Control vs Resilience

Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace. ‘Tao Te Ching’ Lao-Tzu

I’m writing this in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic and a lockdown of 5 weeks in the UK (but whose counting)?. Some days I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of the city and listening to the birds of Spring. Other days I feel like I’ve been transported back to my childhood on a rainy Sunday afternoon, bored, trapped and resentful at the authority who is stifling my freedom. It can feel like an emotional rollercoaster but when I remind myself that I’ve been through worse and gotten through it, I relax.

The memory of times when life pulled the rug from underneath me and I survived to tell the tale is one of resilience. For some people locked into a battle of control, panic and hysteria at this time means they have either forgotten how resilient they are, or never experienced the opportunity to practise it before. For some who have experienced trauma (and that is everyone to a varying degree) you may have maladaptive ways of dealing with the feeling of being out of control. If those ways have been affected by lockdown, like going to the pub, then it may be tough to know what to do instead.

There are also those of you who may not have experienced anything like this before. Not this exact situation but one where we are forced into circumstances against our will, having to adapt and become resilient. Many of my clients are young adults in education or new jobs and this is their first experience of life feeling out of control. In childhood we have parents and teachers controlling us, there may have been a lack of choice but we weren’t expected to make decisions too. Learning how to motivate yourself to complete a degree or how to get on with your mother-in-law during lockdown is a steep and unexpected curveball.

As a child we have many decisions made for us, so in some ways this global situation can put us back there. What we want is curtailed and beyond our control. For those who have not built resilience they may want to push back, control others, give up or lash out. We may fall back into maladaptive habits like over sleeping, over eating, escaping into drink, drugs or the online world, avoiding relationship issues and more. An extreme situation like this can trigger unresolved trauma and send you spinning out, unable to sleep, addicted to news updates and trying desperately to hold on to the old ways of being.

The definition of resilience is ‘the ability to recover, spring back, rebound from illness, change or misfortune’. Whereas control is ‘to exercise an authoritative or dominating influence’. We live in a world that thrives on control and rarely teaches resilience. We are expected to learn as we go. It may seem easier for some than others but that can depend on how much trauma, how severe it was and how young it happened as to whether we develop healthy ways of coping. What role models did you have teaching resilience? I remember as a teenager dealing with my first heartbreak looking around at the adults for guidance of how to handle it. My conclusion? Push it down, suppress the pain, pretend it wasn’t there. Did it work? Umm no!

I ran away from it. I managed to run for another 3 years until another layer of trauma hit and I collapsed under the weight of it. In that depression it took me time to really heal. I did that through reading self help books and listening to a life coach on a cassette tape (it was the 90s). I practised yoga and meditation and gave up partying. Of course that meant giving up control. I felt beaten, like a failure, but the old way was not working so I tried something new. Thankfully this path worked for me. I have continued on that same healing journey, clearing limiting beliefs, fears, emotional pain and learning how to express my authentic self. The path has not always been easy as yoga, meditation and reiki were not mainstream 27 years ago! It was lonely at times. However the skills I have learnt have stood me in good stead for times like these.

This does not mean I never feel low, worried, resentful or any other seemingly ‘negative’ emotions. It means I know how to ride them and go with the flow. I know how to pick myself up when I get knocked down, as I’ve practised it for decades now. ‘Life is what happens when you’re making other plans’ and learning to pivot, redirect, rethink, reconsider and then take action once you’ve reassessed is a very valuable skill. The young adults I have been working with during the lockdown are learning how to do this for the first time. By learning healthy ways to manage the changes you didn’t anticipate will stand you in good stead for years to come.

What can you do to build resilience and ride this wave?

  1. Focus on what you can control – what time you go to sleep, what you eat, what exercise you do, contacting loved ones, how much time you spend on screens and what you watch, what you do to relax are all things within your control right now
  2. Find ways to manage stress – listen to meditations and uplifting music, exercise, get creative, talk honestly to someone about how you feel, spend time in nature, deep breathing are some examples of healthy ways to manage stress
  3. Connect with loved ones – preferably over the phone or video call as this allows a deeper connection than texts or emails as you can hear tone of voice and see body language
  4. Assess your values and goals – maybe this pause is a time to look at where you are at and plan on where you want to go once the world starts moving again. Tune into the values behind what you are missing and how you can create more of that in your life now and in the future. Some examples of values are love, money, health, fun, security, freedom, passion, joy, peace

How are you managing the lockdown? What are you focussed on?

