6 practices for when life feels like a roller coaster!

Last week I talked about some of the challenges that I’ve been facing after taking on the care of ‘Dakota Horse’.  If you’ve read some of my other recent posts you might remember that we’re currently also in the middle of selling up and moving house!  This is not only about our home, but also about my business and my vision of how it might develop in the future – so no pressure there then!!  All of this has meant that life is feeling a bit crazy at the moment.

At times like this it’s all too easy to slip into old patterns of overwhelm and the consequent unhelpful behaviours and thought cycles.  I am therefore doing my best to remember to practice good self-care.  I’m far from perfect, and still very much a work-in-progress, but they say that practice-makes-perfect, and it’s certainly giving me insight and a lot of food for thought.

I promised to share some of the things that I’ve found helpful in the hope that it will be of use to others to:

  1. The first and most important thing is remembering to breathe!  Yes, perhaps a rather obvious one, but when I feel stressed I know that my muscles tighten and my breathing becomes more shallow.  This means that my body feels more tense, and gets less oxygen, which becomes a negative spiral, feeding my anxiety.  On the other hand, when I remember to pay attention to my breath, and to breathing deeply and evenly, it helps me to relax.
    To help with this I recommend doing a body scan several times throughout the day.  This enables you to spot areas of tension in the body, and to see when breathing is shallow, allowing you to then breathe into the tight areas, inviting them to release and relax.
  2. This in turn helps me to take a step back and to have better objectivity, which allows me to see more clearly and rationally.  It helps me to keep a greater sense of proportion and not to spiral into overwhelm and feeling out of control.
  3. Breathing properly and being objective also help me in evaluating the reality of the situation and carefully considering my options.  If I slip into panic this is much more difficult to do – if not impossible.  It’s known as ‘blind panic’ for good reason!  Being able to think things through like this, usually allows me to see that there are lots of things I can try, and people I can ask for advice and / or support.
  4. Another thing that helps me in this is to get moving.  Going for a walk helps to break the sensation of being ‘stuck’ and powerless and helps my brain to function more effectively.
  5. I also find being outside in Nature very soothing.  I love the energy of being surrounded by trees and wildlife and find it very grounding.  It helps to restore my sense of perspective too.

  6. Mindfulness, meditation and journaling have helped me to develop more emotional intelligence and self-awareness.  This has allowed me to let go of some of the things that were no longer serving me, and to reconnect with my inner stillness, allowing me to relax more effectively.  This is so important for moving out of ‘fight or flight’ and into ‘rest and repair’ which is essential for our wellbeing.

 

Next week I’ll share some further techniques and insights that I’ve learnt along my journey.

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Challenges and Triggers

Last week I started the story of how a handsome young gelding came into my life.  This week I’d like to formally introduce him!  In his previous home he was known as Lucky, however I felt drawn to giving him a new name to mark the start of this new chapter of his life.  I believe that names can carry a significant energy and I wanted to find one that would represent the relationship I hope to develop with this amazing being, and so I chose ‘Dakota’, which means friend or ally, as I hope that we will establish a close connection and partnership through our time together.

Dakota (Dax) and I on the evening of the day he arrived in his new home

This beautiful boy had rather a hard start in life – he was separated from his mother at 1 month of age and left to starve.  He was then rescued, and after a while ended up in the care of his lovely owner.  She spent a considerable amount of time, care, attention and money in getting him healthy again and now, at 6 years of age, you would never imagine that he had had such a history.

In his previous home he was living barefoot, non-ridden and with 24/7/365 turnout, on a diet of ad lib hay and a few wonderful Thunderbrook supplements.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find facilities in this area that quite match this, so we’ve had to make some compromises.  This has triggered me in ways that I was not expecting!

I feel such a huge sense of responsibility for this animal who is now solely in my care.  I might know the theory of looking after a horse, and have practised it in various ways in the past, but it has never been all on my shoulders before.  With other people’s horses, I wasn’t the one who had the final say on decisions such as:

  • when and how to introduce him to the other horses on the yard;
  • or when might the grass be safe enough for him to go out on it,
  • and for how long.
    (When he arrived he was in the ‘winter field’ with ad lib hay and very little grass, but that was not going to be a permanent arrangement.)

