Keeping your Balance

Balance can be such a fragile thing, can’t it? Even when we think we’re pretty solid and stable, it can take a fairly ‘small’ thing to unsettle us, knock our confidence and sense of security, and leave us questioning where we are, what we’re doing and where we’re going.

On the morning of 20 November 2019 Tim, my husband, came in and woke me, saying: “We’ve been robbed!”

He’d been getting ready to leave for work when he found that one of the sheds had been crow-barred open and many of his precious belongings had been stolen. As he investigated further it became apparent that they’d taken much more than we originally realised, including bicycles and tools.

This has come as a hard blow, following a year of challenges since moving to Wales. It feels doubly unfair that most of the things that were taken were Tim’s, and many of them were part of his sense of who he is.

The blow was also very unexpected. Just a couple of days before this, we’d had a rare day off together, going to the cinema and enjoying a lovely sunny walk on the Blorenge – a chance to appreciate, and see more of, where we now live.

Then suddenly it felt that our secure and stable world had been shaken to the core.

Of course, viewed another way, only things were taken or damaged. The house wasn’t affected and Tim, the horses, the cat and I are all safe. It has been another big financial blow, it’s true, and some of the things that were taken are irreplaceable, but we are physically unhurt.

The most difficult aspect to process is the psychological and emotional one. For Tim it’s been about the security of our property, the loss of what all the items represented for him, and the cumulative effect of all the energy that he’s invested in making this our home.

For me, it’s the upset that it has brought for Tim, worrying about how stressed and unhappy this has left him, plus the feelings of guilt that it has triggered in me, as it was me who wanted to move from our previous home.

I recognise, too, that the guilt I’m feeling is more than just from this one incident. It’s an old and longstanding feeling that I’ve carried – and added to – over many years. It started back in my childhood, so is deeply ingrained and even feels ‘normal‘ to me, in that I don’t really know what it would be like to live without its presence in my life.

You might remember that I’ve written about guilt before, showing that I’ve had plenty of opportunity to give this some serious thought. And it’s still a work in progress for me.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might also know that I like to look at situations, even – or possibly particularly – the challenging ones, as opportunities; that is, opportunities to explore what they bring up for me and through this to identify beliefs that are / aren’t serving me, in order to choose the things that support me and my wellbeing, and release the things that don’t.

From this experience I’ve come to see that my sense of balance isn’t a static thing; it’s an active, dynamic and ‘living’ one, a process that is ongoing and shifting depending on the circumstances around me. My challenge, I think, is to practice keeping the process a more conscious one, so that I can be responsive rather than reactive to whatever situation I find myself in.

Here, it’s been a matter of balancing my needs, my sense of security and my feelings of guilt in the face of the burglary.

I’ve also been exploring the concept of balancing my needs with Tim’s. As with every relationship – romantic or otherwise – this, too, is an ongoing process, and one that helps us to get clear on our boundaries and sense of self in the shared space with the ‘other’.

This brings me back to my values of seeking to live with authenticity, integrity and congruence (see more about these in an earlier post). How can I best maintain and express these, even when feeling threatened, shaken, and drained of energy?

It’s been an interesting chapter, and certainly not one I ever want to repeat – nor one that I would wish on anyone – but when these things happen, I find that, for me, it’s often about trying to get through as best I can and looking for those inner resources to keep me from ‘giving up or giving in’.

One lovely thing to come out of the whole episode has been the kindness, good wishes and offers of support that have come from so many people! At a time when it’s been tempting to become cynical, hard and suspicious of others, it’s so good to be reminded that the vast majority of people are caring, warm and helpful and that the world is still a safe and beautiful place in which to live.

What tools / practices have you found helpful when your sense of balance has been shaken? I’d love to hear from you and I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you 🙂

(Images courtesy of Canva – other than the photo of our house)

Making a Fresh Start

The start of a New Year is a time when we traditionally think about fresh starts.  Perhaps you’re considering:

  • a new diet
  • a new exercise programme
  • a new course of study
  • learning a new language / skill

This year, particularly, might be triggering thoughts of change and new beginnings, given that it is also the start of a new decade and, here in the UK, it’s the year in which we will finally leave Europe and start to see what impact this will have on the country.

All of this can feel very overwhelming, and the new year / decade can seem to stretch out ahead with perhaps too many choices and insufficient information or resources – an intimidating blank canvas where you have no idea where to start or where you might end up.

  • How do you know which choice is the ‘right’ one for you?
  • Where can you find information / support?
  • What do you do if it all goes wrong?

Alternatively, you might feel that you are stuck in a situation with no / very few options, which can feel oppressive and very daunting.

