A Perfect Storm

perfect storm is an event in which a rare combination of circumstances drastically aggravates the event. The term is used by analogy to an unusually severe storm that results from a rare combination of meteorological phenomena. (Wikipedia)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where one thing after another seems to be going against you?  It can really zap your energy and optimism!

Recently it’s felt a bit like that here.  When we moved to this beautiful part of the world, we knew that there would be some work to do on the outbuildings, and managing the land, but we thought that the house was sound and all we needed to do was move in and we could do any necessary repairs, etc, at our own pace.

However, this has turned out not to be the case.  Of course, this summer was one of the driest on record – even here in Wales.  But the day we moved we had storm Callum, and then in this last week we had storm Diana.  All that wind and rain tested the solidity of the buildings and revealed leaks that weren’t apparent on our earlier visits.  We’ve found that water is coming in, in several places – through roof, doors and walls.  All of this of course means extra expense, which is scary when you’ve just moved house!  There are also leaks in several outbuildings, and the roof on the cabin was threatening to lift off.  We lost a panel off the side of one of the storage buildings and several items were blown into the stream.

The winds also turned poo picking into quite an adventure!  One afternoon I lost my hat, barrow, rake and poo skip – all blown away from me.  The horses were rather spooked by the waving branches and the sound of the wind in the trees and hedges.  Dax quickly settled once he got some hay, but Rika was more uncertain.  She seemed to gain confidence, though, when I stood next to her and reassured her.  She pushed in a couple of times for a scratch and it was lovely to think that my presence put her more at ease.  Thankfully both have still been keeping warm, despite the weather.

Added to this is the fact that we still haven’t been connected to the internet and phone.  TV is also part of the package that we’ve ordered, so we don’t have that either.  This has been a big challenge in many ways and my husband is finding it particularly frustrating.  I was managing reasonably well, using WiFi in a local café as and when I could, but when hubby was away with work for the night of the storm, the sense of isolation from a lack of contact with the outside world, hubby’s frustrations and the fact that he is very unhappy that we’ve moved here, concerns about the effect of the weather on the horses and financial worries, all piled up, and I suddenly felt hopeless and just wanted to rage at the world!

This made me think about what I could do to support myself, when I felt I had run out of energy and resilience.  These were my tips to myself:

  1. Remember to breathe! A simple thing, and it might seem small and insignificant in the face of the storm, but it helps you to be more grounded, to find balance and perspective when the storm is threatening to blow you away.  Also it can be heartening to know that you are still holding on.  When you look back and see what you’ve managed to come through, it can build your confidence and awareness of your inner strength.
  2. Take one step at a time. When you’re in a ‘perfect storm’, everything seems overwhelming.  Each issue appears to be too huge to manage.  We can feel lost and uncertain of where we’re going or what the future might hold.  But keeping moving, even at the slowest pace, means that we’re taking action rather than getting stuck.  And again, we can discover an inner strength and resources we were unaware of, which is a great boost to our confidence and esteem, and contrasts against the things that seem to be knocking us down.
  3. Don’t make any big decisions. When you’re struggling, feeling lost and out of your depth, it’s not a good place from which to make important decisions.  If others are pressing you for an answer, it’s ok to say that you need some time.  You need to be able to restore your sense of balance, perspective and hope, reconnecting again with your inner sense of who you are and what matters to you – your inner compass – before you can hope to make a choice that will serve you.
  4. Spend time with those who lift you up. When you’re struggling to find anything positive or hopeful inside of yourself it can be good to spend time in the company of people, music or books that soothe and encourage us.  I’m very fortunate to have some wonderful friends to call on.  I rang one the night that my ‘perfect storm’ hit, and she immediately suggested getting together.  We’ve arranged to meet up tomorrow and having this to look forward to, I suddenly felt a little better, almost as if I was drowning and had found a rock to rest on allowing me to catch my breath and have the space to regather myself.  It’s said that we become like the 5 people we spend most of our time with, so pay attention to the people – and the energy – that you hang out with.  Are they uplifting?  Encouraging?  Supportive?  Reassuring? Optimistic?  Do they build you up?  Encourage you?  Believe in you?  Reignite your passion?
  5. Take time to rest and reflect, and be gentle with yourself. When everything seems to be yelling for your attention, it’s important to take some time out for yourself. Peace and quiet are invaluable for helping us to recharge and think about where we would like to be once the storm has passed.  For me I noticed that getting outside into the woods, or into the fields with the horses, helped me to put some distance between myself and most of the things that were stressing me.  It helped to restore my balance and sense of positivity.
    Also, don’t be too hard on yourself for being in this situation.  Life can throw us curve-balls.  Finding yourself in the middle of an emotional storm is not a poor reflection on who you are.  It’s our responses to our situation that show our true character.
  6. Take good care of yourself. In the midst of the storm, everything seems to be demanding your time and attention, leaving no time for yourself.  But this can lead to draining your batteries, leaving you exhausted and even ill.  At times like this it’s important to eat healthily – including lots of fresh, preferably organic, produce, including fruit and veg of a wide variety of colours to boost your vitamin and mineral intake – and to get as much sleep as you can.
  7. Hang in there and remember that even the worst storm passes. Suddenly something will shift, or it can be a slow and gradual change that you don’t even notice at first, but then, one morning, you look up and there’s a glimpse of sunshine poking through the dark clouds.  For me, I arrived home yesterday to find a strange car in the driveway.  When I went into the house, I found hubby talking to a lovely bloke who turned out to be, in my husband’s description, “a jack of all trades, and master of all of them”!  In short, it appears that we might have found the guy to help us put our place in shape and get us through the winter intact.  Of course, it’s going to cost money, but those financial concerns seemed to fade into the background when presented with this solution to our other worries.  Also, the fact that hubby was now in a much better mood lifted my spirits immensely!

