Sunday, 2 December 2012

When old memories & experiences drive us.

Like many others I have been in the position of not having enough money to heat my house.  Back in those days I regularly ran out of tokens for the electricity meter and I would pretend to my then young daughters that we were cooking on the fire as a game of, "lets be like the Victorians."
Those days are gone now, but I still remember how useless I felt as a parent, I was ashamed that I couldn't provide fully for them, and I hated us being cold.  We'd all snuggle up, or I'd pile spare duvet's on their beds desperate to keep them cosy and well fed so they never felt deprived.  I loved them so much, and I desperately wanted them to have full tummies and clothes that kept them warm.  I never take it for granted that those days are far behind me now, and yet somehow part of me feels guilty today that I've moved away from that place, and others are still there right now.
Cold. Isolated. Freezing.
Such a basic need and yet a far off dream for so many, how desperately sad that anyone should still be freezing at night with no warmth or safe place to soothe them into a restful sleep.
Last year I cycled over 360 miles to raise money for the housing charity SHELTER, and today I've taken the first steps to organising another fundraiser for SHELTER in the spring of 2013.
If the living conditions of just one adult or child is improved by the money raised  I will smile, rest for a bit, and start making plans for a SHELTER fund raiser in 2014.
"I think we all wish we could erase some dark times in our lives.  But all of life's experiences, bad and good, make you who you are.  Erasing any of life's experiences would be a great mistake." - Luis Miquel




Sunday, 25 November 2012

Control less, enjoy more!

There's one common theme that, when consistently applied will guarantee ill health.  That theme is the need to control.  The focus or perhaps a better word to use would be "subjects" being controlled may be our children, partners, colleagues and the people in our community or close social circle.  People can even try to manipulate and control the way their day pans out!
On closer inspection it usually comes to light that at some point the "controller" was badly hurt when something they thought was a certainty fell through. We've all been there at one time or another, and we all have a choice to make regarding how we react to an unexpected life experience.  Becoming a controlling person is both bad for your health and for the health of your relationship with others.
So, rather than tightening your grip on others behaviour and doing your best to reign them into line, relax and try (and this will take practise) to enjoy trusting that whatever unfolds will be the right thing for them and you.  You might even learn something refreshingly new about yourself....perhaps you'll find yourself enjoying being less involved in trying to control the world around you.
"Control is never achieved when sought after directly.  It is the surprising outcome of letting go." - James Arthur Ray
"You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you." - Brian Tracy

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Academia, love, friendship and being.

There is no doubt that the world would be a far less advanced place without the achievements brought about by the brilliant minds of academics and scholars.  Culturally however we put far too much emphasis on their importance, and as a result I'm often faced with the fear and emptiness felt by someone who has been held in high regard by the community, the world even, because of their academic achievements. Suddenly they describe a hollow empty feeling created by the belief that they are their minds. This realisation can leave them scared of what their life will be when they're not as mentally sharp as they are today.  As a society we should be celebrating their great accomplishments, but why not also be grateful for their just being here?  What about the love they show their children, their friends, their family?  Isn't that equally, even more important?  They often believe so too, though sometimes they shed tears over missed opportunities with family, some who may now have passed away, the moment for sharing quality time together gone when they were busy being academic.  Balance is always the key, and it's also a very tricky thing to manage - though not impossible.
When we hear people say that academics take themselves too seriously, maybe we are partly to blame for that, maybe we have put them in that position, maybe we've helped them believe their minds are so brilliant we couldn't survive without them.  So, whatever your point of reference as you read this, give yourself time to remember what's really important in life.  Your health, the people you love, the relationships you have with others and yourself, surely these are the priorities?  Yours and others academic achievements will leave a legacy for future generations, but being here and loving those with you now has to be up there at the top of  the list of priorities, it certainly is for me.
"Some people stay in the academic world just to avoid becoming self-aware. You can quote me on that." - Michael McKean
"Try not to become a man of success.  Rather become a man of value." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Ivy and you

I've been cutting back some ivy in the garden..."some" being quite the mammoth understatement.  It's amazing how relentless and unstoppable it is.  No matter what obstacles lie in it's path the ivy doesn't give up. Instead it twists and turns, climbs and buries in every direction possible, determined to continue unhindered.  It's "programmed" to travel and grow this way.  One of the things we do which hinders us, is we often stop just when we're getting into our stride.  We analyse, we ponder we consider the other people involved.  Meanwhile opportunities are missed, the ivy has grown over the spot you were planning to cultivate, you miss your chance often from simply over thinking!
If you're doing well and enjoying the journey don't let others distract you from your path.  Stay grounded and focused and keep going, the ivy doesn't see a boulder or a fence and re-consider it's route!  Just pay attention to what feels right and go wherever your heart takes you.
"You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going, put blinders on and plow right ahead." - George Lucas.
"Don't watch the clock do what it does, keep going." - Sam Leverson

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Change and the art of celebration.

Ever noticed that just when you think you have a handle on a person or situation something happens which places doubt slap bang in the front of your mind?
Maybe forming fixed ideas and opinions inhibits our growth.  Maybe we need to pay more attention to the subtle changes within ourselves - which will have an affect on our perception of how we view people or situations from our past for example.
Nothing is cemented in place forever more.  Neither materials or emotions stay unchanged for an eternity.
There's no shame in changing your mind, or changing direction - in fact it's healthy, a sign that you're maturing and not staying stuck in old patterns and beliefs.
The next time something in your life unexpectedly changes, try reacting differently. Rather than becoming disheartened and thrown into turmoil, how about celebrating your capacity to evolve and morph into a wonderful adaptable, unpredictable being?!  You might surprise yourself and enjoy this new way of interacting with change!
"He would rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." - Harold Wilson
"Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights." - Pauline R. Kezer

Friday, 28 September 2012

You are so much more than your label!