  • What can you do when you feel powerless and that the choices are out of your control?
  • What can you do to improve your situation?

First of all, let me reassure you that you’re not alone in feeling this way.  Social media might make it look as if ‘everyone else’ has their lives sorted, but it’s just not true!

The first important step, I believe, is to stop, take a step back and take a deep breath.  Tell yourself that it’s going to be ok – and it is!  Think of all those times when you’ve overcome challenges in the past.  You’ve faced difficulties before and have made it through every time.  They might not have ended how you’d have chosen, but you survived, and you learnt new strategies and became the person you are today.

Remember, too, that it’s ok to make mistakes.  When we face a new situation, we can’t be expected to have all the answers, or the skills, to handle things perfectly, first time.  Rather than viewing Life as a series of ‘tests’ that we have to pass, why not see it as opportunities to practise, learn and grow.  Be gentle and forgiving with yourself – and keep a sense of humour.  The ability to laugh with (not at 😊 ) ourselves, is such a fabulous thing to cultivate!

To support this, practise an attitude of openness and curiosity, also known as a Beginner’s Mind.  This enables us to keep a fresh perspective and not to get stuck in old patterns or limiting beliefs.  It also helps us not to take things personally, but to look instead at what was behind the words or events that we found upsetting.  We can look, too, at what we’re feeling and explore our responses to develop greater self-awareness, -understanding and -compassion.

Also, remember that 1 January isn’t the only day in the year when you can make a fresh start! 

When you make a choice, it doesn’t have to be forever.  You are free to change your mind.  There is no situation in which you can’t change something.  And if you can’t alter the situation itself, you can always choose to change how you feel about it.

There are no ‘wrong’ choices either.  If you haven’t tried something before, how can you know if it will be a good fit for you?  You can choose to see it as exploring a new path, and if you find that you’re unhappy with the choice you made for some reason, then you can make a new choice.  Of course, this isn’t always easy, particularly when it impacts on other people, but when you can stay open, honest (with yourself and them) and authentic, you will be doing your best, and that is all that is required.

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Remember, too, that your past doesn’t define you. We’ve all made mistakes and done things that in hindsight we’re not proud of, but these don’t have to hold you back. Don’t let guilt or an over-developed sense of responsibility keep you captive (I’ve been there!). Know that each morning brings a new beginning and a new opportunity for you to decide who you want to be and what that will look like. And it’s never too late to start! Sometimes it might be challenging, if the people around you expect you to be the same person you were yesterday. They might be uncomfortable with change, and so prefer you to stay as you were. But you are free to be true to yourself, and to grow and develop as feels right to you. Anyway, Life is full of change, and we need to adapt and go with it in order to thrive. (I’ll be posting more about this dynamic process next month.) I once read a saying that made me smile and so it’s become a kind of motto for me: Just yell ‘plot twist!‘ and move on. 😊

We can only ever have power over, and responsibility for, our own choices and their consequences.  But when we accept this, and when we can hold them ‘lightly’ – by which I mean with authenticity, flexibility, curiosity and humour – then our world really is a brighter place.

If you would like to explore this further, please see my website and / or contact me:

Looking for Eco-friendly gifts

If you follow my blog and/or social media, you’ll know that I’m passionate about Nature.  For me, part of this is looking for ways to be more eco-conscious in my purchases.

I previously posted about looking for ways to use less plastic and shortly after this, I was contacted by a company called Life Before Plastik who wondered if I would consider writing about them and their products.  Having taken a look at their website, I was very happy to do so.

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They might not be the largest company selling eco-friendly products but they’re still young (as I write this on 11 November they’re celebrating their 1st birthday) and they’re  continuing to add new products to their collection.  Not only that, but they also have videos and other useful information, such as using ecobricks and how to use bar shampoos.

Their product categories include:

  • Bathroom
  • Beauty
  • Skincare
  • Haircare
  • Home
  • Kids & Baby
  • Pets

and a couple of others.  They also have a particular section for Festive Ideas and they include a gift wrapping service.

I’ve had some correspondence with them, and they have been responsive, helpful and accommodating.

Even so, I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable making a recommendation without actually trying them out – a good excuse for some gift shopping, including some things for myself!

In my first order I bought:

  • A sisal soap pouch (a great way of using up those little slivers of soap at the end of the bar – put them in the pouch and use like an exfoliating rub in the bath or shower)
  • Shea butter soap (for my face)
  • Argan and oatmilk shampoo bar (not my first choice but this was sold out so obviously popular)
  • And Sea Salt and Moss soap-on-a-rope (which will be a Christmas present for my uncle)

My order arrived within a couple of days, very neatly wrapped in brown paper.  When I opened the parcel, I could see that they’d used recycled packaging – an old chocolate box and newspaper – along with ‘wood wool’.  I love it when a company extends their ethical ethos to include how they send out the products!  They’ve told me that this includes their gift wrapping too:

“It comes with products packaged in a recycled cardboard box filled with wood wool, before being wrapped with twine and a choice of a reindeer or santa post gift tag.”