So, what about you?  What are your tips for dealing with a ‘perfect storm’?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you ever feel like the ‘perfect storm’ is building, and you need a break away to think, take stock and recover your balance, you are very welcome to book a session here at Equenergy.  I offer Reiki, Emotional Freedom Techniques (‘tapping’), mindfulness through reconnection with Nature, and workshops on rediscovering that sense of ‘Flow’ in your life.  Please contact me for further information:

Or you can see more on my website:

 

 

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Lessons from the mist and a formal introduction

Well, we’ve been in our new home for 3 weeks now!  In some way the time has flown by and it feels like we’ve been here for much longer, and in other ways it still feels very new.

The time has flown by in a blur and at times it has felt very overwhelming.  It’s a huge change living here, compared to our old life in the suburbs of Bristol.  Suddenly having 8.5 acres of paddocks, woodland and vegetable and fruit areas feels rather out of our comfort zone!

  • How on earth do you care for all these magnificent trees and hedges?
  • How do you support Nature to do her thing while still keeping the land manageable?
  • What’s the best way to care for our little orchard?
  • What veg should we grow here – and where do we even start with that?!

As you’ll know, if you’ve been following my blog, we’ve been without WiFi since we moved in.  On one level this is quite nice, as it allows us time to focus on other things – wow, I can now see how social media has eaten my time in the past! – but it has also meant that we don’t have a working landline in the house, our mobile connection is patchy, we have no access to emails or looking things up on the internet – and we have no TV.  (Lots of DVD watching and actually having to have conversations!)

All this has left us feeling rather out of our depth.  At times I’ve felt like I’m lost and can’t see my way…

One morning I was pushing a barrow full of hay up to the field for the horses.  Dawn was just breaking and there was a mist hanging over the fields.  I could only see clearly for a few steps ahead of me.  But as I walked I realised that, as I moved forwards the path ahead of me was revealed, step by step.  I couldn’t see any further ahead than a few metres, but the fact of moving forward was meaning that those few metres were also shifting with me, allowing me to see my next few steps.  This felt a bit like my life at the moment.  It made me think that if I could just ‘go with it’, and trust the process, choosing to be content with only seeing the next few steps and not stressing about being unable to see the whole of the path, then I would feel more at ease and less out of control.

This, and spending time with the horses surrounded by the beautiful fields and woodland here, has helped me to be more grounded and to feel more balanced and settled in this new life.  I’m more able to look ahead to how I might be able to develop my practice by drawing on all the wonderful resources of this place.

