Keeping your Balance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making a Fresh Start

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is guilt? Is it healthy? Does it serve any useful purpose?

According 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.

Recently 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.

So, is it healthy, and does it serve any useful purpose?

If 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 addressing.

When 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, such as:

  • You’re a bad person!
  • You never get anything right!
  • You’ve failed again!
  • What a stupid mistake that was!

In contrast, our Higher Self never judges us, and certainly would never address us in less than loving terms.

So, our discomfort makes us aware that we’re out of alignment.  We’re not being true to our Higher Self.

If 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 things.

In today’s world we’re spoilt for choice on ‘distractions’:

  • Social media
  • ‘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?

Then, 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?

All of these things can occupy our thoughts, meaning that we’re not fully present much of the time. 

As 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:

  • Over eating
  • Over spending
  • Not stepping out of our comfort zone – eg trying something new
  • Avoiding situations that we find challenging – eg meeting new people
  • Self sabotage

When 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. 

Do we get ‘stuck’, listening to, and engaging with those shaming thoughts?  

Or 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?

This 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.

I 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’.

On 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 enough.

So, what can we do? 

Start 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.

You 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.

As 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 the journey.

‘I don’t know what the problem is, but I’m just not happy…’ (part 2)

Following on from last week, where I looked at physical ways that we can support our wellbeing and happiness, I will now turn to exploring the more emotional and ‘spiritual’ aspects.

Perhaps it would be good to start by explaining that, when I say ‘spiritual’, I don’t mean in any religious sense.  That might play a role, if it is important for you, but I believe that we all have a spiritual part of our being – whether or not we’re religious – that needs care and attention in order for us to be living a whole, balanced – and happy – life.

I believe that it is only by being in harmony with our inner nature, and the Nature all around us, that we can truly experience balance, wellbeing and flow.  For me, being in Nature feeds all the layers and aspects of our being and offers us many lessons on how to better care for our health on all levels.

One of the main attractions of the property that we recently moved to in Wales is the amazing Nature all around us.  I’ve known for some time that I wanted to move out of the city.  I’ve been finding it claustrophobic and stifling, feeling squeezed uncomfortably into a role and space that no longer felt ‘right’ for me.  I longed to find a place where I felt I could breathe; where I could see the sky above, and green, living things all around me.  We looked at a variety of places in our search, all of them more rural than the Bristol suburbs where we’d been living, but not truly ‘countryside’- until we found Rose Cottage!  Here we have woods, fields, trees, natural hedges and even a little stream.  I instantly felt the sense of peace that fills this place, and it was as if the coiled spring that I’d been carrying around inside of me began to unwind and relax.

Spending time outdoors, in Nature, has proven health benefits.  There are the obvious ones of fresh air, exercise and the fact that we need daylight for our bodies to synthesise Vitamin D.  In addition there is something calming and healing about the colours green and blue – the main colours that we see, at least in the UK, when out in nature.

Connecting in with the earth is beneficial, both in terms of a physical connection and also on an emotional / spiritual level.  It is very grounding, especially if we can take our shoes off and feel the earth beneath our feet, tuning into its energy and allowing it to bring us peace and balance.

Since moving here, we haven’t been connected to the internet (if you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that it’s been an ongoing saga with BT…) but I’ve really come to know and appreciate the truth of the saying:

There is something very special about getting away from the world of work, busy-ness and all the normal daily demands.  Sadly we are often so used to this ‘noise’ that we’ve forgotten how to be quiet, and lost touch with our own uniqueness – who we are without all the ‘domestication’ of our every day lives, and also the wonder of our being and all the amazing gifts that we alone can bring to the world.

So many people are experiencing stress and overwhelm in our society.  They might push it down, using work, food, alcohol, smoking, shopping, over-exercise or some other form of addiction in order to dull the pain.  But it doesn’t go away, and often it can fester inside us, leading to physical or mental dis-ease.  Sadly, trying to stop ourselves from feeling the pain in these ways effectively dis-connects us from ourselves, and from our internal guidance system, meaning that we can find ourselves feeling lost and/or making decisions that don’t serve us.  We can end up feeling discontent, unfocused and lonely, knowing that something is missing but not sure how to fill the hole…  This is what leads us to look outside of ourselves for the answer, the thing that will help us to feel fulfilled and ‘complete’, but in reality, nothing outside of ourselves can ever satisfy this need, if we don’t first take care of our inner selves.  This is where it is so important to spend some time in quiet, allowing ourselves the space to reflect, reconnect and tune in to what we really need.  Mindfulness and getting present are great ways to start.  Also practising gratefulness.  I often recommend keeping a gratitude diary, making a note of all the things you find in your day to feel thankful for, or that make you smile.  It can be as simple as a warm cup of delicious coffee, reading a good book or seeing the smile on a child’s face.  Focusing on these things will reset your focus away from negativity.  Where your attention goes, energy flows and will attract more of the same into your life, so feeding the positive is a great way to support your wellbeing.

