I was asked to write a guest blog for a life coach working with teens, young adults and parents. To read the full post go to this link here
In honour of Valentines Day I have been featured in a blog on self love. To read the full article go to the link here.
In my healing journey I have discovered self love is intrinsically linked to the inner child. When I first began reading self help books I realised I could not feel or access what it meant to love myself. So I would hear and read that ‘I must love myself before anyone else could love me’ but didn’t know where to start.
Twenty five years later I actually think I have cracked it. Or at least I have felt it. Self love for me has not been automatic and many times I fall back into unloving behaviours and thoughts. However, I now know how to access the love within and get myself back to balance.
This I have learnt through meditation and healing. Connecting with my inner child so she feels safe, nurtured, loved, wanted, heard and understood. Sitting with my pain, fears, questions and insecurities and not turning away. Refusing to ignore her and drown her out with external stimuli. Taking a deep dive into the shadows and letting her know she is not alone even when she is scared and lonely. Soothing her with my touch, my voice and my inner sight.
If this is something you would like to be guided with, to help heal your inner child and experience what self love feels like, please do contact me for a session here.
What is feng shui?
I find alot of misinformation and superstition out there around this. As a feng shui Consultant that has studied for years, with various teachers around the globe, some of the things I read make me laugh. So in this blog I’ll stick with what I’ve learnt and what rings true for me and my clients. I will say that feng shui is metaphysical, therefore it uses symbols. Let those symbols resonate with you. If two manadrin ducks mean nothing to you don’t use them as a symbol of love. If hearts do, use those. It’s your home or business, so use symbology that works for you! Feng Shui is 1000’s of years old so what resonated in ancient China might not for you, in your culture, in the 21st Century. That’s ok. It will still work!
So feng shui translates as ‘wind’ and ‘water’ due to the flow of energy (‘chi’) that is created by enhancing your space, as well as negating any harmful energy (‘sha chi’). Imagine a building having specific energy based on when it was built, just like we do when we are born. According to Chineses Metaphysics we have three areas of luck – heaven, earth and human. Heaven represents that with which we are born with (e.g our astrology chart), earth luck is the invisible energy within our environment (feng shui) and human luck is that which we create and the concious choices we make. This is something I love about this school of thought as we are seen as not merely pawns of fate, nor are we completley alone and at the mercy of our choices. Using the tools and techniques within feng shui allows you to utilise the energy of your space and create even more in your life by allowong the energy to flow, moving you forward and creating the changes you want to see in your life.
One of the tools commonly used is the bagua (as above) and this is one of the only ones I recommend using from a book or the internet. Yes there could still be misleading advice but it is the most accurate and easy to follow. I would advise ignoring anything else and getting a professional in. There are so many schools of thought and it can get very compkicated and confusing (and as I have said even misleading). The way to accurately use the bagua is to find the centre of the building and superimpose it over the floorplan. You will need a compass to find the directions. You can then focus on enhancing rhese areas based on your priorities.
Feng Shui uses the 5 elements cycle (just like Tradtional Chinese Medicine and Shiatsu do). There are cycles that create or destroy and this feeds in to how the chi flows through the building (or your body when it comes to the meridians). This is something I look at when analysing your Chinese astrology chart (Ba Zi) as well as your Flying Stars (within your environment). It is all about creating more balance and harmony within and without.
“Man is the microcosm of the macrocosm”- Carl Jumg
A great place to start with feg shui is by decluttering, fixing, spring cleaning and decorating, I take the time from New Year, on January 1st, until the shift of energy, according to feng shui, on February 4th to do this. I find it feels more natural at the time of Imbolic to spring in to action, than it does whilst still fully in the deep, dark winter. However, any time you do it is a great way to start. Have a look at the 8 areas of the bagua and notice where is cluttered or shabby. Does that corrolate with whats going on in your external life? An example is a client I had in Italy whose North East of knowledge was cluttered with at least 50 pairs of shoes. This area is the most important area to have clear as it is actually about our inner self. I asked her if she felt ‘walked on’ by her children and visitors (as most of the shoes were theirs). She looked at me with a ‘how did you know’ glance. I knew because I could see the evidence in front of me.
Remember the beginning of this blog when I asked you to think metaphorically? Well now you know the basics of feng shui have a go yourself and let me know what you discover. I look forward to hearing about any shifts in both your external and internal worlds.
Today I found myself decluttering and space clearing. As i’m in the Northern hemisphere I was aware that this time is one of going inward and releasing. It’s also the holiday season and so it can be easy to overdo it. I feel the energies build up in the months prior. The increased desire to spend, to socialise and connect with loved one, to eat sugar and rush around ticking demands off lists. Today I decided to take it easier than usual. In fact I’ve decided to to allow winter to be a time of rest, renewal and relaxation as much as possible. I am aware that it is the internal slave driver that pushes us to do more and then when we show up for others we are stressed and frazzled.
