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  • Katie Hodge

Pages From My Journal: Everyone Has A Story

There is something about travelling and meeting new people that makes me feel so alive and connected. Being in Ubud for a week was magical, not only the place but the people I met, sparking conversations which have made me think.


I spent 10 years of my life hiding my OCD and anxiety, pretending to myself and others that it didn’t exist. It wasn’t until seeing a therapist in 2021 that I was able to talk openly about it to friends and family. Prior to this I was determined to hide any trace, in the aim to be ‘normal’. What on earth is normal, and who gets to choose whether you are or not – it’s taken me a while but I can now answer; no-one is ‘normal’ and nobody gets to decide your worth but you – read that last part again. I was so embarrassed about my OCD, I couldn’t bear the thought of people knowing, so I got very good at hiding it to the outside eye. Hiding a part of who you are is incredibly tiring, not being able to relax and be yourself because you’re always on edge that you might slip and let the secret out is exhausting. Does anyone resonate with this? If you’re nodding, know that it can get better, start by opening up to your loved ones first, those you feel comfortable around. When you do open up, so do they, the vulnerability barrier is removed and you can talk freely, talk about the important stuff. Stop wasting your energy trying to be someone that you’re not, and use that energy to do things that you love, spend time creating, exercising, helping – whatever lights up your heart, your time is incredibly precious. Take it from someone who has wasted so much energy on things that do not matter; instead of wishing I could get it back I’m using my new found time and space to write and share my learnings.

“Ultimately, the definition of bravery is not being afraid of yourself” Chogyam Trungpa

This blog has been inspired by a couple of women I met in Ubud, I only knew them for 72 hours, but we connected instantly, skipped the small talk and went straight to the ‘big talk*'. We somehow got onto the topic of mental health and I shared my story, from the early days at University, right up to today, and likewise they shared their own stories, challenges, vulnerabilities. I feel like I know these two women better than some of my friends back home. I’ve always been adverse to ‘small talk’, struggle with what to say, I enjoy the deeper conversations and connections they bring. Now that I am able to share my story I feel a responsibility to do so, so that anyone reading who's in a similar situation knows they arnt alone.


We talked about how lucky we were to be in Bali - but then challenged this statement with the fact that we had created our luck, we had made it happen, pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones, spent time making plans, saved money, took the steps to create this wonderful experience. I just want to add here that I understand we were in a position to do this in the first place by being born into a wealthy country, that of which we are very lucky.


Something that resonated with me the most, is that all three of us from the outside looked like we had everything sorted and together, but behind that front there is always a story, and my mission from now is to understand the people in my life on a deeper level. To listen more closely, to ask the bigger questions in life. Also to continue my healing, I am by no stretch of the imagination 'healed' and I have become content with this, I started therapy with the expectation that I could be 'fixed', its such a millennial attitude - throw enough money at it and it'll fix you. But it didn't fix me, instead it opened my eyes and brought awareness to the problem, only once I was aware I could start to heal. Yoga and mindfulness have played a huge part in this journey too, allowing me to feel grounded, connected.

If you read my last blog you’ll know that human connection is incredibly important, it’s in our genetics to want to be part of a group and supported, so it’s not surprising why we go to such lengths to ‘fit in’. However, what I’ve learnt is that those who truly love and support the real you will be there no matter what, and those that don't are not worth your energy.


“Never apologize for being yourself” Paulo Coelho

So my request for you this week is to delver deeper into the ‘big talk’ – listen more deeply and connect, maybe with someone you’ve known for a while, or maybe someone who is new to your life. I'll leave you with a poem by Nikki Banas:

Acceptance
Love yourself through it all, beautiful friend. Be vulnerable enough to accept your flaws and know that they are what make you human, they are what make you real. Be confident enough to accept and cherish your strengths. Don't minimize or hide them; they are your beautiful gifts to share with the world. Love yourself enough to say: You know what? All of this is who I am, messiness and all. I make mistakes. I can be late sometimes. Sometimes I forget things. I take things to heart easily. But... I'm doing my best with what I've got. And I'm so proud of that. I'm so proud of me, and I'm so proud of who I'm becoming.'

I just want to remind you that there are 2 bedrooms left at my next Retreat in the Cotswolds, see a little info below:


Cotwolds Yoga Retreat: Friday 28th April - Monday 1st May 2023


Yoga & Mindfulness Practice

Practice yoga and mindfulness with views out to the lake. If weather allows outdoor yoga will be part of the itinerary. Yoga workshops will deepen knowledge of a variety of poses & build confidence. We will also have gentle yoga classes before dinner each evening.


The Venue

Spacious light and airy Cotswold Stone House, with separate Yoga Studio. Located in the beautiful countryside village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Wake up to a view over the private lake. Two bedrooms left, options for those travelling with a partner/friend or alone.


Peaceful Surroundings

The venue is surrounded by gorgeous countryside. With it's own private lake including paddle board and rowing boat. A short 15 minute stroll into Bourton-on-the-Water, where you will find shops, cafes and a charming river flowing through the centre.


Full details: www.katiejyoga.com/retreat


I’ll be in touch again next week with more snippets from my journal.


Katie x


*By big talk I’m referring to deep meaningful conversations.


Ps, if you'd like to follow my travels in Bali follow me on Instagram or Facebook.