In this week’s post I also wanted to introduce you to our newest addition to the family.  Her formal name is Ulrike, and previously she was known as Eureka, but we’ve shortened her name to ‘Rika.  As you might remember, I believe that names can be significant and I love the meanings that this beautiful girl’s name holds:

Ulrike – a German name meaning Mistress of All

Rika – a Norse name meaning Forever Strong

Rikka – a Teutonic name meaning Tranquil Leader

I had been hoping that this mare would be a leader for our ‘teenager’ gelding.  That hasn’t quite worked out as planned as he tends to be the one who bosses her around, but I think that her steadfast, gentle presence will still be a wonderful asset.

Next week I’ll share a little more about how things are going with her but for now I need to sign off as I need to get home before dark to feed these two!

 

 

Keeping Things Real

In the last couple of posts, I’ve shared some of the techniques that I’ve been drawing on as my life has been going from ‘busy’ to ‘more than a little crazy’!

I’m aware that reading this sort of thing can sometimes make it sound that the writer – in this case me J – has got it ‘sussed’, and that it’s obviously ‘easy for them’ in some way, but it still seems out of reach for you, the reader.

I therefore thought I would share a little more of the realities of my day-to-day experiences during this time to hopefully let you see that I’m nothing special, and that this is possible for anyone!  If I can do it, then you can definitely do it too.

My journal during the month after Dax arrived was full of feelings of overwhelm: 

May 13

“Today’s been a real roller coaster, much of which I’ve spent feeling completely overwhelmed and wanting to cry and run away. I’m feeling caught in the middle of a lot of people with strong views on horses…

I’m a little better now, just absolutely shattered”

May 26

“I feel like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and all of my ‘stuff’ is being triggered at once. This has hit me hard, emotionally and physically, so I need to take some time…”

This was where I needed to remember to breathe and to take some time out to support myself in order to keep my sense of balance and perspective.

I’m very fortunate to have a great friend who offered a sympathetic ear and a calm voice of reassurance and encouragement.  She helped me to take a step back and explore my feelings.  This allowed me to be more objective and to see the bigger picture.

I realised that I was afraid of failure and of letting people down.  My friend helped me to put these fears into perspective and to realise that, while it’s always possible that things won’t turn out as we hoped, that doesn’t mean that we’ve ‘failed’.  It’s actually an opportunity for learning; not least, learning about ourselves, our needs and our strengths.  It also helps us to realise that reaching out to others can be a great way to make wonderful connections.  In addition, I came to see that this support wasn’t only one way.  I was able to give, too, which helped to restore my sense of self worth and confidence.

It hasn’t been an easy time as it’s brought me face-to-face with some old hurts, but this has given me deeper insight and the chance to acknowledge the pain and to take steps to release it.

Isn’t it funny how we can think that we’ve ‘dealt with’ something, only for it to raise it’s challenging face again?!  This can be disheartening, until we realise that it’s actually another, deeper, layer.  It’s not quite the same as the stuff we dealt with before – we actually have dealt with that – but now we’re ready to clear even more.  How amazing is that?!

Life is always giving us opportunities to move closer to Love and to Freedom.  Sadly, we’ve sometimes become blinded to these due to our conditioning and the limiting beliefs that this brings, but if we can stay open, trusting and curious, then suddenly opportunities are all around us.

Sometimes we need to reach out and ask for support in seeing and responding to these opportunities, but that’s ok.  It doesn’t mean that we’re broken or need another to ‘fix’ us, it’s just that we sometimes need a reminder of how to access the truth of who we really are.

With Dakota it was interesting as I could see strong parallels between us.  There is a sense of disconnection about him and he appears to be afraid of allowing others to get too close.  This is similar to me when I feel overwhelmed.

He shows strong independence of thought and decision making, but also there’s a sense of abandonment, loss and isolation about him, as if he feels that he needs to guard himself against rejection and being unwanted.  I can empathise with this, too…

My dream is for the 2 of us to have the space and time to find our way to connect together.  I know this will be a unique path, special to us and what we each bring.

And I think we might just have found the perfect space!

