart I felt it to be true, so I lived it. It was hard on the days when people abused me at work, or I was struggling with my health or my finances.

It was- and still is- hard to live by this standard, especially when I see people around me succeeding particularly if I know they are an asshole. Sorry, but some people are.

But I soldiered on, pushed through the discomfort and found the strength to fight another day. Cue music. Track select: ‘Eye of the Tiger’.

After a while though, the inner frustration and resentment I felt at my current position started to stick around longer than I meant it to. It became distinctly harder to cop it when someone was being a jerk to me when all I was trying to do was BE A NICE PERSON. And the fake smile I’d put on when I’d hear of other peoples achievements became harder and harder to manufacture.

I know now that it’s not because I am a shit person that I had these feelings; it’s because I wasn’t operating from my authentic self. I was running from my truth at high speed, rejecting the fact that I wasn’t feeling content as “bad” and promptly replacing it with something “better”.

Now I see the error of my ways. How? I stopped running.

I stopped avoiding the fact that I was uncomfortable. And I managed to stop just long enough so that the people that I needed could catch up with me. As I found the courage to stop pretending I was OK all of the time, or that I could do it all alone; I found that my mentors were there, waiting for me to stop, take a look around, and ask for their help.

We all need a personal cheer squad in life, a kind of safety net of awesomeness to help us out as we strive whole-heartedly toward our goals. And let’s face it, our inner support crew gets tired as we move through what can be an unbearably painful life at times. But if we are so busy ‘pushing through’ and pretending we are ok, we aren’t open to inviting the support in.

So the next time you feel like you may be all alone, or that no one has your back, ask yourself- when was the last time you actually asked for help? You might find that you actually have a squad of people waiting, ready to catch you.

Chiara xo

The glory of doing.

Being still is hard. When I say ‘being still’ I don’t mean sitting still. I can do that. I meditate. Namaste.

What I am talking about is hitting the eject button on a seemingly infinite cycle of doing, achieving and completing. This is something I have mentioned before, and this week I am building on it.

I am a BUSY person. Ask anyone close to me. And I know first hand that there are countless articles out there on the interwebs about how we glorify the busyness of our lives to feel important.

Guilty as charged your honour!

So last week when someone whom I value and respect told me to stop doing for the sake of being busy, I decided it was time to slow the fuck down. In fact, that is why I didn’t post this blog exactly seven days after the last post I wrote. Even though I have committed to doing one blog post per week. I gave it a couple of extra days. And you know what? The world didn’t end.

Who’d have thought?

And even though my life didn’t completely implode after not completing a task I had set for myself, I have been really, REALLY uncomfortable with doing nothing. (To be fair I still managed to squeeze in my first public speaking gig on the weekend but you get my point).

There have been all sorts of stories popping up through this process, some along the lines of the following-

“Chiara, you lazy bitch, who do you think you are to take a day off when other people are working night and day to achieve their dreams? You will never achieve anything, you are a complete waste of space, all of your school teachers were right about you….” And so on.

Gross hey? SO mean!

But as I catch my nasty inner taskmaster on overdrive, I suddenly become the one holding the whip. It’s a liberating experience as I recognise that I am watching the thoughts, and feeling the emotions they are creating – without avoiding anything. And as much as I am feeling the sweat and discomfort around changing my habits, I know I am on to something.

My authentic self is gently steering me towards the truth that there is actually nothing to be done, and that it is only in the stillness between those uncomfortable thoughts that we can see clearly, and truly create what we want.

The amount of resistance that you feel towards a situation is equal to the amount of growth you will experience if you choose to break through it.

And that is exactly where I am at friends. Feeling the resistance, and fully embracing it. I am learning that there is no need to rush into finding an outcome- for anything. There is no need to ‘finish’ this article because of some ridiculous need to do things perfectly, on time, all the time.

I am leaving it as a work in progress, because that is exactly what I am.

Chiara xo

The Fraud Police.

The Fraud Police are in town again. And you know what? These guys are smart. They somehow seem to know exactly where it is inside me that I hide my most vulnerable thoughts- my fears, my insecurities. It’s like they are freaking super detectives. Whenever I try something new or stretch my comfort zone a little they show up, with their sirens blaring, yelling “Freeze! Put your hands in the air!”