Recently I was given the label of having TMJ disorder by a very smiley but not very funny consultant. It's not the worst nor the best news I've ever had.  I could "Google it" and totally freak myself out, or I could recognise what I need to do to prevent flare ups.  So I travel with my special pillow, nothing really special about it other than it's squishy and I like it as it's soft and comforting on my sore face.  I can wear a hat when I'm out in the cold wind as the chill makes the nerve pain pretty intense.  There's plenty things I should avoid like chewing gum and clenching my teeth, and then there's the suggestion that I eat liquidised foods when I have a bad flare up.  All pretty manageable.
My car has a few scratches on it, just as I have a few scars on my body and face.
If my body came with a full service history it might not appear to be very valuable - but it certainly is to the owner - me!  The medical labels we/'re given, and the scars we carry both physically and mentally are not the full story, nor do they identify everything about you.
Be careful not to allow your head to think you ARE the medical condition. Getting a diagnosis can engulf all your thoughts and affect everything you do.  Of course it is a part of you, but it doesn't come close to revealing all the fabulous intricacies that make you so beautifully unique.
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." - Khalil Gibran


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Good silence versus bad silence

I feel there are two types of silence. Good silence, the type I experience when I'm walking in the woods listening only to rustling leaves, or when I'm sitting still on a sandy seashore, the silence being broken by the sound of the water unfolding onto the beach - bliss.
Then there's bad silence.  To me this is when there is no sound, only thoughts churning and turning over and over, relentless, exhausting chatter which is seemingly uncontrollably loud and inescapable.  Silence when you wish for the phone to ring so you could hear the voice of someone who is no longer here, silence that is painfully loud and carries such an awful emptiness.
Today I rang some friends to hear the voices of some of the folk I love and care about who are here right now.  Their stories, laughter and lightness beautifully filled my ear and my heart.
Silence is good, and a very necessary escape from the loudness of our full on lives, which rarely has volume control!  Do take time to appreciate the moments you can sit in peace, but if the headmind starts dragging you down a melancholic road don't stay there too long, speak to those people who matter to you and remind yourself how fortunate you are to have them in your life.
"See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence, see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls." - Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Unity

In the past when I heard words being spoken with hatred and spite, venom seeping through every letter it would actually make me feel quite sick - uneasy - as if the simple act of listening left me vulnerable, somehow unable to protect myself from absorbing something toxic, something which didn't belong to me yet inescapable and extremely bad for my health.
I didn't have to know the person being vilified, it could have been a football manager, politician or a whole group of people.  I now understand that the message of hatred being spoken exposes the depth of separation between the inside of the speaker and his relationship with the outside world.
If you know someone who is prone to doing this, then I encourage you to ask them to STOP as soon as they start down that road!  Ask them if, just for a moment they could say something or just think something positive about that person.  If this seems an insurmountable task, explain that simply recognising the human vulnerabilities we share with all mankind as being a good start.  I believe that people who have a tendency to hate and feel angry about most things are only getting a reflection of their beliefs and expectations.  If they expect bad service in the restaurant, that's what they'll get!  If they get annoyed when they're overtaken by a women drivers, then you can guarantee they'll get overtaken by women drivers on a regular basis! If they expect to be late for their meeting, that's exactly what will happen!  Encourage them to give themselves the opportunity to view things differently - even if it's just for an hour initially. Even having no expectation can help lift them from the relentless task of expecting to get annoyed. Help them laugh at their negativity, help them see the ridiculousness of their constant battle with invisible, faceless enemies.  I was brought up hearing, "We're all Jock Thomson's bairns!" which worried me as a child as I'd never met him!  But there's truth there - whenever we think we're separate from others, we will have problems.
"The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson



Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Go with the flow - and enjoy changing direction!

Watching the sea rush effortlessly over the massive indestructible  rocks protruding like benign sea monsters from the grey frothy sea, reminds me of the immense power of this most gentle of substances.  
Water.  
So adaptable, changing as the heat rises and falls, never fixed in one place, forever moving.  
As little people we are often asked by adults, "What do you want to be when you grow up?!"  It's a question that can have our little heads spinning for the "right" answer!  How about not becoming fixated on one job, one profession, one goal...how about behaving like water for a while?
Head off in one direction, and if the wind (or mood) takes you - change!  Do what FEELS right, don't become fixated on one path simply because at five years old your Grandma beamed with pride as you over heard her telling her friends, "He's going to be an accountant you know.  He's terribly good with numbers!" 
"Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first.  Ask questions, then feel the answer.  Learn to trust your heart." - Carl W. Buechner

Sunday, 9 September 2012

How cold you are..how warm you are!

Back in the 70's I remember playing party games at home where everyone got involved.  I loved seeing adults laughing alongside the children be it at a birthday celebration or festive season get together. One of the games involved one person going out of the living room while the others hid a thimble somewhere in the room.   It could be balanced on top of a picture frame, in the bottom of a vase, in the cassette player of the music centre, (a 1970's living room essential) or hidden in someones hair...Elnett hairspray and perms were all the rage back then!

Once it was well hidden the person would be called back in, they weren't given any clues other than being sung at!  As they entered the room the group would sing, "How cold you are, how cold you are.." if they were far away from the hidden thimble, and "How warm you are, how warm you are.."  as they got nearer.  Of course really close became roasting and burning hot, and the further way they were freezing and ice cold.  The seeker had to pay close attention to the variations from freezing to cold, to cool to warm, from hot to burning so they could really rummage round and look for the thimble wherever the singing peaked with, "How roasting, burning hot you are!!" 

It was a laugh (but maybe you had to be there!) as some folk no matter how loudly you sung and hinted how close they were to the thimble would still step back and look elsewhere.  Frustrating to witness as we'd be back singing, "How cool you are..." until they really paid attention to the words we were saying.  It was as if they walked into the room with a fixed idea of where we'd hidden the thimble, and no matter what we sung,  they were going to look there anyway.

I get the feeling that if I played that game today I'd be able to establish who is good at listening to the truth, and who has such a strong headmind that they believe they don't need to listen to get it right.  

As in hunt the thimble, as in the way we walk blindfolded through life ignoring our personal sign posts to the life that is right for us!

We don't have a group of happy part goers following us around singing "how cold you are" when we're about to make a mistake, or "how warm we are" when we're on the right path...BUT we do have our very own bodymind intelligence which is the all-knowing part of us.  If we just practised listening carefully and really noticed what feels right before we make a decision, we'd get far more hot, roasting, cosy as toast moments and far less, cold, freezing times.

"An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore." - Edward de Bono
"You learn something every day if you pay attention." - Ray LeBlond








Monday, 3 September 2012

Two minutes for you.