Basically ‘overwhelm‘ is when we find ourselves in a situation where we feel that we have little or no control, and yet we’re having to juggle a high level of demand.  We feel overloaded; trapped with nowhere to go to escape.

When we make time to get out into Nature, it gives us space – both literally and emotionally – allowing us to take a step back and regain a degree of perspective, in order to reconnect with what is important to us.

I love this quote from Emily McDowell:

To me, this is what it’s all about, and it’s what being in Nature gives us the space to do.  It allows us to strip off the layers of conditioning, the masks we wear to survive in the worlds outside of ourselves, and to reconnect with Who We Really Are.  When we can do this, and appreciate the amazing being that we are, ‘warts and all’, then we can start to explore what it means to be that person, more fully.  How can we tap in to our gifts and begin to truly share them with those around us…?  This will both benefit others, and help us to grow and to feel more fulfilled – more ‘in tune’ with ourselves – that is, more comfortable in our own skin.  The feelings of stress and overwhelm begin to melt away as we step into the niche that was always there for us, waiting for the time that we would stop trying to please others, and instead allow ourselves to be all that we can be.

It’s like Marianne Williamson says:

We are ‘powerful beyond measure’ when we connect with our authentic selves.  The Universe has created you with great care, bringing many elements together over aeons of time, to result in the person that you are.

Stop and think about this for a moment…

Let the miracle of your being really settle into your consciousness…

This doesn’t just apply to others – those who are rich, or famous, or have won the Nobel Prize for something…  it applies to each and every one of us.  Being ‘small’ doesn’t serve ourselves, and it doesn’t serve those around us.  As Marianne says:

“… as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So don’t think of it as selfish to take time for yourself and to listen to your heart and follow where it leads you.  That is what you are here to do.  That is how you fulfil your potential.  That is how you be your best self and give permission to others to be their best selves.

This magical place is supporting me along my journey, and if it resonates for you, I’d love to offer you the opportunity to experience this healing space for yourself.  Together we can create a bespoke package for you to explore Who You Really Are, within this safe and supportive environment.  I work with energy, using techniques such as Reiki and EFT (‘tapping’), and also offer workshops and retreats.  If you would like to know more, please get in touch:

You can also see more on my website: equenergy.com

‘I don’t know what the problem is, but I’m just not happy…’

Sometimes the lack of internet and TV connection here is a blessing!  This week it has inspired me to write this blog…

As we can’t watch any of our favourite programmes at the moment, I’ve been going to the library in Abergavenny to borrow from their collection of DVDs.  One of the movies that I picked up last week was called ‘A Long Way Down‘.  When I chose it, I didn’t read the blurb on the box so had no idea what the story was about and, to be honest, to start with, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue watching it, as it’s about a group of 4 people who happen to go to the top of the same building, on the same night (New Year’s Eve) intent on committing suicide.  They obviously hadn’t planned on doing this in front of anyone else and so there’s a bit of awkwardness and they end up agreeing to form a pact, promising not to kill themselves before the next most popular suicide date, Valentine’s Day.

The film then follows them through all their misadventures together, but what struck me was that one of the characters, JJ, feels like an outsider in their little group because, from his perspective, each of the others has a reason for feeling the way they do – one has been publicly shamed, one has lost her sister and the other has a disabled son and spends all her life caring for him.  JJ on the other hand confesses that he doesn’t know why he is unhappy.  He feels hopeless, and also jealous of the others.  They know what is ‘wrong’ in their lives and so they know what they need in order to ‘fix’ things, however as he doesn’t have an obvious ‘problem’, he has no idea how to improve things, or indeed, if that’s even possible…

This got me thinking…  This seems to be a not uncommon situation in our society.  So many people are unhappy, unfulfilled and dissatisfied, without knowing why.  On the surface their life might appear to be ‘good’, or even ‘perfect’, but to them it is a miserable, and perhaps painful, existence.  The issue is compounded because they don’t feel they can complain about this apparently happy life, particularly when so many others have ‘more obvious’ challenges to deal with.

