what is self-compassion?

I was recently having a discussion with a small group of friends and the term ‘self-compassion’ came up.  One member of the group was unfamiliar with this word which made me wonder how many others are in the same situation?  It’s a fairly self-explanatory concept, and one that’s very common in my field of work, but perhaps it’s incorrect for me to assume that it’s part of everyone’s vocabulary.  And if you haven’t come across it in any specific sense, is it something that you would consciously apply in your life?  I therefore thought that I would post something to make self-compassion more explicit and also maybe to say what my thoughts are on what it is, and what it is not.

To start with, I thought I’d look at some definitions.  Compassion itself can be defined as:

“a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for the suffering or bad luck of others and a wish to help them”

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/compassion

Synonyms: pity, sympathy, feeling, fellow feeling, empathy, understanding, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, consideration, kindness

According to vocabulary.com Compassion “is a word for a very positive emotion that has to do with being thoughtful and decent… When you feel compassion for someone, you really want to help out.” https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/compassion

The literal meaning of compassion is “to suffer together”. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/compassion/definition  Its qualities are “patience and wisdom; kindness and perseverance; warmth and resolve.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion

Self-compassion then, is when we show these feelings towards ourselves.  If we’re experiencing feelings of inadequacy, failure or suffering of any kind, instead of being critical of ourselves – a very common response – we can choose to be warm, understanding, sensitive, gentle, considerate and kind.

So why, you might ask, would we want to do this, and isn’t it a form of selfishness and self-indulgence?  If I’ve done something wrong / foolish, don’t I deserve to feel guilty / stupid?

Well, firstly I would say that if any – even small – part of you resonated with that last sentence, I would like to gently invite you to notice your self-talk.  Using labels like ‘wrong’, ‘foolish’ and ‘stupid’, I believe, is unhelpful.  They put us into a state of shame which is deeply uncomfortable and only adds to our emotional suffering at a time when we’re already feeling pretty lousy.

I also think that there is very little to be gained from feeling guilty, other than to notice the emotion and to learn from it, by which I mean to observe the discomfort and to explore what triggered it and what wisdom that holds for you about who you really are and the choices that you make, so that you can make choices that are more authentic for you in the future.  Beyond that, I feel that guilt serves only to make us feel bad, and how can we be our best selves from that place?

Image from Jennifer Petty Psychotherapist

I would also like to reassure you that self-compassion is not selfish, or self-indulgent.  It’s an important part of self-care.  I’ve written about this before https://equenergy.wordpress.com/2017/07/08/positive-thinking-is-it-always-a-good-thing-part-24/ so suffice it to say that I believe it’s necessary to take care of ourselves, and to practice self-compassion first, before we can truly offer this to others.

In fact, if we don’t do this, we can end up experiencing burnout and ‘compassion fatigue’.  This is basically when we’ve exhausted our inner resources, leaving ourselves ‘running on empty’.  This is not sustainable and can result in becoming ill and unable to function fully for a time, until we can rest and recharge.  If we’ve allowed ourselves to reach a very low point, this recovery could even take years…  so much better to learn how to look after ourselves now. 

Also, a phrase that really hit me a few years ago when I was pushing myself too hard and not taking time to replenish my resources, was:

How then do you recognise if you’re experiencing compassion fatigue?  According to goodtherapy.org the main symptoms include:

  • Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Depersonalization
  • Feelings of inequity toward the therapeutic or caregiver relationship
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of self-contempt
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Poor job satisfaction

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/compassion-fatigue

You can help to avoid this by:

  • Developing greater self-awareness, eg through journaling, mindfulness or meditation
  • Practising self-care and self-compassion
  • Setting – and holding – good emotional boundaries
  • Spending time outdoors, in nature with fresh air and natural light
  • Cultivating healthy relationships with people who boost your mood

If you would like to explore self-compassion further, please get in touch.  I offer bespoke wellbeing packages which address this, and I also run workshops helping you to develop self-awareness and learn strategies for self-support. 