And not in the ‘wave em all around like you just don’t care’ way, it’s much more in the “we will expose you, you fraud, who do you think you are to be acting like you know what you’re doing?” way.

Anyone relate to this?

I have experienced them quite a lot this week, which is cool because it tells me that I am trying new stuff. I feel like the menacing Fraud Police are actually a big part of my personal growth, because they offer me an insight into how terrified I am of being judged.

Yep, the Fraud Police are actually nothing more than my inner critics in uniform- an imaginative internalisation of what I believe other people would say about me behind my back.

And it serves me as a masochistic form of self-preservation. Yay.

See, I think we create these negative inner voices to prepare ourselves for the moment when someone will eventually put us down. We beat ourselves black and blue before anyone else has the chance.

What a fucking tragedy!! How many paintings have been unfinished, songs or poems left unwritten, or lovers lost because we were so busy preparing ourselves for failure that we couldn’t even start?

We always will be judged, that’s just how it is. There is always going to be someone who hates your guts, or your hair. Or both.

But never fear, everyone is not meant to like everyone. We can be kind to one another, sure, but there are always going to be people who don’t like you. And equally, there will be people who rub YOU up the wrong way; the people who’s very voice sounds to you like nails down a super-sized chalkboard, after you have run a 12km marathon, and ingested a bag of nails coated in snake venom. You get my point.

It’s important that we don’t live for these people, or for the Fraud Police. We need to take risks in spite of them. To feel the judgement, whether it’s internal or not; and do it anyway -even if it’s ‘poorly’ at first. That’s how we flourish.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

So this week I am setting an intention to fuck as many things up as I can. I am turning 30 in a couple of weeks, so now is as good a time as any, right? Get on board with me if you’re sick of worrying about what the Fraud Police are going to say. And comment below if you learn something! I’d love to hear about from you, it keeps me inspired.

Chiara xo

Self love in relationships, how to find your happy place- and keep it.

“I want a man/woman who makes me feel like I can do anything. I want someone to make me feel special/happy/beautiful”….and so on.

We’ve all said shit like this. I know I am guilty. Actually, before I met my partner Jacques I had a list: A dead set black and white, pen to paper list of the guy I wanted to meet. And I was sure that he was going to fulfil all my needs; spiritually, emotionally, physically, and we’d live happily ever after. There is such a massive face-palm moment to be had now that I see how literally fucking impossible that is.

Not the happily ever after part. We like that part. It’s the other part that is impossible; the part where you place the responsibility of your fundamental needs in the hands of your significant other; and then wrap them up neatly with a bow that reads, “If you loved me, you would do this”.

And it sounds silly when we look at it that way doesn’t it? THAT’S BECAUSE IT IS.

It kills me to think how many of us are at war with our partners because we believe that they aren’t on our side. That we are so convinced that they don’t ‘understand us’ or aren’t ‘the one’ because of a feeling we hold within ourselves that something is missing.

That something is you. It’s your own love you are craving, your own attention. The yearning that you keep wishing for someone else to quell, is a desire that can only be fulfilled by you; in a way that no one else can ever truly understand, because it’s PERSONAL.

That feeling you are ‘missing something’ is actually just you missing yourself.

So, good news! You can change that. Take it all back. Take back the responsibility of having your needs fulfilled from your significant other, or parents, or cat; and do it yourself.

I buy myself flowers every week. Not because Jacques won’t buy me flowers, but because I like having fucking flowers. So I buy them. If though, one day I decided that I didn’t want to buy flowers anymore, but I wanted Jacques to, I’d probably start to act differently around him. Maybe I’d start hinting at things to get him to meet my needs, like commenting that the house could use brightening up a bit, or asking him things like “Do you like having fresh flowers in the house? I sure do.”#buymeflowers #youdontloveme

I know you may be laughing right now but I also hope you are also relating! Who else does this??? I’m going to be bold and say we all do! In one way or another, we hold the hope that other people will fill our needs for us – so we don’t have to.