Just look at examples such as Robin Williams.  On the surface he had an amazing life and his public persona was very upbeat, but behind this he was very unhappy and deeply troubled.

I’m glad that there is now a greater awareness about mental health issues, and much work is being done to reduce any stigma.  It’s great to see well-known personalities speaking out about their experience and letting the world see that outward appearances can be deceptive.  Even the most amazing lifestyle, or having lots of money, doesn’t protect you from feeling unhappy.

I believe that these feelings need to be addressed holistically.  It’s not something that will generally be resolved overnight, or with a simple fix.  It takes time for someone to reach this point, and it will take time for them to find their way back to balance and wellbeing, but every step along the way will bring improvement and valuable learning – about themselves, their needs, values and desires – that will be of great benefit in creating the life that they long for.

So, what do I mean when I say that the issue should be tackled ‘holistically’?  We are many layered beings and for us to function at our best, all of those layers need to be healthy and in balance.  When we feel any form of dis-ease, it means that something is out of balance.  In order to resolve this, we need to look at each area of our lives: physical, emotional and spiritual.

These aren’t discrete layers.  They flow from one to the other and are interdependent.  Any separation is artificial, but for simplicity, and ease of explanation, I’ll look at each in turn:

Physical

Did you know that gut health plays a huge part in our mood, as well as in many other aspects of how we feel and of our self image?

For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to what we eat.  For example, did you know:

It’s not just what we eat, either – it’s also about the whole of our environment.  This includes the products you use, both on yourself, and for cleaning.  Did you know that you absorb things more quickly through your skin, than by digestion?  For this reason I try not to use any harsh chemicals.  I use natural, organic, vegan products where possible.  I’m a consultant for Arbonne and I also buy from sites such as Green PeopleNorwex and Forest Hog.

Next week, I’ll look further at the emotional and spiritual aspects.

 

If this post has struck a chord and you’d like to ask any questions, or have a chat, please get in touch:

Some words of inspiration

This week seems to have been overly long and, having got to the weekend, I find myself feeling drained and exhausted.  Much of this is probably down to the fact that we went up to London yesterday for a funeral.  This is the second one in just a few months within the same family (Tim’s cousin and then his uncle) which obviously has quite an impact.

Added to this, the funeral took place in Upminster, which is the far side of London for us, meaning that I got up at 4am to see to the horses before catching a series of 5 trains, followed by a lift to the crematorium for the service at 10.30.  We left again about 1pm and got home about 5 – a long and tiring day!

Funerals, of course, are sobering occasions and, particularly as we get older, they become more and more a time to pause, reflect and consider where we’re going in Life.  Funny how death has a way of making you think more about Life!  It makes us realise how quickly time passes and how temporary and fragile things can be…

I see death as just another part of the natural cycle of things.  To me it’s not an end, just the start of another, different chapter.  As Einstein said:

I believe that since we are energy, death is just a change of form.  We move on to a new state of being, one that, from this life, we can’t see, imagine or understand, but no less real for that.

I also think that it’s a good thing that death makes us reflect…

  • Are we truly living?
  • Or are we merely surviving, struggling through each day..?
  • or existing, drifting along with no purpose, no joy and no hope?

I think that we’re here for the sole purpose of experiencing Life in all its fullness and exploring what it means to be as fully ourselves as we can possibly be.

I don’t think we’re being watched, judged or found wanting – other than, so often, by ourselves.

If we could just find a way to let go of that, and to know that there is no right or wrong, no good or bad, no failure, other than where we choose to apply these labels…

If we could know that our true nature is Love and allow ourselves to align more closely with that, without fear, what a Life we could lead, and what a world this would be.

I know that this is a bit of a simplification of things and that there are many layers and many shades to our existence here in this Life, but I’m all for keeping things simple!  I think that we so often over-complicate things…

I also think that when we see things that we label as ‘bad’ or ‘evil’, this is often due to misunderstanding, a difference of perspective, or deep pain somewhere that has caused things to go so far off track, so far away from the beauty of our true nature, that it has become distorted and hurtful.  Sometimes this has perhaps gone beyond the point of no return, but often, with Love and gentleness, these hurts can be healed, at least in part.

