Thursday, 23 January 2014

Now is the time!

There really is no time like the present - literally. There is NO time like the present! How often have you found yourself talking yourself out of starting something that needs to be dealt with?  Instead of doing it, you catch yourself pondering, wondering, trawling, sifting, analysing and fretting, not just over what needs to be done, but over old stuff that has already happened, or might (and might not) happen in the future?!
Maybe it serves as an excellent diversion to avoid getting on with all that needs to be addressed today - right now - in this moment. I don't know, but what I do know is that there's nothing more satisfying to body and mind than taking action and completing whatever needs to be tackled.  Make yourself a promise that today you're going to take the first step towards attending to that thing that needs fixing, discussed or sorted - when you do you're just going to feel so pleased with yourself - and so you should! Remember, now is the only time we have, so do yourself a favour and don't put it off any longer!  
"Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it." - Steve Chandler.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The strength to snap!

Sometimes an assumption is made about the strength of another. I often meet clients who are seen by others as being able to cope with anything life throws at them; and so begins a cycle which can be seriously detrimental to their health.
This self-defeating pattern often begins when they are called upon by a family member, friend or colleague to help with a situation that has developed, and they hear themselves saying, "Yes, of problem!" Their headmind may initially be flattered by the fact that it's clear they're seen as focused, strong - maybe even infallible!
Putting aside any of their own needs they get stuck on that never-ending roller coaster of doing and doing and doing - and all of it for the benefit of others.
The bodymind will only tolerate this imbalance for so long - and if they don't gather the strength to speak up and ask for help the inevitable symptoms will begin.
How loud do your symptoms have to get before you stop and speak up?  Is there someone at your work, or in your family you know is dealing with too much, putting a brave face on it and resisting asking for help?  Do them a favour and get that conversation started.  Being strong is one thing - being strong enough to speak up when you want off the roller-coaster is another. Maybe you're the one who can help that person put the brakes on, or maybe you've started getting symptoms and are fumbling for the brakes yourself.  Know that the minute you reach out for help is the minute your body can start turning down the volume of your symptoms and help you get some balance back into your life.  Remember too, it really is okay to say, "No" and by doing so you will be able to say, "Yes" to more.  As soon as you make speaking up and creating balance in your own life the priority your body will truly celebrate that it can start freeing you from debilitating stress - related symptoms, so please, don't put it off any longer!
"When you say "yes" to others, make sure you are not saying "no" to yourself." - Paulo Coelho
"Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out." - Thema Davis

Saturday, 11 January 2014

We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns!

More often than not when I hear someone being described as, "eccentric" the description of them usually involves a shaking of the head, a rolling of the eyes and an acknowledgement that they're a bit, "out there". In actual fact, I find that those so called "eccentrics" are often beautifully connected to their authentic self. Frequently their living their lives in a far more honest way than those who let the combination of a deep rooted need to conform with a fear of standing out from the crowd dictate their behaviour and life choices.
Of course there are varying degrees of eccentricity - but providing someone isn't inflicting pain on another why do others condemn them?
I wonder if there is an element of jealousy?  Perhaps they provoke a sense of awe to the conformist observer who cannot even imagine how it must feel to be freed from their restrictive thoughts and beliefs? Maybe the idea that anyone can truly embrace life and be completely honest about what makes their heart sing proves too much for the conventionalist?
What is wrong with simply celebrating our differences in the knowledge that, for both the eccentric and the conformist, life will serve them the whole gamut of experiences?
Just remember, that underneath whatever we perceive in another, is a human being who feels pain, who laughs, who cries, who celebrates, who needs comfort and who grieves.  Could you, in this new year work on just letting others be who they want to be without judgement or condemnation?  
We really are, quite simply - all the same.  We're here, we're alive, and we're living our lives in a way that fits our unique individuality and personality.  Love it or loathe it, that's how people are - wouldn't it be easier and less upsetting just to love and accept others?
"It is not our differences that divide us.  It is our inability to recognise, accept, and celebrate those differences." - Audre Lorde
"We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns"  a phrase written in Lowland Scots and Northumbrian English from the 1800's meaning, "We're all the same under the skin."

Friday, 3 January 2014

The importance of paying attention.

I was given an iTunes voucher from my son-in-law Ewen for Christmas, and trawling through the vast range of music, books and videos on offer I stumbled across the downloadable audio book version of M.Scott Peck's, "The Road Less Travelled."  
Back in 1990 my Mum was reading that book and told me I should read it too - I was 22 years old and thought, "Yeah, whatever...maybe one day I will...doesn't she realise I'm VERY busy looking after my 2 daughters who are under 3 years old!" 
When I saw it on my iPad I thought to myself, "No excuses - now is the time to read it."  Well, in this case listen to it - though I have also managed to uncover Mum's original version in hardback with her name and address on the inside cover.
I'm about half way through it and I now understand why 23 years ago Mum was suggesting I read it!  
I was 24 years old when I had my first experience as a client having been referred through occupational health to the on-site clinical psychologist at the hospital.  
I was stressed out and not coping.
Mum had died. 
My marriage was over. 
I was skint.
I was nursing part time and had young children.
I hated feeling so out of control.
The first session involved me leaving the ward, still in my nurses uniform, going to his office and crying for an hour.
He said very little.
I hated him.
I saw him twice a week initially - which I now realise says a lot about the state I was in!
I never really warmed to him, though I'm sure he was excellent at his job, I wanted him to tell me what to do, tell me how to fix the way I was feeling - just TELL ME!
Of course, that wasn't the way he worked and each session was a truly painful experience. 
After 6 weeks I was only to see him once a week - that felt okay - it felt like I'd been promoted.
I saw him once a week for ages, though I can't remember how long exactly.  I never at any point enjoyed the experience but I did start to notice I was calmer, I was seeing life with a new clarity and didn't feel like I was in that horrible, dark tunnel walking on sponge.  Things were improving for me, and I felt stronger again.
After our last session I sent him a, "Thank you" card, though I felt like he had similar skills to that of an illusionist.  I never quite (at that time) understood what he did or how he did it!  
I know now, that he gave me space to reflect on all the shit that had happened, and gently guided me to be less judgemental of myself, more accepting that though I may not have made the best choices along the way, that did not in fact make me the devil incarnate.
So, back to, "The Road Less Travelled" - the subtitle of the book reads, "A new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth"  and there lies the reason I think my Mum was gently nudging me to read it back in 1990.  Maybe I wasn't ready to read M. Scott Peck's words at that intense and challenging time, but maybe it would have saved me a lot of angst in the years that followed.  Who knows?
I wanted to share this story with you as this year the Christmas gift from my son in law has reminded me to pay attention to the gentle, loving "hints" we get from those that care about us. Maybe you can think of subtle, or maybe frank conversations someone close to you has had recently, and maybe you've chosen to ignore their suggestions.  Don't put it off for 23 years like I did! 
If Mum were here today I think she'd be rolling her eyes while saying, "Finally!  Better late than never I suppose!" 
"All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready. and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step." - Paulo Coelho