We also, obviously, need to fit in with the others on the yard, as I’m not on my own land…

I know that all this takes time, and is a matter of trying things, then tweaking them as necessary.  The others on the yard are there to discuss any concerns I might have, which can be helpful, but sometimes it is actually more confusing – and stressful – when everyone’s opinion is different.  It has pushed old buttons within me and raised some uncomfortable feelings for me to explore – about my abilities and also my sense of worth and the value of my opinion and views.  I know that these feelings relate to old fears and conditioning that no longer serve me, so this is a great opportunity to look into what my discomfort is showing me:

  • where do I have old needs that have not been met?
  • how can I best learn the lesson that they have for me in order to let them go?

Previously, my coping strategy was often to push down my feelings, however I’ve learnt that this actually makes things worse in the long run.  In fact it has made me ill in the past, leading to migraines, eczema, digestive issues and anxiety.

Over the last few years, on my journey of learning more about myself and how I can support my own wellbeing, I’ve learnt some very valuable techniques that generally work well for me.  This can be a very individual thing, as each of us is unique, with our own challenges and personalities, but next week I’ll share some of what has helped me, in the hope that it might be useful for you too.

 

A new arrival!

Oh boy!  What a journey this is turning out to be!

As I began writing this I was waiting in excited anticipation for the arrival of the horse that I’ve taken on permanent loan.  He was travelling from St Albans to join me here in Bristol, so had a long  road ahead of him, but the physical distance felt like nothing compared to the journey I’ve been on to get to this point, or the adventures that we have ahead of us.

I have spent a fair bit of time around horses: riding as a child, playing with friends’ horses, working with them, volunteering at HorseWorld and horse ‘sharing’, but have never quite managed to have one of my own… until now!

I started looking in earnest for my new equine friend at the beginning of this year.  I put feelers out through friends, and friends of friends, and was surprised at the number of horses that were brought to my attention.  I went to visit almost all of them – which was lots of fun – meeting many beautiful animals and their lovely guardians: the handsome Knubstrapper X, the sparky young Friesian, the beautiful mare from Valegro’s line, the gorgeous Appaloosa X that I fell in love with but who was then removed from sale, and the 4 amazing rescued horses at HorseWorld…  Sadly though, none of them felt quite the right ‘fit’…

All through this process there was a handsome bay gelding that was waiting in the background.  His carer and I first made contact back in February but as he was living 3 hours’ drive away, it took some organising for me to go and see him.  We booked in a date for the first weekend in March – but then it snowed and I couldn’t get anywhere for about 3 days, so we had to rearrange.  We set a new date for 18-19 March… but again it snowed!  What on earth was that all about?!  We then had to wait as the horse’s carer was going away for a while and then I was going ‘home’ to Ireland for a few days, so a new date was set for 15-16 April.

This time there was no snow, and the sun even made a brief appearance, though the wind was still decidedly cold.  The journey went smoothly and I soon found the field where I was to meet with this striking fellow and his human and equine friends and family.  I was made to feel very welcome and spent a lovely couple of days just connecting in, and we started the process of getting to know each other.

Then came the process of arranging for him to make the move to Bristol, to the lovely yard where I’d reserved a place for him.  This is where things began to get a bit complicated…

Next week I’ll explain a little more about some of the challenges we faced and what this has meant for me.

THE CHAKRA SYSTEM – part 8 of 8

THE CROWN CHAKRA – SHAHASTRARA

This chakra is located at the top of the head and corresponds to two glands:

  • Ÿ         pituitary
  • Ÿ         hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is located in the back part of the brain, just behind the point at which the optic nerves cross.  It connects the conscious mind with the rest of the body by connecting the higher centres of the cerebral cortex with the lower brain centres and the endocrine system.  It also controls many important nervous system functions including appetite and body temperature.