If you’ve been following my blog recently you’ll know that my husband and I have been looking for a new home.  Well, we think we’ve found the perfect place.  It’s a sweet little cottage set in 8.5 acres of Welsh countryside.  There are woods and paddocks and although it feels like the middle of nowhere it’s actually only 15 minutes drive from Abergavenny.  I’m hoping that this will give Dakota and myself the peace for reflection and building of trust and understanding to build that special bond.

I want to find ways to hold space for Dax, so that he can find his inner balance, confidence and strength.  In doing this for him, I hope to then find my path to achieving the same for myself.  So often we learn best by offering to others what we need for ourselves.  Perhaps this is why we can set out intending to rescue another only to find that it was actually ourselves who needed rescuing!

6 further tips for when life feels a bit crazy!

Last week I started sharing some of the things that I’ve found helpful when I start to slip into stress and overwhelm.

Below are some further thoughts on this:

  1. Having trained in a range of energy therapies I am very fortunate to be able to draw on these when I feel triggered and emotionally raw.  Two of these techniques are:
    Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT / Tapping) which helps to lower the intensity of my feelings, again helping to keep me from slipping into overwhelm and allowing me to keep a better sense of perspective.
    Reiki which helps to restore balance and to bring my body back into ‘rest and repair’.  This supports me in several ways:
    • breathing, digestion and circulation function more effectively so that my body is able to stay healthy
    • I sleep better, meaning that I feel less tired and can think more clearly
    • I feel more grounded
    • it supports other therapies, such as the EFT mentioned above, meaning that they are then even more effective
  1. Using these therapies on myself is obviously good, but sometimes, when I’m tired, my resources are at a low ebb and I’m feeling overwhelmed and loosing the ability to be objective, I need to turn to others for help.  This is ok!  It’s not a sign of ‘weakness’ or ‘failure’, but rather a sign of strength and the wisdom of recognising that we can’t do everything on our own – nor are we expected to.  This help can come from friends and family, and also from professionals.  There are many wonderful therapists out there, offering a wide range of approaches.  It’s good to ask for recommendations and to have an initial chat to see if you feel they would be a good fit for you.  Remember that this is about you.  It’s ok to put yourself first and to be ‘fussy’ on who you choose to work with.  Don’t worry about hurting the therapist’s feelings if you decide not to work with them.  They too will want you to find the person and the therapy that is going to be the most effective for you.

  2. Through my healing journey, learning and practice, I have realised that we really are all doing the best that we can do with the resources that we have access to.  Also, that our perception is a very subjective thing which is deeply coloured by our past experiences.  This has given me a greater capacity for compassion, both for those around me, and for myself.
  3. I’ve also learnt the importance of having a sense of humour!  The ability to not take myself too seriously has been of such an enormous benefit to my wellbeing.  That’s not to say that I can always laugh at things, but generally I can catch myself and gently remind myself that everything will be ok and that things are not nearly as serious as my fears would have me believe.
  4. Another important lesson, which might seem to be almost the opposite of the one above, is that’s it’s ok to be ok with not being ok.  In other words, it’s ok to feel sad / angry / guilty / anxious / depressed / etc, I just need to remember that these are only ‘e-motions’.  That is, they are energy-in-motion.  They bring me valuable information about my needs in a situation and when I tune in and listen I can address these needs, allowing the feeling to process and be released.  It’s when I suppress my emotions, holding on to them or resisting them, that they cause me the most pain, and can even lead to illness.
  5. I’ve also needed to pay attention to my self talk.  We can tend to be our own worst critic and when we’re triggered into stress, it brings out the most negative inner voices.  Often these are voices from people who have been significant in our lives, such as parents, teachers and peers.  When our confidence levels are low it’s all too easy to accept – and continue – this critical voice, but it doesn’t serve us.  There is a saying: ‘Take the thought to court!’  Look at the evidence.  Is your inner voice telling you the truth?  We can probably find evidence to both support and contradict the voice, so why, then, is it so much easier to listen and believe, rather than to laugh it off?  There will be several reasons for this:
    • we’ve been listening for so long that our neural pathways around this are very strong.
    • we are evolutionarily geared to look for the negatives (see Our Brain’s Negative Bias)
    • we trusted the people whose voices we’re repeating

So what can we do?