When my head is whizzing with too many thoughts meditation seems to be the only thing that stops it spiralling out of control.  I have begun to notice that simply having the intention to meditate can initiate the quietening process.  When I begin to meditate I can actually feel both the physical and mental tensions softening, and melting away.  Lovely as that feeling is it often only lasts for a very short time, this can range from a few seconds to several minutes. As the slowing down and softening starts I visualise all my cells smiling with relief as peace and calm flush away my angst and fear. Even just two minutes of tranquillity is better than my whole day being consumed at great speed by relentless thoughts. Try it for yourself!
"Within yourself is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself" - Hermann Hesse, novelist & poet.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

When a single flaw leads to multiple irritations

Ever noticed that the moment you see a flaw in something, there seems to be a sudden acceleration in your ability to observe ALL that is wrong with it?!
You fix a crack in your favourite vase and suddenly all you can see is the one minute area you lovingly repaired.
Your partner is late home two nights in a row, he forgets to call, he brings you a present you already have and you start ruminating over all that is wrong with him!
A dispute with a neighbour over who should cut the hedge has you wondering if this house is right for you after all....it's amazing what torture our heads can cause!
No matter what the subject matter is, once we become disgruntled with one aspect of our lives, be it, our career, relationships, our homes, even our physical appearance we are at risk of descending into a landslide of unhappiness & dissatisfaction if we don't really pay attention to the real reason behind this exaggerated sense of frustration.  In order to maintain some sense of peace at a time when you may end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater, STOP! Sit quietly, or go out for a walk on your own and try to break down, bit by bit, what is truly behind you feeling this way?  Is it really over that question of who is responsible for cutting the shared hedge that boundaries your garden with your neighbours?  Or is there something quietly niggling you, causing you to feel frustrated with your lot? Be really honest and listen to that quiet truth telling part that lives inside all of us. Ultimately you only have yourself to answer to, and you deserve to be as content and filled with peace as is possible.
"Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have." - Doris Mortman

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Look up!

Watching sad faces in the street I notice they all have something in common.  The face owners are not really there.  They're in a world of thought, ruminating over all that is challenging them, all their troubles spread across their expressionless faces.  There's a depth in their eyes that seems to sink into a dark, light deprived abyss, a cave of sadness.  They could walk for hours wrapped up in their personal bubble of despair without noticing a single thing around them.  I've been behind those eyes.  I've been that pavement staring zombie.  Thankfully I'm not there now, but I can empathise with those faces passing me by and be reminded of what a heavy, dark place it is when you are that person.  I want to stop them in their tracks and get them to look me in the eye.  Then I'd tell them to simply lift their gaze. Stop looking at the ground, getting familiar with asphalt won't help free them from their tunnel of turmoil.  Look up and look at the other folk in the street passing by.  Simply making eye contact with others can stimulate a sense of belonging,  reminding them they are part of the world, no matter how detached they might feel right now.  Also, looking up can give our natural surroundings the opportunity to remind us of the constant life- everywhere! No matter what our own heads are doing to us, the flowers still blossom, the wind still races through the trees making the leaves dance merrily around, and the birds still sing and dart from place to place collecting food for their young.  Little by little by paying attention to what is going on "out there" we can start to gain an appreciation for the bigger world around us, and by doing so we can move away from that inward focus, which only serves to keep us absorbed in our own, very personal sadness.
"And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down.  Without the rain, there would be no rainbow." - G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Effortlessly be your inspired self.

I wanted to write about inspiration, so I looked up the definition of "inspiration" in my dictionary (well of course I did because I'm such a highly intelligent brain box!)..the first definition reads, "Stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity" and the last definition reads, "The act or process of inhaling; breathing in."
Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting folk who express their inspiration as effortlessly as breathing in.  I have come to believe that you can't force or make yourself feel or appear to others to be inspired - its either there or its not. There's nothing more uncomfortable than watching someone fake their excitement about a piece of creative work...when someone is truly inspired everyone feels it! Each of us has the capacity to feel inspired, but our busy lives often prevent us from really tapping into that aspect of ourselves.  One way to connect to that buzzing, simmering, patient part of you, is to make time to be quiet, go to beautiful places in nature or take yourself to an art gallery and just be present with your feelings.  With practice bit by bit you may start to feel a series of new feelings, and as you become aware of them you will start to recognise which direction or activity sparks your inspiration.  Living is one thing, but living while feeling inspired is quite another - and that capacity is within each and every one of us.
"One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, 19 August 2012

No regrets.

When we spend time regretting choices we made in the past we are doing ourselves a great dis-service. 

In the majority of cases, even with the most cringe producing memories, there will be something positive that was gained from the experience.     

It may simply be that the learning was, never to go down that road again, nevertheless it's important not to beat yourself up repeatedly over something you did at a time that isn't now!  

Be kinder and more forgiving for past misdemeanours, and enjoy knowing that the direction you choose today may in fact be easier because of the choices you made in the past that you now spend time regretting!

"Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection, nothing is lost that is born of the heart." - Basil Rathbone

"If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday and with worries over the problems of tomorrow, we have no today in which to be thankful." - Anon

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The natural order of life

I was given a garden fire basket by a friend a few years ago. In the evenings and into the night I love to get bundled up in my cosy clothes, light the fire and sit watching it do it's thing.  It doesn't simply provide me with warmth, but also a beautiful, colourful piece of mesmerising art.
So off I go to collect the tiny twigs, the small kindling sticks..and a couple of bigger logs from my store. I'm always a tiny bit excited to be outside setting a fire - maybe it's just one of life's fundamental pleasures, I don't really know, I just know I love it!
The flames seem to lick higher than I expect, the wind, even the most gentle, can tease the flames causing them to swirl and twist changing direction suddenly and dramatically.
White pieces of ash fly around the basket, then up and up they go off into obscurity.  Only seconds before they were an essential part of the combustion process.  The warmth, colour and beauty would not have been produced without them. The role of those tiniest twigs, though crucial was short lived and transient in the extreme!  As the fire keeps burning through the smallest twig on into the biggest log the end product is the same.  Feathery grey and white pieces of ash jumping, leaping, swirling and dancing in the base of the fire basket.
Sometimes we can think of ourselves as crucial, essential parts of the world, be it in work, or within our community or as a member of our family.  It might serve us well to remember that no matter what we think we are, we are certainly not a vital or indestructible part of life.  It can bring humility to the fore when we recognise wherever we are, and whatever we do, the twigs, kindling and logs are all equally important and would struggle to produce fire without the support of each other.
"All mankind...being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions." - John Locke

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Trapped in fantasy

We all have hopes and dreams - and so we should! But what happens to us when our lives go in a completely different direction? Some people simply go with the flow, enjoying the unexpected twists and turns that each year brings, while for others it can be a bitter pill to swallow when things don't go the way they'd imagined.  The headmind plays a torturous game, mulling over the whys and what ifs. A relentless series of teasing and tormenting over a life that never was and never will be.
This self-sabotaging cycle of thought can only end one way - badly! How can it possibly be useful to ruminate and ponder over what might have been?  It hasn't been..therefore it wasn't going to be.  
So if you find yourself slumping into a never ending battle of an imagined life versus reality, be clear with the truth.  You are here NOW!  What can you do differently TODAY that will make you feel just that little bit better, that fraction more fulfilled when you look back at it TOMORROW? 
You have a responsibility to yourself to stop dragging through old stuff, and pay attention to today...right NOW!
"Opportunities fly by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not, because of the happiness that is gone." - Jerome K. Jerome
"You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present." - Jan Glidewell.