The pituitary gland is often referred to as the ‘master gland’ as many of the hormones it secretes directly affect other glands around the body.

The anterior pituitary secretes 7 hormones:

  • Ÿgrowth hormone
  • Ÿprolactin – triggers and maintains lactation
  • Ÿthyroid stimulating hormone
  • Ÿadrenocorticotropic hormone – stimulates the growth and development of the cortex of the adrenal gland
  • Ÿ follicle stimulating hormone – in females this stimulates the growth and development of egg follicles in the ovaries and in males it stimulates the development of spermatozoa
  • Ÿluteinising hormone – completes the process of follicle development in the female and plays a role in testosterone production in the male
  • Ÿmelanocyte stimulating hormone – associated with control of colour changes in pigment cells

The posterior pituitary stores 2 hormones made in the hypothalamus:

  • Ÿantidiuretic hormone, which helps the body conserve water
  • Ÿoxytocin which plays a role in aiding sperm to travel to connect with the egg after sex, and also in the delivery of the foetus and placenta at birth. In addition it has an effect on the mammary glands during lactation.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • Ÿ         scalp
  • Ÿ         cerebral cortex
  • Ÿ         central nervous system

The colour of this chakra is violet to white;

its sense is the sense of ‘knowing’;

its element is thought;

its function is understanding.

It is associated with fasting.

If this chakra is balanced it allows us to appreciate inner and outer beauty.  It gives us our connection to spirituality and the experience of pure bliss.  It allows you to feel immense gratitude for teh universal love and appreciation you feel towards yourself and others.

When it is out of balance it can result in depression, alienation, confusion, boredom, apathy and an inability to learn.  You might feel unworthy of spiritual help and angry that your higher power has abandoned you.  You might experience migraines and tension headaches.

This chakra is related to pure consciousness.  Energy from this level gradually becomes more dense as it travels down towards the base which is how thought becomes translated into matter in manifestation.  Travelling in the opposite direction our energies grow and develop through our lives leading us from solid matter to connecting with consciousness and the Divine.

Our energies can fluctuate during the day, and our chakras can be more or less open in any given situation depending on what ‘pushes our buttons’.

Why not take some time to pay attention to how you’re feeling — whereabouts in your body do you feel tension / pain / ease / lightness?

Are there repeating patterns in your life?  Do they serve you or do they leave you feeling stuck?

If any of this has resonated for you I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like to ask any questions or discuss things further:

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

robyn@equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on the chakras.  You can read the full text here)

 

THE CHAKRA SYSTEM – part 7 of 8

THE BROW CHAKRA – AJNA

Also known as the Third Eye, this chakra is located in the middle of the forehead, slightly above the level of the eyes. It relates to the pineal gland, a part of the brain located at the rear end of the deep cleft that separates the 2 cerebral hemispheres and just in front of the cerebellum.

This gland is thought to influence our biological day / night rhythms.  It produces melatonin that seems to affect mood and sleep / wake cycles.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • Ÿ         eyes
  • Ÿ         sinuses

The colour of this chakra is indigo;
its sense is the sense of sight;
its element is light;
its functions are intuition and seeing (including insight).

It is also thought to relate to ‘second sight’ and other psychic talents.

The ‘food’ for this chakra is mind altering inhalants.

When this chakra is open and balanced it results in a wisdom, imagination, and the ability to make decisions.  You have a strong sense of your own inner truth and listen to, and follow it as it guides you on your life path.  You are confident in your own intuitive decisions.

When it is out of balance it can lead to visual problems, a lack of imagination and therefore empathy, or an inappropriate use of imagination where you prefer to live in your own inner world rather than being open to the reality of your situation.  You might feel lost when it comes to your spiritual purpose and path in life.  You feel disconnected from your intuition, or don’t believe that you have any.

It can also cause headaches, nightmares and an inability to trust one’s own judgement.

Our energies can fluctuate during the day, and our chakras can be more or less open in any given situation depending on what ‘pushes our buttons’.

Why not take some time to pay attention to how you’re feeling — whereabouts in your body do you feel tension / pain / ease / lightness?

