It’s times like these you learn to live again
Singing to myself the songs that helped heal me
In 2021 while I was on a grief retreat, something magical happened. I was able to listen to music again!
Not just any songs but those that were ‘our songs’ — the ones I shared with my ex-partner, so many of which were on our ever growing shared list that was to be played at our wedding by the band we watched on our first weekend away. Being such a lover of music and having separated from my Husband some months before who I shared no mutual appreciation of music with, I felt this was yet another sign that we were soul mates who were truly meant to be together. I was told the same by him!
But something else even more magical happened on that Grief Retreat. I felt the music differently, without the pain of getting caught in the barbed wire that had trapped me in our relationship. I suddenly heard them as though they were being sung to me BY me, not even from God or a higher power, but from me. More like me as the parent, singing to my own inner child. Like the wise old soul who’s definitely been here before, to the sometimes immature, childish, damaged and traumatised soul that still existed inside of me. I could hear the words so differently and really felt like they were being spoken directly to me, for me. Like the very best YouTube affirmations meditation but SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL, moving, and ultimately a tonne more fun too, especially singing them at the top of my lungs in an empty field of in the perceived privacy of my car!
I’ve held back from sharing any of this because I knew there was one song that I was yet to overcome.
It came on randomly on New Years Eve. Immediately I contracted, but then was able to breath and just heard the song with happiness looking back on when it was released, whilst also hearing it so differently, again like it was being sung by me, to me.
This collaboration of ‘Times Like These’ by the Radio 1 Live Lounge Sessions came out during Lock Down when we were clapping and cheering for the NHS every week. I was driving to my ex’s on one such day, the sun still so hot and bright at 8pm. It was so moving, everyone was beeping and cheering as so many of us were full of hope at how the country was coming together, how much love, care and respect people were showing towards each other, how the good of the British people was really being felt. This was existing simultaneously alongside the horror of Corona Virus, the stress everyone was feeling, the death and destruction. I also felt so lucky to be alive and that my loved ones and family were relatively safe. Tears streamed down my face while I beamed with unsteady but deep hope and gratitude. It was such a strong memory I won’t ever forget.
Looking back, lock down masked many of the red flags in my relationship that maybe I would have otherwise seen sooner, but I will always be grateful for the distraction that was my ex that kept me sane working so hard, home schooling, eventually sorting my divorce, house sale and move all during Covid and Lockdown.
Love, hope, pain, fear and desperation CAN exist simultaneously, like it did during Covid. Like it did in my relationships and the other challenges I’ve had since it finished, not just because of the end of that relationship. Things change, they come and go. Life is a myriad of opposing forces and feelings, nothing is linear, there is so much contrast and contradiction but once you learn to allow and accept that, life becomes a hell of a lot easier.
“I’m a one-way motorway. I’m the one that drives away and follows you back home.
I’m a street light shining. I’m a white light blinding bright, burning off and on.
I’m a new day rising. I’m a brand new start to hang the stars upon tonight.
I’m a little divided, do I stay or run away and leave it all behind?”
Those lyrics summarise so perfectly the up and downs of life. Challenge and bliss, huge highs, massive lows, all in, wanting to be out. But if I hadn’t been through what I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be so completely in love with the amazing parts of my life, the blessings of which I have many, despite some of the challenges remaining alongside them. And I certainly wouldn’t be such an empathetic, powerful and effective coach and healer.
“It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again.
It’s times like these you learn to love again.
It’s times like these, time and time again.”
It certainly is times like we’ve been through that make us ready to live, give and learn to love again. But loving ourselves HAS to come first. This can certainly take a tonne of time to come. I’m not asking anyone to practise toxic positivity, that’s not helpful when you’ve been through trauma and challenge, especially if you’ve been victimised, abused, bullied, if you are a victim of crime or if you’re grieving. It’s OK to have and it’s very important to process ALL of the emotions you feel, to release any shame you might be feeling for having them, to have these validated and never to gloss over them.
There will always be more challenges, more tests, more trauma. But when you are able to realise how strong you were when you felt nothing like it, you are eventually able to celebrate that you are a survivor. That you deserve to take your seat at the table and wear your crown as well as your scars with pride. It’s so bloody liberating!
Back to the song! All credit to the amazing Foo Fighters but I usually like the acoustic versions of most songs (love Bon Jovi, dislike Living on a Prayer unless it’s the absolutely unbeatable acoustic version)! For me, the Radio 1 Live Lounge session of Times Like These is just beautiful, no longer because I relate it to an exact special bitter-sweet moment in the past, but because of how it relates to NOW — a time of so much knowing, learning to trust again, love myself, perhaps for the first time completely genuinely as there is no more Imposter Syndrome and no more Fraud Complex alongside the belief that I am not just finally enough, but more than enough.
I’ve learned to live and love again.
That’s what I want for everyone, to be able to move into a place where you can talk kindly to yourself, turn down the dial of the negative, doubting self talk of the inner critic. Giving yourself loving kindness, acceptance and respect that translates to putting yourself first.
Many can’t do it without doing what I call ‘The Work.’ Because it does take work. But it is possible. I’m one of those who it would never have happened for unless I’d put everything into my recovery, which was elongated for many different reasons I won’t share here. Doing ‘the work’ was essential and still is. I don’t believe our work on ourselves is ever completely ‘done’ but it certainly has many stages, twists and turns as well as and easy sections where we can rest and recover then flow with the tide for a while, as if floating down a gentle river rather than manically paddling upstream against the current.
I share so much of my own journey because personally when I work with a therapist, I want to know that they get me and have been through a certain amount themselves, that they haven’t just been to Uni or a course but had real life experience rather than just from a text book and case studies. My hope is that my work both on myself and my clients inspires the right people to move into a place of complete self trust and self love. I want you to know you really DO have what it takes to navigate this journey called life, confident that you won’t ever return to the darkest of days that you just wanted to end, but that you can weather future storms with access to the right tools, resources and people, even if you need a little help along the way again at times.
I want you to keep on singing you favourite songs as if you are singing them to yourself!
I’m here to partner with you on your journey if you are ready to do ‘the work’ which is very often easy, freeing, enlightening, and sometimes a lot of fun, so not necessarily like work at all!
Here’s the link to the video of “Times Like These” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GElP4YdrBE
The video is so great but it can be a bit distracting trying to identify all the celebs, so be sure to listen to it with your eyes closed and really absorb the words. What does it say to you? What strength can you take from it if you could feel it was your very own soul singing it directly to you?
And just for fun, have a watch of the video and let me know what you love the most. You might have to watch it a few times to see my favourite — it’s the cutest thing in the bottom right hand corner at the end! Hit reply and let me know if you managed to spot it!
In the meantime, keep singing to yourself and obviously, keep tapping!
The EFT Coach for Empowering, Fundamental Transformation