This is an image from their website:

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When it comes to wrapping your own presents and parcels, they also sell paper tape, a plastic -free alternative to Selotape.

Another couple of points that I like about this company are that:

  • they stock a range of vegan products
  • they are UK based and therefore there’s less of a carbon footprint in terms of shipping for me, compared to ordering from the US and other countries.

Of course, there are also other companies offering great eco-friendly products.  Another that I used recently is Plastic Freedom.  I ordered some products from them also:

  • vegan lip balm
  • cocoa butter solid moisturiser
  • an olive wood soap dish
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They, too, have a Christmas range and also stock makeup, clothing and food.

Again, I was very pleased with the products and service.

A couple of other sites that I’ve noticed, but not yet used are Beauty Kitchen (who have a festive range of products) and BYBI.

Whatever and however you’re celebrating this month, I send warmest wishes to you and yours.

See you in the 2020!

Coming Home to the Self

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about why I do what I do, and why I love working with the people who come to me.  Basically, it’s because I was that person

Rewind a few years and I was very unhappy.  Initially I tried to tell myself that I was ‘fine’, or at least that I was ‘coping’ and that “many other people have things much worse than me”, but I was experiencing health problems which were leaving me feeling low, exhausted and overwhelmed.

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At the time I thought that if this or that thing changed, or if this or that person would just do things differently, then ‘everything would be ok’.  In short, I was looking for answers outside of myself.  I tried various options, including counselling, but they just weren’t helping to make the changes I so desperately craved.  I wanted someone who would really listen, and give me the advice, support and tools I felt I needed for things to feel better.

I continued searching, which led me to an online course entitled Integral Enlightenment , run by Craig Hamilton.  This course encouraged the participants to view life from both a relative/duality perspective (our daily experience) and also an absolute perspective, ie the perspective that is outside of Time and Space.  This helped me to develop a deeper self-awareness and a consciousness of my responsibility for my own actions, thoughts, beliefs and feelings, while also knowing where this responsibility ends; that is, to discern the things that are not mine to take on board.  (Having been a first-born child, a ‘fixer’, a ‘control freak’ and a ‘perfectionist’, this was a big step for me!) 

I started to see – and accept – that the only thing I could change in my situation was me!  I had been trying to ‘fit in’, and to go along with others in order to ‘keep the peace’, thinking that this was my only option, but each time I said ‘Yes’ to something that didn’t feel right to me – either verbally or through my actions – I was effectively saying ‘No’ to myself.  This was causing me high levels of stress and deep unhappiness.  It was part of a pattern that I had learnt as a child, but it was no longer serving me.  Something needed to shift in me for me to feel better.  The answers had to come from within, not without. 

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Far from making me feel helpless, I suddenly felt that I had the power to choose which direction I would go from there.

For me, this naturally led on to exploring:

  • Who am I, and what do I want in my life?
  • What are my values, and how can I be more aligned with these?

I began to understand that when I am honest with myself about my feelings, reactions and responses – and I take responsibility for these – then life is simpler, and feels more authentic and less overwhelming.

Also, when I was able to get clearer on my values and I how I could express these with integrity, I felt empowered and recharged.

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I came to realise that when my thoughts, values, beliefs and actions are congruent, it’s a very peaceful– and also powerful – place to be.  It brings new clarity, insight and energy, and allows me to feel comfortable in my Self.  That is, I feel ‘at home’ in my own skin.  And, isn’t this sense of knowing who we really are, and feeling safe and able to fully Be that Self, isn’t this what we really want from Life?

I came to realise that although I had thought I needed advice, support and ‘tools’ in order to change my life, what I really needed was a safe space to explore who I really am and how to Be that more fully.  I worked with a couple of therapists along the way who helped me to do this exploration.  They mostly just held that safe space and walked alongside of me, sometimes asking me questions or helping to shine a light for me to find my own steps.  I discovered that this was actually what I wanted and needed, rather than advice.  Their support was gentle, encouraging and offered with a ‘light touch’, mostly just allowing me to see that the wisdom and resources that I needed were already within me, all I needed was a way to connect with them. 