Are there repeating patterns in your life?  Do they serve you or do they leave you feeling stuck?

If any of this has resonated for you I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like to ask any questions or discuss things further:

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

robyn@equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on the chakras.  You can read the full text here)

THE CHAKRA SYSTEM – part 6 of 8

THE THROAT CHAKRA – VISHUDDA

Unsurprisingly this chakra is located at the throat!  Its glands are:

  • Ÿ         thyroid
  • Ÿ         parathyroid.

The thyroid gland has 2 lobes that are located on either side of the larynx.  It secretes thyroid hormone with helps to regulate the body’s metabolic rate and calcitonin which affects blood calcium levels.

The parathyroid glands are found at the thyroid.  They secrete parathormone which works in opposition to calcitonin to maintain a homeostatic balance of calcium levels.  Parathormone  increases blood calcium levels by causing the kidneys and intestine to retain and absorb it, respectively.  It also releases calcium from the stores in the bones.  Calcitonin on the other hand causes blood calcium to be deposited in these bone stores.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • Ÿ         neck
  • Ÿ         oesophagus
  • Ÿ         bronchi and lungs
  • Ÿ         shoulders
  • Ÿ         arms
  • Ÿ         hands

The colour of this chakra is bright sky blue;
its sense is the sense of hearing;
its element is sound;
its function is communication and creativity.

The food for this chakra is fruit.

When this chakra is balanced is enables strong, healthy communication and self-expression.  You feel comfortable speaking your truth and you feel that others listen to you.  You feel that you are heard and honoured for your truth.

When there is a lack of balance in this area it can result in sore throats, stiff neck, colds, thyroid problems and hearing problems.  It can also cause a fear of expressing oneself, or at the other extreme, being too blunt and hurtful.  It can also result in a feeling of being judged.

Our energies can fluctuate during the day, and our chakras can be more or less open in any given situation depending on what ‘pushes our buttons’.

Why not take some time to pay attention to how you’re feeling — whereabouts in your body do you feel tension / pain / ease / lightness?

Are there repeating patterns in your life?  Do they serve you or do they leave you feeling stuck?

If any of this has resonated for you I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like to ask any questions or discuss things further:

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

robyn@equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on the chakras.  You can read the full text here)

THE CHAKRA SYSTEM – part 5 of 8

THE HEART CHAKRA – ANAHATA

Located in the middle of the chest this chakra corresponds to the thymus gland which is found at the sternum and plays an important role in immunity.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • Ÿ         lungs
  • Ÿ         heart
  • Ÿ         arms
  • Ÿ         hands
  • Ÿ         pericardium

The colour of this chakra is green (or sometimes pink);
its sense is the sense of touch;
its element is air;
its function is love.

The foods for this chakra are vegetables.

When this energy centre is well balanced the individual experiences self-love, joy and inner peace.  They are also compassionate and able to give love to others.  They are comfortable in their relationships and feel a deep sense of gratitude for how wonderful their life is.

If it is out of balance they might suffer from asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease or lung disease.  They might also be withdrawn, unforgiving or uncomfortable with physical contact.

Having discovered himself as being a member of a family, then a unique entity, separate from ‘other’, and having learned how to exercise his own will, the individual now rediscovers connection with the ‘other’ and with things around him.

This is the middle chakra connecting the lower three, denser energy centres, to the three lighter vibrational energies above.  It plays an important role in healing as this is where the grounded energy from the earth connects with the energy coming down from Spirit.  Light energy from Spirit travels down through the upper chakras to the heart and then along the related energy lines in the arms to the hands and from there to the client.

Our energies can fluctuate during the day, and our chakras can be more or less open in any given situation depending on what ‘pushes our buttons’.

Why not take some time to pay attention to how you’re feeling — whereabouts in your body do you feel tension / pain / ease / lightness?

Are there repeating patterns in your life?  Do they serve you or do they leave you feeling stuck?

If any of this has resonated for you I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like to ask any questions or discuss things further:

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

robyn@equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on the chakras.  You can read the full text here)