I am noticing how much others are struggling. Yet instead of jumping in and trying to ‘save’ them, as I habitually did, I am letting them know I am here, whilst I slow down and do less. If they do need a hand I will then be more present and not in such a hurry to ‘solve’ the crisis. I am letting go of the need to people please. Putting my needs as my top priority is uncomfortable as it feels selfish. I know this is not the case and that this belief was what led me to burnout many years ago. As a single parent, in a caring profession, rushing around after anyone in need did not leave me anything for myself. That was my choice and it took its toll. Now I choose to create healthy boundaries so I don’t need to get sick, tired and resentful.
Anyway I thought I would suggest some ways to clear your space and help let go of any real or perceived burdens. Energetically it is helpful to do this regularly. Are there objects that can go to charity? Things that are broken that need to go in the recycling or be fixed? As you clean up notice what can also be straightened up and put in order; like books, papers, shoes. Get into the corners that don’t get a regular dust. Then, with the windows open and the music on, use a clearing method of your choice. People favour sage, palo santo, mugwort, frankencense, amongst others (it’s good to be aware that some of these are being over harvested and affecting indigenous peoples rituals, so considered looking in to that before purchasing).
With that being said burn your favoured incense and waft around all the nooks and crannies of your living space, including cupboards. If you don’t want the smoke you can use your hands to clap into corners and shift the energy too. High vibrational music helps fill the space as you clear. Set intentions of what you want to release; old lovers, pain, worries, bills, the whole of 2019, and then call in the hopes and dreams you want to bring towards you for 2020. This can be done together or seperately. The Solstice might feel more conducive to letting go and New Year to calling in. It’s up to you. Either way let yourself off the hook as you look at your to do list. What can you cut? Where can you carve out space for yourself? What feels like a demand and what feels like a choice? What do you want to let go of right now so that 2020 really is a new beginning?
I’ve been talking to two clients this week about their children suffering inter-generational trauma. Millennials and younger seem to have been dubbed the snowflake generation (due to being soft and wet I assume).
The previous generations whether Gen X, baby boomers or older seem to have suffered immense traumas in bucket loads. Today of all days we remember them and that’s the key. There was not a space to talk about the trauma when coming back from war (or for the families where they didn’t come back).
If you’ve heard of epigenetics or not it’s the study of energy (such as trauma) being past through the genes. An example is with holocaust survivors and the preceding generations carrying the weight of that past.
This was what I discussed with the parents this week who were trying to understand how their children were struggling so much despite a much gentler, more loving and less traumatic upbringing than their own and that of their parents.
It’s possible, and highly likely in my opinion, that these children and these ‘sensitive’ generations are expressing the long held and suppressed traumas from previous generations. Knowing this isn’t theirs and that’s why it seems so hard to overcome is very helpful to the healing process.
Once we understand that not all the energy we carry is ours we can give permission for it to go. What we are left with can then be our focus and much less overwhelming to deal with.
Today’s issues around environment, housing, health, work etc, that are all too real, can be addressed without the burden of the past. Future generations are buckling under the weight of legacies they’ve inherited. Clearing the energy of that allows them to stand in their power, reclaim their energy and feel motivated to make the changes they wish to see.
What are you carrying that’s not yours and how would it feel to let it go now?
If you’d like to experience the lightness of a healing meditation where you (or your child) learns to release the past please contact me.
I had my first taste of pumpkin pie yesterday. Gluten free, refined sugar free and very yummy. This was made by the mother of a child I’m working with. I admire her efforts to make Halloween a treat for her two boys, who are still anxious about where they will be living next. She had a box full of decorations out, pumpkins carved and it reminded me of my journey as a single mother doing the best for my child to ‘enjoy her childhood’.
The things is as I watched her race around after her children with high needs, battling for stable housing, doing housework, paperwork and then preparing for Halloween with homemade pie on top I said ‘stop’!
I understand her need to make everything perfect. To get everything right before she sits down and has a cup of tea (and then immediately jump up again with a demand form a child or phone call from the lawyer). I see her stress. I feel it. My intuition is keen enough that I’m able to step outside the drama and understand what’s happening at an energetic level. I also know on a practical level, as it reminded me of myself in the past.
I told her to stop, sit down, delegate. I reiterated to her that she mustn’t keep putting herself last. She’s wearing herself out. Her health is suffering. The boys are picking up on it all. Rather than being selfish taking time out for you right here, right now helps those around you. Putting yourself last on the list only lasts so long. It’s untenable.
