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

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It’s all about perspective

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about perspective this week – by which I mean the way we look at things.

The perspective that we take has such a huge impact on the experiences that we have!

I used to be someone who was always waiting for the bad things to happen.  For a variety of reasons, I had learnt that Life was difficult, rarely went to plan, and was often against me.  I just ‘knew’ that good things couldn’t last and that sooner or later – probably sooner – there would be another big problem to face.  I was anxious, worried and operating in stress mode.

I’m still a work in progress on this, and a deeply ingrained perspective can take time to shift, but overall there is a lot more ‘sunshine’ in my life now.

Moving to our new site here in Wales has really tested me on this!  It’s been a huge shift, leaving the city suburbs and moving to a rural smallholding.  Nothing seems to function in the same way!  Cities have such a solid infrastructure: services and utilities generally flow smoothly to and from one’s home, and you rarely have to think much about it.  Here we’ve struggled with internet connection and our water is from a spring so we’ve had to sort out an alternative for the horses as their pond and stream have dried up.  The house still has good water at the moment, but if we have a spell of dry weather, will this continue?  Will we be able to wash ourselves, our clothes, our dishes?

We now have to manage our own supplies of gas and oil as these have to be delivered, where previously our heating and cooking facilities were constantly available at the flick of a switch.  The septic tank, too, requires attention.

All of these things are easily done, it just takes some getting used to, and can be a source of those little niggles – Will I notice when the gas cylinder / oil tank is running low?  Will I order in time to avoid running out?  Will I be able to do this at a time when the price is good?  Will the septic tank block up / overflow… and if it does, what will I do?

I’m sure that in time the management of these things will become the new ‘norm’ but for now it’s still new and a little out of our comfort zone.

It’s good, though, to challenge ourselves.  It’s only through challenges that we can learn and grow.  If things stay the same all the time, there is no incentive or motivation to push ourselves and we can end up stagnating.

In the past, I craved ‘safety’.  I didn’t really feel ‘comfortable’, but still I had a kind of comfort zone in the routines that I’d built up, as these gave me a sense of having enough control to be able to cope.  And yet there was the constant worry that things would go wrong and the knowing, somewhere deep inside, that I didn’t really have control and things could suddenly shift away from where I felt safe.

Over time, I came to see that the more I tried to hold rigidly to my ‘structured life’, the more I felt overwhelmed.  The more I tried to control things, the less control I actually had.  I also began to see how unhappy I was and how my wellbeing was suffering.

Having spent a lot of time pondering on this – in my head and heart, and through keeping a personal journal – I began to see that the only thing I could control was my perspective, my choice of lens through which to view the world and the experiences that came my way.

I’ve been very fortunate, too, and I can testify that the old saying is true:

When we open ourselves to new learning, when we set the intention that we’re ready to grow and ready to take on the challenges that this brings, then something shifts and we will see opportunities where we might not have noticed them before, or someone will come into our lives and challenge, guide or inspire us in some way.

The thing with stepping out of our comfort zone is that it is… well… uncomfortable!  If we’re not prepared for this then we can end up rushing back to where we feel safe.  This is why people ‘fall off the wagon’ and return to old behaviours.

But if we acknowledge that there will be challenges, and we address these constructively, then we’re much more likely to succeed in making the changes we’re aiming for.

So, how can we address the challenges constructively?  Some suggestions would be:

  • To consider what triggers the behaviour you want to change – knowing this allows you to put plans in place for when you face these situations
  • Accepting that there will be times when you feel triggered and that this will result in you feeling uncomfortable
  • Being ok with discomfort
    • It can be a great teacher, helping us to look at our needs and find supportive ways in which to meet these
    • Trusting that it won’t last forever and that it’s just your body adjusting to the new way
    • That it is a short-term thing that will lead to a happier, healthier you
    • Knowing that it helps to build greater self-knowledge, resilience and emotional intelligence
  • Having a list of things to do when feeling triggered
    • How can you support yourself to stick to your commitment in making this change?
    • For example
      • do something active, such as going for a walk in Nature
      • Talk to a good and supportive friend
      • Journal
      • Read things that encourage and inspire you

As I said, I’m still a work in progress with all of this.  My mindset and thinking have changed greatly, and I now view the world in a much more positive light.  I believe that the Universe is a supportive place and that Life is bringing me so many wonderful experiences and encounters that are helping me to step ever more fully into Who I Really Am.