I’m sharing a little of what my journey looked like, not to say that anyone else should take these same steps, but to give hope to anyone who is struggling right now.  I know that everyone is an individual and so their journey will be unique to them.  There is no ‘one size fits all’, but that is the wonder and beauty of Life in all its richness, variety and colour.   That’s why I don’t have a fixed programme for people to follow and my work is always tailor-made to the person and their situation.

I am now honoured to share parts of the  journeys of some amazing people, holding space and shining light for them as they find their own path and reconnect with their inner power and beauty.  Each one of them is an inspiration and a joy to me, and I love to watch as they find their feet and step into their ability to continue on without me, or to return periodically for a bit of self-care.

If you’d like to know more about this process, please see my website:

            equenergy.com

And if you were wondering about how my health is now:

  • I haven’t had a migraine in years
  • My eczema has cleared
  • I haven’t had an episode of IBS either
  • We now live on a Welsh hillside and I care for 2 horses which means that I’m pushing barrow-loads of hay up and down to the fields and poo-picking a couple of times a day, so my energy and fitness levels are also much improved!

Having reached a vey low point myself, I know how despair can suck all the Life and fun out of everything.  But having found my way back I can tell you that the sun shines even brighter now, because I appreciate it all the more 😊

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Equenergy blog is back!

Hello again! I’m back – a week later than planned, but I’m here now, and I thought I’d give you a bit of an update on what’s been happening here at Equenergy.

The original plan was to take time off from posting here and to use it instead for reflection and for focusing on some other things that I’d been wanting to do for a while.

Well, as is often the way of things, this didn’t entirely to to plan! Life got in the way, as it tends to do, and the month seemed to pass much faster than I’d expected.

One of the big things I noticed in slowing down a bit and giving myself a little more ‘space; was something that I’ve felt brewing for a while was able to come to the surface…

Today is the 1 year anniversary of our move to Wales. The seasons have gone through a full cycle and we’re once again approaching winter with its shorter days and change in the weather. (I’m partly welcoming the cooler temperatures of Autumn, particularly as I’m currently in the throes of ‘power surges’ – aka hot flushes!) I also love the light, colours and fruitfulness of this season and the fact that the recent rains have restored the spring and the stream.

We’ve done a lot of work on the place over the last 12 months (mostly my wonderful husband, without whom none of this would have been possible) and we’ve learnt a lot about what it’s like to live here ‘on the mountain’.

Although I love living here – and have such a sense of space and connection with Nature and ‘wildness’ – I freely admit that it hasn’t been easy at times.

I knew that stepping back from some things and giving myself some extra time, would bring me face-to-face with some of the feelings that I’d been too busy to deal with before. It’s felt like a kind of ‘deconstruction’ – taking myself and my hopes and dreams for this place apart, re-examining them and then seeing if I could put them together again in a way that ‘fits’, both for me and for this place.

In parallel with this, I’ve been looking at how I work, and what I offer, and I decided to make some changes. Partly these are to streamline things for greater clarity, and partly to be more effective and to make better use of my time – with less procrastination or doing things that are not bringing me closer to my joy.

As a result of all this I’ve merged my 2 Facebook pages into 1, and done the same with the groups. Originally I’d separated them into the work that I do with people, and my work with animals, but this ended up feeling more confusing due to all the overlap and duplication, so I’ve brought them together. I will be doing the same with my newsletters.

If you’d like to see, and perhaps follow, my Facebook page you can find it at: https://www.facebook.com/Equenergy/

The connected group is ‘Closed’, but if you’d like to join, the link is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1745719752397794/

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter please click here: Equenergy newsletter

In addition, my website has been updated and revamped, courtesy of Swarm ICT. I’d love to hear what you think, and any feedback you might like to share. Click on this link to see the new site: https://equenergy.com/

Another change is that I’ve decided to post to my blog on a monthly basis, rather than weekly as before. This is in order to allow time for other projects. I’m considering exploring podcasts and video posts, so we’ll see how it goes…

One of the things I’d hoped to do over the last month was to finish a course / workshop that I’d been working on. (I’m not quite sure what format it will take, and it could potentially be run in a range of different ways.) It builds on the concept of ‘mindfulness’ to look at how we can be more ‘mind-body-spirit-conscious’ in order to live with deeper authenticity and congruence. When we are able to do this, we experience less stress and also greater ease and wellbeing in our lives. If this is something that would be of interest to you, please get in touch.

I wish you a happy and healthy October. For those of us in the UK it’s going to be a month of change as Autumn sees the leaves turn all the colours of the rainbow, the temperatures dropping and shorter, wetter days. The clocks will be changing soon and of course we have the upcoming Brexit. All of this can take a toll on our energy levels, so don’t forget to include lots of self-care in your plans for the weeks ahead. If possible, include time outdoors too, as sunshine and fresh air are so important for our wellbeing as we approach winter.