So here’s a reminder to factor in your needs everyday. Your needs are top priority. Learn to delegate (if someone else can do it ask them to do it, even if you’ve decided it’s quicker and easier to do it yourself). If you’re a single parent stop trying to be both. Allow yourself to be the best one parent possible. You cannot make up for the missing parent so stop trying.
Right now check in with yourself. Breathe a long deep breath out and relax. That to do list-does it include anything for you on it? Bump it up to the top now. Book that massage, go for that walk, call that person who can help and ask.
Please stop trying to do it all on your own. I created chronic fatigue from doing that for years. Don’t even cook the pie from scratch. Get that shop bought pie and a cup of tea and enjoy 10 minutes as you sit and eat, drink and stare in to space. Just allow yourself to daydream. No screens! What will it take to slow down?
What are your secrets to scheduling in you time to a busy life?
I’m not sure if it’s because Scorpio season is upon us and things are getting intense or I’m noticing it more by being the observer, but people are pushing boundaries right now. Whether it’s clients contacting me for advice or friends and family needing a shoulder, I’m aware of multiple pulls on my time, energy and resources. Now you may say ‘that’s life’ and I would agree, to some extent it is. What I’ve learnt after 25 years of personal development work is that maintaining healthy boundaries is about dropping in to observer mode, rather than gearing up for firefighting.
When you jump right in and begin putting out everyone elses fires (read dramas) you neglect yourself and your own priorities. Yes it may make you feel good helping everyone else but is it actually enabling behaviour? I ask because thats been a big learning for me over the years. Due to people pleasing tendencies I spent years overgiving. The result? Burnout. Stress. Chronic Fatigue. Plus I wasn’t putting any energy into my hopes, dreams and desires. Why? I told myself I didn’t have the resources. I was spent, its true. Yet it was no one elses responsibilty but mine.
I hated saying no. It felt selfish. I consistently put myself at the bottom of the list. After my daughter, my job, my home, my family and friends. Inevitably there was nothing left. Certainly not for fun, adventute and romance. Yet I kept on working part time as a self employed yoga teacher, healer, life coach and feng shui consultant. I’m so glad I did as I learnt so much and healed by applying all my learnings to myself and my daughter. This has led to a much healthier and more enjoyable life. One where I can feel stress, overwhelm and other emotions before they become a problem and deal with them head on. So I’m in awareness that the people around me are needing more and looking to me to supply it. With that awareness I can check in with where I’m at. What am I able to give? How full is my tank? What are my priorities?
Now I know when life feels stressful it can seem tough to prioritise. What is the best choice to make? So my advice is to get quiet. Maybe you meditate, or have an app that guides you. Great. If not just start with five minutes a day at a set time. Turn all electronics off. Sit somewhere comfy and close your eyes. As you do notice your breathe as it enters and leaves the body. No need to change it. Just notice. You may want to have a pen and paper next to you. The goal is to allow yourself five monutes a day to do nothing. When you have a thought just say hello to it and let it float away. After five minutes you may want to write down any priorities that came up. Maybe at first it’ll be mundane tasks or something for someone else. Just notice that. Set aside that time regularly. Set an alarm for five mintues so you can really relax and switch off. In the silence away from external stimulation it will allow the quiet voice of your intuition to be heard. Maybe not at first but keep going. To build a habit you need to continue for three weeks. I like meditating in the morning before I’ve switched my phone on. That way I start the day on my terms rather than the outside worlds demands pulling at me and scattering my energy.
When you practise centering yourself through meditation you aren’t as easily pulled and stretched in every direction. Prioritising yourself for five minutes a day is a message to yourself and others in how much you value yourself and your time. If others throw their toys out of the pram let them. Ok so if you have am actual baby or toddler than I get finding five minuites seems impossibe sometimes. I chose meditation over ironing when my daughter was that age. I think that was a great investment of my time as it paid me back with stronger inner resources 1000 times over, which helped me have way more patience as a mother too. Of course this is just one way to create and maintain healthy boundaries. Do you have ways that work for you? I’d love to hear them.
Today marks the Equinox, the balance of light and dark, where day and night are of equal length. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere it is the beginning of Autumn and time to reap the harvest of what we have been creating, ready to take us through the winter months. For those in the Southern Hemisphere it marks the beginning of the Spring, the emergence from Winter and the start of new creations. For all of us it coincides with a New Moon in Libra (the sign of balance) and a time to refine what we are taking forward into this new season.
Yet how do we create a more balance when modern life can feel so overwhelming and out of control?
As a life coach a tool I use to help with this is called the Wheel of Life. It is a way to see where your life is out of balance and where to put more of your energy. It is a great way to bring awareness to different ares of your life, such as Work, Family, Fun, Hobbies, Personal development or Home. However, if you’re comparing yourself to others and trying to be perfect it’s only going to cause more stress. The best way to use it is to notice where life is really out of balance (you probably already know) and then focus on that one area. To do this means deciding on small goals that will help you reach your bigger goal. Like going to the gym because you want to be more toned. If thats a goal start there and keep going with that for three weeks before you decide to add anything more.