(My website is currently ‘under construction’ but hopefully will be back up and running by next week)

Simplicity

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

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

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

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

So I’m all for getting back to simplicity!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The simplicity in simply being is quite complicated.

But not really complicated at all.

It simply is.

But isn’t at all.

byraa_a

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

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

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.

Invitation!

This week’s blog is a little bit different, as it is an invitation to an event that I’ll be hosting next month.

Having moved to Wales at the end of last year, I’m very excited to be relaunching Equenergy with an Open Day to showcase our new site
on the Blorenge, near Abergavenny!

Equenergy has been offering Health and Wellbeing therapies and coaching to people and animals for several years now and as soon as I saw this new site, I fell in love with the space, and knew that it was perfect for expanding my practice.

I’m passionate about supporting individuals in their journey towards creating a life of greater wellbeing and joy. I do this by:

  • holding a space where they can reconnect with Nature
  • focusing on getting back in touch with their inner wisdom and balance in order to live in a way that feels authentic and true.

This is what gives us that sense of peace, integrity and congruence that allows us to feel comfortable in our own skin.

What will you get from the Open Day?

It’s a chance to come and experience a little of what I offer.  There will be the opportunity to

  • have a Reiki taster,
  • go on a tour of the site (my work is all about nature and feel, so there will be a walk around the woods and fields, and also the chance to see the room I use for sessions and workshops)
  • see the horses (one of the sessions I offer is to experience mindfulness in the presence of these amazing animals.  I also offer wellbeing sessions for animals, primarily horses, and equine massage)

Who is this Open Day for?

I work primarily, but not exclusively, with women, focusing on those who are experiencing stress, overwhelm and / or chronic health conditions.  I also support those who are feeling lost; those who, on the surface, have a good life, but who have a sense that something is missing and they don’t know how to ‘make it better’.  Together we explore ways to reconnect with our inner wisdom, our emotions and the information and direction that they offer, in order to create a life of more fulfilment and joy.

I also work with animals – of any shape and size, though my main passion is horses and so this open day is also aimed at anyone who cares for an animal and would like to explore ways to support their health and wellbeing, and ways to develop an even deeper relationship and connection.

What will you come away with?

This Open Day is to give you a greater understanding of what I offer and how this support people and animals to feel more in tune with who they really are, to live congruently and with authenticity in order to feel comfortable in their own skin and to experience a greater sense of inner peace and ease.

It’s also the chance to have some time-out for yourself, to experience the peace and healing stillness of this place, and to have a taster of Reiki with me.

Date:
Saturday 23 March

Time:
10.00am – 3.00pm

Venue:
Equenergy, Rose Cottage, Oak Lane, Llanellen NP7 9LD

*Entry is free and there is some space for parking available on site.

NB: Please be aware that there are steep slopes and stony / muddy areas at the venue and so it might not be suitable for those with limited mobility. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me (details below).

If you would like to take the tour of the new site, it is advisable to bring strong, waterproof footwear, and clothes suitable for the weather on the day.

I will be publishing a full programme shortly.

You can book tickets through Eventbrite.

If you have any questions, please contact me at:

  • robyn@equenergy.com
  • 07980669303
  • or through my website

I hope you can come along. It would be great to see you!

Some thoughts on my highs and lows of winter horse care!

The last couple of weeks have felt pretty tough here at Equenergy. This is my first year of being a horse carer, having welcomed Dax back in May last year, and Rika in October when we moved to Wales and got our own land. It has been a steep learning curve!

About a week ago, on Friday, we had the first snow of the season and, obviously, the first since our move. Suddenly I was having to feed the horses much more hay, as they were unable to access any grass. We were already running a little low, and had arranged an order for the Sunday anyway, but it quickly became clear that there probably wouldn’t be enough to get us through the remaining day, night and morning before we picked up more supplies.