However, I’ve noticed that my body is still holding tensions that come from my old way of thinking. 

Whereas before I might have worried about this and listened to lots of critical self-talk, I am now able to view it as an opportunity to address another layer in my personal growth and development.

This is where I am now grateful for my earlier challenges and discomfort, as facing myself and exploring those less pleasant feelings and those aspects of my personality that I’m not so proud of, is not as daunting as it would once have been.

Also, I know that if I can help myself to release this tension, it will bring many benefits!

Thankfully I now have a wide range of tools to draw on, and also a number of great colleagues that I can ask for help as necessary.

But one thing that I was pondering on as I poo picked in the fields the other day – a great time for reflection, I’ve noticed! – is that the things that help me to let go of tension, anxiety and worry are amusement and delight

So, the task I’ve set for myself is to:

  1. Notice when and where I’m holding tension
  2. Accept that this is how I’m feeling – without adding to it by beating myself up about it, or worrying about it
  3. Commit to finding ways to support myself and to release the tension
  4. Look for ways that I can bring more amusement and delight into my life, on the small scale as well as the bigger scale

Some of my joy recently has come from:

So, in moving here I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, but it has brought realisation that:

  • I was feeling stifled in the city
  • Structure can be good, but it can also become rigid, inflexible and constricting
  • New experiences can be stimulating and inspiring
  • Challenges can help you discover hidden strengths and skills
  • New adventures can be fun
  • Overcoming problems can bring such a sense of achievement and learning
  • Living closer to nature is teaching me so much about myself, and inspiring me to greater care for the planet
  • Meeting new people and making new friends is wonderful
  • There is so much more to me than I had dared to believe!

So I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone (even just in little ways to start with), pushing your boundaries, trying new adventures and exploring some new perspectives. You might be surprised at what you find!

The journey

Exploring ways to align with authenticity, integrity and congruence

This journey of Life is such an interesting thing, isn’t it?!  Full of twists and turns that bring lots of opportunities for growth and change.

Some time ago, I would have described things differently!  I would have said that Life was full of ups and downs, and probably many more ‘downs’ than ‘ups’; that it was a struggle and often difficult and uncomfortable.

But I’ve changed 😊

My journey has slowly taught me – or at least my learning and beliefs have taken time to shift – that Life just ‘is’, and it’s my response to it that determines my experience.  Therefore, I can actually choose whether my life will be one of ‘struggle’, or one of valuable learning experiences.

In my ‘other job’, I’ve recently been involved in an ‘ACTivate’ course, here in South Wales.  I’d never heard of this before, but basically it is a 4-week course to support people through learning mindfulness techniques and helping them to develop the skills of Acceptance and Commitment to new practice (the ACT of ACTivate stands for Acceptance Commitment Therapy).

I’ve attended 2 sessions so far, and we’ve been looking at the concept of ‘You are not your mind’ – ie that the mind is only one part of who we are.  It talks to us constantly and it’s impossible to switch it off, however we don’t always have to listen to it.  It has a tendency towards negativity, often being critical and cautious, or even fearful.  But by practicing mindfulness and conscious awareness of our thoughts and responses, we can choose when to listen to our mind, and when to make a different choice on how to act.

I’ve also learnt the truth of the saying that:

Both physical and emotional pain are part of Life.  They can be helpful because they give us information and can help us to avoid further injury, and to learn and grow.

Suffering, however, comes from our response to the pain.  When we fight the pain, trying to resist it, it often actually makes the pain worse, and can add new pain to the original hurt.  If, instead, we can accept that the pain is there, and explore it with curiosity to see what it can teach us, then the suffering is greatly lessened.  We can, in fact, end up being grateful for the pain and the growth that it brings.

Learning and change can be challenging though.  We can find it difficult to change our beliefs and habits, sometimes not even seeing a need for the change.

A recent example of this for me has been highlighted by our move to this new rural location.  It has challenged me in many ways to be more reflective on my choices and to be more conscious of how I ‘walk my talk’, particularly in regards to my relationship with Nature, as this is so much a part of what I do.

I’m exploring ways to be authentic to Who I Really Am, and to live in congruence and alignment with my beliefs.  This is obviously a very individual thing, but the more we can do this, the more we are in balance and can feel comfortable in our own skin, knowing that we are being true to ourselves.