Do you keep putting yourself at the bottom of the list? Make sure you are your number one priority. Yes even if you are a parent! You’re their role model so you following your dreams, taking care of yourself and having healthy boundaries is how you teach that to them.
So now it’s a new season take it as an opportunity to look at your diet, your schedule, your hopes and dreams and lifestyle choices.
If its Autumn and getting colder and darker swap salad for soup. Be sure to get sunlight whenever you can as this is essential for mood, sleep and energy. Limit blue light from screens with Flux or Iris software, blue blocking glasses and no screens 1-2 hours before bed. Notice that as the days get shorter it is natural to want to be less active, less sociable and get more rest. Its important to go with the natural cycles for optimum health and happiness.
If its Spring for you then its time to shed the Winter and begin a new routine that allows you to be more active and birth the creations you’ve been mulling over and refining. Consider a detox. Nothing extreme, unless you’re working with a professional, but a few days of fruit and vegetables and lots of water will help wake up your system. Start creating new connections, visting new places (or old favourites). Its just as important to limit screens and get out in natural daylight as any season. Balance in Spring may mean not overdoing it and coming back to your goals and priorities, rather than get distracted by every new opportunity and idea and spreading yourself too thinly.
Work with the seasons rather than against them. Modern life allows us to live a 24 hour lifestyle due to lights, screens, the internet and even shops and pubs. Theres nothing standing between you and lack of sleep, eyestrain, low mood, overeating comfort foods and overdoing the alcohol whilst socialising, except your decision to make healthier choices. Why not take this Equinox and the shift in gear to look at your daily habits? Where are they out of balance? What can you do to get yourself back on track? What one small change are you going to commit to for the next three weeks?
After the long, often lazy, summer break it can be daunting planning and waiting for the new academic year to begin. Whether as a parent, child, young adult or teacher the year ahead starts in September. Anxieties can begin to mount as the date nears. Some may look forward to friends they’ve missed, more independence, routine and learning. Whilst others may already be thinking about the expectations that they, and others, will want of them. This may be real or imagined but our brains and bodies can’t tell the difference.
When stressed we go into flight, fight or flop mode. We’ve heard of the first two but the third came into my awareness reading an article on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or ME). Having suffered from it myself, many years ago now, I was intrigued by what I read. Imagine you’re a defenceless creature who cannot possibly out run or fight a tiger. What do you do? Play dead of course. You flop. It’s a defence mechanism, which often works. So whilst we may see our teen lying in bed and think they’re so laid back, it’s worth checking in with them. Are they actually avoiding their feelings through oversleeping? It’s possible.
Another issue is sleep and the likelihood of everyone being out of a routine. Firstly screens have become a common part of modern life for every age group and overuse is detrimental to our health. You may have heard that blue light disrupts the sleep hormone Melatonin, but do you know it also affects Mitochondria? So not only does this explain why it’s hard to get to sleep at night, as you’re tired but wired. It also explains the lack of energy throughout the day. We need sunlight, not blue light.
Some great ways to hack this issue is to download Iris (or f.lux) onto your computer and phone. The settings that are built in are not enough. Plus get some blue light blocking glasses to wear a couple of hours before bed. Even LED light affects our brain at night.
If your child is starting a new school they might be anxious about making new friends. Even going back to the same friendship group can be tricky if they haven’t had contact over the summer months, or there’s been any tension, arguments and even bullying. Ask your child open ended questions like ‘what friends are you looking forward to seeing?’ or ‘have you spoken to anyone in your class over summer?’. Observe their response so you notice body language and not just words.
For young adults starting university they could join online groups to make new friends on their course before they arrive. The unknown is the scary part, so the more they can imagine themselves there the better. Do you know the new teacher? Young children usually love their teachers and you could talk about all the fun possibilites of a fresh start. New books, pencils, uniform. Let them choose what they can themselves, whatever their age. Sometimes as parents its hard to let go and see your child becoming more independent and pulling away from you. Remind yourself what a good thing that is and take a deep breath, as it’s only going to continue. You could even talk about a time you overcame your nerves when you started something new or unknown. What did you do to calm yourself?
Some great ways to create calm (for the whole family) are deep breathing, tapping (EFT or TFT), hypnotherapy, meditation, protein rich foods, water (inside and out), essential oils, yoga and other forms of exercise, a good nights sleep and getting into a routine nice and gently. Get favourite breakfast foods in. Plan clothes and pack bags the night before. Visualise a great day in the life of you and your next steps!