We can become destructive and frustrated when we don’t get our needs met in relationship to others, but it’s so unnecessary!! Because we always, always, always have the power to take that desire and fulfil it ourselves. That is a practice in radical self-love.

“The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, “If you will take care of me, I will take care of you.” Now I say, “I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me”” — Jim Rohn

I went to the beach twice today, and ate chocolate spread, from the jar, with a spoon. So what are you going to do for you this weekend? Let me know in the comments.

Chiara xo

How to stop blaming others when you feel like shit.

We expect a lot from our relationships. I know I do. Mostly because I want to receive love in the way I give it- freely and expressively.

Today I realised I was wrong to expect that… or anything for that matter.

As we know, our brain is sort of like a super computer, constantly receiving and processing information, and a large part of that processing job is to seek out as much knowledge as it can in order to keep us safe. It scans people, things, and places for perceived threats, and looks to relay that information back to us quickly, and in a clear and concise manner.

This means that when you meet someone, your brain is immediately deciding on the best labels to give to that person.

But the problem is that once our brain has completed the original task of scanning for threats, it moves on to finding more and more categories. The labels start to pile up and cross over. It all gets a bit messy. Why? Because people can’t be categorised. We are all intricately different, with individual needs, ideas and perspectives, and to expect someone to behave in a certain way is borderline insane-o.

And once these labels have been placed on someone in your life, all of a sudden that person has something to live up to. Your brain has decided that they are not a threat, as long as their behaviour fits inside that label. Therein lies the expectation.

It gets worse. Expectations don’t really like to compromise. After all, they were put there to keep you safe, and so when someone doesn’t live up to them it’s not pretty. We end up feeling hurt and disappointed. We blame, criticize or reject them for not being good enough, or for not knowing better.

We need to be able to recognise that our expectations of people do absolutely nothing for us, or for our relationships. If we decide that someone is going to behave in a certain way, I am certain that we will be disappointed. And the truth is, they were never going to get it right.

So how can we avoid feeling this way towards our loved ones when they don’t live up to our expectations?

1- First, we need to rip off the label. The great thing about recognizing that you are holding an expectation of someone is that you give yourself the opportunity to remove it. This doesn’t mean you have to accept things you don’t like. I am simply saying that once you recognise that there is an expectation on your side you can go in and remove it.

2- Ask yourself honestly- does this person know what I need right now? If the answer is a no or even just a maybe- then you need to tell them. It sounds fucking obvious but lets be authentic here, it’s much easier to try and get the other person to try and guess what it is you need than to be vulnerable enough to say it.

3- Get brave. No one knows what you are thinking, so you need to let the other person know what your needs are. No need to keep wishing they ‘understood you’. And no need to press the crazy button because you feel misunderstood.

I have learned that life isn’t about getting what you deserve a lot of the time, it’s about getting what you ask for. It will take practice, but if you have the courage to let the people close to you know what you need, it’s highly likely that they will give you just that.

Chiara xo

Finding the comfort in discomfort.

Pain in life is guaranteed. We all experience it, and as much as possible, avoid it.

Whether it’s mentally, physically or emotionally, we are all dealing with pain in our lives. Now, sweet spiritual ones, before you press send on your hate mail, this is not some “negative” blog rant- it’s an exploration of truth. Authenticity is my gig and fake positivity isn’t part of that. So please, humour me.

In my experience, loss and struggle are a part of life, a part of being human. And pretending its all peaches and cream doesn’t change that for shit. What I find interesting though, is that actually being vulnerable enough to feel our pain seems to be the challenge, not the feelings themselves. It really is hard to thoroughly investigate all of the prickly, pointy edges that pain offers. Because who wants to stay with something that makes your stomach churn?

It’s much easier to avoid the ‘bad’ feelings, than to make friends with them.

Think about the last time you exercised. At any point along the road did your mind try to tell you that you were bound to snap your ankle, get murdered, forget how to use your legs and face-plant in front of that cutie? I’ll bet it did.

And what did you do? Did you stop running? Maybe you did. And that’s ok. But for the example let’s say you didn’t stop, that you chose to push through. Despite what your scared brain was telling you, there was a part of you that knew that you were OK, so you kept running.