    • we can choose to remember to look for the evidence that proves that we are actually thoughtful, competent, skilled, caring, intelligent, capable, beautiful etc
    • we can choose to believe this evidence and to hold it up every time our inner critic raises its head
    • we can recognise the fact of our negative bias and understand that this is just our ego’s way of protecting us.  We can then thank the ego, and let it know that: ‘It’s ok, I’ve got this covered!’
    • We can use techniques (such as EFT and other energy work) which help to support the breaking of old habits – by releasing the beliefs and emotions behind them – and the creation of more helpful ones.

Remember to be gentle with yourself.  Old habits have taken time to form, and will take time to change, but each step along the way will bring greater insight and move you closer to greater balance and wellbeing.  Also, even small changes can have a huge impact on how you feel.  The important thing is to approach this with an open mind, with curiosity, lightness and a sense of humour!

6 practices for when life feels like a roller coaster!

Last week I talked about some of the challenges that I’ve been facing after taking on the care of ‘Dakota Horse’.  If you’ve read some of my other recent posts you might remember that we’re currently also in the middle of selling up and moving house!  This is not only about our home, but also about my business and my vision of how it might develop in the future – so no pressure there then!!  All of this has meant that life is feeling a bit crazy at the moment.

At times like this it’s all too easy to slip into old patterns of overwhelm and the consequent unhelpful behaviours and thought cycles.  I am therefore doing my best to remember to practice good self-care.  I’m far from perfect, and still very much a work-in-progress, but they say that practice-makes-perfect, and it’s certainly giving me insight and a lot of food for thought.

I promised to share some of the things that I’ve found helpful in the hope that it will be of use to others to:

  1. The first and most important thing is remembering to breathe!  Yes, perhaps a rather obvious one, but when I feel stressed I know that my muscles tighten and my breathing becomes more shallow.  This means that my body feels more tense, and gets less oxygen, which becomes a negative spiral, feeding my anxiety.  On the other hand, when I remember to pay attention to my breath, and to breathing deeply and evenly, it helps me to relax.
    To help with this I recommend doing a body scan several times throughout the day.  This enables you to spot areas of tension in the body, and to see when breathing is shallow, allowing you to then breathe into the tight areas, inviting them to release and relax.
  2. This in turn helps me to take a step back and to have better objectivity, which allows me to see more clearly and rationally.  It helps me to keep a greater sense of proportion and not to spiral into overwhelm and feeling out of control.
  3. Breathing properly and being objective also help me in evaluating the reality of the situation and carefully considering my options.  If I slip into panic this is much more difficult to do – if not impossible.  It’s known as ‘blind panic’ for good reason!  Being able to think things through like this, usually allows me to see that there are lots of things I can try, and people I can ask for advice and / or support.
  4. Another thing that helps me in this is to get moving.  Going for a walk helps to break the sensation of being ‘stuck’ and powerless and helps my brain to function more effectively.
  5. I also find being outside in Nature very soothing.  I love the energy of being surrounded by trees and wildlife and find it very grounding.  It helps to restore my sense of perspective too.

  6. Mindfulness, meditation and journaling have helped me to develop more emotional intelligence and self-awareness.  This has allowed me to let go of some of the things that were no longer serving me, and to reconnect with my inner stillness, allowing me to relax more effectively.  This is so important for moving out of ‘fight or flight’ and into ‘rest and repair’ which is essential for our wellbeing.

 

Next week I’ll share some further techniques and insights that I’ve learnt along my journey.

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 5 of 5

Another way to support this is through ‘play’.  I’m taking this in its broadest terms, to refer to something that you enjoy doing, that lights you up inside and that ‘makes your heart sing’ – the things that, when you are engaged in them, time ceases to exist and you’re just enjoying the moment.  This releases endorphins and boosts our immune system, helping the body to deal with stress and repair from injury or illness.  It also helps to keep us looking and feeling young!

Another passion of mine is nutrition.  As someone who’s experienced food intolerances in the past I’ve become very interested in knowing what’s in the food that I eat.  Also, stress, medication and toxic chemicals can take their toll, upsetting the healthy balance of our gut bacteria, leading to dis-ease.

Many of us lead busy lives and so have come to rely on ready made and microwaveable meals, however these often contain high levels of sugar and salt and the processing that is done in their preparation destroys much of their goodness.  In addition, our fruits and vegetables are produced through intensive farming methods using chemical sprays, which result in fewer nutrients and a variety of toxins that overload the liver.

I believe it is very important to source ingredients that are as healthy and natural as possible.  Buy organic where you can or, even better, grow your own.  Cook from scratch (if you’re short on time perhaps you can do this in advance and freeze portions for later meals) adding herbs and spices for extra flavour rather than salt or sugar.  Include a wide range of foods and colours to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.  If you eat meat, fish, eggs and/or dairy I would again recommend buying organic and unprocessed options where possible, to avoid the hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals that can often be found in these foods.

It’s also important to keep well hydrated, particularly during times of stress or illness, as this helps to flush out toxins and to keep our cells functioning at their best.

Running my own company, I know how important it is for business owners to stay healthy.  We want to give our clients the best possible service and this means maintaining our productivity and creativity while also keeping fit and avoiding sickness and burnout.  This is where I can help.  I can support you, and any members of staff you may have, in finding ways to look after your health so that you enjoy your work and thrive on the challenges that it brings.

Here are some of the things that previous clients have said about working with me:

Robyn … provided a warm and welcoming space and I quickly relaxed. I found the session very intriguing as it brought up some interesting things that I was very happy to release. Robyn has a very gentle approach and at the same time gets right to the heart of the matter.

I felt very relaxed and energised.
I continued to flow with a very gentle ease…

It was a really enjoyable experience and allowed me time to reconnect with myself,

It’s now two months on and I’m realising the benefits of the session. Thank you Robyn

Rosie Withey

 

I have been going through a really tough time for the last 5 weeks and have been struggling to pull out of it. Today I had a therapy session with Robyn who is not only lovely but also very talented. My sorrow has lifted and for the first time in ages I can look back and smile. I also have new clarity and direction for the future. Thank you so much

Victoria Denning

 

Robyn is such a lovely person to work with. Her calm and friendly manner immediately put you at ease and her Reiki skills are just incredible. Her knowledge is vast and you know you’re in expert hands when you spend time with her. Thoroughly recommended

Becky Barnes

 

I went to see Robyn as I found myself ‘running around in circles’, feeling stressed and like I was going to ‘hit a brick wall’. I had a session of Reiki, and Robyn also helped me focus on being positive and relaxing, giving me extra activities to do at home. I followed these, and instead of ‘crashing and burning’ I got through it. Thank you Robyn for your support and help.

Clare Davis

 

If you have any questions or comments on anything that I’ve mentioned here, or if you would like to book in for a tailor-made wellbeing session with me, then please get in touch:

email:              robyn@equenergy.com

phone:             07980 6699303

website:          www.equenergy.com

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 4 of 5

When we’re in stress our bodies are effectively in Fight or Flight mode.  This can be necessary, for example if we need to escape from a dangerous situation, however our bodies were not designed to stay in this state for longer than about 10-15 minutes at a time.  When we remain in stress for long periods it affects our immune system leaving us more susceptible to illness.  We can also suffer from dis-eases such as adrenal burnout and chronic fatigue.  In addition, being in this state means that it is more difficult for our bodies to recover from injury or illness.

When we are relaxed it allows our bodies to enter into the parasympathetic nervous system of Rest and Repair.  Here our breathing, heart rate and blood pressure return to a healthier level and our gut is able to digest more effectively, meaning that we can better absorb the nutrients that we need from our food.  Also, it is only in this state that our cells can shift their focus away from preparing for attack or escape and towards work on maintenance and repair.  Being in this state therefore helps us to recover from illness and injury and to remain in a state of balance and wellbeing.

Each body has a blueprint of how it should be in order to be functioning at its optimum.  It is an intelligent system with a variety of processes that are always aiming to return to this healthy model.  Taking time to be still, enables our cells to reconnect with this inner wisdom, allowing the body’s processes to work as they were designed to do, and bringing us back to balance and wellbeing.

In part 5 I’ll look at another couple of great ways to support our wellbeing and alleviate the effects of stress.

 

(You can read the full article here)