I had the opportunity to be on the Extraordinary Achievers show talking about how to improve your wellbeing through the power of the mind. Check out the link to the video below.
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.
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?
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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’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.