If you would like to find out more about me and my work please go to my website or social media pages.

If you are interested in working with me for life coaching or healing meditation sessions online I am offering 25% off until May 2020. Contact me via Facebook, Twitter or my website.

Ways to strengthen your immune system

In less than a week it will be the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. That means more sun, longer days and warmer temperatures. Usually I would be preparing to detox from the winter months when we move less, sleep more and eat heavier foods. This year, however, we are all more concerned with the Corona virus and how to keep healthy so I thought I would focus on that.

The immune system is an interactive network of organs, cells and proteins that protect the body from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances. The immune system works to neutralize and remove these if they enter the body.

“How can I strengthen my immune system naturally?” We want to be able to defend ourselves from the things that can hurt us—such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites—while remaining nonreactive to things like pollen and foods.

The bottom line is that a healthy body is dependent on a strong immune system; the good news is that there are many ways to keep your immune system strong.

The most important thing one can do to strengthen our immunity is to start where the immune system mainly lives: the gut. This is where about 80% of your immune cells are. By strengthening our gut health, we are much less likely to get sick, have allergies, and develop autoimmune disease. These are some of the key ways I recommend to support your immune function:

  1. Take a probiotic to encourage healthy bacteria to rule in your gut
  2. Avoid antibiotics and drugs that can kill your healthy bacteria
  3. Supplement with Vitamin C, D and Zinc
  4. Spend time out in the sun to get natural Vitamin D
  5. Sweat toxins out in the sauna, bath and from exercise
  6. Eat garlic, ginger, honey, fruit and vegetables high in Vitamin C, and limit sugar, which feeds bad bacteria
  7. Get a good nights sleep, which depends on your age. Children need 10 hours or more and some adults are fine with 6 hours a night. It helps to come off screens 1 hour before bed so your brain has time to get sleepy.
  8. Manage your stress as it can suppress the immune system-try meditation, exercise, grounding in nature or get a massage
  9. Drink lots of water and herbal teas to stay hydrated
  10. Tell yourself how strong and healthy you are everyday and your body will respond!
Eat 5-10 fruit and vegetables every day

Once Spring is here it is likely that the spread of the Corona virus will calm down but its still important to keep a healthy mind and body to feel good all year round. Remember that if you do get ill your body can fight it off with a healthy immune system. You may feel bad for a few days and you will need more rest/sleep, more vitamins and more water to get better quickly. Thats why the elderly and people with pre-exisiting health conditions are more at risk as their immune systems are weaker so they find it harder to fight off viruses etc. As the weather gets warmer viruses find it harder to survive and can die off.

In the meantime follow the guidelines in your country from governments and health professionals. For us in the UK we have the NHS and can call 111 for health advice if we are worried. Keep yourself healthy and practise deep breathing if you feel stressed. Have a break from social media and the news and go for a walk or listen to music instead. When everyone is worrying we can pick up on that and get into a panic. Please see my video offering a meditation to clear the fear of viruses here to help keep you calm and relaxed.

Relax

Here’s a meditation to help clear the fear of viruses

I felt called to create a meditation for those feeling overwhelmed with fear right now. Any illness, disease, major life change or possible death of a loved one can create fear, as we feel out of control. The more we focus on the external world and try and control that which we cannot, the more anxious we feel.

Meditation helps us take control where we can. Our breath, our inner world, our emotions are all things we have control over in any moment, no matter what. So take some time now to sit or lie comfortably and let go of the fear and need to control. This will allow more resources of energy to be directed into that which you do want to create, rather than the focus being on what you don’t want.

It is a practise, not a quick fix. Leading a life in which you prioritise yourself, slow down, and let go of the outside world, even for a moment, pays huge dividends in terms of stress relief and overwhelm becomes rare.

As well as meditation spend time in nature, off screens, eat well, sleep well and move your body daily. Again these are all ways to have control, manage your emotions and boost your immune system. Then if illness or any other knock comes calling you’ll be better able to withstand the change and recover more quickly.

Just breathe

Self Love

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.

trauma

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.

happy child

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.

love

Feng Shui-myths and legends

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.

Bagua

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.

Welcoming the Solstice

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?

Inter-generational trauma

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.

 
 

A reminder to slow down and have some pie

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?

 

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