Thursday, 16 December 2010

Making memories

Last night I attended the Christmas concert at my son's primary school. It's always heart warming to watch the kids sing their songs and co-ordinate the "moves" they've been taught to go along with the festive music.

As I watched and listened to the enthusiastic singers pleasing the crowd I remembered the Christmas concerts I've been to over the years watching all three of my children.

Children are so precious. For each and every one of them on the stage last night I hope that their Christmas concert can be one of many happy memories they can stash away and remember fondly.

We all need to create a bank of memories so that when life flings us less favourable experiences we can remember better times, reminding ourselves that all things are transient and the good and the bad will pass.

When you're having a bad time don't let your headmind convince you that this is how it is, or that this is the way it will stay.

Be grounded and remind yourself of even the smallest lovely thing that happened to you recently.

"A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood." - Charlotte Davis Kasl

Thursday, 9 December 2010


We have to be so careful when we label people, or indeed when we take to heart the label we have been given by others.

We are all different things to different people. I'm a mother, a friend, a colleague, a therapist, a supervisor, a daughter, a cousin, an ex-wife, a niece, a girlfriend, an aunt, a sister....and on and on!

In amongst all of those I will appear to be, happy, direct, grumpy, intolerant, unreasonable, spontaneous, loving, distant, gentle, annoyed, generous, worried, supportive, and more.

The truth is we can be a vast range of things to others; and yet we are none of them.

The label given to describe one person couldn't be further away from the label someone else may use. A label is a very personal perception.

When walking by a homeless girl I tried to imagine who she was. She was always so grateful when I gave her some money, or bought the magazine she was selling. Someones daughter, someones friend. Once she had shelter and yet now she stood with steam seeping from her nostrils, bent over in an attempt to maintain some body heat.

I never want to remember her as "just another homeless person" that label comes no where near to describe who she was, or how she came to be cold and alone.

If I label a homeless person upsetting to see, doesn't that just help to keep me a safe distance from their suffering? I could blame them for not making me feel good, seeing them as responsible for making me uncomfortable. They doesn't own that label - I do.

For this homeless girl to see me walking upright, wrapped up in clean warm clothing, carrying my shopping -might that not be upsetting for her? Isn't it likely that she feels uncomfortable being in this situation, heart sinking as she witnesses people averting their eyes as they try to ignore her plight?

She won't always have had the label of being a homeless person - she has a heart and a soul - and a history that only she knows. The girl I'm speaking of has since died of pneumonia.

Don't be too swift to live by the labels you've been given, nor be too swift to label others.

As you go to bed tonight notice who you are - how does that feel? What label might those people you interacted with today be giving you? Will their assessment be fair?

Would it feel different to expose more of who you really are? What does your headmind say to you that stops you? Practise showing the core essence of you, shed those protective layers and let the world appreciate the real you.

"Once you label me, you negate me." - Soren Kierkegaard

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Stars in my eyes!

I'm not exactly sure what woke me up at 3am, maybe an icicle falling off the roof, no matter whatever it was it ensured I was wide awake.

I got up from my cosy bed and opened the curtains to look out on the silent night. On seeing the black night sky I actually said out loud, "Wow!" The stars were so, so bright it was if the noise that had woken me was my house moving closer for a better look , and maybe a twinkle just tapped my bedroom window as it passed by.

I kept my curtains open and crawled back to bed, just staring in awe at the mass of beauty that hides during daylight hours and only displays itself when we disappear in to a dream state. Ironic I thought, what could be more dream like than the view I was looking at wide awake from my bed?

The longer I stared at the more brazen, bright stars the more I began to notice the less bold, shy one's hiding behind the shadowy glare of the brighter ones. A few clusters here, a solitary one there. Bit by bit the night sky seemed to be more willing to show me all the stars one by one, maybe it knew I was in awe, respectful of what I could see, not trivialising it but feeling humbled in fact by its vastness. Sometimes the "quieter" stars would only catch my eye for a second, but if I looked straight at it it seemed to disappear again.

I lay there wondering if those stars were still in existence today. All those light years away and though it may have already died many, many years ago, at that moment I was still experiencing it's beauty.

The night sky has always intrigued and fascinated me and I remember as a very young girl my Dad trying to explain the idea that some of the stars I could see weren't really there anymore. For a nine year old, that was quite something to get a handle on! Dad said, "It's like this, if you could fly up to that star now and you had a great pair of binoculars to look back down to earth you might be able to watch the Battle of Hastings in 1066 happening right before your eyes!" Let me tell you, I might have nodded knowledgeably giving the impression it all made sense, but believe me, it took years for me to understand what he meant! Good old Dad!

The stars remind me that we can all shine. Long after we have left this world we can leave a lasting memory. Some people will leap into your head when perhaps you're reminded of famous activists fighting for the underdog, or someone like Mildred Norman Ryder who for 28 years walked across America on a personal pilgrimage for peace. But what about the neighbour who clears the snow from his elderly neighbours drive, checking that he has enough food and isn't in need as winter weather closes in? Certainly a shining star for the vulnerable person he has quietly helped.

Artists of all varieties can leave their creativity and material legacy for others to appreciate for evermore. However, the bright light you leave doesn't have to be tangible. Kindness shines and touches others for many lifetimes.

Be still and let yourself feel what it is you'd like to do, or let yourself remember what you've done already to leave that sparkle for others to appreciate.

"A life lived with integrity - even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come." - Denis Waitley

Monday, 6 December 2010

Listen to yourself - maybe there's a better way!

I remember as a teenager being out dancing, drinking and having a laugh with my friends and having fleeting moments during the evening where, looking around me, I believed there was nothing better than what was happening right there in that moment! Head spinning, laughing though not always completely sure what was so funny, surrounded by friends - what could possibly be better?

But - there was always an emptiness in my heart - a heavy emptiness and I never thought to ask if anyone else was feeling it. It was always there just a bit irritating, no matter how much I drank it just niggled away at me, I tried to suffocate it, drown it but heavier it got.

Sometimes I'd drink so much I'd be sick. At that most undignified point I'd sometimes catch myself thinking, "Okay, you win...that's enough with the're ruining a good night!"

It took me a longer time that I'd have liked to come to the realisation that, whatever I needed to do to be free from that empty, but sorrowful heaviness in my heart, would only become clear when I got a clear head.

Giving up drinking was hard to begin with, but 6 years on I can't really imagine a time in the future where I'd include alcohol in a list of things to do to give me a better life!

I know sometimes people use alcohol to ease the stress they feel at work, or to help them relax and unwind - and for most people that's fine. However, you'll know yourself if you're simply enjoying one or two drinks for social reasons, or if your drinking has become a crutch to help you "get through" life's ups and downs. Either way, in an aligned state you already know what you need to do differently, if anything.

Nowadays I only get that heaviness when I'm feeling sad, and I'm holding it in. I should add, as soon as I feel it starting to get "weighty" I will find a way to express it. Sometimes, I don't want to - but I know the consequences of not practising emotional honesty - and I am not up for my body getting so annoyed that it starts increasing the volume of symptoms until I start speaking up!

Keep yourself open to the possibility that it might be in your best interest to make some changes in your life - and embrace this chance!
"If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrow knows how to swim." - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Saturday, 4 December 2010


The first definition of incompatible in my dictionary reads, " incapable of living or existing together in peace or harmony; conflicting or antagonistic."

Incompatibility can infringe on many aspects of our lives, not just personal relationships. Once we recognise this fact and how it relates to our lives, it's then up to us what we do with that knowledge. Whatever action we take, either allowing our headmind to take the lead or preferably, keeping an alignment between our bodymind and headmind, our actions will consequently determine our physical and mental health.

If we can stay grounded with body & head aligned we may be able to see the areas of incompatibility in our lives and make decisions on how much we are willing to compromise with those areas. When doing this you must not lose sight of the core essence of you. By ensuring you are true to that aspect of who you are, and your actions reflect this honesty, the reward is health.

The alternative is to ignore the incompatibilities in your life, stay in your headsmind, justifying why it's okay to allow this relationship to continue. If you choose this route you may have to take the physical and mental consequences of this dis-connected relationship with your truth telling bodymind.

If you discover after signing a lease agreement that your flat mate is a strict vegetarian, and you get on well with them, though your dietary preferences are incompatible it doesn't mean the relationship has to be over!

If you are faced with a situation involving a person, people or organisation that feels like a compromise too think - STOP!

Be grounded and look at all the aspects of your relationship within that setting. How does it FEEL to imagine removing yourself from that position? Really paying attention to those feelings will enable you to make the right decision for you!

"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility." - Leo Tolstoy

"The principles we live by, in business and in social life, are the most important part of happiness." - Harry Harrison