Simplicity

Did you know that next Friday, 12 July is National Simplicity Day?

I’ve been a fan of simplicity for a long time, believing that we as humans – and certainly myself as an individual – can have a great tendency to overcomplicate things.

I think this is at least in part due to our brain’s negative bias – its need to always be on the lookout for things that could potentially do us harm.  As a result, it comes up with all sorts of scenarios of what could happen, or why something is happening or why that person is looking at me that way…  Our imaginations run riot with complex and convoluted permutations – not just one, but several for each scenario.  It’s no wonder that we think life is multi-layered and difficult to understand!

But when we relax and go with the flow, it usually turns out that things were actually much easier – and simpler – than we’d thought.  At the very least, it means that there is only one way in which things play out, not the many possibilities that we’d imagined in our heads.

So I’m all for getting back to simplicity!

I love Nature and what it can teach us about keeping things simple.  On the surface it might look complex, but in reality it’s often a simple pattern that repeats itself many times.  The deeper we look, the simpler it becomes.

Animals too can help us, because they generally live very much in the present, concerned with the basic needs of eating, drinking, finding shelter and the continuation of their genes.  They don’t worry about tomorrow or last week or about what their herd or pack mate is thinking about them.  They mostly go through their day just Being.  This allows them to be mindful and grounded because their minds aren’t distracted by anxious thoughts and worries.

Of course it also means that they aren’t as creative as humans and our brains obviously have an important role to play in this tapestry of Life, but I think we often get too caught up in thought patterns that don’t support our wellbeing and so it’s a good idea to take stock from time to time in order to check in with how we’re feeling and to make sure that we’re keeping a healthy balance.

This is some information I found on why this National Day was started:

National Simplicity Day was founded in honour of Henry David Thoreau, who was born on July 12, 1817.  Thoreau was an advocate of living simply and wrote a number of well-known books on the subject.

In the complicated world that we inhabit today where mobile phones, laptops and other modern day gadgets mean that we very rarely experience true peace and quiet to gather our thoughts, what better excuse to leave the technology at home and experience the feeling of truly being in the moment.

https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/national-simplicity-day-2019/

Synchronously, earlier this week I came across a post on Instagram that really resonated with me:

The simplicity in simply being is quite complicated.

But not really complicated at all.

It simply is.

But isn’t at all.

byraa_a

https://www.instagram.com/byraa_a/

I wish you a beautiful Simplicity Day, and hope that you can take the chance to get outside and appreciate the wonder of simply being present.

Advertisements

What is this thing called ‘Rewilding’?

…and what, if anything, does it have to do with me?

According to Rewilding Britain:

Rewilding is the large-scale restoration of ecosystems where nature can take care of itself. It seeks to reinstate natural processes and, where appropriate, missing species – allowing them to shape the landscape and the habitats within.

https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding

To me, though, rewilding can take place on a smaller scale too.  I think that we can look at our own lives and see how we can add a bit of ‘wild’ in order to have greater balance and wellbeing.

In fact, this is something that I have been exploring for a while and it’s part of the reason why I was so keen to move to a more rural location.

When we started house hunting last year I was just thinking of a house, with a paddock for the horses, situated in a more rural location, but the more properties we saw, the more excited and inspired I became about the possibilities that were opening up to us, both personally and for my practice.

Finding this place was like a dream come true!  We first visited on a glorious summer evening and as we viewed the woods and fields and felt the energy of this place, we both fell in love and could picture ourselves living in this magical space.

In many ways, it’s the perfect location – when you’re here, you feel far removed from the hustle and bustle that characterises most people’s daily lives, and yet we’re within easy reach of the town of Abergavenny. 

There is a great sense of stillness and peace here, and everywhere you look there is the green of trees, bushes and grasses. 

At this time of year we also have many wonderful flowers in bloom. 

The sounds are wonderful too:

  • the stream gurgling over stones
  • breezes blowing through the branches of the trees
  • birds singing
  • insects buzzing…

There’s also a wide variety of wildlife.  Obviously there are lots of birds, including many common species such as robins, blackbirds, bluetits and wagtails.  We have birds of prey too, such as owls and buzzards, and some summer visitors such as swallows, but also the less common pied flycatcher. 

Our mammal neighbours include rabbits, squirrels, voles, mice, and shrews, and I’ve also seen a couple of lizards.

This Wednesday we have a guy coming from the Gwent Wildlife Trust to do a survey of the land and give us tips on how to work with all the species that we have here, to do our best to maintain and support this little eco-system.  I’m very excited to find out more!

To me, the joy – and challenge – of living here is to find ways to live in harmony with this place and its diversity of life.  I want to find a balance where we can all enjoy this wonderful space – humans, plants and animals. 

I believe that there are many benefits to reconnecting with Nature in this way.  Research has shown that spending time outdoors helps us to let go of stress, find our inner balance and recharge our batteries (This is your brain on Nature).

Rewilding doesn’t always come easily for us though.  We are so used to our ‘creature comforts’ and having whatever we want right there at our fingertips.  We live in a society that seems to be built on – and value – speed: fast food, broadband speeds and instant messaging.  We say that ‘time is money’, and we tend to prefer things that will get us what we want in the shortest time – eg travel, delivery services and searching the internet for information.

But this ‘need for speed’ comes at a price.  It is exhausting!  And it’s addictive.  Once we’re hooked, it can be difficult to slow our pace again, to reconnect with ourselves, to take the time to listen to our bodies and to give ourselves the nurturing and support that we need.

Often, we have lost sight of the fact that we, as humans, are just a part of the picture.  We are simply one thread of the rich tapestry of Nature.  We need the other threads in order to create a rich, colourful, dynamic and sustainable world.

I believe that when we are connected, conscious and aware of this, we can live in balance, harmony and respect with all Life. 

Here in our little cottage, we’ve had other beings come to share our space.  Sometimes this can make us uncomfortable – we don’t want the spiders, ants, mice, wasps, flies or whatever in our homes! 

But I tend to look at it another way… 

  • this is their space as much as it is ours
  • their kind has been living here much longer than I have
  • they too just want to live out their lives, and do their thing, whatever that might be – they’re not ‘invading my space’ and it’s not personal!

That’s not to say that I want all these creatures sharing my home – and in an ideal world they would often be better off being back outside – so I then try to explore why they have been drawn inside.   What am I doing that is making my home attractive to them?  For example, am I leaving food available for them?

On a larger scale, there are often complaints about the rat population of cities, or seagulls stealing food from people in coastal towns, but I think that we need to look at our own responsibilities too, such as the amount of food that goes to waste and is dumped outside in containers that are not animal-proof.  This both supports the current population – and its growth – and attracts more individuals to the area.

So, for me, part of rewilding is to look at my responsibilities as a part of this eco-system:

  • How do I become aware and conscious of my actions and how they affect the other threads of this tapestry? 
  • How do I minimise my impact while also supporting the local flora and fauna?

Doing this, I believe, will support me in my balance and wellbeing.  After all, how can I be fully well if I live in an environment which is out of balance?

If this is something that is of interest to you too, or you’d just like to have a taste of the healing power of Nature, then take a look at my day retreat which is taking place next Saturday here at Equenergy: Wellbeing Naturally.  If you’d like to know more about the day, or you’d like to book a place, please click on the link below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reconnect-through-nature-day-retreat-tickets-60580175937

It’s Healing Awareness Week!

Apologies that my blog is a little late this week.  It was a very busy week with appointments and also preparing for a bespoke 1:1 workshop yesterday on Energy Healing for animals.  It was perfect timing to be offering this as today marks the start of Healing Awareness Week!

Energy Healing is a topic that is very close to my heart as it has been a huge part of my journey, particularly over the last 10 years or so.

I had reached a stage in my life where I was feeling miserable, lost and alone.  At first, I didn’t even realise this because I had cut myself off from my feelings as a kind of coping strategy.  I suppose this worked for a while, but I soon realised that if things didn’t change, I was going to make myself ill.

I started reading and looking around for ways to make things better.  Initially I was looking for external ‘fixes’, but I quickly discovered that these weren’t really addressing the deep need within me.  I continued exploring, as if following a trail of breadcrumbs, just going from one step to the next, seeing where it would lead me.

The first course I found was Reiki Level I.  Suddenly I felt that I had found a path that resonated for me!  It gave me a renewed sense of hope and direction and also of purpose – that I could develop the tools I needed for myself, but also that I might be able to offer this to others too.

I went on to complete Level II, and from there to studying with the Healing Trust.  This training covered a wide range of wellbeing related topics, including anatomy and physiology, the energy of colour and techniques for releasing old hurts and traumas.  I completed my case studies and sat the exam and after 2 years of learning and practice I became a qualified Healer Member of the Trust.

Alongside this I was working on my personal development and exploring how I would like to use these newly developed skills.  My journey was reconnecting me with my love of Nature and animals and so I went on to study healing of animals – initially small animals and later a specialism in equine healing – with Liz Whiter of the Healing Animals Organisation.

This has been a wonder-full journey full of deep challenges, incredible experiences and amazing people and animals.  I have learnt so much and met such inspiring individuals!

I have gone on to add further tools to my kit, but working with Energy still underpins all that I do.

I would define healing as:

“regaining balance of mind, body and / or emotions.  It complements conventional medicine by treating the whole being.”

It is:

  • A completely natural form of therapy
  • Deeply relaxing
  • Non-invasive
  • Complementary to conventional treatment
  • Holistic

It stimulates the body’s own healing processes by supporting:

  • the immune system
  • cell repair
  • detoxification
  • enzyme function
  • oxygen uptake
  • absorption of nutrients
  • wound repair
  • pain relief
  • balancing
  • release of endorphins
  • a sense of wellbeing and calm

Have you ever had a session of Energy Healing?  If not, I can recommend it as a great way to relax and recharge, and to enable your body to enter its ‘Rest and Repair’ mode.

If you have any questions about Healing, or you’d just like to know a bit more, then please get in touch:

Stress Awareness Month – part 3

As this last post of Stress Awareness Month, I thought I’d look at the wisdom that we hold within ourselves.

Our bodies know how to be well, it’s just that often we have disconnected from that wisdom.  If we can find a way to reconnect and re-member that wisdom (as Neale Donald Walsch might say) then we can rediscover our balance and wellbeing.

Every cell of our being holds a blueprint of how it is designed to function and what it needs in order to operate most effectively.  When we can tune in to this and be fully open to allowing it, then the body will naturally find its way back to this pattern.

However, due to stress and the traumas that we experience in our lives (both ‘Big T’ and ‘little t’ traumas – and remember that these are very subjective and don’t always ‘make sense’ to our analytical minds) we can find ourselves not fully able to trust this process and allow our bodies to find the balance they were designed for.

We might have learnt patterns of behaviour which, originally, were put in place to help us feel safe, but over time they have become stifling and restrictive, actually stopping us from growing and becoming the happy, healthy, creative being we were designed to be.

The rules and expectations of our society can also seem to place restrictions and demands on us, limiting our choices or shaping us into a particular role, which might not actually be where our Spirit would choose to be.

So what can you do?  How can you get back to the wellbeing and ‘flow’ that you were made for?

I believe that we can do this through reconnecting to Nature – both the Nature all around us, and to our own true Nature, in all its forms and colours. 

A wonderful and wise woman once shared a song with me that had a great impact on how I saw myself and the life I was living.  Sadly, it was many years ago and I long ago lost the recording and don’t have a copy of the exact lyrics, but it was about how looking at the sunset reminds us that our life is supposed to contain all the colours.  We weren’t designed for a bland, monochrome existence, but for one that is full of bright, vivid colour.  This encompasses all the emotions, both the ‘safe’ and ‘acceptable’ ones, and also the ‘scary’ and ‘ugly’ ones.  We need to embrace them all and learn how to be a good steward of them, so that they don’t end up controlling us on some subconscious level.

I also think that it is very important to pay attention to the messages that we give ourselves, both through our words, and our body language.

One simple example, in regards to vocabulary is this:

And for body language, consider this question:

Often, we think that our body language comes from our feelings – and it does.  But it can also work the other way round. 

Our posture is part of a bio-feedback loop.

When our spine is straight and our shoulders down and back (comfortably, not forced) then our lungs have space and we can breathe more freely. Also, our heart centre is open. 

When we slump, the opposite is true, and this is telling the body that we are not at our best in some way. It can encourage feelings of tiredness, anxiety and stress.

Think of the way that many of us spend our days: slumped in front of a computer screen, or the TV, or staring at our mobile phone…

How much is this contributing to our stress levels?

This is why it’s so beneficial to take a break, stand up, move around, pay attention to your posture and breath, and if possible, spend some time outdoors in natural light. 

So, if you’re in a situation currently where you’re experiencing stress, anxiety, chronic fatigue or dis-ease, then hang in there.  You can still make the journey back to health and wellbeing.  As Anthony William, the Medical Medium, says:

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been sick.  You can heal. 
Always remember that and never forget it.”


Learning to Dance in the Rain

I initially wrote this blog early last week, but then something happened on Thursday which prompted me to write this short edit.  A friend that I deeply respect, told me that she felt I wasn’t being honest with myself about my responsibility in the situation I find myself with Dax, and that I was placing the blame on other people.  I would therefore like to print an apology for anything I’ve said that has come across in this way.  It was not my intention. 

Regarding responsibility, this has made me think of the difference between ‘taking responsibility’ (in an empowering way that leads to action) versus ‘taking the blame’ – which is what, in hindsight, I think I was actually doing, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and generally powerless.  I have recognised that this is something I need to address and so have begun to take steps in this.  This has then enabled me to look more openly and closely at what’s been happening with Dax and to take more constructive action in this too.

And now, back to my blog:

Last week I wrote about how I’ve been learning to bend so that I don’t break.  A further step in this lesson for me is to practice being able to ‘dance in the rain’ – ie, not to wish that there were no storms in life, but rather to celebrate them, knowing that they bring valuable teaching and that even when times are tough, I can still dance and make the most of every moment.  It’s also about being able to be present with whatever is happening in the moment and to be comfortable, even with being uncomfortable.

Getting to this point takes time and practice.  We rarely manage it in any sustainable way the first time!  But, like the baby learning to take its first steps, it’s a matter of getting up, dusting ourselves off and trying again.

After all, that’s what life’s really about, isn’t it – experimenting, trying, finding out what works and what doesn’t, repeating the former and discarding the latter and continually refining and adapting.

When we make decisions and choices, we might think that we’re doing so from a purely logical, rational, analytical perspective but I’ve come to realise that there’s always an emotional element on some level.  This is true for the simplest of choices, such as what we’re going to wear on a particular day, to what’s for dinner, to what car we want to buy.  It’s even more true when we consider our responses to situations.  These are determined by our thoughts and beliefs which are strongly coloured by our past experiences and our emotional state:

In every situation, when we react rather than make a conscious choice, we are doing what we think will make us feel better / safer in that situation.  However, when our perception is coloured by fearful past experiences, these decisions will not help us to move forward.  They can end up being a form of self-sabotage.

This is why, when we want to grow, we need to become curious about what is motivating our choices.  To do this, we need to develop our ‘emotional intelligence’ in order to gain a greater understanding of what’s going on inside.  It can be a real challenge to face up to the things that we don’t like about ourselves – the things that we don’t want others to see – and to be open and honest about them.  But when we can do this with self-forgiveness and self-compassion it can be a very liberating experience!  Not only that, but it enables us to support others in developing the same skills and so allow them to find that same freedom.

Just imagine how wonderful that could feel:

  • to no longer be held by fear
  • to be free to experience the fullness of love, joy and connection
  • to be fully your self, no longer needing to wear any masks
  • to feel fully alive!

Of course, life still has its ups and downs.  It still seems to throw us curve balls to keep us on our toes!  But when we can learn to bend and to dance in the rain, we are much more able to adapt, flex and flow with these ‘plot twists’.  We have greater clarity and insight on our own responses – and after all, these are the only things we have any control over.

It was very difficult for me to face the fact that we’d lost our field shelter when it was destroyed by the recent storms.  There was the financial pain – it had cost about £4,000.00 and we can’t afford to replace it – and the thought of all the wasted time and effort that my wonderful husband had put in to building it and making it – we thought – storm safe.  Not only that, but I worried about the horses: their safety when it went over and what they were now going to do for shelter.

Then I decided to look at the situation from a different angle.  Yes, we’d lost a lot of money, but everyone was safe, and no-one had been injured, which was the most important thing. 

Obviously, we had tried to stand against the force of Nature, rather than go with it, and hadn’t realised how strong the winds could get in that part of the field.  So how might we do things differently?

I looked around at the resources that we have here.  The house is situated on a lower level than the fields and between them there is an area of ‘unused’ land – rough grasses, gorse bushes and some trees.  It had always been my plan to open this up to the horses and as I looked at it with fresh eyes, I realised that there is a lot of natural shelter there, from trees and the contours of the land. 

So now I’m looking into making this area secure so that the horses can access this natural shelter.  It will also provide them with additional, interesting places to explore.

I’ve also ordered some Willow, to see if I can create a living shelter for them.  If it’s successful it will have many benefits, including roots to further stabilise the land and drink up some of the water which makes that part of the field a quagmire in the winter.  It will provide shoots that the horses can nibble on – as long as they don’t eat until there’s nothing left!  Time will tell on that one…

This is what we hope to achieve:

If you’ve ever tried to create something like this, I’d be really interested to hear from you about how it went, and any tips that you can share!

part of the slope down to the house from the fields

If any of this has resonated with you and you’d like to learn more about developing your own emotional intelligence and resilience, and how to feel your way to the choices that are right for you, you might be interested in attending one of my workshops on how to ‘Feel Your Way from Stress into Flow’.  Contact me for further details:

Learning to ‘bend’ so that I don’t break!

I’ve started to write this blog in my head so many times but not yet had the opportunity to ‘put pen to paper’ – or as I do more often these days, put fingertips to keys! 

Each inner draft has seen the content shift and change, reflecting my sense that everything around me is shifting and changing as we move from winter into spring.

This has been very evident in the weather that we’ve been experiencing this month. 

The weekend of the 15th / 16th saw further storms with very strong winds.  Sadly, after all the hard work and care that my wonderful husband put into repairing our field shelter, when the previous storm had put it on its roof, this time the wind took it, twisted it and ripped it apart beyond repair:

The very next day the sun came out and it hasn’t stopped shining since!  We’ve had some truly glorious days and as the external storms have subsided, it has allowed some of the inner unsettled feelings to calm.

One of the factors contributing to my inner turmoil was the fact that my non-horsey husband and Dax had a serious clash, resulting in Tim saying that the horse had to go. 

Tim is nervous around these big animals and Dax, being a typical hand-reared horse, has little sense of boundaries.  When he comes too close, Tim gets nervous and Dax, being a sensitive animal, picks up on this and gets anxious in return.  Sadly, his response to this is to get defensive, which in his case means threatening with teeth.  Tim tried to reinforce his space by pushing Dax away, but Dax is a horse who just pushes back.  This, understandably, left Tim feeling very vulnerable and afraid for his safety. 

I’ve actually found that Dax responds better when the energies around him are kept calm.  If he starts to get a bit over excited, the best way to deal with it is to distract him and to walk away, to give him the space to feel safe again and to calm himself.  This can be challenging though when faced with an apparently very angry horse!

The need to rehome this beautiful boy, who I had hoped would be with us for the rest of his life, and who has taken a huge part of my heart, has hit me hard.  

Unfortunately, his owner is not in a position to take him back and so I’ve been trying to find him a good and understanding home, as otherwise he will have to be put to sleep.  However, I’m finding that this is far from an easy task when the horse in question is a non-ridden 8-year-old gelding with some behavioural issues.  I’ve found it a very depressing and frustrating process as everyone I’ve approached has said that they can’t take him, but Tim is pressing for him to go.

But life goes on, even when sometimes it feels like it’s falling apart, and this wonderful place, with its amazing energy, has been working its healing magic on me.

On Thursday I went to a networking meeting in Monmouth where Patricia Carswell spoke of her journey from working as a barrister in London, through burnout and recovery to recreating herself as a freelance journalist and top-class rower.  She was then diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer but following surgery and chemotherapy, is back and looking amazing.

Listening to her speak, helped to crystallise some thoughts that have been running around in my head and I thought I’d share them here. 

I’m coming to see, with much greater clarity, the value of flexibility.  For many years I was someone who could have been described as a ‘control freak’.  I liked to feel that I had a handle on each situation, and I needed to know where things were going and what was going to happen next.  I definitely didn’t like to feel out of control! 

I thought that being ‘in control’ would be less stressful and give me a greater sense of security.  However, particularly since moving here, I’ve realised that any sense of ‘control’ I had was just an illusion!  Also, that trying to hold on to that control was more stressful and left me feeling more overwhelmed and exhausted.  It must have been very difficult for those around me too!

I’m now coming to appreciate the value of being able to ‘bend’ and ‘flow’ rather than clinging rigidly to the things that I think will keep me safe.  As Confucius said:

It’s funny that I’ve ‘known’ these things for a while in my head, even believed them, but it’s as my wonderful boss from my first job used to say: ‘It’s not until it makes that 10-inch drop from your head to your heart that you really know it’.

I’d like to close with a quote that Patricia Carswell used at the end of her presentation as I thought it was very poignant and ‘on point’:

Sunday – my day of rest

This week’s blog is a day late as yesterday was the Open Day to relaunch Equenergy here in our new site in South Wales! Thankfully we were blessed with good weather and, as it’s been dry here for a couple of weeks, the mud has mostly gone which made showing people round this magical place much easier and more pleasant.

I was very excited at the prospect of meeting the visitors and seeing their reaction to this space. It has completely captivated me and I hoped that others would feel the same way too. I wasn’t disappointed! Everyone loved it and commented on how still it is, and how lovely it was to hear all the birdsong, with no background drone of traffic.

Several people had contacted me to say that they would love to come along, but unfortunately already had other plans for the day, so I will be having more of these events in the future. Watch this space, and/or my Facebook page and website for updates.

Today, I’m looking forward to enjoying some ‘down time’. The sun is shining from a brilliant blue sky so I think a walk and some time with the horses is in order!

What are your plans for the day?

What is your favourite way to unwind, and can you make some space for that, either today or at some point during the week?

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you too can enjoy a wonderful, relaxing Sunday.