So, for me, this week has been about taking stock.  Where is my life serving me – where is it making me happy, bringing me joy, helping me to grow – and where is it holding me back?

The following quotes appeared on my Instagram feed over the last few days:

They spoke deeply to me and so I thought I would share, in case they might resonate for you too.

As we enter the weekend after another busy week, I wish for you:

  • some time of stillness to rest, recharge and reflect
  • the opportunity to discover what makes your heart sing, and the strength to choose to follow that
  • the courage to face the things that aren’t supporting you in your life, and to make the changes that will align you more with your happiness, freedom and Love

Feeling our way from Stress into Flow

Thank you for your patience while I’m without regular WiFi connection and my blogs aren’t always posted on time.

This week I thought I would share with you a little about a presentation that I gave earlier this week.  It was the last session of 2018 for The Business Haven, a networking group based in Portishead, and was followed by a fun Christmas lunch.  The lunch included a draw with many wonderful prizes, donated by members of The Business Haven group.  I was very fortunate to win a beautiful necklace made by Katie Bird of Birdsmith Jewellery.  I couldn’t believe it when I opened the parcel and found that it was a delicate silver horse’s hoofprint!  Could it be any more fitting for me?!  Everyone around me was also in awe of the synchronicity of this prize coming to me, particularly as mine was the last number to be chosen and so this necklace had been sitting in the stocking waiting for me!

The presentation I gave was 90 minutes of looking at ways that we can Feel our Way from Stress into Flow.  It was the first time that I’ve run the session in this way.  In the past I’ve given a short 20-minute, interactive session as a Women Mean Biz keynote speaker, and offered a 3 hour workshop from the EQUENERGY healing space.  I was interested to see how it would work in this new format.  In the end it turned out that they were such an open and engaged group that I really enjoyed it!  This is a huge change for me…

About 3 years ago I was working with a business coach who encouraged me to start networking in order to build my business.  I’m naturally quite a shy person and the idea of walking into a room full of people that I don’t know or – heaven forbid! – standing up in front of them and telling them about what I do, was enough to make me want to run away and hide.  But I strongly believe in all that I offer, and I love supporting people to step into their joy and freedom, so I took the leap and tried out some networking groups.  You can read more about this process in my earlier blog post.

Having found the group that worked for me, I was then working with another coach who said that the next step was to offer talks and workshops.  Again, this felt very out of my comfort zone, but I went on a fabulous workshop with Helene Jewell of Jewell Facilitation and learnt how to put together a good workshop and to deal with any challenges that might arise.  This helped to build my confidence and again, reminding myself how much I love what I do, and that it would just be sharing my passion with others, I started to offer workshops and make contact with groups who might be interested in hearing me speak.  At first, I was nervous, but I’ve found that people are usually open, welcoming and interested in the topic.  I love when they ask questions and we start a discussion where everyone can share from their experience.  It’s very much a 2-way learning!  I find it exciting to meet new people in these sessions and to hear a little of their experience and the wisdom that they’ve learnt along the way.  The questions, too, always get me thinking and challenge me to be more aware, and clearer on my message.   For example, on Wednesday Tamsin, the group leader, asked me a question that reminded me of the importance of remaining curious when faced with challenges, rather than feeling overwhelmed, taking things personally or getting angry.

Running this workshop also makes me think of the role that emotional intelligence plays in our wellbeing.  So often we can become detached from our feelings in order to survive in this world, which is sometimes so busy and full of noise that it can leave us feeling overloaded.  I believe that often the key to keeping our balance is to be realistic about how much we can do on our own, to not be afraid to seek support, and to be aware of our own needs, doing our best to meet these rather than expecting someone else to do this for us.  In some ways I think that while our brains have evolved beyond those of our ancestors, we often haven’t learnt ways of responding from this new place.  This can result in dis-ease, as our bodies try to cope with the stress and tension that we hold, unable to indulge in more ‘animal-like’ behaviours, due to etiquette and the rules of polite society, but we’re not yet fluent in alternative ways of releasing the tensions.

Those who have attended these sessions have found them helpful and full of ideas to put into practice in order to support their wellbeing.  This is some of the feedback that I’ve received:

If you’d like to know more, you’re interested in booking a place on a workshop, or you’d like me to run one for your group, please get in touch on 07980669303.