I went through uncomfortable feelings of guilt at not being better prepared and getting into a situation where the horses might suffer because of my lack of foresight…

This came on top of me already feeling rather low, mostly due to exhaustion, which was the result of a combination of factors:

  • the short days which never seem to have enough daylight to get everything done
  • the relentless-seeming round of daily poo picking; often in wind, rain, mud and semi-darkness at this time of year
  • juggling appointments, working on the house, business stuff (such as updating my website, networking, etc) and caring for the animals
  • still not having any proper internet, phone or TV connection
  • the time it takes to get things done because of the above challenges.

As you might have spotted, reading the above list, another drain on my energy has been the high level of expectation that I place on myself!

At times I’ve felt rather alone and vulnerable, and it was at one of these moments that I received some comments on a post that I’d made on Facebook. From the perspective of this low point they hit a nerve and felt like criticism. I was tempted to hide away and feel sorry for myself, but instead I decided it would be more productive to take a step back and look at the situation with a more objective view.

Doing this I quickly realised that the comments were far from being critical. They were actually just someone who cared deeply about an issue, expressing their thoughts. However their message threw a spotlight on a need in me that I hadn’t been addressing (old insecurities about how people see me and being ‘good enough’), which was bringing up old hurts and leaving me experiencing emotional discomfort. I could see that this provided a great opportunity for me to work on this inner pain in order to release it, taking a further step in setting myself free from the things that hold and restrict me. I explored the sensations I was experiencing and used them to identify where I needed to change my thoughts to be more supportive.

There are a variety of ways that we can do this kind of exploration:

  • journaling
  • mindfulness
  • meditation
  • talking with a friend or a professional coach / therapist
  • I personally used EFT (emotional freedom techniques, or ‘tapping’) as this helps to reduce painful emotions, meaning that I could look at things with greater clarity

I’ve had to remind myself, too, that change is often painful, as it pushes us out of our comfort zone. This is true, even when we were the ones who decided to make the change. Even when we know in our heads what to expect, the raw reality, and the unknown duration of the discomfort, can make it hard to keep going, and to keep trusting that we’ve made the right choices. This is especially true when we’re feeling tired, alone or unsupported.

Often when we’re feeling low, our inner critic goes into overdrive. I had to remind myself that this part of me is just trying to keep me safe, but in actual fact it’s made up of thoughts and beliefs that are untrue, or at least greatly exaggerated, and viewed from a negative bias. But I am able to choose my thoughts and beliefs, which in turn impacts on my perceptions, emotions, behaviours and the outcomes I experience. If I choose to focus on more positive, uplifting, optimistic thoughts, then I will experience more supportive, hopeful feelings, leading to behaviours which are more likely to produce the outcomes that I desire.

Sometimes we can get stuck in a negative cycle, particularly when we’re feeling run down, which is why it’s so important to take care of ourselves, doing our best to get quality rest, eat healthily, spend time outdoors in the fresh air and engage in exercise that we enjoy. It’s also important to reach out for help when we need it. Things can feel too big to face alone, but with another pair of hands / eyes, suddenly they seem much more manageable. Also, we are social creatures. We need to feel connected. When this is missing from our lives, the world can feel like a very big, scary and lonely place. Even if you feel that no-one can help, it’s still worth reaching out, as even doing something as simple as meeting a friend for a cup of coffee can bring a bit of brightness to your day and make things seem much less bleak.

Taking action in this way has also helped me to remember the many ‘highs’ of our new life here in Wales, and having horses with us. It’s so lovely to be able to spend time with them, either connecting through activities, or just being in their presence and feeling their calming, grounding energy. I’ve been seeing some subtle changes in Dax, where he seems to be processing things and being less reactive. He can tend to show some fear aggression, reverting to inappropriate behaviours – such as biting and pushing – when he feels anxious, but having started some clicker play with him, I’ve seen how he’s using his brain to find other ways to approach situations. Doing this in a safe environment seems to be giving him confidence in other areas of his life as well. Occasionally he seems to take a backwards step, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it can take time to change habits that have been held for long periods of time so I just need to remain patient and keep remembering all the good things in him so that he can see these too and step into them more fully.

Another ‘high’ is that Rika is opening up more and more each day. When she first arrived here, everything was so new for her. She’d been taken away from her people, her herd and the environment that was familiar to her. It has taken her a while to find her feet but she now regularly approaches us to say Hello, or for a cuddle or a scratch. She’s such a gentle and graceful creature that it’s a joy to spend this time with her!

I’m also deeply grateful for this amazing space all around us. The landscape is so beautiful and the light changes almost in every moment! We are surrounded by birdsong from early morning to well into the evening and it’s magical to watch the onward march of the seasons.

If you are experiencing painful emotions that feel like they’re taking over your life, and you’d like to explore some constructive ways to address the underlying issues so that you can reconnect with your balance, joy and wellbeing, then please get in touch for a no obligation chat.

PS For those of you wondering about the horses and their hay: I rang our lovely hay man, Gwyn, on the Friday and he happily gave us a couple of bales the next day which easily got us through to Sunday when we collected our order. This reminded me again that worry is unproductive and that when I reach out, help is there, supporting me through the ‘dramas’ of my life and showing me that, in fact, all is well in the end 🙂

‘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

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

A challenging week!

In my last post, I was excited as we’d finally been connected to the internet via a Minihub and I was at last able to catch up on some work that had been on hold since we moved here, 3 months ago.  But things went downhill from there!  My computer had been in for repairs and I thought that when I got it back I would be able to get stuck in with many of the things that I’d been planning to do, such as updating my website and planning the Equenergy Open Day, however when I turned it on it made a kind of ‘pfft’ noise, there was a smell of burning and it immediately went off again.  Not good!  I wasn’t too worried though, as I now have a laptop to fall back on, but when I switched it on it was obviously not well either!  It went into a diagnostic loop and then crashed.  Consequently, both are now back in the shop and I’m typing this on my husband’s laptop.  As someone who likes to feel independent and unrestricted, this is frustrating for me…

You might not be aware that in addition to my health and wellbeing business, I also work as a British Sign Language / English interpreter.  This week I’ve been supporting communication for a case at family court.  I was booked by the solicitor representing the mother which has meant that I am interpreting instruction from the client to her solicitor and barrister.  These conference meetings are normally fairly brief and less formal than the court proceedings, and so I have been working on my own, unlike the court interpreters who work in pairs.  The case has proved quite challenging with heated and emotional issues coming up, resulting in long and serious discussions outside of the court room.  I realised that I was going home at the end of each day exhausted and still carrying these emotions.  As you can imagine, the case is highly confidential and so I am unable to offload to anyone.  I am self employed and don’t have a supervisor or line manager to confide in so at times it can be a lonely and isolating experience.  It didn’t help that this was happening at a time when my plate already felt quite full due to my technological challenges back at Equenergy.

Thankfully, as is the nature of court work, although I was booked from 9-5 each day, the times when I was needed were subject to change, meaning that I finished earlier some days, and on a couple of occasions I wasn’t needed until later in the day.  This allowed me to have some time with the horses, doing the regular duties of feeding and poo picking.  (The rest of the time my wonderful husband had taken this on for me.  Without his fabulous support I wouldn’t be able to work these hours.)  These regular duties might not sound very exciting, but they were a great way for me to relax, re-ground and recover my balance and perspective.  Spending time in court listening to evidence of abuse and seeing witnesses caught in perjury can make the world appear to be a very negative and threatening place, but being back in Nature, around these gentle beings, helped to restore my faith in the goodness of Life.

