I came across a great blog post the other day by ‘The Flying
Witch’, Gabriella Guglielminotti Trivel entitled Time
for Wholeness. Ms Tivel’s blog carries the subheading ‘Flying with the
feminine’ and in this particular article she writes about her experiences
of going through perimenopause and needing to observe and honour the changes
going on within her body.
This made me think about my own situation. I, too, am at this stage in my life, while
also going through a lot of other changes – home, location, work, animals,
friends, etc. It’s been an exciting,
stressful, wonderful, and exhausting 12 months, and so I felt it was time to take
a look at where I am, currently, and assess how I’m doing with all that’s been
The answer is that I’m feeling rather drained, and a little bit
lacking in ‘mojo’.
I’ve therefore decided to take a step back from writing this
blog for a while. While I love writing
and sharing with you – and would love to engage more with you all – it’s time
to take a short break. Instead I’ll be
using the time to focus on resting, recharging and reassessing where I want to
go next. I also have some other writing
that I want to make time for, such as the mindfulness course that I’ve had
sitting on the back burner for a while.
It’ll be good to get this done rather than having it sitting, staring accusingly
at me from my To Do list! 😉
Also, I have a VIP guest coming to visit next month – my Mum is
coming over from Ireland to see our new home for the first time. I’m so excited and can hardly wait to share
this magical space with her. It’ll be
her first time meeting Dax and Rika too!
So, I wish you all a wonderful September with whatever you have
planned, and see you again in October.
To wake up listening to birdsong is truly a magical experience and something that, having always lived in the countryside, I could too easily take for granted.
This year, spring seems to have come all of a sudden and surprised us all with the sunshine and the warm, sunny, longer days.
Since working with Bees, my awareness and appreciation of the natural cycle in the order of things has changed. I used to dread the long dark nights of autumn. October, November and December would be very difficult months for me. With my birthday in November, what I would do is always organise a big party; a big celebration to distract from the depression that would set in as the days grew shorter.
After spending seven long years of my forties in bed and wheelchair bound, I had to learn to appreciate the small things in life: a blue tit sitting on my bedroom window ledge; watching spiders weaving webs in the roof lantern above my bed; and watching the bees from the hive I could see through the bedroom window.
Recovery has taught me to appreciate the small things, every day, and not to take wellness or health for granted. We are all merely a breath away from disease or disability.
I’ve learned that the winter months, as for the bees, are my rest time. They are my chance for hibernation and the time for my body to heal. After a busy season with long summer days where I’m enjoying every ounce of daylight, either with work or play, I then need the long winter nights to sleep.
Back in February we suddenly had warm days which were getting longer, and I didn’t feel ready. It felt too early to be busy with Bees. They were awakening with the sunshine, and the plants were slowly awakening too, but were they quick enough for the bees? Was there enough food for them? I wondered about us: had we had enough time to rest and recuperate before another busy summer?
A bee research project found that healthy bees in a colony that is lined with propolis and filled with honey, spend the majority of their time resting.
So, when we say ‘busy as a bee’, we are not referring to them being busy all the time, but just when they need to be busy, pollinating flowers, collecting nectar or building wax comb. The rest of the time they are together in the hive doing nothing, maybe Meditating?
In contrast, an unhealthy hive which has its honey taken away and replaced with sugar syrup, (lacking the trace minerals essential for healthy life), this colony spends none of its time resting.
The bees emerge from the cocoons and begin a busy race for survival. Each of the phases of life is shortened and sped up: cleaning their cells as they emerge; nursing the new bees; and, finally, whilst still immature, they begin their foraging flights to collect nectar and pollen for the rest of the colony.
These bees, living a life shortened by almost half, are found shivering and twitching with their wings in tatters exhausted from life without rest.
This behaviour is caused by the toxins that the bees are exposed to. A cocktail of insecticides and pesticides and environmental poisons sprayed on our plants, leeched into our soil, drawn up by the flowers and given to the bees through the nectar and pollen. These toxins are then deposited in the honey or used to make the wax cells that they lay their eggs in.
Keeping their colony at a constant 35° ensures that the vapours from these toxins vaporises, allowing the bees to inhale this man-made mix of poison from the moment they emerge.
These toxic fumes affect the nervous system, preventing the bees from pausing between each nerve impulse. Each cell in their body is constantly bombarded with stimulation. Without these important pauses, the muscles are exhausted, the brain is exhausted, no organ in the body has been able to repair itself which it can only do during rest and sleep.
Could we be seeing parallels in our own lives?
What if the same poisons we use on our land and in our homes to keep us pest free, have now poisoned the water we drink and the air we breathe, and are now affecting our own nervous systems, pressurising us to work and play hard, not to rest or meditate.
We haven’t yet reached the ‘silent spring’ that biologist Rachel Carson wrote about in the 1960s. I can still hear birds and I do have bees in my garden, but there are places in the world where insects are scarce, and birds are scarcer. As we dispose of unwanted nature are we slowly disposing of ourselves?
As we have this respite from winter with bright sunshine, clear skies and dry feet, let’s use it to enjoy nature and to care for the wildlife around us, using this time to nurture ourselves and the environment we live in. Should more of winter return, let’s use that time to rest so that when we have the longer days and we need more work to be done, we have the energy reserves, and the strength to make the world a better place.
Paula’s book ‘Artist to Bees’ was published in February 2019 and is available from her website and local independent bookshops. www.paulacarnell.com
Paula Carnell was born in Dorset, England and has spent much of her adult life living in Castle Cary Somerset. Forming ‘Possi’ in 1990 as part of the Prince’s Youth Business Trust’ scheme, she soon had a successful enterprise selling her original paintings on silk, and printed greeting cards of her work in over seven hundred shops across the UK and exporting to eleven countries worldwide. Opening a gallery in Castle Cary in 1995 established her as a familiar face in the town, until she ‘retired’ from retail in 2004 and focused on her personal painting career. Exhibiting in London and the USA, Paula was fulfilling her dream as a globe travelling artist. Then in 2008, she began to fall ill, becoming bed and wheelchair bound with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome in 2009. The following seven years were spent on a personal quest to find meaning in life, transforming from an artist to a bee speaker. Achieving a full recovery in 2016, she is studying as a medical herbalist with the IRCH, runs her business ‘Creating a Buzz about Health’, working as a Global beekeeping consultant, writer and speaker. She lives in Castle Cary with her husband Greg and three sons.
Last week I shared the start of my journey from feeling overwhelmed and powerless to creating greater balance and wellbeing. Having explored the inner wisdom behind what I was feeling I started to work on the underlying emotions and beliefs using EFT.
I also picked out some power cards to see what insight and support they might offer. For me, this was another way of ‘getting out of my head’, in that I wasn’t rationalising or over-analysing things, which I can tend to do. Instead the cards, and any wisdom they might bring, would draw on my intuition, something that I wanted to reconnect with. These are the cards that I drew:
The colour cards were:
Bronze – strengthening
Purple – for developing mental clarity
Pink – encouraging me to let love in
Ruby – rejuvenation for the body
The White Lion cards were:
I found the overlap between the 2 sets very interesting. It seems that my intuition is telling me to relax, trust and allow love in to renew and strengthen me. This will then support my mental clarity, allowing my creativity to guide me.
Through these exercises I also became more aware of my need to take the time to rest and reconnect so I used some Reiki, energy exercises and visualisation (using the images from the cards above). Another important thing for me was to spend time outdoors in Nature, enjoying the energy of the sun and the trees and other plants around me.
these were actually taken on the same day, as part of a mindfulness walk during this process
As a result of working through this process, I felt as if a huge dark cloud was lifting and I had more clarity and determination going forward. Yet again I was amazed that such ‘simple’ steps could help to start turning things around. I recognise that the steps aren’t always easy though, and for some of my issues I will need to work with another therapist, rather than trying to deal with them on my own.
Also, I need to remember that, while I feel so much better, this is not an overnight fix! It took time to get to that low point – a series of small, and not-so-small, things building up to a critical point – so it will also take time to work through them; but I’ve made a start, and I know that this journey will be a learning adventure.
I’m also a believer that things happen when we’re ready, and in the right frame of mind, for them. Having made this small initial shift, I got a supportive phonecall out of the blue and connected with some wonderful new people. A couple of days previously I was questioning my ability to carry on with some of the threads of my life and now I’m feeling recharged, excited and grateful again. I know that I am so blessed to do what I do and I’m looking forward to how things will develop from here. We really never know what’s just around the corner, or what help or support might suddenly appear, ‘as if by magic’. As long as we can hold on to Hope then there are still endless possibilities.
If your life is not currently making you happy, you can create a path that works for you. It’s about finding your balance and not pushing too hard. Allow your feelings and intuition to guide you while also keeping a clear head to best discern the next step. And if you feel like you could do with some help at any point, then reach out. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.
As so many wise teachers have said, it is up to us as individuals to consider What we want and Why we want it and to put our energy into these things in order to create the future that we desire, but the How is not for us to worry about.
If you too have been struggling recently, please remember that you are not alone. There is a lot going on at the moment, and at a fast pace, which is affecting the energy around us. Please remember to look after your self. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, look at what needs are not being met and then explore what you can do to support yourself. This is not being self-centred and selfish in a negative way, it’s self-care which then allows you to be there for others too.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Connecting with others can in itself be very healing. And if anything here resonates for you, or you have questions about anything that I’ve shared, then please feel free to get in touch:
I decided I would share a personal experience as, yet again, I’ve been reminded how fragile our mental health can be and how we need to make a point of looking after our own wellbeing. On the down side, it can take seemingly ‘small’ things to set ourselves plummeting to the depths, but the reverse can also be true, as often it can be relatively simple things that result in great positive shifts. Highly Sensitive individuals, those whose Stress Bucket is already heavily loaded, or those who are feeling fragile due to earlier trauma, can be particularly prone to experiencing a rollercoaster of emotion.
Over the last few months I’ve noticed that people around me, both locally and online, have been experiencing considerable challenges, resulting in increased stresses and strains.
I too have had a few testing times, both personally and professionally, and I succumbed to the negative spiral of too much work and not enough ‘play’, leading me to feeling in a very low, dark place. I lost sight of the fact that life is about enjoying the journey rather than worrying too much about the destination.
Sometimes though, this can be a necessary part of the healing process. For me ‘hitting the bottom’ acted as a springboard from which I could push off again. It forced me to take a look at what was really going on, identify the limitingbeliefs I was buying into, to realise that these were not Truth, and that they weren’t serving me, or those around me.
This brought me to a new level of self-awareness. It wasn’t pretty, and I had to remind myself to exercise self-compassion, but it did give me a framework for addressing the issues. I no longer felt powerless and instead gave me a good grounding from which to create a plan of positive, supportive action.
Thankfully, as a therapist, I have a range of skills that I can use to work on my wellbeing. I started by looking at what was going on in my body and realised that there was a range of niggling issues that I’ve been largely ignoring, or avoiding, for some time. Starting to listen and to explore these was a first step, as they connected me to my inner wisdom. They were my body’s way of communicating that something wasn’t working – that a need was not being met – and they also brought clues about how to address, and hopefully resolve, the issues.
Journaling, particularly somatic journaling (tuning in to, and writing from, the perspective of the body / body part) is a great tool for this, as are grounding and mindfulness exercises, which help to get you out of your head and into your body, and so to move away from that awful feeling of ‘analysis paralysis’ and overwhelm.
Using the information that this gave me, I started working with EFT (emotional freedom techniques, or ‘tapping’) to further explore my underlying emotions and beliefs.
In next week’s instalment, I’ll share some other steps that I took as part of this process.