My New Years resolution

Last week I was asked what my new years resolution was going to be, and for some reason I didn’t understand at the time, this comment made me unreasonably angry.

It has taken time and Christmas to process this and I have now come to understand why I reacted this way. Firstly it always feels like an unwanted imposition and feels more about me being judgemental towards myself, but secondly and more importantly, I live my life trying to be the best version of myself every day and don’t need a New year to remind me of this fact.

So I wish you all a very happy New Year and the very best wishes for you in whatever way helps you to be more motivated to be the best version of yourself!

Two monks

This is an old metaphor that I find myself using with many clients and colleagues, is this you? if so I can help you ….. Many many years ago, two monks were walking through a town where a great rain had fallen and the main street of the town was flooded. A beautiful lady in her best clothes was trying to cross the road, but couldn’t cross because she was afraid that she would damage her clothes.
The older monk looked at the lady, and despite his religious vow to never touch a woman, he gently lifted the woman off the ground and carried her safely across the flooded street to the other side. Then he returned to the younger monk.
The younger monk said nothing, but had a look so fiery on his face that it could have boiled the water around their feet. All day, they continued to walk, and the younger monk continued to display his angry face.
Finally, the younger monk stopped, turned to the older monk and said:
“How could you have done that?”
“Done what?”, said the older monk.
“How could you have carried that woman like that? You know that our vows forbid us from touching a woman.”
The older monk smiled gently and said,
“I carried her for one minute a long time ago. Are you still carrying her?”

Soft edges

I love looking at and making mosaic and especially some of the beautiful pieces made with found sea glass, its edges worn down and a kind of patina all over that makes it looked etched.

Then I realized as I creep towards my 60th birthday that I am like one of those pieces of glass, more and more, the hard edges worn down by loss, illness and a little fear to make me softer, less sure of things that I would have argued the toss about when I was younger.

The thing is, that I am learning about this newer more up to date version of myself and liking what I find. My need to explore the world has diminished as I enjoy my home and feel complete and centred here. I am creative in my own way and in my own time, so that a contentedness has crept over me, like a warm blanket, almost without me noticing and it is comforting once I stop fighting it!

I am also a little confused as I feel a certain pressure to be out there pushing at the boundaries more and yet not really wanting to do so, except in a more cerebral way. So that I want to know more about people and how they think and don’t need to travel far from home to find that. In fact I have the best job in the world because , that is my job, finding out how people tick and their motivation to stay in the same groove or to make changes, and having the tools to help them.

From an archetypal women’s life perspective, I am moving into the role of ‘crone’ a ritual rite of passage into an era of wisdom, freedom, and personal power, and that is exactly how it feels! I like it, my life no longer rocked by hormones, so that even though my body is aging, it is familiar, even the new lines appearing slowly on my face are care lines and the human patina of a life well lived. I could do without the numerous aches and pains, but at the same time reminded of how very lucky I am to be here, when so many others are not.

Bamboo and the tree

I took this picture among many photos in the wonderful bamboo forest of Arashiyama in Japan a couple of years ago, but its one I keep coming back to as it resonates very deeply with me and as my screen saver keeps prompting me to write about what I see.

Bamboo grows really fast, is very strong, can withstand extremes of temperature , the bamboo emerges from the ground at its full diameter and reaches its full height in just 3 to 4 months and is one of the most versatile of plants.

In contrast the tree at the centre of this photo is slow growing and is nurturing a symbiotic plant growing up almost its entire height at odds with almost everything about it, it curves and weaves where the bamboo is straight and tall, its dark and mossy and only grows leaves as it reaches the canopy, I can almost smell its earthy tones and feel a kind of kinship with it as it seems to have weathered many storms and new growth around it and has slowly forged its own path up towards the light.

We each forge our own path, sometimes weathering storms of one sort or another and adapting to our environment in the best way we can, unlike the tree, the twists and turns we make are not always visible on the outside, but they are as much a part of us, as they part of the tree. They make us beautiful in our own way and tell a story which is not plain to see but held within each of us, our own journey towards the light.

Shine a light

When I look around me I see many people who don’t have the confidence to believe that they have the skills to live life to the full, for example to market their own business or decorate their own home, let alone the larger questions about who we are and were we are going? and I wonder what the difference is between them and myself?

I would not be happy to have someone interior decorate my home or as a so called PR expert, tell me how best to market my business… don’t get me wrong, there is plenty I can learn, but that’s the point. I’d rather learn and explore options that feel right for me, than be told how to do it.

Many of you who know me will probably be laughing out loud at this point as I’m not known for following instructions or being told what to do, and there is clearly a flip side where many others will happily follow the direction of so-called experts, even when they come from an entirely different market or background.

The reason I’m highlighting this here is that when we come from a place of internal self-belief then making a decision about these things, or most things, for that matter, maybe the first question could be a more internal one…such as,  ‘What do I want to get from this interaction?’

We like the idea of popping a pill or waving a magic wand and having the answers given to us, but I’m not convinced that this brings lasting solutions or answers that sit easily with us for long.

The way that I work is based on two questions from Quest Cognitive hypnotherapy ‘What’s that about?’ and ‘How can I use it?’

With these simple questions its entirely possible to help anyone to find the answers internally and when that happens, there is often an AH HA! moment where they suddenly become aware of what it is they want and then we can use the questions to help them work out the best way for them to get there.

These questions are rather like a beacon or torch highlighting the way forward, which is why when my clients come back to me and say how much I helped them, I always refer back to the fact that all the answers came from within them, I just help shine the torch in the right place for them to locate the answer they often didn’t even realize they were looking for!

 

Balance

Aren’t we all ideally trying to find that magical balancing point between work and everything else that is life.

So often I find myself speaking to clients about finding, even an hour a week, to do something that nurtures them, be it joining a choir, making something, gardening, being in nature or whatever floats their boat.

I am also very fortunate that my children are all grown up and I am able to pursue both my creative passion for all things glass, both personally and teaching and my work passion for helping people and supervising other hypnotherapists, so that the act of sharing what I love is almost as important as doing it myself.

Sometimes giving an hour to someone else can be as satisfying as taking the hour for ones self, so that volunteering or caring for another seems to almost transform ones sense of self.

What do you do that takes you out of the ordinary and feeds your soul?

What’s the point?

As a human being on this planet right now, there is plenty to challenge us, health, politics, loss, social media and probably something specific to you that affects some aspect of your life to some degree.

Everybody seems to want to sell us something, whether these are goods, dreams or a magic pill of some description, and don’t get me wrong it would be wonderful if the magic pill existed, but reality is so much more sobering. The question I get asked most, and not just by my clients is ‘What’s the point?’

Science tells us that our minds make decisions for us before we even become aware of them, we try and filter out what makes us unhappy or unhealthy and yet life itself continues on despite our choices.

Should we be living more mindfully, eating better, exercising more, buying less? Do you believe in many lifetimes, or is this the only one?

All these are huge questions and yet what if the point is to experience all of these things, these thoughts, the happy and unhappy, the good and the bad, because these are all events where the only judgement actually comes from our mind, which is coming up with values and interpretations about what we sense because we all filter life and life events through our own belief systems, which in turn are created by our experiences as we journey through life, right from the earliest days.

So what if nothing you believe is true, what if you had to start over as that carefree child you once were, what would you choose to take along with you and what would you leave behind?

Do you believe you can?

My brother in law asked a question the other day, well it was more of a statement really, along the lines of “Well. Of course you don’t believe you can do anything, do you?”

And in that moment and without thinking I replied, well of course I can do anything, I just have to put my mind to it and make it happen, and until the words fell out of my mouth I truly didn’t realise how much I believe this to be true!

So much so, that he was taken aback and questioned me on it and added the he wished that he believed that too!

This is a man who at almost 50 is about to run his first marathon and who has wholeheartedly pushed himself to achieve this once in a lifetime dream.

So how could someone who is capable of such a feat not believe he is capable of anything, when I, who only manages to swim 3-4 times a week and a little walking in terms of exercise believe it to be so true.

Through discussion with my family I have come to realise many things about myself, that are points of value to me, and this is just one of them.

So in those moments when life seems to be rushing headlong, I can remind myself that  I am only limited by the things I choose to limit myself by… and that is my way of saying I won’t be running a marathon any time soon, but that I am so much more than I may appear to be!

If you believe you can…you can

If you believe you cant… you cant

You make your own reality!

 

Be gentle with yourself

I was listening to the radio this Sunday morning whilst eating my breakfast and a song came up that touched me somewhere inside and tears started rolling down my face, it wasn’t a song that I consciously remember being an anchor to a memory that might make me cry and I was left feeling a little confused and wondering why?

Life can be like that cant it, when we sometimes get triggered into an emotion without always understanding or knowing where it came from, it can be a colour, a smell, a song or the sense or touch of a particular fabric.

Our unconscious remembers everything (so it is said) but our recall is often poor, and yet when there is an emotional connection to a time and place, however this comes into our awareness, it can arrive unexpectedly and disarm us.

These moments can be delightful and a link to wonderful memories and at other times it can seem as if we are behaving out of character and may respond like a child or in a way that seems unreasonable.

The beauty of the work that I do is that I have a way of accessing those memories which may be triggering unwelcome behaviour and letting them go in a safe and supported way, leaving my clients free to get on with living their lives, the way they choose.

For me now, I am also able to process the tears and understand where they come from and be gentle with myself.

Be gentle with yourself today too!

Change can be interesting

Thank you to all of my clients over the last year for embracing change! I wish you all the very best as we go into 2018. To all those who have already booked for this year, lets enjoy the process and see where it takes us.

One of the best comments I had from a client last year happened just as he was leaving the cabin at the end of his first session, when he commented ‘This was so much more fun and interesting than I thought it would be!’

It can be hard to get the message across and explain that despite the many challenges we each face, learning about how we process information can be the basis of change in itself, if I could bottle all those ah ha! moments then I would have distilled the wonderful energy that comes from recognising the how’s and why’s we each respond to life the way we do, and how this in itself can be the basis for positive change.

What starts as a nervous inquiry can lead to a kind of self-empowerment for anyone at any age.