It helped me to remember to focus on the positive and not to get too caught up in the things that seemed to be going against me.  It can be so easy to think of all the ‘problems’ that we’re facing, all the things that are going ‘wrong’ in our day, and to forget about all the little wonderful things that make our lives better.  These can be simple things like the sun shining, a smile from a friend, or enjoying a nice warm cup of tea.  The more we can notice, and be grateful for, these little things, the more things we will see to be grateful for – and the more of these things we will attract into our life.  For me, it was:

  • noticing again the beautiful, restorative stillness of this place
  • the opportunity to spend quiet time with our cat and the horses, whose gentle energy is so calming, smoothing out the wrinkles of my day
  • coming down from the fields to a nice warm house with our little woodburning stove glowing nicely
  • enjoying our outdoor, more physical lifestyle, and being grateful for my health and strength which allow me to do this
  • the beautiful sights and sounds of being in this rural setting
  • being able to cook tasty and nutritious meals to support my wellbeing, particularly when I’ve had a busy, demanding week and need to look after myself

These things are very individual, so what is important to you could be quite different from my list, but these things are particularly precious to me as there have been times in my life when I haven’t had them, and so I’ve come to understand the impact they have on my wellbeing.

What things in your life support your health and balance?  Are there ways that you can bring more of them into your day to day experience?

So when your day is feeling really tough and you’re struggling with lots of challenges, look around for those little moments of brightness.  Take note of them and hold them in your heart.  Perhaps even keep a gratitude diary.  You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this can make, and how much fun it can be looking out for things that you can be thankful for, or that make you smile.

If you feel that you would value some support in this, or everything just feels too big and you don’t know where – or how – to start, please reach out to someone you trust and ask for their support.

This is one of the areas where I can help, and if you would like to have a (no obligation) chat, then you can contact me at:

 

Happy New Year! Equenergy is open for business

Hello!  I’d like to start by wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year!  I hope it brings you many wonderful adventures.

I hope you had a magical festive season and enjoyed some rest and relaxation alongside all the business that tends to be common over the holiday.

I’ve been very fortunate to spend time with family and friends, and also with the horses and out in the woods.  It’s been mostly mild here, with a couple of very beautiful sharp frosty mornings.  We made the most of the dry weather to put up a field shelter for the horses and my husband put a floor into the ‘tack room’ on the end, making it a wonderful hay store.  This means that I don’t have to push the hay up to the field twice a day!

The dry spell has also allowed me to paint the sign for our cottage, making it easier to locate us:

And, of course, the Equenergy sign is there as well:

We also received the most beautiful wooden plaque for a Christmas present, but we haven’t yet decided where to put it:

We’ve sanded and varnished the floor of the healing room, and had the place painted, so it’s looking much fresher.  I’ve now moved the furniture back in and it’s ready for clients:

 

The peaceful, healing energy of this place takes my breath away, every day, and I’m so looking forward to sharing that with others!

Amazingly, the longer daylight hours and the recent mild weather have already brought on some signs of the promise of spring to come.  It feels like a wonderful new energy in this place, heralding in the New Year, and a new adventure for Equenergy, here on the Blorenge in South Wales.

If you would like to experience some of this amazing energy for yourself, please contact me:

‘Irrational’ fears

What are they?  Where do they come from?  Is there anything we can do about them?

This blog has come about because of Dax, one of the horses who lives with us.  I’d noticed that he wasn’t himself during this last week, not rushing in for his food as he normally does and seeming to be distracted by something in the distance.

He was still eating and seemed to be well in himself, but something was obviously bothering him.  At first, I couldn’t work out what it was.  I couldn’t see or hear anything myself, so I couldn’t understand what was holding his attention to such a degree.  Then yesterday morning I followed his gaze and saw that there are some new neighbours in a nearby field.  The farmer has put some cattle in a field that joins onto one of ours.  The cows have a large area in which to wander so they are not always visible from our land, but Dax was clearly acutely aware of their presence.  His owner had told me that he isn’t comfortable around cows and now I was seeing just what effect they have on him.

This got me thinking about fears, specifically the ones that seem to trigger us into ‘excessive’ behaviours.  These could be severe, ‘phobia’ type responses, or simply going out of our way to avoid whatever is unsettling us.  Common triggers can be spiders, heights or enclosed spaces and these can be easy for others to understand, however sometimes the cause of our fears can be simple everyday objects such as buttons, beards or cats.