See you in November!

Taking a break

I came across a great blog post the other day by ‘The Flying Witch’, Gabriella Guglielminotti Trivel entitled Time for Wholeness.  Ms Tivel’s blog carries the subheading ‘Flying with the feminine’ and in this particular article she writes about her experiences of going through perimenopause and needing to observe and honour the changes going on within her body.

This made me think about my own situation.  I, too, am at this stage in my life, while also going through a lot of other changes – home, location, work, animals, friends, etc.  It’s been an exciting, stressful, wonderful, and exhausting 12 months, and so I felt it was time to take a look at where I am, currently, and assess how I’m doing with all that’s been going on.

The answer is that I’m feeling rather drained, and a little bit lacking in ‘mojo’.

I’ve therefore decided to take a step back from writing this blog for a while.  While I love writing and sharing with you – and would love to engage more with you all – it’s time to take a short break.  Instead I’ll be using the time to focus on resting, recharging and reassessing where I want to go next.  I also have some other writing that I want to make time for, such as the mindfulness course that I’ve had sitting on the back burner for a while.  It’ll be good to get this done rather than having it sitting, staring accusingly at me from my To Do list! 😉

Also, I have a VIP guest coming to visit next month – my Mum is coming over from Ireland to see our new home for the first time.  I’m so excited and can hardly wait to share this magical space with her.  It’ll be her first time meeting Dax and Rika too!

So, I wish you all a wonderful September with whatever you have planned, and see you again in October.

Is your summer feeling like a bit of a wash-out?

How is your summer going?  I hope you’re getting at least some sunshine, though the UK has been experiencing some very unseasonable weather this August!  This can make such a difference to our mood and motivation levels, particularly when we’ve been holding on for our summer holidays and counting on warm sunshine, only to find that it’s cold, damp and grey outside.

We were thoroughly spoilt with hot dry days last year so the contrast can add to our disappointment.  All those plans we’d made for a ‘staycation’ or day trips with the kids during the holidays, might have ended up being a bit of a wash-out. 

Many of us work hard during the winter months, thinking that we’ll be able to take some ‘down-time’ in the summer: images of sitting on a beach, or park, or just in the garden, sipping a cool drink, and soaking up those warming rays, are what keep us going during those cold months…

We can end up running our batteries down, promising ourselves that we’ll top them up again in the warmer months…

At least, that’s how I’ve been feeling.  We moved here in October of last year on the day that storm Callum arrived and ended the 5 glorious months of sunshine.  We then spent the winter working hard to fix leaks and get the place set up for ourselves and the horses.  I know that I, for one, was hoping for a nice long summer to recharge and have more time just to enjoy being here, before the challenging weather returned.

But these things don’t always go to plan, do they!

So, what can you do if you’re finding that you’re sitting indoors feeling depressed at the wet, grey view from your window?

This can actually be an opportunity to go within and to rest deeply.  Sitting in the sunshine obviously feels amazing, and does great things for our wellbeing, but cooler, greyer weather can call us to a kind of ‘hibernation’ and it can good to take advantage of this, listen to our bodies and relax into that deep state of rest.

Also, if we’re not careful, sunny days can draw us into a different kind of busy-ness, with parties, weddings, barbeques, gardening, outdoor repairs, and so on.  All of these can be fun but it’s important to balance them out by taking a break every now and then.

And rainy weather is the perfect opportunity / excuse!

In my work I meet so many people who are frazzled and run-down.  They have an endless To Do list that just seems to get longer and their holiday, or time off, is a distant dream that keeps getting put off to another day.

But remember that:

And…

So, on those ‘not very summery’ summer days, don’t despair!  Try not to feel frustrated or upset at the weather, because after all it’s not something we can change.  Instead, use the time for some self-care:

  • book a massage, or some Bowen or aromatherapy
  • have a session in a jacuzzi or float tank
  • do some yoga, mindfulness or meditation
  • read a good book
  • or just have a lovely, indulgent afternoon nap!

And remember:

I’m sure you can come up with lots of other things to do!  Please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments below.

If you struggle with taking this time out for yourself, and some little inner voice is driving you to keep going even though you’re exhausted, then I can help.  Together we can explore where that little voice comes from and how to address it, so that it can let go and give you the peace and permission you need in order to fully rest and recharge.  After all, this will mean that you can function much more effectively and enjoy greater wellbeing.  You’ll also have the energy to include those fun things in your life that you’ve just been too tired / busy for previously.

If you’d like to have a chat, you can contact me by phone, email or through my website: