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
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 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.
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.
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…
can end up running our batteries down, promising ourselves that we’ll top them
up again in the warmer months…
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.
these things don’t always go to plan, do they!
what can you do if you’re finding that you’re sitting indoors feeling depressed
at the wet, grey view from your window?
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.
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.
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.
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!
sure you can come up with lots of other things to do! Please feel free to share your suggestions in
the comments below.
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.
you’d like to have a chat, you can contact me by phone, email or through my
to some, having been raised an Irish Catholic, I should practically have a PhD
in guilt! Seriously though, seeing the
effect that it has on people’s lives, I do ponder this feeling, and its
consequences, from time to time.
I’ve been thinking about how strongly it relates to shame. For most of us, this is something that we
learn at a very early age. This means
that it’s acquired during the phase of our lives (0 – approximately 6 years of
age) when we accept things without question, and without the ability to judge
their validity or helpfulness. As a
result, shame is something that is very longstanding, deep rooted and can have
a profound impact on our lives. It is
also – as alluded to in my, slightly flippant, comment above – often embedded
into our culture, helping to perpetuate and strengthen its hold on us.
is it healthy, and does it serve any useful purpose?
I can address the second part of that question first, I believe that guilt is
only useful in as much as it alerts us to discomfort. It shows that there is an issue that needs
we experience discomfort in this way, it indicates that our thoughts are out of
line with our Higher Self’s views on the subject. For example, if I do something that makes me
feel guilty, my inner critic is telling me all those self-shaming thoughts,
You’re a bad person!
You never get anything right!
You’ve failed again!
What a stupid mistake that was!
contrast, our Higher Self never judges us, and certainly would never
address us in less than loving terms.
our discomfort makes us aware that we’re out of alignment. We’re not being true to our Higher Self.
we drill deeper, we’ll probably find it’s not just the shaming thoughts that
are off balance, they’re most likely coming from our deeper awareness that we’re
not living as our Best Self – we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted by other
today’s world we’re spoilt for choice on ‘distractions’:
‘Will we / won’t we’ Brexit?
And, whichever way it goes, what impact will this have on the economy?
Has environmental damage gone beyond repair?
of course, there’re also the ‘minutiae’ of our everyday lives:
What to have for dinner
Who will get together with whom on Love Island?
What are people thinking of me / of what I said / of how I look?
of these things can occupy our thoughts, meaning that we’re not fully
present much of the time.
a result, we often act, or make decisions, on a largely subconscious
level. We can end up going through our
days on autopilot, reacting rather than consciously responding to situations,
allowing the nervous, anxious, fearful part of our mind to make our decisions
for us. This can result in things like:
Not stepping out of our comfort zone – eg trying something new
Avoiding situations that we find challenging – eg meeting new
we notice that we’ve made decisions that were unwise, and maybe got us into
trouble, we then feel guilty. This isn’t
‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ – no feelings are, and it’s impossible to turn them off anyway
– it’s what we do with this feeling that’s important.
we get ‘stuck’, listening to, and engaging with those shaming thoughts?
do we explore the feelings and learn from them, seeing what changes we can make
to move closer into alignment with Who We Really Are, in order to live a life
where we make conscious choices that serve us, and that feel authentic
and honest, and where we can be responsible and accountable rather than feeling
guilt and shame?
can be challenging, and will require us to look deeply at conditioning that we’ve
carried since childhood. Others have
referred to this as ‘un-domestication’ or ‘rewilding’. It’s a visceral process and requires
deconstruction and reconstruction, but you don’t have to do it alone, and the
rewards feel amazing: self awareness, autonomy and freedom.
think that this is the only value of guilt and therefore I don’t feel that it’s
a place where we should spend any more time than absolutely necessary. In fact, to return to the question of ‘is it
healthy?’, generally, beyond the initial recognition and finding the issues to
be addressed, I would say that the answer to this is ‘No’.
the contrary, guilt is often very restricting and deeply uncomfortable. It keeps us small and can be very stressful
which, as we know, impacts on our wellbeing.
That inner voice also isn’t content with just criticising our current
choices. If we are prepared to listen, it
has a nasty habit of dragging up every perceived failing and every ‘mistake’ we’ve
ever made. It also projects its beliefs
onto others, telling us that they, too, see us as not good / clever / skilled
what can we do?
by taking a step back and observe the things that your mind is telling you,
without engaging with them, knowing that they are merely the product of your
conditioning and your natural negative bias.
Don’t try to fight your mind, it’s just doing its job, and it’s not
really open to persuasion anyway!