Monday, 16 July 2012

If only we could purr, or hiss, or growl....

After a few nights away I got home last night to find that during my absence my lovely cat sitter had done a great job of keeping my 2 cats happily fed, watered and cuddled.  Last night one of my two cats jumped onto my tummy as I lay in bed reading, making himself a comfy bed he proceeded to purr louder..and LOUDER..AND LOUDER!  I put my book down, and stroking him I thought, "Well Bertie there's no mistaking how you feel about me being back home again."  Looking across the room I noticed his brother Basil had made himself comfy on the floor, and he appeared to be choosing the moodier, "I'll let her suffer a bit longer for being away"  approach.  His grumpiness didn't last too long as I woke up in the wee small hours with him curled up at my feet purring contentedly.
Sometimes when we meet up with someone we can miss obvious clues to how they're really feeling, and this can make effective communication a lot less than effective. At the risk of sounding completely nuts, wouldn't it be so much easier if we could hear a muffled purr if the person was in a good mood expressing contentment or a disapproving hiss when their mood was less favourable?  Alas, maybe we're just not as evolved as cats!
So until that day comes keep practising listening with your eyes and ears, and notice how you feel as you engage with the other person, because by paying attention to your own feelings you are more likely to be able to pick up on their emotional state.
"If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favourite cat, they, too, would purr." - Martin Buxbaum
"There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person." - Dan Greenberg

Saturday, 14 July 2012

When staying grounded in NOW helps us move on.


This comes with thanks to Paul Schubert  author of the blog "Working with insight".  
I just had to share this well known Zen story of 2 monks and a young woman as it highlights perfectly what I bang on and on about in my work as a reverse therapist.  Holding on to "old" stuff means you may miss good opportunities to heal and move on.  No-one suffers more than the person who cannot see past their own rigid beliefs and attachments. Enjoy practising being grounded in NOW!  Love,  Kathleen x

A senior monk and a junior monk were travelling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her.
The senior monk carried this woman on his shoulder, forded the river and let her down on the other bank. The junior monk was very upset, but said nothing.
They both were walking and the senior monk noticed that his junior was suddenly silent and enquired “Is something the matter, you seem very upset?”
The junior monk replied, “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The senior monk replied, “I left the woman a long time ago at the bank, however, you seem to be carrying her still.”

The older monk, his mind free, saw the situation, responded to it, and continued to be present to the next step after letting the woman down.
The younger monk was bound by ideas, held on to them for hours, and, in doing so, missed the experiences of the next part of the journey.

Mental attachment to an idea or earlier experience blocks the full experience of the present here and now. Attachments slow the mind, interfering with appropriate responses to the immediate situation.
In order to evaluate a situation requiring a decision, the mind must be open to the possibilities. Being anchored in the past restricts the choices. Examples of holding on are favouring current conditions and giving disproportionate weight to old information.
The mind cannot will itself to be free. There are methods to calm the activity of the mind in order to be more open. The first step is to develop awareness.  So stay grounded in NOW! K x

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The potential for sunshine.

Whenever I'm flying up to Shetland or down to London I can be lulled into a false sense of joy as the blinding sunshine sparkles through the windows.  It's only when the pilot announces to the crew to prepare the cabin for landing that my sun filled joy can start to recede.  Slowly but surely as we descend through various layers of cloud, I start to see the reality of the weather at ground level.  Dark and foreboding, dull and drizzly, down and down we go.  The doors open, and with my head hanging down to protect myself from the driving rain, everyone scurries into the terminal to get on with their journey to wherever.
How quickly I can forget that beyond the darkness surrounding me the sun is still shining brightly!  I'm disinterested in that fact now, because my focus is on what I see and feel in that moment, horrible, cold, damp weather!  The same is true of our relationships.  How quickly we can forget that behind the anger, behind the sadness there is still that warm person who when the clouds pass will reveal their sunnier side.  Be patient and remember how quickly the weather can change, and don't forget the potential for sunshine is always there.
"People are like stained - glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Monday, 18 June 2012

What makes us dislike so passionately?

I went for a walk to a beautiful nature reserve near my house this morning, a fly was buzzing round my head and getting way too near my face for my liking.  I brushed it away, while thinking what revolting insects they are, it dawned on me that I wouldn't have had that thought if I didn't associate flies with really negative images implanted in my mind.  From squirming maggots to starving children with flies settling on their weeping eyes and open sores, all those images have played a role in polluting my mind so deeply that no matter what role flies have in our eco-system, I hate them!
On a similar vain, despite knowing I'm being totally illogical, I have had the experience of feeling wary, nervous and wanting to end a meeting when in the company of someone with  the same hair style, or general appearance as someone who has hurt me or let me down in the past!
So, it's one thing to be uncomfortable with an insect that does indeed spread infection, and quite another to allow the headmind to be scarred by a life experience that results in being catapulted back to that memory when meeting someone who looks like the perpetrator, or wears the same after shave!  If you have had a similar experience, then the moment you notice your headmind taking you off to a different place and a different time - STOP!  Do a reality check on the situation you're in right now, and remind yourself that THIS is a new and unique experience.
"The past is never there when you try to go back.  It exists, but only in memory.  To pretend otherwise is to invite a mess." - Chris Cobbs
"Memory is deceptive because it is coloured by today's events." - Albert Einstein

Sunday, 17 June 2012

When your little people grow up!

Oh my...today my soon to be son in law posted photos of the wedding dress he's making for my daughter Emily on Pinterest - it's stunning!  I texted Ewen to say that it brought tears to my eyes to see it, and then as I was writing it I was aware that I had moved on from tear filled eyes to actively crying!  Happy tears I might add! I am so happy for them both, and this new chapter of their lives just fills me with joy.
Tears too as I remember the little girl learning about the world.  Learning that friends could suddenly become enemies - primary school could be so confusing for a five year old who loved everyone!  Her sadness at losing her beloved Grandma just before she started school, when she so wanted to show her how smart she looked in her new school uniform. A funny, caring, loving wee girl who is just the same - only in adult form!  A friend said to me recently that she too looks at the photos of her girls and wonders where they've gone, I know exactly what she means.  I still want to (and I admit, I sometimes do) bite Emily's nose when I see her, my little girl who back then, giggled like mad when I'd give her kisses and pretend to bite her nose off now mildly tolerates my madness!
I feel so grateful for the happiness she has found with Ewen, and I want to wrap them both up and protect them from any scary, sad or hard times, but they're adults and their life together is for them to live to the full,  secure in the knowledge that all the people who love them will do whatever they need to get them through any tough or rough times. I love you two very much xxx
"When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts." - Robert Brault
"A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart." - Anon

Saturday, 16 June 2012

When being understood is temporary.

Sometimes even when we feel calm, serene and imperturbable by a potentially provocative conversation it can become apparent that the other person simply cannot handle that calmness. This may be due to their discomfort and inability to handle the subject matter, or it may be that they just want a more animated response from you - but if you don't feel it, please don't fake it!  Don't rise up to meet them, remain where you are by focusing on your feet on the ground, or pay attention to how your bottom feels on the chair.  Their over-reaction belongs to them, let it stay with them!
Everyone has their own agenda, and their own pre-conceived ideas and expectations about how someone they think they "know" will respond to a certain topic, but actually that belief held so tightly by them is not necessarily true. We need to be able to be completely real about our evolving emotions, and accept the ebb and flow of them for ourselves and from others.  Just because someone has expressed an opinion on something once doesn't mean that opinion should, or indeed will, stay fixed in stone.  How flexible are you when someone you thought you knew inside out expresses a change of opinion?  Does it make you angry, or can you celebrate their ability to embrace the belief that as we grow we change?
"Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights." - Pauline R. Kezer
"He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." - Harold Wilson
"The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists." - Japanese proverb

Friday, 15 June 2012

How others see us.

I recently discovered that someone I'd always thought of as a light hearted soul, did in fact take himself very seriously indeed. He did not cope well when he discovered how others viewed him.  It really knocked him sideways.  Robert Burns wrote in his poem, "To a louse",  "O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us."  Maybe though it's not always good to get that insight, especially when it's a mile away from the way we feel about ourselves.  Is there always a bit inside that we don't find so easy to share with the world? A secret, unspoken love of country music, an ability to keep a smile on our face even on the days when our heart is heavy with grief.  I do relentlessly rabbit on to clients about the importance of authenticity, and I still stand by the importance of it as a vital factor to maintaining health.  When we are authentic and we practise letting the inside feelings be expressed on the outside, there will be less incongruities between how we are perceived by others and the reality of who we are and how we're actually doing at that particular moment. Enjoy learning to share with others all the aspects that make you who you are!
"To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves." - Aldous Huxley.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

You are who you are, and you've done what you've done!

We can all exaggerate and elaborate a story in order to make others laugh - comedians do it all the time!  They observe, take note of the mundane then put a humorous slant on it and a joke is born.  Peter Kay is a master of that particular art.
Then there's the less enjoyable type of story teller.  One who makes things up in order to "impress" another person.  Real friendship is based on the relationship between two people, not based on their work life achievements.
The company Experian revealed from a survey they ran that 1 in 3 people lie on their CV.  That's a lot of people!!
What is wrong with just living, working hard, achieving what we can, admitting when we make mistakes and moving on?  Are we really living in a time where if you're not something "big" you're not worth knowing?  I certainly don't think so.
If you catch yourself lying to impress STOP!  Remind yourself that every single one of us has things we would do differently if we had a second chance, whatever it is, it's done now. Once that lie has left your lips retrieving it and removing it from the other persons mind is far harder than just resisting saying it in the first place.
"There is no such thing as an inconsequential lie." - Gary King
" With lies you may get ahead in the world - but you can never go back." - Russian proverb

Friday, 8 June 2012

When thinking doesn't really work.

The over-thinking planner in my head took over today and reminded me that slowing down and thinking mindfully is always the better option!
My scheduled flight from Shetland to Aberdeen last night couldn't land at Aberdeen due to fog.  So we were diverted to Dundee which meant my car was still at Aberdeen airport.  So this morning, when Andrew had left for an early round of golf I decided to organise myself and surprise him by nipping up to Aberdeen (an hour and a half drive away..not exactly round the corner) to collect the car, planning on getting back around the same time as him, though relying on the trains running on time meant I might get back after him.
So, I checked I had my car keys and the long stay parking ticket I'd need for getting my car out of there...smug in the knowledge I'd done all I needed to do, I hopped in the taxi and headed to Dundee train station.
I had locked the front door of the house, and hidden the keys in a wheelbarrow round the side of the house..I knew Andrew had his keys with him, but not sure if he had the key to the lock I'd used..my house keys were in my car in Aberdeen of course!  So as we're not in the habit of leaving a key hidden I thought I should let him know where I'd left it.  Sitting on the train somewhere between Montrose and Stonehaven I rang the landline number, (Andrew does have a mobile phone but he keeps it switched off and in his car...only to be used in an emergency, and if the person in the emergency needs to contact him, well he'll get back to you when he puts the phone on!!) it went straight to the answer machine, which I'd expected and I heard myself say, "Hi it's me! I decided to go up to Aberdeen while you're out so you don't have to drive me up there later.  You locked the top lock and I couldn't find that key so I've locked the bottom one and hidden the key in the wheelbarrow, just thought I should let you know in case you can't get in!"  As soon as I hung up I started to laugh..and laugh...and laugh!  The man sitting next to me smiled at me and I said, "I've just left him a message on the phone IN the house.. telling him where I've hidden the key outside in case he can't get IN!  Oh dear!!"
"Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again." - Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

You are here....get involved!

Clients often present themselves to me saying they feel worthless, as if there is no point to their existence.  Well I believe each and every one of us has something we can give others and we often don't have to try too hard to achieve this.  Perhaps by writing a letter to someone you've not been in touch with for a while makes a bigger difference to them than you are aware - maybe a simple random act of kindness warms the heart of the recipient making them smile and reinforcing their belief that there are more good people in the world than bad.
Handing in a bag of clothes to a charity shop, offering to walk the neighbours dog, picking up some groceries for someone who isn't as able as you.  Being human and sharing with our fellow man makes you worth more... not less!  You do exist, and that means you are worthy.  Stop getting stuck in the headmind belief that if it's not got bells and whistles on it it is somehow a meaningless life.  The greatest lives, the people who make the biggest differences are often quietly getting on with it in the background, not glory hunters, just good people, sharing and lovingly appreciative of the simple fact that they are here and able to gently make a difference. 
"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little - do what you can." - Sydney Smith.
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." - Mother Teresa.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Forgiveness may not be the priority.

When I think about the suffering of others I can weep, and often do.  When I think about the suffering of children at the hands of an adult, or adults it goes beyond tears.  I have friends, the type who are so mild and gentle that I want to wrap a protective glove around their mug of tea to ensure their sensitive hands don't melt away with the heat, ironic then that they can suddenly transform into barbarian despots as they explain, in some graphic detail what they would do to someone who inflicted pain on their child.  On one level I admire their capacity to be so direct and focused on how they would punish the perpetrator of such a crime, on the other I feel a great deal of discomfort at the idea that hurting someone else, inflicting pain on a fellow human being could somehow make right their wrong.  I do believe adults who hurt children should serve a custodial sentence for their crime, and be kept away from all vulnerable members of the community indefinitely. But what of forgiveness?  The heaviness in my heart contains a sadness as deep as Loch Ness and as grey with confusion, but not anger, or a desire for revenge.  Confusion prevails as I know that on this subject there will always be more questions than answers.  One can never put oneself into the head of another, understanding what has driven them to wound another so deeply. So what can we do?  We can stop trying to understand their motives for a start.  That in itself is a futile occupation which will, in time, drain every drop of energy from you.  If you are close to someone who as been hurt this way pay attention to where they are now.  Are they well?  If so, celebrate their capacity to overcome an atrocity.  If they're struggling then ask what you can do to help?  Are you able to guide them in the right direction to get the help they need? Be there for them, and encourage them to speak to you and others they trust.  Healing the victim is a much more powerful and useful way to focus your energy than trying to forgive the perpetrator. That may or may not happen in time.  Don't tie yourself in emotional knots trying to find the capacity to forgive and excuse the unforgettable actions of another. As C.S Lewis said, "Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive." 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The "Wow" factor!

There's no question that when I speak about a subject I love I can feel pretty uplifted, energised and focused. Interestingly then that for the observer listening to the person sharing their passion, we can notice them looking slightly different, with eyes sparkling, hands moving as they describe what makes their hearts sing while giving off an energy that is both inspiring, heart warming and comforting all at the same time. 
Recently while working with a lovely client, I experienced just this as he moved his thinking from the headminds analytical, "What I ought to be doing" state to "What I'd like to do.."  I could feel myself connecting to his bodyminds exhilaration as it witnessed him really understanding what had to happen in order for him to be in harmony with his core essence.  It's natural to have some anxieties about changing our path in life - it can become such a well worn path that it's hard to imagine ever deviating away from it.  However, the extent of the energy coming from this client as he described another direction his career could take was quite breathtaking.  I'm looking forward to hearing what steps he takes (and what he experiences en route) towards what feels like his most natural path. So often we opt for the safe, familiar route when sometimes just speaking about what appeals to us can be enough of a catalyst to get us doing something about it!
"Follow your heart, because if you always trust your mind, you'll always act on logic, and logic doesn't always lead to happiness." - Anon
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Keep moving!

As I wait outside the school for my 11 year old son to appear I watch with bubbling laughter rising in my chest as the 5 & 6 year olds come bouncing, skipping, running and hopping out the school gates. The adults waiting for them try reining them in by holding a hand or clutching the straps on their bag, uneasy somehow at the freedom and energy pumping through their small person.  I love watching them, and I feel a heavy heart when I see an adult trying to dampen down their energy and enthusiasm. We are children for such a short time - this IS their carefree childhood - so let them bounce and hop for soon maturity, work and society will ensure they remain still a long time. 
Writing this I feel the need to get outside and do a cart wheel!  Perhaps my wrists and hips will prevent me from doing this sometime, but right now my 44 year old bones don't seem to mind, so for now I'll carry on. Be free, move with a spring in your step and celebrate that you have a body that enjoys being challenged!
"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness." - Edward Stanley

Monday, 23 April 2012

Your life, your reality, your world.

                                                                                                                                                                   
We start off in this world with such an enthusiastic, optimistic view of all that surrounds us.  Sadly it seems, bit by bit, slowly but surely it can become more and more polluted.
Just like the moment when we notice our cherished medal from that 100metre race at school has somehow, without apparent warning become tarnished.  Suddenly it seems to have become so dull that no amount of rubbing, scrubbing or cleaning can get it back to its former glory.  That beautiful thing you were once so proud of,  that object that made you smile when you remembered that sunny day at the races now               permanently marked and irreversibly stained.
Do try not to let mind pollutants (or mind pollluters!) break you down and tarnish your view of your world.  Maintain your own sanctuary.  Put off the news if it affects you badly. Don't read the newspaper.  Walk away from those you don't trust.  You owe it to yourself.
"Don't compromise yourself.  You are all you've got." - Janis Joplin

Saturday, 21 April 2012

These days, I know my body is my temple.

I've not always thought of my body as being something precious that I should look after - seems obvious now of course - but when I was much younger and totally absorbed in having fun, I didn't spend too much time thinking of the effect my hedonistic life might take on me. I guess that rings true for most who are 40 years old and beyond!
Every generation can remember a time when their actions (and sometimes lack of knowledge about the consequences of their choices) had a knock on effect, and left them looking back and questioning their decision making at the time.  Hollywood in the 1930's made smoking glamorous, but we know now how detrimental it is on our health.  Promiscuity in the 60's, 70's & 80's became a death defying game of Russian roulette according to the statistics and scaremongering TV campaign of 1988 aiming to raise awareness of HIV/AID's with tomb stones falling over and the voice over man saying, "Don't die of ignorance!" I speak with people all the time who have beaten themselves up over life choices they made at a time when they were young, naively getting on with making choices based on, what was often, a very limited knowledge. If you're living differently now, you've learnt and evolved, you've made mistakes and you're now making better choices.  Give yourself a break, don't keep letting your thoughts about the past put you down, celebrate that you're looking after yourself now!  
"Take care of your body it's the only place you have to live." - John Rohn

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Time to bloom.

I was talking to Andrew the other day about his magnolia tree being much further on than mine, his is about to burst into bloom while the buds on my magnolia tree (20miles east) are quite small and still tightly shut.
Then last night my son started talking about his belief that he's not very "clever" and I reassured him that though learning at school is quite important, we don't all learn at the same rate and we do a lot more learning after school. What a shame we live in a society where so much emphasis is put on school tests and academia. When we discover what we love, following whatever makes our heart sing, we can become an expert in that field and achieve a great deal by simply doing what we feel passionately about.
We all bloom at different rates. If you know a young person who has lost belief in themselves as a result of not achieving what's expected of them by their schools system of scoring according to their age and stage, remind them of these great achievers as written about in, "The Denenberg Report," “Thomas Edison, thought by many to have the highest IQ in the last millennium, was dismissed from school because his teacher thought he did not have the intelligence to succeed academically. Albert Einstein could not read until he was seven and still was considered a slow learner in high school. Winston Churchill was last in his class in school but developed a remarkable vocabulary that led him to become one of the greatest orators of all time."

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Wanderlust

Those of you who know me well will know I've had many house moves in my 44 years. In fact the standing count is 27 houses in 44 years. Where I live now, in a lovely renovated cottage in a small village in Angus is where (in my adult life) I've stayed the longest. 4 years... 4 YEARS..WOW! A friend called me yesterday when I was driving north having visited friends in Wiltshire. She said, "You've got friends everywhere!" and though on one hand this is a lovely truth it also makes for a bit of heartache at times. I'm not alone of course, in this time of near effortless travel to anywhere available to us, combined with folk looking further afield for work and choosing to re-settle in every corner of the world, our ability to maintain close contact with people who matter can be tricky - though not impossible! Andrew (boyfriend) has lived in his house for 24 years, we don't live together but I do go and stay at his for a few days here and there. So the 6 years of knowing Andrew (and being with him in his home) combined with the 4 years in my own place is helping the simmering, smouldering flame of wanderlust settle down to a more serene glow. Could it be that friends might be able to start writing my address in pen instead of pencil? Now that would be good! So to all my dear friends in Shetland, Moray, Argyll, London, Cornwall, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Sussex, Ireland, Australia, Canada, France & USA...I might not end up settling on your doorstep, but knowing I can speak with you on the phone, visit you (and vice versa) perhaps means I can stop tearing round wondering where I should settle content in the knowledge that though we're not in the same location we're always together in friendship.
"Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them but you know they're always there." - Author unknown.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Do you see shadows or the sunshine?


I met a woman yesterday, and ex-nursing colleague who I haven't seen since 1993. I was genuinely pleased to see her, she's aged amazingly well - in her 60's when I worked with her back then and still as sprightly and bright as I remember her.
1993 was as the Queen would say, my "annus horribilis" the sequence of events went from being assaulted in the street,to moving myself and my two children out of the matrimonial home and away from their father, to losing my mother to cancer, to being abandoned by many & held by a few.
At times I really wasn't sure I'd survive, as the turmoil and depth of sadness I felt at that time was all consuming. My 2 daughters, 5 years old and 3 1/2 years old were my focus, they held my heart and stopped me from running, and running, and running, and running.
Yesterdays meeting was fascinating, and I was enjoying chatting until 5 words fell from her mouth which made me baulk. It was a stark reminder, that for some at least the whispering campaign against me has left a shadow that in some circles follows me yet.
At home last night I shed some tears as I thought about that 24 year old beginning 1993 in such cold isolation. Counting my blessings, I reminded myself that I did make some mistakes. I learned and I grew.
Bringing myself back to NOW and not allowing my headmind to take me back there and leave me staring at a time that is simply too painful, I was reminded of the strength and love of the friends I have in my life! Hallelujah to each and every one of you! Especially those from '93 who didn't fan the flames and reduce me to cinders, I will forever be grateful to you.
Before passing judgement, ask yourself how it serves you to condemn another? Being kind doesn't make us a door mat or a walk over, it means we have a heart large enough to forgive and accept that to be human means to have faults.
"We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation." - Paulo Coehlo
"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven." - Luke 6:37

Friday, 30 March 2012

Listening

I watched a programme on TV a while ago that showed a guy in the US on a stony beach stacking fairly massive stones on top of each other. He built some amazing structures, with some of the stones only balancing on a thin edge. I remember him describing how he just listened as he laid one stone on top of another, and by doing so he would get a feel of which stone would successfully balance solidly on the one beneath. I've since discovered that this is quite a popular pastime, with lots of on-line information on the subject. I was out walking yesterday and while enjoying the scenery by the river I picked up some stones and decided to give stone stacking a go. The photo on the left shows what I achieved, I was quite impressed with my first attempt! As I walked away from the river bank, and my temporary piece of art, I realised that I really had listened and been very present as I used my senses to stay rooted in the moment while stacking the stones. As I was stacking I even heard some beech leaves bouncing by on the stones, the birds seemed to by chirping loudly, cheering me on maybe? The river trickling by and the air breathing gently on my face enabled me to really enjoy the experience. Every detail of my surroundings seemed vivid and bright, which someone made the stacking effortless. That feeling, experienced for a few minutes yesterday can be extended into my day at any point. I'll start by just listening.
"Balancing stones requires sensitivity, poise, physical co-ordination and a concentration of attention that results in what might be termed an existential state of being. It is, or can be, meditation, a physical feat, a creative challenge, an art." - A quote from the website (issue 7) www.stonefoundation.org/

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Great expectations


When faced with a painful predicament it's very easy to feel pulled down by the apparent lack of any understanding of our plight. We can feel torn apart, devastated, beaten and yet the very person, or people we think will understand can appear to observe us from behind sound proofed triple glazing. Apparently unaware, unable, or unwilling to stretch out a hand to comfort or support us. How quickly we can become self-absorbed by our own pain, becoming a helpless victim of circumstances thrown our way.
Before despondently sinking into depression - STOP! Often the reason we feel so shattered by our isolation at our time of need is because we are such emotional individuals! Those we love, our friends, our families may not be as in touch with their emotions as we are. They may simply not know how to handle our emotional state and feel ill equipped to give us the support we would like them to offer. Also, because some of us wear our hearts on our sleeves, this can be at worst intimidating for others, and at least awkward for them to handle.
It's our own great expectations that others will be able to step up to the mark when we crumble that can set us up for a fall. Speak up! More often than not simply expressing how you're feeling to others is enough of an opening to begin to get the help and support you need.
"It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it." - Lena Horne
"Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence." - Anne Wilson Schaef

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Getting yourself back!


Sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, we get stuck in a belief system that the limitations we are living with right now is just the way it is for us these days. I have heard from clients literally hundreds of times phrases like,
"I used to be able to travel on my own."
"I used to have more self-confidence."
"I used to enjoy having time on my own."
"I used to love socialising."
When you hear yourself reminiscing about a positive attribute you seem to have lost somewhere along the road, remind yourself that it's the same you right now that had those abilities as is thinking they are outwith your reach now. Sheesh! That was a long and grammatically challenging sentence!
Seriously, if you HAD the capacity to display and enjoy these qualities, you HAVE the capacity to re-claim them now. Don't let your head convince you those days are past...liberate yourself from those headmind chains by stepping back into your confident, able self and enjoy coming back to the real you!
"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Friday, 16 March 2012

Maslow's balloon of needs!


In order to reach self-actualization Abraham Maslow said, "What a man can be, he must be." Self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, with more fundamental human requirements forming the base layers. Maslow himself didn't use the pyramid shape, although it's predominantly how his hierarchy of needs is portrayed.
My feelings about this is that we can quickly become disheartened and de-motivated when we look at the pyramid and interpret it as meaning, "If I don't have all the base categories fulfilled I will never achieve self-actualization." I don't believe that. If we become fixated on that belief we might find ourselves throwing in the towel and "making-do" with an unsatisfactory, unfulfilled existence. Of course we need our physiological needs met, and without a roof over our heads it can be difficult to have time to do much more than survive on a daily basis. However, if you have some of Maslow's basic needs fulfilled there really is no place for the belief that self-actualization is an unattainable dream, something others achieve, not you! You don't have to look far to discover "against the odds" stories of great feats and personal achievements, by people who were thought to be destined for an un-extraordinary life.
My sketch below re-vamps the usual pyramid of Maslow's hierarchy of needs....one thing I do know, I'll never be an artist, and that's okay!
"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be." - George Sheehan 1918-1993

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Quietly grateful


To say I'm a happy Mummy would be the understatement of the century. My two eldest children are happy, healthy and living the life they want, doing what makes their hearts sing. My son is happy and healthy and is still at school, so I'm not sure he'd say he's quite fulfilling the "living the life he wants" criteria just yet!
Perhaps my level of happiness for them is directly proportionate to my memories of the harder, more challenging times they've been through? None of us are immune to the ups and downs of life, but when we get through the periods in our life that are sad, hard and challenging, it's only then we can REALLY appreciate and celebrate the good times!
Emily & Tina, this is especially for you xxx
"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie



Thursday, 8 March 2012

Being nice v Being safe


When I first started travelling down to London I was more than a bit overwhelmed by the volume of people...everywhere! My rural ways had me waiting at the opening tube doors politely letting everyone else on before me, then when the doors shut and I was left standing on the platform I quickly realised I had to get a grip and be less hesitant.
Once on the tube I would observe (trying not to stare!) all the different people, busying themselves in case they had to look at another bored traveller on their journey. In the early years of my London trips I would sit quietly on the tube and no matter who sat next to me, and no matter what they did I would stay glued to my seat. My head would tell me it would be impolite to move...sometimes the anti-social behaviour would be completely unbelievable yet still I would sit there..good old headmind training telling me not to draw attention to myself, not to cause a scene, "He doesn't mean it! Try to ignore him!"
It was only when a man standing next to me nipped my bum that I realised it was time to stop thinking I had to be nice and instead take charge and look after myself! He claimed he, "Couldn't help it!" It was only afterwards I wondered what he would've done if I'd matched his involuntary hand movements with an involuntary lifting of my knee...swiftly....to his groin.
Seven years on from my first trip to work in London whenever I'm travelling on a train (anywhere) I will pay attention to how I feel. If I feel at risk, or intimidated by a fellow passenger I get up and walk away to another carriage, or move to another seat. By quietly paying attention I stop being nice in favour of being safe.
"The greater the fear the nearer the danger." - Danish proverb


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Time & Progress

Locally there is a hill with a tower on top of it, called Kinpurnie Tower, it can be seen for miles and is a very distinctive landmark.
Recently I was cycling about 4 miles inland from the bottom of the hill, and about 6 miles east of it. When I set off I could see the tower way off to my left and it stayed within my sight for the majority of the cycle.
At one point I looked up and noticed I was nearly level with the tower which was built on the centre of the hill top, cycling into the wind I kept my head tucked down and felt happy that I'd made some noticeable progress.
20minutes later I looked up and it seemed that I was in exactly the same position..the tower seemed to be in the same spot ... oh my...how deflated I felt as I knew I still had about 9 miles to go.
On I went talking to myself a bit, a few encouraging words, some grumpy words too! Then faced with the combination of a single track road, a steep hill and a man driving a van who had obviously just heard his house was on fire, I felt defeated.
I looked up at the tormenting tower on the hill and to my surprise it was slightly behind me!
Even when we don't think we're making progress we are. Bit by bit if we take steps in the right direction, despite the obstacles that are thrown our way, focus on what you want now keep going and you will get there.
"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." - Walter Elliott
" If we are facing the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." - Buddhist saying

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Gales


It was another windy day recently and as I stood outside being buffeted around I wondered what it was that made all the noise.
I'm not a scientist ( pretty sure that statement won't leave you feeling faint with shock! ) but as the branches on the fir tree bent and flapped around and the bushes in the garden swayed frantically, I listened carefully to the sound of the wind rushing by.
Similarly when I'm cycling there is resistance as my body hits a head wind and makes me work much harder to go a distance that would be effortless if I put myself in a more aerodynamic position.
Often the "noise" (hassle) in life doesn't come from the object (person) we are faced with, but by the change in conditions around them......so just as the wind rushing over a smooth, flat piece of land wouldn't create much sound the same is true of someone who can become more "aerodynamic" or flexible to the ever changing dynamics of life.
We never really know what is happening in other peoples life, and the noise they make may just be as transient as a passing gale, so by staying flexible and grounded you need only baton down your hatches until the storm passes and you can appreciate the calm beauty that arrives soon after.
"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." - Jimmy Dean.




Sunday, 5 February 2012

From grumpy victim to graceful victor


We've all done it... heard ourselves bemoaning the fact that someone has done something to us, or taken us for granted. We feel hard done by, and are somehow catapulted back to a time when we were much younger and someone in school stole our favourite pencil! "It's not fair! It's not fair!"
I recently found myself feeling this way. I stomped around, wrote emails, made calls, rallied support from several friends, then thought, "STOP!"
I was using so much energy on finding a way to undo my sense of being wronged that in that chaotic state I'd slightly lost the plot!
When I went from racing around to being still - and I mean still - a lovely thing happened. I came home to find a large package from Amazon. I couldn't think what on earth I'd ordered, and when I opened it up I discovered that a friend had sent me 3 books by Robin Sharma (the guy who wrote "The monk who sold his Ferrari") WOW! Talk about perfect timing! What a great reminder of the lovely people in my life.
Those of you who know about the work I do know how passionate I am about it. I'm 3/4 of the way through the first of the three books and it has reminded me how lucky I am to have found what truly makes my heart sing!
I have been re-inspired! Thank you Karen!
Yesterday I spent a bit of time creating a new website which should go live next week, this will enable me to continue supporting my Reverse Therapy clients, while also reaching out to a whole new range of people, and that makes me so, so happy and grateful to be in this position.
"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself." - Harvey S. Firestone