So why is it that we struggle so much to do this when it comes to the dreaded E word? Emotions are not life threatening. They cannot hurt us in any physical way. And if we would simply allow ourselves to experience them as they are meant to be, TEMPORARY, they wouldn’t probably hang around so long.

And yet it seems as soon as we are faced with a difficult emotion and lose signal on good time radio and fall right into fear FM, we immediately want to switch off. We’ll eat, drink, or fight until we don’t feel it anymore.

The tragedy is that because we have such a hard time being still in these moments, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to find something new.

What if instead of reaching for the brownie/bourbon/one night stand, we actively looked for the comfort hiding in the discomfort? That when we find ourselves in that sticky place, we were somehow able to remind ourselves that the uncomfortable feeling is just a small part of our experience, and it will eventually pass. And, if we are interested enough to take a look around that inside of it was a jewel of wisdom way more useful than a hangover.

I believe that there is a place inside every uncomfortable emotion that offers it’s solution, where if we so choose, we have an opportunity to make our pain productive and not destructive. And if you can master it, you can open yourself up to a new learning experience rather than falling victim to the feeling.

So the next time you feel yourself falling into a “negative” emotion spiral, try staying there for a moment, and asking what there is to be seen. I guarantee it will change your life.

Chiara xo

Believing in yourself is a load of shit.

There’s a concept in the world that our beliefs become our reality; that what we think about we bring about. Seems legit, perhaps, but what happens with all the unconscious thoughts? You know, the ones that are running rampant while we are busy repeating Louse L. Hay affirmations and doing our best to ‘be positive’?

And what happens when those thoughts quietly slip under the radar- even when you think you are self-aware?

Say, for example, you try really hard to eat well and exercise, but deep down you have always had doubt that you are ever going to be fit and healthy. And you just never seem to get there. Diets, supplements, burpees- nothing works.

Why?

Because every time you ate that huge piece of cake or didn’t go to the gym, the feeling of doubt got a little stronger. Over time that feeling became a much more solid pattern of thinking. It became a belief, and beliefs play hardball.

The doubts or fears we have about any scenario in our lives, or even a goal or idea, has a direct correlation with what we believe to be true about ourselves.

I am sharing this because I have recently come across this concept in my life as an overwhelming doubt that my relationship with my partner will work out. Yep. I recently found a big chunk of unhelpful shit-talk floating around in my head that states that all relationships would ultimately fail.

Nice. I also began to notice that when left unchecked, this belief was causing my ego to head out and collect piles of false evidence to back itself up. And if for some reason there wasn’t any to be found, then I would make some GODDAMIT. A lot of effort for something I didn’t even consciously choose.

When I stumbled upon this little gem of learning, the spiritual identity inside me started sprouting things like… “but hold on- where there is love, fear cannot exist, right? I love this person so I shouldn’t be afraid?”, and- “These beliefs that have simmered under the

surface for years will just magically and painlessly melt into nothingness if I do more yoga. Right? RIGHT?!”

Wrong again, Chiara!

Luckily for me, relationships are the perfect breeding ground for all of those doubts and fears that have been quietly bubbling away in my unconscious mind to show up. Right when I’m juicy and vulnerable. The love brought it out of me. It hurt a lot when I realised that I had held this belief without making a choice to do so. I felt robbed. But as with anything uncomfortable, I leaned into it, and learned that this doubt exists in me because of a deep cynicism around love.

You see my pretty, after one too many heartbreaks, Doctor Doubt (as I now not-so-fondly refer to him) had taken up a permanent residency in my heart and mind, and he wasn’t shy in telling me that ALL of the people I hold closest to me would eventually hurt me. I had given up on love without even meaning to. It had become my belief.

I am not saying love can’t replace fear; it can, and it absolutely does. With love in my pocket I will move through this limiting belief, and get even closer to a wholly authentic relationship with my partner and with myself. But in the moment when those doubts/fears/beliefs are standing in the way, you’re going to need something more practical than someone telling you to “love your way through it” or some other cliché.

These are the steps that have been working for me.