So where do these fears come from, and why do they affect our behaviour in ways that sometimes seem to be out of our control?

I believe that these fears have come from some form of ‘trauma’.  This can be ‘Big T’, or ‘little t’ trauma, and will be very subjective, but it will have been sufficient to have appeared to cause some form of threat to the person’s safety.  Remember, though, that many of our ‘irrational’ fears have been held for a long time and are very deep seated.  We might even feel that they’ve always been there.  This probably means that they were created when we were very young, further back than our conscious memory.  The perceived threat would therefore have to be understood from the viewpoint of that younger self.  Rationally, it might be hard to understand why someone is scared of spiders as an adult – after all they’re so much smaller than we are and, in the UK at least, they’re unlikely to cause us serious harm – however, from a child’s perspective they could look quite scary.

We can also inherit fears from others; for example a parent who hates spiders, or who has experienced a dog attack, might pass on their fears to their children.

Another important point to be aware of is that when we experience a trauma, our brain takes a snapshot of the moment, in an attempt to avoid any similar situations in the future.  The downside of this is that the snapshot captures all the details of that instant, even the ones that weren’t part of the trauma.  This is why we can develop phobias about innocent objects such as buttons, and why animals can react to very specific things such as people wearing a red coat.

Triggers can bring on huge anxiety, resulting in ‘fight or flight’ type responses, ie adrenaline, fast heart rate, sweating palms, dry mouth, shaking, a need to run away or even burst into tears.  Rational thought can be lost and our ‘survival instinct’ takes over.  When someone is in this state it can be difficult, or even impossible, for them to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get a grip’ on their feelings.  If you find yourself in this situation – or you’re supporting someone who is feeling this way – find a way to help yourself (or them) to feel safe again.  This might mean moving away from the situation, if possible.  Take some slow, deep breaths, and focus on feeling the air going in and out, perhaps counting along with each breath, for example: breathe in 1-2-3-4, breathe out 1-2-3-4.  Bring your awareness back into your body – you can try focusing on your feet, becoming aware of them on the floor; or of your body sitting in the chair; or of the feel of your clothes against your skin.  This will also help to bring you into the present moment and away from any racing, fearful thoughts and images in your head.

This practice can help you in the moment.  If you would also like to explore more long-term ways to support yourself you could try:

  • mindfulness and meditation – these allow you to explore your feelings and to regularly practice relaxation so that it becomes a part of your muscle memory and is therefore easier to recreate, even in moments of stress
  • journaling – this is a great way of exploring feelings and the thoughts that underlie them. It often brings deeper understanding which is a great way of developing self-compassion and insight into our deeper needs and how to provide for these
  • EFT (emotional freedom techniques or ‘tapping) – this is a very effective way of releasing traumas and deep-seated fears that are no longer serving us. EFT is easy to learn, in order to practice on yourself and is something that you can use any time, anywhere.  It’s good to start off working with a practitioner until you are familiar with the technique, and for some issues it can be best to work with someone subjective and experienced.
  • Reiki – again this is something that you can learn to practice on yourself, or you can book a session with a practitioner. It helps to rebalance your energy, grounding you and enabling you to release long-held tensions.
  • Hypnotherapy – another great therapeutic tool for helping us to deal with issues that can be buried deep in our subconscious.
  • Trauma release exercises (TRE) – when we hold a trauma over a long period of time it actually becomes ingrained into our muscle memory. One of the main muscles for holding emotional memories is the psoas, however it is deep within our body and often cannot be released with simple massage.  These exercises allow the psoas, and other muscles, to let go of tension which in turn helps us to release trauma.

If you would like to know more on any of the above, please contact me.  I offer sessions which draw on some of these techniques and can refer you to some wonderful colleagues for the areas that I don’t cover myself.

As a first step, you might like to take a look at this article on Mindfulness.

I’d love to hear from you.  Please post any comments or questions below.