Observe, without judging, and accept that this is what the mind does –
not just yours, but everyone’s.
can then make a conscious decision about whether to go along with what your
mind says, or choose a different option.
You don’t have to push yourself too far out of your comfort zone. Small steps and small challenges will help
you to build your ‘consciousness muscles’ allowing you to stretch and grow.
you become more self-aware you will be able to identify the things you
really want in your life, the things that light you up and fill you with
excitement and joy. These are your guide
in creating the fulfilling life that you long for. These are where you discover your ‘purpose’. You aren’t here for the ‘should’s, ‘have
to’s or ‘ought to’s. You’re
here to Be Who You Really Are and to let that light shine out. You’re here to experience and grow and en-joy
some misconceptions about the work that I do
when people hear what I do, I get asked this question, but for me it’s not so
much about whispering, it’s about listening.
misconception is that I offer Equine Facilitated Therapy. This isn’t strictly true either, at least not
in the traditional sense.
I thought that it might be a good idea to explain a little more about my work,
or at least a part of it. In this post,
I’m going to look at one of my favourite aspects – where the horses and people
aim is that this should be a mutually beneficial experience, that is,
that both the horses and the people should be supported by their time
often see animals used in therapy or assistance roles and I wonder what, if
anything, they get from this. Sometimes
they have a particular role to play, a ‘job’ if you will, for example a guide
dog, and they provide a much-valued service, but when do they get
something back? Guide dogs, I know, are
well looked after and they’re given regular health checks, but their role can
be stressful at times.
are shifting and there are many programmes out there now that are seeking to
come from a more heart-centred and animal-led perspective. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all assistance
and therapy animals were given more support in their roles? This could be offered in the form of massages,
Reiki and self-selection sessions, for example, just like we might take a ‘spa-day’
if we’ve had a tough few weeks at work.
used to volunteer with a group who gave horse riding lessons for people with
disabilities. This offered many benefits
to the riders, but the horses were often stressed, which came out in ‘unwanted’
behaviours. Some of these horses had to
be retired as they were no longer suitable for the role. I struggled with this and wanted to find a
different approach, one where both parties felt better after their sessions.
So here at Equenergy I’m exploring a different way.
you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that we have 2 horses living
here. Both have had challenging
experiences in the past. Dakota (Dax)
was taken from his mother at 1 month of age and left to starve. When he was rescued, he was riddled with worms
and had to have extensive veterinary support.
Thankfully he is now a very healthy 8-year-old, however his tough start
in life has left him with some emotional issues.
was a brood mare for many years. She was
used for breeding and all of her foals were taken from her to be sold on. When she didn’t conceive after being put with
a stallion, they decided that she was no longer of any use and put her out for
the meat wagon. She is the most
beautiful, gentle soul you could ever hope to meet, but she was considered ‘worthless’
if she couldn’t produce any more foals.
2 beautiful animals support me in my work, and I want this to be something that
benefits them too and supports them in becoming happier and healthier
believe that for anyone to offer a therapeutic space for another, they should have
the space and opportunity to have that support for themselves. As a therapist and coach myself, I need to
have worked – and be continuing to work – on my own issues in order to be able
to hold a healing space for others. I
think this is also true for animals who are involved in this field.
of us are still ‘works in progress’ and there is much to be gained by
travelling the healing path together. Take, for example, the programmes in
America where offenders are paired with rescued dogs or horses and together
they learn how to create a healthier, more balanced life for themselves.
love to see more opportunities for mutual learning, creation and growth of
this kind. We might not have the perfect
answers yet, but with time and an open, curious mindset, hopefully we will find
a way to walk alongside our animals in ways where they benefit from the
partnership as much as we do.
recently wrote about ‘rewilding’, and I believe strongly that our animals have
much to teach us on this subject, too.
But in order for them to be able to do so more fully and authentically,
they must be allowed to be as ‘wild’ as possible themselves. I know that this is a real challenge, on even
a small scale, with the resources that most of us have available, but I think
that the more we can give healthy freedom to the animals in our care, even when
it challenges us, the more we can learn and grow.
how do I bring people and horses together?
session with the horses here at Equenergy means that you get to stand just
outside the field and start by getting grounded and tuning in to the energy of
the place and all the living things around you.
Horses are naturally curious animals so often they soon come over to
meet with us and may spend some time in this shared space.
encourage people to be ‘mindful’, that is, to be fully aware of their
surroundings: the sun, breeze or even rain on their skin, the sounds, sights
and smells around them. This helps us to
get present, and when we’re fully present it helps us to release anxieties and
tensions as these generally relate to memories from the past or worries about the
we can be in this ‘present’ state and hold that energy / vibration, it
encourages those around us to enter this same state. It’s rather like a tuning fork that causes
other things to resonate with the same frequency. Calming our breathing and our heart rate, through
getting present, supports others to do the same. It’s a phenomenon known as ‘entrainment’ and you can read more about it in the work of
Ellen Kaye Gehrke. Horses are particularly
sensitive to this, so when we can enter this state in their presence, it
supports their wellbeing as well as our own.