For years I have gradually been trying to be more ‘eco-friendly’ and I thought I was doing pretty well.  Isn’t it interesting how these things happen?  It’s a process really.  You make some changes and think that you’re doing the best you can do, but then as those changes settle in and become your new ‘norm’, you become aware of further adjustments and begin to explore these and eventually take them on as well.

One example is my use of plastic.  I’ve been using my own bags and travel bottle / mug for years but I’m becoming more conscious of other things, such as my toothbrush, plastic vegetable bags at the supermarket, plastic bottles and jars for toiletries, cling film, etc.  As a result, I’ve done some searching and made some new purchases.  The following are some of my recent acquisitions:

coconut fibre pot scrub

alternative to plastic bags

alternative to cling film

alternative to cotton buds

bamboo toothbrush

There are lots of great websites available now for eco-friendly products.  One of the best for avoiding any plastic that I’ve found is: https://www.plasticfreedom.co.uk/ . And if, like me, you’re looking for animal-friendly options, they have a dedicated Vegan section.



Another good site is https://www.nirvananatural.co.uk/ though their range is quite small.



And there’s https://www.peacewiththewild.co.uk/



So Life, to me, is a journey of change, learning and growth.  It’s about exploring our thoughts, emotions and experiences and seeing which ones resonate and support who we want to be – who we really are – and which ones take us further away from this.  We can then choose which ones we want to have more of, and give our energy and attention to these, and which we no longer want to engage with, allowing them to fade out of our lives.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you have an experience that you’d like to share, please post in the comments below.

Why are ‘old’ friends so important?

Good friends are just so valuable, aren’t they?!

A much-loved friend of ours, who we haven’t seen in way-too-long, came to stay the night last Friday… and didn’t leave until Monday morning!

Don’t you just love how that can happen?

The original plan was for a catch-up and to show him our new place, but it ended up being a whole weekend of laughs, reminiscing and creating wonderful new memories to treasure.

This got me wondering – what is it about ‘old’ friends that makes them so special?  New friendships are great, but there’s a precious extra dimension to being with someone that you’ve known for years…

I think that, particularly as we get older, it’s nice to have friends that we’ve known for years, who are still in our lives.  It gives us a sense of connection, both to each other and to the past – our past – a shared history.  And if that history involves lots of silly antics and ‘foolish’ things that we might not do now, but can laugh at the memories, all the better.

Human beings are a social species.  We are wired for connection.  Our brains naturally seek patterns, making comparisons and looking for similarities.  Having a shared interest can bring us together and help us to create lasting bonds.

I think too, that the world is ever changing, and as the pace of that change seems to be speeding up, we can easily feel that we are being left behind.  It can be comforting to have friends of the same vintage who share a similar framework of memories, for example the music of the 80’s, fashion trends and major news stories.

TV programmes and things that we learnt at school can also be common frames of reference.  I was travelling home on the train yesterday and heard a conversation behind me between a woman and the man selling refreshments from the trolley.  She told him that he had arrived at just the right time as she was half-way through her journey and really fancied a cup of tea.  He replied that it was ‘Kismet’ that he had come along to serve her at that moment, but she was unfamiliar with this word or its historical reference.

Having ‘old’ friends is like being part of a ‘school gang’ – you can use your own ‘in’ vocabulary, talking in a kind of short-hand, because you know the other(s) will get what you’re talking about.  This also separates you from those who are ‘outside’ the gang – those who are ‘other’ – helping to give you that important sense of belonging.

Having a friend who’s known you since your younger days, and sharing a history of fun times, silliness and various life events, gives us that ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’.  If some of these stories are mildly embarrassing, even better!

But it’s not just about the good times.  Friendships are tested and strengthened by going through challenging times together.  Here too, it is sometimes good to know that we don’t have to explain ourselves.  The other person immediately knows and understands.  With new friends we might have to tell the story again, or choose to keep it to ourselves, but an ‘old’ friend gets it because they were there with us and felt our pain right alongside us.

We are becoming much more aware of the importance of friendships for our health and wellbeing.  I recently read an article which said that:

“Loneliness is as big a mortality risk as diabetes.  Research links social isolation to dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression and a 29% greater risk of dying. … recent research shows the quality of friendships also helps keep us alive…”

www.theguardian.com

So, treasure your ‘old’ friends.  If you haven’t seen them in a while, call them up and reconnect.  The internet is a great tool for this as we now have Facebook, Messenger, Skype, Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp and all the other wonderful ways that we can stay in touch.

Share the memories and the laughs – so simple to do and so good for our souls!

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: