Our job is to be authentic

My heart in my throat

Recently I was talking to a friend about an experience that I had many years ago that challenged me in ways I could not have anticipated, took me right out of my comfort zone; but was subsequently transformative. I described it as my heart being in my throat.

This was especially meaningful today as I have had some challenging experiences over the last few weeks, and when I try to talk about them, I am overcome by those same feelings, so that I am literally choked up with the emotions and find it almost impossible to express myself.

These feelings often have the sensation of going round and around my head and heart, with no way out, so that even with everything I know about how to reduce the emotional hijacking, and the knowledge that I have a choice about how I react to them, it often takes some time to bring that emotional arousal down and for my body to catch up with my new thoughts and make the chemical changes that mean I can feel calmer physically.

I now realise that this experience is so often all about things that are totally outside of my control, that once I have stepped back from them, the feelings start to subside. I can breathe once more and start to look at the situation from a different perspective.

It is more useful to remember that they rarely last long and that like a wave or the ebb and flow of water on the beach, they come and they go. I can breathe easily once more and calm returns.

Carefree for 5 minutes?

We spend so much of our lives contorting ourselves to fit the idea of who we should be, the daughter, son, mother, father, sister etc because we want to fit in, be heard and be loved, which I understand to be our birthright.

The ironic thing is that what we really want is to be accepted for who we truly are and yet in the process of trying to fit in we often lose sight of who that person is.

Is it the child, daughter, 16 year old, 21 year old, sister, mother, grandmother?

The reality is that we are all of these life experiences and yet so much more!

Drilling down through the layers of our existence, we can discover the ‘ME’ that is experiencing all these parts of our lives and what we are learning about ourselves and the part we also have to play in the lives of those around us.

Do you ever stop, and simply listen to all the stories you tell yourself about what you believe, what you think and how you feel. Because I don’t know about you, but when I do that I realise that a large part of that is simply not true.

Yet it is often the part that is most troublesome, the part that contains the anxieties and fears for example, the things which haven’t happened, the what ifs….!

So much time spent telling oneself a story, that we miss the moment we are in. So busy with the what ifs that we forget to enjoy the moment. And yet if there was one thing that my clients can agree on, its that it would be wonderful to go back to those days in childhood when we were carefree.

Those wonderful days when we got bored, made daisy chains, played on a swing or roundabout and rolled down the hill.

If you do one thing for yourself today, go do something carefree or even silly, something that brings joy into your heart, let go of the need to fit in, let go of the story, the fears and anxieties, even if its just for 5 minutes…. and simply breathe and be. You might enjoy it enough to bring more of that into your life on a more regular basis.


When we get a papercut or accidentally cut ourselves preparing vegetables we know and trust that our body knows exactly what to do to repair itself, and if we remember to notice then we could watch as our skin knows just how to knit back together to retain its ability to protect us.

Two months ago, I had surgery to replace my right shoulder, it took a little bit to get my head around the idea of such a replacement, but now I can only marvel at the surgeons handiwork and my body’s amazing ability to recover from this operation in such a short time.

Its easy to observe such healing from the outside, there are obvious scars and physiotherapy etc, but when we carry wounds from childhood or the scars from the things that simply living can throw at any one of us, its not always so easy to understand how and why we respond the way we do to life, or admit that we may need help, or even that help can change the way we respond at all…. And that we can heal from these too!

Our minds are the most amazing part of our body and they are able to review the past in such a way that it is possible to know a thing happened but that it doesn’t have to trigger a negative response….in the now.

We can heal our minds and our bodies and we can trust and allow that healing to occur with the right kind of help, for my shoulder it was a surgeon with the correct skills and for the mind it can be a therapist who knows where to tap to create the most effective and long lasting change.

For my shoulder, they say that this will last for at least 10 years, though I am hopeful it will be longer than that; and for the mind, once it is capable of seeing and recognising that change has happened, it is for life.

How ill is ill enough?

Recently I was fortunate enough to have a whole shoulder replacement! Yes I know, they can do them and it seems very successfully too with minimal scarring and almost instantaneous relief from what was a very sore and painful shoulder joint.

However I was in a huge dilemma for some months before going ahead with surgery, because in my mind it wasn’t painful enough, not sore enough and not all the time.

I was under the impression that in order to qualify for such surgery I would need to be in agony all the time, and whilst it was becoming worse quite quickly, there were times when I could forget about it, when I was relaxing or watching TV for example.

It then crossed my mind that many of my clients feel like that when they come to see me, they call when at their lowest or most vulnerable and yet when questioned about this the reply is so often, ‘You must think I’m mad as its really not that bad most of the time!’
I was reassured that no surgeon would do such an operation unless it was a necessity and just how bad does anything need to get before we choose to do something about it?

Why wait until one is immobilised or feeling the anxiety 24/7, why not do something about it when one is better able to recover more quickly because things have not deteriorated to a point when recovery is much more difficult or complex.

My surgeon was a very approachable man who listened to my concerns and was able to help me, and it was easier to have this surgery and recover than I could have imagined, funnily enough that is similar to the comments I get from client feedback, when the comment I hear most often, is ‘I wish I had come to see you a long time ago, it was so much easier to let it go than I ever imagined it could be!’

So if you have some concerns, why not get in touch, no problem too small that we cant effect positive change by taking action.

Self ish

The oxford dictionary says selfish means…. a person lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

odd when the word self means….A person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action; and…..One’s particular nature or personality; the qualities that make one individual or unique.

When did selfish become such a loaded word, when the word self is about individuality and uniqueness.

I have noticed that as we work, many clients start to realise that they have been myopic and only seen the world through the narrow view of their established beliefs and values and that as a consequence they have missed so much of what is around them. That they are not going ‘mad’ but like everyone can only see through the narrow spectrum of their cumulative life experience.

So whether it’s the client who has left an abusive relationship and is happily surprised at the level of love and support from friends and neighbours that they have kept at arm’s length for fear of not being liked, or the young client who is so wracked with fear in social situations or at college that they miss the fact that others around them might be feeling the same, or worse, which in turn affects the sense of judgement they have about themselves.

When there is a realisation that others might be going through something similar or simply that the world looks different from this new more open perspective, the response is often ‘Oh but that means that I’m so selfish aren’t I?’

When in reality, they are now beginning to see themselves in context and necessarily need to become more self-ish, to begin to focus on what makes them individual and unique, their strengths and abilities that had previously been ignored, and which can become the foundation for more self-belief and self worth, and ultimately growth.

So maybe we all need to be a bit more self-ish, to begin to value who and what we are and what we contribute to this world we inhabit that is of value.

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.