I have worked as a hairdresser for most of my life, a role I found to be always busy and in high demand, and one where I placed extreme expectations on myself. Not only did I do this in the workplace but also at home, even though at the time I believed that for me work and home were two separate things.
I found hairdressing a job that was run by the clock; a clock that made me feel like I never had enough time to get done what was needed, let alone time for myself to stop, eat or re-assess the day.
My experience of work was:
- Being the one everyone else relied on, the one that could do it all
- Placing huge amounts of pressure on myself to perform
- Often disliking my work due to pressures I had placed on myself
- Rarely able to achieve or fulfil what I thought was needed during the day
- Overwhelm (before my day even started, it often felt like one big spin)
- Unrealistic expectations, creating a stress-full environment for all concerned.
Over time, my body started to develop illness and disease, such as back and hip pain from being on my feet for long periods, shoulder problems from repetitive motions, not to mention digestive issues due to the lack of time I allowed myself to stop and eat. I was then diagnosed with fibromyalgia, an illness that rendered me unable to work. I was in constant pain, with aches in most of my joints and a body that was exhausted from even the simplest of chores.
Eventually I realised that I could no longer continue with the way I was working as a hairdresser or living in general, (or, should I say ‘existing’, at home and at work), watching my life disappear in front of my very own eyes.
I was told by the medical profession to adjust my lifestyle accordingly. I was sent to pain management clinics to learn how to manage the pain and symptoms, and started taking medications. I also started doing gentle stretches and walking to try and help reduce the inflammation and keep my joints mobile.
Although I could feel there had to be a way to make other choices that would give me a life and not an existence, at the same time I began to think there would never be a solution, or an end to what was slowly becoming worse.
Introduced to Serge Benhayon – Time to Get Serious about My Choices and My Commitment
Then one day an old client gave me the card of a practitioner by the name of Serge Benhayon: my first thought was, he must be just another hippy dude in Byron with spiritual jargon. However, my life was dismal; I was 28 and living in my mother’s garage… so I had nothing to lose.
Serge Benhayon certainly was not your average Joe, and he certainly was not full of hippy jargon; he wore shorts and a t-shirt and didn’t smell like he needed a shower or had fallen into a Patchouli bottle. He didn’t try to sell himself or anything else, he simply listened, observed and did some hands on esoteric healing. It was simple, but the most powerful thing I had ever experienced, and what I could feel was just about to change my entire life and wellbeing. This led to becoming aware of choices that I had made and I was now able to feel why it was that I had got to this point in the first place.
I was no longer seeking a solution, or looking for a band-aid that would best fit. It was time to get serious, to get to the nitty gritty of everything I had buried over the years that I did not want to feel or express, and let me tell you there was plenty.
I began packing food for work, having breaks when needed, going to the toilet when I needed to instead of ‘hanging out’, observing how I was standing while doing a client’s hair, having short walks before and after work, and taking the time to feel my body. I began feeling how I was before I started work and how I was when I finished; it was this quality that I took from home to work or from work to home, until being at work and being at home became the same quality.
At work I began to accept I didn’t have to know or do it all; that everyone had something to offer and when we all worked together everything that was needed would be achieved. Some of us were great with customers and others were great with marketing; both were equally needed in order to support the business depending on the skills we had to offer at that time. It was here that I began to ask for help, to admit when I did not know something and to accept that there may be days where not everything I wanted to do would be completed.
These were big steps for me; letting go of old patterns and behaviours and ways of doing things, breaking the mould so to speak, was work in itself. I began to stop having expectations of how my day should be and in doing so, found that not only did I feel less stressed and exhausted, more was actually achieved (without trying) and completed with clarity and an understanding of others and myself.
It is through making the commitment to love and care for myself, and allowing myself to feel the hurts of the past that I had buried, that have led me to live the life I have now; without the symptoms of fibromyalgia, doing more now in a day than ever without getting tired, fatigued or exhausted, and with a body that is now truly vital and alive, and with eyes that glow and skin that shines.
Now working as a hairdresser and living in a way that is open to what is needed, I am allowing myself to do what is needed when it is needed. I am naturally getting more done and am now able to support my colleagues and family in a way that I wasn’t able to before. I find my days at work are no longer draining or exhausting, but are fun and light.
Observing the way I was at work also allowed me to see how I was at home, and I began to ask myself “How could I be one way at home and another way at work?” It made no sense. I realised that making changes with the way I was at home and the quality of my self-care helped me with how I was at work, and vice versa.
As a result, the quality of my life at home and work have become one; I am more approachable, and no longer living my day in complete overwhelm, exhaustion and chaos. I can connect to people without rushing around doing 100 things at once, and am able to be with them and to have true connections instead of the shallow contacts I had in the past.
When I watch myself now, I observe myself doing what is needed, stopping when I feel like things are getting chaotic, feeling what is needed and then going forth from there. I’ve found I’m no longer trying to move forward from and in the chaos, but that I can choose to move forward from the stillness within myself – the stillness that I reconnected to by healing my hurts and letting go of the expectations I had of how I should live my life.
Having developed a quality and foundation of self-care which is always deepening, I now have a foundation for me that enables me to be me, no matter where I am or what I am doing.
By Nicole Serafin, Woman, Wife, Mother, Hairdresser, Tintenbar NSW