Get curious. Seek out the doubt.

Identify what is the “belief in yourself”? Find its location, invite it in, then listen closely to its back-story.

Be gentle.

Doctor Doubt has had your back for a good reason since that story started, and he won’t be too happy about being given marching orders. Be a patient patient. Eat all the fucking ice cream. Or talk to a spiritual healer, a therapist, or both if you need to- do whatever works for you.

Practice Gratitude.

Hey, thanks Doc. It’s valuable to remember that the beliefs we hold on to are a reflection of our experiences, and the ones you have kept with you have been there to keep you safe. Thank them for existing, then let ‘em go.

***BONUS ROUND***

Create the alternative.

The great thing is, once you have identified what you don’t want, you can replace it. Visualise. Fantasise. Hold the vision of what you do want. By looking at the doubt closely, you open up the opportunity to replace it with the good stuff. So make your vision as big and beautiful as your authentic heart desires.

This is powerful stuff!

Believing in yourself will only get you so far my love. You need to be open to creating an honest relationship with who you are right now, not who you want to be, to truly create what you want in your life.

By looking at our current beliefs openly, we dramatically shift our consciousness. We are able see our unhelpful behaviours for what they are, which then gives us the opportunity to make healthier, more conscious choices.

Chiara x

Armour versus Amore

Last week while I was working in Bondi I got chatting to a happy Israeli man named Raphael. After I told him that he was named after a ninja turtle, he decided to brief me about his time in military service as a young man.

Raphael explained that he had worked as a nurse, “fitting” he laughed as he told me that in Hebrew his name means ‘God has healed’. He spoke about the countless soldiers he’d nursed back to health after having an arm or a leg blown off, or having sustained some other horrendous injury. Although he smiled through it, when he spoke, I saw the images of war flash through his mind.

Instead of brushing over that very human moment, I decided to ask Raphael how he deals with the trauma. I was curious as to how someone copes with having memories like that tucked away in the back of his mind. He laughed and said “you know, it is funny you should ask. Only the other day I realised that all of these years I have had to picture myself in my military gear as I go to sleep. If I do not see myself lying there in full uniform, with all of my guns strapped to me, I cannot rest”.

He changed the subject after that.

Raphael is over 60 years old. He was 22 when he went to war. For forty years he has had a self-preservation system in place that he didn’t even know about. Bullseye Raphael, and thank you! I started thinking- how often do we experience pain and trauma in life and create an unconscious coping mechanism to bring us peace?

How much unconscious armour have you placed upon your heart to keep yourself safe over the years?

We try so fucking hard to stay protected in this messy experience we call life. We search high and low to find a safe place within or even outside of ourselves where we hope to rest peacefully. And it’s perfectly necessary to do so! But the tragedy happens when we create mile high barriers and barbed wire fences around our hearts on the journey to find that safe place.

As we experience the full spectrum of emotions life throws at us and we encounter the difficulty of grief and loss, we learn to shut parts of our self down. It is a far better idea to

put up a big ass DANGER – DO NOT ENTER barrier than to risk feeling that ever again right? Perhaps.

But perhaps when we put up that barrier, we actually rob ourselves of the opportunity for a full life.

How can you truly feel joy if you are watching from the sidelines, just because you remember how much it hurt when you grazed your knee taking that epic dive for the ball? How can you experience love in its exquisite entirety from up high in your ivory tower, holding a bow and arrow, ready to shoot as prince (or princess) charming approaches? All because of the time that jerk broke your heart.

You cant. You simply aren’t letting yourself.

We can’t be free to experience a full life if we aren’t vulnerable enough to pull the barriers down. Not if we want a balls and all, caution to the wind, authentic experience.

So what I propose is this: just for today, as an experiment, you throw it all down. Say ‘fuck it’ to the fear and go all out with whatever you are doing. Eat the worm out of the tequila bottle. Then snort the salt and squeeze the lemon in your eye. Too far? Maybe. But in the end I’d much rather be worn out, wrinkled and chipped from giving life my all, than still sitting on the bench all shiny and clean but left wondering what if. Who’s with me?

Chiara xo