Not only that, but their electromagnetic field is much larger and
stronger than ours, so when they enter into this state it strengthens the
energy for us – this creates a wonderful healing circle with the energy flowing
in and around and bringing benefit to all within the space.
aspect of this for the person / people in the session is that I ask them to
observe and take note of any feelings and thoughts that are coming up for
them. I might also ask them to see what
they can feel from the horses: can they get a sense of their energy? Do they
pick up anything when they tune in to either / both of them? These are things that we can then explore if
they would like to work further with me, using a tailored wellbeing package,
looking at any issues they wish to address, or objectives that they would like
this is something that would interest you, or you’d like to have a taster
session with the horses to see if it resonates with you, I’m happy to have a
no-obligation chat. Just give me a call
or drop me a line:
was recently having a discussion with a small group of friends and the term ‘self-compassion’
came up. One member of the group was
unfamiliar with this word which made me wonder how many others are in the same
situation? It’s a fairly self-explanatory
concept, and one that’s very common in my field of work, but perhaps it’s
incorrect for me to assume that it’s part of everyone’s vocabulary. And if you haven’t come across it in any
specific sense, is it something that you would consciously apply in your life? I therefore thought that I would post
something to make self-compassion more explicit and also maybe to say what my
thoughts are on what it is, and what it is not.
start with, I thought I’d look at some definitions. Compassion itself can be defined as:
“a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for
the suffering or bad luck of others and a wish to help them”
to vocabulary.com Compassion “is a word for a very positive emotion that has to
do with being thoughtful and decent… When you feel compassion for someone, you
really want to help out.” https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/compassion
Self-compassion then, is when we show these feelings towards
ourselves. If we’re experiencing feelings
of inadequacy, failure or suffering of any kind, instead of being critical of
ourselves – a very common response – we can choose to be warm, understanding,
sensitive, gentle, considerate and kind.
why, you might ask, would we want to do this, and isn’t it a form of selfishness
and self-indulgence? If I’ve done
something wrong / foolish, don’t I deserve to feel guilty / stupid?
firstly I would say that if any – even small – part of you resonated with that
last sentence, I would like to gently invite you to notice your self-talk. Using labels like ‘wrong’, ‘foolish’ and ‘stupid’,
I believe, is unhelpful. They put us
into a state of shame which is deeply uncomfortable and only adds to our emotional
suffering at a time when we’re already feeling pretty lousy.
also think that there is very little to be gained from feeling guilty, other
than to notice the emotion and to learn from it, by which I mean to observe the
discomfort and to explore what triggered it and what wisdom that holds for you
about who you really are and the choices that you make, so that you can make
choices that are more authentic for you in the future. Beyond that, I feel that guilt serves only to
make us feel bad, and how can we be our best selves from that place?
fact, if we don’t do this, we can end up experiencing burnout and ‘compassion
fatigue’. This is basically when we’ve
exhausted our inner resources, leaving ourselves ‘running on empty’. This is not sustainable and can result in
becoming ill and unable to function fully for a time, until we can rest and
recharge. If we’ve allowed ourselves to
reach a very low point, this recovery could even take years… so much better to learn how to look after
a phrase that really hit me a few years ago when I was pushing myself too hard
and not taking time to replenish my resources, was:
then do you recognise if you’re experiencing compassion fatigue? According to goodtherapy.org the main
Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion
Feelings of inequity toward the therapeutic or
Developing greater self-awareness,
eg through journaling, mindfulness or meditation
Setting – and holding –
good emotional boundaries
Spending time outdoors,
in nature with fresh air and natural light
relationships with people who boost your mood
you would like to explore self-compassion further, please get in touch. I offer bespoke wellbeing packages which address
this, and I also run workshops helping you to develop self-awareness and learn
strategies for self-support.
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
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.
…and what, if anything, does it have to do with me?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
is a great sense of stillness and peace here, and everywhere you look there is
the green of trees, bushes and grasses.
this time of year we also have many wonderful flowers in bloom.
sounds are wonderful too:
the stream gurgling
breezes blowing through
the branches of the trees
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.
mammal neighbours include rabbits, squirrels, voles, mice, and shrews, and I’ve
also seen a couple of lizards.
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!
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: