Truth & Lies – know thyself

Truth coming out of her well-Jean-Léon Gérôme

Reading the fabled story of truth being decieved by lies and dwelling in the well in shame, as the villagers did not want to see the naked truth, got me thinking. In the time of the Corona virus there has been so much misinformation. Even before that Trump coined the term ‘fake news’, which strangely means the opoosite of what it appears to be. Without going in to my opinion on any of this I wanted to talk about how we can discern fact from fiction. For me this comes down to knowing what is true for you. Beliefs are not facts and this is often another distortion. I am quite open to others holding different beliefs from myself. I also know how much they can limit us. This again brings me on to current affairs in terms of Black Lives Matter. Many have opposing views and see things in very black and white terms (pun intended) and are not able to move on from their racist ideology.

In my experience those with the most rigid views struggle the hardest to change and try and make others see the world the same as them. Having grown up in an open family who believed in equality for all I have been blessed. This is not to say we did not have rigid and limiting beliefs to clear. Some of those being around men and money. These have required me to go deep and release myself from condtioning, karma, trauma, conclusions and programming. One such example is of having a narssisist for a father who projected a false image that so many people bought. I knew it wasn’t true but felt like I had to go along with it by sublimating who I was. Speaking up for myself and showing who I really am has been mostly terrifying. That is one reason I prefer to write than be on video.

What I have learnt from my journey is how important a sense of self is. How even when you feel it has been eroded by life or that you are damaged, this is not the case. This belief keeps us in victim mentality and no matter how hard it is to admit that, it is a choice. I chose that many times in various areas of my life. As I had been powerless as a child I took that belief into adulthood. Yet here I stand. It is hard to admit the truth both to yourself and others. We can create a fantasy of perfection, hiding behind a false self. I’m here to say that is so isolating and led me to depression as a teenager. To stand up and be your authentic self takes courage. To express yourself honestly is fearless. For me it is first knowing who that self is and what it is you want to express.

I grew up being a people pleaser and got to mid life not knowing what I wanted. I’d spent half my life making sure everyone else was happy as, if they needed me, I was safe. I mistook it for love. I know now that being true to yourself may mean some people don’t like it but if you bend to everyone elses whims you’ll never be you. There’s billions of people in the world and it’s not your job to make them happy. We all have personal responsibility to do that for ourselves.

A client this week was still carrying her husband. She hadn’t been happy for years and was trying to choose between him and her young adult/teen children. I asked her what it would mean to choose herself. She hadn’t ever considered that option. I worked on connecting her with her inner child so she could feel nurtured and protected for the first time in her life. I cleared the karma she was carrying with her husband so she could put him down and let him be the adult he is. I also connected her with the divine part of herself that is whole and perfect exactly as it is so she would know safety, comfort, power and strength. I also released her from the ancestral and social conditoning and programming of what it is to be a female. The belief that we have to look after everyone else but ourselves. How’s that working out for you? I created Chronic Fatigue doing that for years.

So connecting with our true essence, our core values, our divine self and inner child help us to know our inner truth and trust our awareness. Despite the storms that can go on around you, once you are able to tap in to the experience of who you truly are without being swayed, you can hear your truth and follow it. No longer do you need to look outside yourself for answers as your intuition and gut instinct kick in. You are able to gauge what is for you and what is not. Who lifts you up? What lights you up? You are willing to take risks towards your hearts desires as they are truly yours. You feel less stressed by external events as you know you can handle what comes up because you’re making your dreams a priority.

As I told my client, you don’t have to wrestle with issues so huge you are paralysed into inaction. Instead start with small steps towards connecting with your truth like ‘what do I desire to do today?’. Honour the message. Go for a walk, make your favourite meal, take a bath, read a book. Those small steps become a habit. Those habits can lead to real change and feel very empowering. Then when the bigger issues arise you’ll know what to do based on your truth and no one elses. Practise asking yourself ‘what’s true for me here?’ and notice what you become aware of in your day to day life, be it in conversations, news, social media or relationships. Just because it’s true for someone else does not mean it’s true for you. Learn to discern the difference and you’ll start choosing for you, creating the life you desire.

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.

Back to School anxiety

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.

o-EXAM-STRESS-facebook

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.

girl-screen-xlarge_trans++ZgEkZX3M936N5BQK4Va8RUbgHFEZVI1Pljic_pW9c90

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.

kids-for-homeless-story

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?

Businesswoman Writing on White Board and Businessman at Table

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!