Wherever you are reading this from - hello, welcome and thank you for dropping by. My name is Tehla Jane Bower and I'm excited to share a slice of my life journey with you.
A little bit about me and my love affair with words
I am a very proud mummy to two beautiful little girls, wife to an amazing and supportive husband (who I have spent over half my life with-wow!) and my biggest passions in life aside from these incredible creatures are yoga, reading and writing. I have recently completed my yoga teacher training with Yoga Synergy and I feel extremely grateful to have learnt so much under the expert guidance of the amazing Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss.
I am happiest when I'm surrounded by a mountain of books, practising my yoga or losing myself in meditation, sipping on my sav blanc (or green tea - depending on my mood!) and scribbling incessantly in my journal. The simple pleasures are the best for me:) I call Wollongong and the Far South Coast of NSW home and can honestly say that after travelling to and living in other parts of the world, this is hands down my favourite place to be:)
I write about anything that's going on in my life (such as motherhood, yoga, health, family), or indeed any topic or subject that piques my interest or sparks my curiosity-meter (like most recently my article on Ed Sheeran's social media hiatus). I like to ask questions that no-one else does, to research rigorously and dive deep into my topic, and to use my words in such a way that they invoke a sense of purpose, meaning and resonance with others.
I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that due to my respect and admiration for the written word I can become a bit of a 'proof-nazi' of sorts, and there are many occasions when I might be found poring over a newspaper or magazine with my red pen at the ready circling the typos and grammatical errors - just for fun! Yes I am unashamedly a professional WORD-GEEK! (I have also been a huge bookworm pretty much from the time I could read, and a HUGE advocate of the tangible, dog-eared, paper book variety as opposed to the 'screen' books available on Kindle and the like).
Before you start thinking that I have it all - never fear! My life hasn't always been peaches and cream and following my dreams! I had to go through a hell of a lot of soul searching and tough turns before I built up the courage to shake up my life and focus on my passions!
Over the years people had always told me to 'be true' to myself, but I don't think I really understood this fully until I hit my rock bottom back in 2015. Following the previous year's string of ongoing sicknesses with my then newborn and toddler, together with a husband who was completely and utterly burnt out, I found myself facing the new year with my own pressures to be the primary breadwinner in the household whilst also being the main support engine for the wellbeing of my kids and husband. I developed a number of health issues myself including the painful temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and hypothyroidism (just recently re-diagnosed as the auto-immune disease Hashimotos), and I lived every day in a constant state of stress that never seemed to ease. It was like I had a permanent adrenaline rush that never stopped, no matter how much I tried. I simply felt I couldn't move fast enough through the day to keep everyone happy, and I neglected myself to the point where my body literally shut down on me. I would find myself becoming increasingly paralysed by the overwhelming-ness of my daily life stressors, and longed to be alone if for no other reason than to clear my mind and free myself of the thoughts and pressures in my head. In a nutshell, I was miserable and felt so confused because I had always been the one who 'pepped' everyone else up, the positive one who could see the good in everything. When I was younger people would call me the 'ray of sunshine'. But more and more, I just felt overwhelmed, stressed and guilty. Even my yoga practice, on which I had relied so much upon for the previous 15 years, could not seem to calm my mind or settle my nerves. This is when I knew that something was seriously wrong in my life.
A few weeks later my youngest developed pneumonia at 18 months of age (whilst at the same time my then 3 year old contracted Scarlett Fever) and as I sat next to her hospital bed for four days without moving, watching her little body struggle to breathe with every breath, I made some commitments to myself that I am happy to say I have now successfully fulfilled. Putting family and health first was an absolute non-negotiable, and prioritising my dreams and increasing the space in my life for my own self-care was a close second. I was always known for being so busy, multitasking and rushing through life to fit something in to every single second of the day (and most nights!) and although I had been able to keep up with this pace before having kids, I think it definitely contributed to my overall longing and innermost intention to just be still, to breathe and simply exist. In the present. In the now. And to be content with life as it was.
I attended a number of silent meditation retreats and learnt so much about myself during this time that I started to truly believe in myself and started to take control of my destiny in my own way. I learnt how to 'monotask' as opposed to multitask and how to meditate with tea (through the fascinating Chinese practice of 'tea chan'). And importantly, I learnt to let go of stereotypes and stigmas and to just be myself. Something that I had only allowed myself to be in my yoga practice, or with those very close to me, and something that I don't think I had completely embraced since my teenage years.
My daily injections of motivation and encouragement from the Tiny Buddha site also helped me through periods of doubt, and reassured me that I wasn't alone in my thinking and beliefs.
With Strength & Freedom comes Liberation!
It can be extremely difficult to honour your true innermost intentions in a society that is constantly bombarding us with images and labels telling us how and who we 'should' be, what we should buy, who we should be friends with, where we should live and how much money we should be earning, how many kids we should have and where we should send them to school. The pressure that we place on ourselves in today's modern world is simply flabbergasting.
If I can use this blog to encourage you to think differently about life's dogmas, to challenge conventional thinking, to pause and breathe every now and then (without feeling guilty about it!), and to truly dig deep into your innermost self and light up the world with your unique-ness, then this site will have most certainly served its purpose!
Much love to you all,